What’s Really Making Us Sick?

Did you know there are a zillion things that can contribute to us getting sick?

Well, maybe not a zillion, but certainly many … some of which are mentioned in the list above.

Thankfully, our bodies have an incredible in-built system designed to keep us healthy.

It’s called our Innate Immune System.

However, it needs us to make good diet and lifestyle decisions in order to support it.

If not, it’s unable to help you to thrive.

  • Your energy will be flat.
  • Your mental clarity will be impaired.
  • You will struggle to walk up stairs without puffing.
  • Your limbs and muscles will become stiff and sore.
  • Any “bug” that comes on the scene, will knock you for six … and so on.
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Is Your Caffeine Intake Leaving You Malnourished?

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.
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Does Your Job Involve Sitting Inside All Day?

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!

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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:
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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.