A Couple of New Additions to My Morning Routine

I’ve stumbled upon a couple of pleasant discoveries in these cold, pent-up days of winter that have added some quality to my life—wintertime or otherwise. Making new discoveries—no matter how small—adds a little zing to life, and we could all use a little more zing! A key to experiencing more zing is being able to actually recognize a “discovery.”

Maybe you will benefit from my two new discoveries. Or maybe you will benefit from realizing that you, too, have small zing-producing discoveries going on, too, but just didn’t appreciate their full impact.

Coconut Oil

My interest in coconut oil began after reading the book, Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter. Have you heard about the health benefits of coconut oil? My primary attraction to it was for its benefits for the brain. It helps energize the brain, providing fuel for cell repair, but also for stimulating growth of new brain cells. (On a side note, I must add that realizing these benefits requires not only adding coconut oil to your diet, but also subtracting refined carbs such as sugar and white flour. Sorry.)

I do cook with coconut oil, but the “discovery” that has brought a special pleasure to my days was in adding it to my first cup of coffee in the morning. The idea of adding oil to coffee may sound repulsive to you, as it did to me when I first heard of it. However, because the positive benefits of coconut oil were so appealing, I wanted to be sure to get it into my diet the most efficient way possible. Drinking coffee is something I do every day, so that seemed a very likely opportunity. I did a little web research on the subject, and found testimonials in which some people swear that it enhances their alertness in the morning. I won’t disagree, I just can’t say that I have particularly noticed that effect. For me, it is all about pleasure.

I bought a tiny little “bullet” blender for the sole purpose of creating my morning concoction. I simply add a tablespoon of the oil (more or less) to a fairly large mug a coffee, a half-tablespoon or so of cream (I generally drink my coffee black, so this is a pleasant addition, too) and then blend it for a few seconds (less than 10). The blending not only mixes it up really well, but it also creates a nice thick froth on top. It’s like a warm blanket on cold winter’s morning, the very essence of “comfort food.”

I must make one quick disclaimer. I have learned through experience that I must forego this treat on my running days—until after the run, that is. The coconut oil seems to act as a laxative, and when you’re out jostling about (as in a run) this effect can make for some serious discomfort. It took me a few “seriously discomfortable” experiences before I eventually made the connection between the coconut oil and my gastrointestinal distress. Since then, I wait till after my run before enjoying my newly-discovered treat.

Foam Rolling

I was inspired to try foam rolling on a daily basis after reading this article: Feel 10 Years Younger With These 5 Foam-Rolling Exercises.  I’ll admit; the title sucked me right in. 10 years younger? Count me in!

Foam rolling, as the article explains, is an inexpensive substitute for deep-tissue massage. It makes sense that if you start your day with a quick, targeted “massage,” loosening up your muscles first thing, why yes, you should feel a little younger.

I read the article and watched each of the brief videos included in it. The next morning, I got up, turned on my coffee maker, and while the coffee brewed, I went through the routine. It was pretty interesting how I could tell which muscles needed the quick massage (by the “knots” that I could feel as I rolled) and which didn’t really appreciate it (no noticeable effect). Nevertheless, shooting for all ten years younger, I continued with the full routine for about a month. After that month, however, I dropped all but a couple of the exercises and I added one that I kind of created myself by focusing on the areas that needed it.

I actually felt that this process made a difference from that first day. Granted, I had no aches and pains that I was dealing with, I just wanted to feel less “tight.” And I also wanted what the title promised—to feel 10 years younger. This has become an easy routine to stick with because of the fact that I do it the first thing every day—even on weekends. It takes no more than 10 minutes, and it is a nice, soothing way to wake up: not too much of a contrast from the sleep state that I have just come out of (you’re supposed to roll nice and slow), but enough activity to not lull me back to sleep, either.

I think this practice would probably be especially beneficial for people in their mid-thirties and up and/or younger people who are experiencing muscular pain somewhere in their body.

Be Your Own Guinea Pig

These two new additions to my routine are a by-product of my appeal towards experimenting with new ideas for the purpose of becoming more efficient, more productive, or just enjoying life more. I read a lot of stuff, and I’m attune to concepts that might help me be a better me.

By the same token, I might quit some practice just as readily as I begin a new one if I think it will improve my life in some way. For instance, around the same time that I read the foam-rolling article, I also read that the oft-recommended “aspirin a day” advice is not necessarily beneficial for women under 65 (Low-dose Aspirin and Women Under 65). This information was on a reputable site with research to back it up, so I promptly quit taking my aspirin a day. Not as dramatic as my nice frothy cup of coffee in the morning or my foam-rolling discovery, but if it saves me some pain and suffering later on in my life, well, who needs the dramatic? Right?

Have you made any fresh discoveries lately? Please tell me about them in the comments. I would love to hear what simple “discoveries” are impacting your lives!

Here’s some additional reading if you would like to check out the health benefits of coconut oil:
The Diet Which Postpones Brain Aging 
Exercise Halts ‘dementia gene’ from being expressed, keeps your brain healthy
10 Proven Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers, David Perlmutter, M.D.

Photo compliments of Selena N.B.H. via Flickr

This entry was posted in Anti-aging, Health and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A Couple of New Additions to My Morning Routine

  1. Cindy Lofton says:

    That is so funny because I have been doing the same thing with my coffee for the past 2 months but I have used grass-fed butter instead of coconut oil. I read an article about ‘bulletproof’ coffee that talked about the benefits of grass-fed butter, and it has totally elevated my enjoyment of my morning coffee. I even go so far as to warm my little blender and my coffee cup with hot water first so that it stays piping hot. I no longer need sugar in my coffee b/c I love the creamy taste of the butter in it, so that is a small victory. I tried coconut oil the past 2 mornings and I couldn’t tell a difference in taste from the butter. Still lovely!

    Thank you for the foam rolling encouragement- we’ve had a roller for probably 2 years now and just haven’t utilized it much. So I did the past 2 mornings and it felt amazing on my upper back- which has been in a state of discomfort and tightness for months now, so I am hopeful that rolling it out more frequently could really help me feel better. Yay!

    I guess one “zing-producing” discovery (not part of my morning routine) lately has been to create new playlists of old songs and listen to them while doing dishes, cleaning the floor, putting clothes away, etc. My kids have especially enjoyed this- I mean, who wouldn’t want to sweep the floor when listening to “Ice, Ice Baby?” 🙂

    • Diane says:

      I like your “zing” activity, Cindy. I sometimes listen to my 70s songs while cleaning. It makes it a lot of fun, but I’m not as productive, because I keep dancing instead of cleaning!

  2. Lindsey says:

    Do you have to put the coconut oil in the blender first? Does it just help it mix with the cream better?

    • Diane says:

      Lindsey, I put it in the cup of hot coffee and then blend. It melts right off the spoon that way. I don’t guess you have to blend it, but I’m sure it tastes less “oily” if you do. Let me know what you think after trying it.

I love to read your comments!