The Shift Worker's Wife

Nimble Fumblings of a Mom, Wife, and Quirky Creative

Category: AdvoCare

Liquid Motivation

Hey there, Shift Lifers.  This post is way overdue. I’m truly sorry that I’ve withheld this valuable information from you for so long.

So you or spouse works a weird schedule. Your sleep patterns are all jacked up. You’re feeling foggy and groggy, but for some reason the world still thinks you should be a productive member of society.

What’s a guy/gal to do? I mean, coffee helps. I am in a committed relationship with my morning coffee. It’s a ritual for me and I have no intentions of ever splitting with it.

HOWEVER, once my morning coffee wears off…Houston, we have a problem. The coffee crash is real. In the past, I would just drink another cup of coffee. Then another. Then another. I would drink coffee pretty much every two hours throughout the entire day just to keep me going.   And if coffee was out of reach, I grabbed SUGAR. Candy, cookies, soda, or generally anything easy that would give me a quick pick-me-up.

It was an ugly cycle.

Until one fateful day…

Love At First Sip

I met her at a business networking meeting. She was full of spunk and shined brightly in the crowd.   She gave a presentation on some company I’d never heard of, and handed samples to the newbies in the room. It was some kind of drink mix that was supposed to give an energy boost.

I was tired (as usual). So I found a bottle of water, sprinkled in this alleged magic dust…

And the rest is history.

Afternoon Delight

Unlike my beloved coffee, there was no crash with this new juice. No jitters, no aggressive jolt—just a smooth, steady boost. I felt more focused. More friendly.

And it was delicious! Fruity and refreshing. I usually struggled the most after lunch. When my belly was full, my eyelids got heavy. But after that lunch meeting, I felt fantastic.

I asked for a sample to take home to Hub. I needed to know if he felt the same way.

Not long before that, he had fallen asleep driving home after a 13-hour night shift. His car bounced off of a guardrail along the side of a highway. Thank God he wasn’t hurt. Every night shift after that, I worried about him. He started carpooling with a coworker to give me some peace of mind, but it wasn’t always super convenient for either of them.

Maybe this new stuff could help. He took it to work that night and I told him to drink it before the drive home.

 “Spark Saves Lives”

We say this to our friends with a cheeky tone, but it’s true. The morning he drank his sample, he didn’t come straight home and hit his pillow. We actually had a conversation and ate breakfast together. It was lovely. He said he wasn’t tired during the drive at all.

In fact, these days, he even has energy to hit the gym after a long night shift. Life. Changing.

Spark makes me a happier, more productive person. And since I’m not riding the energy roller coaster anymore, I’m not eating as much junk. My pants appreciate that.

Do You Know What We Know?

Have you heard of Spark? Have you tried a Spark? Because if the answer is no, we must remedy the situation.

It comes in 10 yummy flavors and mixes easily in water.

Fruit Punch (my personal favorite)
Blue Raspberry (Hub’s fave)
Mandarin Orange
Pink Lemonade
Limeade
Cherry
Watermelon
Grape
Green Apple
Mango Strawberry

It’s also sugar-free and loaded with good-for-you vitamins and amino acids. Wins all around.

Want to know more?  You can view label info HERE.  Message me through Facebook or email me at shiftwife@gmail.com for other details.

My List of Healthy Foods and Portion Sizes

Fotolia_70887549_S-600x400As part of the AdvoCare 24-Day Challenge bundle, every Challenger receives a Daily Guide to help us track our meals and supplements.  And while this resource is extremely helpful and concise,  I find that a more inclusive list of food options and portion sizes makes it easier for me to plan and portion out my meals in advance.

So I thought I would share this with you.  Feel free to PRINT this information to help you make healthy food choices during your Challenge and EVERY DAY.

**Disclaimer:  I am NOT a medical professional or nutritionist, so these suggestions are based solely on my own personal preferences and the way I eat.  Portion sizes may need to be adjusted based on your personal goals.  Please consult a healthcare professional if you have questions or concerns about what is best for YOUR body.

Meals vs. Snacks

The portion sizes suggested in the list below are what I would have as part of a meal.  For snacks, I cut the portion in half.   I eat 3 MEALS + 2-3 SNACKS throughout the day.

The number of servings for each food category go like this:

  • Protein Minimum = 3 full servings (@ meals) + 2 half servings (@ snacks)
  • Vegetable Minimum = 3 full servings (@ meals) + 2 half servings (@ snacks)
  • Complex Carbs = MAXimum 3 full servings
  • Fruit = MAXimum 3 servings
  • Fats/Treats = MAXimum 2 servings

I really try to have a protein and a vegetable every time I eat.  So when I’m planning my meals, I pick items from those two categories first and then add in the other things.

For a printable version of this guide:  Healthy Food Options List.


PROTEIN OPTIONS


 

Meats & Seafood

 **Prepare baked, grilled, steamed, or pan seared in nonstick skillet

  • 6 oz. Skinless Chicken Breast or 4 oz. Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 4 oz. Deli Meat – But *Read This First!
  • 2 whole Eggs or 5 Egg Whites
  • 4 oz. Game (Venison, Bison, Elk, Lamb, etc.)
  • 4 oz. Ground Beef – 93% Lean
  • 4 oz. Ground Turkey – 93% Lean
  • 4 oz. Ground Pork – 93% Lean
  • 6 oz. Lean Fish (Tilapia, Cod, Red Snapper, etc.)
  • 6 oz. Shellfish (Shrimp, Scallops, Clams, Crab, Mussels)
  • 4 oz. Salmon
  • 4 oz. Lean Beef (Sirloin, Round Roast, Brisket, Flank Steak) *Resource
  • 6 oz. Skinless Turkey Breast
  • 4 oz. Lean Pork (Tenderloin, Loin Chops)

Other Protein Options

The following foods contain protein, but also count as CARBS.  Limit to 3 portions per day.

These proteins also count as FATS.  Limit to 1-2 portions per day

  • 1/2 c. Cottage Cheese (low fat)
  • 1/2 c. Ricotta Cheese (part skim)
  • 1/2 c. Greek Yogurt (low fat or nonfat, low sugar)
  • 1 T. sour cream (low fat)
  • 8 oz. Milk (Skim or 2%)
  • 2 oz. Soft, Sliced or Shredded Cheese (low fat)
  • 1/4 c. Nuts – unsalted
  • 2 T. Nut Butters – no added salt, sugar or oil
  • 2 T. Seeds – unsalted (Pumpkin, Sunflower, Chia, Flax, etc.)
  • 1/2 Avocado

COMPLEX CARBS


**Limit to 3 portions per day

  • 1/2 c. Beans
  • 1/2 c. Lentils
  • 1 c. Cooked Unflavored Oatmeal (1/2 c. dry)
  • 1/2 c. Quinoa
  • 1/2 c. (4 oz.) Potatoes – any variety, baked or boiled
  • 1/2 c. Rice
  • 1 medium Banana
  • 1/2 c. Sweet Corn
  • 3 c. Popped Popcorn – natural, low fat
  • 1 c. Butternut Squash
  • 1 c. Acorn Squash
  • 1 slice Whole Grain Bread
  • 1 c. Whole Grain Pasta
  • 1/2 c. Whole Grain, Low Fat Crackers

VEGETABLES


**Aim for 4-6 full portions of vegetables throughout your day.
**Prepare raw, grilled, roasted, steamed or lightly sautéed.

  • 2 c. Leafy Greens (Spinach, Lettuce, Kale, etc.)
  • 1 c. other low-carb vegetables:
    • Asparagus
    • Broccoli
    • Brussel Sprouts
    • Cabbage
    • Carrots
    • Parsnips
    • Turnips
    • Cauliflower
    • Celery
    • Cucumber
    • Green Beans
    • Snap Peas
    • Eggplant
    • Onion
    • Tomatoes
    • Bell Peppers
    • Radishes
    • Zucchini
    • Yellow Squash (Summer Squash)
    • Spaghetti Squash

FRUITS


 

**Limit portion sizes to 1 c. per serving
**Limit 2-3 portions per day.

> Berries and citrus fruits are BEST

 

> Avoid fruits that come packaged in a jar or can.

 

> If looking at frozen fruits be sure to check the package label to make sure there is no added sugar or artificial preservatives.

 

> Dried fruits should be consumed in 1/2 portions because their sugars are concentrated.

 

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Cherries
  • Peach
  • Nectarine
  • Plum
  • Apple
  • Citrus – Orange, Tangerine, Clementine, Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Grapes
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Watermelon
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Pear
  • Pomegranate

**Bananas, Figs, and Dates are also permitted, but limit portions because these are very sugary.


Oils, Seasonings, Toppings, Sauces, Dips, Drinks & Treats


** Avoid premixed spice packs. Many contain preservatives and MSG

UNLIMITED use of the following:

  • Fresh or Dried Herbs
  • Fresh or Dried Chiles
  • Spices (Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, Cloves, Ginger, etc.)
  • Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Pepper (Black, Cayenne, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, etc.)
  • Salsa (low sugar)
  • Fresh or pickled Peppers (Jalapeños, Banana Peppers, etc.)
  • Dill Pickles
  • Capers
  • Scallions or Chives
  • Saurkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • Lime Juice
  • Lemon Juice
  • Stevia Sweetener
  • Hot Sauce (not butter-based)
  • Mustard
  • Marinara Sauce (no high fructose corn syrup)
  • Vinegar (Apple Cider, Balsamic, Red Wine, White Wine, etc.)
  • Unsweetened Tea
  • Black Coffee

FATS/TREATS Limit 2 Portions Per Day of the Following:

  • 2 T. Oil (Extra Virgin Olive, Pure Coconut Oil, MCT Oil, Avocado Oil, Red Palm Oil)
  • Hummus
  • Guacamole (fresh, no preservatives)
  • 2 T. Light Vinaigrette Salad Dressings
  • 2 T. Pesto
  • 2 T. Chimichurri
  • 1 T. Honey
  • 1 T. Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 T. Agave Nectar
  • 1 oz. Dark Chocolate
  • Spark
  • Slam
  • Coffeeccino
  • Rehydrate
  • V16

FOODS TO AVOID


  • Soda (including Diet)
  • Alcohol
  • Creamy Sauces
  • High Calorie Salad Dressings
  • Sugar
  • High Sugar Condiments (ketchup, bbq sauce, teriyaki sauce)
  • Candy
  • Fried Foods
  • Processed Foods
  • White Flour
  • Partially Hydrogenated Oils

 

Working From Home

Any other shift spouses (or any other human, really) out there find that working a traditional job makes relationship balance nearly impossible??

I mean, Hubby is at work for 14 hours at a time, sometimes over weekends, other times through the night.  If I worked a “regular” M-F, 9-5, we would never see each other.  And the kids, they would really get the short end of the stick.

So for our family, we decided the best solution was for me to stay home with our littles so that our family schedule can flex around Hub’s work schedule.  And since my hyperactive mind prevents me from only doing one thing at any given time, I wear the hats of full-time Mom and Domestic Engineer, AdvoCare Advisor, and Blogger-in-Progress.

By getting creative with my career, I’m able to contribute to our family’s income and fulfill my own professional interests while still enjoying loads of quality time with my kids and handsome Hubby.

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Don’t get me wrong…working from home isn’t always sunshine and butterflies.  More often than I want to admit, it makes for sleepless nights and major busy brain syndrome.  But for our situation, I can’t imagine trying to juggle my interests or ambitions any other way.

If you’re like me and want/need a way to make money and fulfill your passions with maximum flexibility to fit the #ShiftLife, I’d love to hear from you.  Connect with me on Facebook or Contact Me so we can swap stories.

5 Reasons to Start Loving Spicy Food

It’s Winter. And it’s cold. I’m not made for this stuff.Spicy-Food

So for the love of Pete, let’s talk about heat!…of the edible variation.

My hot-sauce-lovin’ hubby has been trying to convert me to his spicy ways for years, but only recently have I managed to crank up my tolerance for fiery food. I’m still not big on the vinegar-ish twang of most hot sauces, but I have started shaking more cayenne pepper onto my plate these days.

Why? Well, it really does add a layer of vibrant flavor. But there’s also plenty of research backing the health benefits of eating spicy food. So here’s a quick rundown of a few reasons to start kicking up the intensity of heat in your cuisine.

#1  Burn Flab and Block Fat

I mean, come on. It’s January. The bulk of the adult human population is at least considering losing a few pounds right now. And, capsaicin—one of the main compounds that gives hot peppers their heat—can help make that happen by revving up the body’s natural fat burning ability. The thermogenic power of spicy peppers has been recognized for centuries, but recent research has pointed to even greater metabolic benefits.

When consumed with your meals, capsaicin not only helps burn existing body fat stores, but it can also help you digest new dietary fat more effectively. Scientists have found that when cayenne pepper or other types of hot peppers are added to fatty dishes (hello, my beloved alfredo sauce) the capsaicin actually helps the body process the fat so that it can be better used as fuel rather than stored on your hips. Yes, please!

#2  Kick Your Flu in the Face

 You know the feeling. The sniffling, sneezing, coughing and aching from the nasty cold and flu viruses running rampant in the dry environments of winter. Before you brave the blustery winds outside to go to the pharmacy, try hitting up your spice rack.

A piping-hot plate of spicy nachos may be just the ticket to save you from your mucus-y misery. Listen. I’ve got a personal testimony on this one, people! It was actually seasonal allergies for me, but same concept. I worked at a coffee shop in high school and one morning I just could not handle my intense sinus pressure and infuriatingly plugged-up nose brought on by the budding trees of spring.   One of my regular customers swore to me that he could cure my symptoms. He left the shop and returned 30 minutes later with a batch of homemade nachos with a HOT sauce that made my eyes water. He insisted that I ate them. And guess what? Cured. Seriously like, b-o-o-m. My sinuses opened and I felt like a brand new barista.

Scientists confirm my experience. It seems counterintuitive, but the chemical compounds in hot peppers cause an anti-inflammatory response in the body when ingested that can reduce swelling in your sinuses and act as an expectorant (meaning you’ll be able to cough up all the crap in your chest and get it the heck outta ya!). And when the dish is not only spicy-hot, but also consumed at a very warm temperature, you can enhance the effects and promote expansion of the bronchial tubes so you can breathe easier.

#3  Hurt-So-Good Mood Boosts

You know that guy who willingly chooses to order the hottest of the hot wings on the B-Dubs menu? Crazy, I know. But if that guy also tends to be the life of the party, he may be onto something. Studies have suggested that spicy foods have a positive impact on brain function, increasing feelings of happiness and well-being. The sensation that comes with that basket of “lethal” hot wings acts as a sort of high, causing serotonin levels to surge.

And ladies…

If you can handle a little extra heat, you might have more fun in the sheets. That hot sauce is gonna get your blood pumping… if you know what I mean.

#4  Spicy Food is Sweet for Your Cells

These last two points sort of reinforce some of what I’ve already mentioned. For instance, as I stated in #2, hot peppers actually cause an anti-inflammatory response when ingested. This is true at the cellular level and can offer great health benefits.

Capsaicin has commonly been used for pain management in topical applications, but it also appears to be effective when consumed internally. Other spices besides hot peppers—such as turmeric, cinnamon and ginger—are also well known for their anti-inflammatory properties. There are entire books dedicated to explaining why it’s important to minimize inflammation in the body, but for now, just know that your body will thank you for feeding it these super spices.

If you have chronic pain, swelling, arthritis or other joint pain, try adding some of these spices into your diet or supplementation program and see if it helps to ease your symptoms.

#5  Kick It Up for Cardio Health

As mentioned in #3, spicy food will get your blood pumping, and the benefits aren’t just temporary. Cardiologists suggest that fiery flavors may be beneficial for your heart health because they promote good circulation and appear to lower blood pressure. These two effects help to reduce strain on the heart. Of course, you need to talk to your doctor about your specific health profile, but it does seem to make sense to add more spice to your diet to help improve your overall wellness.

 

So there you have it. Plenty of motivation to start training your tastebuds to better tolerate the hot stuff.

And I just have to end with this. The whole time I’ve been working on this post, I’ve been singing in my head, “People of the world—Spice up your life! Every boy and every girl—Spice up your life!”

Oiy. Please tell me I’m not the only one…

Spice-Girls-spice-girls-671732_1024_768

My Advo Arsenal

If I’m being completely honest with you, friends, I have to tell you that I need help.  I need help eating right.  I need help sleeping at night.  I need help to not feel like a slug.

This personal struggle is exactly what led me to become an Advisor with AdvoCare International

Please note:  I have zero interest in forcing products on people who have zero interest in them, but for the people who are curious about the products I use on a regular basis, here they

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends…

*The Motivator: Spark

Spark. The one and only. This delicious beverage clears me of my low energy funks and mental fogs on a daily basis.  I love my morning coffee, but Spark puts some extra pep in my step after a particularly restless night or if my motivation takes a dive after lunch.

AdvoCare Spark® is a unique multi-nutrient system that was developed as a nutritional source of energy and enhanced mental focus.* It’s sugar free with more than 20 vitamins, minerals and nutrients that work synergistically to provide a healthy, balanced and effective source of energy that won’t overburden or over stimulate your body.* AdvoCare Spark® contains an effective amount of caffeine to give you the quick boost you’re looking for, B vitamins to enhance your body’s natural ability to produce and sustain its own energy, and neuroactive amino acids that help increase your mental focus and alertness by supporting your brain’s ability to receive and send messages.*

  • Enhances mental energy and focus*
  • Provides support for long-lasting energy*
  • Helps fight occasional drowsiness*
  • Over 20 vitamins, minerals and nutrients*
  • Sugar-free*

*The Over Achiever: CorePlex

I have resisted taking a Multi Vitamin for much of my adult life.  I am not awesome at swallowing pills, so at best, I may have had a few good months of taking a chewable gummy vitamin of some kind.  The thing was, I never felt any different when taking those chewables so I had little motivation to stay with it.

This is NOT the case with my AdvoCare CorePlex.  I take 3 pills in the morning with my breakfast. Every. Day.  It’s loaded with high quality ingredients, and I genuinely feel GREAT when I take them.

CorePlex provides a synergistic combination of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and botanicals to help supply the body with the nutritional components it needs to maintain optimal health.* Each ingredient in CorePlex helps supplement an individual’s diet and provides the nutritional balance often lacking in the daily diet.* While there are many multivitamin supplements on the market today, CorePlex provides a balance of the right nutrients at the proper levels to assure optimal absorption and benefits.*

  • Contains a synergistic blend of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and botanicals
  • Provides a strong nutritional foundation for the whole family*
  • Provides a comprehensive package of B vitamins
  • Contains antioxidants to help combat the effects of free radicals*

*The Multi-Tasker: OmegaPlex

Omegas.  The good stuff.  I, like most people, do not consume anywhere near the daily recommended amounts of Omega 3s in my diet, so this product is an excellent supplement to help me make up what my diet is lacking.

OmegaPlex is a safe, convenient and easy way to get the omega-3 fatty acids that may be missing in your diet. While other omega-3 supplements may have only EPA or DHA, OmegaPlex has both of these important omega-3s in the right proportions for maximum benefit.* Each serving of OmegaPlex contains a concentrate of 1,000 mg long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (600 mg of EPA and 400 mg of DHA). *OmegaPlex is paramount for core nutrition because of its involvement in the transport of nutrients, the maintenance of healthy skin, and the support of a healthy immune system.* It plays a key role in cardiovascular activity by supporting normal blood flow and healthy blood pressure.* In fact, consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.* Furthermore, it aids in weight management by supporting healthy metabolism, and providing and storing energy for the body.*

  • Nerve Function
  • Heart Health
  • Immune Support
  • Hair, Skin and Nails
  • Weight Management and Metabolism Support

*The Smooth Operator: Probiotic Restore Ultra

I’m just being honest. I have tummy troubles.  And I know that a healthy gut contributes to improved overall health; therefore, I am adamant about taking this high quality probiotic supplement.

ProBiotic Restore ULTRA has been carefully formulated to contain seven kinds of beneficial microorganisms. This combination of probiotics in effective levels helps to populate the upper and lower intestine. ProBiotic Restore ™ ULTRA strongly supports your body’s overall health by helping maintain the normal, healthy bacteria your body needs.*

  • Helps maintain normal beneficial intestinal microflora*
  • Supports healthy intestinal function*
  • Enhances weight management*
  • Improves nutrient absorption*
  • Aids in good digestion*
  • Provides immune system support*
  • Helps relieve symptoms of occasional constipation*
  • High amounts of friendly probiotics:
    Seven different strains
    Six Billion cfu

The Peace Keeper: Clear Mood

I am a Mom.  It is the BEST job in the world… but it can be incredibly stressful and trying at times.  When I don’t get enough sleep, or when my workouts don’t flood my blood with endorphins, my Clear Mood helps me keep my cool.

Clear Mood facilitates brain and nerve cell function by providing important neurotransmitters that help lower the effects of occasional stress, nervousness and worry.* One such agent, known as 5-HTP, is vital for the production of serotonin necessary for the brain and nervous system.*

  • Helps brighten mood from the occasional blues*
  • Supports sense of well-being*
  • Provides support for relaxation*

The Sculpter: Catalyst

Catalyst provides a blend of essential branched-chain amino acids and L-glutamine to fuel your body with the muscle-building components it needs.* Catalyst helps repair and protect muscle, and provides the essential amino acids needed to maintain and promote lean body mass, endurance and strength.* Catalyst helps rid the fat and retain muscle when used in combination with a healthy diet, exercise, and other AdvoCare products such as Meal Replacement Shakes or Muscle Gain™.

  • Helps maintain muscle mass during exercise and weight management*
  • Helps support post-exercise muscle repair and recovery*
  • Aids in preserving muscle and energy levels during times of calorie restriction*
  • Supports mental energy and focus*
  • Contains branched-chain amino acids and L-glutamine, L-arginine, betaine, and taurine

The Dreamer: SleepWorks

SleepWorks helps produce sound and restful sleep on occasional sleepless nights to help you awaken refreshed.* With niacin, vitamin B-6, magnesium and zinc, SleepWorks helps you naturally relax and get to sleep more rapidly.* It also contains valerian, which has been used as a medicinal herb since the time of ancient Greece and Rome and is associated with stress relief.* Passion Flower has also traditionally been used as a calming botanical, lowering the activity of some brain cells and providing a relaxed feeling.* Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone produced within the body and is involved in a complex process that regulates the body’s circadian rhythm.*

  • Promotes better sleep by helping you fall asleep, stay asleep, and awaken refreshed*