Wake up and small the kale shake… and maybe take some Nootropics.

As I walk through my local supermarket, I notice my true love – sugary jam donuts. The attraction comes not from seeing, but smelling. It’s the same with that ‘freshly baked bread’ smell; it’s simply too good to resist. 

After being angelic and saying ‘no’ to said doughnuts, I decided to read a little into the impact of smells in retailing and was drawn to the aptly titled Retailing By Patrick Dunne, Robert Lusch and James Carver. 

It notes “many retailers are beginning to engineer smells in their stores”. Retailers hope that using smells as an in-store marketing tool will put customers “in the mood to buy”. Oddly enough, The Walt Disney Company even uses the smell of freshly baked cookies on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom to relax customers and to provide a “feeling of warmth”.

We’re enticed by these sugary treats Knowing they Will give us that 'sugar kick' to prepare us for the dreaded Monday morning meeting.

For me, the smell of coffee provides this 'feeling of warmth', but it's not the coffee that's the problem, it’s the additional buy when I go in store - something sweet, my achilles heel and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

It’s morning, you’re walking past all the thousands of Costas, Starbucks, Prets and Neros (the list goes on) that seemingly lure us in and you ask yourself: “Pain au Raisin, Butter Croissant or Lemon and Poppyseed Muffin?” and “Shall I wash this down with a Cappuccino or Flat White”?

We’re enticed by these sugary treats knowing they will give us that 'sugar kick' to prepare us for the dreaded Monday morning meeting. Buzzing on sugar, they are that spark that will make us successful (or at least keep the yawns at bay). But there must be something better...

We know that a sugary snack for breakfast will play havoc with our blood sugar levels, but we still continue to do it. Sugary pastries or cereals for breakfast will be digested quickly and leave us very hungry again before that 9am meeting.

I did this for years, but heading into my 30’s, I needed a change. I was pretty sick of feeling like an addict waiting for my hit of sugar and coffee in a morning. 

A Solution:

I started off by throwing a lot of effort into my breakfasts. I'd get up early and eat yoghurt, eggs or oatmeal - which I knew formed a breakfast that’s proven to stabilise blood sugar. The combination also provides healthy sources of protein, fat and low-glycaemic carbohydrates that are rich in fibre. 

BUT that extra 35-45 mins in bed proved too much of a temptation and so the effort put into breakfasts quickly stopped. 

So… I bought a blender.


For over 3 years now I’ve had a quick fix that makes me feel awesome. I make a protein, veggie packed smoothie - which takes me about 5 mins to make and 5 mins to drink.

First, a decent nutritionally-complete powdered food or protein powder is essential (plenty on the market with a good balance of protein, carbs, fats, vitamins). It’s important; I started out with pure veggie smoothies and I’d end up starving by 10:30am.

After throwing in the suggested on pack scoops of powdered food, I get chopping veggies and fruit and throw it all in a food processor.

My most common recipe is the below, but favoured additions include avocado, carrot, strawberries, broccoli, spinach & mango.

• A handful of blueberries
• 1 apple
• 4 stalks kale
• 2 celery stems
• half cucumber
• 1 pear
• ½ inch ginger
• 1 tsp Tumeric
• 1 tsp Cinnamon
• A cup of water

As your tastes change from that of a sugar-craving Brit to someone who eats for performance, use less fruit and add more greens. Kale has detoxification and weight loss benefits, it can strengthen your immune system and will give you healthier hair, skin & nails! Moreover, it will fill you up.

For the spices, cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels, its a potent antioxidant (with anti-inflammatory compounds) and may even help relieve pain & boost brain function. Turmeric on the other hand has anti-inflammatory properties, supporting the digestive system and liver. 

On those important meeting days, I also pop a few nootropics to get the brain fired up. Again, lots on the market now - usually from the US, but one that works well for me is Alpha Brain. A little pricey but gets the job done in that it helps with conversation flow and memory. 

So... once you arrive to that meeting powered up with protein, vegetables (and nootropics if you’re having a wild day), you’ll find yourself looking over to those across from you, with their sugary snack and coffee in hand surprised by your early morning energy. 

I've seriously never felt better in the mornings and I've found that eating well from the get go has a knock on effect. It makes me think twice about buying crap for lunch. 

Back away from the sugar snack and give this a try. You’ll thank me. 

Today the only thing I regret about my new found breakfast is not finding it sooner. If so, perhaps I would have concentrated more at school. Perhaps my workbooks would have been covered in more A*s than doodles and D grades.