Are You Unconsciously Poisoning Yourself?

Could you be unknowingly poisoning yourself?

It might sound like an odd question to ask as none of us would ever want to intentionally harm ourselves, however, I remember back in my early 20’s when I was new to shift work (and eating crap food) – I went from being quite lean to becoming quite puffy.

By some miracle, I didn’t really gain much weight, but my face and hands became swollen and I was always bloated.

What I didn’t realise at the time, was that I was slowly poisoning myself by eating toxic foods containing refined sugars and inflammatory fats that were leading to systemic inflammation.

Besides sapping our energy, chronic low-level inflammation can damage blood vessels, weaken our muscles and cause absolute havoc on our hormones!

Ouch! As if shift work isn’t hard enough?!

(more…)

Do You Eat The Same Things, Over and Over?

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!)

Why?

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.

(more…)

How To Eat on Night Shift to Reduce Fatigue?

Back in my Uni days of studying to become a nutritionist, I remember overhearing a discussion between a lecturer and student about what would be the ideal meal option for someone who work’s the night shift.

The lecturer’s reply was:

“Just get them to flip their meals around. As in have their big meal around midnight and 1am”.

The thing is, that never really sat right with me.

Given the functionality of our circadian rhythm varies enormously between that of the day versus the night, I instinctively knew that nocturnal food intake, especially in large quantities, was bound to cause havoc on our digestive system. Not ideal, given most shift workers are plagued by gastrointestinal complaints at the best of times!

However, it doesn’t stop at the digestive system.

It can affect our cognition, amongst other things, which if your work involves making complex decisions, operating machinery or performing surgery, can be extremely important.

(more…)

Gut Loving Energising Smoothie

Do you experience gut discomfort and lack energy?

Yeah I know. It’s a bit of a silly question as most shift workers do.

This is due mostly to something called circadian misalignment, which is just a fancy way to describe eating out of sync to our natural body clock.

That being said, it’s not just about food timing.

When we’re tired we don’t always make the healthiest of food choices because let’s face it. It’s really hard to muster up the strength to whip up a culinary delight when we can barely keep our eyes open from exhaustion!

This ends up being a bit of a Catch-22 because it contributes to an even further lack of energy due to insufficient nutrients needed for energy production on a cellular level. 

This leads to a disruption in the regulation of the nervous system. In other words, makes us feel even more tired, anxious and frazzled!

The good news is, I’ve got a “can’t-be-bothered-to-make-anything-fancy” smoothie recipe that is not only quick to make, but will supply your body with a wonderful assortment of nutrients to give you more zing.

The apple cider vinegar and ginger in this smoothie will also help to settle an anxious tummy.

What’s In It?

100g blueberries (preferably organic)
250ml almond milk (or milk of your choice)
1 orange – juice and zest
2cm piece of fresh ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp coconut oil
a pinch of freshly ground black pepper

How To Make It?

Throw everything into a blender and blitz until smooth.

Drink immediately or pop into a chilled thermos to take into work and enjoy whilst on shift.

Note: you’ll need to give the smoothie a good shake once it’s been in the fridge for a while as the coconut oil will harden slightly.

Audra x

References:
.

Antunes, L, Levandovski, R, Dantas, G, Gaumo, W & Hidalgo, M 2010, ‘Obesity and shift work: Chronobiological aspects’, Nutrition Research Review, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 155-168.

Kanarek, R 1997, ‘Psychological effects of snacks and altered meal frequency’, British Journal of Nutrition, vol. 77, pp. S105-S120.

Nor, A, Norsham, J, Nur, T, Sahar, A, Srijit, D & Effendy N 2020, ‘Consequences of circadian disruption in shift workers on chrononutrition and their psychosocial well-being’, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 17, no. 6, pp. 1-17.

Are You A Sucker For The Lollie Jar At Work? Try These Orange Jellies Instead.

As tired, weary shift workers it’s not surprising that we’re lured in by the lollie jar at work, as a source of energy for our sleep-deprived brains.

But have you ever taken the time to read the ingredients label of some of these packaged lollies?

Let me share an example to help prove my point:

Exhibit A

Ingredients:  Glucose Syrup ( Wheat  Or Corn), Cane Sugar, Thickener (Dextrin Roasted Starch, Acid Treated Starch Or Starch Acetate)( Wheat ), Gelatine, Food Acids (Citric, Lactic), Invert Syrup, Flavours, Colours (Carminic Acid, Turmeric, Vegetable Carbon, Paprika Oleoresin, Copper Chlorophyllin, Black Carrot).   Contains Wheat. May Contain Milk.

As you can see, there are lots of extra “bonuses” included in that packet, besides the glucose itself.

It’s what makes these 3-ingredient jellies or “lollies” a much healthier alternative.

(more…)