Lizzyfied

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Simple zoats recipe: 6 ingredients

Oats are my favourite breakfast option and I have them in some form almost every single day. Most mornings I simply pour them into a bowl with some plant milk and an array of toppings. But I do like a nice warming porridge as well, particularly in winter. This particular porridge is at the top of my go-to list when I am craving a savoury option. I don’t only love porridge this in winter but make it year-round. It is the perfect way to top up my veggie intake and start the day with filling breakfast.

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Magnesium and Stress

Stress can wreak havoc on a human body. It causes insomnia, headaches, digestive issues and muscle pain to begin with, but should not be underestimated for its ability to cause much more serious damage in the long-term. To relieve symptoms of stress and unwind your nervous system, there are many things you can do. Going for a calming walk in nature, meditating for a few minutes or taking a hot bath while watching your favourite movie are all valid ways to decompress. However, when stress has become a chronic issue in your life, you will have to find more structural solutions to dissolve the stress. I know from personal experience that when we are juggling too many balls at once, dropping a few of them in order to tend our essential needs is a crucial step in the healing process. We simply cannot do it all and are wise to learn this sooner rather than later to avoid lasting damage to the body. Yet even when the underlying causes of stress are dealt with and removed, symptoms can persist. One reason for this is a lack of one of the most vital nutrients for the human body in our 21st century diet, namely magnesium.

What is magnesium?

Magnesium is a mineral, and chemical element, which unlike trace elements, is needed in the body in large amounts. This mineral is important for keeping the body healthy and helps it perform many of its functions. A few of the healing properties of magnesium are:

  • calming the nerve function
  • harmonising the mind
  • relaxing muscles
  • strengthening the bone skeletal structure
  • creating a flow in the digestive system
  • containing anti-inflammatory properties

What is the connection between magnesium and stress?

As mentioned above, one of the beneficial properties of magnesium is that is calms the nervous system. In fact, magnesium supplements have been hailed as the ‘original chill pill’. There is so much fascinating research on the power of magnesium, but what I want to focus on in this post is the effect of magnesium on stress. To understand how stress works in the body, it is time for a little biology. Stress sends a message to the hippocampus in your brain telling it to produce stress hormones (CHR), which in turn tell the pituitary glands to make another hormone (ACTH), which tell the adrenal glands to make cortisol. Unfortunately, too much cortisol can damage the hippocampus. This way you enter a negative feedback loop, as a broken hippocampus will continuously produce CHR, making you more stressed, anxious and depressed.

The role that magnesium plays in this is its ability to end the release or receptivity of all the hormone productions mentioned above. It thus puts a holt to the negative feedback loop of stress and depression that is caused by an initial stressful situation. If you are not getting enough magnesium through your day-to-day diet, you will quickly become depleted in this mineral and the ‘stress reaction system’ has free rein to take over your body. Ensuring your body receives adequate amounts of this nutrient is thus vital during stressful periods.

Should you supplement?

Magnesium can be found in many whole foods, including green vegetables, whole grains and legumes, sea vegetables, Aloe Vera gel and barley grass. However, our modern agricultural practices have greatly depleted soils from magnesium, meaning that many people have become severely magnesium deficient, even when eating healthy diets. One researcher even went as far as to say the massive rise in depression in our modern-day society is due to insufficient magnesium in our diet. Luckily, supplementation of magnesium is an easy way to ensure you are getting enough of this mineral, particularly during a stressful period. Unless you suffer from abnormal kidney function, it is also completely safe to supplement magnesium on a daily basis to keep your levels up.

I know for myself that whenever I forget to take my magnesium supplements for a few days during a stressful period, my mood gets negatively affected and stress symptoms flare up. It is almost eerie how much of an effect this nutrient has on my body. It thus goes without saying that I try to ensure I have my daily dose of magnesium every morning. Particularly in stressful times, magnesium can truly feel like a lifesaver to me and is the number one thing I recommend adding to your supplement regime when you are struggling with stress-related symptoms*.

*Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor or nutritionist, so please consult an appropriate professional before making any changes to your diet or supplement routine. 

19 before 2019

Can you believe we are already over halfway through 2019? I will spare you the clichés of how fast time flies, but I do feel like there is not that much time left in 2018. I still have so many things I want to accomplish and experience before I ring in another calendar year. We all know we don’t have to wait until January 1st (or even a Monday) to achieve our goals. So I have decided to finish 2018 strong with 19 things I want to do before 2019.

Financial

1. Open a savings account. This year I made some serious savings resolutions and with some dedication, I have been able to achieve my savings target early. I want to put savings into a 3-year fixed ISA account to maximise the interest. Locking it away in a savings account means I always have a pot of money stored away as an emergency fund.

2. Invest money. I want to start trying my hand at investing this year because saving all your money isn’t a sound strategy. I still have loads of learning to do in the investment department, so I am taking baby steps here. But by the end of 2018, I want to have made at least some investments.

House

3. Move to a new house. This is technically not a goal, because I know this is going to happen. My boyfriend is buying an apartment and we will be moving into the new place in the next few months. Still, it will be a lot of work and I want everything to run smoothly.

4. Make the house a home. This one is more of a goal, as the new place needs furniture and some remodeling before we can call it a home. I am not expecting to have a Pinterest-worthy house by the end of the year, but I do want to make it liveable and cosy. So I am sure I will be spending lots of weekends organising, cleaning and decorating.

Health

5. Try acupuncture. My health has started declining a bit again and I don’t want it to get as bad as last year again. So I have decided to visit an acupuncturist to see if this type of treatment can help me with my anxiety and tinnitus.

6. Make a dentist appointment. This one is a little embarrassing. I have been living in Leeds for almost two years now and still haven’t registered with a dentist. Luckily I haven’t had any issues with my teeth in the meantime, but I don’t want to push my luck. So before the year is done, I want to register with a local dentist and have my teeth checked.

Diet

7. Do a juice cleanse. I have not been eating the healthiest in the last couple of months and consequentially my skin has been suffering. I have a wedding coming up at the beginning of September, so I have started eating clean again to clear up my skin. To help the process a little along the way, I also want to do a juice cleanse. Expect a full report on my experience in the next few weeks.

8. Do a parasite cleanse. At the beginning of 2018, I did a parasite cleanse, which helped my overall health massively. So I want to do another round towards the end of the year. Basically, the parasite cleanse is a clean, low-sugar diet that you follow for at least a month. I will write a post on all the rules before I start, as well as an update at the end of my 30 days.

9. Eat 5 veggies a day. Obviously, I won’t track this one for the rest of the year, but I do want to up my veggie intake massively. To make this goal tangible, I will choose one week where I will track my veggie intake. During that week, I will use the rainbow chart from Dr.Chatterjee to ensure I eat five or more colour veggies every day.

Spiritual

9. Do a gong bath.  Earlier this year, I went to my first gong bath at my local yoga studio. A gong bath is basically a guided meditation that ‘guides’ you into meditation with the help of gong sounds. My first experience was so relaxing and I have been itching to try it again.

10. Meditate for one hour. I once did a ten day Vipassana meditation retreat, where I meditated for up to ten hours a day. These days I am lucky if I do five minutes. I want to increase my meditation practice again, and do a one-hour meditation sitting at least once. This goal will need a lot of dedication, but I know I can do this!

Planning

11. Set up 2019 bullet journal. This year I started my first bullet journal and I love how this let’s me organise my life. However, I decided to set up my monthly spreads at the beginning of each month. This worked well until the beginning of June, when I completely forgot to make my spread. As a result, I have been neglecting my bullet journal ever since. So for next year, I want to have everything set up at the beginning of the year. That way, I can just use the journal throughout the entire year.

12. Plan my 2019 holiday. This year my ‘big trip’ was to Morocco. Next year, I would like to go to South-East Asia. As flights are cheapest around new year, I want to do some serious planning before the year ends. That way, I am ready to book my flights when the sale hits.

13. Create a social media routine. I have already started addressing my social media habits this year by unfollowing people who bring me down. I want to step this up for the rest of the year by cleaning my email inboxes and sorting my bookmarks. Then I want to create a technology / social media routine that will hopefully allow me to spend less time wasted online. To be continued…

Achievements

14. Finish reading. ‘Healing with Whole Foods’. The book ‘Healing with Plants’ is a 700-page book on eating according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. I have been making my way through the book since January and take detailed notes of everything. I still have about 350 pages left, so I need to make ‘studying’ this book a priority over casual reading.

15. Publish a recipe on my blog. I love cooking and have a few self-developed recipes that I would love to share on my blog. The only problem is that the whole process of food blogging scares me a bit. Food photography is an art I have yet to master and I have no proper experience with penning down recipes either. I just have to bite the bullet and start sharing.

16. Bake a delicious bread. Initially, I wanted to make a goal to bake a sourdough bread, but I am scared to make my own sourdough starter. I have made sourdough bread before, using a starter my mom had given me. But before I start my adventure into creating a sourdough starter, I first want to start baking bread again.

17. Do the splits. For years now, I have been trying to do the splits and have yet to achieve this one. I naturally have tight hamstrings and I walk an hour every day to and from work. So getting my hammies to loosen up is a real chore. I want to give this another serious effort this autumn. Even if I don’t achieve a full split, I want to be closer than ever to achieving one. Progress, you know?

Environment

18. Recycle my electronics. I have an old laptop, tablet, and camera that I haven’t used in years. The only reason I have not gotten rid of them yet is because I am lazy. You can’t just throw old electronics into the garbage. (Please don’t! They pollute the waterways if not properly recycled.) But recycling them takes some effort, so I need to kick myself in the but for this one. Before we move to the new house, I will have recycled my electronics. Mark my words!

19. Only buy sustainable and fair-trade clothes. This one is normally quite easy for me. I only buy fair-trade and sustainable clothing anyway. I also don’t shop a lot, so normally this wouldn’t be a goal. However, I have said wedding in September and don’t have an outfit for it. I have been trying to find at sustainable occasion wear for a while now without any luck. But I want to stay committed to my principles, so I will continue looking.

Those are my goals for the rest of the year. I have a little more than five months to achieve them all. With a little dedication, that should be no problem. When I do, I can start the new year feeling proud and accomplished!