Hi and welcome to this week’s fitness newsletter
A reminder that this week’s Wed & Fri morning classes are at the earlier time of 9am then from next week, we’re ‘back to normal’ again. Tue & Thurs evening outdoor classes are always at 6.15pm weather-permitting but when not, I record a class which you can do at home – you’d just let me know and I’d send you the recorded link.
A recent commission into dementia prevention says that there are things within our control that we can do to reduce our risk. The advice and best evidence suggests that not smoking, only drinking in moderation, staying mentally and physically active, eating a balanced diet and keeping cholesterol and blood pressure levels in check can all help to keep our brains as healthy as possible as we age.
Exercise plays an important role in neuroplasticity (which is the brain’s ability to change, adapt, modify) by boosting growth factors and stimulating new neural connections. Exercise increases oxygen in the brain and reduces the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss.
Diet has a direct impact on brain health so the food we eat can significantly affect memory.
According to the College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM), foods high in sugar, unhealthy fats and artificial ingredients cause inflammation in the brain which can increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Adopting an organic, whole food diet rich in nutrients and antioxidants is key for brain health. CNM says that brain-boosting foods include: blueberries, broccoli, leafy greens (ie kale, spinach, rocket), pumpkin, sunflower, chia & flax seeds, Brazil and walnuts, whole grains (ie oats, quinoa, buckwheat), beans, pulses, turmeric and small oily fish (ie sardines or mackerel).
You’ll probably know that I buy from Real Food Source for things like porridge oats, nut butters, nuts, seeds, dried fruits etc. They’re a local family run online business based in Musselburgh for great quality foods.
Just thought you might like to read about overnight oats, how to make them etc (great for summer breakfasts when you might not want to cook porridge)
If you click on the link and scroll down, you’ll see other Related posts including healthy recipes.
I recently made a chocolate chia pudding for breakfast – yep, you can make it for breakfast and not feel guilty about it. It was delicious, filling and easy to make too and it also made enough for 2 servings so I had it the next day too.
Here’s how I made it – and a photo if you scroll down:
In a blender cup, I put in 400ml coconut milk (you can use a tin of coconut milk), added 2T cacao powder, 2T chia seeds, 1T hemp seeds, 3 medjool dates & ¼ tsp ground cinnamon (Chia and hemp seeds contain protein and cinnamon helps to regulate blood sugar).
When blended, I poured the mixture into 2 glasses and put in the fridge to thicken – about 30 mins. When firm, I topped with walnuts, goji berries & bee pollen but you could top with what ever you like eg blueberries/other berries, desiccated coconut, cacao nibs etc.
As you’d guess, I buy organic cacao powder, chia & hemp seeds from RealFoodSource as above.
I’ve mentioned before but cacao (precursor to chocolate) has a number of health benefits. The fruit of the cacao tree: cacao pod contains cacao beans which is cacao/chocolate in it’s most natural and raw unprocessed form. Cacao nibs are made by chopping the bean into pieces and cacao butter and powder can also be processed from the beans.
Cacao is one of the best sources of polyphenols with powerful antioxidant properties and flavanols.
According to an article on jandevrieshealth website, the flavanols in cacao can help to reduce inflammation, lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the overall risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. The article also goes on to say that flavanol-rich cacao products can lower blood pressure and improve blood flow especially in people with high blood pressure.
Research shows that cacao can also support our brain and mood due to improved blood flow to the brain and improved cognitive function.
Chocolate makes us happy! There I’ve said it. Having said that, everything in moderation and it’s not that eating only chocolate will make us happier but cacao/chocolate contains tryptophan and anandamide. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that the body uses to produce the feel-good hormone serotonin. Anandamide is thought to generate a calming, blissful effect.
I mentioned protein above and vegan/veg sources include beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds which we eat a lot of. I love to make hummus which as you’ll know starts with chickpeas. Ok you can buy hummus in supermarkets but it’s so easy to make using a can of chickpeas, some tahini, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil, all blended up.
Chickpeas are so nutritious and are a healthy source of fibre, plant-based protein and a number of vitamins and minerals including iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, folate, phosphorus, calcium, B vitamins and zinc.
Do you love hummus too? It’s such a popular food now and easy to buy or make hummus wraps, add a dollop or 2 of hummus on top of a baked potato or have with oatcakes or on toast for a quick lunch.
If/when you make it yourself, add in a cooked beetroot too for a gorgeous colour and flavour.
Another recipe idea and this time for a green smoothie (this time from Waitrose online summer mag):
Blend the flesh of 1 ripe avocado, 50g fresh spinach leaves, 2 kiwi fruits, 400ml non dairy milk (I used oat), 1 frozen banana & juice of ½ a lime. Again, enough for 2 glasses.
When I have a few ripe bananas, I’ll remove the skins, then slice up the bananas and put in a zip lock bag & put in the freezer. Frozen banana is great in smoothies, making them colder, thicker and smooth. They’re also great for making your own vegan ice cream.
Oh you may remember that in last week’s newsletter, I talked about decluttering and recycling and mentioned make up and have since found out that some supermarkets have a recycling box where you can donate your old mascara, eye pencils, make up, lipsticks etc (thanks for letting me know Sue).
I see that there’s more info on Edinburgh Live, where you can donate your empty products and what they do with all the old make up if you click on the link:
You can also locate some of the participating stores if you type in Edinburgh in the search at Store Locator | Find Your Nearest Maybelline Stockist
Apologies for any class mix up re class on/off last Tuesday – it had been a lovely morning then dah, dah, dah ….at around 4.15pm it started to rain and it was quite heavy.
It wasn’t forecast either. I knew that Paties Road grass would be soaked.
Panic, I emailed then to say I’d wait and see if the rain went off and decide ‘nearer the time’ if our 6.15pm class would be on or not and emailed to say I’d let you know.
Then about 5.15pm, it got brighter, no rain, it was warmer and I decided that the class would go ahead so decided to let everyone know by email but I found out then that our electricity had ‘gone off’ and I couldn’t email everyone as a group as I had no internet connection on the laptop!! Oh noooo.
(I can’t email everyone as a group on my iphone btw) so I had a mad panic to use my phone to do what I could and to put a ‘CLASS ON’ message on my Facebook page (which I did), get changed, and run out the door at 6pm for the class and hope for the best, ie hope that some would turn up.
Phew, thanks to those who did come and join us and it turned out to be a lovely evening.
We only had about 5 seconds of light rain once, maybe twice but nothing at all.
We can cope with that, we’re professionals!!
But apologies if you weren’t sure what was happening and didn’t know if the class was on/off.
It was one of those ‘last minute where you make up your mind, do your best to let everyone know and then things go wrong at the last minute kind of things’ (ie internet connection).
I hope that you enjoyed this week’s newsletter & look forward to seeing you in a class/classes this week.
Please click on the Classes page for class times & details for this week & I look forward to seeing you.
Classes £5 each & you can pay by bank transfer (I can give you my bank details), by card machine when you come to the class or cash.
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See you soon
Connecting with Susan:
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org