February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month, and it is a very fitting time for me to start writing my own blogs.  For those of you who have been my patient over the years (WoW!!  It has been 18 years since I opened my practice up cold in Weaverville)- you know how important it is here for us as a team at Optix Eye Care, that we educate you about prevention for this devastating disease.

I had the privilege of serving at Mission’s Low Vision Center for 7 years, and that experience drove home for me a passion for prevention.  I saw patient after patient with vision loss and the impact that had on the quality of their life- not to mention how greatly it impacted their family and caregivers.

I believe it is my purpose on this earth to hopefully make a difference in our community to get the word out about the macula and how to keep it healthy for a lifetime. 

My profession is sacred!!  I get to look into people’s eyes and witness a miracle.  I absolutely never get tired of it.  However, every time I look into a person’s eyes and view their maculae, I hold my breath.  I am just waiting to see changes that may already diagnose them with ARMD, or I see precursor signs of the disease.  ARMD is NOT a normal aging process.  It used to be a disease that only affected the elderly.  Unfortunately, I am seeing this disease in younger and younger people.  My youngest is 19 years old!!!  I see it every day and multiple times each dayL

Did you know there is actually a way to tell if you are at risk for developing this disease long before your eye care physician can see precursor signs?  That is my goal… and that is the true heart of preventive medicine… stay tuned for more details on this later….

ARMD is more prevalent than Parkinson’s disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s COMBINED!!  What?!#%!  It is becoming an EPIDEMIC.  How do we respond to an epidemic?  Education and prevention.  That is my gift to you!!!  I am here to serve you and help you know what you can do to protect your precious sightJ

Each week this month I will reveal to you important ways you can make the most impact in protecting your maculae.  I especially want for you to know what a great experiment we are living in right now with the overwhelming addition of blue light that we are exposed to each and every day…. and our kids are at the most risk.  It absolutely frightens me for the future of our kid’s eye health.

Before I go… I truly want to thank my team at Optix Eye Care!!!  I am so grateful for each soul that is in my midst every day.  I also want to thank my patients for their trust in us for taking care of their eyes.  It is the biggest complement when our patients send their family and friends to us.  Thank you!  Thank you! Thank you!

It is my desire to get out in our community and share my expertise in prevention for macular degeneration.  I would love to come to your place of business, school, meeting…. whatever….  If you are interested in learning more, please contact Kristen:  [email protected]

In Good Health!

Dr. Kim Walters

We have generated 8.88 MWh of power since connection to the power grid at the end of June, 2015 with the solar array on Mangum Pottery’s rooftop.

We are excited to have installed a 10 killowatt solar system, 36 pannels, generating approximately 60% of the power we consume. We wont know for sure until the end of one year of power production.

To view monitoring of our solar system, go to:


Weaverville is the perfect place to explore while visiting the area to enjoy our wonderful Autumn season.  Just minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway, Weaverville offers unique restaurants, shopping, and places to stay.  Stop by and enjoy!

Craggy Gardens on the Parkway is a local favorite.  Here is some info on the area:  Hiking Craggy

This Friday and Saturday, September 11 and 12, Miya Gallery is having a trunk show featuring the jewelry/art of ELIZABETH HAKE.  

10:00 to 5:00 both days.  20 N. Main St.



The Benefits of Balancing your Blood Sugar:

Maureen McDonnell, RN  

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the buzz regarding the importance of balancing your blood sugar level.  Keeping it stable not only prevents excessive weight gain and obesity, but it’s also critical for preventing Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, Cancer and according to these popular health authors; David Perlmutter, MD and Mark Hyman MD: stabilizing blood sugar levels will also help prevent Dementia.

Without overwhelming you with statistics, let me just set the stage with a few of the more startling ones:

  • 36% of adults and one in three children in the US are overweight or obese.
  • Childhood obesity and Type 2 Diabetes have both tripled in the last 30 years.
  • Type 2 Diabetes affects 28 million people in the US (including 12 million kids)
  • 1/3 of Diabetics have heart disease.

If there is a silver lining in this depressing list of health statistics it has to do with the fact that these diseases are, more often than not, related to imbalanced blood sugar levels (which stem from diet and lifestyle).  The good news: they are preventable and in some cases reversible.  So, if you (or someone you care about) is affected by any of these ailments and you haven’t already taken a closer look at this blood sugar issue, it may be time to do so.

Basically, it comes down to the fact that whenever you raise your body’s blood sugar or glucose level by consuming quickly absorbed sugar-laden or processed foods such as juices, cookies, candy, cereals, soda, white flour products (pasta, bagels and bread), or even certain high glycemic fruits (including bananas or melons) or starchy vegetables, your body will respond by raising your insulin levels.  When consuming these types of food is only a very occasional indulgence, the body will usually be able to handle the stress.   However, when this “sugar-insulin roller coaster ride” becomes the norm, it leads to your cells becoming resistant to insulin.  The syndrome that ensues has many names including: insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, syndrome X and pre-diabetes.   As the problem worsens you gain fat (insulin tells the body to store fat, usually in the belly) inflammation develops, and the aging process accelerates.  According to Mark Hyman, MD, author of The Blood Sugar Solution “insulin resistance is the single most important phenomenon that leads to rapid and premature aging and all its resultant diseases including heart disease, stroke, dementia and cancer.”    It’s amazing to me how one physiological function, when gone awry, has so many negative repercussions?

An early sign that you may be moving in this direction (and so you’ll want to consider making some changes) includes periods of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.  This early warning sign usually occurs after you eat too much sugar or refined carbs or skip a meal.  In these cases, you many find you feel anxious, irritable, fatigued, depressed or even experience panic attacks.  If the pattern of consuming empty calorie, sugar laden foods continue, your cells will become resistant to insulin and your blood sugar level will stay elevated because the pancreas can’t produce enough insulin to deal with the consistently high blood sugar levels. When this happens insulin resistance or pre diabetes will turn into a full-fledged diagnosis of Diabetes.

So Take Action Now

Tips for Balancing Blood Sugar Levels and therefore minimizing the risks for developing Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, Inflammation, Premature Aging, Heart Disease, Cancer and Dementia are:

1. Avoid empty calorie, sugar-laden or HFCS containing foods, sweetened drinks, diet drinks, refined carbs (pasta, rice, potatoes etc.) ….basically all processed foods

2. Avoid artificial sweeteners which disrupt the normal hormonal and neurological signals that control hunger and create that feeling of fullness (satiety). Studies have shown artificial sweeteners also slow down metabolism and trigger the consumption of more calories.

3. Understand the “addictive” qualities of sugar and processed foods.

4. Identify and eliminate allergy causing foods. The main culprits are gluten, dairy, sugar, corn and soy.

5. In addition to filling your plate 3/4 full with organic vegetables, consume modest amounts (usually the amount that would fit inside your cupped hand) of high quality protein rich foods every 4 hours. These include: organic chicken, eggs, turkey, grass fed beef, organic nuts, seeds, soaked beans and vegan, non GMO protein powder (used to make  green smoothies or “quick pick-me-up”protein balls.)   There’s some controversy regarding grains.  However  many nutritional experts when making recommendations for balancing blood sugar levels suggest using only small amounts on occasion of organic quinoa and or brown rice.

6. Don’t be afraid of healthy fats including: organic olive oil, nuts, organic virgin coconut oil and avocados. Good fats are not what make us fat, sugar and processed foods are doing the damage!

7. Provide your body with appropriate nutrients supplementation. My favorite 4 are:

8. A good comprehensive multi-vitamin (with adequate levels of chromium, magnesium, zinc & B vitamins). In today’s world even with a perfect diet when you look at depleted soils, genetic alterations, increased stress, and extra nutrient demands caused by toxins in the environment, it’s almost impossible to get all we need solely from our diet.

9. A mercury-free source of Omega 3 fatty acids (controls inflammation, metabolism and help regulate blood sugar levels)

10. Vitamin D (80% of Americans are deficient in this important nutrient)

11. A high quality probiotic: it’s impossible to overemphasize the value of a healthy gut and it’s impact on every aspect of health

12. Exercise: helps to stabilize your blood sugar level and makes your cells more responsive to insulin.

13. Manage stress: chronic stress increases the production of the hormone cortisol which causes increased blood sugar levels, elevated cholesterol, and promotes the accumulation of belly fat.

14. Reduce inflammation:  The causes of insulin resistance and the causes of inflammation are one and the same: sugar, refined flours, processed oils (corn & soy-sources of pro-inflammatory Omega 6s),  food allergies or sensitivities (gluten, dairy etc), chronic low grade infections, imbalanced gut flora (yeast overgrowth), toxins (see July’s article explaining how toxins are stored in fat cells and how important it is to “flush out the toxins” when losing weight and or improving one’s health),  stress and a sedentary lifestyle.

In attempting to prevent or reverse the relatively new, life-restricting diseases of our day, it turns out the food we put in our mouth is powerful medicine.  Although the endless commercials sponsored by the drug companies would have us believe that the solution lies in innovative pharmaceuticals designed to control the spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, the truth is you can’t outsmart Mother Nature!   The age-old adage “let food be thy medicine” is key and could not be more relevant a tool for reversing this trend.  By focusing on the causes of illness, shifting our diets and implementing a few of the lifestyle suggestions listed above we can break the vicious cycle of unhealthy habits that have permeated our culture and enjoy life  the way I believe it was meant to be-  unencumbered by modern day ailments.


Bio: Maureen is the Health Editor of WNC Woman Magazine and has been a holistic, nutritionally oriented Registered Nurse for more than 30 years.  She currently coaches individuals on methods to regain their health and vitality via the  30 days to Healthy Living Plan.  This program focuses on balancing blood sugar levels, reducing inflammation, weight loss and flushing out toxins.  Maureen is also the cofounder of Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet (sokhop.com) and an Executive Area Manager with Arbonne International.    For additional information and or support, contact her at [email protected]





Miya Gallery at 20 N. Main St. in downtown Weaverville is bringing in new work weekly from our super talented artists. One stop shop for unique meaningful gifts! Open 10 to 5 Monday through Saturday.

Join us on Saturday, July 4th, as the town of Weaverville celebrates Independence Day.  The festivities will be at Lake Louise and include music, dance, fun, and of course, fireworks!  Parking is limited, so shuttles will be available.  Hope to see you there!

It’s wedding season! If we can help, let us know.

Visit our wedding website www.brownsweddingdesign.com

At Willow Therapeutic Massage, treatments cater to individual needs and preferences and can include a variety of techniques such as deep tissue, trigger point, Swedish, hot stones, cupping, aromatherapy and trauma-sensitive care. Come to relax and relieve stress or focus on specific conditions, such as back pain, headaches, TMJD, whiplash, depression, or anxiety.  Infant Massage classes and pediatric massage sessions are available as well. For all clients, time is taken to build a trusting, safe relationship between client and therapist and to develop a deep understanding of the client’s needs and goals for treatment.