NOTE: Updated September 2020 (edits notated)
I’ve had many friends and associates interested in my fancy morning health elixir, so I thought I’d share with anyone and everyone that’s interested. It is 100% vegan and gluten free, and if you procure the proper ingredients, it can be almost 100% organic as well. You should be able to find everything in shops around town or Amazon.com. In no time, you can have your very own naturopathic apothecary in your kitchen, ready to whip up this elixir at moment’s notice.
As with any health-related supplements, always check with your doctor before starting a new supplement regimen, especially if you have a special condition or take any medications.
This elixir, or tonic, was formulated from research on home remedy and naturopathic healing ingredients. It’s an acquired taste and takes some getting used to, but I have options for palatability at the bottom. It may remind you of grandpa’s sarsaparilla, but it’ll get your body movin’ and shakin’ soon after you get it down the hatch. Take your time drinking it though, because you don’t want to overload your kidneys! Shortly after I wake up, I make the concoction and then usually sip on it over 20-30 min. To get an even quicker start in the AM, you could have it ready by your bedside by making it the night before. But I would recommend keeping it in the refrigerator if it’s pre-made.
I use a 22 oz glass bottle to mix in and drink from, but of course use whatever you deem appropriate. As I mentioned, the elixir’s taste is a little on the harsh side, especially when you first start, so a larger drinking vessel might help to dilute the harshness a bit. Eventually you get used to it and the health benefits are more than worth it. One note, it’s best if you have a straw or a lid that allows you to suck or pour the elixir into your mouth. This is because the apple cider vinegar could be harmful to tooth enamel if there’s too much exposure. In addition, the turmeric is staining to the teeth. Basically, don’t swish this stuff in your mouth, get it down as fast as possible to minimize tooth contact.
Drink it first thing in the morning before you ingest anything else (besides water).
To Mix PLEASE NOTE: Once you’ve added everything in there, you can close the lid and shake it up to mix the contents, but proceed with caution because the baking soda will cause an explosion if you shake too hard without pressure release! What I do is close the lid, give a couple of gentle shakes then open it…. It then makes a “pop” sound to release the air. I do that a few times and it’s mixed up enough. The other option would be to take a long spoon and just mix it manually.
The Health Elixir Recipe:
(ingredients that are linked will link to the item I use or recommend on Amazon.com)
- Water – roughly 14 oz – filtered or bottled. Room temperature or slightly warm is best from a health perspective, but it’s easier to drink if it’s slightly cool, so do whatever suits your level of tolerance. Optional: Coconut /Cactus /Maple water – you can mix and match, do half filtered water, half coconut, etc., have fun with it! As mentioned, you can use more water if you want to dilute it or less if you want to just get it down quicker and don’t mind the intensity.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 or 2 oz, depending on how much you can tolerate in terms of taste. The ACV will help neutralize the acid in your body and help with skin, digestion, and all sorts of other benefits. Bragg’s Organic Raw
- Aloe Vera Juice – 2 oz – Aids digestion, supports immune function and can help normalize blood sugar levels. George’s 100% unfiltered is my Aloe Vera Juice of choice at the moment.
- MCT Oil – 1 TBS – There are a zillion articles online about the myriad of benefits to MCT oil, a concentrated version of coconut and palm oils. (SIDE NOTE: Palm oil is a controversial product due to the destruction of habitat and other issues, so be sure to make sure your MCT oil, if it has palm oil, is sustainably sourced… the one I recommend is. Read more about the palm oil issue here.) If you’re not used to ingesting MCT Oil, it can cause a little digestive discomfort at first, so start off with just a little, like ½ or 1 TSP, and work your way up to the full amount over the course of a few weeks – 1 TBS. The MCT oil I recommend is from Wild Foods, a combination of the C8 & C10 forms of MCT – the C8 benefits brain function whereas the C10 benefits skeletal muscle. However, many people seem to like the pure C8 version of MCT by Bulletproof called Brain Octane. Choose whichever floats your boat!
EDIT: I no longer take MCT Oil. It might work for some people, but after awhile it wasn’t working for me. A good substitution would be some CBD Oil, although I don’t personally take that on a regular basis. See some substitutions below.
- Himalayan Pink Salt – ¼ to ½ TSP or couple of pinches – the many beneficial minerals will help balance and flush your adrenals. Sherpa Pink Gourmet Himalayan Salt is a good, clean option, but most grocery stores have it nowadays. I vary the amount based on my intermittent fasting schedule – the longer I’ve been fasting, the more salt (but no more than 1/2 tsp).
- Cayenne Pepper Powder (organic) – couple of pinches – Cayenne helps with boosting metabolism, which can get your day off to a great start. You can get this at any grocery store. This is OPTIONAL. I only use this occasionally when I feel I need a kick.
- Turmeric Powder (organic) – 1 TSP – Turmeric is one of the most powerful healing foods nature provides for us. It basically cures everything. I ingest it as much as possible. But in order for it to have any efficacy, it needs to be combined with black pepper and a source of healthy fat. For the purpose of this elixir, it will help reduce inflammation and improve nutrient absorption. You can get this at any grocery store.
EDIT: Alternatively, you could make a turmeric paste (plenty of recipes on the web) – it consists of turmeric, black pepper, and an oil – and put that in your elixir or smoothie in place of the turmeric, oil, and black pepper in this recipe.
- Ginger Powder (organic) – 1 TSP – Ginger is another one of nature’s super powered foods. Like it’s orange cousin, turmeric, it has a ton of health benefits. For this elixir, it is included to help support immune function and to aid in digestion and nutrient absorption. You can get this at any grocery store.
- Black Pepper (organic) – couple of pinches – This seemingly tame condiment can work some magic! It assists in turmeric absorption and efficacy while also boosting metabolism. You can get this at any grocery store. It’s most effective when you get the kernels that need to be freshly ground, which makes the nutrients more potent.
- Baking Soda (natural, not synthetic) – ½ TSP – this helps regulate the body’s ph and there are countless anecdotal stories and evidence on baking soda’s ability to annihilate everything from cancer and tumors to the basic common cold & flu. I ingest it daily and when I feel like I’m coming down with something, I take a little more throughout the day. Bob’s Red Mill has some great baking soda carved from a mountain by Paul Bunyon’s great great grandson.
EDIT: I have stopped taking the baking soda on a daily basis. I felt my body was sufficiently alkaline due to my diet, so I didn’t really need this as much. However, when I feel like I need it or if I go off the rails on diet, I’ll definitely have this in my arsenal. Bottom line – use as needed!
- Vitamin C (naturally sourced, not synthetic) – ½ TSP – Most standalone vitamin C products in the marketplace as well as combo vitamin C in multivitamins, ESPECIALLY “Emergen-C”, are made synthetically and essentially useless garbage. Your body struggles to absorb it and most is excreted, which also puts strain on your liver and kidneys. So when taking Vitamin C, it’s important to take it from a natural source. It will boost immune function and help reduce cortisol when combined with potassium which will ease adrenal fatigue. You can use a couple of freshly squeezed oranges, or opt for a powdered form supplement such as the one by Healthforce Nutritionals. I usually hop on and off of this one every couple of weeks or rotate based on stress levels and immune function necessity (in conjunction with Cream of Tartar). Other good natural sources of Vitamin C: Acerola Berry and Amla Berry – you can get both in powdered form.
- Cream of Tartar – ¼ TSP – when combined with Vitamin C, the potassium in Cream of Tartar will help lower cortisol levels and reduce stress on the adrenals. Most people in our modern society suffer from adrenal fatigue, which can cause a myriad of symptoms, which then become misdiagnosed as all sorts of other absurd “conditions”. I also hop on and off of this one every couple of weeks or rotate based on stress levels (in conjunction with Vitamin C). Spicely has a good, clean version of Cream of Tartar
NOTE: Since I’ve been doing more meditation and yoga, I haven’t felt the need to take this as much. But I incorporate it again if stress levels spike.
- Lemon Juice (organic) – ½ to 1 freshly squeezed lemon – The health benefits to lemon juice in the morning are a plenty. Everything from digestive assistance and electrolytes to liver function and skin and more… this is a no brainer and should be included in every health regimen.
- Astragalus Root (organic) – one dropper (roughly 20-25 droplets) – packed with antioxidants, this plant root has shown evidence of heart health, respiratory benefits, immune system support, as well as anti-aging/longevity and has been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine as an herbal adaptogen. It comes in powdered, capsuled, and liquid forms. I take the liquid and add to my elixirs.
THE LATEST (as of 2020): The Magic of Mushroom Power!
Mushrooms are powerful. They’ve been used medicinally for millenia by many different cultures as treatments for countless conditions. And I’m not just talking about the hallucinogenic kind here – those are great, but not part of the scope of this post. I’m talking about exotic mushrooms from various corners of the world that have now gone mainstream, and for good reason. Here are the ones I currently add to my morning elixir, but there are a TON more out there, so do more research on these fascinating fungi and see what works best for your needs.
CHAGA – I take this antioxidant powerhouse for immune boosting and overall general health. I usually take 1/2 tsp with my elixir, but you can bump that up to 1 tsp if you’re under the weather.
LION’S MANE – this epic sounding fungi will kick your synapses into high gear! It’s great for mental acuity and cognitive function, but with no caffeine. Also helps with immune system. I take about 1/2 tsp regularly, but crank it up to 1 or 1.5 tsp when I need an extra special boost.
REISHI – for even more immune system support, cancer fighting, blood pressure regulation and potential longevity and heart health benefits, take 1 tsp of reishi mushrooms a day. More if you have an acute situation.
Those are the main three I take on a regular basis. There are many more to choose from like Shiitake, Maitake, Porcini, Shimeji, and on and on that offer amazing health benefits. Look them up and see what works best for your specific needs…the mushroom world is your oyster (…mushroom)!
OPTIONAL: For Extra Immune Boost
From time to time, you may feel like your body and immune system are run down or you feel a cold coming on or some other type of infection creeping up. When that happens, you can add a few extra supplements to the elixir to help your body naturally fight it off. Only use when needed and always check with your doctor in case there are any conflicts with meds you’re taking.
Oregano Oil – it’s been used for millennia as a natural antibiotic and remedy for all sorts of ailments, including the common cold and anything fungal related. Start with a few drops, but don’t exceed 5 or 6 drops, it’s super potent! Also, don’t over use it either, as it could negatively affect your ever-important gut flora. I use it when I’m feeling under the weather or if I feel a flare up of candida overgrowth coming on. It’s important to use the Origanum Vulgare form, which is the one used for medicinal purposes. Organic is also recommended. I use the brand Plant Therapy.
Grapefruit Seed Extract – is a natural general antimicrobial and antioxidant that can rid your body of all kinds of infectious microbes including bacterial, viral, and fungal. It offers immune support and can even be used as an antiseptic for wounds. The liquid form, which is what I recommend, is quite potent, so start off with 5 or 6 drops and work your way up to 10 drops over the course of a week or so. Similar to Oil of Oregano, I only use this when needed. For instance during times when I’m feeling like my immune system is down and I feel a virus coming on or if a candida flare up is imminent. Overuse can lead to destruction of your gut flora, so only use when needed. This GSE I use from Nutribiotic is solid.
OPTIONAL: For Taste
Stevia – there are many terrible forms of this natural sweetener flooding the market, so it can be daunting to know what to use. Brands like Truvia are laced with nasty chemicals, so watch out! I prefer the liquid form of stevia, and Trader Joe’s actually has a great organic version. 2 drops should be good, but don’t go past 4 or it might start tasting a little weird.
Honey – always a good sweetener! Use in moderation and be sure to use raw, locally sourced honey. Do not purchase national brands or anything that comes in a bear shaped bottle. **technically not vegan if you use honey**
Monk Fruit – coming in both granule and syrup form, it’s the latest to hit the sweetener shelves. I’ve switched to this for all my baking endeavors. It’s not perfect, but it’s low glycemic, zero sugar, and natural source is a great option for those counting calories, on a keto diet protocol, or simply want a different taste option from stevia.
Coconut or Date Sugar – these are more pure and natural, but they DO contain sugar and have a glycemic impact, albeit not nearly as bad as refined white sugar.
Maple or Agave Syrup – these are high glycemic, so use in moderation. I do not recommend these, but the taste of this elixir can be a deterrent to many, so just a small amount can go a long way in helping it go down. Always use organic.
Best of luck with your concoction! You can add, subtract, and do your own customizations. It’s good to keep things fresh by altering the recipe from time to time. This will help with the monotony of drinking the same thing every day. I do, however, keep a few of the staple ingredients all the time – Apple Cider Vinegar, turmeric, ginger, black pepper, lemon. Feel free to comment here to ask questions or chime in on how your own health elixir turned out.