Gut Nourishing Lime, Coconut and Date Christmas Balls:

For Those Of You Who Have To Work On Christmas Day (or Night)!

These Lime, Coconut and Date Christmas Balls are perfect for sensitive tummies on night-shift, and also make for a nice change to the regular “Cacao Protein Ball” recipes that we see flooded on the Internet, not to mention the caffeine in the cacao can keep us awake post night-shift!

What’s great about them?

  • They are rich in vitamin C, which is important for shift workers fighting with depleted immune systems as a result of little sleep.
  • When combined with foods containing non-heme iron (such as those found in plant based food sources such as the almonds), the vitamin C in the limes will help to increase the amount of iron that the body can absorb.  Given low iron status can contribute to fatigue – this is something that shift workers definitely want to avoid!
  • Gelatin contains an amino acid called glutamic acid, which is converted to glutamine in the body that has been shown to improve the integrity of the gut wall and help prevent intestinal permeability or “leaky gut”.  Intestinal permeability (IP) is quite common in shift workers due to circadian descyncronisation, or a disruption to the normal sleep/wake cycle, which in turn, can contribute to gut disturbances.
  • Citrus fruit such as limes can enhance cardiovascular health, as lime juice and peel was shown to reduce the build up of fatty deposits in the arteries, thereby lowering the risk of stroke.

Ingredients (makes 20)

  • 1 cup of almond meal
  • 1 cup of medjool dates, pitted
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 dessert spoon Changing Habits gelatin
  • Juice and zest of 2 limes
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste

How to make them!

Blitz all ingredients into your food processor until the mixture begins to clump.  Transfer to a mixing bowl and roll into small little balls, then cover in desiccated coconut to create that Christmasy-snowflake look!

Store in airtight container in the fridge before taking into work, and sharing with your workmates on Christmas Day :-).

Audra x



Boshtam, M, Asgary, S, Moshtaghian, J, Naderi, G and Jafari-Dinani, N 2013,  ‘Impacts of Fresh Lime Juice and Peel on Atherosclerosis Progression in an Animal Model’, ARYA Atherosclerosis, vol. 9, no. 6, pp. 357-362.

Rapin, J & Wiernsperger, N 2010, ‘Possible Links between Intestinal Permeablity and Food Processing: A Potential Therapeutic Niche for Glutamine’, Clinics (Sao Paulo), vol. 65, no. 6, pp. 635-643.

Gut Healing Stewed Apple Puddings with Kefir:

The Perfect Treat for Night Shift!

Gastrointestinal complaints are certainly a common ailment amongst those who work 24/7, in particular those who work the dreaded “night shift”.  This is because a lot of gastrointestinal functions decrease at night, and when we work (and eat) out of sync to our natural circadian rhythms or biological clock, it can cause havoc on our digestive system.

It’s important to remember that as human beings we are diurnal creatures, meaning we’re meant to be awake during the day, and asleep during the night – which also applies to our food intake.

However this is not always the case if you’re a shift worker.

As you know, we are awake and asleep at all different times of the day and/or night, but we need to keep in mind that nocturnal digestion is less efficient because our body is not designed for night-time calorie intake.

Some of these decreased functions of the gastrointestinal tract include:

  • A decrease in gastric acid secretion, which is needed to break down proteins.
  • A decline in digestive enzyme production including protease, lipase and amylase which are all needed to break down foods into smaller particles.
  • The pancreas secretes less insulin, which is needed to assist with the uptake of glucose into the cells.
  • Gastric motility slows right down – in other words, we’re less likely to poop during the night!

Essentially foods aren’t broken down and digested as well as if it was the daytime, which can lead to tummy upsets.  Things like abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhoea are just a few of these symptoms – some of which you’ve probably experienced at some point in time throughout your shift working career.

So given our digestive systems are essentially “sleeping” whilst we’re on night shift, foods which require minimal digestion, along with those which are going to help nourish our sensitive tummies make the perfect choice for night shift nutrition.

One of these types of foods include stewed apples, which are super healing on the digestive tract.

Pectin, which is found in apples, is a type of soluble fibre which has a mild laxative effect, so can help to relieve constipation, along with reducing that uncomfortable feeling of bloating.  It can also help to firm stools and reduce inflammation associated with diarrhoea, along with helping to maintain the delicate balance of beneficial micro-organisms in the gut.

In other words, they’re a pretty good gut-healing food for shift workers given we’re prone to various types of gastrointestinal complaints.

So here’s my Gut Healing Stewed Apple Pudding which can be taken into night shift for those times when you’re feeling like something sweet to eat, but is actually good for you too!

• 6 organic apples
• 1/2 cup filtered water
• 1/2 cup sultanas (for added sweetness and fibre)
• 2 tsp. cinnamon (helps with blood sugar regulation)

Peel and core the apples and chop them into small evenly sized pieces.  Put all the ingredients in a covered pan and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly.  Cook until the pieces are soft and the colour turns light brown from the cinnamon.

Pop small batches of the pudding into small containers (the equivalent of about 1 apple each), which can be transported into work, and then left in the fridge until ready to eat.

Hope these make your night shifts a little more appealing!

Audra x

P.S:  for an added gut-healing effect, drizzle with goat’s milk kefir which is considered a more powerful version of yoghurt (with a thinner consistency), and is made from cultures of yeast and lactic acid bacteria, which are high in nutrients and probiotics.



Jiang, T, Gao, X, Wu, C, Tian, F, Lei, Q, Bi, J, Xie, B, Wang, H, Chen, S & Wang X 2016, ‘Apple-derived pectin modulates gut microbiota, improves gut barrier function, and attenuates metabolic endotoxemia in rats with diet-induced obesity’, Nutrients, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 1-20.

Koutsos, A, Tuohy, K & Lovegrove, J 2015, ‘Apples and cardiovascular health – Is the gut microbiota a core consideration?’ Nutrients, vol. 7, no. 6, pp. 3959-3998.

Nourishing Night Shift Jellies:

The Perfect Gut Healing Snack for Night Shift!


After spending a year in clinical practice chatting with shift workers from an array of different occupations, one of the things I noticed when undergoing individual dietary assessments, was how many of my clients would succumb to eating ‘comfort foods’ whilst on night shift.

Now if you’re a night shifter, then I’m sure this is something you can relate to.

And I completely understand why.

Night shift is tough.  Really tough.

So when everyone puts money in to order a pizza, brings in a bag of lollies or cake to share, this ‘party food’ or ‘comfort food’ brings a bit of fun into the workplace, and helps to jazz up an often long and tiresome shift.

But nocturnal eating, or more specifically, eating out of sync to the body’s natural circadian clock can actually make us more susceptible to gut disturbances.

Things become even worse when we consume foods that are low in fiber, and high in simple carbohydrates (such as white flour, white bread and white rice), because the body converts these foods into sugar very quickly, leading to blood glucose dysregulation.

Sleep loss or circadian disruption is also a form of physiological stress that can disrupt the gut microbiota leading to intestinal permeability, otherwise known as ‘leaky gut’.  This imbalance of gut microbiome can lead to low grade inflammation which, over time, can increase our susceptibility of developing chronic conditions such as autoimmune disease.

So gut health is absolutely key for anyone who works 24/7, which is why I’ve included this great gut healing alternative to take into night shift.

Introducing my heart-centred ‘Nourishing Night Shift Jellies’ … because every shift worker needs a hug – particularly when on night shift!


  • 3 tablespoons of organic gelatin powder (I use the brand – Changing Habits)
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon of organic honey


Mix gelatin with half of the coconut milk and leave to become gelatinous.  Warm the other ingredients together in a pot on the stove, but on low heat.  Don’t let it get to a boil.

Then mix the warmed milk in with the gelatin mix and give it a good stir with a metal spoon.  Pour in to molds of your choice, and pop into the fridge to set.   Keep stored in an air-tight glass jar in fridge.


Audra x


Recipe inspired and adapted from @anourishingnook.


Reynolds, A, Paterson, J, Ferguson, S, Stanley, D, Wright, K & Dawson, D 2016, ‘The shift work and health research agenda:  Considering changes in gut microbiota as a pathway linking shift work, sleep loss and circadian misalignment and metabolic disease’, Sleep Medicine Reviews, vol. 2016, p. 1-7.