The Whole Truth: Health and Wellness

By Fay Grant | Aug 13, 2014

Five Feel-Good Things To Do This Week

1) Get more sleep. We all love to sleep – but did you know that getting enough sleep is incredibly important for your health and overall well-being? Research shows that sleeping at least 6-7 hours every night can keep your heart healthy, prevent cancer, reduce stress and inflammation, improve your alertness and even help you lose weight. The less you sleep, the more likely you are to develop diseases – or get cranky and irritable - so make an effort this week to hit the sheets early and get in that much-needed 8 hours of shut-eye.

2) Show some gratitude. When was the last time you stopped and acknowledged all of the things you’re grateful for? Yes, we all get cynical and pessimistic at times - and it’s easy to dwell on the negative things in life or focus on what we lack - but this week, work on making gratitude a daily practice. A positive attitude and expressions of gratitude go a long way, and research has shown that being thankful provides numerous health benefits, including an improved immune system and stress reduction. Try keeping a gratitude journal by cataloging happy memories and listing the things in your life you are most grateful for. Getting in the habit of focusing on the positive and taking the time to read your journal during difficult times can help steer you towards a better state of well-being.

3) Laugh your Asheville off. They say laughter is the best medicine - it’s known to lower blood pressure, reduce stress and improve cardiac health - and what better way to reap those benefits than at this week’s Laugh Your Asheville Off Festival. Described as one of the largest and most respected stand-up comedy events in the country, the Laugh Your Asheville Off Festival features over 50 comics spread out over a wide variety of locations, including Highland Brewing Company with a portion of proceeds benefiting Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. Visit laughyourashevilleoff.com for tickets and details.

4) Surround yourself with greatness. Put yourself in a better state of mind by surrounding yourself with positive people, images and reminders this week. When you’re constantly reminded that you can achieve anything you put your mind to, the possibilities are endless, and continual positive reinforcement can help lift you up when you’re feeling discouraged or intimidated. Surround yourself with people who routinely seek the good inside of you, and leave yourself positive reminders that speak words of support and encouragement.

5) Explore the Blue Ridge Parkway after hours. This week, join Parkway rangers for the “Water Knows No Boundaries” Blue Ridge Parkway After Hours Hike and learn about some of the Parkway’s water resources while exploring the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Hikers will meet at Milepost 391, two miles south of Hendersonville Road (Hwy 25) at the dirt parking area on the east side of the Parkway. Make sure to dress comfortably, wear walking/hiking shoes and bring water. (via exploreasheville.com)

When: Aug.14, 2014

Location: Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center

Address: Blue Ridge Parkway, Milepost 384, Asheville, NC 28803

Time: 7 p.m.

Admission: Free

Difficulty: Easy

 

BUY or DIY IT: All-Natural Room Scents

 

Providing harmonious aromas without the added chemical substances, all-natural room scents are a healthier alternative to the widely available artificial ones. Research shows that most store-bought air fresheners are dangerous to your health, causing asthma, allergic reactions, headaches, skin irritation and even memory loss. Made using natural components, like herb and fruit extracts commonly used to improve mood and reduce stress, breathe easier knowing that your aromatherapy experience is safely scented with pure, all-natural ingredients.

*Use these recipe combos as guidelines - and feel free to tweak or modify to appeal to what your nose fancies.

Recipes:

Scent #1: Oranges, cinnamon and cloves.

 

Scent #2: Lemon, rosemary and vanilla.

 

Scent #3: Lime, thyme, mint and vanilla extract.

 

Scent #4: Orange, ginger (fresh or powdered) and almond extract.

 

Scent #5: Pine or cedar twigs (or other fragrant twigs), bay leaves and nutmeg.

 

Instructions:

Combine the ingredients of your choice with 2 cups water and choose a method below:

Stove top method. Simply combine the ingredients in a pot on the stove, bring them to a boil, and lower the heat to a simmer. Make sure to keep a close eye on the water level to avoid burning. For a stronger scent, double or triple the recipe in a larger pot on the stove.

Uncovered Slow Cooker Method. A personal favorite, this method slowly releases your all-natural scent with less risk of burning. When filled in the morning, it can provide a subtle, intoxicating scent throughout your home for up to 8 hours. Use a lamp timer to safely shut off your slow cooker and prevent your mixture from drying. (recipes via theyummylife.com)

 

 

BUY IT: Try Aura Cacia’s Relaxing Lavender Electric Aromatherapy Air Freshener. Made using a combination of pure essential oils, it’s an easy and all-natural way to promote relaxation and create a safe, soothing environment in your bedroom or living room.

IN SEASON: Raspberries (Aug 13)

 

With a delectable combination of sweet and tart flavor, raspberries are a highlight of summer's bountiful harvest. This sumptuous fruit is low in calories, an excellent source of vitamin C, and the antioxidant compounds they provide have potential health benefits against cancer, aging and inflammation.

 

What to look for: Plump, firm, and fragrant berries, free of their hulls. Keep an eye out for black and golden varieties, in addition to the familiar red raspberry.

 

Raspberry Cobbler

 

Prep: 30 mi

Total Time: 2 hours

Servings: 9

 

Ingredients:

For the Filling

  • 5 cups (1 pound 10 ounces) raspberries (red, black, or a combination of the two)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

 

For the Biscuit Topping

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
  • Sanding sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Directions:

Make the filling: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together raspberries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Pour into a 9-inch square baking dish (2 inches deep).

Make the biscuit topping: Whisk together flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, and salt. Cut in butter until largest pieces are the size of small peas. Add cream, and use a fork to incorporate, stirring just until cream is absorbed (there should be lots of loose pieces).

Turn out dough onto a clean surface, and knead once or twice, gathering loose bits into ball. Pat dough to a 1 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into 9 rough squares, and place them on top of filling. Brush with cream, and sprinkle with sanding sugar.

Bake cobbler until bubbling in center and biscuit topping is golden brown and cooked through, about 1 hour (loosely tent with foil if biscuit topping gets too dark). Let stand at least 30 minutes before serving.

(recipe via marthastewart.com)

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