Three Ways to Enhance Your Morning
Mornings are an inevitable part of everyone’s day. For some, this points to dread the moment that alarm goes off for no other reason than it’s simply too early to be thinking about anything other than pulling yourself out of your cozy, warm, inviting sheets and into the chilly morning ahead (ok, so it’s cold up here in Canada right now!).
Instead of focusing on all the reasons you can’t possibly drag yourself out of bed in the morning, why don’t we start small to change our perception of how stellar the morning can really be? I’ve got three easy habits to start introducing in the morning to make your wake-up the best it can possibly be! Try implementing each of these over the course of a month until you are incorporating each of them almost every day. You might just be surprised at how important your morning can be to set your day up for success.
Water with Lemon
We have all heard about the wonderful benefits of lemon water, but how beneficial is it really? When you wake up, first thing in the morning, you have hopefully had a solid 7-8 (or more!) hour rest. This means your body hasn’t been hydrated for at least seven hours or more depending on when you stopped drinking water the night before. Since water is an essential source of energy in human life (second only to air), starting your morning with a glass of water, in general, is always a step in the right direction. But adding lemon to it can bump up those health perks! Lemon is a source of vitamin C and vitamin C is needed for collagen production.
This means that taking in those nutrients first thing in the morning can lead to healthier, glowing skin. Being that our skin is our largest organ and most exposed, this sets our day off on the right foot by fuelling that organ in the best way possible. Additionally, while lemons are acidic in nature, they are alkalizing to the body. What does this mean? Simply that we’re setting all of our organs up for success! Alkalizing foods help our body maintain it’s natural pH balance and also help prevent diseases that thrive in acidic environments (such as osteoporosis, gout, cancer, and migraines).
- How to implement? - When you wake up in the morning, pour yourself a glass of water (8oz or more, please!). If you have carbon filtered water, this is best, but don’t fret over this step if not. Take a lemon and cut it in half. Aim to squeeze the entirety of that half lemon into your glass of water. If this is too much, start small and work your way up to a flavour that you are content with (a whole lemon is rockstar status!). Try to consume this entire glass before taking in any other foods or beverages in the AM (yes – this also means coffee… I know, I know… I’m a monster!). This is for good reason; your body needs that water before anything else and introducing coffee, which is a diuretic, before your water, makes the benefits of the lemon water less effective.
10 Minutes of Self-Care
I find that the hecticness that usually manifests in the morning is ultimately what leads to most people not having time to enjoy the AM. The stress that kicks in when your alarm sounds can be daunting and hitting snooze is certainly tempting. I urge you not to and instead wake up as soon as your alarm goes off. This will create time for yourself in a whole new way. A ten-minute snooze is so much better replaced with setting aside 10 minutes of your morning for something that invigorates you (I know, sleep!! is what you’re thinking. But hear me out!). For some, this might be movement, like a short workout or a yoga sequence to awaken their soul.
For others, this might be taking their time with their favourite face washing routine or sitting down to read a book they’ve got on the go. Whatever self-care looks like to you, aim to implement this in the morning. Think of things that you do throughout the weekends (or days off) and you just feel so gosh-darn good after you do them. Is there a way to make this into a snack-size, self-care moment in the morning? Focusing on time just for you will ultimately help you be a better person in each of your relationships throughout the day, because, my friends, you cannot pour from an empty cup!
- How to implement? For me, self-care in the morning when I’m pressed for time means a short yoga or stretching sequence. Most mornings I like to observe my moment of self-care at the gym lifting weights or grabbing a coffee and reading a book with a cup of coffee at my favourite local cafe. I’m not saying you need to incorporate a gym routine into your morning to observe self-care (maybe you don’t enjoy working out), but take a moment to do something for you. Aim to stay off of social media and instead reflect on you!
One of the most popular questions people ask me is how they can make their breakfast better. Sometimes this is coming from individuals who eat the same thing day in, day out and they can’t possibly think of consuming another egg in the morning. Other times, people are simply looking to make their breakfast “healthier.” I think one of the best things you can do in the morning is to grab some leftovers. (Some what?) Some leftovers! From dinner! Yes, seriously! Take the dinner leftovers you had a couple nights ago and reheat those for your first meal of the day. It’s mindless, it’s so simple, and it frees up your morning with a little more time for the important things (read: practice point number two).
Leftovers generally equate to veggies being present in your meal, so this gives you an opportunity to load up on a plant-powered breakfast rather than a starchy-filled first meal. Even if you’re someone who has breakfast down to a minor art form (something we all dream of, I’m sure), give this a go and I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much your morning improves.
- How to implement? Your meals don’t need to be fancy, they just need to be plentiful (with vitamins and minerals, not necessarily with loads of food)! When making dinners, aim to make more than you usually would so that you can reheat this in the morning. Some of my favourites are any one-pot meals. These are loaded with vegetables which allows you to squeeze a little extra vitamins and minerals into your day.
The best part about one-pot meals is that you don’t even need to follow a recipe. Take some of your favourite veggies, pair with some spices or fresh herbs, and add in some well-sourced meat! If you don’t eat meat, give chickpeas or sprouted beans a go! If you find you’re still stumped, check out my favourite combo below and nosh on that for the next few breakfasts.
Ultimately, we all need to wake up in the morning, but wouldn’t it be fantastic if our mornings were lovely because they are something we look forward to? Try incorporating each of these in the coming weeks and let me know how your mornings are feeling once that alarm sounds.
My Favourite One Pot Meal Combo
- 2 Sweet Potatoes, shredded (use a food processor or cheese grater to shred)
- 1/2 Head of Cabbage, shredded (green, red, savoy – pick your favourite and go with it)
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 lb organic, grass fed ground beef* (can’t find grass fed? Aim to buy from a local farmer for best quality)
- 3 tbsp of homemade taco seasoning (I love this recipe and I double it when making!)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- Fresh Cilantro (optional)
- *Vegetarian: Sub beef for a can of chickpeas, black beans or add in sprouted beans at the end*
- Heat a large pot or skillet to medium heat
- Once the pan is warm, add coconut oil to the pan
- Once the coconut oil is dissolved, spread around the pan and add diced onion
- Allow onions to become fragrant and slightly soft; then add the ground beef
- Continue to break up the beef as it browns; cook through until all the pink is gone
- Drain the beef and return pan to the stove with the beef still in it
- Add in sweet potato, cabbage and taco seasoning
- Continue to stir while vegetables cook through
- Once the vegetables reach a desired consistency, remove from stove
- Dish out onto a plate or a bowl (chef’s choice!)
- Garnish with cilantro
Put the leftovers in the fridge and dish out into a skillet to reheat in the morning!
Post your morning wins and how you’re striving to make your mornings better using the hashtag #makemorningsbetter on your social media!