Eating Well On & Off the Job
Eating Well On & Off the Job
By Kathleen Aoki
As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”
While the financial rewards of the mining industry are great, it’s also an industry where the extreme demands can take a heavy toll on your body, mind and spirit. Add to that the regular consumption of coffee and caffeinated drinks, sugar, junk food and alcohol, and you have a recipe for low-energy and physical burn-out, increasing the risk of illness as well as anxiety and depression.
For instance, while an iced coffee or a candy bar might seem like the ideal pick-me-up, the fact is that within minutes your body will respond to the abnormal level of sugar in the bloodstream with a rush of insulin, setting into motion a complex damage-control chain reaction that will leave you even more tired and sluggish, irritable and prone to mistakes.
Because feeling good on and off the job is so important, here are some simple suggestions to combat hunger and low-energy, while boosting your health and well-being in the process:
Eat more high-quality protein
The word protein means “of primary importance” in Greek. When we eat protein-rich foods, they are broken down into key amino acids needed by the body. One of these amino acids, tryptophan, is converted to serotonin, the brain chemical which promotes feelings of happiness and well-being. In addition to stabilizing moods, eating protein regulates blood sugar, promotes fat loss, and can help stave off high-calorie snacking as you’ll feel less hungry throughout the day.
Most people require about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. For example, if you weigh 75 kg, that’s about 60 grams of protein per day, which is approximately 200-300 grams of cooked fish or beef.
Try to incorporate different proteins into your diet several times a week. It’s important to choose high-quality proteins – not fast food hamburgers! Choose wild salmon, free-range chicken and eggs, organic, hormone-free and lean beef cuts, or tempeh (not tofu). If you don’t have easy access to these, you can always pack along some mixed nuts, a boiled egg, some bean dip, cottage or sliced cheese, or a can of sardines to go with your crackers.
Eat more vegetables
Mum has been telling us this since we were kids, and she’s right. Vegetables, especially the green, yellow, and orange vegetables are rich in important minerals and vitamins. They’re also high in fiber and antioxidants that protect the body from disease and cancer.
If you find yourself resisting your vegetables, you can drink them in juice form, or simply add some green leafy kale to your morning smoothie. While it may sound strange, “green smoothies” are delicious and will give you a big energy boost first thing in the morning. It’s a great way to get your daily greens. In the absence of fresh greens, green food supplements, such as spirulina or barley grass, are a good way to complement your diet.
Eat more whole foods
Eating foods closer to their natural state has many health benefits. For example, because the bran and germ layers are left intact, brown rice is lower in calories, higher in vitamins and minerals, and is nearly 7x higher in fiber than its bleached counterpart, white rice. Whole grains and seeds have also been shown to lower the risk of many chronic diseases including high blood pressure, diabetes, and colon cancer. Whole foods taste good too, so it’s easy to make the switch.
Make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D
One of the most common vitamin deficiencies seen today is with Vitamin D, which is critical to immunity, disease-prevention and overall health.
According to the Joe Mercola M.D. website, “Researchers found that patients with low levels of vitamin D were more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure, and diseased heart muscle – and were three times more likely to die from any cause compared to those with normal levels.”
While the general dosage is 2000-5000 units of Vitamin D per day for adults, testing is strongly recommended to determine the correct amount for you.
Stay well hydrated
And last but not least, it’s extremely important to stay well-hydrated on the job. A mere 2% drop in the body’s water can trigger signs of dehydration which include fatigue and headache, difficulty with short-term memory, and lowered problem-solving ability.
A general rule-of-thumb is to drink a minimum of 2 litres a day. If you are working in hot conditions, increase your amount of water intake accordingly. Always drink pure, filtered water when possible.