WW2020 Tour Charlotte, Show #4 State Farm ArenaWhat does wellness mean to you? That was the question Oprah asked the 12,000-plus members of her audience in the State Farm Arena on Jan. 25. The mindful mogul brought her tour, Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus, to Atlanta and led attendees through a daylong workshop in self-discovery and goal setting. She also sat down with Dwayne Johnson for an intimate interview. Best Self Atlanta editor Alex McCray and Atlanta Best Media marketing and events manager Wyndi Kappes took part in the event while it was in town. Here are their top eight takeaways from Oprah for making 2020 the year of triumph and transformation.

1. Wellness means something different for everyone. For Oprah, wellness means life in balance but everything doesn’t necessarily receive equal attention. Only you can be in control of your wellness.
2. Stress is simply wanting a moment to be something it’s not. The best way to handle stress is to just accept the moment and be present.
3. The most important gift you can give anyone is to be fully there with them in the moment. The No. 1 lesson Oprah learned from “The Oprah Winfrey Show” was that people simply want to be heard and to know that they matter.
4. You don’t get in life what you want, you get in life what you intend. The energy behind your words and actions is powerful.
5. Nothing is happening to you that isn’t meant to show you something about yourself.
6. Everything you’ve been through has prepared you for the greater moment that is coming.
7. You have to forgive what you didn’t have.
8. Accept that the past could not have been any different. It is what it is and you have to move forward.

WW2020 Tour Charlotte, Show #4 State Farm ArenaThese words of wisdom are some of many provided by Oprah during the 7-hour gathering. The thought leader guided tour goers through a series of workbook prompts to set their intentions not only for the new year but to chart a path toward becoming the “truest, highest and purest” versions of themselves and to live that out. Her advice on creating lasting change? Commitment.

For more from the event, see Oprah’s full interview with Dwayne Johnson at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29 on Oprah’s Facebook Channel, and the WW Now Facebook Channel, with highlights on Instagram, @ww.now.
Posted in Best Bulletin, Best Fun | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Screen Shot 2020-01-27 at 1.20.55 PMHappy Seed is a budding vegan food company built by Atlanta locals Reid Trapani and Sophia Marchese. The brand specializes in recreating satiating comfort foods using entirely plant-based ingredients. Here, walnuts are the main ingredient in these fully raw, flavor-packed tacos!



  • 3 cups raw walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce or coconut aminos)
  • 1 cup sundried tomatoes, not packed in oil
  • 2 red chili peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 head of dinosaur kale, washed and trimmed (or romaine lettuce leaves)
  • Juice of one lime

For the spice blend

  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons of water as needed to thin
  • Pinch salt/pepper

Screen Shot 2020-01-27 at 1.36.24 PMDIRECTIONS

Soak sundried tomatoes in a bowl with water for at least 30 minutes to rehydrate.

Pulse the walnuts, lime juice and tamari in a food processor until you get a crumbly mix. You DO NOT want a paste. Remove from food processor and set aside in a large bowl.

Once the tomatoes have been soaked, drain and add them to the bowl of the food processor with the spice blend, garlic, and red chili peppers. Pulse to combine, just like the walnut base.

Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until a paste is formed. Transfer to the bowl with the walnut base and mix thoroughly. Taste for seasoning.

Spoon the walnut “meat” into the dinosaur kale leaves with taco toppings of your choice.

Details: HappySeed.Kitchen

Posted in Best Bites | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Can You Dig It?

ABM Staff at Pike Nurseries with succulentsBy Katherine Sauceda 

If you’re looking to enhance your skills in cultivation, you’ll want to dig into one of the many classes held at Pike Nurseries, like the one our Best Self Atlanta/Atlanta Best Media team recently did during a Team Activity Day outing.

In the roughly 45-minute Make and Take Houseplant Succulent class (at the Buckhead location) led by Matt Mehlberg, we got the dirt on the basics of planting and caring for succulents. This beginner-friendly workshop started with a brief explanation of the plants we would be working with—echeverias, hens and chicks, and sedums.

As each team member selected two plants (our art director, Dona Halliday, courageously selected four plants and two pots), massaged the roots to loosen them, and planted the pair in a clay pot with fresh soil, Mehlberg described simple tips to assure our succulents’ survival. His advice included how much sunlight the flora needed, soil enhancements like Dynamite Cactus & Succulent Food, and more. Luckily for those with busy schedules, our little buddies only need water once or twice a month.

Did You Know?

Houseplants do more than look pretty in our homes or at our desks. Adding greenery to our spaces may even keep us healthy. A study of hospital patients by Kansas State University researchers found that those with plants in their rooms had less fatigue and anxiety, needed less pain medication, and had lower blood pressure and heart rates. In addition, according to research by NASA, succulents can purify the air by removing 87% of volatile organic compounds. Who knew such a small addition could make such a big difference

Once the class came to a close, our entire team walked away feeling more confident than ever in our ability to nurture our new additions. Whether a beginner or a pro, you can upgrade your gardening skills (and even your health!) with the Pike Nurseries team.

Details: 4020 Roswell Rd. NE., Atlanta; www.pikenursery.com

Get GamingPeople playing an arcade game

Take a trip back in time at Arcadia at Red Door Tavern. The 800-square-foot space attached to the popular late-night hangout is reminiscent of an ’80s arcade and houses 19 classic games (more are on the way) such as Ms. Pac-Man, Street Fighter II: The World Warrior, and Jurassic Park III. The walls are even adorned with murals of beloved game characters like Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. Stop in with your dinner date or before hitting the town with the girls and you’re sure to feel like a kid again.

Details: 3180 Roswell Rd., Atlanta; www.instagram.com/reddoortavern

Posted in Best Fun | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It can be difficult to instill and maintain healthy habits in our children. Even if you pack your fridge with lots of fresh veggies and other healthy organic options, through school events, birthday parties, or sleepovers, they will eventually be tempted by sugary foods and drinks that offer no nutritional value.

As a mom, I fondly remember the days my children, Kubby and Rania, would eat avocado, any vegetable I made, and happily drank my smoothies. Now, since they are both tweens, it’s a struggle. But as parents, we can’t give up or check out—the health of our kids is the foundation for their brains, hormones, energy, mood, and so much more.

Here are five ways you can help your children establish healthy eating habits.

1) Be the example.

Your own diet is being watched every second by these little ones. What you choose is registering in their brains and they will subconsciously mimic your choices as they get older.

2) Provide healthy options and alternatives to their favorite snacks or meals.

Do they love ice cream? Try a lower sugar or coconut milk version. Lemonade? Dilute it to lower the amount of sugar in each serving. I know I am making progress when my children push back on items that are just too sweet or too salty.

3) Help them identify what foods make them feel good and what makes them feel bad.

Bad foods are “never” or “sometimes” foods, the others are “always” foods.

4) Limit junk options in the home, but don’t eliminate.

If you totally get rid of the unhealthy snacks, they will feel deprived. But by limiting the amount that is available, the message is clear: these are “sometimes” foods, not “always” foods and this is all we can keep at home.

5) Teach them how fun cooking healthy can be.

Stock your pantry and fridge full of “always” foods. Bring your children in the kitchen with you to help learn how to prep food. This creates an interest in food. They’ll also learn that fresh always tastes better than packaged. Not sure where to start? The easiest place to start is with what they drink. Get rid of the juices, sodas, flavored teas and the like to help get their appetites used to simpler tastes and give their guts a much-needed break.

Details: www.centrespringmd.com/pediatrics

Posted in Best Bites | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Bobby Johnson

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Bobby Johnson

As Bobby Johnson was out for an AJC Peachtree Road Race training run seven years ago, he noticed a homeless man without shoes. Out of kindness, Johnson offered his size 15 sneakers to the man. The simple gesture inspired him to launch EcoSneakers, a self-funded social enterprise that partners with organizations and businesses to collect new and used athletic shoes to be donated to local homeless shelters, such as the Atlanta Children’s Shelter, recycled to create surfaces for playgrounds, basketball courts, and tracks, or sold overseas to be cleaned and repaired then resold by local businesses in those countries.

Since its inception, more than 300,000 shoes have been repurposed. The grassroots initiative has also been the No. 1 vendor for donations at the Peachtree Health and Fitness Expo. In addition, the team at EcoSneakers has collaborated with Central Atlanta Progress, Georgia Power, and more to host a biannual Sneaker Week that encourages participants to get active and donate athletic shoes. And during the week of Super Bowl LIII, EcoSneakers partnered with The Ludacris Foundation and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for the Sole of Atlanta campaign, which distributed shoes to underserved Atlantans. You can help get shoes into the hands of someone who needs them and out a landfill by hosting your own collection drive.

Details: www.ecosneakers.org

Posted in Best Cause | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Women sit and chat around a tableA Space of Our Own

Envisioned by former CNN journalist Jennifer Morgan, Eleanor’s Place is a soothing and sophisticated coworking destination for women. Inside the 2,783-square-foot hub filled with artwork by local female creators, entrepreneurs, stay-at-home-moms, female professionals and others can utilize private booth offices, a conference room, and more. Members can also use the space to host private events such as book clubs and trunk shows.

Details: 3535 Northside Pkwy. NW., Ste. 3516, Atlanta; www.eleanorsplace.com

Alarm.com WellCam interface

Senior Solutions

This innovative security technology helps families keep relatives safe and well in their own homes. Equipped with discreet sensors and smart analytics, the WellCamTM system by Wellness Insights offers a plethora of information and can alert you if a loved one misses taking a dose of medication, or isn’t active at the usual time.

Details: Alarm.com

Help A Sister Out

Atlanta-based women’s health organization SisterLove, Inc. was recently selected as a finalist for Aetna’s 2019 Voices of Health campaign. The competition, which SisterLove, Inc. came third place in, celebrates grassroots nonprofits that address social and economic conditions impacting health in nearby communities. For over 30 years, SisterLove, Inc. has made sure women, especially African-American women, have access to HIV, sexual, and reproductive health services.

Details: 1237 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd., Atlanta; www.sisterlove.org

 A Dose of Magic

Radio star Jenn Hobby recently raised $50,000 for Reese’s MaGIC Fund and the Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center through her inaugural Ring the Bell benefit. Reese’s MaGIC Fund is committed to research to prevent and cure germ cell tumors, like the one Hobby’s, now 4-year-old daughter, Reese, was diagnosed with at 10 months old. The fund was created by Hobby and her husband.

Details: www.jennhobby.com/reeses-magic-fund

Going Green

Historic Westside is getting a whole lot greener, thanks to a $17.5 million grant from The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation to the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership. With the first phase opening in 2020, Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry is set to be the largest greenspace in the city, covering 280 acres.

Details: www.beltline.org

Posted in Best Bulletin | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

By Alex McCray and Stacy Moser

Mimmo Alboumeh

Mimmo Alboumeh

Just like the sumptuous tacos he serves, the ancestry of chef Mimmo Alboumeh traces a route from Lebanon, Spain, Italy and Mexico. It’s said that the concept of most tacos first originated in Mexico with food brought by Lebanese immigrants, later influenced by spicy Spanish flavors. A self-proclaimed taco addict, chef Mimmo draws on his heritage to create the Mexican cuisine of his popular Red Pepper Taqueria restaurants, including the brand’s 3,600-square-foot Briarcliff Road locale.

Q: How does your heritage influence your views on diversity? What steps have you taken to make inclusion a priority at Red Pepper Taqueria locations?

Mimmo Alboumeh: As a Lebanese American, I know how it feels to be prejudged. First and foremost, I want my work family to be good, hardworking people who take pride in what they do. I like to give other immigrants the opportunities past employers gave to me, so you will see a very diverse staff at Red Pepper. I feel the same way when it comes to our diverse clientele. Everyone is welcome.

Q: What has been the key to your success as an entrepreneur?

MA: Loving what I do. To still be pursuing my passion for more than 20 years is success to me.

Assortment of tacosQ: Can you give us the scoop on Red Pepper Taqueria’s exciting new menu items?

MA: We added a prime beef burger named after Buck Lanford of FOX 5 Atlanta, a spicy beef menudo soup, chicken wings, a twist on a fried chicken sandwich, a hibiscus margarita called Espolón Rosa, and new tequilas. We want to always keep the menu fun, seasonal, and full of spice.

Q: You often host charitable events at your restaurants. What new philanthropic initiatives are you focused on?

Beef Menudo Soup

Beef Menudo Soup

MA: We are blessed. So, if I see someone in need, I will respond. My team and I are actively involved with the community and have donated time, resources and funds to many local nonprofits. All of the charities we support are special, but my heart is softest for children. Most recently we’ve supported Sporty Girls, Inc. [dedicated to encouraging minority girls to participate in athletics]; Reese’s MaGIC Fund [committed to pediatric cancer research and to prevent and cure germ cell tumors]; Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. [a volunteer group with a commitment to women’s health and Jewish values]; and more.

Q: When you’re off the clock, where do you like to go in Intown?

MA: I like to dine at locally-owned restaurants, especially Kevin Rathbun’s [KROG BAR, KR SteakBar]. I also like to stroll Whole Foods and Your DeKalb Farmers Market to check out new, fresh ingredients to whip up something at home. eatredpepper.com/decatur

Posted in Best Bites | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

By Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates

element5-digital-XQ5QWR8eZ5I-unsplash Thanksgiving dinner complete with turkeyFrom gravy boats and turkey dinners to decadent desserts and Champagne toasts, our tummies endure a lot during the holiday season. Don’t let digestive symptoms get in the way of your festive gatherings.

Here are five helpful tips to keep your tummy happy.

1. Focus on your favorites.

Overeating triggers symptoms of heartburn and bloating. Instead of filling your plate then going back for more, indulge a little in the foods you like most and pass on the other items.

2. Find balance.

When you’re not at parties and potlucks, be mindful of your other meals. Choose high-fiber breakfast and lunch options filled with vegetables and whole grains. This will keep your digestive tract moving regularly and avoid constipation.

3. Chew and eat slowly.

Enjoy your food! By thoroughly chewing your food, you’ll prevent food from getting “stuck” on its journey to your stomach. Food impaction is both uncomfortable and alarming, making it a common reason for emergency room visits this time of year.

In addition, eating slowly is extremely beneficial in both suppressing appetite and preventing overeating.

4. Limit alcohol.

Alcohol can irritate the digestive system in many different ways and is also a major trigger for heartburn. Moderation is key.

5. Move around.

After eating, stretch your legs. Adding in a light walk will keep your digestive tract moving and prevent symptoms of bloating, gas, and acid reflux.

Atlanta Gastroenterology | 1.866. 468.6242 |www.atlantagastro.com

Posted in Partners in Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Man outside in winterBy Scott D. Miller, MD

As winter approaches, shorter days can shortchange your health. Cold weather can hamper our activity and less sunlight can bring us down. However, minor adjustments to our routines and attitudes will yield dividends to our health.

When we spend more time indoors, we tend to move less and eat more. An easy way to reverse this trend is to take a brisk walk prior to any between-meal snack. Better yet, remove unhealthy munchies from reach. Those summer activities such as swimming and yardwork must be replaced with scheduled exercise.

We often only think about drinking extra water when we sweat or when we are thirsty. In reality, heating the indoors dries the air we breathe and hastens dehydration. In addition, when the lining of our airway becomes dry, we weaken the barrier against viruses that cause the common cold and the flu. Start your day with a big glass of water to make up for the dehydration that happens when we sleep.

More time inside means more time close to others. When it comes to preventing the spread of winter ailments, the answer is clear—frequent handwashing and annual flu shots. Last year, more than 80,000 people died from the flu. Don’t fall for excuses such as, “it causes the flu” or “it’s only 30% effective this year.” Of course, washing your hands between every activity makes sense. Interestingly, most of these respiratory viruses can spread by direct contact with infected surfaces, in addition to breathing in the small droplets. Bonus tip: always wash your hands before touching your face.

When the sun goes down, so can our mood. Men, in particular, tend to mask the symptoms of depression. Here are some suggestions for sidestepping gloominess:

• Make a point of taking short breaks to go outside several times each day

• Plan extra social activities with family, friends, and other loved ones

• Take a vacation

• Incorporate daily stress reduction techniques such as time management, meditation,
and exercise

• Bolster your sleep routine with light exposure shortly after awakening

As the year comes to an end, you may have forgotten about your annual well- visit with your primary care physician. It’s OK to schedule that appointment in advance for January (after the year-end rush).

In the meantime, here are a few more easy winter health tips:

• Use sunscreen (exposure is often underestimated in the winter)

• Check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (you should have both)

• Ensure proper ventilation with replaces, vehicles, and other sources of combustion

• Enjoy libations only in moderation and only travel with someone sober behind the wheel

Screen Shot 2019-10-11 at 4.29.56 PMFor those who do not like cold weather, “winter” is a word that can become a sentence. Hopefully these tips will help you break free. Look for my article on “Men’s Health Habits: Make Them, Don’t Break Them” in the next issue.

Scott D. Miller, MD, is the Medical Director of Robotic Surgery at WellStar North Fulton Hospital. He is a urologist with WellStar Urology in Roswell and has practiced in Atlanta for over 20 years. WellStar North Fulton Hospital offers the Know Your Heart Screening that can determine your risk of heart disease, stroke and other serious conditions. Call 770-956-STAR (7827) to learn more or schedule an appointment.

Scott D. Miller, MD WellStar North Fulton Hospital • (470) 956-4230 • www.scottdmillermd.com

Posted in Partners in Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Submitted by Trip Baisden

Elizabeth Pietrusza and family.

Elizabeth Pietrusza and family.

Elizabeth Pietrusza

What made you choose Windy Hill Athletic Club as your fitness club?

Windy Hill has always felt like a safe place. There are smiling faces everywhere you look. The equipment is clean and the spaces are well lit. The staff at KidTown are kind and well qualified. The trainers are knowledgeable. The general manager Trip Baisden’s door is always open. It was important for me and my family to choose a place that made us feel valued. It was also important for us to feel welcome, at all stages of our fitness journey. The club continues to exceed our expectations.

What do you like to do when you’re at Windy Hill Athletic Club?

I like to think that I spend just as much time using the amenities at the club as I do participating in the classes. We love the pool when it is warm outside. We are regulars at the café. My husband and I both enjoy massages at the spa. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

What example do you want to give to your children and other moms about fitness?

I hope to show my family and friends that a healthy lifestyle is about maintaining a balance. I am grateful the club offers more than exercise so I can practice what I preach.

Our promise to members is to inspire you through movement, community, and personal attention. Do you believe that we do that?

Without a doubt! It is not ironic that the most active and enthusiastic I have ever been in my life began once I joined the club. It feels like home. It is home.


Audrey Schemer holding a tennis racket.

Audrey Schemer

Audrey Schemer

When did you become a member?

I joined in 1989.

What is your favorite way to stay active?

My favorite ways to stay active are varied but I enjoy swimming, spinning, and tennis the most.

You are a busy lady. Do you give yourself a moment just for you here at Windy Hill. If so, how?

I enjoy the days I don’t have to be on a tight schedule, where I can work out and have conversations with fellow members during my time spent at the club. I also enjoy watching my teammates play in tennis matches.

Being active is a big part of who you are. How do you set an example for your family and friends to live this kind of lifestyle?

I joined Windy Hill for the nursery and during this time, my family has seen that working out is a priority and is primary to my well-being.

If you were helping a person start their fitness journey, what advice would you give to them?

I would suggest they always keep in mind the goal of progress, not the finish line. Fitness is always evolving and a work in progress. I hope to keep on keeping on till I cannot anymore.

Windy Hill Athletic Club • www.windyhillclub.com • 770-953-1100

Posted in Partners in Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment