Much to the irritation of everybody around me, I am a morning person. Surrounded by late risers, I was the one who fell asleep before much-anticipated midnight snacks at sleepovers, and then, as a result, the one who woke up hours before everyone else and then either read or thumb-twiddled until everyone else woke up. In school I watched the morning cartoons before my alarm went off, and later I became the one who willingly books 7am yoga classes. Today I’ll happily bound into 9am training sessions with more energy than I’d have later in the day, and in case I've made myself sound insufferable, I am also the one who brings other people tea and coffee in bed when they’re still drowsily rubbing their eyes (you’re welcome guys).
Research says that being a night owl v/s an early riser is entirely down to your genes, but that same research also says that early risers tend to be healthier on the whole, less likely to suffer from insomnia (probably because we fell asleep at 10pm), and less prone to depression. Obviously all of that is just bonus, what’s really great about being up early is that window of time I get that’s all mine.
I love the first two hours of the day, and how those hours go tends also to dictate how the rest of the day goes. In the yogic tradition the morning hours, the patch just before the sun rises through till a couple of hours later, are called "Amrit Vela", aka 'the ambrosial hours'. Late risers will scoff at this, and despite the earsplitting screams of my local veggie guy, there is serenity to this time that is sweet. Ambrosial, even. It isn't, I have to qualify, because I don’t want to see or hear anyone. Rather it is just that no-one needs me for anything. Not for questions, or for answers. Not for tasks, or for plans. It’s just me, a cup of tea, and the opportunity to steer how the day will go.
One of the things that’s become a staple of this time is to make myself a smoothie. (I know, I know, I can feel the collective eye rolls. The word “smoothie” is bandied about so readily and regularly that, despite its presence in my everyday, it sets even my teeth on edge for its smugness.) You cannot beat one for quickness, for easiness, and for its ability to kick start your day with some healthy hydration. That you can customize them to make them optimally delicious to you is just bonus.
Mine are always cucumber based; 95 percent water, these lovely greens also have silica and sulfur, both of which are super for your skin, nails, and hair, and, it is said, that if you place a slice of cucumber in your mouth for half a minute (or thereabouts), its phytochemical compounds will both kill the bacteria in your mouth as well as eliminate bad breath. Brushing your teeth, however, is still non-negotiable, no matter how hard mornings are for you.
Depending on the season, and the day, I add some celery stalks, a rough-chopped carrot, a handful of green grapes, or a couple of strawberries or some watermelon for a blend that walks the tightrope between tart and sweet. When the coconut man is around, I put coconut water in instead of water. I always squeeze in the juice of two limes, and voila, done.
People over? Blend your cukes with little orange and top with two parts champagne or prosecco for a superfresh Bellini(ish). Or (my personal favourite) just chuck in some tequila and ice with the cucumber, lime, and green grape for the easiest approximation of a margarita of all time.
We purchased a Nutribullet last year, and it has changed my mornings entirely. Nutribullet, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
Buying a decent blender tends to be a real investment (hello Vitamix), but the 'bullet is super affordable, compact enough that it doesn't clutter even a small kitchen counter, has super-convenient blend-and-go containers, has a 900 watt motor that is powerful enough to pulverise pretty much everything I've thrown at it so far, and (this bit is crucial, and the real clincher for me) has minimal working parts to break or lose, which also makes it unbelievably quick and easy to clean. Forget cleaning out juicers and all that horrendous pulp. The Nutribullets just blend all that shit up, no muss, no fuss, and no excuses. We're going to be friends forever.
No juicer or Nutribullet? No problem.
When you're short on time and without a bullet in sight, just whizz everything up in a regular blender and then strain through muslin or a fine mesh strainer. Yep, there’s a little clean-up, but it’s really not all that dramatic.
The path to greatness is paved with a thousand tiny rituals. This isn’t quite meditation, and it definitely isn’t yoga, but just the act of making myself something nutritious adds a little ceremony to the start of my day that almost always guarantees an injection of calm into the hours to follow.
You can find (and buy) the Nutribullet on Amazon everywhere in the world.