How to Kick-Start Your Morning, Sans Caffeine

I recently made a quick trip across the pond to visit my 90 year old Grandfather in Wales.  90 years old!  I’m convinced he lived as long as he did (as did my other grandparents) because he and my grandmother always had a massive homegrown vegetable garden, and basically ate all their own food for most of their lives.  But that’s for another post.  As I was in the UK waiting for the train to get from London to Wales, this sign was out front of the coffee shop.  You can guess what it was advertising.

It got me thinking about how terrible so many people feel in the morning, and I realized that since I improved my diet, I feel great in the mornings (I mean, as long I didn’t stay up the entire night before). 🙂  So for today’s Nutrition Tip Tuesday I thought I would give you 4 tips to kick-start your morning, so that this sign does NOT resonate with you and you become the cheerful morning person you’ve always wanted to be!

1)      Hydrate with Lemon Water

Lemons aside, hydrating is key.  I recommend 2 glasses of the lemon water I posted about here; however, for the purposes of this post, I want to highlight the importance of water.  If you think about it, when you wake up, you haven’t had any water in likely at least 8 hours, possibly more.  Your body is dehydrated and water is a key source of energy.  In scientific terms, water flowing through the cell membrane generates ATP, a chemical source of energy in the body.  Without this water, there are less levels of ATP (energy) throughout the body*.

It’s actually really interesting how you feel in the first 2-3 hours of being awake if you’ve had a couple glasses of water when you wake up, and another after breakfast.

As a lovely secondary benefit, this water will also stimulate digestion.

2)      Eat Within 1 Hour of Waking

By now you are well aware that not eating breakfast is not an option.  I often hear people saying that they have no appetite when they wake up.  That’s ok, but make sure that within one hour of waking up, you’ve had your breakfast that has a good dose of protein (15-20g at least).  There are studies that show that men (but this applies to women too) who skipped breakfast had a 4.5x higher chance of being obese.  That’s crazy!  And that obesity is more often than not driven by metabolic syndrome, or blood sugar imbalances.

3)      Check Your Protein to Sugar Ratio

I have yet to find a breakfast cereal (other than straight oatmeal) that is in the regular grocery aisle that I would ever tell someone to eat for breakfast.  The reason is that the sugar content is THROUGH THE ROOF!  Even Kashi Go Lean cereal, which I think the general public would consider a ‘heatlhy’ option has 13g of sugar in a serving, and this is not natural sugars.  It’s brown rice syrup, dried cane syrup, and honey (I don’t have a major problem with a bit of honey, just not combined with other sugars.)

Any of my smoothie recipes have adequate protein content, but here are a couple of other ideas:

4)      Snack Mid Morning

I think that many people have the misconception that just because you eat a healthy breakfast means that you should be full all the way until lunch.  This isn’t true.  There is no harm in having a mid morning snack about 3 hours after breakfast; in fact, it will actually help you maintain your blood sugar levels (aka your morning energy).  Personally, I find I don’t need as big a snack in the morning as I do in the afternoon, but I do try to make sure it still has some protein and fat and isn’t straight sugar.  Here are a couple snack recipes.

So, I hope that these tips help you kickstart your morning! Combined with a good night’s sleep, I’ll have you forgetting what coffee even is 😉

*Source: You’re Not Sick; You’re Thirsty – F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.

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