September 2017 Wellness Newsletter

September 2017 Newsletter

July Wellness Tip: Staying Active Doesn’t Have to Take Place in a Gym Setting

The Wellness initiative we’re focusing on at Pisgah Valley this month is activity. Staying physically and mentally active helps prevent diseases, retain mental alertness and memory and keeps life quality at its best.

Let’s think back on history beginning in the early 1900’s. Rates of obesity were much lower. Life required consistent movement to provide food for ourselves, transport ourselves distances and it was up to humans to build most objects. Life spans were also much lower because we did not have the advances in medicine and technology we have now. These technological advances have been great for communicating, performing research and providing entertainment. However, technology has also been detrimental to our quest for physical and mental activity leading to poor health choices. These poor lifestyle choices have caused more prevalence of diseases such as diabetes in the young and old.

Blue Zones

In the Blue Zones of the world the culture is one of constant “natural” activity. Blue Zones are places where there are the most amount of people living to be 100. There is a purpose to each day to get up and move your body. It can be gardening, cleaning, walking to a neighbor’s house or dancing in the village square on a Friday night. People who live in these zones don’t rely on the gym for physical activity. Therefore many don’t suffer from obesity or lifestyle diseases due to inactivity.

In the United States before the late 1900’s, culture was more like blue zones – hardworking in that we used our brains to problem solve and not Google. Life required use of our hands and bodies to perform many different tasks rather than purchasing goods manufactured from big companies like Wal-Mart.

Focus on Staying Active

This month I challenge you to live actively and naturally. Find what your passion was as a young adult and focus on keeping mentally and physically active the “slow” way. Meet up with neighbors to play cards, bocce ball or take a walk. Try going to the library and picking up books or do puzzles to keep the mind sharp rather than watching television. Of course with the first day of summer upon us, now is the time to get those hands dirty by gardening beautiful flowers and nutritional produce. Along with the summer season is the flourishing of native mountain plants. So, if you are a photographer, sculptor or painter now is time to keep the creative part of your brain active-venture outside to make colorful art!

No matter what choice you make to stay active, just remember you don’t have to do it in a gym. Take advantage of natural environment that surrounds you and you will in turn be inspired.

Submitted by Abby Landry: Wellness Director


June 2017 Wellness Center Newsletter

June Newsletter 2017

June Wellness Tip

As stewards of this planet, it is our responsibility to take care of the plants, soil, air, and every being that exists. We are the top of the food chain and the most developed creatures. We have the ability to take care of the Earth; it is whether or not you have the desire to do so.

This month, I would like to challenge you to take one small step each day to take care of your direct environment as well as the environment outside.

Your direct environment includes where you live, where you work, the vehicle you drive and where you spend the most amount of time. You can take care of your immediate environment by maintaining an organized and clutter free space as well as keeping the space clean from dust and dander. Chaotic, unclean areas create chaos in the mind which then can be detrimental to our bodies physically. You can take small steps by not leaving dirty dishes in the sink to pile up, or leaving mail and paper piled up on the counter and so forth.

Taking care of your outside environment is another way to connect with the Earth and the creatures that live on this planet with us. You may not realize it but this planet was designed for the humans and the plants, animals and insects to coincide together. It is up to us to take care of these creatures because they take care of us! Without pollinating insects we would not have fruits and vegetables. Without trees and plants we would not be able to breathe!!! This June, focus on using the appropriate fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides in your courtyard and stray away from lethal products such as Roundup. Not to mention, this summer we have new residents on campus that flew in to help eat some bugs for us. Have you noticed the flock of geese hanging out? These guys will help eat bugs and other weeds that we don’t want so let them take care of it and they can get a delicious meal at the same time!

As caretakers of this planet, we’ve discovered a special healing relationship between people and nature. There is a therapeutic aspect to gardening or taking a walk in the woods. We can find healing in a bird’s song, by lying on a blanket and watching clouds or sitting on a rock and watching the waves crash. If nature is going to provide us with this healing then we should do our part to bring healing to our environment as well. It’s up to us and ONLY us!

Submitted by : Abby Landry, Wellness Director


March 2017 Wellness Center Newsletter

March Newsletter 2017-wellness center

March Wellness Tip: Remarkable Health Benefits of Herbs and Spices

Nutritionists and registered dietitians make the recommendation to use more herbs and spices rather than salt, sugar and fats to add flavor to dishes. Herbs and spices have been used throughout all of history and have been proven to have many health benefits. Here are a few herbs and their health benefits that you can add to your grocery list next time you shop, in case you aren’t using them now.

Cinnamon. One of the most well-known spices used around the world. Cinnamon’s health benefits include regulating blood sugar levels appropriately as well as reducing triglycerides and LDL cholesterol in type II diabetes sufferers.

Peppermint. This spice can provide relief to people who suffer from IBS symptoms. Peppermint also contains chemicals that help aid in reducing nausea. One of the best qualities peppermint oil can provide is relief to skin burns, whether it is a sunburn or burn from cooking.

Turmeric. This herb has taken a front row seat this past year in the nutrition world. Turmeric is recommended as one of the best herbs you can intake each day. Turmeric contains the phytochemical curcumin which gives it the yellow color it is most known for. Curcumin can help in weight loss, eliminating cancer cells and control symptoms from metabolic diseases. Scientists have also created a new molecule from curcumin that can help restore brain cells after a stroke.

Oregano. It contains many antioxidants to boost our immune system. Oregano is rich in Vitamin K, iron and manganese. Oregano can kill E.coli and almost any foodborne illness.

Rosemary. Rosemary can block the absorption of carcinogenic compounds found in foods such as grilled meats. Rosemary oil can improve cognitive performance and especially in people who suffer from Alzheimer’s.

Ginger. Ginger contains over 50 antioxidants which can boost the immune system. Ginger also helps increase circulation, calms the digestive system, lowers cholesterol, helps ease arthritis pain, reduce inflammation throughout the body and can help increase insulin sensitivity in diabetics.

Asheville hosts one of the biggest herb festivals in the United States every year at the WNC Farmer’s Market. This year it will take place May 5-7 from 9-5pm on Friday and Saturday and on Sunday from 10-3pm. If nothing else, go speak with the growers and find out what they recommend for your specific needs. It is the perfect opportunity to gain knowledge about growing, preserving and using herbs and spices.

Submitted by Abby Landry: Wellness Director


7 Sneaky Cooking Swaps You’ll Love

2017 has begun and a lot of individuals have chosen to take this time to renew themselves by dieting and controlling sugar, high fat or high carb cravings. But, let’s be honest, what is life without a little indulgences from time to time? Especially if you have been in control of your cravings and deserve a little dessert occasionally. Here are some sneaky swaps that will help you indulge and not feel guilty at the same time.

Black beans swapped for flour. I know it sounds crazy, but this is all the rage. Black beans contain more fiber than flour; they have a lower glycemic load which means your blood sugar is better controlled eating black beans than flour. Try substituting black beans in a brownie recipe.

Avocado swapped for butter. I LOVE butter, but everyone knows that it isn’t the healthiest. Butter contains cholesterol, sodium, fat and little nutritious benefits. Spread some avocado on toast or replace equal parts mashed avocado with butter in baked goods.

Rolled oats swapped for breadcrumbs. Oats are a great addition to any dish because they add crunchy texture. Rolled oats have more fiber than breadcrumbs but less sodium per serving. Simply pulse rolled oats in a food processor and use in place of breadcrumbs.

Greek yogurt swapped for mayonnaise. Greek yogurt contains less fat and sodium per serving compared to regular mayonnaise. Replace equal parts Greek yogurt for mayonnaise in salads such as egg salad or chicken salad.

Pumpkin swapped for oil. Pumpkin puree can be substituted for butter and oil in many recipes. Pumpkin contains many nutritious vitamins and minerals compared to any butter or oil. Pumpkin also contains fiber which is not found in oil or butter. Lighten muffins, breads and cakes by substituting equal parts pumpkin for oil or ¾ cup of oil for 1 cup of pumpkin puree. Applesauce can also be a great substitute for oil in these dishes.

Butternut squash swapped for cheese. Macaroni and cheese is a classic dish that is not a healthy option overall. Butternut squash contains less fat, calories and sodium than cheese and it contains more nutrients and fiber. Try roasting and pureeing butternut squash for replacing in mac and cheese. This step may seem more complicated than adding shredded cheese but it makes up for the work in the taste test. Trust me!

Submitted by Abby Landry: Wellness Director


Nutrition Wellness Tip

As we begin a new year I am sure many of us have New Years Resolutions. That is not always a bad thing. However must of us set unrealistic goals and set ourselves up for failure.

Here are some helpful easy year round tips from our Wellness Director, Abby Landry.

  • Eat breakfast every day.
  • Eat before going out.
  • Stay hydrated!
  • Plan your plate.  Eat the rainbow (not Lucky Charms).
  • Before splurging, do something healthy for yourself.
  • Use smaller plates to eat off of and tall skinny glasses to drink out of for portion control.
  • Keep track of what you eat by journaling or using an app such as my fitness pal.
  • Weigh yourself weekly or monthly.
  • Wear fitting clothes and take note of how they feel.

If you have any questions about wellness or about the Wellness Center on campus please do not hesitate to contact one of our Wellness Associates at 828-418-2330 or email for additional information.

Discover the Advantages of Maintenance Free Living at Pisgah Valley

Do winter time chores and blues get you down?  Winter is a time when the benefits of living in a continuing care retirement community hit home the most.  You will find fitness classes, social events, clubs and friends just outside your door, but above all no winter chores!

A winter wonderland is a beautiful sight as the white snow falls softly to the ground and there is a quiet stillness in the air.  Sadly the beauty quickly fades when it comes time to clear a path to the door and the driveway needs to be shoveled.  By the time this back-breaking work is done no one has the energy to go outside and enjoy themselves.   Seniors are especially at risk during the winter season when they go outdoors for long periods of time to complete chores. The risks go beyond broken bones from falls on icy steps, sidewalks or streets.  The National Institute on Aging warns that older adults are especially vulnerable to hypothermia because the body’s response to cold can be diminished as most seniors are less physically active and generate less body heat.

Once you live at Pisgah Valley you no longer have the burden of home maintenance, life becomes more fun with less work.  You will never have the fear of running out of groceries during a storm or worrying about your water lines freezing.  Another great advantage is that you will not have to budget for future repairs to your home such as replacing an appliance or even a roof.  You will have the peace of mind knowing that everything from clearing a sidewalk to changing a light bulb will be provided by our dedicated staff.   No more getting out in the cold for long periods to do household chores!

When you make the choice to move to a continuing care retirement community you will have the time to pursue new and old interests both on and off campus as you can take advantage of free transportation to places of interest.  You will have opportunities to meet new friends through various planned programs.

Please call to learn more about the advantages of maintenance-free living.

January Wellness Tip

Focus on Old Connections this New Year

At Pisgah Valley we have a campus Wellness Program called “CREATION health.”  It is an acronym that we use as a model for achieving whole person health.  The letter “I” in the acronym stands for Interpersonal Relationships.  Wellness means so much more than nutrition and fitness.  This new year, try focusing on the relationships in your life that matter the most.  Think back through your life about the people who have taught you, supported you, counted on you and loved you the most.  Make a list of those who you have not seen in a long time and try to reconnect with some.

In life we experience constant changes; it is unfortunate that we lose touch with so many over the years.  If you have a loved one who you know you could do better at reaching out to, make 2017 the year that you make an effort to reestablish this connection.  Here are some ways to find that person and reach out:

Social Media:  use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram to find a friend.  Many people are on social media these days and this is an effective and efficient way to find someone.  If you search the name of the person you are trying to locate and don’t find him/her, try searching a family member’s name instead.  Also remember that people get married so last names can change.

High School and College Reunions:  attend a reunion if you want to reconnect with friends from school.  This is an excellent way to catch up with old friends.  Even if you don’t find the friend you have in mind, you will most likely find someone who does know where to find your friend.

Google Search:  try simply entering the person’s name into the search bar and see what comes up.  Or try searching the person’s name and the school that he/she graduated from or the town that he/she is from.

Contact mutual acquaintances:  if you can’t find a friend, someone else will.  Call a mutual acquaintance such as an old teacher or boss and ask if they know how to contact your friend.  Even if these people don’t know how to get in touch with your old friend, they may be able to get you on the right track by giving you your friend’s last known whereabouts.

Contact your school or alumni organization:  many of schools keep a database of old students for soliciting donations and informing of upcoming events.  Try contacting your friend’s old school and asking if they would be willing to give you any information at all.  Some schools will not for privacy purposes.

Reconnecting old friendships can be beneficial for our health in many ways.  It usually brings forth laughter and reminiscing of the old days which can signal our brains to release feel good hormones and endorphins.  We use our brain to reminisce which connects neurological pathways to help our memories.  We can sit with a meal and enjoy some nutritious food while catching up.  No matter what age you are, social connectedness is powerful, so be sure this New Year to love the ones you have close by and keep in touch!

Submitted by Abby Landry: Wellness Director