Lockdown Newsletter – Week 4
We hope you’ve all had the happiest of Easters and are suitably stuffed full of chocs, hot cross buns and roast dinner..yum yum!
Is it just us, or does a bit of sunshine make everything feel a little brighter?! We really hope you’ve managed to see some of it, whether it be in your garden or out on a walk, run or cycle.
We’ve had another jam packed week of coffee mornings, pub quizzes, evening chats, zoom wods, home wods, open workouts, Ready Steady Cook with Charlie, a double under workshop with Meg, the return of CrossFit kids with Jono, a bro-sesh with Emma, flexy Friday, The book club launch with Jenna, the launch of the lockdown nutrition program and lots of chill time on the yoga mat. We’ve also seen lots of great entries to our Easter Egg Hunt and Valesco Bingo!
We know spending Easter in isolation has been really hard for some of you but we really hope you’ve found some light relief and if you would like a chat/rant/moan please do we reach out..we are here for you.
As always, if you’d like to contribute to the Newsletter..whether it be an article, something you’ve found useful or just want to let us know what you’ve been up to please do get in touch!
emilys easter cheesecake
One of the ‘Lockdown Bingo’ challenges was to post your favourite meal or recipe!
Emily is known for her love of Mini eggs so it was no surprise this Mini egg Cheesecake was her favourite recipe!
A great entry and it looks DELICIOUS! We’re only sorry we cant pop over for a cuppa and a slice!
NUTRITION WITH VIKI - SLEEP
Last week I asked you to ‘Eat the Rainbow’. Not only to show our support to the NHS but also to support our immune resilience through a good daily intake of micronutrients such as vitamins C, A, B, zinc and selenium.
This week let’s talk about sleep.
You may find yourself in a position where you have more opportunity to sleep. You may find that during these times of uncertainty, you feel anxious and are struggling to get some quality shut eye or you may find that you are staying up later and later watching box sets or streaming videos because there’s less need to maintain a strict routine.
For our body to function optimally we need adequate sleep. Research shows that those that have less than the recommended 7 hours are 3 times more likely to develop an infection compared to those who have 8 or more. This is because our immune system does most of its work when we are asleep.
But does it matter when you sleep? Our body has a natural sleep-wake cycle known as the circadian rhythm. This means going to bed when our sleep hormone melatonin is released (after sunset) and waking when its levels dip and are taken over by cortisol (after sunrise). Furthermore, research shows that melatonin has an anti-inflammatory action and exhibits immune-modulatory effects. This means it’s not only key to keeping us well but fundamental to recovery after a hard strength session or WOD.
During Lockdown, there is a lot of uncertainty and it’s only natural to feel anxious or stressed. This could affect sleep, making is difficult to get to or to stay asleep. This creates a domino effect as insufficient sleep only adds to levels of stress and the effectiveness of the immune system is partially suppressed by stress hormones (such as cortisol mentioned above). If we can support a healthy stress response, we can not only ensure a good immune response but ensure a good sleep-wake pattern too.
There are lots of things we can do to put sleep back on the agenda and make it the top of priority.
Let’s talk about sleep hygiene.
This doesn’t mean going to bed really clean. It means doing things to improve sleep.
1. As much as possible maintain regular sleep hours. Yes, we know how tempting that extra episode of Peaky Blinders is, but most of us need 7-9 hours especially if we need to fight of infection.
2. Wind down. Avoid the blue light of screens 1 hour before bed. After sunset, it’s a great idea to remove blue light from screens. If it’s not possible to turn these off and pick-up a paperback or run a bath, use a programme to remove the blue from your screen. Some electronics have this built in or programmes such as F.lux do it for you. Remember, darkness releases melatonin and that helps us to sleep.
3. Rest and digest. Your digestive system needs your sleeping hours to do some important work. Giving it a fasting period, allows it time to do this. Support digestion by finishing eating large meals 2 hours before bed. If you are still chomping at the bit before bed, have a small snack of carbohydrate and protein 45 minutes before hitting the sack: Skyr yogurt with a drizzle of honey, a couple of oat cakes with some almond butter or a protein shake made with oat milk are great pre-snooze options.
4. Environment. The bedroom should be a sanctuary. Not a cinema. Ideally not an office…at least not at night. It should be a cool, clean, dark environment, free from noise. Consider blackout blinds or curtains, keep it cool: around 18°C and put electronics on airplane mode or store in another room.
5. OExercise. Good news! Keeping active and maintaining a training regime can dramatically reduce stress as it releases the feel-good hormone serotonin. On top and as a result of this it can improve sleep quality and quantity. Where possible avoid demanding physical activity three hours before bed as too much too late may lead to the release of stress hormone cortisol which will keep you alert and stop melatonin doing its job in helping you fall asleep.
And finally, a few nutritional bio-hacks to promote a good night’s zzzzz and feelings of calm.
Magnesium. This mineral does hundreds of jobs in our body, but it also promotes the relaxation of our muscles. So, if you do a lot of exercise on top of a heavy life load, your likely to find yourself depleted. Foods: spinach and dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, legumes, tuna, almonds and dark chocolate (think upwards of 70% cocoa) all contain high levels of magnesium.
Amino acids: L-tryptophan and L-theonine. L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid present in protein that is used by the body to make our happy hormone serotonin, the neurotransmitter essential for healthy sleep. Making sure you include quality protein in your diet, especially the last meal of the day will support healthy sleep and relaxation. L-theonine or L-tea-onine as I like to call it is an amino acid that is especially high in tea. It’s what gives that feeling of a big hug when you have a cuppa. Green tea has the highest amounts although opt for caffeine free versions to avoid the stimulating effect later in the afternoon/evening.
For those of you who don’t know her, Barb is a member of our 9.30 crew, she looks after all the plants for us at Valesco and has some great house plant advice for us all!
Ok, so we’re mostly indoors for the foreseeable, and some of us are lucky enough to have a bit of outdoors around the back of the house. Whatever your set up, indoor plants bring a bit of outside inside, which is super helpful, especially now.
A quick internet search lists heaps of studies about the positive psychological impact of indoor plants. Houseplants can make you happier and more relaxed. Houseplants can take a lot of pollutants out of the air (no different than trees), so they are also beneficial for your physical health and the wellbeing of your indoor environment.
There’s a plant to suit any area of your house, as long as there is some daylight coming in.
Here’s some plants that can thrive on benign neglect (i.e. not TOTAL neglect):
Succulents – try money tree plants.
Peace Lilies like the light and don’t mind draft.
Aloe Vera are good for bedrooms, amazing for air purification.
Rubber Plants drink as much or as little as you give them.
Ivy is also a doozy; a pernicious weed in many gardens, but a cut is easily moved into a pot indoors.
Mother In Law Tongues are near indestructible, even a persistent cat will have a hard time killing that one.
Yuccas and Dracenas are also quite cat resistant. They prefer small amounts of water and add a nice feature to any space.
Spider Plants make baby plants that hang down. I’ve had the same Spider Plant with me for 40+ years through many many moves and countries (She’s called Beatrice and lives on top of the fridge. Occasionally she pretends to die to remind me I’m not ‘all that’).
Houseplants are like pets (without the daily demands to be fed and walked and let in or out, entertained etc etc); they need your patience, care and attention to thrive. Like pets, houseplants will tell you when they need something from you. Wrinkling, shriveling, drooping, dropping or curling leaves usually signal the need for a bit of water. Overwatering kills them. Roots growing out of the bottom of a pot usually indicate it needs re-potting. This isn’t difficult; get a bigger pot, some compost, loosen plant from pot, transfer, add extra compost, water, done. Most plants like to have an inside pot and an outside pot or saucer, so the compost is less likely to get swampy and the roots won’t rot.
Your house is not just a place where you sleep and keep your clothes, it’s your home. Plants make your home look and feel better, more ‘you’. They help you pay attention to your surroundings and living space, which helps you pay attention to yourself.
Finally, all you need to know about houseplants is in this tune
If Barb has inspired you to bring some greenery into your home, the lovely Hayley from Mint Plants has taken her business online and can deliver all over Bristol. You can check our her website here.
HELP YOUR COACHES WITH WHEYD
A message from Wheyd…
As a small business working directly with CrossFit Affiliates, we can see how the current situation has directly effected you and your coaches.
However, it’s been inspirational to see how owners & coaches have adapted and how the CrossFit community is coming together, stronger than ever before.
That said, inevitably some coaches are having to reduce income and most don’t have a platform to train their clients.
To try and help, we’ve set up The WHEYD Funemployed programme whereby an owner or coach can earn a commission for re-selling WHEYD.
So, if you’d like to help your coaches earn some money whilst the gyms are closed, click here
Nick Elston- ‘Coronavirus: How to manage Anxiety when working from Home’
Having suffered from OCD and anxiety, he speaks on the subjects of Anxiety, Mental Health & Wellbeing – from an experience sharing perspective – and delivers his talks to Stages, Corporates, Boardrooms, Factories, Universities, Schools & Events.He has created this video, which is really helpful if you’re struggling with anxiety at this time. Give it a watch.
Ready, Steady, Coooook- Coach C’s Domada..Gambian Peanut Stew
Hi all for this version, I used chick peas, spinach and sweet potato as that’s I had but its also great with chicken or tuna
You will need 2 onions
2 cloves garlic
I half thumb sized piece of ginger
1 tin toms
1 tbl spn Tom puree
2 tbl spn thyme
1 Tin chick peas
1 bag spinach
1 sweet potato
2 tbl spn peanut butter
A little water with optional veg stock
Half t spn chilli powder
Salt and pepper
Brown the onions garlic and ginger in a little oil or fry light.
Add chilli powder and mix.
Add the thyme, sweet potato, chickpeas, peanut butter, Toms, Tom puree, water and stock. Mix well and cook, lid on for 20 mins or until sweet potatoes are cooked.
Add spinach and cook for a further 3 min, season and taste.
Serve with seasoned white rice and garnish with a little Yogurt and something green like Coriander or wild garlic… yummy!
ELLIE'S CHOCOLATE PROTEIN MUG CAKE
Need cake, don’t want to wait hours to bake one…then this is the recipe for you!
-1 scoop / 30g choc protein – 1/3 cup milk (cow or almond)
-1 egg / flax egg
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-1 tablespoon s/r flour (gf is fine)
– a squeeze of maple syrup
– handful of cherries
– optional vanilla / almond essence
Mix in a bowl, transfer to mug and pop in the microwave for 90-120 seconds. Add scoop of halo top & a cuppa for perfection
Macros: Carbs 22.5g, Protein 26.4g, Fat 9.6g
Until Next Time, Big Love Team Valesco xxx
Save The Date
Save the date- Isolation Style
We’ve got lots more up our sleeves to keep you guys connected and beat the boredom. Some of the things we have coming up are:
- Book Club
- Paint your pet
- Lockdown bake-off
- Step count challenge
- The ‘school science’ project challenge
- Specialist classes – DU workshop, Weightlifting technique class, Mobility classes and a Banded Bro sesh
- Bi- weekly Quiz – next quiz night 08/03/2020
- Weekly ‘Ready Steady cook’ with Charlie
Who Wore It Best
This week’s comes from the 9.30 Zoom Wod crew, Di and Sarah in their matching Valesco Tees!