The Sesame Seed: It May Be Small In Size But It's Packed With Nutritional Goodness!

As I delve further into my Nutritional Medicine degree, I’m always on the look-out for foods containing ingredients which can provide nourishment and energy specifically for sleep-deprived shift workers.

And the humble sesame seed is one of them.

Sesame Seeds are one of the most underrated foods.

The seeds are very nutrient-dense so you don’t have to eat a lot of them and although they might be small in size – they’re jam packed with beneficial nutrients including copper, magnesium and calcium.

Four Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds:

1. They are a low GI food which means they are a good source of slow release energy, which helps to keep blood sugar levels stable and keep you feeling fuller for longer. Perfect for those of us who have to wait a while for our next meal break!

2. They aid digestion (constipation is very popular amongst shift workers), and help to calm the nervous system. I don’t know about you but I’m all for anything that helps to lower my stress levels and feelings of frazzleness! Not sure if that’s actually a word but anyway :-).

3. The magnesium helps to restore normal sleep patterns (as best they can when you work 24/7), particularly for women going through menopause.

4. The high calcium content can also help in the prevention of migraine headaches and PMS symptoms.

So there you go – lots of benefits for including sesame seeds into your diet!

How To Include Sesame Seeds Into Your Diet:

– Adding a spoonful to your smoothie for an alkalizing mineral boost.
– Throwing some into your homemade bread, muffins or cookies.
– Spreading tahini (sesame paste) on toasted bread with a drizzle of honey.
– Make your own salad dressing by combining toasted sesame seeds with rice vinegar, soy sauce and crushed garlic.
– A great addition to any stir-fry dinner mixed with garlic, soy sauce and ginger.

So never underestimate the power of something small. The humble sesame seed is the perfect example of this!

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 …

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

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


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!

Shift Work Snacks – How To Have Your Chocolate And Eat It Too!

When you work shift work it’s really easy to snack on all sorts of junk food. If you’re feeling fatigued all of the time you just want to grab the fastest source of food you can get yours hands on.

And for most shift workers, this typical shift work diet falls into the ‘very unhealthy’ category.

I know because I used to be one of them.

Chips, chocolate, lollies, soft drink, fast food burgers – you name it and I’ve tried it.

The only trouble with this lifestyle, is eating junk food severely adds to your fatigue.

Have a think about this.

If you eat a packet of potato chips which are laden with fat, salt, and preservatives how is it going to give you more energy? Your body is going to think – “What on earth is this?” or more importantly, “how am I going to digest these potato chips because they’ve undergone so much human intervention.”

Your body simply does not recognise this type of food.

You see the actual process of digestion expends a great deal of energy, so if you’re already struggling from exhaustion then you’re only contributing to your fatigue when you eat these types of highly processed foods.

Your body is an amazing machine.

It can put of with a lot of junk but it will always struggle to digest highly processed food because it quite simply does not know HOW to digest it. As a result, not only will you feel really tired soon after eating this food, your body will receive little if any nutrition at all.

If anything, you are just loading up your body with toxic substances making you feel even more tired.

What’s really interesting is in most developed countries today, people are severely malnourished.

Not because we don’t have an abundant source of nutritious food (quite the contrary), but because we’re eating all of the wrong foods. Foods that were not grown from the earth containing all of the essential vitamins and nutrients our body needs in order to stay healthy and function at its peak.

So I’ve decided to share with you one of my favourite shift work snack recipes to help steer you away from this toxic junk food path. It’s about eating more raw foods, that is, foods which are as close to their original state as possible.

And the best part about this shift work snack is you can have your chocolate and eat it too!


Raw Chocolate Cacao Balls

1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup almonds
1 cup softened dates
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup gogi berries
3 heaped dessert spoons of Organic Raw Cacao Powder
1 tsp vanilla concentrate
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons tahini paste
Desiccated coconut for rolling

Soak dates overnight or simmer until soft. Process all ingredients (except the coconut) in a food processor and then place into the fridge for 30 minutes. When cool, shape into balls and roll in desiccated coconut (makes about 20).

Eating Raw Foods: The Magic Formula For Energy Depleted Shift Workers!

As a shift worker, do you yearn to experience an abundant supply of energy? Would you like to find a way to squash that constant feeling of fatigue and exhaustion?

Well hold onto your hats because I’m about to share with you exactly how you can!

You see boosting your energy levels when you’re a shift worker is all about eating the right foods, and right foods equate to raw foods – foods that haven’t undergone a massive amount of processing, nor sprinkled with lots of additives and preservatives.

As most fruits and vegetables can be eaten raw, why is it that most of us insist on cooking them to death and destroying all of the goodness in them?

I believe it’s simply a habit that we have acquired over the years – but a habit that we can definitely change.

Now there are certainly many advantages to eating raw food as opposed to cooked food. To begin with they have an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and most importantly, enzymes. Enzymes play an important role in aiding digestion – think constipation, bloating, and flatulence … all of those fun things!

Eating raw foods can reduce over-eating habits; improve your overall health and vitality levels; and also lower your chances of developing life-threatening illnesses including heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

On the other hand, cooked foods have lost many of their vitamins and minerals and all of their enzymes through exposure to heat, water and air.

The longer food is cooked, the greater the loss of nutrients. Without the help of enzymes, cooked foods take longer to digest and have a much higher chance of fermenting of putrefying in your stomach.

And on top of all that, the extra effort your tummy has to put into digesting cooked foods leaves you with a lot less energy to expend on all of the fun things in your life!

So start eating some raw foods today.

* In the morning, instead of canned or stewed fruit on your cereal, try adding a grated pear or apple.

* At lunch, have a salad sandwich instead of meat or cheese.

* At night, have some salad with your dinner.

* And instead of reaching into the pantry for some crunchy potato chips as a snack (we’re all guilty of doing this at some point in time) – try munching on a crunchy apple or carrot instead.

Nature has provided us with an abundance of foods that we can eat raw – fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, some fish (OK – this may not be everybody’s cup of tea), sprouted grains and sprouted legumes.

I’m certainly not suggesting that you only eat raw foods, but at least increase the amount of raw foods that you’re eating right now.

So stop feeling sorry for yourself and feeling like an energy depleted shift worker. Remember that the more raw foods that you eat, the more energy, health and fitness that you’ll have.