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.

(more…)

Blood Sugar Stabilising Smoothie:

When it comes to shift work nutrition, there are four things that we need to focus on when working nights or early shifts:

  1. Consuming foods that will help to sustain us through the shift, as our bodies struggle to remain alert as a result of both sleep disruption and deprivation.
  2. Foods that will help to stabilise our blood sugar levels so we don’t fall under the hypnotic spell of the vending machine which is often filled with sugar-laden, man-made “foods” that not only add to the waistlines, but increase inflammation in the body too.
  3. Consuming foods that are easy on the digestive tract given sleep disruption can make us prone to intestinal permeability, otherwise known as ‘leaky gut’.
  4. If on nights, consuming foods that aren’t going to interfere with our sleep when returning home from our shift.

This is why I like home-made smoothies, as they’re a great source or “liquid nutrition” as the body is able to absorb the nutrients much more effectively and efficiently, without making us feel even more tired as the body tries to break down and absorb hard-to-digest food particles.

In addition, when we include a good cross section of ingredients – as in a serving of protein, fat and complex carbohydrates it becomes an all-in-one “macronutrient balanced meal”.

This means it will help to keep us feeling fuller for longer, and help to stabilise our blood glucose levels so we’re less likely to fall “victim” to the not-so-healthy processed-food-laden vending machines.

Here’s one to get you inspired!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon protein powder (I use Pea or Inca Inchi)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 cup of ice cubes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or ½ teaspoon nutmeg

How to make it!

Throw all of the ingredients into a blender and enjoy immediately, or transfer into a small thermos and store in the fridge at work to enjoy mid-shift!

 

References:

Ali, T, Choe, J, Awab, A, Wagener, T & Orr, W 2013, ‘Sleep, immunity and inflammation in gastrointestinal disorders’, World Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 19. no. 48, pp. pp. 9231-9239.

Crispim, C, Zimberg, I, Gomes dos Reis, B, Diniz, R, Tufik, S & Tulio de Mello, M 2011, ‘Relationship between food intake and sleep pattern in healthy individuals’, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, vol. 7, no. 6, pp. 659-664.

Wehrens, S, Hampton, S, Kerkhofs, M & Skene, D 2012, ‘Mood, alertness, and performance in response to sleep deprivation and recovery sleep in experienced shiftworkers versus non-shiftworkers’, Chronobiology International, vol. 29, no. 5, pp. 537-548.

Breakfast Nutrition:

It was brekky on the deck this morning to soak up the winter warming rays of sunshine, before heading off to my local organic farmers markets.

These little chia pots are great for breakfast (or anytime really), as chia seeds are loaded with fibre, protein, healthy omega-3 fats, calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.

They also contain high amounts of antioxidants plus certain micronutrients including zinc, potassium, vitamins B1, B2 and B3.

From a shift work nutrition perspective, what I absolutely love about these tiny little black seeds is they help to provide sustained energy which is super important when you’re faced with ongoing tiredness as a result of working 24/7.

(more…)

Fancy A Banana Bread Breakfast?

banana breadI don’t know about you, but I often get bored eating the same old thing over and over again for breakfast so I decided to spice things up a little and make some banana bread for brekky instead.

Whilst there’s a fair bit of flack in the media at the moment regarding fruit, bananas and sugar I’m not convinced (despite heading into my 2nd year of a Bachelor of Health Science in Nutritional Medicine degree), that we have to give bananas (or any fruit for that matter), the flick!

Why?

Because bananas contain a heap of healthy goodness despite all of the “I Quit Sugar” media hype, some of which include: vitamin B6 and vitamin C, folate, antioxidants, fibre, potassium and they make an awesome “fatigue-busting-snack” as they’re quite filling and help to return low blood glucose levels back to normal.

And considering this “bread” contains 3 bananas, a small amount of coconut sugar and maple syrup, by the time you sit down to your one slice (if you can stop at one slice), I still believe it makes a far superior breakfast than any store-bought breakfast cereal on the market which is laden with hidden salt, sugars, additives and preservatives that has next to no nutrition!

This recipe is ideal for making the night before (especially for those on early shift), and can be transported into work very easily – unlike juices and smoothies which can sometimes “surprise us” with a bit of spillage in the bottom of our handbag.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 organic eggs, lightly beaten
  • 150g plain Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil, melted

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a 23cm x 13cm loaf tin with non-stick baking paper and set aside.

Mash the bananas in a large bowl and add the remaining wet ingredients.  Mix until combined.  Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, ensuring there are no clumps of baking soda or flour.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and fold until just combined.

Bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the break comes out clean.  Allow the break to cool in the loaf tin for 30 minutes.

To Serve

This is super tasty toasted and you can top with butter, honey or natural yoghurt and berries.

Note:  Recipe adapted from ‘Life’s too short for diets’ cookbook by Nicole Joy.

The Perfect Post-Early Shift Lunch: A Green Super Smoothie In A Bowl.

I must admit I’m really not a fan of early shifts.

No matter how early I go to bed, I always seem to struggle to get my body out of it when that dreaded alarm clock decides to wake me up from my peaceful slumber.

Plus I don’t know about you, but the snooze button is always my friend on an early shift.

So by the time I get home, I’m often not really in the mood to spend a great deal of time in the kitchen whipping up some kind of exotic creation.

The solution?  Whip yourself up a Green-Super-Smoothie-In-A-Bowl.

This smoothie makes the perfect post-early shift lunch because it’s packed with spinach leaves rich in carotenoids – potent anti-inflammatory molecules designed to help protect our arteries amongst a myriad of other health benefits.  This fantastic recipe is adapted and inspired from Nutritionist Lola Berry’s 20/20 Diet Cookbook.

Benefits of Spinach:

* Loaded with phytonutrients which have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits.

* An excellent source of vitamins C, E and A (in the form of carotenoids), manganese, zinc and selenium which all help to reduce oxidative stress. It also contains vitamin K which is important for maintaining bone health.

* It’s a very good source of fibre, phosphorus, vitamin B1 (for energy), zinc, protein, and choline. Additionally, spinach is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, pantothenic acid, and selenium.

So how do you make this wonderful concoction of goodness?  It’s easy …

Ingredients
1 frozen banana
1/2 rolled oats
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 cup coconut water
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
1/4 cup cashews
2 medjool dates
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping
1/2 teaspoon raw cacao nibs
1/2 teaspoon bee pollen

Method

Throw all of the ingredients into a blender and combine until you get a thick, smooth consistency and all of the lumpy bits are gone.  Pour into a bowl and top with raw cacao nibs and bee pollen.  Grab a spoon and enjoy!

All in all a super nourishing food for an often under-nourished shift worker!