Have you been told health practitioners to “flip your meals” when working the night shift?
As in have a big meal around midnight?
I remember having to bite my tongue when one of my lecturers at University recommended to do this because instinctively I knew this was not the right thing to do.
And that’s waaaaaaaayyyyyy before I spent years diving down the rabbit hole learning all about chronobiology and circadian nutrition.
Why is it an issue?
Well, when we do this, it confuses the clocks in our gut, liver and kidneys that its daytime.
This can lead to gut pain, bloating, constipation, nausea, acid reflux and a whole host of other fun things that we’d much rather avoid!
It’s no wonder so many shift workers are prone to gut and digestive complaints, that actually have nothing to do with allergies or food intolerances.We need to get back to the basics.
Eat your main meal no later than 9pm (preferably earlier if you can), as this will help to minimise further disruption to your biological clock.
At the end of the day, just because we’re awake on shift during the night, doesn’t mean we’re supposed to eat.
P.S: Want to learn more about this topic?
Check out my ‘21-Day Healthy Shift Worker Kickstart Program’ by CLICKING HERE.
Do you eat when you’re not hungry?
OR… Have you been on every diet under the sun, but are still struggling to lose weight?!!
Because when we actually take time out from eating (call it fasting, or just not eating continually which is what most people have become accustomed to doing these days) – it initiates hormonal changes that make stored fat more accessible.
It essentially helps the body to break down surplus fat, leading to weight loss.
This occurs as the body uses fuel in the following order:
- Glucose (sugar)
- Glycogen (sugar stored in the liver and muscles)
- Adipose or fat tissue
So when blood sugar and insulin is low, it enables fat burning to occur.
When we work 24/7, we tend to eat 24/7 which can lead us on a downward spiral of all sorts of health complaints over the long-term.
This is because our innate timing system, or circadian clock, is essentially switched to the ‘ON’ position for a very long time.
Have you ever considered what time you take your first bite of food in the day, and then your last bite of food at night?
For example, if you have sugar with your coffee at 4am and have a biscuit before bed at 8pm or later, your Eating Window would be 16 hours or longer.
This means your circadian clock is running for 16 or more hours.
If you are hungry all of the time … more often than not, (apart from lack of sleep) it’s because your body is starved of nutrients.
This is because when the diet is made up predominantly of highly refined, processed and cooked foods which are void of nutrients, it leads to increased appetite, cravings and fatigue.
Something shift workers experience often.
On the other hand, raw foods provide the body with satiety and help to subside cravings for sweets and other things that may not serve you. This is because raw foods contain fibre and vital enzymes which are crucial for cellular function, optimal digestion and overall health.
This leads to stable blood sugar which will help you to stop snacking in between meals.
Raw foods are quite literally living food – straight from the earth.
Food is considered raw until heated above 42 degrees Celcius (107 F) – that’s where the bioavailability of nutrients change.
The number 1 most commonly used drug in the world today is coffee, and this is because the vast proportion of the population is not exposed to the morning light.
We’ve moved from spending so much of our lives outdoors, to a completely indoor one and shift workers are especially vulnerable due to having to work shifts that go against the body’s innate timing system or circadian rhythm.
Morning light exposure stimulates the eye to instigate subconscious functions within the body. It activates the autonomic nervous system, part of the body that controls heartbeat, waste excretion, hunger, thirst etc.