Dr. Zac’s Morning Routine

One of the most common questions we get at the Livewell Clinic is about our own personal health journeys and what we do to maintain our own health.

As the founder of The Livewell Clinic, I always try to be an example to patients, our team, and the community on how to be intentional about the decisions I make every single day. From what I eat to how I reduce stress.

It’s important to note that my routine works for me because it is unique to both my schedule, family, health markers, and personal preferences.

If you’re a patient, you know that we don’t recommend supplements or specific exercises just because they are a hot topic in the health industry; we do it based on your unique blood markers that come from our blood panel. Some of us have low magnesium levels; others of us struggle with diabetes. Therefore, every recommendation we make caters to the unique composition of your body and lifestyle.

All that said, there are some themes to morning routines that many of our patients, our team, and myself have found beneficial in getting the body set up to be successful the entire day! I’ll share what works well for me, in hopes it inspires you to try something different if it serves you.

Get as much sleep as possible! I typically get around 7 hours of sleep a night. This works well for me, but every person is different. Some people need 9 hours. And even though some say they can function only 4-6 hours, research clearly shows that getting adequate sleep helps everything from injury repair, to better hormones, to losing weight.

Make a meal plan. There’s nothing quite like having your meals prepped (or a game plan in place) the night or week before. It’s easy to make poor decisions with our food choices when we have limited time in our schedules. Can you cut up vegetables? Boil some eggs? Prep a few salads? Our family prefers to plan and shop on Sundays, and keep our menu throughout the week pretty similar.

With 4 kids it can get tricky, as those with kids can attest to. We work to get our proteins, fat, and veggies based off of their likes and favorites, but also try to introduce new foods together. So even though they may despise our kale salad, we try to cook it in some yummy butter and salt which they all like. Also we teach them the benefits of it, how all food doesn’t have to have the taste appeal like candy, and how our bodies are made to function with optimal fuel.

It’s the education that is important and even though they may not be eating all the veggies we’d like, over time we have noticed that our children gradually work these foods in as they’ve been exposed over the years.

When it comes to school we send them with things like shaved turkey wrapped around a pickle, pepperoni, goat cheese sticks, carrots, blueberries, gluten-free pretzels, and even some dark chocolate.

Get my body moving. A few times a week, depending on the family’s schedule, I make time to get to the gym and sweat. I feel best when I exercise in the mornings as sometimes the hardest thing of your day, must be done first. Although waking up at 4:30 isn’t my favorite thing in the world, it gives me a great sense of accomplishment for the day, it feeds my desire and body’s need to grow, and it sets the day on the right path.

Currently, I lift weights three days a week with a specific phone app that tracks my time and progress for me so I don’t have too. I also add in 2-3 days of uphill walking to get my heart rate between 140-150 beats per minute (too high can actually be a large stress on the body and break muscle bone down). And finally, one day a week I do a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout. These are usually 10-15 minutes of higher intensity exercises that really push me. It’s the equivalent of spending time doing sprints.

Sulfur Scramble. One of my absolute favorite meals to make is what I call a sulfur scramble. I put a lot of green vegetables into an egg scramble and top it with some of my favorite herbs. You can mix your vegetables with grass-fed butter or ghee; it adds great flavor and fats to your diet. The sulfur vegetables get your body a ton of different nutrients and the eggs are fantastic source of fat, protein, and B-vitamins. I also have been making jicama hashbrowns. Jicama is a root vegetable that I will shred through a food processor, mix with some herbs, salt, and avocado oil, and then fry in a pan like hash browns. The kids love this one too and don’t know that it’s a vegetable.

Breakfast options in our country are typically very high in sugar and low in fat. This results in blood sugar spiking and then crashing mid-morning. Not to mention, it makes most people very hungry mid-morning, which leads to snacking before lunch. If you’re similar to most of our patients, you love a good bar as a snack. If that’s you, look for options with low sugar. A clinic favorite is some of our Livewell Pure Protein bars. These are high in protein from collagen, taste like fudge and are a quick go-to for me in my office.

You can also create your own nut mix, which I will share in my next blog post.

Keto Coffee. We are a fan of Bulletproof and the coffee recipe that includes organic coffee, blended with grass-fed butter or ghee, and MCT oil or coconut oil. You can find a recipe right here. This gets me the coffee I love, the fat my brain craves, and it tastes delicious. I also will add some of our Livewell GI Support which is a gut-specific healing powder which includes zinc, vitamin A, glutamine, and aloe vera. I like the chocolate mixed in to the above as this tastes like a mocha!

Journal or read. Something that certainly requires diligence is creating time and space to ease into the day. By doing this, I find that I am less stressed throughout the day as I face my tasks and objectives. I focus on my goals or read books and articles that interest me. Instead of getting right to email, I find that being intentional with my morning time makes me a better business owner, boss, family man and doctor to my patients.

Hydrate. I’ve got water with me at all times during the day. I prefer water from a reverse osmosis source that eliminates the more toxic compounds like fluoride, chlorine and heavy metals. I personally use this counter-top system in our kitchen with an extra tank so I can switch out when one is empty. The kids have gotten used to it as well and can pour their own when needed. For us, this is much healthier then the normal fridge water dispenser which just makes it taste better versus removing the toxic compounds.

Supplement. Like I mentioned, every body has its own unique needs, which we establish from our blood panel. As an example, B vitamins are used and necessary for so many body functions. Having slight deficiencies in these will make our bodies function at suboptimal levels. My labs always show a great need for B12, folate, and B6 all which are used in making stress hormone. When my body has more stress, these needs are greater and if I don’t supplement, I definitely can feel it, whether it be my exercise, my sleep, or even my mood. I consistently take our Metabolic Daily Assist, Vitamin D in the winter, extra B12 and folate just to name a few. All of these are available at our clinic and will be online soon!

Overall, my biggest advice is to get prepared. You can set out your supplements the week before, get your water bottle filled in the fridge each day or the night before, make sure your journal and book are out on the table ready to be used. That may mean spending an extra 15 minutes before bed. I have to lay my gym clothes on the floor in the kitchen by the fridge, so that when I have my first morning glass of water, I trip over my gym clothes so it triggers me to get dressed and ready to go (I know…I can be extreme).

For our family, it works really well to do everything the night before. With four children, we find mornings to be slightly more hectic, so mitigating the craziness the night before is most ideal!

We’d love to hear from you; what is your morning routine? Have you made any changes that have affected you in a positive way?