Magnesium

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Since starting my nutrition course I feel as though I’m always learning about different things my body needs and often panicking myself wondering what they are and how I can get more of them. One of the great things about studying nutrition is being able to learn the fact from the fiction and being able to share that knowledge with people. Magnesium appears to be having a bit of moment right now and with so much information out there I thought it might be useful to give you a rough guide to explain what it is, why we need it and how we can get more of it.

What is magnesium?

Magnesium is a mineral – in fact it is one of the 6 essential minerals that must be supplied in the diet. Magnesium is often considered the ‘anti-stress’ mineral – it helps to relax skeletal muscles as well as the muscles of blood vessels and the gut. It is also considered to be important in the cardiovascular system as it is involved in blood glucose control and blood pressure regulation. It is also required for energy production, protein synthesis and muscle and nerve function. All in all it plays a huge part all over the body.

How do you know if you’re getting enough?

The recommended daily allowance for magnesium in the UK is 300mg a day for men and 270mg a day for women but it has been suggested that almost one-third of the population gets under 65% of the RDA for this mineral. In most cases most people aren’t getting enough due to a variety of reasons – for example alcohol, caffeine and sugar cause an increase in magnesium loss, meals high in protein or fat can decrease magnesium absorption, stress may increase magnesium excretion and cooking methods can result in magnesium being lost from foods whilst the soils that many vegetables are grown in may not have enough magnesium in the first place. If you look at the typical western diet and lifestyle it quickly becomes apparent that a lot of these factors may be present at one time and so it is no wonder we aren’t getting enough.

In terms of signs to look out for the following are very common with magnesium deficiency: headache, nausea, muscle cramps or spasms, low energy or fatigue, sleep problems, PMS, constipation, irritability and weakness.

Where can I get magnesium from?

Almost all of our magnesium supplies come from vegetables, although seafood also has a high amount. Dark green vegetables are great sources of magnesium, although as mentioned previously this does depend on the kind of soil they have been grown in so choose organic where possible. Most nuts, seeds and legumes have high amounts of magnesium; things like tofu, almonds, pecans, cashews and brazil nuts are great sources. Again choose organic where possible. Whole grains such as millet and brown rice are also good sources.

Epsom salts have also been known to be a great source of magnesium – when putting them in the bath they are easily absorbed through the skin. Alternatively magnesium supplements are a great way to get more magnesium into your diet if you are not getting enough from food.

What can magnesium help with?

Magnesium has a number of different therapeutic uses – everything from kidney stones to pregnancy and blood pressure! In terms of every day use though it really is something you want to make sure you’re getting enough of.

First of all, supplementing magnesium has been shown to alleviate a lot of problems related to periods. Symptoms such as cramps, irritability, fatigue, depression and water retention have been shown to have lessened with magnesium. Magnesium is often at its lowest level during menstruation so by supplementing with it a lot of the symptoms of PMS are relieved.

Fatigue has also been shown to be reduced with magnesium supplementation as the many systems that require magnesium actually help restore normal energy levels.

Last but not least – magnesium can help you to have an amazing night’s sleep and is also helpful with hangover symptoms!

So make sure you’re getting enough of this amazing mineral and I’m sure you’ll feel the benefits in no time!

Love,

Alice x

 

My summer favourites

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It’s been a pretty busy summer with holidays, birthdays and more but after a break it’s time to get back to blogging! Here are a few of the things I’ve been loving over the past couple of months.

  • Reformer Pilates

For my birthday my housemate got me a pack of classes at Heartcore and I’ve been loving them! They offer a variety of classes at their studios across London but I’ve been sticking to reformer pilates and I have to say I’ve noticed a huge difference after only 4 classes. Up until now all the exercise I’ve done has been mainly HIIT, weights or running so to do something at such a slow pace has been such a shock to my body but great! The classes are nice and small so the instructors take time to show you exactly what you’re doing. The class is an amazing full body workout and my core strength has already improved so much. There are loads of different studios across London which offer reformers pilates classes but I’d definitely recommend starting with Heartcore, plus they offer a free first class – perfect for a trial!

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  • T2 Choc Chip Chai

I am so obsessed with tea and this is my new favourite. I am a huge fan of chai and this one has the most delicious chocolatey taste – perfect if you’re looking for a sweet treat after dinner. I’m actually drinking some right now! I can tell this will be even more delicious as it gets colder and the woman in the shop even suggested trying it when cooking your porridge to give it a delicious chocolatey taste… mmmmm. You can pick it up here

  • Gap Fit

I love gym clothes but all my favourite brands seem to be so expensive! Earlier in the summer my Mum took me to Gap to check out their fitness clothing and they have such a great range and it’s all so cheap! I managed to pick up some great things on sale, including a pair of shorts for £10 and a pair of leggings for £15. Whilst they definitely aren’t as good quality as LuluLemon or Sweaty Betty they’ve got some amazing prints and they fit really well – I’d definitely recommend having a look yourself, you’ll definitely find some bargains! Check out Gap Fit here

  • Kobox

In August Kobox had an offer on for the Olympics where you could buy class packs for £10 per class. I picked up a pack of 5 classes for £50 and they had to be used before the end of August which meant I was going every week and I absolutely loved it! Boxing is such a fun workout and the great thing about Kobox is the attention they pay to getting your technique right, plus they split the workout between weights and the bag so there’s never a dull moment. Unfortunately I don’t have the money to keep going now the promo deal is over but if you want to give it a go yourself they’ve got an offer on for your first 2 classes for £20 so definitely give it a try! Check it out here

  • Class Pass

I’ve been wanting to try Class Pass for a while but have never got round to signing up until earlier this month when I saw they had a deal on, 5 classes a month for £19 for your first month – amazing! I signed up straight away and have already tried some great classes. My first class was called ‘Skinny Rebel’ and it was a HIIT workout with an altitude mask! Since then I’ve been to Gym Class in Holland Park for an ‘Ass & Abs’ class which was amazing, I’ve been to 1 Rebel for a boxing class and been to Barrecore. The great thing about living in London is having access to all these amazing studios and now with Class Pass I’m able to try some great new classes! Sign up here for £30 off your first month

  • Gut by Giulia Enders

In 2 weeks I’m starting my second year of nutrition school! I’m so excited to start back at CNM and figured it would be a good idea to do some reading to get me thinking about the body and nutrition again before I start. I’ve only been reading this book for a few days so far but it’s great! It’s written so clearly, with complex biology explained so clearly and written in a funny, light hearted way. If you want to learn more about the importance of gut health and how the gut works it’s a great way to start. Pick up a copy here

Let me know if you try any of the above, I’d love to hear how you get on!

Love,

Alice x

Smoked mackerel salad

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I tried mackerel for the first time recently and absolutely loved it and couldn’t wait to cook it at home! This recipe is a really easy one – perfect for a post workout recipe or packed lunch to take to work. It’s packed full of protein and omega 3 from the eggs and mackerel as well as being full of vitamins & minerals from the beans and kale. Plus it tastes delicious!

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 x peppered smoked mackerel fillets
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 handfuls of kale
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 handful of green beans
  • 1 handful of black olives chopped in half
  • 4 small new potatoes
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Method

  1. Start by boiling water in a saucepan. Once boiled place the eggs & potatoes in the pan and set a timer for 15 minutes. After 10 minutes remove the eggs and run them under cold water. After 15 minutes remove the potatoes and slice in half.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan. Once hot add in the red onion and fry for 5 minutes on a low heat. Then add in the green beans and cook for a further 3 minutes before adding the kale and frying for a few more minutes until cooked. Then remove from the heat and serve onto plates.
  3. Once cooled remove the shell from the boiled eggs and slice in half. Add the chopped olives, eggs and potatoes on to the plates.
  4. Place the mackerel fillet on top of the salad.
  5. To make the dressing mix the apple cider vinegar, mustard & olive oil and whisk. Drizzle on top of the salad and enjoy!

 

I hope you enjoy it, let me know how you get on!

Love,

Alice x

My June Favourites

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June was a pretty stressful month as I had my final exam & assignment due for my first year of my nutrition diploma but I managed to get them done and fingers crossed all went well! Here are a few of the things that I’ve been loving this month that have helped get me through.

  • Mint Matcha Green Tea

I love tea so much. I find it so relaxing and calming, especially in stressful times! When I discovered this tea I was so happy as it is so delicious with so many health benefits. I could write an entire blog post dedicated to the health benefits of matcha – it is packed full of antioxidants and is so good for you! People can sometimes find the taste of matcha quite intense however this tea is delicious. The mint makes it so refreshing and tasty – definitely give it a go! Check it out here 

  • Triyoga

Toward the end of June after finishing my exams I decided to treat myself and buy a 30 day pass to a yoga centre. You’ve probably seen there are loads of introductory offers across London but I decided to go for Triyoga as they have 3 different studios in convenient locations with a huge schedule of classes. I’m so glad I chose Triyoga! I’ve been loving it so far. All the classes I’ve tried have been amazing, particularly the hot yoga and warm vinyasa classes, and the teachers are all very supportive and attentive. I’ve been mainly using the Camden studio which is so beautiful but the Soho and Chelsea studios are just as amazing with a huge range of classes each day. If you are looking to try out yoga I would definitely recommend getting a 30 day introductory pass, Triyoga’s offer is unlimited classes for 30 days for £40 – find out more here

  • Vegan food

One of the great things about working at Mindful Chef is the fact that we have a chef who tests different recipes each day. As we offer 4 vegan recipes each week she is constantly cooking up vegan dishes for us to try which are so delicious! I have been loving experimenting with different things, finding out more about plant based protein sources and cutting down my meat consumption. Take a look at the Mindful Chef website to find out more as they do ensure all plant based meals are nutritionally balanced and they really are so tasty!

Let me know if you try any of the above 🙂

Love,

Alice x

Spiced sweet potato hash browns with poached eggs

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It feels like it’s been ages since I last did a blog post but things have been pretty crazy lately, work has been so busy and yesterday I had an exam and assignment to hand in for the end of my first year of my nutrition course! So it’s my first lazy sunday in ages and to celebrate I decided to try cook up something a little more exciting.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • extra veg – I went for tomatoes, spinach & mushrooms
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method

  1. Peel and grate the sweet potatoes. Once you’ve done this place the grated sweet potato in a tea towel and squeeze to get rid of as much excess water as possible. Don’t worry if it’s still a bit wet though!
  2. Mix the sweet potato, onion, garlic, buckwheat flour, chilli powder, garam masala and salt and pepper in a bowl. Once the ingredients are mixed together make 4 patties – around the size of your palm.
  3. Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan on a medium to high heat. Once the pan is hot enough add the 4 patties to the pan and leave them to fry for about 5 minutes each side.
  4. In the meantime start preparing your vegetables – I chopped up mushrooms & tomatoes and grilled them alongside raw spinach.
  5. Boil water in a shallow frying pan. Once boiled add the apple cider vinegar and stir a bit. Then crack and drop in the 4 eggs into the water to poach them.
  6. Once the eggs have cooked turn the heat off on the sweet potato hash browns and serve onto plates. Remove the eggs from the water, place them on the plate and enjoy!

 

Let me know if you make them, I’d love to hear how you get on!

Love,

Alice x

Review – Reach Fitness

Last week I went to try Reach Fitness in Clapham. Here’s how I got on.

The class

The class was promised to be a bit of everything – an example of the classic kind of class at Reach. We started off with a warm up then it was straight into it. The class was divided up into circuits and for the first one we did a mix of kettlebells, press ups and planks. Then we moved onto thrusters and jump squats. By this point I was pretty sweaty but things were about to get a lot tougher!

The next circuits used a ski pull machine (something I’ve never seen before) followed by the battle ropes and my arms were burning! This one really got my heart rate up and at the end of each set I was so sweaty and out of breath. To finish things off we then did a relay pushing the prowler and once we were done I was completely broken!

The verdict 

If you’re looking for a fun, full body workout this is definitely it. The mix of exercises was great and the trainer kept things fun and interesting, we used a variety of equipment and no body part was left untouched.

I also loved the gym. Nothing fancy about it but full of good equipment, great trainers who were really encouraging and a positive vibe. Overall I loved it and will 100% be going back!

If you are keen to give it a go they offer a free trial class. After that you can buy pay as you go classes in packs or monthly memberships. Let me know if you try it, I’d love to hear how you got on!

love,

Alice x

My May Favourites

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May has been a pretty busy month for me – here are a few of the things I’ve been loving.

  • Mindful Chef

This month I started my new job as a Community Manager at Mindful Chef and am loving it so far! Mindful Chef is a healthy recipe box company which delivers plant based and meat/fish based recipes with fresh, organic produce straight to your door. All their meals are gluten and dairy free and include no refined carbs. Since I’ve started working at Mindful Chef I have been getting the recipe boxes delivered myself and they really are amazing! The quality of the meat/fish/vegetables has been incredible, the recipes are so tasty and they are so quick and easy to make. It is also so handy not having to go and do a food shop to make the recipes and as you are given the exact quantity of the ingredients nothing is ever wasted! I can’t recommend it highly enough. You can check out the website and order your first box with 25% off here

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  • Turmeric Vanilla Latte

Turmeric is really the superfood of the moment and, as I mentioned in a previous blog post, has so many incredible health benefits. It is a strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and studies have even shown it to be beneficial in cancer treatment. Essentially you should be including turmeric in your diet as much as possible! One way to include it is to drink it in a turmeric latte. As weird as it sounds it really is delicious and I recently picked up a turmeric latte powder in Planet Organic which is full of amazing things; turmeric, cinnamon, cocoa, ginger, vanilla, liquorice and black pepper. It is sooo tasty and full of goodness – you can pick it up here

  • Spin

My boyfriend is doing a cycle ride to Paris in July so we’ve been doing a spin class together each week to try help him train for it and I’ve been loving it! Not only is it great to work out with a partner but also spin classes are so fun with such great energy and the perfect way to start the day! We’ve tried out a few classes around London including Pure Ride in Moorgate and 1Rebel and they’ve all been really great and offer discounted classes for your first time if you want to check them out.

Let me know if there’s anything else you’ve been loving this month!

Love,

Alice x