Staff Lunchroom Table Alternative – Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Feta, Garlic and Pine Nuts.

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!

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Do You Eat The Same Things, Over and Over?

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!)

Why?

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.

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Energy Enhancing Raw Cauliflower Rice Salad

Say what? You want me to eat RAW cauliflower Audra?!! I sure do, because when it’s raw, it’s wonderful nutritional benefits become even more pronounced.

Being part of the cruciferous family, it helps with detoxification, which, if you’re struggling to lose weight whilst working 24/7 can be super helpful.  This is because toxins create chemical stress in the body, leading to raised levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

Sadly, high cortisol levels increase body fat, especially around the belly or torso region, as it wants to protect your organs from any impending “danger” brought on by stress.

When we eat too much processed food (which is full of manufactured chemicals), the liver also has to work harder to filter out these toxins, which can lead to cellular damage.

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Gut Loving Energising Smoothie

Do you experience gut discomfort and lack energy?

Yeah I know. It’s a bit of a silly question as most shift workers do.

This is due mostly to something called circadian misalignment, which is just a fancy way to describe eating out of sync to our natural body clock.

That being said, it’s not just about food timing.

When we’re tired we don’t always make the healthiest of food choices because let’s face it. It’s really hard to muster up the strength to whip up a culinary delight when we can barely keep our eyes open from exhaustion!

This ends up being a bit of a Catch-22 because it contributes to an even further lack of energy due to insufficient nutrients needed for energy production on a cellular level. 

This leads to a disruption in the regulation of the nervous system. In other words, makes us feel even more tired, anxious and frazzled!

The good news is, I’ve got a “can’t-be-bothered-to-make-anything-fancy” smoothie recipe that is not only quick to make, but will supply your body with a wonderful assortment of nutrients to give you more zing.

The apple cider vinegar and ginger in this smoothie will also help to settle an anxious tummy.

What’s In It?

100g blueberries (preferably organic)
250ml almond milk (or milk of your choice)
1 orange – juice and zest
2cm piece of fresh ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp coconut oil
a pinch of freshly ground black pepper

How To Make It?

Throw everything into a blender and blitz until smooth.

Drink immediately or pop into a chilled thermos to take into work and enjoy whilst on shift.

Note: you’ll need to give the smoothie a good shake once it’s been in the fridge for a while as the coconut oil will harden slightly.

Audra x

References:
.

Antunes, L, Levandovski, R, Dantas, G, Gaumo, W & Hidalgo, M 2010, ‘Obesity and shift work: Chronobiological aspects’, Nutrition Research Review, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 155-168.

Kanarek, R 1997, ‘Psychological effects of snacks and altered meal frequency’, British Journal of Nutrition, vol. 77, pp. S105-S120.

Nor, A, Norsham, J, Nur, T, Sahar, A, Srijit, D & Effendy N 2020, ‘Consequences of circadian disruption in shift workers on chrononutrition and their psychosocial well-being’, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 17, no. 6, pp. 1-17.

The Chillaxing Smoothie

I’m calling this the “chillaxing smoothie” because it’s filled with relaxing and health enhancing minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron and gut-friendly fibre.

Perfect for a tired and weary … and somewhat frazzled shift worker ⏰ 😴!

Bananas 🍌, celery and beetroot all contain potassium – a mineral which helps to lower blood pressure and protect against heart disease by maintaining fluid balance by way of enhancing urinary excretion of sodium.

We want to avoid too much sodium (found hidden in the majority of processed foods), as it draws water into the bloodstream, raising blood volume and thereby blood pressure.

Whole, real foods really are our medicine!

1/4 – 1/2 beetroot
1 x banana
1 x celery stick
250ml of milk of choice
3 x spoons yoghurt

Enjoy!

Audra x