Time to yawn, stretch, and prepare for the day.
But what if that morning stretch is hard? What if arthritis means your morning is full of achy soreness, stiffness, and pain?
There are many ways to approach arthritis and other kinds of body pain. Yoga, meditation, and other mindfulness practices can help a lot. Moderate exercise has been shown to help manage the stiffness. I can't currently do some of the things I used to, but I hope to do them all again soon. Even on really tough days, I try to do at least a half hour of yoga. There's a lot of creaking, but it helps.
Acupuntcure is helpful for a lot of people. There are herbs and other supplements you can take to help keep your body moving. There are lots of foods that help. Many people find NSAIDs and steroids helpful, but there are potential side effects to consider, especially with long term use.
I'm not your doctor. I'm not here to judge the combination of treatments you choose. What I do have is a delicious recipe to start your day off well. The ingredients in this smoothie work together to support your joint health, and they're delicious!
Cashew milk or other milk or yogurt of choice
Lemon, peeled with a knife or juiced
Cherries, pitted (frozen or fresh)
Blueberries (frozen or fresh)
Ripe banana (frozen or fresh) or a spoonful or raw, local honey to taste
Romaine or spinach
First, make your cashew milk. It's easy - blend cashews with a little water until smooth. That's it! Save some in a jar for other uses if you like. Using only a tiny bit of water makes a thick creme. More water makes a thin milk. You don't have to strain cashew milk; just blend and go.
Blend your fruits with your cashew milk. Add a little water as necessary. Add greens and blend until completely smooth. If you're not feeling the greens this morning, it's actually okay to skip them. There are no smoothie police to make sure every single one is green. Yes, the leafy veggies are oh-so-good for you, but even without greens, this smoothie will be super nourishing.
Optional but recommended: stir in a spoonful of fish oil, or take some on the side. Alternatively, you may choose to take a vitamin D supplement, preferably D3 suspended in olive oil.
So why these ingredients? Well, cashews are super creamy and delicious, and lend body and good fat to help you absorb all the other good stuff in the smoothie. Cashews make it taste a little more like cherry cheesecake, but you can use coconut milk or a bit of avocado instead if you prefer. Cherries and blueberries are both rich in phytochemicals that decrease inflammation. Blueberries are incredibly rich in antioxidants. Cherries have been shown to help with many kinds of arthritis and pain, especially gouty arthritis. Lemon boosts the smoothie's vitamin C content even higher. Vitamin C supports the health of connective tissue in and around joints, as well as the fascia surrounding muscles. It also helps you absorb the iron and other minerals in the greens.
Spinach and romaine are both excellent greens for overall health, especially for decreasing inflammation. Bananas are delicious and sweeten up your smoothie, countering the tartness of the berries and the bitterness of the greens. They're also rich in vitamins and minerals. Raw local honey is great for immune support, allergies, and inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D in fish oil have been shown to support joint health and overall health. And again, that little dose of good fat will help you absorb all the goodness that's locked away in the fruits and veggies.
So sip that smoothie, relax, and enjoy. Then go for a walk in the sunshine, take a yoga class, and stretch it out! It may be hard to get started, but your body will thank you afterward.