How you begin your day determines how you’ll feel the rest of the day. Take the time in the morning to energize and invigorate by nourishing your cells, blood, and brain. If you consume sugar, grease, caffeine, and excess dairy first thing in the morning, take some time and notice how you feel; then consider how that affects what you might be craving through the rest of the day. Follow these four simple steps to easily improve your mood and energy levels.
First step. Drink a large class of lemon water as soon as you wake. Lemons are a good source of folate, potassium, and Vitamin C. They also have been shown to reduce worry, stimulate metabolism, improve the absorption of water, alkalize the body, and aid digestion. Make sure to have lemons if you’re experiencing any of the following: dysentery, colds and flu, phlegm buildup, edema, high blood pressure, diabetes, or gas. They nourish yin (a calming quality), aid in the absorption of water, reduce inflammation, and help rid the body of toxins. Lemons are also a natural antibiotic. So definitely add lemon to your water, when you’re fighting a cold or are around someone who is sick. Added bonus: consuming lemons and other foods with high levels of Vitamin C keeps your skin young and supple.
Second step. Take a probiotic while drinking your lemon water. Probiotics help promote healthy microbial growth in your digestive tract. Having healthy flora is key to boosting the immune system and restoring the gut to reduce food sensitivities and create balance. Probiotics are great for boosting the immune system and restoring the digestive tract to reduce food sensitivities and aid in digestion and metabolism of nutrients. Recent studies show that having enough healthy gut flora reduces anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. If you have taken antibiotics or eat non-organic animal products, you definitely need to take probiotics. Nearly 80% of antibiotic use in the U.S. goes to animal agriculture. You are ingesting antibiotics every time you consume non-organic dairy, meat, eggs, and poultry.
Third step. Put greens such as kale, spinach, watercress and parsley in your morning smoothie or juice. These greens are high in chlorophyll, which naturally boosts your energy. Chlorophyll also removes toxins from the liver, reduces inflammation, increases immunity, and promotes formation of red blood cells. Blending your greens make the chlorophyll easier to access and absorb.
Another reason to add greens to your breakfast is because most dark, leafy greens are also high in iron. Iron is an essential component of red blood cells and aids in the transportation of oxygen and cell growth. It does this by helping the blood move oxygen from the lungs to the tissue cells where it is needed. That’s why fatigue and muscle weakness are two of the most obvious symptoms of anemia. Other symptoms of iron deficiency include insomnia, irritability, pale skin and nail beds, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, brittle nails, decreased appetite (especially in children), and headaches.
Chinese medicine says that healthy blood leads to a healthy mind. This is because the Chinese believe the soul rests in your blood at night. If you’re lacking in iron and have weak blood, then your soul doesn’t get the respite it needs to rejuvenate for the next day. This can lead to anxiety, irritability and insomnia.
Myth: Beef is the best source of iron. Let’s debunk that right now. One hundred calories of sirloin steak has 0.8 mg of iron, while 100 calories of spinach has 15.5 mg, and lentils 2.9 mg.
Fourth step. Eat some healthy fats. Did you know your brain is about 60 percent fat, and that your hormones are made from fat? Sixty percent of your heart’s energy comes from burning fats. Your lungs need fat to work effectively and keep them from collapsing. Fats help you absorb certain vital nutrients, including the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. So a small dose of the good stuff is vital to your health.
Sources of healthy fats include walnuts, flax seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, and avocado. Add flax, chia or hemp seeds, plus some almond butter to your morning smoothie. A surprising source of healthy fat can be found in seaweed and sea vegetables. Seaweed is an excellent and delicious way to eat your essential fatty acids. Why do you think fish are considered such a good source of healthy fat? It comes from what they eat.
If you don’t ingest enough healthy fat, you may experience depression, poor sleep/fatigue, poor memory, difficulty concentrating, and a lack of mental clarity when you first get up in the morning. The physical symptoms of not enough fat include infertility, weight gain, brittle fingernails, allergies, arthritis, and dry hair and skin.
One of my favorite breakfast foods is chia seed pudding but my chia seed pudding recipe can be eaten any time of day. Chia seeds are naturally high in protein, fiber, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, and are really high in omega-3s. They support the adrenal glands and even reduce anxiety. Chia seeds relieve constipation, improve cardiovascular health, stabilize blood sugar, and help build muscle.
My pudding is sweetened naturally with fruit, so you won’t experience the mood swings or cravings like you would with refined sugar.
Coconut Chia Pudding
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or rice, almond, or your favorite nondairy milk)
- 1/4 cup coconut water
- ½ tsp. pure vanilla extra
- 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
- 1/2 cup fresh raspberries or other fruit
- ¼ cup of thinly sliced almonds
Stir chia seeds, milk, coconut water, vanilla extract, and shredded coconut thoroughly in a glass container. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of two hours. Garnish with fruit and almonds.
The other ingredients in my Coconut Chia Pudding are also chock-full of health benefits. In Chinese nutrition, raspberries are known to reduce anger and resentment. They are high in vitamins C and K, iron, magnesium, fiber, and manganese. Raspberries treat anemia and regulate the menstrual cycle. Coconut milk is rich in magnesium, potassium, phosphorous and iron. Almonds are high in calcium to have a calming effect and build healthy bones.
See how simple it is to take steps for better health, improved mood, and increased energy? Don’t these tips sound way better than relying on coffee and sugar to wake you up every morning? You’ll be amazed by how much better you feel within just a few days of trying out my recommendations.