The Whole Truth: Health & Wellness

By Fay Grant | May 21, 2014
Frog's Leap Public House uses local produce for many of its signature cocktails.

Five Feel-Good Things To Do This Week

 

1)    Eat Your Way to Healthy Skin. Believe it or not, what you eat has a huge impact on the quality of your skin. Try protecting your skin with pomegranates, brightening up with sunflower seeds and softening with walnuts. Now that the weather is heating up, eating these delectable skin-saving foods can help fight age-related damage, leaving you with a healthy and gorgeous summer glow.

2) Take It To Go. And no, I don’t mean at the drive-thru or the vending machine. Snack smart this week by prepping a few travel-friendly snacks beforehand. Try stuffing two halves of a cored apple with almond butter, sprinkle with old-fashioned rolled oats and place the halves back together to avoid a mess during travel. Wait until you’re ready to dig in before slicing.

3)    Drink A Beer. Enjoying a beer can be surprisingly more beneficial than its usual provided escape from the stress of everyday life. Aside from the delightful side effects of feeling relaxed and a bit giddy, beer has many health benefits when consumed in moderation. It can help cut back your risk of cardiovascular disease, lower your risk of developing kidney stones and gives you a boost in vitamin levels like vitamin B12 and folic acid. Luckily for all of us, this weekend is the start of the Third Annual Asheville Beer Week (May 24 – 31) and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the joyous health benefits of beer than a week full of beer tastings, food and live music.

4)    Cut Back On Caffeine. I’m sure most of you are trying not to scream at the thought of losing your morning cup of coffee - even for one day – but replacing a highly caffeinated beverage with a healthier substitute once a week can improve your overall wellbeing. As hard as it seems to lose that quick and easy jolt at the start of the day, try waking up a little earlier than normal and taking a brisk walk. It can elevate your mood, promote feelings of happiness and give you energy throughout the day. Another alternative is replacing your usual caffeinated beverages with green tea, which has less caffeine and is rich in immunity-boosting antioxidants.

5)    Dance It Out. Most people would agree that dancing is a sure way to a good time – especially when you’re out with friends or loved ones – but dancing is also a great way to lose weight, reduce stress and increase flexibility. If you’re looking for an exciting way to entertain yourself while reaping the health benefits of dance, don’t miss Downtown Waynesville’s Rockin’ Block Party (Saturday May 24, 7-10pm) with live music, dancing in the street, eats and treats. Bring your kiddies a little early for Children’s Activity Hour from 6-7pm so they can get in on the fun. A portion of Main Street will be closed off so make sure to bring your dancin’ shoes!

 

INTO THE SPIRITS: Fresh Ingredients Meet Specialty Cocktails in Western North Carolina

Who said you couldn’t make a specialty cocktail with a splash of health benefits? Definitely not Chef/Owners Kaighn and Tonia Raymond of Frogs Leap Public House in Waynesville. They freshly press and incorporate a wide variety of nutrient-packed juices — orange, lime, grapefruit…you name it – and even go as far as making their own syrups. It gives their refreshing cocktails a uniquely remarkable taste and will keep you coming back for more. Luckily for us, they were kind enough to sit down with me and give the how-to on one of their newest (and most delectable) seasonal additions:

 

Cucumber-Celery Gimlet (1 serving)

2 ounces of Hendricks Gin

2-3 slices of cucumber (depending on your taste)

2 ounces fresh celery water

1 ounce lime juice

A sprig of mint

Celery salt (for the rim)

A fresh slice of lime

 

First, in a clear mixing glass, muddle the cucumber slices and mint into the fresh celery water and gin. Once muddled, add the lime juice. Rim your serving glass by using the fresh slice of lime to moisten before applying celery salt. Add ice to the mixing glass and shake it up. Pour into your rimmed serving glass and serve. Optional: Garnish with an extra sprig of mint and a slice of lime.

 

In season: What do you do with artichokes?

This week I’ve chosen one of my absolute favorites…the artichoke. Dig in and enjoy my own healthy take on this delicious seasonal recipe.

 

Goat Cheese Stuffed Artichokes with Fresh Thyme and Rosemary

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 6 medium artichokes
  • 8 ounces soft, fresh goat cheese
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
  • 2 large garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1-3 tablespoons whole wheat bread crumbs (optional)

 

Preparation:

Start by preheating your oven to 400°F. Fill a large pot with water - leaving room for artichokes - and add lemon juice. While bringing your water to a boil, prepare the artichokes by cutting off the top ½ inch, removing any tough outer leaves and trimming the sharp points off of the remaining leaves using kitchen scissors. Cut the stem close to the base so it will stand upright (otherwise your artichoke will roll around and make a mess once fully prepared). Add artichokes to boiling water and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain well and cool completely. Using a small spoon, as to keep your artichokes intact, carefully remove the tiny center leaves and chokes.

 

Mix goat cheese, yogurt, thyme, rosemary and garlic thoroughly in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Carefully spoon mixture into center of artichokes and sprinkle the top with whole wheat bread crumbs (if desired). Place each artichoke in the center of a square piece of aluminum foil (large enough to cover each artichoke completely). Gather foil up around the artichoke and twist the top to secure. Put the wrapped artichokes on a baking sheet and bake until heated through - approximately 15 minutes. Unwrap artichokes and dig in!

 

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