50+Living and Sofia for Today's Woman JANUARY 2022

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2 | 50+ Living | January 2022

You Can Achieve Your Goals at ANY AGE


any people stop setting goals or trying to accomplish their dreams once they reach a certain age. They feel that they are too old. However, this is not true. You can achieve goals at any age. There is no age limit on setting and attaining goals. In fact, some of the greatest success stories have happened to people in their later years. Here are a few tips for goal setting at any age.


“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

If you are reaching an older age and have not accomplished your goals, ask yourself why. Is it because you have tried and failed, or because you never tried. You have to try to succeed. If you have not tried, ask yourself why. Did the obligations of life get in the way? Did you pass up opportunities because of fear? If you did try, examine how many times you tried. Did you try once and then give up? Determine what kept you from achieving your goals. Then determine whether those goals are still important to you. EXAMINE THE PRESENT

Do you have goals that you would still like to accomplish? If so, make a list of them. Ask yourself what is stopping you from obtaining those goals. If age is the only obstacle in your way, consider your age in relation to the goal. For instance, age-related health conditions may prevent you from climbing Mount Everest but you could still go back to college to get a degree. Be realistic and put your goals into perspective. DETERMINE WHAT YOU WANT

Make a list of what goals are significant to you. Perhaps you always wanted to start your own business. It could be a perfect time now that the kids are adults and you have time to devote to a new endeavor. Maybe you always wanted to travel. Now that you are retired you are able to see the world. The point is that it’s never too late to do what you want to do.

– C.S. Lewis


Don’t listen to negative thoughts or people that say you’re too old or it’s too late. Surround yourself with positive people who will encourage you and support your goals. Enjoy your life to the fullest, and that means working towards your goals. SUCCESS STORIES

There are many people who became successful in their later years. For instance, Harland Sanders was in his sixties when he started the famous Kentucky Fried Chicken chain. Ronald Reagan was 55 when he was first elected to public office. Laura Ingalls Wilder was 65 when she published her first book in the Little House series. Wally Blume founded the ice cream company, Denali Flavors at age 54. Nelson Mandela was 77 when he became president of South Africa. These are just a few people who became successful in their later years. Many more have accomplished their dreams. It’s never too late to accomplish your goals. Don’t let age stand in your way. Life may be full of obligations and responsibilities, however, it is also full of dreams and success for those who don’t give up.

January 2022 | 50+ Living | 3


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You Can Achieve Your Goals at Any Age


Get in a Good Mood in 5 Minutes or Less


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Why Age-Old Oatmeal Keeps You Healthy and Hip


Ways to Get Motivated to Declutter


Can Vitamin C Slow Muscle Loss Due to Aging?

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Get in a Good Mood in 5 Minutes or Less


f you wake up in a bad mood, why should you try to change that? How you start the morning sets the mood for the rest of the day. Who wants to begin a beautiful day in a grouchy mood? Plus, that bad mood will affect those around you. Getting out of a bad mood and into a cheery one isn’t as challenging as it sounds. Here are some ways to turn a sour mood into an upbeat one.

Listen to Inspiring Music Music is a universal language. It can inspire you, touch your soul, and lift your mood. The rhythm is soothing, and certain music can bring back memories of happy times. Choose your music wisely though. Dirges and funeral marches shouldn’t be on your happiness playlist. If the songs you’re listening to have lyrics, make sure they’re happy ones you feel like singing along to. Otherwise, stick to instrumental music. 8 | 50+ Living | January 2022

Dance Like Nobody’s Watching Clear off a space on your floor and dance like no one is watching! Sing along with your favorite song, and just let go. Research shows dancing releases chemicals that increase happiness, including oxytocin (also known as the love hormone), serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. Plus, dancing increases blood flow to your brain, so you feel more alert. Five minutes of dancing will go far toward putting you in a more cheerful mood, especially if you play upbeat music in the background.

Turn off the News It’s important to be aware of what’s going on, but a constant inflow of troubling news creates stress and anxiety. Plus, it makes you feel helpless when there’s so little you can do about what’s happening in a place

hundreds of miles away. The news will keep you focused on problems, not solutions. It will fill your mind with fear and make you less aware of the riches you do have in your life. The same with social media. Stay connected, but spend more time connecting with people in person.

Sip a Cup of Green Tea Green tea, despite its caffeine, can be a sip of calm. Green tea contains theanine, an amino acid that helps calm your mind. So beneficial are the effects of histamine on stress and anxiety that you can buy theanine supplements. But why not enjoy the ritual of sipping green tea instead? Green tea is also rich in antioxidants. Choose a highquality green tea to get the most theanine.

Do 5 Minutes of Exercise Exercise is also a mood booster. Even short periods of exercise increase blood flow to tissues and cause changes in brain chemistry that elevate mood. When you’re feeling sluggish, do 5 minutes of jumping jacks or take a brisk 5-minute walk and discover how much better you feel. Take long, leisurely stretches instead if you’re short on time.

Be Present Allowing yourself to be in the moment can make you feel less stressed and overwhelmed by life. Spend more time in natural surroundings, like green spaces, and focus less on things. Express gratitude too. Focus on what you have, rather than what’s missing from your life. Mindset and attitude are everything when it comes to feeling happy. Popular culture teaches you to be happy by buying more stuff or getting praise from others (or ourselves). But “stuff ” doesn’t create happiness, and neither does ego strokes. Research shows that when people place value on external factors, such as money and status, they’re less likely to experience true happiness and are more likely to feel depressed and anxious.

Smile at Strangers The act of smiling, even when you don’t feel like it, can make you feel happier. Research shows that forcing a smile triggers changes in brain chemistry that can lift your mood. Even better, smile at the next five strangers you see. Small acts of kindness, like spreading cheer, can boost your own mood.

Think of 3 Funny Things That Make You Laugh

The Bottom Line

Laughing helps lower stress hormones, like cortisol, and boosts endorphins that make you feel good. Laughter is good medicine, and you’re probably not doing enough of it. The frequency with which people laugh declines with age. According to Psychology Today, a 4-year-old laughs 300 times per day, while a 40-year-old laughs only 4 times daily. When you’re feeling down, check out your favorite comedy or talk to someone who makes you laugh and make time for a chuckle.

Now you know some quick and easy ways to get a mood boost. Now there’s no excuse not to have a wonderful day.

Try Aromatherapy Aromatherapy is a quick way to lift your mood. Taking a whiff of a lavender sachet can help lower your stress level. Studies show lavender has a calming effect on the brain, and mild sedative properties, making you feel more tranquil. If you’re feeling tired and need an energy lift, the aroma of peppermint oil could be what you need to perk up.

References: Nobre AC, Rao A, Owen GN. L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17 Suppl 1:167-8. PMID: 18296328. Marmolejo-ramos F, Murata A, Sasaki K, et al. Your Face and Moves Seem Happier When I Smile. Exp Psychol. 2020;67(1):14-22. doi:10.1027/1618-3169/a000470. Donelli D, Antonelli M, Bellinazzi C, Gensini GF, Firenzuoli F. Effects of lavender on anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Phytomedicine. 2019 Dec;65:153099. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2019.153099. Epub 2019 Sep 26. PMID: 31655395. “You’re Not Laughing Enough, and That’s No Joke ....” 21 Jun. 2011, psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-possibilityparadigm/201106/youre-not-laughing-enough-and-thats-no-joke.

January 2022 | 50+ Living | 9


Why Age-Old Oatmeal Keeps You Healthy and Hip

here’s no shortage of trendy breakfast foods that promise to satisfy the palate and promote health and youthfulness. But before you slurp down a smoothie or munch on avocado toast, consider the case for an age-old breakfast staple: oatmeal. Not only does this classic morning meal pack a nutritional punch; it’s fun to eat, versatile, and a perfect fit for any senior lifestyle. And if you think oats are, well, out of fashion, think again--and get in the breakfast know. Here’s why a bowl of oatmeal may be the best recipe for staying hip, healthy, and vibrant as an older adult.

cancers. With over four grams per uncooked half cup, according to the USDA, oatmeal offers a formidable dose. But that’s not all. Older adults will benefit from oatmeal’s polyphenols, which help lower blood pressure and increase blood flow, as well as magnesium, known to boost immunity and support nerve and muscle function. Oatmeal also provides long-lasting energy many seniors lack and brain fuel for improved memory and concentration.

Oatmeal Strengthens the Body and Mind

Steel-cut, Scottish, rolled, quick, and instant are all varieties of oatmeal you can purchase and craft into your own unique breakfast meal, keeping boredom at bay. For example, you might toast steel-cut oats before cooking for an earthy, robust flavor. Or, try adding soy or almond milk to quick oats for a nutty-tasting twist. You can also

As you age, certain nutrients can help promote youthfulness by fending off chronic illness. One of the most significant? Fiber, which is known to prevent everything from constipation to heart disease to certain 10 | 50+ Living | January 2022

Oatmeal Varieties Make It Fun

spruce up any type of oatmeal with mix-ins, like chopped dates, nuts, raspberries, coconut flakes, dried fruit, jam, or a sprinkling of cinnamon. Prepackaged oatmeal comes in fun flavors too; just beware of a higher sugar content in some of these products. Get creative with this versatile food and make it new and exciting each day. Oatmeal Fits Today’s Senior Lifestyle Like younger adults, today’s active seniors appreciate convenience at mealtime. Oatmeal fills the bill since it can be made quickly and easily on the stovetop or in the microwave. For those who like to meal prep in advance, oatmeal’s the ideal pick. Whip up a large batch for the week, store in the fridge, and heat a portion every morning for a hardy, healthy start to the day. Want to prepare just one serving for tomorrow’s breakfast? Put a half cup of rolled oats in a mason jar with a half cup of milk and a teaspoon of honey, then enjoy in the morning with your favorite toppings. Oatmeal also accommodates any senior budget, plus it’s readily available and simple to store.

HAPPY NEW YEAR From Our Home to Yours

Eating Oatmeal is Always on Trend Unlike some contemporary breakfast foods that have run their course, oatmeal never goes out of style. It’s been a go-to in the human diet for thousands of years and is still popular today. Young people, middle agers, and seniors alike appreciate the wholesome, satiating quality of oatmeal and oatmeal products. What makes oatmeal especially trend-worthy now is its ability to enhance just about any dish. You can toss uncooked oats into your favorite pancake or muffin recipe or spread cooked oatmeal on toast, serve it with eggs, or layer it in a yogurt parfait. Simply put, oatmeal hasn’t lost its flair--and neither will you when you include it in your daily eating plan. Although a traditional breakfast food, oatmeal is full of modern-day perks for senior adults. Incorporate this nutritional powerhouse into your morning routine and see how it can revitalize your taste buds, health, and life.

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50plusliv in gWN C .c om January 2022 | 50+ Living | 11

Ways to Get Motivated to Declutter (When You Don’t Like to Part with Things)

12 | 50+ Living | January 2022


f you feel like you’re drowning in stuff, it’s time to declutter. Clutter is a big problem for many people. Piles of stuff you were gifted from Christmas a decade ago, a dress you wore when you were 15 pounds lighter, and books with information that’s now outdated slowly build up. Then one day you look at your home and closet, and realize they’re in chaos. Clutter doesn’t just create a bad impression, it also impacts your mental health and well-being. Yet it can be hard to get motivated to declutter. Deep down, you might not want to part with the things you’ve collected, even if they no longer serve a purpose. Yet it’s important to do so for your mental health and peace of mind. Did you know that clutter and disorganization are the top causes of stress in the workplace? But clutter isn’t just a workplace problem - it’s also a home problem. Clutter not only makes it hard to find things; it also creates stress. Cleaning up the clutter can be therapeutic for your health. Now let’s look at some ways to get motivated to do it, even if you don’t like to get rid of things you’ve accumulated.

Pretend That You’re Moving A great way to get yourself in the mood to declutter is to pretend you’re moving and can only take a certain number of things with you. This will force you to decide what’s important and what you can part with. Without this scenario, you’re likely to hang on to most of what you have, rather than pare back on the stuff you don’t need. The moving scenario forces you to prioritize what to keep and what to let go.

Donate Instead of Tossing The idea of throwing something away feels wasteful, but donating it to someone else feels like you’re contributing to a higher cause. Research the charity you plan to donate to beforehand and make sure they’re legit. Decluttering doesn’t mean you throw everything away. If you’re pressed for cash, you could also sell your gently used items on eBay or Craigslist. You’ll have the joy of knowing someone else will enjoy the items that currently clutter your home.

Declutter in Segments If you set the goal of decluttering everything in one session, it can become overwhelming. Set a goal for each decluttering session. For example, one day go through the clothes in the downstairs closet, and during the next session, declutter your kitchen drawers. Set aside a day each week that you dedicate to decluttering some aspect

of your house. By decluttering in segments, you won’t feel as overwhelmed, and you’ll start to see progress, and that will keep you motivated.

Have Criteria for What to Keep and What to Donate or Sell The risk of decluttering is you’ll spend hours trying to decide whether to keep or donate something. A rule of thumb is if you haven’t used it in a year or more, it’s time for it to go. Obviously, there are exceptions. For example, you don’t want to get rid of sentimental things that are impossible to replace. Whether something has sentimental value is another reason to hang onto it. Ask yourself if you’ve used the item in the past year, whether it still has a purpose, and whether it has sentimental value. If none of those criteria apply, it’s not a keeper.

Don’t Hang on to Too Many Duplicates If you have six black skirts in your closet or five measuring cups, you probably only use one or two, and the rest just takes up space. Once you’ve eliminated all those duplicates, commit to not buying so many redundant items in the future. Ask yourself why you bought five or six of the same items, and resolve to avoid it in the future.

The Bottom Line Once you’ve tamed the clutter, understand that you’ll need to do it regularly. Just as weeds grow back when you pull them, clutter reforms if you let your guard down. Do a once-over of your home every week and see if clutter is starting to reform. Take action before you end up with a mish-mash of clutter that destroys the peace. Decluttering doesn’t just mean removing physical objects from your life; it means getting rid of the things that have taken up space in your mind and thereby increasing the amount of mental energy you have available. You’re lifting your physical load by making your house lighter, but you’re also freeing your mind from stress because there’s less “stuff ” to worry about. You’re not just creating a pretty house here; it’s a clean space where you can breathe easier, feel happier and relax. Enjoy your uncluttered living space!

References: “5 Reasons Why Clutter Disrupts Mental Health | Psychology ....” 13 May. 2017, psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillmentany-age/201705/5-reasons-why-clutter-disrupts-mental-health. “The Unbearable Heaviness of Clutter - The New York Times.” 03 Jan. 2019, nytimes.com/2019/01/03/well/mind/clutterstress-procrastination-psychology.html. “Clutter Control: Is Too Much ‘Stuff’ Draining You?.” 19 Jun. 2008, webmd.com/balance/features/clutter-control.

January 2022 | 50+ Living | 13


Vitamin C

Slow Muscle Loss Due to Aging?


an vitamin C slow muscle loss due to aging? One reality of aging is muscle loss, especially in people who aren’t physically active. Men and women who are inactive lose between 3 and 5% of their total muscle mass every decade after age 30. Plus, muscle loss speeds up in women after menopause. Physical activity, especially strength training, is the best panacea for slowing loss of muscle tissue and avoiding frailty later in life. But could vitamin C play a role in preserving healthy muscles? Vitamin C is an antioxidant vitamin that helps counteract cellular damage from free radicals. Each time you step outside and breathe in polluted air or expose your skin to sunlight, it creates a cascade of free radicals that you hope your cells can repair. Vitamin C is one of the vitamins that helps this repair process. But could vitamin C also conserve muscle mass?

VITAMIN C Researchers at UEA Norwich Medical School examined information from 13,000 middle-aged and older people in a larger study called the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Norfolk Study. They made an intriguing observation; subjects who consumed more vitamin C and had higher amounts of 14 | 50+ Living | January 2022

vitamin C in their bloodstream had more skeletal muscle mass relative to those who had lower levels of vitamin C in their diet and bloodstream. Vitamin C is abundant in fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruits and berries. Some exceptional sources of vitamin C include acerola cherries and camu-camu. However, these vitamin C sources are harder to find. Among the vegetables, bell peppers are an excellent source, although you can find moderate quantities of vitamin C in many vegetables. However, cooking destroys as much as 40% of the vitamin C in vegetables. So fruit is the best way to maximize vitamin C. Can adding more vitamin C to your diet help you stay strong and muscular as you age? This study only found an association between higher levels of vitamin C and more muscle mass. It doesn’t prove that vitamin C is responsible for the benefits. It’s an area that needs further study to make sure it’s vitamin C and not some other factor that people with higher vitamin C levels have in common.

There are some reasons vitamin C may reduce agerelated muscle loss. As mentioned, vitamin C is an antioxidant vitamin that fights free radical damage. Oxidative damage and free radicals also contribute to muscle loss. The same free radicals that damage cells also injure muscle cells and muscle tissue as a whole. Research shows oxidative damage contributes to sarcopenia, the age-related decline in muscle tissue, and an increase in body fat that makes people frail and increases the risk of falling and fracturing a hip.

The Bottom Line

Lack of physical activity and diet also contribute to sarcopenia. Lack of strength training and eating a diet high in sugar and calories and low in protein may also hasten the onset of sarcopenia. The consequences of sarcopenia include a higher risk of falling, lack of stamina, poor balance, and reduced quality of life. Beyond vitamin C, studies show that vitamin D plays a key role in preserving skeletal muscle and bone health. Some research shows omega-3s from sources like fish oil may help older people slow age-related muscle loss. That’s why diet quality is so important for healthy function as the years go by.

Getting high doses of vitamin C in supplement form increases the risk of kidney stones in people who have had calcium oxalate stones in the past. Plus, vitamin C supplements can cause nausea and diarrhea at higher doses. Most side effects of too much vitamin C show up at doses above 2,000 milligrams per day and come from vitamin C in supplement form, not food.

Proper nutrition is essential for reducing muscle loss and preventing sarcopenia. Whether vitamin C plays a key role is an area that needs more research. Rather than reaching for a vitamin C supplement to meet your body’s vitamin C requirements, add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet and eat them raw or lightly cooked. Eat vitamin C-rich foods daily, since your body can’t store this vitamin.

References Lucy N Lewis, Richard P G Hayhoe, Angela A Mulligan, Robert N Luben, Kay-Tee Khaw, Ailsa A Welch. Lower Dietary and Circulating Vitamin C in Middle- and Older-Aged Men and Women Are Associated with Lower Estimated Skeletal Muscle Mass. The Journal of Nutrition, 2020; DOI: 10.1093/jn/nxaa221. “Sarcopenia: Causes, symptoms, and management.” 21 Jul. 2017, medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318501. “Nutrition for Sarcopenia.” 23 Oct. 2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4625812/. “Vitamin C - Mayo Clinic.” 17 Nov. 2020, mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-c/art-20363932. “PWS BB Error - Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS).” ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitaminc-healthprofessional/. “Vitamin C - Consumer - Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS).” ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitaminc-consumer/.

January 2022 | 50+ Living | 15

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CONTENTS 6 8 Best Cardio Exercises For Losing Weight 8 C an Keeping a Food Diary Help You Lose More Weight?

Peggy Ratusz Laurie Richardone

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14 U nderstanding the Risks of Vaginal Cancer


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8 Best

Cardio Exercises For Losing Weight


f you're looking to shed some fat, tone up, and improve your overall health and fitness, then you should be using the best cardio exercises for losing weight. While all forms of physical activity can help you break a sweat and lose weight, some are particularly effective when it comes to burning calories even in a short workout. Even if you're not looking to lose weight, these exercises can help you with all kinds of fitness goals, whether you're trying to boost your energy levels or get in peak shape to compete in a sport. What's more, there's a suitable exercise for everyone, so whether you enjoy working out at home, at the gym, or out in nature, there's a perfect cardio workout for you. Here are 8 of the best cardio exercises for losing weight and improving your fitness.


thesofiamagazine.com | January 2022

Running Running is by far one of the best exercises for losing weight and boosting your fitness. Even a quick 20-minute run can help you burn hundreds of calories while enhancing your cardiovascular health and helping to tone up your thighs and calves. The best thing about running is that you can adapt your running workouts to suit you. Those who enjoy exercising indoors can run on a treadmill whereas those who enjoy the great outdoors can run around local parks and trails. You can also go for a high-intensity run by alternating between sprinting or jogging or simply run at a moderate pace for a longer time.

Swimming Swimming is another one of the best cardio exercises overall. You get to use your entire body, helping you tone up your legs, arms,

and core while also burning plenty of calories. Plus, even on a hot day, a swim in the pool can help you feel cool and refreshed while you work out. Of course, you'll need access to a pool. You might be able to find a free public pool in your area or you might need to pay for a membership to your local leisure center. Either way, swimming for around 20 to 30 minutes a few times a week will help you get in excellent shape.

Jump Rope Jump rope is often underrated as far as cardio exercises go. Many people prefer to run, cycle, or swim, but a 10-minute high-intensity jump rope workout is just as effective as 30 minutes of jogging. Another perk of jump rope is that you can do it pretty much anywhere. All you need to buy is a jump rope and you can perform your workouts in your garden,

in your front yard, or even at the local park. Within 10 minutes, you'll feel the burn and it'll also help you build your calf muscles.

Cycling Cycling is another top-notch cardio workout that you can perform indoors or outdoors. There are plenty of affordable exercise bikes on the market and you can also find plenty in the gym. However, some people will find it more rewarding to cycle around parks and trails to enjoy nature while they burn calories. Much like running, you can cycle at whichever pace suits you. To burn calories and boost your metabolism quickly you could do a 20-minute high-intensity cycling workout with bursts of sprinting. Alternatively, you could go on a long, moderately-paced bike ride around the neighborhood for a relaxing yet rewarding workout.

Dancing If you want to burn calories without even feeling like you're working out, dancing is a great option. Dancing isn't just an excellent cardio exercise, but it's also an incredibly fun activity that allows you to let loose and get your whole body involved. For a quick home workout, you might want to look up dance routines on YouTube and practice them in your bedroom. Alternatively, you might want to take a dance class at your local gym to burn hundreds of calories while having fun and meeting new people.

Circuit Training Circuit training is a type of training that involves performing a circuit of simple yet effective exercises. For instance, you might do a minute of bodyweight squats followed by a minute of star jumps, push-ups, mountain climbers, crunches, and lunges, before performing the same circuit of exercises again. One of the best things about circuit training is that you can involve various exercises that help you build muscle while simultaneously burning calories. You can even get a full-body workout by involving upper-body and lower-body exercises. You can find plenty of cardio circuits on YouTube if you're not sure where to start.

Rowing Rowing is another one of the best cardio exercises that will give your whole body a workout. While taking a rowboat on the river isn't a practical option for most

people, practically every gym will have plenty of rowing machines for you to use. You can even buy a rowing machine for your home. Even a 20-minute high-intensity rowing workout can help you burn 300 calories or more. However, you might want to go at a slower pace while you listen to music or a podcast. Not only will you burn fat, but you'll also build your biceps, back, and legs while you row.

Stair Climbing Stair climbing is another popular exercise for those who want to burn calories and get in shape. While you could run up and down the stairs in your apartment building, it's much better to use a stair climbing machine at the gym, especially as these machines allow you to adjust the speed and intensity of your workout. You'll feel the burn quickly when you perform a climbing workout. Not only will you feel yourself sweating off the calories, but you'll also give your leg muscles an excellent workout. This makes it one of the best cardio workouts for burning fat while also toning your legs.

Conclusion If you're looking to lose weight, these amazing cardio exercises are perfect for burning calories. Not only that, but they'll also help you tone your muscles, improve your heart health, and enhance your overall fitness levels. Find one that works well for you and stick to it. Within a few weeks, you'll already notice a positive change in the way your body looks and feels. January 2022 | thesofiamagazine.com


Can Keeping a Food Diary Help You Lose More Weight?


eight loss is complicated, and it takes planning, self-control, and self-discipline. Obesity is a multifactorial issue that shouldn't be oversimplified. Despite the complicated causes of weight gain, dietary changes can make a difference. One problem is lack of accountability. You might think you know what you're eating or how much, but unless you're tracking what you eat, when, and how much, you really don't know. Some people are emotional eaters and grab snacks throughout the day, and are barely aware of what or how much they're eating. One of the best ways to increase accountability is to keep a food diary. By doing so, you'll become more aware of what you're putting into your mouth and what motivates you to eat. You'll also notice patterns and eating habits you might not be aware of. For example, you may discover you're snacking on sugary snacks at night while you're watching television, or snacking during certain times of day when you're stressed. The more aware you are of what and how 8

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much you're eating, the easier it will be to make changes. Awareness is enlightenment and can lead to positive change.

What Does Science Say about Food Diaries and Losing Weight? You might wonder whether there's sound evidence that keeping a food diary helps you slim down. One study carried out by researchers at Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research points out the weight loss benefits of keeping a food diary or journal. The participants who kept a food journal almost doubled the amount of weight they lost over six months. The average weight loss was 13 pounds, and those who kept the most records benefited the most. The most common objection to keeping a food diary is that it takes too much time. But the researchers in the study point out that keeping a food diary doesn't have to be complicated or elaborate. The act of writing down what you ate on a simple sheet of paper creates greater awareness of what you're eating and how much.

Knowing you're documenting what you eat forces you to think before nibbling. That's a way to reduce the times you eat when you're not hungry. Knowing that you'll be writing it down, you might switch that piece of chocolate cake for something healthier, like a bowl of berries that will help you lose weight. So, documenting what you eat may help you make smarter food choices. If you don't like writing in a paper journal, there are apps like MyFitnessPal where you can record what you eat and keep a record you can refer to. Physically writing something down forms a stronger imprint on your brain, but do whatever works best for you and that you'll be consistent with.

Connect What You Eat with Your Emotions Keeping a food diary is also a way to better deal with emotional eating. When you write down what you eat and the time, also jot down how you felt at the time. Were you stressed, melancholy, or distracted by a problem? For an emotional eater, that's a trigger for snacking on comfort foods. The biggest benefit of keeping a food diary is building awareness so you don't make mindless eating decisions.

find non-food ways to relax, like taking a walk in nature, deep breathing, meditation, or a leisurely yoga workout. Keep documenting and be consistent, and you'll learn a lot about what motivates you to eat, and how you can change your approach to dining and snacking for better weight control.

When you start keeping a food diary, you may discover you're eating a lot more than just three meals a day. Those "small" snacks add up. As writing in a diary increases your awareness, you'll get to know what foods make you feel more focused and energetic, and which zap your energy, make you feel exhausted, and cause you to gain weight. Hint: Sugary foods are most likely to zap your energy and brainpower. It's not only how much you eat, but also the composition of your dietary choices. Keeping a food diary makes you more aware of both.

The Bottom Line Food diaries provide invaluable information that will allow you to tweak your diet. This small act promotes awareness and helps you make a stronger connection between your mind and what you put on your plate. If you track your emotions in your journal, you can determine whether stress is causing you to eat more or make the wrong food choices. Once you know this, you can

Download a Free Food Diary log at thesofiamagazine.com

January 2022 | thesofiamagazine.com


Women Making Music...Happen Spotlight on Brewery Owner and Operator Kelly Hardin Cubbin By Peggy Ratusz


appy 2022, everyone! As we rock n’ roll, swing, shuffle, waltz or 2-step our way into the New Year, I’d like to acknowledge the persevering heroes of the last 22 months: owners of bars, music halls and breweries. To musicians especially, this special breed of persistent, purposeful and focused professionals helps keep the music live. One of the brightest and best examples of one such venue owner is Southern Appalachian Brewery’s Kelly Hardin Cubbin. Nearly all of us had to do some fancy footwork during these unexpected unprecedented times, but people like Kelly, women like Kelly did so, seemingly 10

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without missing a step. Her headfirst approach to making sure her faithful and longtime patrons, employees and hired musicians would feel safe upon reopening proved to be a Triple Crown win.

genres she books reflects the various tastes of said clientele. During our recent phone conversation, I sensed this ease in Kelly; that the balance between her heart and business mind dance well together.

As a longtime patron of the brewery, I’ve witnessed it’s evolution, a melting pot of families, singles, couples, groups and meet-up organizations of all creeds, political affiliations, generations and genders. Unmistakably, the inclusive vibe and culture is manifested by what comes naturally to Cubbin, along with her co-owner husband Andy and their welcoming staff.

When conceptualizing the brewery as a brick and mortar, Mr. and Mrs. Cubbin knew they “definitely and absolutely” would introduce live music as part of their identity. “My husband and I moved here from Chicago and even though we could barely pay our rent back then, we’d go hear live music 3-4 nights a week. From these amazing in-themoment live music experiences, we knew that if we had to be at our own venue every night, we wanted live music!”

Not only is diversity of clientele embraced, the range of music

The Cubbins have been brewing since 2006, starting out as a production space. “When there were seven breweries in Asheville in 2008, we actually questioned our sustainability there (now there’s like over 30), so we looked around at other towns to find a building and fell in love with Hendersonville.” Hendersonville fell in love with them too. They were the first ever brewery in Henderson County and in the time leading up to their grand opening, they joyfully did their due diligence. Their competency remains high and their continued philanthropy and community outreach is what makes them as popular now as they were that first evening in late April of 2011. Kelly is a benevolent boss with a warm and decisive personality. She aptly juggles the music calendar while an array of local and regional musicians like me, constantly vie for dates to play on the newly renovated courtyard stage, for their always appreciative patrons. The notable female artists, whose careers have been enhanced and/or sustained by playing semi- to regularly there, are numerous. Niki Talley and Maggie Valley Band are just two female acts who played among the tanks and barrels in those early years and who have gone on to become nationally known. There were short-lived but popular female acts that Kelly fondly remembers like Carrie Morrison’s “The Naughty Pillows” and Laura Blackley’s girl group called “The Swayback Sisters.” “Back then it was especially diffi-

cult to manage the incredible local talent, touring talent, because we were one of only 2 music venues in all of Hendersonville. Our focus back then was to spread the love around to include regional touring acts. During the pandemic though, our focus changed and we began to draw almost exclusively from the Hendersonville Music community; those whose livelihoods depend on gig dates.” “There are a fair amount of local musicians who play for the fun of it and have careers outside of their music aspirations. Those musicians encouraged me to book players they knew didn’t have anything else to fall back on during the pandemic. I was so impressed with that honesty and love. Being a fine art major in my past life, I know the struggles of living as an artist. Musicians have confided in me how cathartic it’s been to have a stage to take; a familiar place for them to emote and play their music again.” As we philosophize over the growth of the area and our roles as conscious venue owner and full time musician, Kelly puts what we do and how much we do in perspective: “There’s a fine line between being so immersed in what we do and at the same time knowing there’s many things we could still be doing to help make positive change, it’s hard to balance what we should be involved in and when, that it sometimes feels like a full time job.” All I can tell you is that each time I’m inspired to hold a fundraiser for this person or that non-profit, I know I can count on Kelly and

Andy to tell me yes when I ask them to host it at SAB. “If inspiring and building community is something we can do, we’re always going to say yes. We may not always be able to contribute money to charities that solicit us, but we always have a space to hold a fundraiser or event and to me, that’s very cool.” “We’re humbled to have been supporting live music for 10 years now and we look forward to getting back to better than normal. We’ve got big plans this year for live music so stay tuned!” Kelly thinks in terms of making memories rather than a bottom line profit and as a result she cultivates and sustains both. “We want families, neighbors and newcomers to leave their troubles at work or at home and just come in to have a great tasting and satisfying craft beer and listen to live homegrown music to unwind and feel better. It’s all about creating an atmosphere that lets our music community have their exposure, that in turn allows our customers to get away from their problems for a little while.”

Peggy Ratusz is a vocal coach, song interpreter, and songwriter. For vocal coaching email her at peggymarie43 @gmail.com January 2022 | thesofiamagazine.com


Planting New Roots by Laurie Richardone

"My roots were first Planted in the Borough of Brooklyn, in a tight knit Italian family. It was a household that revolved around food."


hroughout the diverse paths my walk of life have taken, there has always been a thread that tied me to the kitchen. Food is a sacred practice inherited from all my ancestors. My roots. However, my calling as a teacher of seasonal cooking, and wellness coach took root later in life. It came when I had all the necessary tools to step into the role of educator, chef, and coach. We never know where life will take us, which is both exhilarating and unsettling. Planting new roots in whatever direction the heart leads us requires nurturing, passion, and patience. As I have experienced, not all things take hold, nor are they meant to. One must trust in the process. Do something because you want to, not because you are expecting a payoff. I hold the belief that the universe will give it back to you, bearing all the fruits of your labor. The roots of education can be bitter, but the fruit is sweet. My vocation as a teacher of seasonal cooking unfolded naturally, at just the right time. Now, I get to guide my clients in creating healthy delicious food that suits their needs and lifestyle. Furthermore, we now have an understanding that food is about much more than deliciousness. For example: getting the majority of ingredients at your local farmers market, which in turn promotes connection and support, giving strength to our tribe.

To your good health... A seasonal healthy treat for the table ~ If you are a curious cook, join me on my Podcast ~ A taste for All Seasons ~ It is a cooking, cultural, and inspirational way for us to explore the world of food. And… as always, l will share a seasonal recipe, cooking tips, and kitchen essentials that will make your life easier in the kitchen. You can now listen to all the shows, @ laurierichardone.com/podcast or on Spotify, Apple Podcast, and Google Podcast.

What better way to connect than with food, and an extra portion of love.

We talk to local farmers, where you can learn how to cook your way through the seasons. This Podcast is in conjunction with WPVM FM 103.7 in Asheville, NC.

Even so, It's not just about breaking bread together, but making bread together, and sharing our stories, our roots, and laying down some new ones.

Laurie Richardone is a seasonal gluten free chef and certified health coach.

What better place than around the table. 12

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To work with Laurie, visit LaurieRichardone.com

Persimmon Matcha Crumble with Ginger Molasses by Laurie Richardone

Ingredients 1 1/2 cups almond flour 2 tbsp. arrowroot 3/4 cup coconut sugar 1 1/2 sticks of butter (3/4 cup) room temperature 1 tbs. matcha powder 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. psyllium husk, or xanthan gum 1/4 tsp. sea salt 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1 cup fuyu persimmon puree, 2-3 ripe persimmons 3 eggs, room temperature 1/4 cup cashew milk, or other milk 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, optional Ginger Molasses 1 tbs. molasses 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, smashed into a paste, or powder Blend together. Drizzle around persimmon crumble before serving.

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter or oil inside of muffin trays. Dust with flour.

Scrape the batter into prepared muffin trays, 3/4 full.

Whisk flours, baking powder, match powder, salt, psyllium husk in a medium bowl.

Bake the muffins, rotating half way through, until golden brown and a tester inserted comes out clean, 40-50 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool in pan for 20 minutes.

Set aside Whisk milk and 1 cup of persimmon puree in a small bowl. Set aside. For puree: peel and slice 2 ripe persimmons. Pulse slices in a small processor, or mash by hand. Save some slices of persimmon for garnish.

Carefully remove muffins from the pan and transfer to the plate of choice. Make a crumble with the muffins across the plate. Serve with the ginger molasses.

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the sugar and 3/4 cup butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. About 4 minutes.

Sprinkle some matcha powder around the plate.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down the sides with a spatula. Add vanilla and almond extract. Reduce your speed to low and add dry ingredients in 3 additions. Alternate the persimmon & milk mixture with the dry mixture. Add dry ingredients last. Beat until just combined. Fold in the hazelnuts if using.

Buon Appetito

For scheduled Cooking Classes in Asheville, Visit: LaurieRichardone.com

January 2022 | thesofiamagazine.com


Understanding the Risks of Vaginal Cancer


any people have a natural reluctance to talk about gynecological issues, and that reticence can make those diseases even more dangerous and deadly. Vaginal cancer is a case in point. Many women are reluctant to discuss sensitive issues with their family doctors, and that can make the diagnosis and treatment of this serious illness that much more difficult. Another thing that makes vaginal cancer so hard to diagnose is that it often causes no symptoms – at least in the early stages of the disease. As the tumors grow and spread, women may notice a variety of symptoms, and these signs should be brought to the attention of a doctor as soon as possible. Some of the most common symptoms of vaginal cancer include unusual bleeding, particularly after sex or following the onset of menopause. Women may also notice a watery vaginal discharge or chronic pelvic pain. Other symptoms to watch out for include a lump or mass inside the vagina, constipation and painful urination. While these symptoms can be caused by a number of less serious conditions, 14

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they should always be brought to the attention of a medical professional. While all women are at risk of vaginal cancer, advancing age and exposure to certain drugs can predispose certain women to the disease. Women over 60 are at higher risk for vaginal cancer, and those women should have regular pap smears and gynecological exams. Women who were exposed to the drug diethylstilbestrol, or DES, in utero are also at increased risk. DES was used throughout the 1950s to prevent miscarriages. An unfortunate side effect of this commonly used drug was an increase in the risk of vaginal cancer among women exposed to the agent before birth. Exposure to HPV infections is another risk factor for not only vaginal cancer but cervical cancer as well. That is why it is so important for all women to have regular pap tests to look for signs of an HPV infection. A past history of cervical cancer can also increase the risk of developing vaginal cancer, so survivors need to be especially vigilant about their follow-up care. Any woman who suspects she might have vaginal cancer should discuss those concerns with her

doctor. An experienced doctor will be able to evaluate the symptoms and determine whether they are truly cause for concern. During that process, the doctor will perform a thorough physical exam and take a detailed medical history to help determine specific risk. The doctor may also perform a thorough gynecological exam to look for lumps and other suspicious masses inside the vagina and throughout the lower abdomen. Women can also expect to undergo a pap test as part of the examination process. The doctor will then take the results of the pap test, along with the results of the physical exam, and use them to make a preliminary diagnosis. If cancer is suspected, the doctor may order a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis, followed by a course of treatment tailored to the stage of the disease and the individual patient. Every woman is at risk from vaginal cancer, and it is up to every woman to look for signs and symptoms of this serious disease. If you suspect that you or someone you love may be suffering from vaginal cancer, the first step is to consult a doctor and undergo the examination that could save the life of you or your loved one.

“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.” – Aristotle

Kate uses her camera as a means of connecting with people and capturing light, love, moments, and milestones. She is a portrait and commercial photographer based in WNC. Book with Kate for 2022 and mention this promotion to get a complementary 11 x 14 photo keepsake from your session.

kateprincephotography.com January 2022 | thesofiamagazine.com





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Your Q-munity Radio Station


The Radio Station that Still Plays the Good Stuff

FM 95.3

AM 16


Thank You for Making WTZQ the


Radio Station

Home of Henderson County’s Morning Show!

in Henderson County!*


3 WAYS TO LISTEN! FM 95.3 AM 1600 WTZQ.com


BREAKFAST CLUB With Mark & Paige

* Source: Nielsen Audio, Henderson County, 2021 County Coverage, M-Su 6a-12m, P12+ & P35+

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