Her Words: What I Drink First Thing in the Morning and Why It Matters

Erin Berman

Superbloom Contributor
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While some people never think twice about starting their day with a big cup of coffee, if you’ve wanted to explore different ways to nourish your body, you might ask yourself, ‘What should I drink first thing in the morning?’

When it came to managing my gut health after being diagnosed with multiple food intolerances, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), parasites, and an immunodeficiency disorder that led to numbness and tingling, brain fog, bloating, constipation, abdominal pain, and rashes, one of the questions that kept coming up for me was what should I drink first thing in the morning.

Through my journey to find a balanced body, I’ve discovered that having the right morning drink was one way to unlock my gut healing and put me on the path to recovery. Here’s a list of some of the drinks I tried and what I noticed from each one:

Matcha Tea Moment

As a caffeine addict, giving up coffee when I got sick four years ago wasn’t easy. I switched to the next buzzy-worthy drink: matcha, which is known to improve focus and is full of antioxidants. I mixed it with superfoods, like cinnamon, reishi, and ashwagandha, recommended by my doctor. However, drinking green tea on an empty stomach can also cause stomach pain and the matcha latte used nut milks full of hard-to-digest fillers and sweeteners. I tried making my own nut and oat milks and then realized that even without coffee, these milks were not what I should drink first thing in the morning, and green tea on it’s own wasn’t easy on an empty stomach.

Verdict: I enjoyed the bright, earthy flavor and ritual of making matcha tea. However, I realized that I had to give up caffeine and nut milk entirely to heal my gut. Matcha didn’t match me.

Melt Me Some Ghee

Ayurvedic doctors often recommend melted ghee (clarified butter) on an empty stomach in the morning. You can also do it as part of an Ayuvedic cleanse, if the ghee is your only source of fat during the day. According to Ayurveda, drinking a teaspoon (or more) of ghee in the morning on an empty stomach improves the process of cell rejuvenation, which supports the healing process of the body. Over time, I found my body just didn’t like drinking it upon waking, nor did I notice any improvement in my digestion, the issue I was really trying to resolve.

Verdict: Useful for me when incorporated into a short term (up to two weeks) Ayurvedic cleanse as guided by an Ayurvedic practitioner, but no noticable changes for me over the long term.

Colostrum Calling

I had never heard of colostrum, until my Ayurvedic doctor and holistic practitioner recommended it. With only trace amounts of dairy, they didn’t think it would flare up my lactose intolerance. Bovine colostrum is a milky fluid produced by mammalian mothers in the first few days after birth and supposedly supports a healthy GI tract. It has been shown to help heal leaky gut, which has been linked to autoimmune disease. While I hoped colostrum would restore my gut, drinking it made my stomach balloon. After a week of feeling more sick than I had in awhile, I put the (expensive) bag of colostrum away in the pantry where it still remains. Anyone else have guilt about throwing away those expensive products that didn’t work or align with your body? Ugh!

Verdict: So many promising health benefits and practitioner reviews, but this was a clear NO for my body and still left me wondering, ‘What should I drink first thing in the morning?’

The Lemon Water Way

Drinking lemon water when you wake up may help get your digestive system moving. If you Google “what should I drink first thing in the morning,” this is one of the most celebrated options. Lemon water helps stimulate stomach acid and contains phytonutrients to help your body fight disease, while offering a morning dose of Vitamin C and potassium. I drank 32 ounces of warm water with the juice of one or two lemons (some people start with half a lemon squeezed into 16 ounces of water). Purists of this method recommend room temperature water to preserve the lemon enzymes, but I preferred having a warm beverage. I noticed a slight improvement in my digestion and my skin, but not enough that I felt healed.

Verdict: The best part was feeling ultra-hydrated and my skin seemed noticeably clearer, but none of my other GI-symptoms resolved.

Celery Juice Savior

When I heard about the celery juice craze, or really, saw it taking over my IG feed, I was skeptical. After all, I had tried so many options (even more than I’m listing here) that I was hesitant to try yet another “what should I drink first thing in the morning” experiment. With this method, you have strictly celery juice on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. Don’t be tempted to add lemon, ginger, or apple; that can dilute the medicinal properties in celery that can help have positive health effects in the body.

Celery contains two beneficial antioxidants. And we know that consuming antioxidant-rich foods plays a role in reducing risk of chronic diseases, like cancer. According to some animal studies, celery leaf extract can also support cardiovascular health and improve insulin levels. In my case, celery juice increased my hydration, regularity, and helped soothe my easy-to-flare digestion. It also helped with my malabsorption, which meant that I was able to digest vitamins and minerals I had been deficient in, including B12, iron and zinc.

Verdict: After one year of pushing celery through my juicer every morning, my digestion is the best its ever been, and my routine bloodwork every six to eight weeks continues to get “magically better” (my hematologist’s words, not mine). Instead of feeling sick after every meal, I only get triggered by certain foods and meals now and my elimination is also better. I do have to stock our fridge with a dozen celery stalks each week and factor in the 15 minutes into my morning routine to make my juice, but it’s been a miracle in my health journey.

Is my testing complete for what should I drink first thing in the morning? I think so! I’m happiest with celery juice, and (spaced out way from the celery juice) a cup of warm lemon water. I’ve found that by keeping my mornings mostly liquid based and fat-free, my stomach has time to heal from heavy digestion of fats and solids and my gut is slowly healing.

Remember, at Superbloom we’re all about letting your intuition guide you. You can explore a variety of morning drink options like these, keep a food diary to track what you eat and drink in the morning and how it makes you feel, and always talk to your doctor. Ultimately, my question of what should I drink first thing in the morning led me to some of the greatest healing in my journey to health. I hope it can for you as well.

To learn more about Erin’s work and journey, follow @superbloom.health and @erin_berman. 

Erin Berman

Superbloom Contributor
Erin is a Forbes-recognized storyteller, writer, womxn’s wellness advocate and founder of Superbloom where she builds products to empower individuals to find support and solutions for better health. She is a certified yoga instructor and passionate about mindfulness, nutrition and community.
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