It is often said that the achievements and success of each day lie firmly within the foundations of a sound morning routine. At the request of some of my lovely readers, I set out on a quest to research and unveil the key dawn habits and rituals that will set you down the path of success all day long!
Your body in the morning
After 8 hours of (hopefully restful) slumber, the body is a very different place compared to other times of the day. It is a dehydrated, elongated, clean, empty vessel (excluding the morning toxins that urgently need to be released). Your metabolism has entered standby mode and your digestive system will be feeling a little sluggish too. Your brain might feel a little foggy and your muscles might be a little tight and achy. You aren't quite the recharged, refreshed and energised version of yourself that you might expect to be after a good night's sleep.... well not yet anyway.
By establishing a set of healthy morning rituals, your good night's sleep will collaborate alongside your good morning waking to create the foundations of a fantastic day.
Ritual one: Rehydrate
A glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon and tablespoon of apple cider vinegar is your first port of call. This miracle water has three central benefits for your body. Firstly it is rehydrating which has a positive impact on just about every facet of your being; from healthy brain function to glowing skin, water is your body's best friend and hydration is essential to your daily wellbeing (warm water is best as it is quickly and easily absorbed by the body). Secondly, the lemon kick starts the body's metabolism allowing for improved digestion. It also acts as an alkalising agent for the body and boosts immunity whilst flushing out unwanted toxins. The vinegar also assists with digestive balance and is rich in enzymes and potassium. It acts as an immunity booster and and helps reduce inflammation in the body.
Ritual two: Get moving
The body is weakest in the morning and lacks energy from it's long fasting period so it is not the ideal time of day to be breaking a heavy sweat, however, 20-30 minutes of mild to moderate, low impact exercise is the perfect way to energise your mind and body for the day ahead. Some great low impact exercises include a morning walk, yoga, stretching and rebounding exercises on a trampoline.
Ritual three: Break the Fast!
Your body has been fasting for around 8 hours and your energy stores need replenishing. Allow your morning lemon water around 30 mins to be absorbed and then get busy in the kitchen. Things to avoid in the morning include any stimulants that will give you a fast buzz; this includes caffeine and refined, processed sugars. You are almost guaranteed to crash mid morning and start reaching for more caffeine and sugar to give you another boost. Instead you want to fuel your body with fibre and protein rich, nutrient dense meals that will give the body energy to burn until your next meal. If you are an early riser, you may want to opt for a light breakfast option and tuck into something more substantial around 9am to stave off mid morning snacking. It is also worth noting that if you plan to include fruit in your breakfast, be sure to eat it first as otherwise it will ferment in your stomach while your body digest the rest of your meal and this can lead to bloating and gas.
Ritual four: Use your mind
Spend a few minutes meditating, setting goals, being thankful and being mindful and present in your morning. All these mind exercises allow you to feel calm, focused, energised and mentally prepared for the day ahead. They are vital minutes that will help ease any anxiety you may be experiencing about tasks ahead and they allow you to truly connect with yourself, your wants, needs and desires and also allow you to take time to appreciate the things you already have.
Having said that, let us now refocus our attention on the most important of the aforementioned rituals: Breakfast.
By now we know that coffee and sugary cereals offer zero nutritional benefits to our morning and are a terrible way to kickstart the day (we know that, accept it and move on). But how do we shift away from a morning ritual that is so deeply ingrained in our culture? Easy! Eat eggs!......right? eggs are healthy?.....aren't they?
Well, yes, in brief, eggs are awesome. Love em! BUT too many eggs can have a negative impact on cholesterol levels so limit them to two to three mornings a week. So what should you eat every other morning? Fruit smoothies!!! Right??...... They are healthy?.....aren't they?
Well, sure. The occasional fruit smoothie is delicious and great source of essential vitamins. BUT when you blitz fruit in a blender you are essentially breaking down many of the nutritional networks that exist within the fruit and concentrating the fructose for one fast absorbed, sugary buzz. Of course it is natural sugar and there are undeniable benefits of including fruit in your diet, but limit your smoothie intake and go for combinations of low fructose fruits, green veggies, protein powder and added superfoods such as chia seeds and maca powder.
So we've covered coffee, sugary cereal, eggs and smoothies. Now for the next big breakfast dealbreaker. Toast! The only thing better than a plate of carbs is a plate of buttery, toasted carbs! Unfortunately, just 2 slices of white toast pretty much maxes out your morning kilojoule intake allocation and is relatively void of any nutritional benefits. When it comes to carbs, the darker the better so switch your white toast bread for a delicious, less refined wholegrain option such as dark rye.
Ok. Now for the best bit. By now you have put a cross through probably 90% of your breakfast options and you are thinking "Surely pancakes and crumpets cannot be the recommended replacements for all these "healthy" options I've been eating."
Good news! You are correct. Generic store bought crumpets and sugary pancake mixes covered in syrup are terrible choices! Well done!
So what is there left to eat? I hear you cry? Well! I have spent the week figuring out exactly that! Here are 5 easy peasy recipes that will help fill your mornings with a delicious variety of healthy and nutrient dense breakfasts!!
1. Picture Perfect Oats
This recipe is so simple and time efficient that you could enjoy this instagram worthy breakfast just about anywhere!
* 1 cup milk of choice
* 3/4 cup rolled oats
* 1/4 cup mixed berries
* Tbs organic raw honey/maple syrup/rice malt syrup
1. Bring milk to the boil in a small saucepan and remove from heat.
2. Pour in oats and cover for 3 minutes (use the three minutes to practice ritual 4)
3. Top with fruit and sweetness of choice and enjoy! (dont forget to take a picture first!)
2. Berryummy Smoothie
Delicious and easy to tote! A perfect light breakfast that you can enjoy whilst on the move.
* 1/2 cup mixed berries
* 2 handfuls ice
* 2 Tbs low fat, sugar free, organic natural yoghurt
* 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
* 1 tsp chia seeds
* 1/2 cup milk
* Goji berries to sprinkle on top
1. Combine all ingredients and blitz in blender until smooth
2. Top with goji berries and enjoy!