Author - Dee

Overnight Shift and My Health

A re-cap of where I have been…in case you were wondering.  I have been keeping busy with work, I got a puppy who doesn’t like my kitten, my car’s have been in and out of the shop, I got a couple new tattoos, my dad’s sick, and I hate the holidays.  But here we are…or rather, here I am.  In this post, I want to talk about my overnight shift and the effect I believe it had on my physical and mental health, and most importantly, how I am healing.

On August 15, 2019, I started a new assignment at work with normal hours.  Yes folks, it is true…I finally got off the overnight shift!  The National Sleep Foundation says that, “Long term night shift work is associated with an increased risk of certain cancers, as well as metabolic problems, heart disease, ulcers, gastrointestinal problems and obesity.”  And from experience, I believe all of that to be true, as well a negative effect on my mental health.  I spent 12 years on an overnight shift, and over the past year, it really started wearing on me.  I wanted off of it, and I couldn’t figure out how to do it.  But after gaining a little bit of confidence and realizing I really needed to do this for myself, I spoke with people and made it happen.  During my time on the overnight shift (2-10am), I had gained weight, I was always sick, and just generally felt terrible.  My self esteem was also at it’s ultimate lowest.  I also felt really overwhelmed with life and wasn’t sure how to deal with things anymore.  Now while all of this is not completely the overnight’s fault, some of it contributed.

Over the last few months, my stomach/esophagus issues have presented themselves again (same issues I had a few years ago).  I was put on some acid reducers for awhile and they were helping, but not.  I was experiencing anxiety symptoms every time I had to eat.  My meals were getting smaller and less frequent and I was starting to freak out.  My gastroenterologist had scheduled an endoscopy for me – which was done last Friday.  Good news…hiatal hernia is gone, stomach looked good, and Grade A esophagitis.  So he’s keeping me on the acid blockers for now, but said my problem is most likely just my anxiety and that I should try to talk to someone and learn how to cope with it (which I am already doing).  Every day is a little bit better than the day before, unless my anxiety acts up – which I’m learning how to get through it much better.  I was getting this feeling like there was something squeezing my throat…I believe it’s called Globus Sensation.  If you don’t know what it is, Google it.  The most important thing I read is that it can come from stress and anxiety.

I have had a lot of stress and anxiety over the last few months, but it is starting to subside.  All the hard stuff at work is finally wrapping up, but my dad is back in the hospital.  I am trying to occupy my mind and time with things that distract me.  I clean obsessively, I organize and then organize again, I start art projects, I re-arrange furniture, I throw out stuff…I do anything that will keep my mind busy.  I don’t mind do any of this stuff, but I see this as a better option then perhaps having a drink.

Now between a shift change, and eating less – 1. because I’m not up all night eating at work and 2. my stomach wasn’t happy with eating for awhile – I lost about 40 lbs. since August.  The doctor understood this, but still said he felt concerned and said he wanted to do a stomach emptying study on me – but I declined.  I would rather not expose myself to the radioactive food.

So the eating has gotten easier than it was and I’m not losing weight as fast as I was.  I’m okay with that.  It will go down, I just want to make sure I’m healthy.  I’m off for awhile in December so I will be doing the Peloton often.  Currently, I’m still working normal hours, getting sunlight, taking the pup on mini hikes…and therapy has been amazing.  I don’t think I will ever be able to go back to an overnight shift.  The way I feel being off it is so wonderful.  I get to sleep.  When I drive, I feel alert.  I don’t have to fight to stay awake at work.  It has only been 3 months since I have been off of it, so I think by my birthday in March I will feel 10 times better, and hopefully be a few more pounds lighter.

I was eating anything that I could get down comfortably, but now I am focusing on a high protein, low fat diet.  I have to focus on eating things that won’t make my acid reflux or esophagitis worse.  It’s paleo-esque.  I am working on getting back to Paleo.  One day at a time.

If anyone has a similar story, please share it.

“Self- care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.”
-Katie Reed-


Eventually it will stick.

Today is my first day…again…for the 25th time (but really, I lost count).  I figure that one of these first times, it will stick – and I’ll be where I was the first time around.

Been working on getting my mindset back there.  I found some old notebooks about my paleo journey, from the beginning, and it was motivating.  At least it was motivating yesterday when I was reading them.  I got my food list, and went shopping.  I started for breakfast this morning.  I got through it.  Trying not to want to eat anything else though.  It’s a struggle, to be honest. I’m using the original book I used the first time – 30 day paleo.  First meal – Garlicky Brussel Sprouts with Poached Eggs (I fried them because I’m terrible at making poached eggs).

Lunch will be a cobb salad, and then the infamous Italian Wedding Ball Soup…I want to say ‘ugh’, but instead I will say, ‘Yay!’.  The power of positivity, right?  Really, I just want to stick with it this time!

If anyone has any words of advice or encouragement – I’m all ears.

“A good half of the art of living is resilience.”

My Own Battle

I wasn’t sure if I should write this post, but perhaps, it can help someone.

This is about mental illness – if you think you need to talk to someone, you should.  I didn’t believe it was ever really necessary, until I needed it myself.

A few months ago, I made the decision to talk to a therapist.  I didn’t tell many people about it.  I really needed it at the time though, but I think I may have held back – to be honest.  The therapist diagnosed me (I guess that’s the way to say it) with moderate anxiety and severe depression.  She was holistic in her practice, so she gave me some exercises and things to do to work through it, without medication.  I did most of the stuff.  I felt better.  I was controlling my emotions – they weren’t taking control of me – I quit talking to the therapist.  Most likely, that wasn’t the best choice, but it was my choice.

I think about when I was doing paleo, and how I felt mentally and emotionally stable.  I was eating great, I was working out – I really took care of myself.  Now I’m wondering if I had stayed strict, would I be in a better mental and physical state – the answer would be mostly yes, but also, no.  I certainly think it would help, so right now, that is what I’m working on.

I think I have to go through a “detox” stage before I start to feel the benefits of eating the right way (at least for my body).  The whole struggle is to just keep myself moving forward.  Everyday is progress.

Lots of research points to the link between sugar and depression.  So if you ditch the sugar, you’re better off, especially if you suffer from depression and anxiety.  Easier said that done, but if you put your mind to it, you can get it done.

“A little progress everyday, adds up to big results.”

Taking that first step…again.

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to
decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”


I feel like I have written this post about a dozen times…(one of these days it will stick).

The day I moved, I broke my years long paleo streak and ate pizza.  It wasn’t as good as I was expecting…but it was convenient.  After that, paleo was over – I tried, but stress and bad time management allowed the convenience of terrible, unhealthy food.  It just became habit, and I started to find comfort in that bad food again.  Everything I didn’t have for years, I wanted – and I got it.  All of the progress I made when I was strictly paleo – was gone.

I beat myself up over it, every day.  I shouldn’t, but I do.  I’m struggling to get back on track.  I really want to see results – and it’s taking awhile.  But every time I feel like I’m making progress, I’ll get on the scale or I’ll try on an old shirt…and I’m just like wow, okay.  I’m probably too hard on myself.  I know that most of you would say, just keep going – and as long as I’m working for it – it’s progress.

It’s hard.  When I beat myself up over it, I break myself down.  I feel defeated.  For sure.

It’s been a week of paleo meals though – and I’ve been riding the Peloton bike everyday since January 4, minus 2 days.  I know that I need to take it one day at a time, but I just wish I felt better.  I always said that your support system is probably a big part of our successes, but if people don’t know we need the support – they probably won’t give it.

Going back to when I said getting a pizza was convenient – I can only blame myself for that.  The laziness and blatant disregard for all the progress I made and what I had overcome – led to my failure.

So on the bright side, I have been preparing meals.  I am using recipes from Nom Nom Paleo – Ready or Not.  They are easy to follow, but I really like them because they are different.  So if you’re just getting into paleo, this is a good book to use.  There are so many books out there to choose from (I probably have a good amount of them!).

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”



The Hardest Days Mean the Most

Yesterday was day 2 of this round (smh).  It wasn’t as bad as I thought, but it wasn’t easy.  I had my breakfast/lunch prepped – so that definitely made it easier.  I’m feeling less foggy, so I am trying to use that as motivation.  I keep thinking about how paleo fixed a lot of physical and mental things I had going on the first time I did it, and I just need to get back to that place.

So for dinner – beef and bok choy stir fry.  You need flank steak, bok choy, mushrooms, coconut oil, and garlic.  You have to marinate the flank steak.  Mix coconut aminos, tapioca flour, and black pepper.  Then you make a sauce with more coconut aminos, honey, ground ginger, and more tapioca flour.  Cook the steak in the oil, take it out.  Then put the bok choy, mushrooms, and garlic.  Add the steak and sauce – mix it up until it thickens.  You can serve it over cauliflower rice.  Pretty good, if you ask me.

Then for today’s breakfast, Cinnamon Vanilla muffins.  Just used coconut flour, baking soda, vanilla extract, honey, coconut oil, coconut milk, eggs, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, and cloves.  SO FREAKIN’ GOOD!  And they were pretty filling.

“Life is like riding a bicycle.  To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

Why not try again?

Hello again! I wish I could just stick with this like old times! My many apologies.

I went food shopping – paleo style – last night. I admit the stresses of life have gotten the best of me. I have been making such terrible food choices and I have neglected the gym. My body hates me for it, and I was certainly paying for it. But I may have had a mental breakthrough…so hopefully it sticks this time around.

I know many people are doing the keto lifestyle, but I’m not really into it. I have done a lot of research and they say although you may be eating keto, you’re body may never actually go into ketosis.

So last night for dinner I made Chicken with a creamy sun-dried tomato and basil sauce.
I heated up some olive oil and added garlic. I put salt and pepper on some chicken breast and cooked that up. When you get both sides a little browned, add some chicken broth and sun-dried tomatoes chopped up. Cover it and let it cook. When the chicken is done, take it out. Add some coconut milk (I used canned), and stir it up. Pour it on top of the chicken and add fresh basil. IT WAS SO GOOD!

Then for breakfast meal prep I made a blueberry omelet. Now here me out – it sounds weird – and I haven’t tried it yet – BUT it smelled delicious! Heat up some coconut oil. Crack your eggs in a bowl and add coconut aminos, cinnamon, and black pepper. Scramble them up. Add them to the pan, then add blueberries, then turn it into and omelet! Boom!

I’m sorry I don’t have measurements…I just go with what feels right. You can make extra of the dinner and use it for lunch the next day.

I really, really want to stick with this.

“It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort.
When you bring that effort everyday, that’s where transformation happens.
That’s how change occurs.”

Enjoy Your Own Life

Not paleo related, but important.

Stop comparing yourself to others.

How often do you do that?  Hopefully your answer is never.  My answer is, “Always”.

Most people are guilty.  Guilty of looking at someone at hoping you’d look like them because they are skinny, or in shape, or tan.  Or maybe you look at someone’s art work and just start comparing your own work to it – thinking yours isn’t good enough.  It’s just not fair – not fair to you, not fair to them.  There is no fair comparison when you start doing this.  Just know that you have a lot to offer and you have a lot of things to be happy about!

I need to start looking at my own strengths and see my own value.  I’m drowning my successes because I just don’t believe in myself.  My successes in everything – work, home, personal, physical, mental.

It’s a natural thing to compare yourself to others, but it makes us unhappy all too often.  I need to tell myself to stop doing that.  I’m hurting myself, and as a consequence, I’m hurting people around me.  I do it without even realizing, so I need to work on my awareness.  Like with everything, it takes practice.  I’m guilty of being really hard on myself – which I probably should stop doing.  I always say I’m unique and if I start to conform to other standards – well then, I’m lying about being unique.

I am blessed in so many ways.  I am so lucky to have who I have in my life.  If there’s something I am not happy with about myself, I’ll work on it.  I will work on it to my standards (or at least I’ll try my hardest).  Believe that you are perfectly imperfect.  The world views perfection as something that becomes unattainable.  What one person has, you may lack, but what you have, they may lack – and that’s what makes the world go ’round.  That’s where the yin yang happens.  There is a balance.

If you always want what others have, you will live a very unhappy life.  You’ll never have enough and you’ll always want more – a vicious cycle.

All of this really sounds like wonderful advice that I should probably listen to…it won’t be fixed tomorrow, but maybe soon.

“her soul was too deep to explore by those who always swam in the shallow end”
-a.j. lawless-

What do you know about Vitamin B1 – Thiamine?

I didn’t know much about it, to be honest, but recently it was brought to my attention that a B1 deficiency can really mess your body up.  By the time you finish reading this, you’ll see why living Paleo will make more sense (hopefully).

Thiamine is a vitamin that is needed to help our hearts, muscles, and nervous systems to work properly.  People at risk of having a thiamine deficiency are people who are going through dialysis, chronic diarrhea, people who take diuretics (for example, heart disease), and alcoholism.  Basically, all of these risk factors have one thing in common – malabsorption.  Our bodies cannot produce it naturally, so it is important that it is consumed through food.  Ensuring that you’re eating the right foods is extremely important!  Lack of vitamin B1 can cause severe brain damage!  The good news is that if you catch it early enough, you can reverse the effects – either through more conscious intake of thiamine, or through injections.

If you adopt a Paleo lifestyle, it will help you achieve great levels of B1!  Sesame seeds and tahini are a great way of getting B1!  Tuna, sunflower seeds, pork chops, asparagus, spinach and pineapples are a few of the foods you can add to your diet to get your B1 levels up.  In order to absorb thiamine, you need to have adequate levels of B6, B12, and folic acid in your diet.  If you follow Paleo, you’ll be eating foods rich in vitamins.  Just a side note, heat will destroy thiamine, so when cooking, try not to cook the food for too long (except pork chops).  If you cook spinach or asparagus, don’t overcook it or the benefits of them being rich in thiamine are no longer there.

If you’ve been feeling sluggish and you find yourself getting sick often, add more thiamine into your diet and you will feel much better!

Still doing more research on this – and I’m finding out some really interesting stuff.

“Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.”

Smothered Pork Chops with Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Bear with me, it’s been awhile since I typed out a recipe.  I’ve been making up my own recipes, and they’ve been coming out pretty good – if I do say so myself.

4 Pork chops
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion (or shallot), minced
1 Cup watercress, chopped
8 oz. shittake mushrooms
2 TBSP dried parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup white wine
1/3 cup full fat coconut milk

Season the pork chops with salt and pepper.  Put EVOO in the pan.  Cook on both sides and then place in aluminum foil and put aside.  Add a little more EVOO to the pan and add onion (or shallot) and garlic.  Let that cook for a few minutes.  Throw in the sliced shittake mushrooms, dried parsley, and watercress.  After a minute or two, add the wine and coconut milk and let that cook down – scraping all the “good stuff” off the bottom of the pan.

Plate your pork chops and pour the mixture over the top.

For the salad.

Cut the beets into quarters and boil beets until soft (not too soft).  Toast pecans or walnuts in a pan.  After a few minutes, add a little bit of maple syrup and mix.  Put mixed greens on a plate.  When the beets are cooked, drain and place on top of the salad.  Add goat cheese and pecans!  Boom.

If you make this, send me pics and let me know how it came out!

“A recipe has no soul.  You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.”

My Advice to Starting Paleo

It’s probably pretty intimidating at first, any real lifestyle change would be – but when you break it down, Paleo is simple.  It shouldn’t be complicated.  At first you have to do a little bit of homework, but give yourself some time and you’ll have it down before you know it.

First off, go get yourself a book.  Preferably one with a 30 day meal plan – fool proof.  When I started, there wasn’t much out there, but now there’s so much!  The Practical Paleo books have a lot of information in them on the “whys” and “hows”, but the recipes are complicated, especially if you’re just starting out.

The stuff you need to stock your pantry with will be different than what you’re used to.  You’ll need things that you probably never even heard of – coconut aminos, tapioca flour, ghee…but after a few trips to the supermarket, it will become second nature.

You will buy meat that’s grass-fed.  Now it’s pretty much everywhere and labeled clearly.  Side note – if it says it’s from Australia – it’s grass-fed.  Trader Joe’s is a good place to go.

Don’t beat yourself up at first.  There’s a lot of adjustments to be made.  You should start with cleaning out the fridge and cabinets.  Then go shopping and buy all the stuff you need to fill them back up – Paleo style.

Browse the internet for blogs – people like me who are relatable.  You can always reach out with questions to other Paleo-goers (new word?).  I started this blog hoping that I would help others who were just like me – looking to go Paleo – dealing with the struggles of trying to figure it out.  I am no expert, but now, 5 years later, I get it.  The logistics of it make sense, and I don’t need to look at recipes much.

“Starting something new, or making a big change requires effort, persistence, and motivation.  Doubt, fear, and worry will only slow you down.
Focus on doing your best now, and celebrate every step of the way.”

– Doe Zantamata –