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.
Say what? You want me to eat RAW cauliflower Audra?!! I sure do, because when it’s raw, it’s wonderful nutritional benefits become even more pronounced.
Being part of the cruciferous family, it helps with detoxification, which, if you’re struggling to lose weight whilst working 24/7 can be super helpful. This is because toxins create chemical stress in the body, leading to raised levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Sadly, high cortisol levels increase body fat, especially around the belly or torso region, as it wants to protect your organs from any impending “danger” brought on by stress.
When we eat too much processed food (which is full of manufactured chemicals), the liver also has to work harder to filter out these toxins, which can lead to cellular damage.
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.
Do you read ingredients labels? Do you even pay attention to them?
When it comes to the food that we eat – are the ingredients even important?
Many years ago when I worked for a multi-level marketing nutrition company (please don’t hold this against me – we live and learn!), one of my mentors said that he never reads ingredients labels. In fact, he used to put those who did into a basket of sorts, calling them “label readers”.
Now I don’t like it when people slander others using labels at the best of times, but as a newbie learning about nutrition, I figured I should just trust what he was saying and deem it to be true.
However, as time marched on, it didn’t sit right. It left me with a bit of a niggling feeling that ignoring the ingredients was not a good approach to take.
That being said, if you’ve ever taken the time to read a nutrition label, you will know it can be like a minefield. Lots of numbers and hard to pronounce words you may never have even heard of.
Shouldn’t that be an alarm bell in itself?
If we don’t know what’s in something or we can’t even pronounce it – shouldn’t that trigger us to investigate further?
To answer ‘yes’ to this question is certainly not unusual given we’ve been led to believe that we must eat regularly to keep up our metabolism.
But is this even true? According to Dr Jason Fung, author of ‘The Obesity Code’, it’s not.
It’s a diet fallacy.
A diet dogma that, for years, has never sat well with me either. It just never felt right. Never made sense.
Truth always makes sense, whereas fallacies don’t.
Historically, we would never have eaten this way. As hunter and gatherers, we would never have had unlimited access to food in the way that we do today.
Even if we go back just 50-years, very few people were overweight, and obesity was pretty much non-existent.
Back then the Keto diet didn’t exist, nor the Paleo and if you mentioned the words “clean eating or FODMAP” I’m sure people would have looked at you as though you had two heads!
So why was this? Why were few people overweight decades ago?