Are you eating food made out a laboratory … AKA lots of ultra-processed, refined and sugar-laden foods, or more whole, real foods designed by Mother Nature?
Because apart from the fact the body struggles to break down and digest these types of “foods”, according to a French study published in JAMA (2019), for every 10% portion of our diet that’s made up of processed foods, our risk of developing diabetes jumps up another 15% right along with it.
Now this might not sound earth-shattering, but if you are a shift worker, this percentage rises even more as sleep deprivation, alone, disrupts the regulation of blood sugar levels.
This is because if you’re awake when you’re not meant to be (AKA the life of EVERY shift worker on the planet!), it leads to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which raises blood sugar levels.
The body does this because when you’re sleep deprived, it senses that your life is in danger.
Don’t these look amazing!!
Now when we walk into most staff lunchrooms, we often see cakes, cookies and lollies spread across multiple tables (I know they’re there as I’ve been in many a shift working lunchroom over the years …LOL), but wouldn’t it be nice to see something healthy feature on those tables instead?
Imagine if everyone made a delicious plant-based dish and brought it into share for something different (as opposed to those other things we just mentioned), the lunchroom would immediately turn into a tapas-style restaurant… even though you’re actually at work!
Do you rely on caffeine to get you through your shift … whether that’s in the form of a coffee, soda or energy drink?
Perhaps you rely on two, three, or maybe even more for an energy hit to keep you going?
Whilst I’m partial to a 1/2 strength latte or mocha myself, did you know that habitual caffeine intake can contribute to malnutrition?
It does so by depleting key vitamins and minerals such as:
- Iron – a single cup of coffee can reduce iron absorption from a meal by as much as 75%!
- Calcium and Magnesium – half a cup of caffeine (50mg) depletes the body of calcium and magnesium. Larger doses deplete even more.
- Potassium – 300mg of caffeine increases potassium loss by one third.
Do you tend to eat the same type of meals over and over again? Maybe you’ve got a close relationship going on with your breakfast cereal?!!
Well I’d like to inspire you to live on the edge a little … and add some colour and variety to your plate (or bowl!)
When we eat a more diversified diet, particularly one that is rich in plant-based foods, it helps to feed the trillions of microscopic bugs in the digestive tract.
Now these microscopic bugs (which comprise of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses – yes you read that correctly, even viruses), they don’t just hang out in your belly, doing nothing.
They are responsible for producing important neurotransmitters such as gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, for short. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter which helps to calm the nervous system, needed to facilitate sleep.
They also produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter which is the pre-cursor to the sleep-regulating hormone, melatonin.
Does your job involve sitting inside all day (and maybe night?) Have you spent years on a weight gain-weight-loss-weight-gain roller coaster?
Could lack of sunlight be a contributing factor? My simple answer to that is “yes, most definitely”.
Without sufficient vitamin D, AKA vitamin “daylight”, your body thinks you are hibernating.
It thinks winter is coming.
So what does it instinctively do as a response?
It slows down the metabolism, encouraging you to eat more, and store lots of fat to help you to “see through the winter”.
Even when it’s not winter!