Broccoli for breakfast? Yes, please.

Night shift work.I love it! It’s quiet. I can think better. All the executives are on a day shift schedule. And in a private duty nursing care situation, my one patient usually sleeps – well, unless he’s got to pee. Excuse me for a moment ….

Okay I’m back. He’s all tucked in again. So, as I was saying – love, love, love night shift work! But, as any scientific study will tell you, night shift work interferes with circadian rhythms, meaning a lack of quality sleep, or a lack of enough quality sleep; AND night shift generally means poor nutrition habits, and weight gain.

But does that have to be true? I say NO!

Well, let me preface that by saying that, YES I did put on a few pounds – well, 25 to be exact – in the last year and a half that I’ve been working night shift in a private home. It’s very different from my hospital work where sitting took a back seat to patient care. And let’s not forget the lure of home-baked goodies tantalizing my nose nearly every night I walked in the door to start my shift – and the adorable little Jewish lady who loves to feed anyone who comes in her door.

So, after the last 25-plus years as a vegetarian plus the two as a vegan, which included no sweets, dairy, chips, or anything that spelled extra sugar, salt or processed foods in excess, I went just a bit crazy in a home where every night was a baked goods paradise without even realizing that the small amount I thought I was eating was s-l-o-w-l-y allowing the pounds to set up shop. Had I been running daily as I was before, I might have survived pound and guilt-free. But, mmm, not so much since at the end of 13 hours every night, exercise was the furthest from my mind.

SO, I’ve had to re-group; get back on track with my nutrition. I’m no longer a vegan – I’m thinking I blew that with the first helping of potato kugel – but I’ve lassoed my diet back to 95 percent veggies, fruits, and foods in their natural state, which means broccoli for breakfast!

Broccoli and wine at 10 a.m.

Broccoli and wine at 10 a.m.

Now it’s not ALWAYS broccoli. Most times it’s salad. And I’m not talking lettuce and a tomato. I’m talking spinach, tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, imitation bacon bits, cucumbers, black beans or chick peas (garbanzos) – for protein, and veggie cheese if I have any. Oh, and raisins! Some days it’s a kale and fruit breakfast. Other days a tomato, boiled egg, and smoothie breakfast. And for my after midnight “meals” at work, it’s definitely all about veggies, fruits, and nuts or hummus that I bring myself.

My uniforms are starting to feel looser now that I’ve re-organized my nutrition. (Oh, and I’ve re-scheduled exercise back into my life again, but that’s another post).

It IS POSSIBLE to eat well as a night shift worker. And breakfast does not have to mean traditional breakfast foods. Thinking outside the box and being creative with foods is the key.

And of course, having a glass of wine with it once in a while doesn’t hurt. 🙂

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