We're all human. It's easy to grab a breakfast from McDonald's in the morning. We all gorge on comfort foods such as Malteasers and crisps after a long, hard day. Some of us think that we need 10 litres of coffee to stay awake and to function throughout the day.
What we really need, is advice from a nutrition expert such as Bav Heer, to get our diets back on track and to help us deal with the pressures of the job. Some of this advice could also be invaluable for you patients!
"The daily onslaught of demands on a pharmacist can be taxing both mentally and physically. Keeping your focus, mood and energy levels sustained are important to help you get through the day.
Many of you may experience the mid-afternoon dip (around 3pm) where you either want to clear the bench and have a nap on it, or you put on the kettle, get a caffeine hit and hopefully you'll survive until home time. Does this sound familiar? This can be a sign of chronic stress on your adrenal glands (the ones that keep you going).
The advice I can give you is to ensure that you firstly stay hydrated, as your concentration levels are affected by dehydration. Keep a bottle of water containing a slice of either fresh lemon or cucumber in front of your checking station.
Second, get some good brain foods into your diet. Your brain is 70% fat, and will be made of whatever you consume, so ensure you are taking your good fats from oily fish (herring, mackerel, salmon and fresh tuna). Include vegetarian options from walnuts, seeds (flax, pumpkin) some legumes and of course if you are a pro, then you know that Krill Oil is especially good for you. It’s structure is similar to the phospholipids in the brain.
Nothing is more taxing on your physiology than sugar levels bouncing up and down, along with the obvious energy dips. Consume foods that are digested slowly, (therefore release energy more gradually) this will help to maintain steady energy levels. Ensure there is protein in your breakfast, such as eggs, porridge with nuts and seeds. If you are in a hurry, then have a smoothie or protein shake, don’t run on empty. Your breakfast will set the metabolism for the day, if you get it right you won’t crave the bad stuff.
Snacking between breakfast and lunch can help to keep you going. Try having a piece of fruit with a few nuts to sustain you until lunch…whenever that may be. You can prepare a small container of a mix of nuts and seeds and carry it with you.
Are you getting enough Magnesium? This mineral has many benefits. Not only does it assist smooth muscle function, but it's good for moods and a good night’s sleep. There's nothing like a soak in Epsom salts for a good sleep and to relieve sore muscles.
Physiological stress, and mental stress have the same effects on your cortisol production. High stress levels result in cortisol being released continually. The effects of this can be insulin resistance, abdominal weight gain, muscle loss, irritability, and ladies… sorry to say, hormonal imbalances.
So it’s really important to nourish your body and brain. Exercise can help increase your stamina and lift your moods. Try to include a brisk 10 minute walk in the day, take deep breaths and focus on quietening your mind.
In summary, healthy eating for pharmacists:
Have a protein rich breakfast Maintain hydration levels Take healthy snacks along with you Eat plenty of Omega 3 containing foods Supplement with Magnesium citrate at least 200mg a day."
Part of the reason that locum pharmacists lose control of their diets is because of the travelling involved, and the stress of finding their next shift. Sign up to Locate a Locum and find work in your location. And maybe tell your colleagues about your new diet...