I’m an MD, And This Is My Anti-Inflammatory Morning Routine
I’m Deepa Bogle Verma, M.D., and I am a double board certified doctor specializing in integrative, anti-aging, and family medicine. My practice, Synergistiq Wellness, reflects mind-body-spirit and teaches how to work from the inside out to preserve health and wellness. An easy way to think about my approach is that integrative medicine is proactive, whereas traditional medicine is reactive. In integrative medicine, we think about not only how patients can remain healthy, but how to increase their wellness, whereas in traditional medicine, doctors tend to only treat people when something is already wrong. At my practice, I teach patients to create a healthier and happier version of their existence.
What exactly is inflammation?
Inflammation refers to the body’s process of fighting against things that can harm it, like infections and toxins, in an attempt to heal itself. It is an important part of the body’s defense mechanism. When anything damages your cells, the body releases substances that trigger an immune response. Inflammation is the root cause of all evil in the body. It leads to development of chronic medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, autoimmune disease and even cancer.
Because we are constantly exposed to toxins as that is the world we live in now, I make sure to incorporate a daily and nightly anti-inflammatory routine to perpetually detox. Food can absolutely be used as preventative medicine.
I know that waking up early might sound awful to other people, but the truth is, I have always been a morning person and genuinely like to start my day early — 6 AM is just my natural wake-up time. The moment I open my eyes, I start chanting sacred mantras. Mantras are a specific form of meditation. I practice mind-body-spirit medicine, and when everything is aligned and in synergy, that naturally maintains the body in a state of homeostasis.
I’m of Eastern Indian origin but grew up in the United States, so I’ve spent my life trying to bridge two cultures, and I’m so grateful for it in retrospect: my parents taught me to perform traditional Hindu customs, do yoga, follow Ayurvedic practices, and eat a plant-based diet long before these were health trends in the Western world.
6:30 AM – 7:30 AM
I’m a mother of three, so early in the morning, I have to think first about getting the boys ready for school and making them a nutritious breakfast. They’ll often have a plant-based protein smoothie along with gluten-free waffles or pancakes, or a bowl of gluten-free oatmeal with fresh fruit and an egg substitute — I love Just Egg, which is made from mung beans.
Then it’s time to think about me: the first thing I consume is warm lemon water with baking soda, turmeric, black cumin, neem, amla, and a touch of organic honey. These are all Ayurvedic herbs that have anti-inflammatory properties and protect cells from injury (and they’re great for anti-aging purposes, too).
I then make what I call my “Red Juice”: I toss red beets, ginger, celery and cilantro with some collagen peptides into a Blendtec blender, which creates “whole juices.” (I avoid a traditional juicer because they separate the juice from the pulp — you don’t want to throw out all that great fiber!). Nutraceuticals are my next step: the supplements I take contain anti-aging ingredients such as curcumin, pterostilbene, and resveratrol. I also make sure to take multi-mineral vitamins C, D, E, and K, along with immune boosters. Repleting micronutrients will keep inflammation down so the body can function optimally on all levels.
I like to do either yoga or a HIIT/weights workout every day, but sometimes I prefer the mornings, and other times I like to do them before bed — I let my body and schedule dictate this one. Either way, the immense benefits of endorphin release never fail me.
After working out, I typically prepare a green smoothie: I use a banana, a big handful of spinach, a quarter of an avocado, some pumpkin seeds, flax powder, chia, hemp seeds, oat milk, and a plant-based pea protein powder. This really fills me up and sets me on the right path for the day. Breakfast to me is starting the day off with fuel for the brain and body after sleeping all night. My goal is to detox from the day before and maintain an alkaline lifestyle that is devoid of inflammation. Being plant-based and avoiding acidity also helps me decrease inflammation overall.
At the office, I practice intermittent fasting. There are some days I’ll want to eat more, and will have some healthy, organic plant-based snacks on hand, such as hummus, a lentil salad, and some raw nuts. But I typically like to fast during the day, as that best suits my schedule and dosha (an Ayurvedic concept that can loosely translate to “energy”). Intermittent fasting has been shown to lower inflammation and disease processes, as it gives the body a break in expending energy in unnecessary ways, this allowing the body to heal and preserve energy for health and wellness.The same goes for a plant-based diet.
Deepa Verma, MD, AIHM, is a double board certified MD specializing in integrative and anti-aging medicine, and the founder of Synergistiq Wellness. You can follow her on Instagram @drdeepavermamd and @synergistiqwellness.