The Culture of Overachieving Breakfast Routines Is Coming Under Fire

Mindfulness and self-care has reached an All Time High in recent months, with seemingly every food, lifestyle, and wellness publication hosting celebrity interviews and touting the benefits of a well-oiled (and often impossibly aspirational) morning routine.

Models and famous actresses espouse the benefits of hot lemon water, hot yoga, and leisurely hours of morning meditation while New Age health experts endorse gluten-free, vegan breakfasts and everything from bone broths to herbal elixirs designed to energize and revitalize a day that hasn’t even yet begun.

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Instagram, meanwhile, makes it seem like every morning is nothing but an adventure in making meticulously designed rainbow plant food breakfasts as if time weren’t of the essence and fresh ingredients magically appear in tiny apartment refrigerators, pre-washed.

Recently, however, there’s been a backlash against prohibitively structured morning routines, in much the same way that there’s been a backlash against body shaming— What, actually, is realistic here? Why does everyone think their morning routine has to adhere to an impossible ideal that only the wealthy (and seemingly unemployed?) have time to attain?

Two recent articles shed light on the phenomena with adroit hilarity: one is a new satirical essay by Holly Theisen-Jones that was recently published in McSweeney’s; the other is a wonderful, shade-throwing op-ed from Lenny Letter that was written by Rachel Seville Tashjian. Both essays, reprinted below, address what Seville Tashjian aptly calls “the tyranny of the celebrity morning routine”.

Grab your hot lemon water and read on for some extended laughs, below: 

Daria Khoroshavina


by Holly Theisen-Jones

(Read the entire article now on McSweeney’s, or check out the excerpt, below.)

“I rise blissfully at 4:30 am, thanks to my Tibetan singing bowl alarm clock. After 20 minutes of alternate nostril breathing, I start my day with a three-minute cold shower. This I follow with twenty minutes of stream-of-consciousness journaling, then another twenty minutes of gratitude journaling.

For breakfast, I always enjoy a half liter of organic, fair-trade, bulletproof coffee (I use a ghee, coconut oil, and yak butter blend instead of MCT oil), which keeps me in ketosis until I break my intermittent fast. By the way, if you haven’t tried it, nothing does the trick like intermittent fasting for maintaining less than 17% body fat. (For my full fasting protocol, see my e-book.)

Issue 49 is our Cover Stories issue, featuring some of today’s best writers re-imagining classic stories. FT. Roxane Gay, Jess Walter, Meg Wolitzer, and more.

Before I leave for work, I make sure to pack my award-winning green smoothie. This recipe is designed to heal the thyroid, calm the spleen, support liver detoxification, reverse and prevent tumor growth, whiten teeth, boost fertility, balance chakras, stabilize circadian rhythms, ease constipation, regulate the menstrual cycle, prevent rabies, and make your skin glow!

“My mindful subway commute is spent listening to affirmation recordings, which I rotate based on the moon phase.”

Using your favorite bone broth as a base, just add a small handful each of kale, spinach, bok choi, frozen cauliflower, and wheatgrass; half an avocado, a whole, unpeeled kiwi, a quarter cup of filmjölk, skyr, kefir OR plain organic yogurt (depending on your personal mucus type – to learn yours, see my e-book); two tablespoons each of chia seeds, flax seeds, pea protein, fresh pomegranate seeds, dried goji berries, resistant potato starch, turmeric powder, and collagen hydrolysate; one tablespoon each of ghee, coconut oil, coconut water, maple syrup, maca, lucuma, chlorella, spirulina, hemp seeds, moringa leaves, royal jelly, powdered durian fruit, activated charcoal, Manuka honey, ashwagandha powder, shilajit powder, local bee pollen, Irish moss, cordyceps fungus, chaga powder, reishi mushroom powder, matcha powder, and cacao nibs; two drops of lavender essential oil, a quarter cup of sprouted almonds, five soaked cashews, two soaked medjool dates, a Ceylon cinnamon stick, a whole nutmeg seed, four white peppercorns, three peeled and crushed garlic cloves, a cup of organic frozen blueberries, and a pinch of Himalayan salt. To really take it up a notch, add four acacia thorns and a half-teaspoon of Tibetan monk tears. Follow with a high-quality probiotic.

This jolt of nutrition and flavor keeps my mind off of food for at least seven hours. The mixture also doubles as an amazing antioxidant face mask.

As with all of my meals, I divide the week’s smoothie ingredients into large mason jars ahead of time, which I can then take out of the refrigerator and blend with the Vitamix at a moment’s notice. To make cleanup more efficient, I have seven Vitamix blender pitchers, which I clean all at once on Sunday evenings. Best $1200 I’ve ever spent. So much time saved.

My mindful subway commute is spent listening to affirmation recordings, which I rotate based on the moon phase.”

Read the rest of Theisen-Jones’ essay here.

Daria Khoroshavina

Jane Austen Slept ‘Til Eight

by Rachel Seville Tashjian

(Read the entire article now on Lenny Letter, or check out the excerpt, below.)

How do I begin my day? I awake at 3:45 a.m. I take a piping-hot shower, followed by a plunge in an extremely cold bath in a tub lined with gold tiles from El Dorado.

“I throw out everything that doesn’t bring me happiness, such as money; I read a single email; I tweet something inspiring that usually becomes a law. And then it’s time for my 8 a.m. meeting.”

I read an entire book, then an entire newspaper — and then I eat them both. I run ten miles. I run eight more. I look in the mirror and scream, “I AM ONE DEMANDING CUSTOMER AND LIFE IS BEING SERVED TO ME ON A PLATTER, MEDIUM RARE!” I throw out everything that doesn’t bring me happiness, such as money; I read a single email; I tweet something inspiring that usually becomes a law. And then it’s time for my 8 a.m. meeting.

How many times have we heard a version of that hellish morning routine from someone crowned by the Internet as one of the “world’s most successful people”? It’s enough to make you want to throw a dream journal into a fire and meditate to Slayer!”


Read the rest of Seville Tashjian’s essay here.


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