What I Ate Wednesday #73 + Current Morning Routine

It’s What I Ate Wednesday! This time, along with showing you all the vegan things I ate in a day, I’m also sharing the morning routine that has helped me manage and improve my chronic pain issues.

Video: What I Ate In A Day [VEGAN] #73 + Current Morning Routine


My Morning Routine

The first thing I do in the morning is make tea. My current go-to: Tazo berryblossom white tea.

It’s a white tea blend with Darjeeling black tea adding flavour to the mild but higher antioxidant white tea, plus notes of white cranberry and huckleberry. I enjoy it especially for mornings; gentle but uplifting.

Gone is my over-stuffed cupboard of teas. Since I stopped working full-time due to my health issues, I’ve become more practical; I didn’t buy new tea for months. Instead, I used up what I had and only bought new tea when I was almost out. What a concept! The tea I now have is fresher and I don’t have to worry about tea bags and boxes falling on my head when I open the cupboard. But I’m almost out of tea again so please leave me your favourite tea suggestions 🙂

More posts about tea:

While my tea is brewing, I slip on shoes and jacket and I’m out the door to breath the cool morning air and get my body warmed up. Sometimes I don’t even get out of my pajamas because all I do is walk. And I start slowly. Very Slowly.

I’ve tried to take up a morning walking habit many times before. When I was a kid, I lived near a park where Chinese seniors gathered for exercise at dawn. They would walk through the gardens; slowly, gently. And some would form groups and practice tai chi. I wanted to be like them when I grew to their age. But I lacked their discipline.

After giving myself repetitive strain injuries from working too much, and worsening it by working through the pain, my desire to implement that habit became a necessity. Still, I was my own worst enemy.

“I don’t feel like it today.”
“Ugh, it’s too late; it’s too hot outside.”
“It’s too early; I’ll wait until it’s warmer.”
“I’m sore today.”
“My back hurts.”
“My foot hurts.”
“Blah blah blah.”
“Waah waah waaaaah.”

I knew exercise was the only thing that really made a difference to my chronic pain issues. And that consistency was the only way I was going to get better and gain back the agility, endurance, strength and self-confidence that I had once enjoyed and took for granted. Everyday I planned to be active and nearly every day I failed myself. I hated myself for it. The problem was in my mind and I knew it. I knew I should have talked to someone about it too. I just didn’t. Stuff was dark for a while.

Until one winter morning, I was smacked in the head with this message: Just do it anyway.

I rolled out of bed and didn’t feel like going outside. But there was no ice on the ground. That was the last excuse I allowed myself. I didn’t feel like changing my clothes or taking a shower.

“Just do it anyway.”

I pulled on tear-aways over pyjama pants, slipped on hiking boots, put on my ski jacket and grabbed the keys. I paused at the door; I really didn’t want to go.

“Just do it. Just five minutes.”

I walked slowly. Just the summer before, I had started walking daily and it progressed to running after a month. I hurt my back a couple weeks after I’d started running and had to take it easy. I didn’t get back into it and fell into that depressive self-defeating spiral. A taste of success turned bitter. So this time, I forced myself to take it slow.

My left knee started hurting almost right away. So I walked even slower. But I didn’t stop. My feet were stiff, as they always are first thing in the morning. I focused kind thoughts towards those complaining feet and acknowledged the aches and pains. I whispered things like, “Good job, feet. You can do it, knee.” I must have looked pretty strange. Good thing it was 5 AM and no one was around for me to feel self-conscious about. Because it worked. Before I knew it, ten minutes had past and I didn’t want to stop. My knee stopped hurting and I enjoyed being outside; the fresh air, urban wildlife skittering about, the roads quiet and sidewalks empty. And as the sun rose, the sky turned golden and pink.

These smell like cotton candy!

Since then, things have progressed. I actually roll out of bed wanting to go for that walk. My mood is completely different; I seem a positive person in my videos but while I was away,…well, stuff got dark. I still have days when I don’t want to go but I “just do it anyway” and usually I’ll start to love it again after a few minutes. Sometimes I don’t love it and I kindly let myself go home without feeling like I’ve failed in some way. Instead, I feel darn happy with myself for sticking to the daily habit and that happiness has trickled into other parts of my life. Everything is better now. Not perfect, but better. Even if it’s just my perspective.

After that morning walk, I come home feeling pretty amazing in body and mind. It’s a genuine delight to find my tea cooled to the perfect temperature. So I sip that while I think about what I want to do that day. Sometimes I write a to-do list, sometimes not.

After tea and after my bf goes off to work, I’ll limber up again and do some stretches and strength exercises. Mostly, it’s just five to ten minutes of whatever I feel like doing. Occasionally, I’ll put on a yoga video like this one for feet, avoiding anything that puts pressure on my injuries.

I don’t eat breakfast until I’m hungry. Since I am minimizing the demands I make on my hands, wrists and arms, breakfast smoothies have been my go-to. In the past, I didn’t think a smoothie could be good enough to really replace “proper breakfast.” I was wrong. I use an all-in-one nutrition powder and hemp protein on top of frozen banana and cherries and blend it with water. The result is a delicious chocolate shake that actually keeps me full for hours. I think the extra protein powder makes the difference.

Lunch: Lentil Soup

When I’m hungry again, it’s usually past noon. Once a week, I make a batch of soup. This week’s soup has:
– onions
– carrots
– barley
– quinoa
– red lentils
– vegetable broth
– mixed sea vegetables
– sage, rosemary, thyme
– white and black pepper, salt

I try to make it high in protein, full of flavour, and low in salt. I’ve been making an effort to include more protein in my meals to help support healing. I feel like it’s making a difference.


For dinner, I tried Gardein’s Beefless Ground. I added it to a stirfry of onions, orange peppers and kale, flavoured with garlic, ginger, and chili. I was hoping that it would taste like Gardein’s Beefless Burgers which have been discontinued in Canada.

Sadly, the Beefless Ground tastes nothing like Beefless Burgers. It tastes more like plain TVP rehydrated with water. I cringe as I write: Yves original veggie ground round is just as good if not better. It’s not horrible but I expect more from the makers of those amazing juicy and delicious Beefless Burgers, freakishly realistic Fishless Filets, and yummy Chick’n Scallopini.

And that was my food day. How was yours?

If this is #73, where are all the other What I Ate Wednesdays?
They are all on YouTube! Sometimes I post them here on the blog too.

Showing 11 comments
  • Teresa

    Thank you for the post! I am so happy to see you uploading things again. I remember a few years ago when I first started trying to get in shape, exercise was such a chore for me. Through trial and error I came to realize that the best way for me to exercise is to take fun group classes. I currently do zumba and kickboxing, at least one of each for an hour a week. Sometimes I’ll convince a friend or my mom to come alone, but often it’s just me. It provides a great outlet for my stress, a way to casually socialize (my job is very isolating), and I have so much fun dancing and punching/kicking things, that it feels like “me” time rather than something I’m forcing myself to do. Maintaining my exercise routine has helped me through a lot of dark times, and also helped me to stay strong for the people I love during their dark times.

    As far as tea recommendations, one of my favorite teas ever is Stash’s Coconut Mango Oolong Tea. I’m also always a fan of peach green tea, from any brand. Recently I helped someone from Ireland with their computer, and they gave me a bag of Irish tea. It’s just unmarked satchels, so I don’t know what brand or any details, I just know she smuggled it in her suitcase after a trip home and I love having some when I first get to work to wake me up.

    • Mary

      Thanks for sharing, Teresa! <3 I keep hearing things about Irish tea.

  • Rachel

    Thank you for sharing what you’ve been going through these last few months away. I’m sorry it’s been rough but it seems like you are doing well and in a better place now, which is awesome! I know what you mean by telling yourself to “just do it”. A year ago that’s where I was. I started doing yoga and had to tell myself the exact same thing, and like you, it worked! =) It’s amazing what our mind can make us do. =) So happy to have you back!!

    • Mary

      Awesome! <3 I agree: the power of the mind is amazing!

  • Lilia

    Beautifully written, as usual. Good luck with your new journey. You inspired me to walk my dog first thing in the morning, which is something I always “wanted” to do, but thought there were too many obstacles.
    And I’m going to the gym 3 times per week but I never go with a just do it-can do attitude. Will try to implement that too.
    As for tea, I’m really not a tea person, but I LOVE a lemongrass-ginger tea blend I found at PO, which I have with a splash of soy milk and nothing else.
    It’s quite expensive, but so worth it.
    I wish I remembered the brand…
    I’ve thought of buying lemongrass and trying to make it myself, but cannot seem to find it fresh. Maybe you have suggestions about that?
    Hope that helped anyway.
    Take care!

    • Mary

      Yay! That’s wonderful to hear. And I’m sure your doggy thinks so too 😀

      I have seen fresh lemongrass at Superstore. It’s in the Asian vegetables area where they have peeled garlic and other stuff plastic wrapped on styro-trays.

      • Lilia

        Awesome, thanks for letting me know!

  • Lilia

    I found out the tea brand: Pukka Herbs! Let me know if you try it.

  • Rosalyn

    I really appreciate reading about your journey – your transparency is encouraging. I have been struggling with getting back into a routine and find myself in a dark place in my mind, berating myself for continuing behaviors that I know don’t serve me.

    Like you, I am making a choice to get up and walk anyway. I am going to start using the time to be grateful as well.

    Little steps … Even small ones will eventually get us where we want to go… ❤️

    • Mary

      aw Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Rosalyn. I hope you are gentle with yourself and things get better. They will get better! You deserve all the gentle, loving encouragement <3 And you're so right. Small steps will get you where you want to go.
      Stay well and safe,

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