Healthy Meals for Shift Workers & First Responders

Daniel: 0:00 Hi this is Daniel Lewkovitz from Calamity, there are not many people who haven’t heard a cliche, at least once about cops sitting around eating donuts. Usually this stereotype’s hurled as an insult, but stereotypes don’t occur in a vacuum. Clearly there were a lot of cops sitting in doughnut shops at some point weren’t there? So how did this stereotype form? It’s well known that some donut shops in bad neighborhoods gave free or discounted donuts and coffee to police officers just to attract their presence which might in turn reduce crime or criminal activity in the area But the history of cops and donuts actually goes back to the 1940s. At that time and in the difficult years, following world war two, the choices of food in the small hours were pretty scarce. The former chief of the Seattle police department, Norm Stamper said:


Norm Stamper: 0:42 Graveyard cops in the forties and fifties had few choices, they could pack lunch, pray for an all-night diner on their route or fill up on doughnuts”

Daniel: 0:50 But whether it’s donuts drive through fast food service station, sausage rolls, there’s no doubt that the choice of food for first responders is not all that great. Or is it? I spoke with Dean Kilby. Who’s the director of Simplr Health and whose clinical experience spans the pharmaceutical industry, medical communication and the scientific consulting field from metabolic disease to regenerative medicine. Dean’s helped me lose about 30 kilos I’d been carrying around as spare since I first started working security at nights in the 1990s. And he and I have spent a lot of time talking about the impact of first responders’ work on their eating habits as well as the flip side of that: How food choices can impact on the work habits of first responders. I asked Dean how he saw the health of police security, ambulance officers, and firies compared to the broader population.

Dean: 1:36 So there’s a correlation between those who work shifts and have some unusual working hours, particularly those who work through the night and are expected to sleep during the day. They tend to have a higher risk and incidence of chronic diseases. So we’re talking about increased risk of high blood pressure, obesity, type two diabetes, and there’s even a earlier onset and higher incidence of dementia. So these kinds of people, they’re not well. Especially, we see nurses dealing with these types of health issues, which is really obvious because they’re health workers themselves and then often unwell. So yeah, when it comes to dealing with people who are suffering from metabolic syndrome struggling to handle their health. Yeah, absolutely. We see people, shift workers and it’s a real hassle for them that it’s a real struggle because they’re just at their wits end. They’re sleep deprived it’s really difficult for them to put any degree of intellectual effort into their health because they’re just surviving day to day, week to week. It’s a real challenge. Do

Daniel: 2:43 you find that it’s the lack of sleep that causes the health issues or is it the health issues that cause the lack of sleep?

Dean: 2:50 There’s some great studies that have been. Published in recent years predominantly the nurse health study from Harvard. And there was two parts to that, but yeah, absolutely. There’s a 23, 27%. I think the numbers were increased risk of these kind of chronic states of ill health cause and effect. That’s what is observed, at least in these types of employees, Was

Daniel: 3:17 it found to be worse in people who always work in darkness hours or worse in people who work a rotating shift- so they might do daylight one shift and then graveyard the next shift.

Dean: 3:31 Yeah. When there’s irregularity to, to the shifts yeah. Causes even more harm.

Daniel: 3:37 What you’re saying is if someone had regular shifts, for example, they only ever, worked at nights. And, they went to sleep hanging upside down every night. That’s probably better than someone who works a rotating type shift

Dean: 3:51 better, but still not great. The problem is we respond to our environment. So human beings evolved to deal with light, dark cycles. And so when it gets dark, our biochemistry changes. So we release melatonin. One of the things that melatonin does is it helps to cool the body and prepares it for rest. Now, if you’re trying to sleep during the day when the temperature is warmer or you have eaten after a shift and you’re expected to sleep straight away you’ve increased the thermogenic response in your body. Your body’s trying to cool down if it wants to sleep, but you’ve just heated it up again by

Daniel: 4:32 eating. But I imagine that we’ve undone a lot of that evolutionary habit through the use of artificial light. I know that, young people struggle to sleep now because they’re up till 11 o’clock at night playing with their mobile phones and artificial light sources. So presumably for shift workers that would also have an impact. So the body doesn’t know it’s sleepy time because you’re surrounded by office lighting or flashing red and blue lights and so forth. So it is very confusing for the body and the

Dean: 4:59 biochemistry. Yeah. The brain just can’t make sense of it. And not only that, people have families and their families don’t work to their hours, their family, their kids are going to school, the wife’s working or the other way around the husband’s working a normal job, normal hours. But how do you maintain your commitment to your family? You still have to be available to some degree during the time where ordinarily you would want to sleep

Daniel: 5:24 and looking at the diet of people who work these types of shifts, do you find that they’re preparing food taking in a Brown paper bag, eating it on the road or eating it at the office? Or do you find there’s a propensity to take, grab and go take away style meals? Yeah, they

Dean: 5:41
do eat worse. A lot more sugar, a lot more fat, a lot more salt. A lot of fast foods. The incidence of smoking is increased amongst shift workers. There’s whatever strategy they can find utilize. That’s accessible to them to help survive the stress and challenge of dealing with the shift work.

Daniel: 6:02 So it’s the caffeine, it’s the sugar. These are things that help you survive that type of work.

Dean: 6:08 Yeah, in the moment. That’s how it occurs to the person is, and there’s a lot of conditioning there as well over years, if you consume some high sugar foods not only does it taste great, right? If you’re struggling, if you’re you, you have some caffeine it’s going to stimulate you to be a little bit more alert. You have some sugar with that. You feel a little bit more energy, but then you crash. How do you deal with the crash when you’re crashing more caffeine, more sugar people set themself up on a really destructive, downward spiral. And that’s why people who work shifts more prone to obesity and obesity related diseases. And not only that they’re hyperinsulinemic what does that mean? Their pancreas is over-secreting insulin as a response to the types of foods that they’re consuming, especially sugar. And this again, causes problems in the body’s ability, especially in the brain to regenerate, to recuperate and recover from times of stress. That stress might be just trying to stay awake longer than most people would. That’s very stressful and your brain has to recover somehow. That’s why in shift workers, there’s an increased risk of the development of dementia, and it comes about at an earlier age and

Daniel: 7:29 for people who work in, I guess what we could call dangerous first response type work. So we’re talking law enforcement, security officers, people who work in some sort of protective function. There’s a direct link. I understand between food intake and performance, in terms of your mental acuity, your ability to perform under pressure when your sympathetic nervous system fires, essentially when you’ve got the Brown Undies on and things have gone. Really bad in hurry. Has there been any research into performance food for people in those environments so that they can eat better? Not only just so that their general health improves, but so that in that split second, when they need every mental and physical ability available to them, they can draw on that.

Dean: 8:14 Yeah. There, there is a fair amount of work on that. And in terms of performance, it’s not always compromised because when people are dedicated to a particular profession or they provide a lot of energy and focus towards a specific area, they may be able to do that well, and stay on point in that job, but then who they are and how they operate is compromised in other areas of their life. So they might suffer in terms of maintaining a relationship whether it be with a partner or even their children or even general interactions in their community. Maintaining friendships, et cetera regulating their own States of emotional States, for example, anger in areas outside of their work. So it, it is compromising if not in the work than elsewhere, but certainly it can impact reaction times. If your metabolically unwell some, listeners might have experienced this themselves. If you’re unwell, you experience brain fog, lethargy lack of focus, inability to concentrate for extended periods of time. You may notice it even when you’re driving the you’re just not present and most people can recall the time when they’ve been driving and they don’t recall the last 10 kilometers, where were they?

Daniel: 9:32 Now the learned response to that for most people would be, I need caffeine now. So they’ll pull over, they’ll grab a coffee and they get into this sort of pattern, stimulus response where feel tired, need caffeine. And then the caffeine addiction manifests itself by making you feel tired when the body is suffering caffeine withdrawal. But it sounds like that sort of experience can be indicative of a much bigger underlying health problem. And what would people do when they find themselves in that situation? Who should they be talking to? What should they be researching? What are quick steps that they can do to correct what’s going on

Dean: 10:10 with their body? Yeah, certainly you’ve got to have a full health check with your doctor and you’ve got to find a practitioner that’s willing to work with you over a period of time to correct whatever’s going on. The overarching context has to be, like you said, one of performance and you want to perform optimally in the areas of life that really matter to you that are of interest to you. And and there’s got to be some clear and specific goals. You want to have a full blood check done. You want to make sure that there’s no underlying issues. But it’s beyond performance. You also want to be thinking about longterm, your health span, and there’s a lot of very learned people talking about should we limit shift working? What else can we do to ensure that the health of these individuals isn’t compromised to the degree that it currently is? It’s a big issue.

Daniel: 11:00 Of course, the practical issue with that is that fires don’t operate to a schedule, medical emergencies. Don’t operate to a schedule of criminals, don’t go home after work and go to bed. So there’s always going to be a need for people, in particularly stressful, dangerous roles to work around the clock. And, they’re the heroes of the community and the community would obviously like to keep those people healthy, but they also need the guidance and the advice on how to eat, one thing I’m sure you’ve realized is that right across society, since the day we’re born, we’re not taught the correct way to eat when we were cavemen, you’d eat, whatever was available, but now with so much choice and the ability to cook foods and the ability to certainly in a first world country have anything you could possibly desire. We’re really eating the wrong things. Aren’t we?

Dean: 11:51 Absolutely. Yeah. There’s been a good 40 years of complete mis information about what we ought to be eating what it takes to not only get well, but remain well and perform optimally. And how do you fuel that appropriately? There’s this real addiction to carbohydrates and in particular sugar. So in Australia, for example, the average Australian consumes about 42 kilograms of sugar every year, 42

Daniel: 12:19 kilograms of sugar? Yeah. That’s astro… I mean that, that’s a person yeah. Of sugar. Yes. And this is obviously not the white stuff that comes out of a jar. This is just sugar that appears in food,

Dean: 12:32 added sugar in foods, in processed foods. Yeah, absolutely. So there’s a lot. Now, if you think back, what, when at least I was growing up when the U S da released the food pyramid in 1992. And that’s what we’re all educated on. Carbohydrates were situated right at the very bottom. And this idea of cutting fat out of the diet and loading up on carbohydrates was built on very shaky science. If any evidence existed at all for the dangers of fat around the incidence of heart disease. What we saw in fact was the opposite. When we cut fat out of our diets and increased carbohydrate intake, heart disease, skyrocketed. So heart disease remains the leading cause of death. And there’s not just heart disease, but stroke type two diabetes, obesity, cancer, dementia. There’s an underlying pathology consistent with all these various states it’s common to see states of hyperinsulinemia. So too much insulin as a result of the excess amount of carbohydrates that we’ve been eating. So you go, you walk into the supermarket for example, and the health food aisle, it’s all just packaged foods, processed foods, most of which is grain-based. And with seed oils. That’s what we’ve been convinced is healthy.

Daniel: 13:57 And when you’re a first responder or someone who works crazy hours and you just grab whatever you can, it’s going to be donuts. It’s going to be fries. It’s going to be burgers in a big old sugar laden bread buns. So it’s just carb city, isn’t it? Yeah, it is. Yeah. And again, when you’re stressed, when you’re working, that kind of a job life is occurring as a threat, you’re on high alert. So that food combination, when you talk about a donut, for example, it’s just basically deep fried sugar, right? So there’s that nutrient combination of sugar, very refined type of carbohydrate that stimulates insulin rapidly with fat. That combination doesn’t generally happen in nature. In nature, protein and fat together. Protein and carbohydrates together, like in legumes, et cetera. But you rarely see carbohydrates and fat together. We put them together. So if you’re saying that putting sugar and fat together is bad for you. Next you’re going to be telling me that ice cream is bad for you.

Dean: 15:02 Yeah. That’s a bastardization of milk. So that’s one place in nature where you do see sugar and fat. So the lactose is a sugar in the milk. Now this is appropriate for an infant that nutrient combination of sugar and fat is highly addictive and it overrides the satiety center in our brains. So it causes us to over consume those foods.

Daniel: 15:28 So that’s what makes that’s what controls you feeling satiated or full? Is it when your body tells you I’ve had enough to eat? That’s what you’re referring to.

Dean: 15:36 That’s right. Yeah, but you’ll get to the bottom of a packet of chips, a big packet of chips, and you’re still hungry. You’re looking for, what else can I put in my face? So that’s appropriate. Like I said, for an infant. Who’s going through the most rapid growth period of their life. And at some point we weaned off the boob, right? However, they kept feeding us dairy and bastardizations of that nutrient combination of sugar, fat from chocolate ice cream, all the way through to savory versions. Like I said, deep fried potato.

Daniel: 16:11 So we need to be taking late night pizza off the menu as well then.

Dean: 16:15 Totally.

Daniel: 16:16 Okay. And in terms of the sugars and the fats and everything coming together in dairy products, like you just described it sounds to me like for those of us who run on caffeine, six cappuccinos a day is not going to be doing you any good because of that large quantity of sugar and fat present in the milk. What about black coffee? Is that on the good list? Still?

Dean: 16:38 Coffee has some health benefits. There is some correlations to longevity. Coffee can contain some polyphenol antioxidants that can contribute to extending the health span, but there’s a cost because of the caffeine. It’s see it’s not that much different to wine consumption, regular consumption of moderate amounts of wine. So in that sense, micro dosing, alcohol intake can have some extraordinary health benefits,

Daniel: 17:09 but not when you’re driving the truck at work.

Dean: 17:10 That’s right. That’s right. But if you overdo it, then the alcohol is too detrimental. So you get health benefits from the polyphenol antioxidants in the wine that are released from the grape skins. But if you consume too much wine, then the alcohol is detrimental. So whether it’s something, whether something is beneficial might even be considered a medicine or it’s a poison is based on dose. And if you have too much coffee, then absolutely you’re stimulating your brain with way too much caffeine. You’re not going to be able to rest and allow your brain to recover and recuperate and clear the protein accumulation that happens in your brain. So therefore you’re at risk of developing dementia way earlier. Any particular distinction between the cheap bulk purchased instant coffee, that’s back at the station versus the good espresso you’d find out on the road. I’m not all over that. However, I would suspect that the less processed the coffee, the more benefits there would be. So you’re always looking for that benefits, cost ratio. It’ll come as no surprise to anybody that one kilo tin of coffee back at the shop is probably not as good as the stuff you can get from a hipster barista who just pulled it freshly. But that’s very good. There’s been a change in the way food is marketed with probably driven by people looking beautiful on a social media. And Instagram there’s what seems to be a very big push toward the health space. But of course, a lot of this ultimately is just marketing and this is something that’s happened in supermarkets for years. And for anybody who’s studied the marketing and really the BS that goes along with that, it would say things like with 30% less sugar, but it didn’t say 30% less than what or would have the word light on it, which, referred to light flavor, but not necessarily good for you. And now that. Health products really come into the mainstream. I found it fascinating walking into one of these shops and you’d have things marketed as gluten free, which products that have never had gluten in them or, not tested on animals because that’s a, that doesn’t need animal testing or perhaps all the animal testing was done 30 years ago. And the research has all been done and there’s no need to do it. So they’re obviously trying to sell product to people who might be attracted to this. And I can’t say whether or not it works, but it does seem to me that there’s an easy trap there because people could say something. And this has certainly been the case with for example, children’s breakfast cereal where the labeling and the packaging makes it look healthy. But it’s actually crap and it’s really bad for you, isn’t it? Yeah. The, what people need to understand is that carbohydrates get metabolized broken down. As soon as it gets into your mouth. There’s an enzyme in your saliva called amylase. It starts the process breaking down the carbohydrates into sugar essentially. And the glucose is the single sub unit. That makes up the carbohydrates. So even if it says there’s no sugar, if it’s carb rich, it’s going to have the same impact or effect on your body. Anyway, it’s going to stimulate the release of insulin. If you have too much insulin in your body it can inhibit autophagy. So that’s the ability of our cells to clear out the debris and recycle proteins that’s necessary, especially in our brains for optimal health. But insulin is also beyond just a regulator of glucose metabolism. It also stimulates cell growth. So that can be dangerous. If you’ve got pre-cancerous cells, it could stimulate the further growth of them. And that’s why overweight slash obesity is a risk factor for a number of cancers as well. So should we

Daniel: 21:12 just stop eating carbs?

Dean: 21:15 Not stop it completely. You won’t be able to stop it completely. It’s not realistic, but certainly you could do the best you possibly can to eliminate sugar from your diet. Your, if you’re metabolically healthy, you ought to be able to handle some indulgences, but they’ve got to be a rarity, not an everyday treat this kind of this narrative or what we say to ourselves. Like I deserve it. I need it. I’ve earned it. It’s all about this reward system. That’s what we’re trained in when we’re kids, I have this client that I’m coaching at the moment. He’s paying to be coached by me to restore his health and vitality. Along with his wife, they’ve got three kids. One of them was became sick. They took him to the hospital. This little kid did so well in the hospital was very patient. Took. The antibiotics is really great about it. How they rewarded their kid was they took him to have a donut. And the dad just said in my defense, that’s how I wanted to reward him. And when in Rome, and so he had a donut with him and I just talked him through, let me tell you what you’ve just done, how you’ve wired your kid’s brain in how to deal with stressful situations and how to acknowledge and reward and treat themselves. It could have been said in a, just in a conversation. Which would have probably met just as much, or he could have promised more time with him learning a new skill or having an experience, which probably would have been of more of a memorable opportunity for that child growing up. Now, as I’m sharing this in a coaching conversation with them, the wife starts crying. I said, what are you impacted by? And she shared that she dealt with weight issues when she was young, she was overweight as a teenager. Kids are cruel, teenage years are hard enough as it is. And if you’re not well in that sense. And I said to her, it’s no surprise. Teenagers consume the highest amount of sugar amongst all the age groups throughout the, the life length. So it was a real challenge for her to get through those teenage years. And she said it’s in almost 40 now and I still deal. With some of the stuff that I handled and had to figure out how to survive in my teenage years. And I can’t believe I’m doing that to my own kids. So she

Daniel: 23:48 was unhappy because she ate and she ate because she was unhappy. Yeah, that’s right. And with this kid, what fires together, wires together. So this child’s brain in real time is learning that I get food when I’ve done a good thing. And therefore food means good. Yes. And so the cycle continues coming back to the question of things marketed as healthy. The practical reality is that first responders and people who work crazy hours and not necessarily going to have access to a full kitchen, they’re not going to have access to fresh produce, whether that’s for financial reasons or access reasons or refrigeration reasons, or just. Not having time to do it, but I am seeing that some fast food chains are now marketing. What they’re calling healthier options. I think they stopped short of saying healthy, but they say healthier. Is that a marketing swindle or is it actually now possible to go to a 24 hour fast food place and eat something that if not good for you is at least not terribly bad for you?

Dean: 25:00 Yeah. You’ve got to first, you got to educate yourself on the basics of nutritional biochemistry that you’ll be able to see through all of the marketing hype, because a lot of the nutritional education that we do get, and that we grew up with and what we think to be true and real is just companies trying to sell us garbage basically. And leverage the basic wants of people you want to perform better. You want more energy, you want to feel better about yourself. You want to look better. So these wants basic wants of human beings get leveraged to the nth degree by food companies. So if we take a step back, why do we eat the way that we do? Why are there so many of these food products available in a health food aisle that sign health foods ought to be over the fresh produce? Not in an aisle where they’re selling packaged manufactured products. So the Australian dietary guidelines, which is, was written and it sits in the background, but it kind of determines and dictates what gets taught in schools. What parents get told to provide for their kids in the school lunches. What we eat ourselves, what gets served in hospitals, in aged care, in the army in however we eat, it’s all guided by these Australian dietary guidelines, which were written by the dietitians association of Australia who dare I say it funded by industry. And there’s, when you dig deep and you look at the history of how these kind of organisations rolled out, especially in Australia and in the United States, there’s a lot of underlying ties to industry. For example, Sanitarium, Nestle Kellogg’s in particular. These influences are predominantly causing a trend towards grain-based foods and seed oils. And these are causing enormous health issues. We’re talking about two thirds of the adult population overweight, at least in total. One third of the adult population is obese one in four. It’s probably one in three children are overweight. Now we’re looking at a younger generation that will be predicted to be the first generation in the history of humanity, not to live as long as the generation before predominantly because of the obesity epidemic. And that’s due to the excess consumption of carbohydrate rich foods.

Daniel: 27:36 Now in some roles, for example law enforcement, there’s a high physical activity, which would offset some of that. So if a person in a completely sedentary office job had exactly the same diet as a person, who’s probably racking up 20,000 steps a day just doing their job. They’re gonna have. Very different bodies and so forth. Does your diet need to change depending on your activity levels or does everybody really need to be eating the same thing and exercising and some people just simply aren’t getting it done. Yeah.

Dean: 28:07 You got to exercise. You’ve got to move. We organisms that move have a brain. I could say it the other way around organisms that have a brain move, see a tree doesn’t have a brain. It doesn’t move. So you might consider that you have a body that allows your brain to move. So you’ve got to move. You got to keep this machinery in check and well-oiled so to speak. So yes, you do need to exercise. You do need to alter your diet depending on your energy exertion throughout the day, but it doesn’t differ that much between people. If you talk to an extreme athlete, for example you speak to Ian Thorpe, when I asked him, how much do you, did you consume when you’re at your peak? It was minimum 6,000 calories a day and asked him, what was that like? And for him, it was,

Daniel: 28:57 and just to put that in context, what would an ordinary adult consume in a day?

Dean: 29:01 2,500, 2,700 calories. these are, these are, look. If someone’s seeing me and they’re wanting help with their weight, they’re usually pretty committed. So they’re at least trying to cut back. But they’re addicted to so many different foods and sugar. It’s just unbelievably addictive. So they’re trying to cut back. So maybe when they were at the peak weight and they were putting weight on, they may have been consuming more than 3000 calories a day, but it’s what kind of macro nutrients were they consuming,

Daniel: 29:31 but he was having between two and three times the average person. Yeah. Wow. And that, and this is a peak performance athlete. So the body really needs food when you’re working

Dean: 29:41 out exactly in those types of individuals, there’s what we call the athletes paradox. So these athletes, when they’re burning that many calories in their training sessions, and he pretty much grew up in the pool, he grew up floating, and that’s why now he has some bone density issues, right? Because he grew up floating basically. So there’s other health-related issues that these athletes deal with later on in life. And he’s no longer immortal. He needs to manage his metabolic health back then when he was an athlete, he was just exerting himself so much. He couldn’t eat enough food. But it has to be good quality food. You got to think of most Australians, probably. I, most Australians are protein malnourished. And it’s not just that they’re not eating enough protein. They’re not eating enough protein throughout the day. So generally speaking, most people consume the majority of the protein towards the end of their working day. And your body can only absorb so much protein in one sitting. So you’re better off evening that out and having regular meals containing good quality bio-available protein throughout the day.

Daniel: 30:57 So coming back to protein in carbs out, the keto diet has become very popular and that tends to be a high protein and high fat diet. Do you think this is a fad that’s going to disappear or does it have some basis in doing the right things? Is this something people should be thinking about?

Dean: 31:16 Yeah, absolutely. You got to learn about that. What are the benefits and for whom it’s context specific, if you’re trying to lose weight. And restore metabolic health. I don’t advocate for a high-fat diet. It, it does too much damage to your gut microbiome, longterm. You’ve got enough fat of your own that you need to burn through first. You don’t need to be consuming more of it. So the total amount of circulating triglycerides and fatty acids would increase, but they’re from your own fat stores, not from fat that you need to eat, exogenously from foods. But the keto diet has been around for, you can find literature that says it’s been around forever, but it really did come to prominence in the 1920s. And this is when neurologists were trying to eliminate the excited, toxic nature of glucose in children dealing with epilepsy. So these are children they’re still growing the epiphyseal plates in their bones. Haven’t fused yet. Haven’t set. Said so they didn’t want to decrease the total calories. So you would bulk up the total amount of calories with fat and it just stuck in the ether that that’s that’s the ketogenic diet. It’s not what I do for my clients and my clients lose weight, very healthfully on a very restricted low calorie diet, but they’re satiated and they’re getting all the macro, the essential macronutrients and micronutrients that they need to remain healthy and well,

Daniel: 32:41 so it’s three o’clock in the morning. You’ve just had the shift from Hell. You’ve got a few minutes off. Let’s look at the basic late-night food groups, burger, kebab, Mexican, what are the healthiest options.

Dean: 33:00 None of them. Okay. Yeah. You gotta be responsible for if you’re choosing to do that job. You’ve got to be responsible as an adult for keeping yourself well. And if the food choices aren’t available for you in late night operators like these fast food takeout places, then, be responsible for preparing your own food. And, you want to have good quality protein. We’re lucky in, especially in Australia, we have such a high number of really good quality protein type meal replacement products. It could be as easy as just having a shake protein shake. If you know how to vet the products and understand how to read the labels, you can choose really good quality ones that nourish you, satiate you satisfy you. Keep you alert because if you have a spike of carbohydrates and your insulin levels go up. For example, you have a sandwich and a juice. Each slice of bread is the equivalent of four to five teaspoons of sugar. So there’s 10 teaspoons of sugar, just from the two slices of bread, plus the juice plus, whatever else is in the sandwich, you might even have a little chocolate treat you’ve dramatically spiked your blood sugar levels. In response to that, your pancreas releases a bolus dose of insulin. That’ll bring that blood sugar level down, but then brings it down too low.

34:23 And

Daniel: 34:24 that’s a total con because here’s you thinking I’ve just had a salad sandwich and a juice and what could be more healthy than that. And what you’re saying is that’s actually just

Dean: 34:33 crap. That’s right. I don’t eat carbohydrates in the middle of the day. I have a carbohydrate poor lunch. So I’ll ensure that there’s protein, some good quality fats and a good volume of food. People don’t eat enough volume of food. And you can bulk out the volume with vegetables, salad, et cetera. And that stretches the gut and helps to regulate your satiety. So a

Daniel: 35:03 chicken salad with lots and lots of leaves, bit of chicken and some nice olive oil over the top. That’s a great

Dean: 35:09 lunch. Absolutely. And then your energy levels will be better regulated three hours post that meal, where ordinarily, if you were to eat carbohydrates, your blood sugar levels will have gone up and then brought right back down and then too low. And now you’re in that cycle of looking for the next sugar. Fix your, you can’t focus. You can’t concentrate. Don’t worry about shift workers, people working normal working hours, middle of the day, somewhere between three 30 and 4:30 PM. They’re jerks to each other. You can’t communicate effectively with your colleagues. All you want to do is find a, Tim-Tam have a cup of tea, right? It’s get the way, get the heck out of my way. Find me a biscuit. I need a fix. And this is when people are expected to be productive in their working hours. And then they’re not productive. The working day extends because they’ve got to get the work done. They’re not getting home on time. That impacts their family life. They’re not present with their children, the children miss out on having a parent that’s present and available for them. And they take that into their schools and communities. And it plays out in weird and wonderful ways that we’re really responsible for, because we keep turning for those quick fixes called a Snickers bar or a Mars Bar because we’ve been convinced that these calorie dense foods are going to give us the energy and the aliveness. That we really want. When has it ever worked? You just got to look back on the years of experience. When has it ever really given you that level of satisfaction, fulfillment, aliveness being present, clarity of mind, being able to make decisions on point, when do you experience waking up and actually being awake and alive? This is just, you just gotta look at your own experience and realize something’s missing here. We’re not getting it right. And everything that we think we know, everything that we’ve attempted to implement has contributed to the problem. Why? Because the numbers are, and when

Daniel: 37:04 you go to the service station, the most expensive drink, there even more expensive than the petrol outside is a bottle of water. It’s crazy. And when you get to the front, the person behind the counter will always say to you, and would you like this chocolate bar for an extra dollar for $2? Never. Would you like this piece of fruit or would you like this prepacked salad?

Dean: 37:26 Is it yeah, very rare that’s the case.

Daniel: 37:28 So you’ve been set up for failure at every stage because obviously someone there knows, given the choice between a chocolate or a salad, the chocolate’s always going to be the one that people put their hand up for. And they have a commercial imperative to sell you that, but coming back to what you described as your protein, your sort of healthy lunch. So it’s three o’clock in the morning. You’re still hungry and there’s a kebab joint. Is it possible to get a kebab with flatbread, loaded up with salad and a bit of chicken, or I think they call it beef. Their lawyers may have another view on it, but some sort of meat and, maybe some chili sauce or something like that. I mean, can a late-night dodgy kebab actually be good for you.

Dean: 38:14 Is it good for you? Is it bad for you? This is again, all context specific. It’s what else are you eating throughout your waking hours? What else are you eating in your week? Say that for me, you can’t depend on that. You just can’t, we’ve got to be way more responsible for our wellbeing. Then, resigning ourselves to, Oh, that’s all that was available. So I had to eat it and out, we use very dramatic language about around our experiences. I was starving. No you weren’t. When my kids say that to me, show them pictures of kids that are starving. And I tell them that ain’t you, right? So that they start to get responsible for, what comes out of their mouth and what they’re telling themselves, because language creates how the world and the situation occurs to you and you will act consistent with that occurring world. And I’m like. But even if you’re hungry, people say, what do you do when you’re hungry? It’s be hungry. What’s wrong with being hungry.

Daniel: 39:17 All right. What role does water play

Dean: 39:20 a huge role? If you’re dehydrated, there’s a problem. Your body’s, there’s something missing. And if you’re. If you’re overweight, if you’re sleep deprived, if you’re inflamed, if you’ve got brain fog and lethargy, and if you’ve got pain, then there’s too much background noise. Not only can you not hear your own biological signals, you can’t interpret them accurately. So people experience something is needed in their body. And you’ll just eat a lot of the time. It’s like you’re dehydrated. The national institutes of health recommend that men consume 3.7 liters of water a day. Now, many men drink that much water, but oh it’s too much, Dean I’ll be paying all the time. It’s a weird phenomenon though. They can drink that much, that volume of beer in a really short space of time, which is it’s a unique, it’s an interesting beverage. It’s one of these few beverages. If not the only one that especially men consume on mass, when they’re not thirsty. You know. So water is absolutely essential, especially if you’re trying to handle your metabolic health and, or trying to lose weight, you must remain hydrated because your body, how it breaks down your fat through the process of lipolysis. So lipo, meaning fat and lysis, the breaking up of water is required for that reaction. So if you’re dehydrated, then your body won’t be able to effectively utilize or access your own fat and use it as a

40:53 so

Daniel: 40:54 for people who just genuinely don’t like water, what are tricks that they can do to actually increase their water intake,

Dean: 41:02 flavor, the water you got to re program your palette and this takes time and it takes a commitment. It takes dedication, and you’ve got to create a context that really empowers you to stick to that for the long haul. Oh,

Daniel: 41:16 so how do you flavor water without

Dean: 41:17 the red cordial? Yeah. You can get cordial that it would be workable in terms of, minimal to no sugar. There’s a brand that I buy occasionally called right for life diet, sorry, diet, or something like that. I’ll have a look in the supermarkets. You find it.

Daniel: 41:33 So sugar-free is okay. It’s not just chemically Laden and otherwise

Dean: 41:37 ou want to look how it’s sweetened. There are some sweeteners that I try to avoid. Your body can handle them in small doses, but you wouldn’t want to have too much.

Daniel: 41:48 So what are the things to avoid in terms of the artificial

Dean: 41:50 sweeteners, what you want to look for rather than, the avoidance is you want to look for the sort of more natural Stevia. You want to look for erythritol. Some of these other sugar alcohols can be a bit upsetting to the gut. Sorbitol, maltitol could be a bit bloating and cause a bit of gas. And if you’re a first responder, you don’t want to be, have to, you don’t want to have to rush to the toilet all the time. So you want to avoid those types of sweeteners, but erythritol and Stevia go to, and what are

Daniel: 42:19
the marketing names that they often go by?

Dean: 42:21 Goodness. So Stevia is pretty obvious. And, but you just want to look at the label and make sure that it’s a hundred percent, sometimes what these manufacturers do is they’ll market it as a Stevia product, but it’s not a hundred percent Stevia. So

Daniel: 42:35 It’s we have Stevia, which is totally healthy for you and the other stuff they don’t want you to know

Dean: 42:41 about. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And then the other one is like a monk fruit extract. That one’s, that was pretty good. Mon K Monkfruit extract. But again you want to get savvy and understanding the labels. But look. You want to be structured in your eating. You want to schedule when you’re eating. You want to do the critical thinking and put in the intellectual effort and plan? It’s I’m going to eat at this time and the alarm goes off and you eat your meal at that time and you eat the right food. And it’s not just about surviving the night. It’s gotta be about having, a good quality of life and making yourself available to those that you care about. And you don’t have

Daniel: 43:23 to feel hungry. You just have to train yourself that when I get up, that’s when I eat four hours later, this is when I need to eat, regardless of how I’m feeling. Is that right?

Dean: 43:34 Yeah, it’s interesting. I’ve my senior scientific advisor at simpler health. Dr. Antonio Civitarese when he was a a lab head at the Pennington biomedical center. They did some amazing research looking at what regulates hunger. And you can actually program what we call your incretin system. This is the biochemical system that regulates hunger and eating patterns and your relationship to food. So generally speaking, if you just eat at the same time every day, you can program yourself to be hungry, literally 15 to 20 minutes just before your scheduled meal time. Anyway, and they’re the only times that you’ll get hungry. What’s interestingly more beneficial is if you eat pretty much the same type of food in terms of macronutrient compositions at each of those meals. And what do you mean by macronutrients proteins fats carbs, right? So if you’re eating, for example, protein, carbs and fats upon waking that would be, typically called your breakfast meal. And then at lunch, if you have a protein and fat meal, And then at dinner time, have a protein and carb meal, right? And carbs. If you have carbs in the evening, three hours before your scheduled bedtime, that’ll help you sleep as well for the most part. But if you eat like that, you get hungry for those meals. Not only do you get hungry just before the scheduled meal time, you’re hungry for the types of foods you’re about to. So

Daniel: 45:06 you could actually find yourself craving salad.

Dean: 45:09 Totally. That’s

Daniel: 45:11 a big deal. Totally. So meal planning is a good way where you can actually almost trick your body into wanting the healthy stuff. Does it work the other way? Does your body get turned off the bad stuff as

Dean: 45:26 well? It does. Yeah, absolutely. I get clients who lose 20, 30, 40, 50 kilograms, even with me. And they’ve been pretty regimented and I’ve worked with them over time and they lose that weight pretty fast. And then they’re concerned when I transition them out of, because it’s not forever we restore the metabolic function, we lose the weight, we get them healthy. And then I transition them out of that restricted phase, back towards a more balanced diet where they do have the freedom of choice. There’s often some anxiety about, will I go back to how I was? Will I pick up those old habits again? And it’s they don’t it’s like life moves. You can’t go. You can’t ever go back to who you once were. And if you gained weight again, it’s like an active choice to become a fat person. Not going back to how you once were. And that’s that for people to reconcile that it’s, with themselves is a big deal, but there’s a lot of adaptations that happen along the way. And so my approach is what I call an adaptive reprogramming process. A lot of things change your brain rewires. So there’s neurological rewiring. How food occurs to you, your relationship to the food, your relationship to eating even alters. Now the experience of having a meal occurs for you as an opportunity to gift something to yourself, rather than just acting out on an impulse, right? It’s a very different experience. Your gut microbiome changes. There was some interest interesting research that was published last year, where they took alcoholics and they performed what they call a fecal microbiota transplant, where you basically wipe out all the bacteria from your intestines, from your gut. And you transplant bacteria from them. Somebody else’s

Daniel: 47:23 healthy poo, You can say it’s a poo transplant.

Dean: 47:26 That’s right, and there’s a famous professor here in, in Sydney, Australia professor Thomas Borody at the center for digestive diseases. He calls them crapsules So he has a laboratory that’s GMP and they, they manufacture these crapsules. Now, what was interesting when they perform this fecal microbiota transplant in these alcoholics, all of a sudden they lost their urge to consume alcohol. Now this had addiction specialists scratching their head going well, what have we been working on? It’s incredible. So the more we learn about the gut brain axis or relationship, we’re really discovering some amazing insights. In, not just how the body works, but how we can more effectively work with people to get them well. And you can and

Daniel: 48:13 teach yourself to crave salad and just walk past the donut van with no interest. It happens. Yeah. One of the things that we’ve become better at and men in particular relatively have become better at it is saying to partners, to colleagues, to friends, to mates, are you okay? And learning to look out for other people now in terms of eating and food and so forth, the obvious way that was done pretty much since you were a child, is pointing out when someone was fat. Yes. And of course, rather than that person going, gosh, I must be thank you for telling me that now I can work on it instead what would happen is they’d probably feel bad and all sorts of, psychological effect would follow that. But are there any things that people can spot. In the short term about a person’s behavior about whether someone else has brain fog. For example, a partner, someone you work with someone you train with someone whose life might depend on yours and vice versa. Snickers of all, things had a, had a campaign where they basically said, you’re not yourself, have a Snickers. Now I think we can agree. That’s probably not the answer to any food problem, but it was an interesting idea to the extent that you could see a person next to you might have a problem and you could point out, you need to eat now, or you need to have this particular food. Now, are there obvious cues that other people can pick up on that have an obvious treatment

Dean: 49:39 that there are cues? I wouldn’t say that they’re obvious because it’s normal for people to behave in erratic ways for people to make decisions with very little consideration that people are very demanding, impulsive, easily triggered. They just get pissed off really quickly. And their tempers escalate really fast people reacting inappropriately to what’s actually happening. And then, if they’re mature enough, they might come back and clean up that mess. But this is just common. So it doesn’t occur is a little bit off for people. And if you’re doing, if you’re behaving that way yourself, then somebody else behaving like that, it makes it or justifies and makes okay. The way that you’re behaving, but it doesn’t make it work. It doesn’t make your life work. What do we see if someone’s just a bit scattered, if they’re vague, if you’re having a conversation with someone and you may have told them pointed something out more than once and yet they ask the question again, They weren’t listening. They’re just not present. So these are all signs of people that aren’t handling their health, their wellbeing, their nutrition, which is foundational optimally. And there’s a real time

Daniel: 51:00 fix for that as well. Like you can correct that behavior pretty quickly. If you flag it by having food or by not having food or by changing the food, or does it really vary depending on the actual behavior at the time? Yeah,

Dean: 51:13 I think the first thing is you’ve got to put the fire out. People need to, if you’re sleep deprived, there’s nothing you need to do other than, correct. That it is that critical. And when people are sleep deprived, it’s really difficult to cause any long-term changes at all. It’s a wellbeing concern. It’s not only. A wellbeing concern to that individual, but if that individual is in a position that could potentially affect the another person’s life, even if they’re just behind the wheel of a car, one of

Daniel: 51:42 the things that police. And security get very good at through the nature of their work is identifying when another person is under the influence of substances, whether they’re intoxicated because of alcohol or because of long-term or short-term drug use and so forth. Can food have a role in that as well? For example, if you got a call to a fast food joint and everybody there had a full stomach, are they likely to behave better, then a call to someone who’s perhaps down on their luck and may not have eaten a solid meal?

Dean: 52:17 It’s an interesting thought, isn’t it? Just look at your own experience when you eat a big meal, you’re drowsy. All you want to do is just you’re in a food coma. So how do you follow instructions? You’re better off people operate, perform better on an empty stomach, but. What happens is when your stomach’s empty. You’re so used to having something in there. In fact, we’ve been conditioned to always have something in there who conditioned us to be that way. Food manufacturers. They always want us to be eating all the time and it keeps us a little bit, somewhat sedated. Is it? It’s a crazy thought, but you want to give your gut an opportunity to stretch. So we don’t, like I said earlier, you don’t consume enough volume of food, but then you want to give it enough time to empty out. Your gut will just thank you. And that interplay between the gut and the brain is so strong that, if you’re going to go if you’re worth several millions of dollars as a professional athlete, are you going to eat junk food? Are you going to eat crap? That’s gonna slow you down in a game. Now some of these athletes have pushed their body to the limit. They can’t push it any further. And now it’s about reaction time. Now it’s about decision-making. Now it’s about having awareness of where your teammates are. How do you do that? Put yourself in ketosis. There are some professional basketball players that keep themselves in a relatively ketogenic state and entire season. Now they’ve got teams of nutritional experts and doctors and they’re monitoring them. But for the average person, you want to be on a low carbohydrate diet. Doesn’t have to be carbohydrate restricted, but like I said, you could include some fruit. I prefer berries and bananas in the morning with some protein. You want to have some carbs in the evening. It might be some, some starchy vegetables or even some rice or something like that. But you don’t overdo it. And you certainly want to avoid as much as you can. The combination of carbohydrates and fat, because that’s what tends to wreak havoc on our pancreas and screw us up metabolically.

Daniel: 54:29 And what’s a good example of carbohydrates and

54:33 fats

Dean: 54:33 in a meal, oh, in a meal deep fried foods. You want to avoid that. So you want fats that come from sort of healthy sources, like fish oil avocado even some dairy products, I might have a little bit of natural Greek yogurt once in a while, but, I tend to not consume dairy so much. And then, those carbohydrates, you want to whole fruit not fruit juices, there are some juice companies that, tout themselves as being health companies. It’s just. Infuriates me, we’ve done more damage to increasing the risk of fatty liver disease. Then, you know well let me put it this way. Orange juice has been downgraded to a two star health rating. If you can trust those, health star ratings

Daniel: 55:26 and soft drinks were ahead of that. That’s right.

Dean: 55:29 Yeah. Yeah. Now this impacts the orange growers, but they’ll adjust just like the tobacco growers adjusted that. What do they grow now? Avocado. Why do you think avocados are so popular and marketed so heavily? Wow. But avocados again. It’s yes, they’re healthy and they’re good for you, but you can’t have too much. Why? Because it has a high fatty acid content. If you jack your calories up too high, that’s not great either. If you’re not metabolically stable. That you can adjust where if you get to a point where your weight is stable and you’re metabolically healthy. If you keep your protein and carbohydrate content intake, pretty stable and regular, you can increase the fat intake to whatever you want and you won’t get fat.

Daniel: 56:19 So security guards, cops, firies, ambos. They don’t need to be having the servo donuts. They don’t need to be having the cappuccinos late-night they don’t need to be going and having the drive-through takeout. It is possible to function in these roles to eat healthfully, to not only look after your own health, but to perform better in your interactions with partners, in your interactions with the public and to live a longer life. Yes?

Dean: 56:45 Totally. Even in your relationship to yourself, the, how do you know someone’s metabolically unwell? Even before the weight gain, it shows up on their skin, discoloration skin tags auto immune conditions in the skin like rosacea eczema, psoriasis these are all signs of excess insulin in their system. Joint pain, osteoarthritis, impotence, just lack of, not just sexual drive in terms of the sexual function, but just especially so for men, just having that sense of vitality about themselves and the confidence and the motivation that goes along with that men, particularly post 40, who are metabolically unwell find it hard to get up for the game. Their motivation levels dropped dramatically. They, if they do have excess fat around their belly it’s often an indicator of excess fat in and around their liver and their pancreas and their

Daniel: 57:39 heart. And a lot of what you’re describing would traditionally be put down to I’ve had a hard day at the office or work is really busting my hump, or it’s just been a late night, but you’re saying that it could actually be as simple as the food that those people are eating and not necessarily other aspects of their lifestyle, which aren’t the problem that they think they are.

Dean: 57:59 Yeah, exactly. If you’re tired, if you’ve got brain fog, all you’re left dealing with is your personal experience of life. In that moment, there is a very limited future that you’re living into and certainly not enough space for you to create one that’s compelling.

Daniel: 58:18 So if you had to give two tips to people who work in a first responder role, what would those two tips be? Oh gosh,

Dean: 58:29 just to it would be. Learn the basics of nutritional biochemistry and plan education and planning. You have to, it’s a must. It’s just, we can’t remain ignorant around food and what we’re doing to our bodies, because there’s too much, depending on us to be well on them, to be well, to perform optimally. And I’m not talking about just the people in the communities that they serve and, for those that, that do serve communities in that way. Thank you. But you’ve got your own lives and families and wellbeing and futures to consider, and you may not be in that role for the rest of your career. Are you going to damage your brain to that degree where you can’t have a different career? You’re limiting your options enormously.

Daniel: 59:18 And we talk about. Coming home to your family safe. And that’s not just about what happens in the field, but it’s also about what you put in your mouth before you left home before your shift. Isn’t it? Totally. And if you’d like to get in touch with Dean, you can find him at his website, That’s Sierra India, Mike Papa, Lima, Romeo dot health For everyone else. That’s spelled S I M P L R dot Health. You can also find Dean at If you’d like to talk to me, go to our website,, where we’re happy to hear from people about anything you heard in this podcast, or security issues whether it’s looking after yourself, staying safe out there in the big bad world, protecting mum, dad and the kids or business assets.

59:59 Everything from a one-bedroom flat all the way up to an Embassy. Calamity looks after billions of dollars worth of assets so I know we can take amazing care of you. This is Daniel Lewkovitz from Calamity, thanks so much for your time. Now, put down the donut and Be Fearless!