“Summertime, and the living is easy…”
Who wants to be thinking about all the improvements you should be making to your eating habits, when all you want to do is lie on the hammock with a good book and a glass of wine?
You want life to be easy at this time of year. To relax at the cottage. You’re determined to finish up that project so you can pack for your road trip out West. Maybe you’re working from home, but it’s hard to focus with the kids needing study snacks every 20 minutes.
In my quest to help you nourish and nurture the woman you are, I’ve worked to make it easy for you. I’ve been doling out one little step at a time on Instagram. These are the seeds to help you create the garden of health you want to grow.
Today, I’m elaborating about one particular topic, because this might just be THE one that will unlock the motivation to find your happily ever after in all the others. It’s a simple shift that can support you on so many levels. (Yes, that’s right, we’re gonna get into the soul of the thing along with the practical bits.)
The conversations that spurred this idea
A while back, I sat down with a selection of women to find out where they most needed help taking better care of themselves.
After dozens of conversations around the various and usual challenges we face, a clear thread emerged through each and every one: we all have a hard time getting motivated. It’s hard to change habits.
Even if you know what to do, it’s so hard to go ahead and do it.
Even when you have a very specific goal in mind –
- losing weight, better sleep, more energy
- nourishing your thyroid, detoxifying your liver, stronger bones, better menstrual health
- preventing diseases that run in the family
– all the things that women struggle with are not enough to get you making those all-important changes.
These are the very issues that inspired me to run the Eat More Veggies! Challenge over several Junes: looking for the simplest way to replace the junk and improve all of it.
The fact remains that you do too much in a day, so trying to make all the changes you know you need to make is just daunting. You need something even simpler still, but something that would be vastly helpful.
Here it is: Eat more greens.
Like all vegetables, greens are delicious packages of fibre and vitamins and minerals. Yes, you need a variety of colours, but greens have their very own superpower.
They contain magnesium.
Magnesium is the mineral at the heart of a plant’s chlorophyll, in the same way that iron is the core of hemoglobin. These minerals capture the elements that allow metabolism (life!) to happen.
Magnesium is an integral part of a plant’s seeds – grains, legumes, nuts – but gets lost in refining. Women (well, everybody) are low in it these days, as North Americans generally eat a fair amount of refined foods.
It’s depleted further still with too much salt, sugar, alcohol and caffeine; basically, anything that makes you pee more, means you’re losing magnesium more.
As one of the key minerals inside your cells, magnesium works with over 300 enzymes to keep you functioning smoothly. Here’s a short list of what it can do.
You need magnesium for:
Energy Production: Your liver uses magnesium to perform many of its own vast array of functions. First and foremost, the release and use of energy from the macronutrients you eat.
Think of it this way: pure magnesium, in the presence of oxygen, will ignite instantly. Ever see a magician use flash paper to make a fancy green spark as part of his trick? That’s magnesium. Magnesium helps create that spark inside your cells to give you energy!
Hormone Production: The liver also needs magnesium to convert the various hormones and precursors from one form to the other. Magnesium is key to steady periods, better fertility, and to help ease the transition through menopause as levels decline.
Stinky armpits? That’s a sign that the liver isn’t keeping up its end of the detox work which, you got it, requires magnesium.
Magnesium allows your liver to be a vessel of life force in action! 🌱
Relaxation 2 Ways:
Muscle relaxation: your muscles work through a continual series of contract/relax actions that are activated by calcium and magnesium respectively. Any kind of cramps or spasms – leg, menstrual, some forms of constipation – is an indication that you’re low on the Mg necessary for the relaxation part.
The nervous system needs the same 2 minerals for the excitatory and relaxation impulses in the nerves. Adequate magnesium means calmer nerves, better sleep.
As you can imagine, in this sense, magnesium is essential getting you through times of stress. That said, times of stress is another factor that depletes this mineral, which can become a vicious cycle.
Integrity of Bones & Teeth: We always think of calcium for these two storehouses of minerals. And yet, magnesium and calcium are needed in relative proportion. Too much emphasis on one, and you become relatively deficient in the other.
Bone spurs, arthritic joints, cysts in breasts, kidney stones can be an indication that you’ve gone too far in the one direction. As my teacher used to say, magnesium in blood helps to keep calcium in solution, so it can find its way to the proper place to deposit.
☀️ Speaking of bones, magnesium is the magic ingredient that allows the dance between sunlight, vitamin D and calcium to happen. It’s what gives a plant the impetus to grow up, reaching for the sun. It allows you to stand on your own feet, shining that same light from the inside, as you move towards that which you desire.
Looking at the big picture of all these functions, magnesium is the flow that moves you in the right direction. ✨
Heart Health: This has to do with the muscle picture, in that your heart is a muscle that dances to that beautiful rhythm created by Ca and Mg. (High blood pressure can be another indicator of not enough Mg.)
In Chinese medicine, your heart is an organ of the fire element, which you express in the form of enthusiasm. There’s that spark image again! ✨
✨ It then stands to reason that apathy, or your lack of motivation to make healthy changes, is yet one more sign that you are, in fact, lacking magnesium. ✨
So, do you see why this step may be the one to get you feeling more present to all the other needs of your body? These reason are why I make essential to the spell in the Magic Looking Glass for Eating Right!
Here’s how to get more magnesium into your day:
Now that you know how magnesium could ignite your enthusiasm for even more shifts, are you ready to give this step a try? Summer, with all the fresh produce at every market stall and grocery store, is the perfect time to go for it.
🌸 Throughout the rest of June (or maybe the rest of this week, if that’s too much to consider today), I invite you,… strongly suggest, …no, I challenge you to eat something green with every meal and snack.
Does that sound easy? Impossible? Too much like your mother?
Some ideas to get you started:
🌱 Pumpkin seeds in your oatmeal, in your yogourt or on your toast & jam
🌱 Kale, arugula or fresh herbs in your smoothie, or go for a scoop of super greens (spirulina, chlorella, wheat grass, etc)
🌱 Steamed greens with your eggs tastes better than it sounds.
🌱 Avocado goes with everything: in a smoothie, on wrap instead of mayo, as a boat for hummus or shrimp (egg, chicken, tuna) salad
🌱 Blend some avocado and/or green peas into your hummus
🌱 BBQ: roast asparagus, broccoli, Brussels’ sprouts; grill zucchini steaks or Romaine wedges
🌱 Throw fresh herbs in/on anything and everything! Parsley, cilantro, mint, basil, dill, tarragon, thyme, watercress,…
🌱 Drink nettle tea, or eat nettle soup
🌱 Need a crunchy snack? Go for celery, cucumber, pepper, fennel along with chips… or instead of the chips when you’re watching Netflix
Enjoy going green!
🌸 Add your own ideas in the comments. When you share your thoughts, you open the possibility for others.
Let me know how what improved in your body, moods, sleep, digestion,..