Complementary Fitness Logo

Complementary Fitness 18 April Newsletter

Complementary Fitness Logo

Welcome to this week’s newsletter & updates:

All classes are ON this week and I look forward to seeing you and working out with you if you’re not away for the Easter break.

Coz of the holidays and some of you being away, some of our classes were quieter last week ie Thursday – understandable, not a problem. Why I’m mentioning this is that one of the guys who was there, pointed out that the guys (4) outnumbered the girls (2).  That might be a first and as we know, fitness, strength, flexibility, posture etc is for everyone.

I hope that you had a lovely Easter weekend and indeed, wish you a very happy Easter Monday.


Keep moving, stay active.

Did you know that sitting for too long during the day can reduce our metabolism and energy levels?

Join us, come to classes regularly and exercise and move with us.

Set your alarm on your phone to remind you to get up and move around.

Even if we put the radio on and dance around to 2 or 3 songs that motivates us to move is a great and fun way to stay active, have fun and keep ourselves focussed and re-energised.

Get your trainers or walking boots and jacket on and get outdoors and go for a brisk walk.  We’re so lucky in Edinburgh and in our surrounding areas where we can get up into the Pentland Hills, walk along the Union Canal or down and into Colinton & Craiglockhart Dells and roam around in nature – it’s so good for us physically and mentally.

Nutrition and eating well

I’m having a look at my diet again and starting to eat more vegetables – I know!

I’m 95-98% vegan right but even vegans & veggies can eat unhealthily and get into bad habits.

Anyway, we’re all encouraged to eat more veg and greens and you can never have too many of those right?

I’m starting each meal with veg or even left-over veg from the night before.  I’ll then have protein, which for me, is tofu, beans, chickpeas etc, maybe tempeh (hmm not my fave) or a well-cooked omelette.  It’s like eating lunch or dinner but for breakfast and … why not?


I’ve not been eating enough protein for muscle building and repair so I’m now including more in my diet.

I’m also eating healthy fats (avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, hemp & other seeds) and limiting the amount of fruit I eat although research says it’s best to eat fruit after a meal, not on an empty stomach which will spike insulin levels.  Fruit is simple carbs although there are low GI fruits (eg wild berries) and high GI fruit (eg dried fruit).

I was starting my day usually with gf porridge (a starchy food) soaked overnight in oat milk thinking that oat milk can be more local v almond or hazelnut ie travelled less miles but like anything, you have to look at the label coz some non-dairy milks have added sugar in them.  Then when my porridge was cooked, I added or topped it off with fruit and some hemp seeds.  I love porridge, it’s filling but even though I usually added 1-2T hemp seeds for protein, I don’t think the amount of protein I should be eating at each meal was enough!


I’ve been learning about glucose, high insulin and what many glucose spikes do to our body and mind.

The starch from the oatmeal and oat milk turns into glucose quickly and there can be an insulin spike if we have it ‘plain’.  So if we eat oatmeal/porridge, its better to have those carbs with protein ie nut butter and seeds, maybe a protein powder which will reduce the insulin spike.

Too many carbs can lead to weight gain, increased belly fat and inflammation.  As I say, I’ve been learning more about keeping insulin levels stable, trying to avoid insulin spikes (which cause our body to store fat) and crashes and about inflammation and inflammatory foods.  Chronic inflammation is a big issue for me so I’m trying to reduce it.


Maybe we (ie me) just get into a habit, think we’re being super healthy but it’s always worth learning more and adjusting what we eat, how we sleep, whether we exercise or don’t, and I find that after menopause, it’s harder and harder to keep muscle tone, build muscle and keep belly fat from creeping on.  For me, it’s not about losing weight or reducing my BMI but it’s about increased abdominal fat and wanting to reduce inflammation and in doing so, trying to avoid diseases.


So, I may still have porridge for breakfast but not every or most mornings and when I do, I’ll definitely have more protein with it.

I’m going to have more protein shakes with nut milk, add in some spinach, nuts, seeds, nut butter and some low GI berries.

I also love tofu and I know it’s bland but you can flavour it with herbs and spices and I always buy organic tofu anyway.  I’ll have it either scrambled with turmeric powder & black pepper or sliced/cubed and add over wilted or steamed spinach and maybe a slice of a good sourdough (I love Twelve Triangles bakery sourdough as I’ve mentioned before) or one of those German pumpernickel rye-type bread slices toasted with nut butter on top.

Eating more veg is a great way to ensure we get all of our daily nutrients as well as all important fibre.

I’ve heard that if we’re maybe trying to lose weight or decrease inflammation, that half of our plate should be veggies but it can be anywhere from half to three-quarters and the rest lean quality sources of protein ie free range, wild, grass-fed, organic, a palm-sized portion at every meal and fat and then, add in some carbs eg maybe a smallish sweet potato (yum).

If we don’t need to lose weight, lose fat or decrease inflammation but instead, want to increase weight, then add in more carbs.


Protein helps to keep us feeling full and satisfy our hunger cravings.

Protein is made up of amino acids – the building blocks for our body’s tissues and they help in the production of serotonin and GABA which are neurotransmitters that help us stabilise our mood.

Fat is essential for a healthy diet & it helps us absorb fat soluble vitamins ie A, D, E & K.

The brain is made up of fat so it’s great for memory.

It also keeps skin and hair healthy and can relieve joint pain.

We can still enjoy, and need carbohydrates but according to research, to reduce continuous insulin spikes, we should eat our fibre-rich veg/salad then our protein, fat and then those whole food carbs ie not processed but whole grains, veg eg sweet potatoes & low GI fruits.

I’ve read that instead of just eating fruit on it’s own though, it’s best to add some protein or fat along with it ie apple + peanut butter or berries + yoghurt because the combination contains healthy fat & protein, rather than having say, an apple on it’s own – otherwise the sugar from the fruit will quickly be absorbed into your system and cause insulin to spike.

Combining these foods will hopefully stabilise our mood and energy levels.

When we eat in a mindful way, we don’t need to count or obsess over calorie-counting either as this can be stressful but rather, eat a healthy balanced diet that will nourish, fuel and energise us.

So some of the research comes from a brand new book that’s just out and you may have read an article in one of the newspapers recently about it too.

I haven’t bought the book ..… yet but I’ve been listening to various podcasts with author Jessie Inchauspe who is a biochemist & geneticist and her book is called Glucose Revolution.

Apart from her recommendation of eating in the right order, she recommends that before we eat a meal, we should grab a tall glass of water, add in 1T vinegar (eg apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar but not balsamic) and drink it up to ½ an hour before each meal.

She says this is scientifically validated and will decrease the glucose spike from the food we’re about to eat by up to 30% which means less inflammation and weight gain from the meal.  To protect our teeth, we can use a straw to drink the vinegar water.


The recommendation is that after we eat something, we should get up and move around for 10 minutes, whether it’s going for a walk, going up and downstairs or dancing around, doing some housework, laundry but getting our muscles to work.  We should then feel better and movement is better for our mental and physical health.

Also, as the glucose is released from our digestive system, those working/exercising muscles will uptake or soak up the glucose and will reduce the spike so we get a much smaller glucose spike from the same meal that we just ate.

Balanced blood sugar also helps us sleep better – it’s all sooo interesting.



Oh by the way, she says “exercise is one of the most powerful, anti-aging drug and if they could put it in a pill, it would be the miracle pill you can take” and ‘during a workout, glucose is released from the liver into our system to fuel our muscles because our muscles need glucose to contract to make energy and help us lift weights or get through our workout so overall, exercise helps us reduce inflammation and insulin release and is anti-aging’.

All good to know, for it to be validated (again), reinforced and reminded of.


I also have Mark Hyman MD’s The Blood Sugar Solution 10 Day Detox Diet book which gives lots of great tips and information on how to, and why we should keep our blood sugar levels stable.


Both Dr Hyman and Jessie aka ‘the glucose goddess’ agree that for breakfast, we can enjoy a nut, veg & fruit shake for breakfast where we combine protein, healthy fat and fibre.

In a blender, start with the liquid part which could be 1 cup of almond milk or water, then add in greens eg spinach, add in seasonal fresh fruits or some frozen organic fruits is convenient and easily obtainable.  Add in healthy fats (ie chia seeds and shelled hemp seeds both for protein and Omega 3 fats), flax seeds for O3 & fibre, some nut butter and maybe add in some ground cinnamon which is great for balancing blood sugar and for flavour.

Blend and enjoy.


If we find that we fall off the healthy lifestyle wagon now and then, it’s important to acknowledge it, how we’re feeling, say it’s ok, be kind to ourselves and get back on it again.  We’re all human.  No one is perfect.  I think that life isn’t about being perfect but about progressing, learning and moving in the right direction.

So again, remember to be kind to yourself.


Of course, we all know that a 100% clean healthy well-balanced diet isn’t the ‘be all and end all’ way to live if we don’t exercise or sleep well, we don’t take time to recharge, if we’re extremely stressed and have poor relationships.

Equally, if we exercise too much or become obsessive about exercise, if we don’t rest, recover, have a poor diet, maybe smoke or drink a lot of alcohol, stay up too late, then that’s not great for our overall health either.


It’s all about balance and aiming for a healthy lifestyle.

We may not achieve it fully but we’re trying our best with small changes that all add up.

Change one thing at a time, build a habit and move to the next thing which might be to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.


Email me and let me know your thoughts and what works for you.

Changes to Lateral Flow Testing from today 18 April:  you will no longer need to test if you don’t have coronavirus symptoms.

Community testing centres at McDonald Road and Wester Hailes libraries closed on Friday 15 April.  If you have coronavirus symptoms, you still need to isolate and should book a PCR test online at or call the National Testing centre on 119.

Find out more about the changes to testing at

You can find out more information about vaccination clinics at


It’s not mandatory to wear face coverings from today too.

For me, it’ll feel strange not to wear one on public transport, when going into shops & supermarkets but then again, we were in York last weekend and face coverings weren’t mandatory there but … I/we still did when we went into a restaurant or café.

Change takes time and we’re adaptable, yay.


It’s Earth Day on 22 April which aims to raise awareness about our climate and environment.  Find out more at


Reminders that:

  • if you have any news, anything you’d like to share ie whether it’s local news, ideas, comments, recipes etc, let me know and I’ll let everyone know. Although this is a long-ish newsletter this week, I’m always on the hunt for things to add into these weekly newsletter.  Please regularly send me class comments & feedback (eg if the class has benefitted you, that a fitness yoga evening class helps you sleep, that you have more energy after a particular class etc etc), then please email me directly or through my website and I’ll continually update the ‘what class participants say’ section of my website, thank you.


  1. you can email me for a space in any class and/or just turn up, there’ll be space for you. We’re never 100% full with no spaces left.  You can book a place through my Facebook page too if you want to.
  2. If you feel unwell, have any cold or other virus symptoms, don’t come to a class but stay home, take care, get well and come back when you’re full recovered and feel better.
  3. please follow me on Instagram and Facebook @complementaryfitness where you’ll see the latest updates, photos, mini videos etc. On Pinterest, I’m @SusanCockburn

As always, I look forward to seeing you this week and working out together.

Connecting with Susan:  or

click here for Complementary Fitness Youtube channel

Email me: