The BEST way to start your day: Happy Human Breakfast

Good health often leads to happiness. I firmly believe that our bodies WANT to be healthy. They are finely tuned machines that WANT to run at their most efficient levels. However, we let them down all the time. We don’t exercise, we eat processed foods, we drink too much alcohol and not enough water, we smoke, etc. I think that most people don’t realize that their “normal” is actually unhealthy, and finding a new normal will make them aware of how much more energy they can have, how their insides can feel good, how sex doesn’t have to be work and how their machine was never running well before, but now they are super-charged!

There are many millions of pages written about health, and I write a lot on the topic. There is no silver bullet, but this post is about a few pretty simple things you can do as your morning breakfast routine to help you be healthier and happier. Breakfast is the ‘most important meal of the day,’ they say, and I argue that if you jump start your engine this way, you will run better all day long! Because there is a lot written on each of these, I am going to direct you to other sites to read the ‘proof’ and share my personal experiences with you, so that this isn’t 5,000 words long!

My morning routine.

  1.  Wheatgrass juice. The items below have been part of my routine for years, but I have only just begun growing my own wheatgrass and barley grass to turn into juice. It is meant to be drunk on an empty stomach, so while for years I have started with step two below, I now start with the wheat grass and then move on to lemon water.
    My experience: In just the short time that I have been doing this each morning, I have found that it has already had a detoxifying effect on my body. I have had no negative side effects, so I will continue and see how it goes long term.
  2. Morning Tonic. I drink this without fail every morning. When you wake up, you have been fasting since before you went to sleep. Your belly is empty, but your intestines are probably full. A great way to start your day is to drink  warm water with 1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and sweeten with 1 tablespoon of either local honey or maple syrup, which though sugar, are still pretty good for you. A good addition is also freshly grated ginger. If you live in a cold climate, feel a bug coming on or are sick or injured, adding freshly grated or ground turmeric will boost your immunity and reduce inflammation even more. (Turmeric every day, long-term may not be healthy, so use it like medicine when you need it. Also, Turmeric must be taken with a fat, so add a 1/2 teaspoon of pure butter or coconut oil to aid in its absorption.) This is a fantastic way to ‘break your fast’ and flush out your system.
    My experience:  I am a terrible at drinking enough water, so this ensures that I hydrate. On an empty stomach, I drink a full 32 ounces of water with the lemon, vinegar and maple syrup. When I was living in London, in the cold and damp, working in an open-plan office, and living in a shared house with four others, it was impossible not to get sick–until I started drinking this every morning, and my immunity dramatically increased. The detoxifying effect is immediately noticed. Within 30 minutes of drinking this, I am gently relieved of what my intestines were holding and my system starts the day clean. I have no bloating and am ready for a healthy breakfast! Now, three years later, I see fewer wrinkles in photos than I did then, which I attribute, in part, to the hydration.
    Another personal experience: I have an elderly family member who has been drinking this morning tonic for about a year. He was always suffering from either constipation for which he took laxative or diarrhea for which he took Pepto-Bismol. Since drinking this daily, he suffers neither. He also fainted a couple of times, and the diagnosis was simple dehydration. He has not fainted since doing this.
    And one more personal story: A family friend was taking cholesterol medicine. Because he also drank moderately, he failed a liver function test. He continued to have his evening drink, and take is medicine, but he started drinking 1T of apple cider vinegar in water a day. One month later, his liver was functioning normally again.
  3. Coconut water. Only because I live in the tropics and have it readily available, I drink fresh coconut water every morning. Since it is full of electrolytes, it has excellent hydration benefits. I either add it to my smoothie or if I’m not having a smoothie, I just drink some. I’m trying to work on my joint health, especially my knees and my back, so I add collagen, MSM and living silica to that and swallow it all down. None of those taste good, so the coconut water helps to make them more palatable. Sometimes I add them with the a splash of coconut water to the wheat grass and drink it all first.
    My experience: This is a new addition to my routine, so the jury is still out. I was getting headaches at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, so the coconut water is something I have added to try to stave those off. As far as my chronic joint pain, only time will tell if the work I’m doing and the supplements are having an impact.
  4. Wheat grass, spirulina, moringa and/or chlorella powder. Before I started making my own wheatgrass, for years, I just used the powder and I still add these microgreens to juice or to my smoothie most mornings. These microgreens are all considered super foods because they are so packed with nutrients. Wheatgrass has a pretty mild taste, and is almost sweet. Spirulina and chlorella taste like pond scum in my opinion. However, I was blown away by their immediate benefits! You only need a small amount. I found them in bulk at a health food store, and I was able to get them organic, which is particularly important for these super foods. I put about 1 teaspoon total of one or more of them in a half glass of natural juice and choke down or I add to my smoothie.
    My Experience. My skin noticeably improved immediately in terms of tone and evenness of color. I had a friend in London who swore if she missed one day of wheat grass, she could see it in her skin. I think paired with the lemon water, my immunity became super strong. London winter and flu season hit a few months after I started this routine many years ago. My whole house and whole team at work got sick, but I didn’t get a sniffle for the first winter in years. These also have a laxative effect, but as your body gets used to it, that is less noticeable. I do feel, again paired with the above, that my insides stay squeaky clean, but without gas or bloating. In fact, quite the contrary, I think along with my exercise, these really help keep my tummy flat.

    NOTE: Because all of these items can have a gentle laxative effect, I would recommend introducing them slowly.  As with anything, look for any other unpleasant side effects, which is more easily done if you introduce them one at a time. If you are on medication or have medical conditions, check with a doctor.

  5. Breakfast. I LOVE breakfast, so once I have drunk all of the above, I move on to breakfast and I have one or more of the following because I am always hungry, and tend to eat small meals every few hours.
    • Raw overnight oats with flax/chia/hemp seeds. A number of years ago, I found a recipe in a raw foods cookbook for overnight oats. I made up different versions of it, and  I should have sold the recipe because now you can buy them in the store! I say, save packaging and money and make your own variety. This will keep me sated, but able to exercise fairly soon after because it doesn’t make me feel too full. By mid-morning, I am hungry for a snack of fruit and then I eat lunch. I love that these recipes are totally vegan. The fiber content is excellent to keep everything moving and it is even good for those who can’t have gluten. Flax, chia and hemp are great foods for vegans because of their protein, and are high in omega-3’s.  There are no refined sugars. Plus, it is ready to go, so for those busy mornings, there is no prep! I used to take it in to the office, when I worked in one, and eat it there to save time on my morning routine.
    • Yogurt and granola, which I also make myself is another typical breakfast for me. If I have this instead of the above oats, I also add my flax, chia and hemp mix and some dried fruit. Recently, I have been eating golden berries, but my favorite are raisins. Because of the high fat and protein content, this also keeps me full and it also travels easily.
    • I am the smoothie queen! I very often drink a smoothie along with one of the above. I have a number of recipes for smoothies, but any fruit and veggie combo will work!
    • Weekends are the best time to indulge! I never skip my wheat grass (or greens with juice) and my lemon water, but on the weekends, I might indulge with a brunch of healthy pancakes (or these less healthy pancakes), poached eggs or just a simple omelette.

And either with or after my breakfast, I indulge in a small cup of black coffee sweetened with a bit of agave. Coffee is one of the luxuries that I have reduced, but I will not cut out altogether because it brings me great joy!

I am not a doctor or a nutritionist, but aside from the very few links that I have posted here, I have read a lot about all of these foods, and have been consuming some of them myself for years, and can personally say that my skin, immunity and energy have increased as a result of this routine. I never was using them for weight loss, but all of them will help promote a healthy weight.

Add some of these things to your morning routine to help you stay happy, healthy, hydrated and youthful!

  1. Fresh wheatgrass juice
  2. Water with fresh lemon, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup
  3. Coconut water (with MSM, collagen and living silica for joint health)
  4. Super micro-greens
  5. A fruit and vegetable smoothie
  6. A tasty breakfast that includes fiber, protein and fat
  7. Coffee!!

Try to have as many of these things as you can five days a week for three months, and you should notice a difference in your energy, your skin, your digestive health and your immunity. If you are already healthy, they effects may be less obvious, but you may be more in tune to subtle changes. If you are not very healthy, you will be amazed at your new ‘normal!’ Your immunity should be strong. Of course, it helps to exercise and make this as part of a holistic approach and lifestyle of healthy choices, but baby steps are important, and I think at least some of these things are a realistic addition to anyone’s life.

Good morning, you happy human, you!!!

Photo credit: Ulleli Verbeke

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