50+Living September 2022

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50+Living of Western NC

Rise and

Shine

Honey Bee Sweet

Quilting is

A Work of Heart

Local Music Makers 50pluslivingWNC.com

September 2022


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CONTENTS 50pluslivingWNC.com

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Quilts and Where to Find Them

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What Medical Tests are Used to Diagnose Dementia

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Local Music Makers

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Morning Habits to Set You Up for a Great Day

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The Honey Bee Swarm: Amazing Pollinator Population Growth

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Living with Purpose At Every Age

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Baked Eggplant Crispy Garlic Local Figs

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Ways to Have Better Conversations

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Ten Reasons to Consume Plenty of Yummy Avocados

50+ Living | September 2022


Arden 4 Long Shoals Rd. 828-333-4366 Woodfin 50 N. Merrimon Ave. 828-210-9544

Fletcher 3445 Hendersonville Rd. 828-376-3711 September 2022 | 50+ Living

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Thimbles For You

Handcrafted, heirloom quality sterling silver Chatelaine

and Chatelaines, too . . .

Visit us at the Asheville Quilt Show Sept 30th thru Oct 2, 2022

I am a Silversmith, I make and sell sterling silver thimbles and sewing tools. Each piece is unique, handmade with care in the cornfields of Iowa.

Jan Larson 641-751-9061 jan.swinton77@gmail.com

2148 S 32nd St., Fairfield, IA 52556 USA

ThimblesForYou.com 4

50+ Living | September 2022


Quilters who have interest and/ or training in art and design make landscapes and portraits using much more varied substances than traditional cotton and wool. They may incorporate silk, beads, wood, feathers, shells, plants, paint and even leather. All sizes have been commissioned to be hung in public buildings such as churches, lobbies of hotels, galleries, corporate offices, airports and malls. They have become collectible and hang in museums dedicated to fiber arts or museums that preserve our nation’s history and culture such as the Smithsonian. They are in the hands of private and corporate collectors who recognize their value.

Quilts and Where to Find Them

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n the US, Quilting has grown to a $4.2 billion industry with an estimated 9-11 million quilters. People who make them can’t make just one, so where do all those quilts go? We may first remember the quilts on the bed at a family member’s home. They can be passed down through the generations if they are carefully preserved. In the 1860’s, they were made into bedrolls to send their husbands and sons off to war. Sadly many of these quilts and their owners did not make it home, so more were made. Quilters are generous in giving them to friends and family members for special occasions: to a young couple on their way to setting up housekeeping, for the birth of a new baby, a granddaughter who wants a pink unicorn bedspread, a grandson going off to college. Quilters are generous to local charities such as hospitals, children in need, shelters, Veterans groups and to victims of natural disasters. A quilter can’t resist new fabric, or the desire to try a new design or technique. Scraps of fabric are left over that can go into another quilt and on it goes. Just within the home, quilts have traveled from the bed, to the back of chairs, made into matching pillows, topped the table or hung on the wall

Quilts are found in television and movie scenes to depict comfort and hominess. Several years ago there was a movie called “How to Make an American Quilt.” Quilting has exploded through the internet with sites such as YouTube and many online shops, and quilt instructors utilizing Zoom technology. Many writers have incorporated quilting into their story lines that relate to relationships, struggle, history or even murder. Even travel showcases quilts. Quilters may combine their love of travel with their love of quilting. Did you know there is a “Quilt Town” in Hamilton Missouri? This is thanks to an industrious family looking for a place to live and work who expanded their family business throughout the town. How about a Quilting Cruise? Land tours also highlight trips through traditional quilting communities. We can follow a self guided tour of Quilt Barn Blocks in the Midwest and many of our local WNC communities. Quilters also enter the world of competition at local, national and international shows for recognition and cash prizes. These shows are open to the public and can draw thousands of visitors. Want to see more Quilts? Watch for local Quilt shows put on by local Guilds coming to you!

September 2022 | 50+ Living

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50+Living of Western NC

PUBLISHER Tammy Sheppard tsheppard.avlmedia@gmail.com GRAPHIC ARTIST Joan Hutt WEB DESIGN Alphie Hyorth CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Peggy Ratusz Laurie Richardone ADVERTISING INQUIRIES Mike Demos 828.273.0098 mikedemos@aol.com Bridget Hepler 828.551.9893 brisdon00@gmail.com

AVL Media Inc. P.O. Box 18416 | Asheville, NC 28814

828.230.7537

h All advertising published in 50+Living of Western NC is believed to be truthful and accurate. However AVL Media, Inc. assumes no responsibility and shall have no liability whatsoever for errors, including without limitation, typographical errors or omissions in 50+Living of Western NC. Any reference made to AVL Media, Inc. is not to be construed as making any representation, warranty or guarantee concerning the information on properties advertised in 50+Living of Western NC. The content of all ads contained herein are solely the responsibility of the advertiser. The opinions and statements contained in advertising or elsewhere in this publication are those of the authors of such opinions and are not necessarily those of AVL Media, Inc. AVL Media, Inc. reserves the right to edit or refuse any advertising submitted to this publication

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50+ Living | September 2022


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50+ Living | September 2022


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September 2022 | 50+ Living

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T

What Medical Tests are Used to Diagnose Dementia?

he U.S. population is aging. By 2040, about one in five people in America will be age 65 or older. As we age, it will become increasingly important to understand the challenges of diagnosing and caring for people with age-related dementia. Dementia is not a disease but is considered a grouping of similar symptoms caused by other conditions and diseases that can impair individuals’ functioning. According to the National Institute on Aging, such dementia symptoms include memory loss and confusion, difficulty reading and writing, getting lost in familiar surroundings, repeating questions, taking longer to complete daily tasks, acting impulsively, changes in personality, and difficulties with balance and other movements.

conditions are causing the changes in functioning, and assess the person’s overall physical and mental health. A full examination often begins with the doctor or primary care provider taking a full medical history and a physical examination. At this point, a neurological examination may also be performed to test a person’s balance, strength and coordination, and reflexes. During a mental status examination, the subject will likely be asked questions about the day, date, time of day, and current events. Other questions might be used to assess their vocabulary and use of words, their ability to perform simple math calculations, and their ability to concentrate and remember lists of words or other information.

BUT HOW IS DEMENTIA DIAGNOSED?

Medical tests

Many underlying diseases and conditions can contribute to dementia. Some of the most frequent medical tests that are used to diagnose dementia are as follows:

Laboratory tests, such as blood work, can be very helpful in an initial screening for dementia. Such blood tests can be used to detect health issues such as anemia (in which red blood cell counts are lower), thyroid problems (which can be one of the more reversible causes of dementia), liver and kidney problems, and vitamin deficiencies.

A full examination A medical professional’s thorough examination of the person is the best place to start. This will be the subject’s starting point to list their symptoms, learn if any specific 10

50+ Living | September 2022

Blood tests might also be used to check for diseases such as HIV, syphilis, and Lyme.


In some cases, medical practitioners might use a lumbar puncture, also known as a spinal tap, to test the spinal fluid for infections in the central nervous system. Spinal fluid can also be tested for proteins that might indicate a person is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. This procedure is a bit more complicated than a blood draw and will include a shot of anesthetic into the patient’s back before a needle is injected to retrieve a spinal fluid sample. Other medical tests performed in order to understand a patient’s level of dementia might also include an EEG (an electroencephalogram) that shows the electrical activity in a patient’s brain, or an MRI or CT scan to help identify changes in the brain or to see evidence of any strokes that might have occurred, or to look for possible tumors.

Genetic testing Genetics tests, the results of which are typically discussed with genetic counselors, might also be an important way to understand a patient’s physiology and dementia risks. New discoveries are constantly being made about which genes affect patients’ risks and outcomes with such diseases as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Genetic

testing can often be performed after obtaining a blood sample or by swabbing tissue from inside a person’s cheek.

Psychosocial evaluations Individuals being tested for dementia and other agerelated diseases might also wish to undergo an evaluation that will help them understand their treatment and care options. A psychosocial evaluation, in which medical professionals and caregivers collaborate to understand a person’s current level of functioning and brainstorm ideas for a person’s future care, can be very useful. Such a test, which often consists of questionnaires or medical checklists and a personal consultation or discussion with a health professional, can also help caregivers understand the extent of care that is necessary so they can begin to plan for their loved one’s future needs. A number of tests and diagnostic tools can help patients and their loved ones better understand the nature of their dementia. Such tests can also be extremely helpful when deciding upon care and treatment plans for those individuals who need help in their daily functioning.

September 2022 | 50+ Living

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Local Music Makers Spotlight on singer-musician and songwriter

Jonathan Pearlman, aka “JP.”

photo by Elliot Schwartz

ow can I pay tribute to a person who has been a friend and my champion for 15 plus years? Here’s my attempt to do so, in hopes that by the time I get to the end, I’ll have given justice to my comrade, Jonathan Pearlman, aka “JP.”

H

Though the first time we met in 2007 is a little fuzzy, the first time we played together is a bit clearer. We’d met just a few weeks prior and he came to my house two hours beforehand to rehearse. I had a thin spiral notebook containing about 20 song charts in my keys that I knew well. A few were jazz standards because at that time, many friends were encouraging me to learn Great American Songbook tunes. By that time, JP was years deep in a self-study curriculum of jazz composers and instrumentalists.

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By Peggy Ratusz

photo by Frank Zippere

We tackled the 20 songs in the living room, working out intros, outros, solos and a few harmonies. Afterwards we loaded up the car and drove to downtown Hendersonville for our stint at The Cypress Cellar. Both nervous for fear of disappointing the other, it took us a full set to begin to cop each other’s vibe and style and relax into the newness; the birth (as it were) of our musical relationship. Our first set break found us toasting at the bar; me with a shot of Jack Daniels and Jonathan with whatever lager they had on tap. Safe to say that we’ve been toasting and singing and copping each other’s vibe and style ever since. JP started out in this town long before I arrived here in 2002. Under his pseudonym, Alien Music Club, he’s recorded hours of original music and produced countless amazing shows, selling out one after the other after the other. He’s handily and successfully carved out his place


within the continuously burgeoning local music scene. I have had the privilege to be part of a few of his productions: The Bridge- Paul Simon meets the Beatles with Eric Congdon and Paul McIntyre, The British Are Coming with his wife and my bestie, Aileen “Big Al” Pearlman, Bruce Lang and Micha Thomas, and our oldschool funk and soul project, Bad Girls & The Aliens of Soul with Taylor Pierson, James Kylen and my other “bestie” Paula Hanke. Leonard Cohen, The Deep Cuts, is his latest project. Assembling a well-appointed backing band to support his arrangements, it’s a 75 minute set of the songpoems Cohen was so beloved and admired for writing. Pearlman’s voice has never sounded this lush and captivating. His embodiment of the material feels like we’re watching artists paint in real time; only he’s using the instruments to capture textures and color, instead of brushes. He orchestrates the players, Ryan Kijanka, Franklin Keel, Micah Thomas & Scott Sharpe, by leaving room for them to take turns in the spotlight throughout. This selfless approach serves his purpose and methods fittingly. It is by far one of the most emotional concert performances I have ever been to. His musical influences span from The Beatles to Mahavishnu Orchestra with guitar heroes like George Harrison, Jeff Beck, John Scofield, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and Pat Martino. In the early 2000’s he began to study and transcribe jazz standards by Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Thelonious Monk, Chuck Mingus, John Coltrane and others. It’s interesting to note that his early heroes were Elvis Presley and Bobby Darin and his first experiences on stage were when he was just fifteen and in a Country music band who opened for singers like Charlie Pride, Bill Anderson and Ferlin Husky. Absorbing the voices and prowess of these geniuses translates into brilliant guitar styles he diligently hones, sharpens and refines. This discipline enables him to connect to his listeners in a unique and personal manner. Soft spoken and shy off stage he speaks to us from the heart on stage, and he does so effortlessly and fluently with any number of his favorite guitars. I am incredibly blessed and grateful that during the 10+ years he hosted the Barleys AMC jazz jam before Covid curtailed its continuation; through it all and even now, we perform side by side at many area venues.

It’s important to point out that while hosts of the various jams around town these days include devoted and passionate mentors and musicians, let there be no mistake about it; it was Jonathan Pearlman who was one of the first to initiate the platform that those fine young bohemian emcees and organizers mimic for their jams. His tireless efforts each and every week (for more than ten years) was intended to bring musicians and fans together in downtown Asheville. It was an inclusive place for novices to professional instrumentalists and vocalists to come and be heard, and it opened doors and provided opportunity for players and fans to schmooze, support one another, jam with each other; a place to meet future band mates and collaborators. The reputations he’s helped set-forth on the right footing, the young people and students he’s hired on their first gig, the influence he’s clearly had on and the role model he’s clearly been to his son, the work ethic he’s shown, inspires all of us to practice and get out there. These aren’t little things. They are not and should not be forgotten. He’s a working and seasoned musician that younger players continue to seek out and look up to. When JP works on anything, he commits hook line and sinker. An avid boatman, he captain’s rehearsals and live performances with a commanding but loose grip on the wheel, taking those of us lucky enough to share a stage with him to exotic, melodic destinations.

photo of JP at Bele Chere by the late Frank Zipperer

Peggy Ratusz is a vocal coach, song interpreter, and songwriter. For vocal coaching email her at peggymarie43@gmail.com

September 2022 | 50+ Living

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Morning Habits to Set You Up for a Great Day

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hat you do in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day, so it’s important to start off on the right foot if you want your day to be productive and fulfilling. Check out these morning habits to set you up for a great day, no matter what you’re doing or where you’re going. Wake up early

your schedule that are open and clear. Try setting your alarm an hour earlier than usual, then use that time to practice mindfulness or meditate--not only will these activities calm and center you, but they can help increase productivity as well. You’ll feel less stressed throughout the day if you manage stress better in other areas of your life, such as by writing down whatever is bothering you before bedtime so it doesn’t nag at you while awake.

Whether it’s 5 am or 7 am, getting up early gives your body and mind time to wake up before starting your day. The earlier you get out of bed, the more hours in

To help you get up earlier, start to make changes to your bedtime routine. Consider removing all electronics from your bedroom, including televisions, computers, phones,

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and tablets. They emit blue light that tricks our brains into thinking it’s daytime when we should be winding down for sleep. Instead, find something to do with yourself before hitting the hay (such as reading) that gets you focused on something else. Eat breakfast Skip breakfast, and you’re likely going to feel tired and hungry during your morning commute. This can lead to consuming more calories than usual; when your blood sugar drops and hunger kicks in, it’s easy to grab an unhealthy snack--and most of us tend to choose highcalorie, high-fat options like doughnuts or muffins. Choosing healthy items from a range of food groups-especially whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables--will keep you full until lunchtime. And if you pack your own lunch before heading out in the morning, that’s even better! Drink water Water is essential for your body’s overall health, as it flushes out toxins, transports nutrients, and aids in digestion. Not drinking enough water can cause headaches and make you feel tired--two things that will certainly detract from your productivity. By starting your day with two glasses of water (and staying hydrated throughout), you’ll give yourself all the benefits of proper hydration and wake yourself up at the same time. Water also helps balance your blood sugar levels, so drinking some first thing in the morning can help prevent those afternoon crashes that make it hard to get anything done. Have a morning workout Let’s start by noting that there is no best time to exercise, as long as it fits into your schedule. However, it is known that regular exercisers tend to be healthier and happier than their sedentary counterparts. If you’re not yet an avid exerciser or if you can only squeeze in time for workouts on your non-work days, starting with a morning session may give you something positive (and productive) during your weekdays. Get some fresh air

emails with a positive attitude. Plus, taking time every day to focus on something other than work will leave you feeling refreshed when evening rolls around. If you’re having trouble getting out of bed early enough in order to get some sun, try setting an alarm--try a Sunrise Alarm Clock that slowly increases brightness over time so that it doesn’t feel jarring when your eyes are closed (plus, it plays relaxing sounds as well). Meditate Starting your day with meditation is beneficial in many ways. First, it forces you to take time out of your hectic schedule and find focus. Next, it helps get rid of stress before it has a chance to build. This can be especially important if you struggle with anxiety or depression-meditation may also help combat those symptoms. And finally, meditation helps put things into perspective and remind us that we are not in control of everything that happens around us every moment of every day. On top of all that, meditating gets your soul energized for what’s ahead; they give your mind peace and strength for whatever comes next throughout your day. Set intentions and plan the day ahead The most productive people take time each morning to plan their days. This allows them to organize, prioritize and accomplish everything on their to-do lists without feeling stressed or overwhelmed. The best way to start is by asking yourself, “What is one thing I want to accomplish today?” and write it down. Next, figure out why it’s important. What will accomplishing that goal do for your life? What will not accomplishing it mean? Write down all of these things so they are crystal clear in your mind as you get ready in the morning. Then ask yourself, Which three other goals would make my ‘top priority’ goal even better? Prioritize these secondary goals and write them down as well, next on your list of what needs to be done for today. There are so many different ways to start your day, and what works for some may not work as well for others. Try some of these tips out, test them in your daily routine, and watch how your days improve.

Getting outside in the morning is a great way to reset your mindset after a long night and de-stress before work. The smell of fresh air and sunlight can help boost your mood and make it easier to power through your September 2022 | 50+ Living

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THE HONEY BEE SWARM:

Amazing Pollinator Population Growth

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f you’re a gardener, honey bees entering and exiting a nearby hollow tree are a welcome sight. If it weren’t for honey bees pollinating the world’s food crops, two-thirds of what we eat would not exist. But what should you do if you come across a swarm of thousands of bees clinging to a tree in your yard? Are they making a new hive there? Are they dangerous? Why are they swarming and how long will it last? Actually, these bees are just resting and awaiting the completion of an amazing process that will end with a democratic vote. Once that is done, they’ll move to a new home.

Why do bees swarm? It’s about living space and population growth. When a healthy hive occupies a limited area like a hollow tree limb, the hive will eventually outgrow the available space. The bee population and honeycomb they produce will make it necessary for a significant segment of the colony to find a new home. This is a necessary component of bee population growth which is critically important given their role as the primary pollinators of the world’s food supply. 16

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The swarm, or home search, will occur in springtime when an abundant food supply like blooming flowers becomes available. Quite a bit of prep work is, however, necessary before the move to a new home can be made.

The queen’s duties and preparation The hive’s current queen will accompany the swarm and be the queen of the new hive. This means that, before the swarm can occur, the queen must produce a successor that will take her place at the existing hive. She begins laying eggs known as queen or swarm cells from which a new queen will emerge. Once a new successor queen hatches, the other queen cells are destroyed to ensure that there is but one new queen left for the existing colony. Having been relatively sedentary while living in her current home, the elder queen is a bit out of shape. After she has done her duty of laying the special queen eggs, she is put on a diet to get back into flying condition. She needs to be prepared to make a trip of what could be several miles once the swarm occurs and a new home site is selected.


The swarm begins

What if no new home is found?

All of the preparations have been made for the honey bee colony to split and for thousands of bees, accompanied by their queen, to begin the search for a new place to live. The elder queen has been on her flying diet for about a week and is ready to make the trip. It’s time for the swarm to begin.

Sometimes it takes longer than expected to find a new home for the swarm. Honey bees prefer to build their homes inside of enclosed areas like hollow trees or the inside of a building’s walls. If, however, the search doesn’t produce a new home site within a reasonable amount of time, the swarming bees may begin to build an open-air hive.

Thousands of honey bees consisting of about three quarters of the existing hive’s worker bee population, a few dozen male drones, and the queen leave their old home. The queen will select a temporary hangout, usually within a few yards of the old hive, where she and the majority of the swarm will await news from scouts sent out to find the perfect place for their new home. The queen and her swarm will usually select a tree limb or some similar place to congregate and wait. It’s an incredible site - thousands of bees clinging to one another in a single mass with their queen hidden somewhere inside.

The incredible democratic site selection process This is, without doubt, the most amazing part of the swarm’s story. Scout bees are sent out to find a new home. This can take a few hours or a few days. Scouts check new sites and report back to other members of the colony that are part of a site selection committee. Those members will then check and evaluate the sites found by the scouts. The honey bees actually have what amounts to a voting system. All scouts and other members of the selection committee must agree unanimously on the new home site before the swarm will move there and start their new hive.

How long does a swarm last? The entire process of leaving their old hive and moving into a new home may take only a few hours or could take a day or more. If you’re keeping watch on a resting swarm, you’ll definitely know when the selection committee has agreed on a new hive site. There will be a mass departure of a cloud of honey bees. They don’t leave gradually. They know when it’s time to go. You may see a few that have been left behind and will hang around the resting site for some time, but they, too, will eventually be gone.

If you observe a swarm of bees beginning construction of an open-air hive that is too near your home or located where people congregate, consider contacting a bee removal service. These services will relocate the bees to box hives where they, and the human population, will be safer.

Swarming bees are not aggressive It is important to note that resting swarms of honey bees typically will not attack even if approached. They have no homes, eggs, or honey to protect when they are waiting to fly to their new hive location. Even so, approaching them is not recommended. If you find yourself in close proximity to a resting swarm, just move away slowly and refrain from making any quick motions that could provoke them and you should be fine. Simply leave them alone, give them their space, and wait the short time it typically takes before they fly away. For a number of reasons including your personal safety, never try to spray a swarm with an insecticide or cause them to leave by somehow disturbing their resting spot.

Final thoughts... Honey bees are both critical to our food supply production and fascinating to observe. The system they use to grow their population and democratically select new hive locations is amazing. Honey bees need human support to continue providing the indispensable services required to maintain our food supply. The good news is that the support consists primarily of merely leaving them alone and using only bee-friendly pesticides. Powdery pesticides cling to bees while they’re out doing their jobs as pollinators. They then inadvertently deliver these toxins to their hives where they can devastate the colony. If you need to apply pesticides, you’ll be doing bees and other pollinators a service by using liquid or granular varieties or switching to organic methods of pest control. September 2022 | 50+ Living

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Living with Purpose At Every Age

by Laurie Richardone

Why is it important to have a purpose as we age? There is an undeniable link to having a purpose and aging gracefully. Having a sense of purpose has been shown in research to be a critical component to our well-being. It impacts our health and helps us live longer and happier lives. One of the many benefits of finding a new path later in life is we are more relaxed about living and we can go with the flow more easily. In addition to not getting dragged down by challenging circumstances. It offers better coping skills and can give us a well-developed social support system to turn to when life’s difficulties arise. Which they do. It’s a time when you have embraced who you are the most. Ideally, we have stopped struggling with approval, comparing ourselves to others, and embrace the possibility of living the life which we came to this earth to live: that I believe we are destined to live. We all have talents, skills, and gifts that would benefit the world, at the same time give us purpose, and joy. For those that are thinking, I already had a career, I get it: However, having an understanding that life after fifty, sixty, and well into our seventies, can be invigorating, and actually be the beginning of an exciting new path. For those that are familiar with Louise Hay, she started her publishing company Hay House at age 60. It is a successful company that offers inspirational and transformational books and products. It carries with it her legacy in transforming the lives of others. Myself included. We can reinvent ourselves and start new ventures and pursue new opportunities at any age. Having surpassed the bence mark of fifty myself, and after a thirty year career in the beauty industry, I did reinvent myself. In many ways it unfolded organically, without much effort. It is exhilarating to have found a new road to continue to be of service, offer my skills & talents, and at the same time have fun doing it. Food For Thought? • Think about what has you feel inspired ? • Write down your interests, your passions and give one or two a try. 18

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• Ask yourself the question, what do I value most in life? • Perhaps start donating your talents to something that has value to you, and that you want to support. It could be the start of something beautiful. When I did this exercise and looked at my core values in life , it was clear that I was on the right path. There was clarity in my purpose. “Empowering people to achieve optimal health and vitality, through food and mindfulness” This is what excites me, speaks to my heart, and brings in joy. Most of us spend our twenties and thirties, sometimes even into our forties, where we are trying to figure out who we are and what we want. We often search for that through our relationships with other people, and how they view us. Also, how we want to be viewed by them. We compare ourselves to others as a way to determine how well we are doing at life. The good news is a shift can occur as we mature, and we start feeling a tug to find meaning and the desire to live a life of purpose becomes stronger. It can be something wonderful, even magical, to look forward to. What is that for you? To your good health If you are a curious cook or person, join me on my Podcast ~ A taste for All Seasons ~ Listen to the latest episode, Reacting Vs Responding. Get tips in the kitchen. New Seasonal Recipes ~ https://www.laurierichardone.com/recipes All shows on LaurieRichardone.com ~ or wherever you listen to your podcasts. We talk to farmers, wellness experts,and artisans where you can learn how to cook & live within the wisdom of the seasons. Laurie Richardone is a seasonal gluten free chef and certified health coach. To work with Laurie, visit LaurieRichardone.com


Baked Eggplant Crispy Garlic Local Figs When eggplant is in season it can surprise you with its velvety texture and distinctive flavor. Spend a few minutes salting it , then a good rinse, before baking and you will have a delicious dish. The vitamin & mineral content of eggplants is quite extensive. They’re a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, thiamine, niacin, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and fiber. SEASON/ LATE SUMMER Prep time: 1/2 hour, inactive Bake time: 20-30 min

Preheat the oven to 400.

SERVES 4 ~ APPETIZER 1 large purple eggplant, sliced 1/4 -1/2 “ thick 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin 8 mission figs , or other, quartered 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 lemon juiced & zest, organic 2 tbsp. pine nuts, toasted pinch of fresh ground black pepper

Lay eggplant on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Lay sliced garlic on top of eggplant. Bake for about 30 minutes. Turn over half way through cooking. If you need a bit more olive oil, use your judgment. Plate eggplant and drizzle with fresh lemon juice, and zest. Lay figs around and on top, along with pine nuts and chopped parsley. May be drizzled with a bit more olive oil.

This is an important step in creating mouth watering eggplant. Lay eggplant out in a single layer on a baking dish. Generously salt. Let sit for 30 minutes, or more if you have the time. This removes the bitterness. Rinse under cold water, and pat dry on paper towels.

Laurie Richardone is a seasonal gluten free chef and certified health coach. To work with Laurie, visit LaurieRichardone.com September 2022 | 50+ Living

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Ways to Have Better Conversations

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ave you ever had a conversation with someone and felt like it wasn’t going well? You say one thing, and they respond in a way that doesn’t fit the situation. Have you ever been in a conversation where you wish you had said one thing instead of what you actually said? This can be frustrating because conversations don’t always go as smoothly as you’d like them to. But the good news is, there are ways to improve your conversations. Let’s look at some ways to have a more productive conversation.

Don’t multitask One of the biggest ways to have a better conversation is to focus on it. When you talk to someone, make them the focus. Resist the urge to check your phone or look around the room while they’re speaking; instead, put all your concentration into listening. It’s easier said than done! But if you try not to distract yourself during a conversation, it will help the flow and purpose of the conversation in several ways. First and foremost, it will make the other person feel you value them, which means they’ll be more likely to want 20

50+ Living | September 2022

more conversations with you in the future. Secondly, multitasking doesn’t work. Studies show that when people do two things simultaneously (like checking email while someone’s talking), the brain has difficulty processing both streams of information, and thus ends up paying less attention.

Don’t pontificate It might seem like a good idea to show off your knowledge of the topic, but if you’re doing so at the expense of the other person, it won’t go over well. If they don’t know what you’re talking about, they might feel stupid. So don’t lecture them. Instead, ask questions that encourage them to participate in the conversation and help them learn more. Don’t use a conversation as a chance to be a know-it-all.

Use open-ended questions To avoid a conversation that feels like an interrogation or interview, use open-ended questions instead of closed ones, where they can answer with a simple yes or no. The former encourages others to share their opinions,


while the latter only requires them to give information. For example: “How do you feel about yesterday’s news?” rather than “Did you read the paper yesterday?” Remember that asking open-ended questions doesn’t mean you needn’t listen carefully or pay attention. It just means you can learn more about your conversational partner by asking these kinds of queries, than if all your inquiries can be answered with yes or no.

Go with the flow The next time you’re in a conversation, go with the flow and accept what happens as it happens. It means letting go of control and going along with whatever comes up. Don’t try to talk about topics that aren’t interesting to your partner. Instead of trying to steer the conversation, go with what he or she wants to talk about -- and then ask more questions about it.

If you don’t know, say you don’t know If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so. It’s okay to tell someone you don’t know something, rather than making up an answer or getting defensive and angry. It doesn’t make you look stupid. They’ll appreciate your honesty. If someone asks how many apples are left in the bowl on the table, just say, “I haven’t counted them yet.” This can save both parties frustration and disappointment later, when it turns out there were only 10 apples left after all. Don’t get frustrated when people ask questions for which there are no easy answers--people are curious! Instead of trying to come up with answers on the spot (which is impossible), try answering their questions with another question: “What are your thoughts?” Or even better: “Let’s look it up!”

Don’t equate your experience with theirs You are not the only person who has experienced a similar situation. When someone shares their stories with you, don’t try to relate by saying, “I know how you feel” or “That happened to me too.” You may think these statements will let them know that they aren’t alone in what they’re experiencing. But it minimizes their experiences and makes them feel as if their feelings aren’t valid because yours are similar. Instead of trying to relate, ask questions and listen carefully when they answer your questions. Ask open-

ended questions so they can elaborate on their answers (e.g., “How did it make you feel?” instead of “Were you scared?”).

Stay out of the weeds It’s easy to get bogged down in the weeds when you’re talking about something complicated or technical. The best conversations are those where you can stay on topic, speak clearly, and not get too bogged down in details. To this end: avoid industry jargon, acronyms, slang (unless it’s your own), and technical terms unless they’re necessary for understanding what you’re saying. Be as clear as possible -- and especially if there are people listening who may not understand the terminology or know much about an area.

Listen Listening is a skill you can develop and improve upon. It’s not just a matter of hearing what someone says -- you should listen so you understand, not just so you can respond. When you’re in a conversation with someone, many things are going on in your brain besides listening. Most people have learned to tune out background noise (like traffic or an air conditioner), but it takes effort to stay focused on the person speaking, rather than thinking about yourself or planning what to say next. When you listen, your brain processes two different kinds of information: the words the other person says and their tone of voice (tone includes facial expression and body language). The brain uses both types of information to make sense of what they’re saying. But if one type is missing or unclear, it can lead you astray. For example, if someone says, “I love dogs,” but doesn’t show emotion in their voice when they talk about them... well... maybe they don’t love dogs after all.

The Bottom Line When you start working on your conversational skills, it may take some time to get the hang of it. Don’t worry! You’re not alone in feeling awkward or stilted in conversation at first. It’s important to remember that everyone has to start somewhere, and you’ll get better as you practice more and more. Soon, you’ll be enjoying conversations more and getting more out of them. September 2022 | 50+ Living

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Blood Pressure

Avocados contain lots of potassium but very little sodium. They are rich in oleic acid, too. Eating lots of avocados can, therefore, lower your blood pressure. If you suffer from hypertension, make sure you eat at least half an avocado each day. Eating a whole avocado each day will not harm your health if you remember that each one contains around 322 calories. An Excellent Source of Vitamins and Minerals

Avocados contain vitamin C, vitamin E, assorted B vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, folate, and magnesium. You could argue that avocados are multivitamins in fruit form. Eating a portion of avocado each day will improve your diet significantly. Rich In Fiber

Avocados have a lot of fiber in them. Eating adequate amounts of fiber aids digestion and keeps Ten Reasons to Consume Plenty of your bowels regular. Having regular bowels significantly reduces your YUMMY AVOCADOS risk of developing colorectal cancer. It will also stop you from getting constipation and keep o you like the taste of avocados? Although they your digestive tract healthy. are not sweet, avocados are a type of berry. If you happen to like the taste of avocados, you should Weight Management make sure you eat them regularly because they are a very healthful type of food. Here are reasons why you should Because avocados are full of monounsaturated fats, consume avocados often: consuming them will make you feel sated and full for quite a while. When you feel fuller for longer, you Heart Health consume less food. When you do not ingest as many calories, it is much easier to maintain a healthy weight Avocados contain lots of monounsaturated fats. Ingesting and avoid becoming obese and suffering from obesitymonounsaturated fats will increase your levels of related diseases. healthy HDL cholesterol. It will also lower your levels of unhealthy LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol collects Eye Health around the walls of your blood vessels after a while. The collection of cholesterol around blood vessel walls can Because avocados are rich in monounsaturated increase your risk for heart attack or stroke. fats, eating them aids in the digestion of fat-soluble

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antioxidants. Beta-carotene is essential to good eye health. Beta-carotene is a fat-soluble antioxidant. Additionally, avocados have the phytochemicals zeaxanthin and lutein in them. Eye tissue also contains zeaxanthin and lutein, so eating avocados helps your eyes get the phytochemicals they need for optimal health. Cancer Prevention

Although the exact processes are unknown, the folate in avocados may help prevent cancer of the cervix, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and stomach cancer. Furthermore, phytochemicals called carotenoids in avocados could help to stop existing cancers from progressing further. More research is needed to understand the correlation between avocados and cancer. Better Bone Health

Avocados have loads of vitamin K in them. You will get around 36% of the recommended daily vitamin K from eating just one avocado. Vitamin K helps your body to absorb calcium. Because they contain lots of vitamin K, eating plenty of avocados will help prevent osteoporosis.

Fighting Depression

The amino acid homocysteine can impair cognitive function and cause depression if large amounts of it build up in your bloodstream. Avocados contain folate. Folate prevents the buildup of homocysteine in the bloodstream. If you want to avoid or fight feelings of depression, make sure your diet contains avocados. Fewer Bacterial Infections

Avocados have antimicrobial properties. Including avocados in your diet will help to protect you from certain nasty bacterial infections. These include staphylococcus aureus and streptococcus agalactiae. Getting Healthy the Delicious Way

Avocados are delicious. You can include them in many recipes. For instance, avocados are great in a salad, with nachos, or as an accompaniment to eggs on toast. If you like avocados, incorporate them into your diet and enjoy the associated health benefits. If you need inspiration, check the internet for avocado recipes and start eating your way to better health today.

September 2022 | 50+ Living

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