Menopause Awareness Month: Tips for Finding Natural Hot Flash Relief


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Happy Menopause Awareness Month! This post was written and sponsored by NovaSoy

As women enter their 40s and 50s, it’s inevitable: perimenopause and menopause will begin. And, so will the hot flashes—one of the most common, symptoms of menopause.

There are a variety of natural solutions for overcoming these unpleasant hot flashes. Natural remedies typically involve plants or habitual lifestyle changes. As we embark on Menopause Awareness Month, we wanted to share these effective options for natural hot flash relief:

  • Take a Supplement based on Nature – Supplements containing soy isoflavones rich in genistein, naturally-occurring compounds with a chemical structure similar to estrogen, have been scientifically proven to reduce the frequency and severity of menopausal hot flashes by approximately 20 to 30 percent. To make sure the supplement contains the right amount of soy isoflavones, just look for the green NovaSoy® brand leaf on the labels of over-the-counter supplements widely found in drug, grocery and health & nutrition stores.
  • Focus on Nutrition – The right kind of diet is full of fruits, vegetables and plant-based proteins such as beans, lentils, legumes and soy. For some women, certain foods trigger hot flashes. Common triggers include coffee, spicy foods or alcohol. Additionally, avoiding caffeine or alcohol within three hours of bedtime may decrease the likelihood of night sweats interrupting sleep.
  • Exercise Regularly – Exercise has been shown to reduce hot flashes as well as a host of other menopause-related issues women face, including sleep disturbances. However, to reap the full benefits, it’s important to incorporate a variety of techniques including aerobic, weight-bearing, strength training and relaxation exercises like yoga.
  • Deflate Stress with Therapy – It’s been proven that lowering stress levels helps decrease menopausal hot flashes. There are many ways to alleviate stress, such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga exercises. Some women are turning to more creative therapies such as hypnotherapy, herbal therapy and aromatherapy.

It’s important to remember, though, that you should still consult your health care provider if you are using nature’s remedies. Discuss your symptoms, treatment plan and how it may impact your overall health.

Interested in discussing hot flash relief and your menopause journey with other women going through the same experience? Join the NovaSoy Facebook community! Discussion topics include exercise inspirations, healthy recipes, and menopause blogs, videos and cartoons. There’s also an interactive symptom checker to let you know if you’re experiencing menopause.


And if that’s not enough, you have until September 30 to enter to win a three-month supply of a product containing NovaSoy that you’d like to try. Just click here:  GIVEAWAY!


The Breast Archives: Nine Women Bare Their Breasts




Could you bare your breasts and then talk about them on camera? Read the fascinating story of  the upcoming film, The Breast Archives, directed and produced by Meagan Murphy:

An inspirational and gently provocative documentary, The Breast Archives explores the complex, yet elusive and hushed relationship women have with their breasts. In the film, the women share their deeply personal memories of puberty, aging, sexual pleasure, nursing, and breast cancer–to name a few. As they give voice to these memories, they find an innate and guiding wisdom as they realize how they’ve tied their feelings about their breasts to their self-worth. These women courageously bare their breasts to the camera, each inviting the audience to accept her naked, imperfect truth.

Making The Breast Archives was a powerful experience for every woman in the film. “I can honestly say to you this may be the first time in my life my breasts and I are befriending each other,” says Sandy. “I am a whole woman as I sit here with you.”


Through bold & candid personal narratives the film illuminates many significant themes and often-stifled experiences of womanhood in America: adolescence, sensual and sexual experience, health and aging. The Breast Archives will make some people uncomfortable. It will elicit emotions, memories, and provocative conversations. It will compel people to explore their own stories. By exposing themselves, the women expose and challenge all of us.

 The participants, aged 32-68, knew beforehand that they would be asked to expose their breasts to the camera. They chose to participate because they felt empowered to take part in what they knew to be a new and necessary conversation, and they understood that baring their breasts was part of that. There were moments of nervousness as they removed their tops, but these moments tended to be fleeting and quickly shifted toward feelings of generosity, authenticity, and dignified courage.

Once the breasts were revealed, the interviews shifted dramatically, becoming more profound and openhearted. Being topless gave the women a heightened awareness, and was visibly transformative. As the women sorted through their experiences and feelings, and as they articulated their insights, their perspectives began to shift.

The camera captured everything as they began to assimilate experiences that had been previously compartmentalized. As one woman said, “There are so many things that I haven’t really thought about concerning my breasts and their ability to open me up.” Removing their shirts wasn’t just about daring or boldness, or even self-acceptance, but about asserting a right to claim their identity and love themselves.


Read more about the film here, on the website.

Like The Breast Archives on Facebook. 

Follow the film on Twitter.

About director Meagan Murphy: 

Meagan Murphy is an award-winning Director/Producer with 25 years’ experience in both film and broadcast. In addition to earning a BS from Northeastern University in 1992, Meagan received two certificates from the International Film and Television workshops in Maine, as well as certificates from a New England-based Women’s Mystery School, Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts, and a 200 Hour Teacher Training certificate from Expressive Arts & Yoga through Northampton’s Embodiment Institute.

She earned a Communicator’s Award for her work with teens and a Medical Journalism Fellowship through Blue Cross Blue Shield. While at PBS-WGBY, she contributed to and oversaw several award-winning series. Her film repertoire includes Night DepositFathers & Sons, and Victor’s Big Score.

Meagan is active in several industry and networking associations, including the International Documentary Association, Women Business Owners Alliance, eWomen and Women in Film and Video/New England. Additionally, she sits on several committees for the Arts Council in Easthampton, Massachusetts.


“I’d like to be a role model who inspires courage, compassion, and authentic expression. I am also deeply committed to changing society’s faulty perceptions of women and their feminine bodies as somehow dispensable, and I intend to use The Breast Archives as a springboard to make a difference in this arena.”



Life Reimagined: Part Two!


Setting Purposeful Goals

In August, I began exploring Life Reimagined, a program sponsored by AARP.  Friend for the Ride readers are invited to try it too, free of charge. Please do! Just follow this link.

I’ve had a wonderful time and learned so much about what I want in my years ahead. You can read my first post here.

You begin your work in Life Reimagined by coming up with a purpose statement. Here’s mine:


This purpose statement becomes your guiding light as you navigate all the activities their website offers.

In my first conversation with my life coach, Christine Ryan, we looked at my purpose statement together. At the close of the call, Christine encouraged me to focus on the very last word of my statement: “content.”

“Look at the activities that relate to contentment on the Life Reimagined site,” she told me. So I did.

The activities led me to this conclusion: Above all, I want to make strong strides toward better health. One activity I found especially helpful was on how to avoid getting stuck. Many of us know the getting stuck story when it comes to diet and exercise.


Two recent blood tests confirmed that my blood sugar is close to pre-diabetic. Yikes!

“I first ask my patients to stop drinking sugar,” my doctor said. “That’s where most of us go wrong.”

“I don’t drink sugary sodas or fruit drinks,” I told her. But then it hit me. I put too much sugar in my beloved Lipton’s tea. And I often drink four cups every morning.

Solution: Sugar cubes! I love dropping them into me tea, and now I know just how much sugar I’m using. (It’s a lot less messy than measuring too). My tea isn’t nearly as sweet, and I was surprised how quickly I got used to the lowered sweetness.


I’ve cut myself back to two cups a morning, which not only slows down the sugar but the caffeine. (More on my insomnia soon.)


I’m ramping up my walking. I love to walk, but sometimes, the day gets so full, I don’t get to it. New goal: Walk earlier in the day. With my new plan, many mornings in the last month, I’ve hit Hillsborough’s Riverwalk right after dawn.


I sometimes bring that second cup of tea with me, later hiding the empty mug in the grass. Trick is to remember to pick it up on the way home.


I never quite understood why so many people are into counting steps. I downloaded a step counter on my phone called “S Health,” and I love it. Here’s the report from a five mile river trek one morning.


I’ve taken in the morning mist in Gold Park (an extension of the Riverwalk).


The light through the trees.


And the new bridge that connects the Riverwalk to the historic Occoneechee Speedway.


Is this the wet squiggle of a snake?


When I come home, I’ve already hit my tea limit, so I’ve taken to making smoothies. I’ve never been deep into smoothies, mostly because I tire of washing the blender. But gosh are they good. This one features bananas and frozen berries with a splash of milk and a few ice cubes.


On to my insomnia. My friend Joanna told me that cutting out all alcohol has cured her insomnia.I seldom have more than two drinks,usually just one (except for Beach Week and a really fun wedding). But after talking to Joanna, I began to wonder: Could just one drink keep me from sleeping? So I am drinking only tiny bits of alcohol, if any at all.

We had dinner the other night at a favorite Hillsborough haunt, Radius Pizza, I asked for a mocktail made of seltzer. Yum!

My sleeping has improved dramatically. We’ll see what happens as time goes forward, but I’m encouraged.

In my second conversation with my coach Christine, we talked about my eating and fitness goals. “Small steps,” she said. “Success builds success builds success.”

Perhaps this is why attempts like these have failed me before. I want all or nothing. And I want it in an instant. So I keep repeating:

Success builds success builds success

Life Reimagined offers group coaching sessions too. I signed up for this one.

Setting Purposeful Goals

Our leader, Elissa Ashwood, talked about the difference between purposeful goals and performance goals. With purpose-driven goals, we’re accountable to something inside of ourselves. “Go back to your purpose statement,” she told us. “Purpose is the why, and it’s got to be bigger then the objections.” She laughed: “Your why has to be bigger than your but.”


I liked the group session and definitely got some takeaways. I even spoke up! I plan to sign up for more.

The Life Reimagined website features excellent articles, too. Here they are listed by topic.  This one, written by a grieving father, address purpose: How Purpose Saved My Life.

Another question I’ve been exploring through Life Reimagined is  what to do about my writing for children. My blogging and health writing are going well. The children’s book field is a tough one. I recently parted ways with my agent and am in search of a new one. Not an easy adventure.

My illustrator friend Wendy Wahman wrote me about my agent search: “Hang in, my talented, sensitive friend. It could be a long road. Make it one of the courses on your plate. De-intensify. You do other things, and your blog is great.”

Speaking of talent, here’s Wendy’s upcoming picture book, coming out March 2, 2017 from Boyds Mills Press.

You can read more about Wendy’s work here. 

Other writer friends have chimed in: “Keep writing for kids! You have a great voice.” My friend Margaret Nevinski just read my novel and gave me wonderful insights on the plot. I’m ready to revise.

Small steps to finding an agent, to writing, and to health!

I tell my Life Reimagined story to keep myself accountable to the changes I want to make. But I tell it too, to encourage you to give Life Reimagined a try. Once again, here’s the link! 



A Ladies Room Door Special: Chuy’s!



A few weeks ago, we went to visit daughter Laura and son-in-law Matt in Dallas. Laura always plans outings to a few of the city’s fabulous restaurants.

“Tell her my only request is to sit outside and eat unlimited chips and salsa,” Cliff said before we left.

Laura is expecting a baby girl, and women who are expecting aren’t eating outside this summer in Texas. The Zika virus has not hit Dallas yet, but pregnant women are warned not to expose themselves to the possibility of mosquito bites.

So Laura found bottomless chips inside this place: Chuy’s!

The second I stepped inside, the vibes instantly told me: LADIES ROOM DOORS. And I was right.

But first Elvis.


Look at the way cool floors. Wish I could have these in my new house:


A wall of dogs:


This lovely ancient lady:


Ah. He loved her for the wrong reasons:


On to the bathrooms.

A good sign of what I was soon to find. This festive sign:


And this one:




And a door! Lipstick!


For the gentlemen:

A second ladies room: (Chuy’s is a big restaurant.)

The men:20160805_181413

Chuy’s is Bathroom Door Heaven. And the chips are heavenly-lighter than most and quite flavorful. Cliff ate so many bowlfuls, he could barely eat his own tacos much less pine for mine.

“The next time we come, we’ll have the baby!” I said when we left.

I can’t wait to bring along a little girl to help me in my quest for ladies room doors. Now that would be heaven on Earth!