Beating the Odds
GOOD MORNING YOGA What is Dukkah?
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Toxic Personalities that 5 you should avoid
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Contributing Writers Natasha Kubis Peggy Ratusz Laurie Richardone
orning Yoga to Welcome M the Day
September Super Foods
P.O. Box 18416 Asheville, NC 28814 828-230.7537 thesofiamagazine.com
Dukkah Recipe Laurie Richardone
Women Making Music Peggy Ratusz
15 S olo Date Ideas for Your Next Day Out
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September 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com
5 Toxic Personalities That You Should Avoid
oxic people are hard to steer clear of. Sometimes
ality refers to the kind of person who adopts a pessimis-
they are hard to spot because of how subtle and
tic view on life and who finds a flaw in almost, if not
calculated their form of manipulation is. They
every, aspect of your relationship with them. They could
make you feel drained, insecure, and anxious, amongst
be a family member who always lets you know the ways
so many other negative emotions, and then they ben-
in which you could apply yourself better instead of con-
efit from those emotions to either feel better about
gratulating you on your accomplishments, or a roman-
themselves or to make sure that you have something
tic partner who seems to regularly find a reason to start
to blame yourself for. Whether they seek to make your
a fight with you. Whichever category this type falls in,
life miserable on purpose or whether they are not even
they are not the kind of people you want in your life.
aware of the impact they can have on others, they still
Negative feedback can work in certain situations, but
deserve to be called out on their behavior. In return,
people are generally found to be performing best when
you deserve to have people in your life that you enjoy
they are given positive reinforcement or when they are
being around. So here are five types of toxic personali-
being praised instead of scolded. If you are dealing or
ties that you should be on the lookout for and try your
have dealt at any point with someone who had a neg-
best to avoid:
ative personality, it is important to remember that they
are also making themselves miserable by demanding perfection, because they live in constant disappoint-
It goes without saying that people with a negative
ment. What you can do to escape their negativity is to
mindset are bound to bring only negativity into your
surround yourself with people who do see your flaws,
life. But a more specific definition of a negative person-
but who care about your qualities more.
thesofiamagazine.com | September 2021
Positive personalities On the other side of the spectrum is a positive personality, and perhaps this type is not as obviously toxic as the previous one. It does not sound unfortunate, because everyone needs a person that nudges them towards seeing the good side of things. But sometimes too much positivity can be just as damaging as too much negativity. The problem with believing in the power of positive thinking is that it is just not realistic. We are only human, so our failures or bad experiences do not define us, but they should be acknowledged nonetheless for the sake of personal growth. Someone who encourages you to always look on the bright side or reminds you that other people have it worse is just invalidating your difficulties and trying to take away the guilt or sadness that you are allowed to feel. It is not healthy to see the world in black and white, in negativity or positivity. What could work instead is trying to remind yourself that balance is what everyone should try to strive for.
Victim complex personalities A person with a victim mentality is someone who refuses to take full responsibility for their actions, and perpetually finds someone else to blame for their own issues or mistakes. The dangers of having someone like this in your life stem from the way in which they are able to make you feel sorry for them. Perhaps they blame their behavior on childhood issues. Perhaps they
blame their mishaps on you because
type of toxicity, especially because of
they feel you caused them to act a
the insidious way in which it pres-
certain way. Regardless, a person
ents itself. Most people who have
who is always quick to point fin-
been gaslighted in relationships
gers at others instead of owning up
have not realized it until later on.
to their mistakes is also someone
The person doing the gaslighting
who self-sabotages their own life,
will often tell you that you are too
and will therefore sabotage their
sensitive, or that you take things to
relationship with you as well at one
heart when you shouldn't, or even
point or another.
that you don't remember things
correctly and that they never actually wanted to hurt you. But the truth is,
There is a big difference between
no one should get to decide when
someone who is confident and
you have the right to feel upset.
someone who is arrogant. A confi-
People on the receiving end of gas-
dent individual feels good in their
lighting tend to be quick to ques-
own skin, while the arrogant type
tion themselves, when instead they
gives themselves more importance
should recognize that once some-
than it is due. They tend to act
body wrongs you, it is their respon-
superior towards others and to talk
sibility to earn your forgiveness and
down to them, and the biggest prob-
trust, not yours to hand it to them
lem is that they can come across as
for free. Whether it is intentional
intimidating. They seem to be in
or not, this form of manipulation
a constant, sometimes imaginary
should not be overlooked once it is
competition with someone else, and
they have a strong desire to dominate others in conversations. You might feel insecure around them or you might even dread having a chat with them because of the way in which they seem to make themselves the center of attention while making you an afterthought.
Gaslighting personalities The term "gaslighting" represents a form of manipulation in which an individual makes another question their own memory or feelings by downplaying certain situations and planting seeds of doubt in their
While dealing with someone who has a toxic personality, people don't realize when something that should be easy becomes hard. Indeed, relationships are difficult to maintain, even healthy ones, but at the end of the day, the good that they bring into your life should outweigh the bad. If you find yourself in a position where being around a loved one brings out feelings of guilt, insecurity, or exhaustion, then it is time to question their presence in your life and to start focusing on your own self-worth.
mind. This is the most dangerous September 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com
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Morning Yoga to Welcome the Day By Natasha Kubis
efore we get into a simple yoga routine that can help us greet the new day and meet our challenges with grace, it’s important to remember to practice safely and with care. Back out of a stretch if it's too intense and modify as necessary.
Focused breathing is key to being able to relax in yoga poses. A gentle and calming technique is called Ujjayi or ocean breath. Inhale for 5 seconds through the nose. With your mouth closed, exhale through your nose for 5 seconds while constricting the back of your throat, as if you’re saying “ha”. The inhalation and exhalation should sound like the tides of the ocean. Hold each posture for 3 to 5 cycles of breath.
Mountain Pose This is the foundation for all of the standing poses and improves posture and stability. Stand up tall and bring your feet parallel. Bring focus to your core and engage your abdominal muscles. Feel a gentle lift through the thigh muscles. Feel grounded through your feet. Relax your shoulders.
Side Stretch With an inhale, gently lift your arms overhead. Grab your right wrist with your left hand. Side bend to the left, giving your right wrist a gentle pull. Come back through the center and do the opposite side.
Forward Fold This is a very good pose to open the hamstrings, stretch the back muscles, and make the spine supple by allowing decompression of the vertebrae. Fold forward over your thighs, hinging from the hips. Keep a small bend in the knees. Bring the hands to the floor, shins, or grab opposite elbows if the hamstrings are tight. Relax the neck and shoulders.
September 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com
This pose stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, and allows traction of the spine. From a forward-fold, plant your hands firmly into the ground.
As a heart-opening pose, the cobra pose stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders, and abdomen. It also strengthens the spine, and promotes flexibility.
Step your feet back one foot at a time so that they are hips distance apart.
From a plank position, lower down to the floor onto your belly.
From a tabletop position, extend the right hand out in front of you.
Lift your hips and engage your thighs while putting your weight into the heels.
Place your palms beneath your shoulders.
Engage your core.
Keep a small bend in your knees.
Press your pubic bone into the floor.
Peddle out your knees to open the calves and hamstrings.
Elbows tuck toward your sides.
For a mild backbend press into hands, leaving elbows slightly bent as you lift your head and chest away from the floor. For a deeper backbend, push all the way up with a full extension of arms.
Puppy Pose Planks From a downward dog position, push forward into a high push-up. Keep your shoulders in a straight line with your wrists. Engage your abdomen and thigh muscles. Push your heels back for a calf stretch. Keep a slight lift in your tailbone to protect your low back. Relax your neck. 8
thesofiamagazine.com | September 2021
This pose stretches the spine, shoulder, and arms. It is a deeply relaxing stretch for the back, which also helps calm the nervous system.
Tiger Pose and Cross Arch Stretch This pose is a balance and back strengthening pose. It also stretches the psoas and quadriceps muscles.
Extend the left leg out behind you. When stable, lift the left leg off the ground. Then draw the left knee to the right elbow and hold in an abdominal crunch position. Release the crunch position and once again, extend the right hand out in front and left leg back behind you. Bend the left knee while reaching around with the right hand to grab the left foot. Repeat the sequence on the other side.
From a tabletop position, walk your hands forward and sink the hips back toward the heels. Lower the forehead to the mat and relax the neck. Actively stretch arms forward while pulling hips toward heels.
Cat-Cow Stretch This pose releases tension in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine. It also improves digestion, circulation, and relaxes the mind.
Start in a tabletop position with knees under hips and wrists under shoulders.
Seated Side Stretch Sit comfortably with one leg in front of the other or cross-legged.
For cat pose, press into the hands, tuck tailbone, and round back.
Place your right hand down on the ground for support.
For cow pose, arch the back and lift the chin and tailbone to the sky.
Extend your left arm up to the sky as you reach and bend laterally to your right.
Wide Leg Standing Forward Fold with Clasped Hands This stretches the hamstrings, inner thighs, deltoids, and biceps. From a wide-legged stance, with feet parallel, bring hands to hips.
For a deeper stretch, place your right hand on your left knee and extend your left arm up as you bend laterally to the right. Repeat on the opposite side.
Fold forward, hinging from the hips. Clasp hands behind you and raise them away from the sacrum.
Low Lunge and Hamstring Stretch
This stretch improves focus, balance, and stability. It stretches your arms, legs, shoulders, neck, belly, groin, and ankles while energizing the entire body.
Lay down onto your back. Feet are planted hips distance apart. Bend knees so they are pointing upward.
From a tabletop position, bring your left foot forward between your hands. Keep the left knee at a 90-degree angle so that the knee is in line with the ankle. Slide the right knee back on the mat until there is a comfortable stretch in the right thigh and groin. Reach arms overhead and create a mild back arch. Then plant your hands on either side of the mat and sit back toward your right heel for a hamstring stretch. Repeat to the other side.
Seated Spinal Twist This helps stretch the spine, shoulders, and hips. It massages the internal organs, improves digestion, relieves sciatica, as well as low back and neck pain. Sit with legs stretched out in front of you. Pull one knee towards your body and sit up tall. Twist slowly toward your bent knee, wrapping the opposite elbow to the outside of the bent knee. Repeat on the opposite side.
Fingertips should be able to graze the backs of the heels. Press through the feet and squeeze thighs slightly inward as you lift hips and sternum off the mat. Clasp hands together for a deeper stretch.
Natasha Kubis is a licensed acupuncturist and certified yoga teacher. For more information, visit acuwellhealth.com
September 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com
Superfoods We usually associate edibles with superfoods. Of course,the ingredients we put in our body every day are essential in sustaining our well being. My definition of a superfood includes daily movement, and attention to the thoughts we think throughout the day. Just taking five minutes away from your work desk to move and breathe deeply can recalibrate your mindset. That sounds like a superfood to me! In September comes a wave of cool weather. The colors start to change, the air has a hint of crispness, and the aromatics of the fall harvest start to intoxicate our palate. With the body’s divine intelligence we begin craving warmer foods. Eating with the seasons brings harmony to the body and the mind, and sustains us while we ease into autumn with our own natural flow.
With our skin By Laurie Richardone being our largest organ, what we put on our body is paramount to our wellness. In a culture of doing with less being, our health and the way we approach it, has become central to our way of life. Simple Superfood Inspiration ~ Design your own superfood bowl with this savory dukkah recipe that is scrumptious on just about everything. ~ Keep it colorful, organic, when possible, flavorful, and incorporate texture by adding some crunchy bits like this delicious recipe with a superabundance of essential omega fatty acids. To your good health… If you are a curious cook, join me on my Radio Show ~ “A taste for All Seasons”
With this, comes new delectable opportunities for us to keep moving toward good health with hope and excitement.
We explore the world of food, with the philosophy of eating with the seasons.
It's the little things that help most of all. Every lifestyle choice, no matter how modest, gets noticed and celebrated by the body’s perceptiveness. If it feels hard to give up certain foods, start slowly, by adding in some nutrient rich whole foods like leafy greens, whole grains, and seasonal spices.
And… as always, l will be sharing cooking tips, seasonal shortcuts and kitchen essentials that will make your life easier in the kitchen.
Consuming a colorful diversity of plant foods in your daily life, will promote a well functioning gut microbiota. This allows for a quicker and more effective response to disease-causing organisms. In turn this will create a strong immune system, to support a vibrant body. In addition to the foods we eat, a beauty routine that leans on natural ingredients will help you look and feel good ~ without sacrificing your health. 10
thesofiamagazine.com | September 2021
Visit: A Taste for All Seasons Show Page @ WPVMFM.ORG. and listen to the August 28th show, at 11am, for a delicious conversation with Dairy Farmer Andrea Vangunst of Grassroots Farm. It airs on the last Saturday of every month at 11 am, on WPVM FM 103.7 in Asheville, NC. Laurie Richardone is a seasonal gluten free chef and certified health coach. For more information, visit LaurieRichardone.com
Dukkah Recipe by Laurie Richardone Makes 2 cups 2 tbsp coriander seeds 1 tsp cumin seeds 3/4 cup white sesame seeds 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
Set aside. In the same pan, add the hazelnuts and toast for 4 minutes. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse several times. You want the nuts and seeds roughly chopped.
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
Can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks.
In a dry saucepan over medium heat, toast the coriander seeds, cumin, and sesame seeds. Slightly shake the pan occasionally for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant.
Cooks Note: You can add pistachios, or pine nuts, in addition to spices like paprika. Sprinkle on salads, hummus, grilled salmon, and vegetables...
For scheduled Cooking Classes in Asheville, Visit: LaurieRichardone.com
September 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com
Women Making Music By Peggy Ratusz
Mare Carmody – Beating the Odds
t was 4:45 on a February morning when our dog started barking and our doorbell rang in successions. I was thrown into that dart-out-of-bed you dread feeling. As I scurried to the front door trying not to trip on my robe, I see outside the window, a silent ambulance with its lights ominously twirling in the night sky, a gurney on my small front stoop and an EMT on either side of it. I opened the door and as I did, it “dawned” on the two of them that they were at the wrong house. The wrong side, I should say because I live in a duplex. On the other side of the duplex, live my friends Mare Carmody (voice over actor, professional musician) and her husband. I profiled Mare in 2018, soon after they’d moved in over there. I asked the EMT’s as they quickly backed up the gurney, “what’s going on over there?” and my dog yipped from getting caught in one of the wheels, adding to the intensity of the situation. “We’re not at liberty to say, ma’am” was their terse reply. So I didn’t know which one of them they’d come for. I went inside my house, grabbed my coat and paced the driveway for the next 15 minutes. It was Mare they brought out on the gurney, looking far off and unaware even though they positioned her sitting upright. Her husband came out; we started to cry. They have pets, so I helped get them fed and calmed down while he grabbed a few things he thought Mare might need in the hospital. He emerged from their bedroom with one of her bras dangling from his wrist by its strap. “Okay, I think I’ve got everything I can think of” was something like what he said. I told him, “Dude, you might wanna put that bra dangling 12
thesofiamagazine.com | September 2021
from your wrist inside the bag you have in your hand.” It was a much-needed moment. Fast forward to the other day, Mare and I are sitting at a coffee house singing “Happiness is a Warm Gun” before commencing to recount what she went through leading up to that morning and since. When we get to the lyric, bang- bang, shoot-shoot, we smirk over the irony of what she’s been through; what we’ve all been through. My first question is ‘to what do you attribute your strength for being able to get back up after being knocked down time after time over the past 2 years?’ “That I’m a tough old bird. I am my mother’s daughter. I’m hard headed.” What Mare experienced, her doctors are coming around to admit, was likely a “long haul” symptom of COVID. Two grand mal seizures later and less than 1 hour apart (one at home; one at the emergency room), the consequence was one shoulder torn and reconstructed and the other so completely broken and shattered that the surgeon had to reach in to find it, in order to replace it. The haplessness she felt during the first weeks of 2 consecutive recovery periods and rehab; she couldn’t do regular things like close a car door or even put on that bra that her husband thought she’d need, much less play her guitar, was the challenge. “It was frustrating to have to depend on others to do everything for me. I don’t like that feeling.”
She made up her mind not to let negative overshadow her fierce commitment to get her voice and her chops back. She reveals to me another scary outcome that happened during one of the many procedures and tests she had to endure. One of her lungs collapsed leaving her breathing at times, compromised. She set a goal to start singing and playing her guitar again by September. “It was May/June and the more I’d hear about musicians getting back on stages and my bandmates doing gigs without me, the more resolute I became to start slow and get my voice going, to practice playing my smaller acoustic guitar. I had new song ideas and melodies waiting for their chord progressions! That, it’s-nowor-never feeling hit me. The bottom line is that while people will cheer you on in your efforts to get better, they can’t do it for you. And my husband knows better than anyone, that music is what keeps me sane.” Prior to moving here, she was completely healthy. So when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2019, the effects and treatments rendered a weight loss that rendered frailty in her bones that rendered a fall that rendered a broken hip. Then she caught the COVID. “There are moments when I feel sorry for myself, cursing life for kicking me in the ass time after time, but getting up and out walking in the neighborhood is medicinal. Ideas and inspiration come from putting one foot in front of the other. The universe says to me, ‘take these gifts and let them guide you’. Musician friends who
invite me to sit in on gigs prove I am viable even during recovery. It’s easy to get bogged down in the notion that because I’ve had some challenges that I might be past my prime.” To that I say, ‘Oh contraire my friend, oh contraire!’ Once the cognition of how big a deal this was, once the gravity set in, she got down and kissed the ground. She doesn’t remember certain things she said or did. Doctors explain that when fighting a coronavirus for instance, our bodies have what they call a cytokine storm which happens when our immune system kicks into overdrive to fight an infection. Instead of helping her it hurt her. She says her doctors explained it this way: It manifests as an electrical storm in your brain. The electric impulses are causing your muscles to contract and release violently within a grand mal seizure. “All this has me rethinking how I go through life. I truly live for today because nothing gives me a greater appreciation for my life and what I’ve been blessed with than almost dying.”
Peggy Ratusz is a vocal coach, song interpreter, and songwriter. For vocal coaching email her at peggymarie43 @gmail.com September 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com
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thesofiamagazine.com | September 2021
Solo Date Ideas for Your Next Day Out
n today's world where hectic schedules seem to be the norm, taking time to care for yourself can be a challenge. And when you do find the time, deciding what to do and who to do it with can turn into a daunting task that ends up robbing you of precious time. But what better way to unwind and indulge in some much-needed self-care than a solo date? Read on for a list of ideas that are sure to give you some inspiration, whether you're looking for relaxed fun or a bit of an adventure.
Coffee shop If you're the kind of person who likes the smell of coffee and the gentle buzz of conversation in a coffee shop, then your solo date could be as simple as some time spent in your local café. You can also explore a new spot around you or order something you've never had at your usual haunt to change things up. Pick a comfy seat, grab a book or magazine, and you're good to go.
Park Nothing can beat Mother Nature when it comes to providing some peace and quiet. If that's what you're looking for, a trip to the park could be just the thing. You can fix yourself a snack and read, draw, journal, or just watch people. Needless to say, the fresh air and sunlight will do you good.
Dinner Going out for dinner is probably the most popular idea for a date, so why not do it solo? Dining alone can seem a bit intimidating, especially if you've never done it before, but that's even more reason to go for it. You can step out of your comfort zone and enjoy a nice meal at a restaurant of your choice.
Gallery Whether you're in the habit of visiting galleries and art shows or not, time spent appreciating art is
never wasted. It makes for a great solo activity that is sure to entertain you and open your eyes to new things.
Shopping Many claim shopping is therapeutic. You may agree, or traipsing around the mall may sound like a chore to you. But how about shopping for what you love? Maybe you're a comic book fan, or you like collecting antiques. Whatever your passion is, there's almost certainly a store that caters to it.
Event Events are a great way to take a break from your routine and get your mind off things. While it's true they're not what they used to be before the pandemic, it's still worth finding something that interests you, be it live music, poetry readings or even a lecture on a topic you'd like to learn more about.
New skill It's hard to come up with a better use of downtime than self-improvement. There's a wide range of skills you could learn while also having fun. Maybe you've been itching to try pottery or take a dance lesson. And who knows? You might even pick up a new hobby along the way.
Somewhere with a view The relaxation and the feeling of distance from the daily grind that a great view offers can hardly be matched by anything else. This option is also very
versatile, as you can find different places with a view you can enjoy. You could drive to a spot where you can look out at your city, or the sea if you happen to live near one. A rooftop restaurant or bar is another possibility. You could also hike somewhere, adding a sense of achievement to the beauty of the view at the top.
Different cultures You may not have the luxury of traveling the world, but that doesn't mean you can't use a day off to satisfy your sense of adventure. Get a taste of a different culture by sampling foreign food you've never had before or exploring a part of town dedicated to a particular culture. Adrenaline rush If you spend most of your time sitting at a desk or tackling the same long to-do list every day, you could really benefit from challenging yourself and feeling the high of an adrenaline rush. Use your free time to go on a scary ride, skydive, do some public speaking or any number of things that can get your blood pumping. A word of caution your safety should always come first. Now that you're armed with this list, you know where to look the next time you feel like taking a break and planning a solo date or ten. September 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com
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Don’t brush off
YOUR TEETH DON’T RETIRE
found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts improve your body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation, helping to protect your teeth and gums.
Brush at least twice a day. Brushing your teeth regularly is important in all stages of life. Brushing helps remove the thin film of bacteria that builds up on your teeth each day and contributes to tooth decay. You should brush your teeth for two to three minutes with fluoridated toothpaste at least twice a day. If you can brush after each meal, that’s even better.
Keep up with dentist appointments. Dentists are disease detectives. More than 120 signs and symptoms of non dental diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, can be detected through a routine oral health exam. So, seeing a dentist regularly not only helps to keep your mouth in top shape, but also allows your dentist to watch for developments that may point to other health issues.
aking care of your teeth can help them last a lifetime – and go a long way in maintaining total body health, as well. Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy smile, well into retirement:
Floss daily to take care of your gums. Many people don’t realize how important it is to take care of their gums as well as their teeth. Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue and bone that support the teeth and is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Recent research has shown that the health of your gums may have a connection to some chronic diseases. Having periodontal (gum) disease has been linked to and may be a risk factor in developing Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease or diabetes. Make sure to floss at least once a day, preferably before bed, to clean the places where a toothbrush can’t reach.
If you smoke, quit. In addition to increasing your risk of many health conditions, smoking can increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. The good news is that the risk of tooth loss decreases after you quit smoking. To help you kick the habit, your dentist may prescribe a variety of nicotine replacement therapies.
Eat nutritious food. What you eat can help you keep your teeth healthy. Antioxidants and other nutrients
 James W. Little et al., Dental Management of the Medically Compromised Patient (St. Louis: Mosby, 2012)
So remember: Follow these tips to keep you smiling. For more resources on oral health care, as well as individual and family dental plans, visit www.DeltaDentalNC.com
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Sweet Roasted Pecans
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Sweet-Roasted Pecans A traditional Southern favorite, these sweet-roasted pecans are an easy and deliciously addictive treat that anyone can make at home. Including prep time, the recipe can be finished and ready to eat in a little over an hour.
INGREDIENTS: 1 egg white 1/2 tablespoon water 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract 2 1/2 cups pecan halves 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
COOKING INSTRUCTIONS: Begin by preheating the oven to 225 degrees F (105 degrees C). While the oven is warming up, lightly grease a rimmed baking pan.
In a mixing bowl, combine the egg white, water, and vanilla and beat until the mixture is fluffy. Add the pecan halves and fold them into the mixture until they are full coated. Set the nuts aside on a plate. In another small bowl, mix the brown sugar, salt, and ground cinnamon. Then sprinkle this mixture evenly on both sides of the pecans. Spread the nuts out across the prepared baking pan and bake for an hour, stirring the nuts every 15-20 minutes so that they cook evenly. The pecans should be nicely toasted and quite fragrant. Remove the pecans from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes. Serve them warm or store them for a later snack. If pecans are not readily available, feel free to substitute an equal amount of another nut. Peanuts, cashews, almonds, and walnuts work particularly well! For those that prefer a touch of spice, add a pinch of allspice and cayenne pepper to the sugar mixture. A 1/4 cup of Splenda can be substituted for the brown sugar for a healthier, diabetic-friendly approach to this classic treat. September 2021 | 50+ Living | 7
Setting Limits to Avoid Burnout
l ot of people who are expected to lead more or less normal lives end up becoming the primary caregiver for somebody they love, such as a parent with Alzheimer’s, a paralyzed spouse, or a child with Down’s syndrome. And no matter how much you love them, if you’re their primary caregiver, you probably suffer from caregiver stress. It’s really, really not easy being a caregiver. Well, if you want to avoid caregiver burnout, you need to learn to do something you may find difficult: set some limits.
What Is Caregiver Burnout? Caregiver burnout is what happens when you experience too much caregiver stress. It can cause an inability to focus, depression, irritability, wild mood swings, insomnia, lack of motivation, and a weakened 8 | 50+ Living | September 2021
immune system. In other words, it can make you feel stupid, angry and unable to get anything done, and make you prone to getting sick. And that not only doesn’t help you any, it doesn’t help your loved one either. If you’re going to be providing care for the long term, you need to take care of yourself well enough to be able to provide that care.
Setting Limits You can’t be available to provide assistance 24 hours a day, you just can’t. You need some time set aside on a regular basis to do the things that you like to do. You should set aside some time daily to do things like listening to your music or reading books you enjoy. Set aside an evening every week to go out to hang out with your friends, or see a movie, or go out to dinner.
There are two other things that you should set aside time for every day. One is getting outside. Whether it’s going for a walk or just sitting on your porch with a cup of coffee, it can be amazing what a literal change of perspective can do for you. The other thing you need to take the time to do every day is something that makes you feel strong. Whether it’s listening to a special song, working out, or whatever, if you don’t have something that makes you feel strong in your life, it’s too easy to get ground down by constantly putting your needs and wants aside for somebody else. It is important to really schedule this time, because if you adopt the attitude that you’ll just try to do these things when you have some free time, you too often find that you never have the time. No matter how busy things are, no matter how many things you need to do, you need to limit the amount of time you spend doing them and take care of your own needs.
Forgiving Yourself It can be truly difficult to set limits like this without feeling guilty. After all, you may think, doesn’t your loved one have it so much worse than you? Shouldn’t you sacrifice everything you have to in order to help them? Isn’t that what love is all about? It’s natural to feel that way, but it’s not healthy. Once you set some limits, you also need to forgive yourself for doing so. Taking care of your own needs is every bit as important as taking care of your loved one’s needs. Indeed, it’s part of taking care of your loved one’s needs.
Final Thoughts Remember, you’re only human. You have limits and needs, and you need to respect them. If you don’t, you are going to burn out, and that can be very hard to recover from. If that happens, who will take care of you or your loved one? It’s OK, really.
“ There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver. ” ROSALYN CARTER
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Candle Scents Do More Than Just Smell Good
Candleholders and candles themselves come in many different designs, colors, and scents. We use them as decorations, air fresheners, and for special events: but have you ever considered the effects and benefits of the candle scents you buy? Aromatherapy and its benefits and effects have been used and studied throughout history. While we don’t always consider the impact the scents we buy have on us, we definitely should. Some of the most common scents on the market are not only favorites simply because of their pleasant smells. We may also be affected by these scents more than we realize. Here are five of the most common scents on the market and the hidden benefits of their lovely aromas!
Cinnamon is known to have many different uses, including:
Vanilla has many common uses, including:
Most commonly used around the holidays, cinnamon is a staple scent for most candle companies. Its popularity dates back thousands of years. We have evidence that Egyptians were incorporating it into perfumes 2000 years ago, but it has been said Chinese culture has been using it far before that, and it possibly originated in China.
• Reducing drowsiness • Reducing irritability • Headache relief • Inducing appetite • Invigorating the senses • Producing a feeling of joy • Menstrual cramp relief In a metaphysical sense, cinnamon is also known to increase your spiritual connections, healing speed, attract love, induce lust, draw money, ensure protection, and provide luck, strength, and prosperity. Due to its many uses, cinnamon is the perfect scent for your kitchen, dining room, office, and just about anywhere you see fit! Cinnamon is easy to find, and with so many positive effects, it leaves no reason to wonder why cinnamon has been a staple scent for candles for as long as it has! 12 | 50+ Living | September 2021
Vanilla has been used as a common ingredient in perfumes for hundreds of years, but it has only been within the last several decades that it has become a familiar smell for our homes. Vanilla has many common uses in perfumes, cooking, baking, lotions, and other self-care items that it is a wonder why such a beloved scent took so long to make its debut in the home aroma market.
• Reducing stress and anxiety • Promoting relaxation • Improving sleep quality • Promoting respiratory health • Assisting in regulating emotions • Being used as an aphrodisiac The metaphysical properties of vanilla are just as impressive as the general properties. They include increasing your mental capabilities, enhancing beauty, and promoting love, vitality, passion, healing, and luck. Vanilla is a great scent to be used in the bedroom, bathroom, spa, or anywhere you use to step out of the rat race and escape for peace and relaxation. Such a powerful smell and loved by many, vanilla has a way of making us all want to slow down and take a moment to smell the candles.
Used by the ancient Romans and Greeks, the smell of lavender has been used for centuries for many different reasons. The favored smell of lavender was first recorded being put to use by the ancient Romans, who used it in their bathwater, as perfume, and as a typical household scent. Lavender has many common uses, including: • Boosting mood • Reducing anxiety • Inducing sleep • Improving memory • Relieving motion sickness • Reducing menopause symptoms • Promoting a feeling of happiness • Bug repellant Lavender’s aroma has been noted to be stimulating and relaxing simultaneously, promoting many uses and enhancing our love for such a beautiful aroma. Lavender is a multi-use scent that is said to encourage a mind, body, and spirit balance. Other metaphysical properties include: grounding your energy, cleansing your aura or area, clearing negativity, balancing your third-eye chakra, and creating inner peace. Best used in places of rest or relaxation, lavender is an excellent aroma for a bedroom, children’s room, and any area you like to relax or meditate.
The smell of roses is an undeniable favorite for many. Roses take no hesitation in displaying their beauty alongside their fragrant and adored aroma. Roses have always had a firm hold on our senses. Used throughout ancient and medieval times, legend has it the beautiful Cleopatra used rose petals to fill an entire room, ankle-deep, to weaken her lover’s resistance to her charms. Our love for the beautiful flower and its aromatic charms has been noted well throughout history. Rose scents have many uses, including: • Relieving stress • Fighting anxiety • Relaxation • Lowering your heart rate • Antidepressant benefits • Information retention • Boosting libido Delivering a calming and relaxing feeling to your environment, the rose-scented candles are also known for many metaphysical properties, such as: promoting positivity, creating an aura of love and passion, and cleansing and opening up your mind to new experiences. Best used in the bedroom or on special occasions, our love for roses is due to more than just their beauty.
If you’re a candle lover, chances are you have some of these scents already in your home. With so many great benefits, it is hard to justify not putting them to use in the areas where they may benefit more than just one of our senses. While everyone is different and may have different results, we hope you have gained some insight into how your favorite candles might better benefit you and your home. Please remember it is essential to seek medical attention for any physical or mental ailments. While we hope this list benefits you greatly, it is not a substitute for medical attention. September 2021 | 50+ Living | 13
Women Need after Menopause
enopause is a time of change and can bring with it a higher risk of health issues. For example, many women gain a few pounds during and after menopause. In addition, the risk of health problems, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, goes up after menopause. Eating a healthy diet and staying physically active can lower your risk of developing these chronic health problems, but there are some supplements that may help stave off some of the health problems that occur in the second half of life.
1,000 international units (IU) daily, although many experts believe this isn’t enough and recommend 2,000 IU or more. It’s important to monitor your levels to avoid toxicity so check with your doctor to find a recommendation based on your specific health needs.
Vitamin D is critical for bone and immune health, and it plays a key role in helping your body absorb calcium. Studies show that suboptimal vitamin D levels are common worldwide, with up to 1 billion people affected. Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of depression, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and some forms of cancer. These are all health problems that become more common after menopause.
Your body uses magnesium for over 300 chemical reactions, including those that affect brain, muscle, bone, and heart health. In addition, research shows that up to 40% of the population doesn’t get enough of this important mineral. Magnesium also improves insulin sensitivity and helps lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Studies show that women who consume a diet higher in magnesium have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The best source of vitamin D is exposure to sunlight. When sunlight (ultraviolet B rays) hit your skin, it converts a compound, called dehydrocholesterol, on the surface of your skin to a vitamin D precursor. Your liver and kidneys then convert that precursor to active vitamin D that your body can use. Not only do women over the age of 50 get less sun exposure on average, but the ability to absorb vitamin D in response to the sun’s rays also goes down. Plus, many people wear sunblock these days to protect against sunburn. That’s why most women over 50 need a vitamin D supplement to maintain a healthy vitamin D level. Most sources recommend taking 14 | 50+ Living | September 2021
Since insulin sensitivity declines after menopause, eating a magnesium-rich diet or taking a magnesium supplement is one thing that may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Plus, magnesium helps with blood pressure control too and the risk of hypertension goes up after menopause.
OMEGA-3S The risk of heart disease rises in women after menopause. Although studies are conflicting, some research suggests that long-chain omega-3s from sources like fish oil may lower the risk of
cardiovascular disease. The mechanisms by which they do this, according to the American Heart Association, include: • Reducing inflammation • Lowering resting blood pressure • Reducing triglycerides • Lowering the risk of blood clots • Reducing the risk of irregular heart rhythms Studies show that eating fatty fish seems to reduce cardiovascular risk, but it’s less clear whether taking fish oil supplements has the same benefits. However, most people don’t eat fatty fish often enough to get the health benefits. So, for some women, an omega-3 or fish oil supplement is a more practical choice.
PROBIOTICS Gut health is central to a healthy immune system since more than 70% of your immune system resides there. Studies also suggest that gut health plays a role in body weight too. People who have a more diverse gut microbiome, or population of gut bacteria, tend to be leaner. Unfortunately, a bad diet, stress, antibiotics, and other medications can reduce the diversity of the gut microbiome and that can affect digestion, weight gain, immune health, and even mental health. One way to restore gut microbiome balance is to eat more fermented foods with natural probiotics and add more prebiotic fiber to your diet from plant-based food sources. If you can’t do that, a probiotic supplement is an alternative. Be sure to research probiotic supplements if you decide to take one. Preferably, choose one that undergoes independent testing to ensure quality and safety.
VITAMIN B12 Low levels of vitamin B12 tend to occur in women as they age. Vitamin B12 deficiency becomes more common with age because of absorption issues. If you’re low in vitamin B12, it can cause memory issues that mimic dementia.
Other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include neuropathy, balance issues, mood disturbances, depression, and fatigue. If you catch the symptoms early and supplement with vitamin B12, you can reverse it. However, the neurological problems caused by vitamin B12 deficiency can be permanent if it goes on too long. If you eat a vegan diet, you will likely need a vitamin B12 supplement to prevent a serious deficiency. You don’t necessarily need a supplement unless you have absorption issues, but if you have any of the symptoms above, get tested and talk to your doctor about taking a vitamin B12 supplement.
THE BOTTOM LINE Always talk to your physician before taking a supplement and make sure they know what supplements you’re taking. Some can interact with other medications you might be taking.
REFERENCES: Laires MJ, Moreira H, Monteiro CP, Sardinha L, Limão F, Veiga L, Gonçalves A, Ferreira A, Bicho M. Magnesium, insulin resistance and body composition in healthy postmenopausal women. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Oct;23(5):510S-513S. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2004.10719391. PMID: 15466953. “Menopause and Nutrition - Dickinson.” dickinson.edu/download/downloads/ id/6601/menopause_and_nutrition.pdf. “Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Heart Health | Circulation.” 01 Dec. 2015, www. ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.015176. Tayem Y, Alotaibi R, Hozayen R, Hassan A. Therapeutic regimens for vitamin D deficiency in postmenopausal women: a systematic review. Prz Menopauzalny. 2019;18(1):57-62. doi:10.5114/pm.2019.84159. “All About Vitamin B12 and Menopause | Menopause Now.” 02 Oct. 2019, menopausenow.com/vitamin-b12-and-menopause. Sizar O, Khare S, Goyal A, et al. Vitamin D Deficiency. [Updated 2021 Jan 3]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532266/. September 2021 | 50+ Living | 15
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The Care You Trust
Based in Asheville, NC, SOFIA magazine is a locally owned, upscale publication with informative and motivational articles about local women,...
Published on Aug 22, 2021
Based in Asheville, NC, SOFIA magazine is a locally owned, upscale publication with informative and motivational articles about local women,...