In his 2011 book “Folks, This Ain’t Normal,” organic farming pioneer Joel Salatin points out, “The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food?” Where indeed? Somehow humanity made it all the way to 1946 without a Publix or a Kroger down the road. He says, “Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.” This is the truth that the Best Self Atlanta team reconnected with when we volunteered at Truly Living Well, an urban farm in the heart of Downtown Atlanta that proves food still can – and probably should – come from your backyard.


As a group, we took a day off from office work and got down in the dirt together. Truly Living Well’s four-acre main garden on Hilliard Street was a beautiful tangle of summer green on the day we volunteered. Our tasks involved weeding among the kale, tomatoes, onions and more, scrubbing radishes to prepare them for market, and picking ripe plums. Though as a group we aren’t exactly seasoned farmers, instructions from our volunteer coordinator, Sara, set us off on the path to success. By the end of the afternoon, the raised beds were weed-free, the radishes clean, and the plums picked (and tasted!). We felt very accomplished, but it was clear: there’s always more work to be done on a farm. If you’d like to volunteer with Truly Living Well, either at the garden downtown or their other location in East Point, visit or email for more information.

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Best of 2015 RibbonEvery business will tell you they’re the best, so who can you really trust when it comes to picking a hair stylist, a primary care doctor or a new gym? Your fellow Atlantans, of course! That’s why for the third year in a row, we’re holding our “Best of 2015” contest so your voice can be heard. From September 1 to September 15, visit our website to nominate your favorite local places and people. Then stop by our Facebook page during October to vote for the nominees in every category from Best Yoga Studio to Best Massage Therapist and many more.


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Jennifer Hankey, founder of Healthy Green Schools, shares her best advice for keeping kids Jennifer_headshothealthy at school.

What are some common health risks kids encounter at school?
Common chemicals of concern include triclosan (a common antibacterial chemical), phthalates (found in soaps and cleaners), formaldehyde, VOCs and other harmful chemicals in common cleaners. Even the most often used cleaners like Clorox and Lysol have been shown in studies not only to trigger asthma, but also to cause asthma in otherwise healthy individuals.

Why is it important for schools to consider safer, more sustainable alternatives?

With 12 percent of children now with asthma, 13 percent with food allergies and 30 percent overweight or obese, we must stop using cleaning chemicals that can potentially harm these children.

How can parents get their kids’ schools involved in the Healthy Green Schools program?

Gather a group of parents who are interested in seeing the program at their child’s school. Once schools learn the program is easy, beneficial and cost neutral, they are excited to start!


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Atlanta Meatball FestivalThe second annual Atlanta Meatball Festival is back! On Sunday, August 30 from 1 to 5 p.m., foodies and meatball fanatics can enjoy live music, drinks, and sample gourmet meatball dishes served up by some of Atlanta’s best restaurants. Guests can cheer on Atlanta chefs as they go head-to-head to win the title of “Best Meatball.” The top three winners in this “battle of the balls” will move on to the Meat Brawl Throw-down at Taste of Atlanta in September. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 on the day of the event.
Details: Belle Isle Square, 4969 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs, GA,

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kybella in atlanta gaNot a fan of the extra fullness in your chin you’ve begun to notice in the mirror, but not quite ready to go under the knife?

A new product called Kybella has recently been approved by the FDA and made its way to Atlanta. It offers a nonsurgical solution for double chin and chin fullness issues. Kybella is a treatment that consists of a series of injections that targets and destroys fat cells so they can’t be restored.

This chin fat solution isn’t just a hit with women hoping to achieve a more slim and youthful face but also with men opting for nonsurgical ways to help define and create a more masculine jawline.

Doctor offices in Atlanta that offer Kybella:

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susan_headshot2_2013-206x300Susan Morley, founder of The Parent Coaches, shares her best advice for scheduling.

How can families handle their “back to school” schedule better this year?

Take an inventory of the actual time spent in a given week. How many hours is your child doing homework? Eating meals? At an activity (including getting ready, commuting, etc.)? This will show parents where they are actually spending time.

If a family realizes they’re overscheduled, what are the next steps?

Parents can sit down with their children to make decisions about reducing stress. Some families may decide to cut all extracurricular activities for six months and then add things back in if wanted. Sometimes no activities are cut, but the family comes up with solutions to streamline their processes.

What are some of those solutions?

Having a central calendar in the home and a person who is assigned to keep it up to date is a great way to communicate to everyone in the family what is happening when. I still prefer paper to online versions.

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Dr. Marianna Kovitch from Atlanta Smiles & Wellness answers a reader’s question about the effect swimming pools can have on your teeth.

Can swimming pools stain your teeth?Kovitch, DMD, Marianna_no cred

An ideal pool pH level should be between 7.2 and 7.8. If the pH is lower, causing the water to be more acidic, it can cause tooth erosion. A higher pH causes proteins in your mouth to break down and form a hard, yellowish-brown mineral deposit on your teeth. You have a higher chance of stains if you are a competitive swimmer, but you can still have stains from exposure. Talk to your dentist if you notice stains due to swimming – a professional dental cleaning will be able to remove them.

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20150225_redmartini_(ck)_013The recently opened Red Martini is not your typical bar or club. This elegant lounge showcases a modest dance floor that complements but doesn’t dominate the space, which features plenty of comfortable and casual seating near the bar. Chef Gabriel Panama offers up fresh, creative sushi each evening, such as the lounge’s namesake Red Martini Roll, with tempura ahi tuna, red snapper, crab, halibut, cream cheese and roasted peppers. If sushi’s not your thing, other small dishes hold their own: try a cucumber and mozzarella salad or a charcuterie plate. And don’t miss their Thursday night “Maki and Martini” specials that, in addition to great food and drinks, include the DJ spinning favorite hits for an all-around fun night.

Details: 3179 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA, (404) 254-3519,

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Atlanta Magazine Physician Profiles 2011

Dr. Mike Majmundar from Northside Plastic Surgery answers a reader’s question about natural male facelifts.

What is a natural male facelift?

Facelifts, when performed on men, have to be different than those in women, and the procedure has to have different goals. Our natural male facelift addresses the definition around the chin, jaw and neck, which become poorly defined in males with age. This lift restores definition below the ear, the contour of the chin, and the jawline in between. Because it avoids excessive pull on the skin, males don’t have to worry about unsightly scars with short hair. Also, greater than 90 percent of males don’t complain of pain with the procedure.

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For fitness competitors and everyday healthy eaters, food can at times feel monotonous, uninspiring and just plain bland. House of Payne Personal Training members Jennifer Croff and her husband are looking to change that. The health-driven couple is creating a cookbook due to be out later this fall, that aims to keep healthy eating fresh and fun.

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