UNCA students host third annual health fair

by Joanna Woodson – Staff Writer – jwoodson@unca.edu

At least three different massage and chiropractic offices offered their talents voluntarily to students during the third annual health fair last Thursday, along with more than 60 other local vendors who promoted their services.

Allen Caldwell and Linda Franklin serve samples of Amish honey from the Farmers Market at the UNCA health fair on Feb. 28. Photos by Ricky Emmons.
Allen Caldwell and Linda Franklin serve samples of Amish honey from the Farmers Market at the UNCA Health Fair on Feb. 28. Photos by Ricky Emmons.

“I would like to educate the students and faculty of UNC Asheville about natural chiropractic care,” said Nicole D’Ippolito, owner of D’Ippolito Family Chiropractic. “The cost of an MRI, for example, is going to cost you close to $2,000. You could get a lot of chiropractic care and massages for that cost.”

D’Ippolito spent her time at the fair promoting natural healthcare as a profession. She said right now is the time to be in the industry.

“As a student looking for a career in natural healthcare, this is the time to do it because people are waking up every day and looking for alternatives. It’s never easier to practice than it is now, anywhere,” she said.

Hannah Lane, a chiropractor at D’Ippolito Family Chiropractic, said many people who experience pain in their everyday lives could benefit from getting an adjustment.

“We work with the spine, we work with ligaments, we work with muscles,” Lane said. “We just try to help along with corrections so that everything is working great, and no one should live in a painful environment. That’s not normal.”

Among the dozens of vendors was the WNC Farmers Market booth promoting the year-round fresh fruits and vegetables they offer.

“A plus for our farmers market is we have probably over 1,000 farmers that come on our market in a year’s time. They are coming in with all their produce and a person can go seven days a week every single day, and you can go down and buy directly from the local farmers. The availability is fantastic,” said Linda Franklin, the WNC Farmers Market news reporter.

Heather Shaw, massage and body work therapist from Massage Envy Spa, gives free 10 minute massages.
Heather Shaw, massage and body work therapist from Massage Envy Spa, gives free 10 minute massages.

The directors of the booth offered Amish-made peanut butter and apple slices, along with several pamphlets on healthy eating in W.N.C.

“If it’s local, it’s definitely fresher. It’s coming in straight from the fields, straight to the market and then straight to the consumer,” Franklin said. “I think it’s the selection and the variety that we have that is so overwhelming for most people. You’ve got those few things — availability, the variety, and the price and the freshness.”

A few booths down from the farmers market table stood Michael Gentry’s booth. Gentry, a locally-known chef, travels around the area teaching what he calls “sustainable gourmet.”

“I want to build a bridge between food and health and people. It’s something I have devoted my life to at this point,” Gentry said.

Every Friday, Gentry teaches a class at Warren Wilson College called “Everyone Cooks,” which is designed to teach students how to not only eat well on a budget, but also create simple and easy-to-remember recipes, Gentry said.

“I have been doing these types of classes in the Western N.C. area now for over 10 years,” Gentry said. “I want people to learn how to cook for themselves as well as they might eat at a restaurant, and I know it’s totally possible with just a little bit of assistance from myself and great recipes.”

Victoria Breda, director of programs at Health Sciences the Active Choice Be Actice, offered fun games and activities to participate in at the UNCA Health Fair.
Victoria Breda, director of programs at Health Sciences the Active Choice Be Actice, offered fun games and activities to participate in at the UNCA Health Fair.

Gentry is a self-proclaimed “recipe whisperer.” He said he can read a recipe and know whether it is going to help build the health of the community or not.

When he forms a new dinner menu, he said he likes to use as many colors as he can in order to get all the food groups accounted for in the meal.

“I like to say we provide a rainbow on a plate. That rainbow ensures that you’re going to get all the nutrients that you need for tomorrow,” he said. When you eat the rainbow today, you know you’re going to have health tomorrow.”

Sarah Hinceman, a health and wellness student, said she loves coming to events like the health fair because it offers a wide variety of opportunities for students.

“I am very enthusiastic about health and wellness in general, and coming to events like this and having access to all of these services and organizations is a great way to network and see what’s out there,” Hinceman said. “I learned that there are organizations out there that need volunteers from health and wellness students and I am really excited.”

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