Every morning I stumble out of bed, head downstairs to the kitchen and fill a mason jar with 12 oz of water. I throw it in the microwave for a minute-thirty-seconds and make my way back upstairs. While the water is warming up, I go pee, wash my face and brush my teeth. If I'm feeling extra I'll change my clothes. The heating of the water and bathroom ritual lasts almost the exact same amount of time. I remove the water from the microwave and add: one teaspoon of raw local honey, one tablespoon raw-unfiltered apple cider vinegar, one tablespoon of lemon juice (or 1/4 of a fresh lemon) and a quarter teaspoon of dried cayenne pepper.
A version of this ritual started four years ago when I did a "make your own" juice cleanse with a friend. The cleanse called for warm lemon and ginger water to start the day. This may have been harder than not eating all day. The habit of waking up and reaching for coffee was so ingrained that I felt tortured. However, when the 300 or so days of cleansing were over (was it 3 or 5 I can't remember) I found that my gut felt so much better than when I began the day with coffee. For one it's a gentle wake up to the digestive system as opposed to the laxative affect of coffee. Secondly, it starts my day with rehydration instead of the dehydration caused by coffee. Lemon juice has a whole host of health benefits such as antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin B6. It makes complete sense that sipping warm lemon water is so often recommended.
Around the same time as the juice cleanse I began the habit of shooting a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar morning and night. Raw-unfiltered apple cider vinegar is packed with antioxidants and has antimicrobial effects. Personally, since taking raw-unfiltered apple cider vinegar each day I have had less sickness and better digestion, Shooting it straight was brutal but I honestly never stopped to think of doing it any other way. And truthfully, as a homemaker with three kids this was about as wild and crazy as my life got. "Shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots...apple cider!" Well, one day, perhaps after sleeping through the night, I decided to add the vinegar to my lemon/ginger water! Whaaaaaat?! It was so much more palatable. I won't lie though, I still shoot apple cider vinegar from time to time to remind myself of how hardcore I am.
THEN, a few years back I started getting seasonal allergies. Not cool. Turns out that our allergies (or lack-there-of) can change over time. I had been spoiled my whole life by avoiding this particular misery. Regardless of how bad the symptoms were, I knew I didn't want to take medication every day, so I researched how to treat allergies naturally. It turns out that consuming local honey (and or bee pollen) everyday can help build up an immunity to local allergies, reduce inflammation and give the immune system an overall boost. Adding honey to my "morning tonic" as I call it, has made it truly enjoyable for me. I simply change up the spice based on my needs (hungover maybe), cravings (currently spicy), or goals (anti-inflammatory).
As I mentioned above, it wasn't easy to let go of my morning cup of Joe first thing in the morning. Many times a week I have an internal struggle about whether it really matters which drink I have first. But I have not only educated myself on the physical affects of both, but I am so in tune with how I feel. So much so that I travel with packets of raw honey, small bottles of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar and a lemon or two. It's not because I can't live without it, it's because I choose to live with it. My morning rituals set the tone for the rest of my day. They're how I commit to making choices each and every day to nurture my body.
Friends, be willing to look at your daily habits and try new things. ESPECIALLY NOW! If you don't feel good then try to figure out why that is. How do you start your day and why? Are your morning habits part of a system of self care or just a way of blindly moving through the day? More than likely there are things you do every single day, without even thinking about it, that make you feel like crap. You have this one life to live and it makes no sense to live it by just miserably going through the motions. LEARN about your body and natural remedies to heal, energize and protect it. Create your own morning tonic.
Thank you for reading,
There's a song for that: "Change", Blind Melon