Blood Sugar Stabilising Smoothie:

Liquid Nutrition for Early or Night Shifts!

When it comes to shift work nutrition, there are four things that we need to focus on when working nights or early shifts:

  1. Consuming foods that will help to sustain us through the shift, as our bodies struggle to remain alert as a result of both sleep disruption and deprivation.
  2. Foods that will help to stabilise our blood sugar levels so we don’t fall under the hypnotic spell of the vending machine which is often filled with sugar-laden, man-made “foods” that not only add to the waistlines, but increase inflammation in the body too.
  3. Consuming foods that are easy on the digestive tract given sleep disruption can make us prone to intestinal permeability, otherwise known as ‘leaky gut’.
  4. If on nights, consuming foods that aren’t going to interfere with our sleep when returning home from our shift.

This is why I like home-made smoothies, as they’re a great source or “liquid nutrition” as the body is able to absorb the nutrients much more effectively and efficiently, without making us feel even more tired as the body tries to break down and absorb hard-to-digest food particles.

In addition, when we include a good cross section of ingredients – as in a serving of protein, fat and complex carbohydrates it becomes an all-in-one “macronutrient balanced meal”.

This means it will help to keep us feeling fuller for longer, and help to stabilise our blood glucose levels so we’re less likely to fall “victim” to the not-so-healthy processed-food-laden vending machines.

Here’s one to get you inspired!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon protein powder (I use Pea or Inca Inchi)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 cup of ice cubes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or ½ teaspoon nutmeg

How to make it!

Throw all of the ingredients into a blender and enjoy immediately, or transfer into a small thermos and store in the fridge at work to enjoy mid-shift!

 

References:

Ali, T, Choe, J, Awab, A, Wagener, T & Orr, W 2013, ‘Sleep, immunity and inflammation in gastrointestinal disorders’, World Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 19. no. 48, pp. pp. 9231-9239.

Crispim, C, Zimberg, I, Gomes dos Reis, B, Diniz, R, Tufik, S & Tulio de Mello, M 2011, ‘Relationship between food intake and sleep pattern in healthy individuals’, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, vol. 7, no. 6, pp. 659-664.

Wehrens, S, Hampton, S, Kerkhofs, M & Skene, D 2012, ‘Mood, alertness, and performance in response to sleep deprivation and recovery sleep in experienced shiftworkers versus non-shiftworkers’, Chronobiology International, vol. 29, no. 5, pp. 537-548.

HSW 57: Life on the Railways with Zach Nobel

Healthy Shift Worker Podcast:

Ever wondered what it’s like to work on a moving train 24/7?  Well this is exactly what Brisbane-based Nutrition and Media student Zach Nobel does in between his studies at University.  When he’s not submerged under textbooks, Zach works for Queensland Rail, working onboard long distance trains between Brisbane and all around Queensland.

As a 20-something millennial, Zach realised quite quickly into his shift working career that he was going to have to take care of his health, in order to sustain his career working 24/7.  So in this episode, Zach shares some of his tips for staying healthy whilst on night-shift, along with how to manage and reduce some of the effects of night-shift fatigue, in particular when confined to an air-conditioned cabin that continually rocks from side to side!

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

 

References:

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.

HSW 44 – Happy Nurses & Midwives with Carmen Barry.

Healthy Shift Worker Podcast:

Are you a nurse or midwife?  If so, then you’re going to love this episode as I had the pleasure of chatting with Carmen Barry, a nurse based at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne who has been involved in the rollout of a pilot program called ‘Happy People’.

The Happy People program is an initiative designed by workplace wellbeing advocates, Happy Body At Work, to help improve the mental, emotional and physical health of shift workers.

Carmen shares what it was like being a part of the 6-week pilot program including some of the things she and her fellow nurses learnt along the way to help with energy, mood, stress, and sleep.  According to Carmen, the program also instigated a healthy bit of “competitiveness” amongst the various nurses and wards, making it not only an informative project but a fun one too which is a huge bonus when you’re running on little sleep!

Links mentioned on the podcast:

The Royal Women’s Hospital Article

Carmen’s Email

Nourishing Night Shift Jelly Cups!

These Nourishing Night Shift Jelly Cups are perfect for sensitive tummies that have to be up in the middle of the night, thanks to night shift.

In other words – anyone who has to work night shift, or those crazy early shifts starting at 4am or earlier!

What’s great about them?

  • These little jars of goodness contain gelatin which is made from cooking collagen, and is extremely high in protein.
  • It is the richest food source of the amino acid glycine, which can help to improve memory and attention – another struggle we face when having to be awake in the middle of the night!
  • Gelatin contains glutamic acid, which is converted to glutamine in the body which studies have shown can help to improve the integrity of the gut wall, and help to prevent “leaky gut”.
  • “Leaky gut” is something Shift Workers are quite prone too as sleep disruption can alter the delicate balance of the gut microbiome or microbiota, which can lead to intestinal permeability or “leaky gut”.  This phenomenon allows food particles to enter the bloodstream, triggering an immune response.

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