Shift Work Fatigue: How Your Stomach Can Influence Your Energy

As a shift work veteran and student of nutritional medicine I’ve certainly begun to understand the connection between nurturing your body with nutritious food as a way to help a fatigue-riddled body feel somewhat “normal”.

But is getting enough sleep and eating the right foods all that you need to do in order to ward off fatigue?

In a word – no.

You see most of us are blissfully unaware of just how important it is to nurture our digestive system – and by that I mean trying not to overload it with large quantities of food.

Have you ever thought about the size of your stomach? Ever wondered how big it is? Well this bit of trivia that I’m about to share may make you think twice the next time you feel like binging on a big meal.

Your stomach when it is empty is actually the size of a large sausage.

Yep that’s right. One single sausage, and considering the stomach is the most expansive part of the GI tract whereby it can stretch and expand to accommodate large quantity of foods; the more you put into it, the more the body has to divert every available bit of energy source to help with the digestion process.

In simple terms, the more energy that is required to digest a meal the tireder you’re going to feel.

You see your stomach acts like a kind of holding reservoir and mixing chamber until your intestines can digest and absorb the food that you eat. And because you can eat a meal much more quickly than the intestines can digest and absorb this food (plus there’s about a 20 minute delay before your brain receives a message from your stomach telling you that you’re full and have eaten way too much food!) – you’re going to start to feel exhausted.

Kind of like that feeling when you want to slump on the couch after eating a big meal – except that you’re currently still on shift at work!

So besides getting as much sleep as you possibly can and eating nutritious food, remember to be much gentler on your stomach. Avoid stuffing it with large quantities of food because it’s a lot smaller than you think.

In essence, think small lighter meals as a way of tapping into a secret energy source … especially for shift workers.

Dinner To Beat The Heat: Japanese Soba Noodles With Sesame Seeds!

noodlesThis is so easy to make it’s ridiculous!

A perfect recipe for when the last thing you feel like doing is slaving over a hot oven to cook dinner, or for when you’re just so exhausted after your shift, that you really can’t be bothered to do anything except open the fridge door and slump on the couch.

OK, so it may require a little bit more preparation that just opening the fridge door – but not much I promise!

If you are also worried about being anywhere near an oven in this oppressive heat, don’t stress because the maximum time you have to be slaving over your stove-top is just 3-4 minutes to cook the soba noodles and then you’re done.


  • 270g soba noodles
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 large carrots, thinly sliced
  • 100g snow peas, sliced
  • 3 spring onions, green portion finely sliced
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


Boil a large saucepan of water.  Add the soba noodles and cook 3-4 minutes or until al dente. Drain.

Meanwhile, combine the honey, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, ginger and garlic in a large bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. Add the carrots, snow peas, spring onions and soba noodles to the bowl and toss to combine. Top with the toasted sesame seeds.  Enjoy!

P.S:  You could also add prawns or chicken to the dish for a non-vegetarian version, or just to add a bit more protein.

Note:  Recipe inspired and adapted from

Tomatoes: A Tasty Round Ball Of Energy!

TomatoesI have to admit as a kid growing up I really disliked tomatoes. Mum used to put them in my sandwiches and I’d be forever dragging the slices out because they made my sandwich go all soggy!

But fast forward a few years on – OK maybe LOTS of years, I now absolutely love my tomatoes.

Since discovering the Roma and Cherry tomato range I hardly go a day without having one of these luscious red fruits. Yes tomatoes are actually a fruit – not a vegetable.

There are a plethora of Health Benefits from eating tomatoes, some of which include:

– the anti-inflammatory properties of vitamins C + vitamin A help to control free radical damage. Free radicals break down body tissues (such as collagen and elastin) which can cause wrinkles and they have also been linked to many diseases such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and diabetes.

– They contain the phytochemical ‘lycopene’ which is known to help prevent cancer.

– They are great for sufferers of low energy as they high sources of iron + B vitamins including niacin, B1, B2 and B5. Now that’s music to the ears for a tired, run down and exhausted shift worker!

– They are a good source of vitamin K and magnesium which are good for our bones.

Important Tips Before Buying Your Tomatoes

– Always buy organic tomatoes as non-organic may have a wax coating which can trap pesticides. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) they can also contain some of the highest levels of pesticides so it’s safest to just buy organic.

Always source local. If they have come from a long way they have probably been picked green which means they haven’t had a chance to develop the vital phytonutrients. They are then artificially ripened once they get to the store by using a gas. Yikes! That is definitely not good.

– Having tomatoes in salads are great, but according to research our bodies are able to obtain the benefits of the phytochemical lycopene from eating cooked tomatoes as opposed to raw.

So there you have it. So many wonderful benefits from including tomatoes in your diet, but probably the best part of all is how they can give us so much energy.

On that note, I’m off to an Italian restaurant for dinner so I’ll be making sure I definitely choose a tomato-based dish off the menu! Hmmm. A risotto, pizza or pasta …