Your Shift Work Diet: Does It Include Real Food Or Food-Like Substances?

real food word cloudSo here’s a question for you.  If I was to follow you around for a week and watch what you were eating, would you be eating real food or food-like substances?

If I was to come inside your house (by invitation of course!) and open your fridge door and take a look inside, what would I see?  Is it over-flowing with colourful fresh produce, abundant in fresh fruits and vegetables?

How about your freezer?  Would I find a plethora of different types of home-cooked meals frozen in time, ready to be taken into work for your next late shift?

Or would I see something completely different?

Perhaps I’m starting to make you feel a little nervous right now …!!

Well coming from someone who spent over 13 years eating food-like substances (I was definitely in denial about my diet), I believe they’re really important questions to ask because there’s a huge difference between eating real food, and food-like substances.

Real foods include anything which doesn’t come with an ingredients label, eg; fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oats, rice etc.

Food-like substances on the other hand are those “foods” which are often hidden in the inside lanes of the supermarket (which happen to be colourfully packaged and strategically placed in order to catch your eye), as you swing past with your grocery trolley.

In fact you may recognize these products as those which come with an impossible-to-pronounce ingredients list!  That is of course, if you happen to read the ingredients list.

Have you ever heard someone say – “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food” because the truth of the matter is – it’s anything but food.

We’ve become so disconnected from our food sources that we’re pretty much eating dead stuff.  Yes that’s right, food that’s pretty much void of nutrition which poses a huge problem for those of us working 24/7.

Why?  Well as shift workers we desperately need food to provide us with energy (even more so than our 9-5 cousins) because we’re lacking energy big time thanks to our fatigue-draining, sleep-deprived lifestyle.

And here’s the KEY difference between the two types of “food”:

  • Real foods – nourish our bodies and provide us with energy
  • Food-like substances – increase our toxic load and drain us of energy as the body has to work hard to break down, digest and eliminate the concoction of additives, preservatives, flavour enhancers, artificial sweeteners, colours, emulsifiers, thickeners, stabilizers … you get my drift!

So the next time you’re out doing your grocery shopping, think long and hard before putting those frozen pre-packaged meals into your trolley.  Ask yourself this question?  Is it going to nourish and energize my shift working body, or is it going to make me feel even more tired and lethargic?

Just some food for thought.


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