Don’t these look amazing!!
Now when we walk into most staff lunchrooms, we often see cakes, cookies and lollies spread across multiple tables (I know they’re there as I’ve been in many a shift working lunchroom over the years …LOL), but wouldn’t it be nice to see something healthy feature on those tables instead?
Imagine if everyone made a delicious plant-based dish and brought it into share for something different (as opposed to those other things we just mentioned), the lunchroom would immediately turn into a tapas-style restaurant… even though you’re actually at work!
Do you tend to eat the same type of meals over and over again? Maybe you’ve got a close relationship going on with your breakfast cereal?!!
Well I’d like to inspire you to live on the edge a little … and add some colour and variety to your plate (or bowl!)
When we eat a more diversified diet, particularly one that is rich in plant-based foods, it helps to feed the trillions of microscopic bugs in the digestive tract.
Now these microscopic bugs (which comprise of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses – yes you read that correctly, even viruses), they don’t just hang out in your belly, doing nothing.
They are responsible for producing important neurotransmitters such as gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, for short. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter which helps to calm the nervous system, needed to facilitate sleep.
They also produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter which is the pre-cursor to the sleep-regulating hormone, melatonin.
I’m calling this the “chillaxing smoothie” because it’s filled with relaxing and health enhancing minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron and gut-friendly fibre.
Perfect for a tired and weary … and somewhat frazzled shift worker ⏰ 😴!
Bananas 🍌, celery and beetroot all contain potassium – a mineral which helps to lower blood pressure and protect against heart disease by maintaining fluid balance by way of enhancing urinary excretion of sodium.
We want to avoid too much sodium (found hidden in the majority of processed foods), as it draws water into the bloodstream, raising blood volume and thereby blood pressure.
Whole, real foods really are our medicine!
1/4 – 1/2 beetroot
1 x banana
1 x celery stick
250ml of milk of choice
3 x spoons yoghurt
What’s great about this smoothie?
- Almonds contain healthy monounsaturated fats, protein, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin E. The proteins and healthy fats provide a slow source of energy release, and also help to slow down the release of simple carbohydrates or sugars into the bloodstream. This helps to keep our blood sugar levels steady thereby reduce sugar cravings – something almost every shift worker struggles with thanks to ongoing sleep deprivation.
- The oranges are bursting with immune boosting benefits including vitamins B and C, along with Flavonoids, Folic Acid, Carotenoids, Potassium and Dietary Fibre. Vitamin C is also critical for adrenal function, one of our stress regulating glands which bear the brunt of a sleep-deprived lifestyle.
- The Chia seeds are also high in protein and fibre, both of which help to keep us feeling full and have been shown to aid weight loss.
As someone who works round the clock 24/7, do you have times when you feel as though you’re lacking some stamina? Kind of like you’re running on flat batteries?
Well besides catching up on some long lost sleep (which is extremely difficult to do when you work irregular hours) there is an alternative and it’s called ‘beetroot’.
Sound a bit strange? Well as a nutrition student I’m always fascinated with wholefoods and how they can heal the body. In particular, how they can specifically help shift workers who are continually prone to a depleted immune system, digestive complaints and nervous system dysregulation.
As Hippocrates once said – ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’.
Beetroot has so many wonderful therapeutic benefits including:
- It’s high in vitamin C and iron.
- It’s a great cleanser on the gut, and helps to maintain bowel regularity (excellent for shift workers who are prone to digestive complaints).
- It helps to regulate blood pressure.
- It helps to guard against infections, in particular bowel and stomach infections.
- Studies have shown beetroots can boost endurance and stamina via the efficient use of oxygen (*Murphy et al. 2012) – music to the ears of any energy depleted shift worker!
So if you’re looking for a bit of oomph or get up and go, try including some beetroot into your shift working diet. (more…)