Park 75 at the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta’s Robert Gerstenecker is here to give you his best advice about how to have your own garden.

Robert Gerstenecker

Q: How should a first-time gardener begin?

A: Building raised garden beds and getting organic soil can be expensive, so start small and add a little every year. Observe the location of the garden plan for one year and see if it gets enough sun, if it has good drainage or if it floods when it rains.

Q: How can someone garden in a small space? 

A: You do not need to have acreage to have a garden. At Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, we have eight 12-by-12 planters on the roof that were used for ornamental shrubs, but we have re-purposed them to grow vegetables and herbs. Last year we harvested 300 pounds of sweet potatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, mint, thyme, bay, tomatoes, and the list goes on.

Q: How can seasoned gardeners revamp their garden this year?

A: The best way to enrich a garden is to compost vegetable matter and reintroduce this compost into the garden on a yearly basis.

Q: What plants are the easiest to use in home cooking?

A: Tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and scallions are easy to use, and all the soft herbs like chives, tarragon, cilantro, basil and oregano are great for introducing flavor. Sometimes people do not cook with greens like chard and mustard greens as they need a bit more preparation and technique to cook, but they are well worth the effort.

 

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Dr. Laura M. Beaty from PartnerMD Concierge Physician answers a reader’s question about how much sleep we really need. Dr. Laura Beaty Q: How much sleep do I need?  A: While sleep needs vary, most adults require between seven and nine hours to perform their best each day. Not getting enough sleep can mimic symptoms of ADD. You will notice that your ability to concentrate and remember information is dramatically reduced. This will decrease your productivity in whatever you try to accomplish. Over time, as your sleep debt  accumulates, you also increase your risk for heart disease and motor vehicle accidents. Do you have questions for our doctors? If so, please email them to editorial@bestselfatlanta.com. 

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The Atlanta Moon Ride is back and better than ever! Now in its second year, the 6.5-mile after-dark bike ride is set for tomorrow, Friday the 13th at 10 p.m. The ride will take participants through some of the city’s most unique neighborhoods, including Little Five Points and Midtown, on a safe and traffic-free route.

Atlanta Moon Ride

The nighttime ride starts and ends at Park Tavern, where there will be a pre-party starting at 7 p.m. and an after-party lasting until 2 a.m.

All proceeds from the Atlanta Moon Ride will go toward Bert’s Big Adventure, a nonprofit organization that provides an all-expense paid five-day journey to Walt Disney World for children with chronic and terminal illnesses and their families. Bert Weiss, of The Bert Show, and his wife, Stacey, started the organization in 2003 when they took seven children and their families to Walt Disney World for the first time.

Last year’s ride brought more than 800 people together for a fun evening, and this year the event promises to be even bigger and better with new partnerships, riders in fun costumes and a full moon. This year’s new partnerships include Bicycle Tours of Atlanta and Atlanta Beltline Bicycle who will be offering on-site bicycle rentals for $25 on the night of the ride. Rentals are based on a first come, first served basis through the registration process.

Atlanta Moon Ride Riders

Riders from last years event.

The Atlanta Moon Ride has also partnered with Sopo Bicycle Cooperative, a nonprofit, community-based bike repair shop in Grant Park. Through Sopo, riders can donate used bikes after the race for a chance to win a brand new ride from Peachtree Bikes.

Register today for $30 to support a great cause while having an awesome Friday the 13th nighttime ride through the city!

Details: www.atlantamoonride.com 

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Compostwheels’ founder and CCO (Chief Composting Officer) David Paull is here to give you his best advice about all thing compost.

David Paull

Q: What exactly is compost? 

A: Composting is the decomposition of organic materials into a dark humus-like material that, when added to your garden, will enrich your soil. In active composting, we combine carbon materials (leaves, wood chips, etc.) with nitrogen (produce waste, coffee grounds, etc.). Then we actively turn the mix to help the process of decomposing. It is just like magic.

Q: How should a first-time composter begin? 

A: Begin with a small compost pole from your kitchen scraps and collected leaves.

Q: How can someone compost in a small space? 

A: Apartment dwellers can compost using tumblers, bokashi composters or services like Compostwheels.

Q: How can gardeners tell if their soil is healthy? 

A: Take a closer look at your garden – are birds finding more interest in your soil than in your fruits and vegetables? If so, your soil is teeming with life and its microbial network is in harmony.

Q: What are some ideas to get kids involved in gardening?

A: Children love to touch and feel things, and gardening is a tactile experience. Teach them how to pull up a weed and how to put seeds in the ground. You can also set aside a section of your garden that is your child’s, which will encourage responsibility and stewardship.

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From May 30 to June 1, Atlanta’s very own Chef Jamie Adams, of Veni Vidi Vici,  embarked on the inaugural Chefs on Bikes ride to raise money for the No Kid Hungry campaign. Chefs on Bikes was a 300 mile, 3-day ride that took a group of chefs from New York City to Washington, D.C. Chef Jamie was joined by Chefs Jason Roberts, of ABC’s “The Chew,” Allan Ng and Ryan Hux, both of Shake Shack and the creators of the ride, and a number of other chefs.  Chef Jamie has been an avid cyclist for years and usually competes in up to eight centuries each year.  Best Self was able to catch up with him after the ride to learn more about his passion for cycling, how he prepared for the ride and how he gives back to his community.

Chef Jamie Chefs on Bikes

Q: What initially drew you to the Chefs on Bikes event?

A: Chef Pano (executive chef of Kyma) saw an email about the event and contacted me to see if I was interested and after careful consideration of about 1.5 seconds I said yes.

Q: How long have you been cycling?

A: I started cycling when I was in high school (I graduated in 1977) and my brother and I took a 4 month cycling tour through Europe in 1981. At the end of our trip, we had just arrived in Ireland from Wales and our bikes were stolen! I really did not get back onto a bike until 2002, about a year after having quadruple bypass surgery. I have been pretty fanatical ever since.

Q: How do you train for an event like this?

A: Fortunately, when I found out about the event, I was already in pretty good shape, having completed 2 full centuries (100 mile rides) and plenty of miles. What I had not done, however, was back to back centuries, so in the 2 weeks prior to the event I was able to do a couple of consecutive 50 mile rides which helped considerably. My legs were not my concern, but preventing saddle sores was, so I was able to build up my defenses in that “area.” Overall the best preparation is putting in the miles to build up endurance.Chef Jamie Chefs on Bikes

Q: How challenging, mentally and physically, was the ride?

A:  Every time you ride 100 miles you face physical challenges. Your back hurts or your legs feel like someone put lead in them, your backside hurts and so on, but cycling is all about facing down the pain and discomfort and that’s where the mental challenge lies. This ride was no different, but with the longer distance, you have to be careful to manage your effort by staying in a zone that is neither too hard nor too slow. If you go out of the gate guns a’blazing, you don’t have any reserves, and if you go too slowly, you start counting miles and you go stir-crazy.

Q: How long have you been involved in the No Kid Hungry campaign?

A: I have participated in 23 consecutive “Taste of the Nation” events, the SOS fundraising gala and over the years cooked in many homes with many different teams of chefs, so for quite a long time. The NKH program of SOS has been around since around 2008, so I have been involved since the beginning.Chef Jamie Chefs on Bikes

Q: How much were you and the other chefs able to raise for this year’s event?

A: The event’s goal is $25,000, and at this writing it has reached $23,000. My personal goal was $5,000 and I have now reached $5,555, and it still keeps going up!

Q: Where is your favorite place to cycle in or around Atlanta?

A: By far up in the mountains outside of Dahlonega, “The Gaps.” I love to climb and I also love to descend and it is so beautiful up there at all times of the year. Our group goes up there once a month and in the warmer months a little more to ride all of the variations of the famous six Gaps: Neels, Jacks, Unicoi, Hogpen, Wolfpen and Woody. I live in Johns Creek so I also ride up to Lake Lanier pretty often, by several different routes.

Q: Where do you go in Atlanta to get your cycling gear?

A: CycleWorks of Roswell on Holcomb Bridge Road. It’s a great shop with great people. Jan, Mike and Tiffany are the best!

Q: What is your advice to people who are interested in cycling or who are just beginning?

A: First of all, it has to be fun. Everyone has different goals or expectations, but it should be about enjoying what you are doing. There are many types of cycling, so find the mode that fits you best, be it getting on your bike for a couple of miles every few days, mountain biking, group rides or a daily commute. Find what you enjoy and go out and ride!

Q: Do you plan on participating in Chefs on Bikes in future years?

A: Absolutely. My longtime dream to ride my bike across America may be realized sooner than I thought! Stay tuned…

To donate to the Chefs on Bikes cause for No Kid Hungry, click here. Follow Chef Jamie’s future cycling adventures on Twitter (@VeniVidiViciATL) and Facebook (Veni Vidi Vici Restaurant.

And to learn more about the future of cycling in Atlanta, check out our June feature article, Time to Ride. 

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Get Back to Nature with Outdoor Activities 

Fly fishing Atlanta

1. The skill of fly fishing takes some effort to master. To educate and encourage you in this sport, Orvis stores offer free Fly Fishing 101 classes. All ages are welcome to tattend and learn the basics of fly casting, fly tying and more. Participants can even progress to Fly Fishing 201 and 301 courses, which will help prepare you for long summer days on the river.

Details: 3275 Peachtree Road, Ste. 210, Atlanta, GA, (404) 841 0093, www.orvis.com/atlanta

Lanier-Sailing-Academy

2. Enjoy views of beautiful Lake Lanier from the deck of a sailboat this summer. Lanier Sailing Academy offers Basic Keelboat Certification and Coastal Navigation classes, as well as provate sailing instruction. In Basic Keelboat Certification, you’ll spend 80 percent of the class on the water, learning safety, sailors’ knots, docking and mooring, tacking and jybing, and everything else needed to be a sailor. The three-day class costs $485.

Details: 6920 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford, GA, (770) 945-8810, www.laniersail.com

Cochran Mill Park

3. Hiking at Cochran Mill Park requires just a comfortable pair of shoes, but the experience is so much more than a walk in the park. Their trails south of Atlanta will lead you to several different waterfalls. Hike the mile-long trail on the east side to get to Cochran Mill Falls, or hike the west side to Henry Mill Falls. Either option offers spectacular views and an enjoyable workout.

Details: 6505 Rico Road, Chattahoochee Hills, GA, (770) 463-8881, www.chatthillsga.us/cochranmillpark.aspx 

Athens to Atlanta Road Skate

4. Strap on your skates and learn some moves at the Bohemian Skate School. Classes are held outdoors, either at Piedmont Park or a location of your choice, starting at $35 per student. If you’re really skate-savvy, sign up for the Athens to Atlanta Road Skate in October. The Road Skate covers the scenic 87 miles from Athens, Georgia to the finish line in Old Fourth Ward Skate Park.

Details: www.bohemianskateschool.com, www.aprr.org, www.a2a.net

Chattahoochee River Rafting

5. Rent a canoe, kayak or raft and spend a day floating or paddling on the 48 miles of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Make this a relaxing retreat with a leisurely paddling and wildlife observation, or head to the lower stretch of the river for a swift trip on the class I and II rapids. Brace yourself against any splashes, though – the river’s temperature rarely rises above 50 degree.

Details: 1978 Island Ford Parkway, Atlanta, GA, (678) 538-1200, www.nps.gov/chat 

Gardening Classes

6. Attracting wildlife to your yard adds an interesting element to your garden each season, and everything from butterflies and bees to frogs and spiders can improve your garden’s health, Free gardening classes at Pike Nurseries can teach you how to invite the prettiest of those to your yard: butterflies. Pike’s ongoing community classes can keep you outdoors and connected with nature on weekly basis, so check their website regularly as new classes are posted.

Details: www.pikenurseries.com 

 

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Dr. Kristin Magee from Dermatology Center of Atlanta answers a reader’s question about molluscum.

Dr. Kristin Magee

Q: What are molluscum, and how do you treat them? 

A: Molluscum are small bumps (generally flesh-colored, dome-shaped, pearly lesions) caused by molluscum contagiosum virus. Most common in children, the virus spreads by touching a surface with the virus on it. In warmer months, molluscum can sometimes be associated with swimming pools. Molluscum can take months to years to resolve if left untreated, and they often spread and become irritated and itchy. Common office treatments include freezing or applying a liquid called cantharidin to create a small blister at the affected areas. Moisturizing the skin helps it be a better barrier so the virus does not spread as easily. Avoid sharing bath cloths or towels to help prevent spread of molluscum.

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Jessica Shops Pick of the Month 

Reboot Your Body

If you’re looking for a way to improve your body both inside and out, look no further. Cool off with Icebox Cryotherapy, an excellent way to reinvigorate your body and make sure you’re at peak performance. Innovative research has concluded that extreme cold therapy results in decreased muscle soreness and pain, improved skin tone and even improved sleep. Icebox Cryotherapy

The concept is relatively new to Atlanta but has been endorsed by many doctors, professional athletes, teams and trainers. Dr. Oz, “The Doctors” TV show and ESPN. Clients swear that their skin is tighter and smoother due to the boost in collagen that is produced. The regular price is $70 per session, but by mentioning JessicaShops when you book your appointment, you can get three sessions for $130. Give it a try!

Details: www.iceboxtherapy.com, www.jessicashops.com 

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By Michael Bakheet, MD

Walk or run? That is a frequently asked question for sports medicine doctors. Most people know how often they should exercise – at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week – but they are eager to learn how to get the most from their workout with the least rick of injury.

In terms of health benefits, walking and running have a lot in common. Both improve cardiovascular function by strengthening the heart muscle and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, ultimately reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Both forms of exercise help control blood glucose levels, which can prevent, regulate and, in some cases, cure diabetes. Plus, improved self-image and confidence can result from either a walking or running routine.running

However, if weight loss is the goal, a recent study found that the intensity of running leads to greater results that walking, Mile for mile, running burns two and a half times the number of calories as walking. Even if you were to use the same amount of energy while walking, research shows the increased intensity of running promotes more weight loss. The heavier you are, the greater benefit.

Another recent study of about 90,000 runners and walkers found that the runners had a significantly reduced risk of developing hip osteoarthritis and we less likely to need a hip replacement.  A contributing factor may be that runners tend to have lower body weight, if you already suffer from painful arthritis, though, walking may be more comfortable for you since it is less likely to lead to joint problems and stress fractures than running.

As with any form of exercise, ask your doctor if a walking or running regimen is right for you. Before hitting the pavement, invest in a quality pair of shoes to ensure your feet are properly supported. Always include a warm-up and cool-down in your workout to prevent injury. Whether you choose to stroll or sprint your way to better health, just be consistent. Strap on a pedometer, slip in your earphones and strive for 10,000 steps per day at any pace.

 

 

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Farmer D Organics’ Daron “Farmer D” Joffe is here to give you his best advice about gardening.

Daron Farmer D Joffe

Q: What are the benefits of gardening?

A: The benefits of gardening include physical fitness, nutrition from fresh produce, natural medicine from herbs and connecting with others through the sharing of tips, seeds, plants and stories from the garden.

Q: How should a first-time gardener begin?

A: Pick good quality materials and ask advice from garden experts at your local garden center or university extension to find out what to grow and when.

Q: How can seasoned gardeners revamp their garden this year?

A: Plant something you haven’t grown before, and try extending your season by planting earlier and later than usual.

Q: What are some ideas to get kids involved in gardening?

A: Make it fun. Let them get wet and dirty and grow crops that they are likely to taste like peas, beans, carrots and cherry tomatoes. If you’re ready for more, help start a garden at your child’s school.

Q: What plants are easy to grow? 

A: Radishes will break down the belief that you have a brown thumb. These fast-growing, nutritious little gems are easy to sow directly into the garden in the spring and fall. My favorite varieties are French Breakfast radish and Watermelon Radish.

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