The Whole Truth — Health and Wellness

By Fay Grant Guide contributor | Aug 27, 2014

Five Feel-Good Things To Do This Week

1) Eat for your environment. There are a variety of reasons why a lot of people are shifting to a vegetarian lifestyle – and the quality of life for livestock is one of the most influential factors. Cows, chickens, pigs and other animals aren’t allowed to forage and graze as nature intended, but instead are inhumanely confined, fed pesticide-packed grains, and pumped full of hormones and antibiotics. No one likes to think about the horrific environments our food may have come from when we hit the aisles of the grocery store – and food marketers are happy to provide us with devious labels that convince us our meats are “farm fresh” or “all natural”. This week, feel good about the meat you eat by purchasing from a local butcher that works directly with local farms committed to sustainable, humane, and all-natural farming practices. Try visiting Asheville’s The Chop Shop Butchery for a wide variety of locally sourced meats, or pick up some top quality beef from Sunburst Beef in Waynesville.

2) Take a Wild Mushroom Walk. Learn how to identify the variety of fascinating fungi growing at Chimney Rock State Park during the Wild Mushroom Walk, a guided hike that introduces participants to about a dozen or so of the most common mushrooms of nearly 1,000 species growing in WNC.

When: Aug. 29, Sept. 5 and Sept. 19 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Address: 431 Main Street, Chimney Rock, NC 28720

Admission: Included with park admission


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3) Set a good example. What we learn from the people around us, from our parents to the fleeting actions of a passing stranger, can have a long-lasting impression on how we live and behave in society. Take time this week to have more than just an opinion about the way we live and set a good example. For instance, try teaching your children the importance of recycling while you properly dispose of your everyday items, and invite them to participate. Picking a local restaurant over a nationwide chain next time you eat with your co-workers, and explaining the importance of supporting small businesses within the community, is another great way to set a good example. With just a few small actions, you can make a huge impact on generations to come and the future quality of the environment we live in.

4) Change the way you bathe. Believe it or not, cleansing less is becoming a new trend – and as disgusting as it might sound to some of you – bathing only once a week can actually prevent you from stripping your skin and hair of the essential oils and good bacteria it needs. Taking colder, shorter showers and investing in a low-flow shower head — or just simply showering less — is a great way to save energy and money. If you’re one of those people that depend on your daily shower to wake you up in the morning, try splashing warm water in your face and use dry shampoo as an environmentally friendly way to still look and feel refreshed.

5) Join the Ashevillage Kids Garden Tour. Encourage your kids to immerse themselves in the wonders of nature during the Ashevillage Kids Garden Tour, a hands-on, interactive tour that allows kids to smell and taste edible plants, play with red wiggler worms while learning the benefits of composting, and much more.

When: Aug. 30 from 10:30 a.m. to noon

Where: Ashevillage Institute & Sanctuary

Address: 80 Buchanan Ave., Asheville, NC 28801

Cost: $10/Kid, $15/Parent


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IN SEASON: Peppers


Although bell peppers are available year-round, they’re most abundant and of highest quality from August through November. All red, yellow, and orange peppers start out green, and their sweetness increases and color changes depending on how long they ripen on the vine. In this nutritiously delicious side dish, red bell peppers are filled with fresh tomatoes and basil, combining the best of summer’s freshest herbs and vegetables.


Baked Stuffed Red Peppers with Cherry Tomatoes, Feta, and Thyme

* Look for firm peppers with taut skins, avoiding ones with cracks or wrinkles.


  • 2 small red bell peppers (5 to 6 ounces each), halved lengthwise through stem, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1 heaping cup cherry tomatoes (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 ounces feta cheese (preferably goat's milk), crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, coarsely chopped
  • 8 basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with rack in top third. Place bell pepper halves, cut sides up, in a baking dish. Toss together tomatoes, feta, thyme, and basil in a medium bowl; season with black pepper. Fill each pepper with tomato and feta mixture, dividing evenly. Drizzle each with oil.
  2. 2. Bake stuffed pepper, covered with aluminum foil, until they begin to soften, about 30 minutes. Remove foil; continue to bake until tomatoes begin to burst and cheese turns light brown, 13 to 15 minutes more. Remove stuffed peppers from oven, and serve warm.

(recipe via

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