Sofia C. Pereira

What you also get from team sports: It's about more than fitness!

Having been born in Portugal in the mid-sixties, sports, and specially team sports, were not considered an important part of a little girl’s education. I was a tomboy as a kid, as well as slightly overweight, very lazy, and physically awkward and uncoordinated. Partially because of my family’s upbringing and partially to help off-set my lack of femininity, my mom signed me up for ballet in grade school. I just hated it! So much so that I constantly made sure to have snot running down my nose so that the French ballet teacher would send me to the bathroom to tidy myself up... which I took as long as possible to do. By the time I was a teenager living in Canada, and given some choice on what sports to do, I naturally chose individual activities, such as Judo, swimming, and Tai Chi. This means that although I just loved (and love) to watch football, soccer and hockey, playing team sports were not within my scope of reality.

Thank goodness, things changed in my mid-twenties, when I started dating an Ultimate frisbee player and coach that is currently my husband of twenty something years. After falling in love with the sport while watching his team play at the highest level in the World Club Championship in Toronto, I joined the team he started at the University where we were both graduate students. Twenty-six years later, and I am still playing. Of course, things have changed since we played Toronto league in the early nineties … I now play on the beach (sand is softer on the bones) in Portugal, and I am probably slower. But when I think of retiring from the sport, I immediately start to think of possible substitution team sports. As much as I enjoy individual physical activity, I have come to realize that not only am I addicted to pushing myself physically, but that I also crave the lessons I learn and the feeling I get from playing a team sport.

Fantastic life lessons that come from belonging to a sports team include:

Learning to work as a group for a common goal while managing different personalities, expectations, and needs. On a team with many players, managing emotions can especially challenging in a competitive situation. Examples of this Include over-celebrating wins, accepting losses, and congratulating the opposite team after an exceptionally difficult match.

Team sports can therefore greatly help in developing emotional maturity. There is a huge amount of growth that comes from dealing with personal failure and letting down your team as well as learning to let go of past mistakes. In sports, as in life, quick recuperation from screw ups is key, as mistakes themselves inevitably happen.

Team sports also bring great lessons in responsibility, fair play, and communication. Taking responsibility for knowing and playing by the rules, keeping a clear and objective mind during matches and being able to talk and listen are all part of what makes a great team player.

Another advantage of a team is the feeling of belonging to a group. This is wonderful from a social as well as psychological point of view. With game practices and competitions at least twice a week, the social aspect of playing a sport can be an important part of life.

Abstracting from daily life is also an important benefit of a team sport. Even when we are preoccupied with something, often when we start to practice of play, we stop thinking about whatever work or personal issue was bothering us. This distance gained often results on greater mental clarity later.


These are just some of the advantages of team sports, which taken together with the physical fitness aspect, make our bodies and brains function better… therefore allowing for us to live a richer life. The sport I play is especially attractive for me as it is self-refereed, which I believe to be highly enriching from a personal growth point of view. However, any team sport is a great way to do physical activity and socialize. The other day I heard someone say, ”Physical activity helps your brain function”. No doubt it does, in fact, we need physical activity for our brains to function at their best. With a team, not only is fitness more fun, there are a bunch of extra aspects that can help us be better people! The choices of sports are endless, and for all shapes, sizes and/or ages. What sports teams are available in your community that you could join?

This post was originally published on Thrive Global

Sofia C. Pereira

How the book The Food Anthropologist touched me_ a review (Uma opinião sobre o livro The Food Anthropologist)

I don’t want to give a synopsis of the contents of the book “The food anthropologist” by Sofia de Campos Pereira. I would like to express what the book did to me, what I learned from it, what I took from it and what fascinated me.

In 12 chapters Sofia describes the various diets she followed, each diet for a month. No matter how restrictive the diet, she consistently followed the rules and she describes the negative and positive effects on her on a physical as well as social and emotional level. I was surprised to see how many diets exist (she choses a mostly random order) and understand some of the sense or nonsense of a certain diet and why people follow it.

It is a personal story, warm and sensitive, with a scientific flavor. She describes the science behind the causes as well as backgrounds which makes it for a fascinating read. You get to know her family and friends a bit and that gives a nice atmosphere which is pleasant to read.

What fascinated me most were the last chapters, her ‘Afterthoughts’. I’ve never been very interested in food, recipes, variation, although I try to make sure I eat ‘healthy’. I never fully realized the connection between food and all the other aspects of life. Sofia enabled me to see that everything has to do with everything. That there is a connection between all living organisms. It is not only what we eat and knowing what food is good for our health, she also makes the link between the importance of self-discipline and how our focus on goals stops us from enjoying the process. She even addresses how our food actions influence our environment and planet.

It’s about small steps that we can take to make progress and that progress is never linear. We would like to see immediate results when we start a diet or choose another type of food or any goal. Sofia showed me that that self-discipline, even when circumstances are not favorable, is not easy but it is needed to take steps towards a (small) goal that we have in mind. I recognize then Sofia who has been my health coach for a long time and from whom I have learned a lot.

I highly recommend this book to anyone, including those who are not interested in food. It is very pleasant to read and very educational!

September 22, 2017, Holland

Sofia C. Pereira

A review of the science behind the link between gut bacteria and physical/mental health. Live on Thrive Global.


Sofia C. Pereira

The perfect poached egg! / O ovo escalfado perfeito!

Although I love poached eggs, I used to avoid making them at home. They always seemed to make such a mess and often turned out watery or rubbery. However, the other day, I saw an easy and practical way to make poached eggs on a cooking video that seemed great, and basically involved placing the raw egg in saran wrap and then in the boiling water for four minutes.

I have since made poached eggs a few times and just love the simplicity and versatility of this method. The one important step is to add a few drops of olive oil into the saran wrap so the egg doesn’t stick to it while cooking. Otherwise, I have cooked the egg with basil leaf inside the wrap or other spices, and it was very tasty. Check out the recipe with smoked salmon in the photo for inspiration and enjoy!

O ovo escalfado perfeito!

Gosto imenso de ovos escalfados, apesar de até agora evitar fazê-los em casa. Fazia sempre imensa porcaria e frequentemente os ovos ficavam aguados ou emborrachados. No entanto, no outro dia, vi uma maneira fácil e prática para fazer ovos escalfados num vídeo de culinária, que bastava colocar o ovo cru dentro de película aderente e depois em água a ferver por quatro minutos.

Desde então tenho feito ovos escalfados algumas vezes e adoro a simplicidade e versatilidade deste método. O passo mais importante é não esquecer de adicionar algumas gotas de azeite antes de por o ovo na pelicula para assegurar que o ovo não se cola enquanto cozinha. Tirando isso, já utilizei este método com folhas de manjericão ou outras especiarias dentro do invólucro de pelicula e ficou muito saboroso. Como inspiração, veja a fotografia da receita com salmão fumado e bom proveito!

Sofia C. Pereira

Click on the title and read a little about the author... / Carregue no título para ler um pouco sobre o autor...
for blog-interview post

Sofia C. Pereira

Take a look at a story about my book, The Food Anthropologist, on Thrive Global.
Vale a pena ler a história do meu livro, The Food Anthropologist, no Thrive Global.

Sofia C. Pereira

When nothing is certain, everything is possible / Quando nada é certo, tudo é possível

Over the last weeks, I’ve often thought about the inherent fear that we humans have of change, which unfortunately seems to increase as we age. In fact, we sometimes even worry about the things that are stable, never mind the ones that are undergoing transformation. Today, I want to share with you my personal feelings of anxiety and distress around the unknown as well as how I deal with them. 

One of the issues that most worries me is my profession. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love what I do and have no doubt that it is exactly what I am supposed to be doing. But my career is still transitioning from that of a hard-core scientist to that of a health coach with an established business, and the financial uncertainty of the future that comes with being an entrepreneur sometimes gets to me. On the other hand, the learning curve has been tremendous, and I thoroughly enjoy my teaching, my clients, as well as the whole experience of writing and publishing my first book

It is not my intention to write a long story today about the role of stability on mental strength and resilience, but I do feel that it is important to have some aspects of our lives solidly established to positively confront the ones that are changing. Our stability and self-worth are multi-faceted and differ from person to person, coming from things such family, work, a sport, friends, your home, a community group, cooking, an interest such as painting or photography… and so on. 

I personally find that my internal strength is directly associated with the number of aspects that are established and ok in my life. And the more solid I am internally, the greater my capacity to face change is. Therefore, when I feel unstable, I start off by thinking of three aspects in my life that are at their best at that moment,. Focusing on these helps me gain from their solidity, and brings mental stability in an otherwise unpredictable time. Also, what is good and stable serves as my basis for expansion, and thus to reinforce and solidify other aspects of my life as well as to explore the unknown… 

As unsettling as change can be, the idea of avoiding change to evade pain or failure is even more terrifying to me, since it is precisely change that is needed for growth and improvement. Also, truth be told, change is inevitable… as nothing in life is static. 

In the face of the unknown, I find it really helps to consciously take control of what I can in a directed and creative manner without spending superfluous time on worrying. When I do get that inevitable “heavy chest” or “shaky brain” feeling, I take deep breath and bring myself back to my solid place and focus on what I can control. 

It always helps me to remember my intentions… and to relish in going beyond my current limits. There is something wonderful about the unknown… because when nothing is certain, everything is possible. 

Note: This story was published on Thrive Global on August 22, 2017. Link:

Quando nada é certo, tudo é possível

Nas últimas semanas, tenho pensado frequentemente sobre o medo inerente que nós humanos temos da mudança, que infelizmente parece aumentar à medida que envelhecemos. Às vezes, até nos preocupamos com as coisas que estão a correr bem e que não estão em fase de transformação. No meu blog de hoje, vou partilhar com vocês os meus sentimentos de ansiedade e angústia do desconhecido, e como é que eu lido com a mudança.  

Um dos aspetos da minha vida que mais me preocupa é a minha carreira. Não me interpretem mal, gosto imenso do que faço e não tenho nenhuma dúvida de que é exatamente o que devia estar a fazer. Contudo, ainda estou em transição de ser cientista a tempo inteiro para ser um “health-coach” com uma carreira estabelecida, e às vezes tenho dificuldade a lidar com as incertezas associadas a ser empreendedora. Por outro lado, a curva de aprendizagem tem sido tremenda! E, neste ultimo ano, tenho desfrutado imenso de dar aulas, das consultas com os meus clientes, bem como toda a experiência de escrever e publicar o meu primeiro livro

Não é a minha intenção escrever uma longa entrada sobre a importância da estabilidade na força mental e na resiliência, mas por outro lado, sinto a necessidade de mencionar a importância de ter alguns aspetos da nossa vida estabelecidos e sólidos para confrontar de forma positiva aqueles que estão em transição. A nossa estabilidade e autoestima são multifacetadas e individualmente diferentes, provenientes de peças como a família, trabalho, desporto, amigos, o lar, um grupo comunitário, cozinhar, interesses tais como pintura ou fotografia... e assim por diante.

O meu estado mental interno está grandemente associado ao número de aspetos que estão bem na minha vida. Quantos mais componentes estiverem sólidos, maior é a minha capacidade de enfrentar a mudança de uma forma positiva. Quando me sinto instável, tento focar e pensar nas três coisas da minha vida que estão mais estáveis no momento, e ganho conforto com a sua solidez. Isso ajuda-me a manter alguma estabilidade mental em tempos imprevisível. Isto serve como a minha base para a expansão, não só para reforçar e solidificar outros aspetos da minha vida como para explorar o desconhecido…

Por muito preocupante que a mudança possa ser, a ideia de evitar a mudança para escapar à dor e ao medo de falhar é ainda mais aterrorizante. Pois é precisamente pela mudança que crescemos e melhoramos. Também, verdade seja dita, a mudança é inevitável... como nada na vida é estático.

Em face do desconhecido, o que realmente me ajuda é assumir o controle daquilo que posso controlar, de uma forma dirigida e criativa, e sem gastar tempo supérfluo a preocupar-me com aquilo que não tenho capacidade de mudar. Quando tenho os inevitáveis momentos de "peito pesado" ou "cérebro a tremelicar", respiro fundo para voltar ao que está sólido e voltar a concentrar-me no que eu posso controlar.  Ajuda-me sempre relembrar as minhas intenções... e aproveitar o prazer de explorar o desconhecido e de ultrapassar o meus limites atuais. Há algo maravilhoso sobre o desconhecido... quando nada é certo, tudo é possível.

Sofia C. Pereira

blog post-published book

Sofia C. Pereira

card w face
There is no doubt that how we eat, move, think and love are all inter-connected. The power to change is in our hands. Take this course by clicking on the title and expand your current limits in a fun, convenient and "at your own pace" way. Challenge accepted?

Aceite o desafio! 

Não há dúvidas sobre as ligações entre como comemos, movemos, pensamos e amamos. O poder de mudar está nas nossas mãos. Aproveite este curso focado em expandir os seus limites atuais de forma divertida, conveniente e "ao seu próprio ritmo". É só carregar no título e inscrever-se. Desafio aceite?

Sofia C. Pereira

Try a food anthropologist experiment to reset your body this spring / Experimente ser um antropólogo alimentar para fazer um reset esta primavera

As many of you know, for the last 11 months i have been doing consecutive 30 day challenges by strictly following a specific eating regime or dietary theory. At this point, I am almost half-way through the vegan month. One of the many interesting results of these challenges is that dairy has not been a part of my diet since the ketogenic challenge about 4 months back. The result of this is that a greatly loved and used food option like cheese and milk no longer even come to mind when I think of what to eat. Anyway, I have been keeping a log of all the challenges and hope to share them with you soon in the form of a book. For now, why not use the longer days of spring as an inspiration to try a different eating regime yourself? If you can’t think of one that you would like to do (remove gluten and/or dairy, try paleo or macrobiotic), I am happy to help. Just think about it… it is a fantastic reset for your body and brain as well as to feel the empowerment of self-discipline!

Experimente ser um antropólogo alimentar para fazer um reset esta primavera

Como muitos de vocês sabem, nos últimos 11 meses eu tenho feito desafios alimentares consecutivos de 30 dias onde sigo um regime alimentar ou teoria dietética. Neste momento, estou quase no meio do mês vegan. Um dos muitos resultados interessantes destes desafios é que os lacticínios não fazem parte da minha dieta desde o desafio cetogênico há cerca de 4 meses atrás. Por causa disto, a opção de um alimento que gosto imenso como queijo ou leite já não vem à mente quando penso no que vou comer. De qualquer forma, tenho mantido um registro de todos os desafios e espero compartilhá-los em breve na forma de um livro. Por agora, por que não usar os dias mais longos da Primavera como inspiração para tentar um regime diferente alimentar? Se não conseguir pensar num desafio que gostaria de fazer, aqui vão algumas sugestões: que tal retirar o glúten e/ou produtos lácteos, tentar paleo ou dieta macrobiótica? Pense nisso... é uma oportunidade fantástica para fazer um “reset” ao seu corpo e cérebro e também de sentir o enorme poder da autodisciplina!