You know that warm feeling of a fresh start you get when that swell plate of hot breakfast sits in front of you? And right beside it, the glorious fresh-squeezed orange juice, steaming coffee or stimulating herbal tea. What’s the best time to reboot your day with a cheerful breakfast? We offer this list of great breakfast moments to get your mood back on track.

5 A.M. Breakfast ahead of the curve.

7 A.M. The classic early breakfast.

9 A.M. A civilized start.

10 A.M. The mid-morning booster.

12 noon. Breakfast makes for a great lunch.

2 P.M. Breakfast pick-me up.

4 P.M. The early dinner breakfast special.

6 P.M. Five-course breakfast.

8 P.M. The dessert breakfast.

10 P.M. European elegance by late breakfasting.

Midnight. Breakfast with the night owls.

2 A.M. After hours breakfast with rock stars and truckers.

In America, we’ve been socialized to believe that a “hearty breakfast” consists of eggs, flapjacks, cereal, juice, and the like.

Yet according to food historians, the concept of breakfast food didn’t exist in the U.S. until the mid-1800s. Before that, breakfast was a meal of leftovers, like cheese and bread. If you had a few bucks in the bank, you added meat and fish to your morning plate.

Then the families of Post and Kellogg toasted some grains, and later an egg lobbyist convinced Congress to put scrambled, fried and hard boiled at the top of their food pyramid. You could keep this American breakfast routine going. But why be trapped in the usual food patterns? Could there be a more exciting way to “break fast” that’s just even better than what’s on the menu at your local coffee shop?

One suggestion is adding some inner heat to your morning meal. It’s a sure-fire way to wake up, since hot spices release endorphins in your system, similar to a runner’s high.

While we’re deviating from local custom, why not tour more of the world when it comes to your a.m. cuisine?

In Pakistan, it’s Siri Paya in the a.m., a soup made from slowly cooking the head and feet of a cow, a lamb, or a goat, then adding tomatoes, onions, and spices.

Mexicans like huitlacoche with their eggs. Technically speaking, this is diseased corn, sporting a fungus that’s considered a delicacy in Mexico. The spores that infect the corn turn it black and give it a mushroom-like flavor.

And in Pennsylvania Dutch country (near where the first SuperOptimists were born), scrapple (leftover scraps from the pig, like the eyeballs, tail and snout) are ground into a patty and fried, much to the horror of those thinking sausage is the worst thing that can be done with a sow’s innards.

Hopefully these suggestions have whetted your appetite to try something new. But even if you decide to stick with a bowl of Cheerios, whatever you do, don’t skip breakfast. Harvard School of Public Health researchers found that men who did had a 27% higher risk of heart attack or death from heart disease.*

So here’s to having your cake and eating it for breakfast too, if you so choose.

*The researchers think that the no-breakfast brigade makes up for skipping the morning meal by stuffing themselves at night. This is neither good for their slumber, nor their metabolic rate.

Lemons have suffered from an image problem since they first came to fruition. Perhaps this is due to their stinging acidity and tough skins (although both are considered positive traits in news columnists and football coaches). Not only does a “lemon” refer to a substandard product — most typically a used car — but it’s also used to mean “disappointing result” or “something unwanted.”

But as any SuperOptimist can tell you, it pays to step beyond conventional thinking and seek the truth for yourself.  Lemons are healthy fruits, rich in vitamin C and other nutrients, used in a myriad of wonderful products, from lemonade and lemon meringue pie.

Even better, lemons are a natural way to gain control over spiritual forces in the universe. They’ve been used for years by Feng Shui practitioners and Buddhist monks to keep negative energies at bay and enhance both health and mood. By placing a lemon in your pocket and taking it with you as you travel, you can protect yourself from the bad juju you may encounter while you are on the go.* Even easier, you can sport the positive lemon on clothing and save yourself any lemon-juice clean-up.

On the home front, you can halt negative vibes from entering and spreading through your domicile by cutting a lemon into four and spreading salt on each slice. Then place the slices at the entrance to your house and the lemon will absorb the creepiness from anyone who comes to your door.

What’s more, sleeping next to a cut-up lemon on your nightstand will add to your positive energy, as lemons have been used as a powerful aromatherapy oil for ages. Increased concentration, decreased stress levels, and smoother respiratory activity are just some of the benefits the night-time lemon will have on your health.  And as an added benefit, lemons also act as natural air fresheners and deodorizers. So why not put the power of the sour to work for you.

Wear this lemon t-shirt for good luck.

You are perfection when you wear the lemon.

*Note: If you choose to carry a lemon, it may dry up rapidly depending on how much negative energy you encounter. So make sure you replace your lemon with a fresh one, especially if you visit Washington, DC or any of these places:

Thanksgiving comes but once a year, and with it the blessed gravy boat.

But why should this beacon of gastronomic goodness be relegated to brief appearances at holidays? Why not make the gravy boat a staple of every meal?

Consider the expression “it’s all gravy.” Meaning “an abundance of good things in a given circumstance,” it’s a key pillar in the practice of SuperOptimism. We take it to mean embracing each and every circumstance as a fortunate occurrence — no matter how screwed up, off-putting, or painful — since the mere fact of being alive (as opposed to the reverse) is a miracle in itself!

None of us are promised another day, much less another government holiday, long weekend, or winter break.  So why not celebrate the good fortune of being conscious and functioning today with a deep and abiding gratitude. And gravy!

You have our permission to pull that gravy boat back out of deep storage, place it in the center of your dining table, and fill it to the brim with the following recipe. And if you’re thinking we want you to soak up a high fat, high chemical concoction until your heart stops on a dime, take note: the following contains no gluten, grains, corn starch, flour, or filler of any kind. We invite you to pour generously at every meal. Breakfast included.*

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 quart organic low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 6-8 cloves peeled garlic
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons ghee, unsalted butter, or coconut oil

Start by dumping the broth, onions, garlic, and thyme into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil on high.  Then lower the heat to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes or until the onions and garlic are really soft. At this point, taste for seasonings and added salt, pepper, and coconut aminos.

Then pour everything into a blender, add 2 tablespoons of ghee, and blitz everything until it is uniform.  Voila!

*But lay off the biscuits. Those things are like edible hand grenades for your body. Reach for some pineapple instead.

Founding father Thomas Jefferson wrote: “On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally’s cellar.”

Yes indeed, no one was a bigger fan of the pickle than his buddy, our first President of the United States, George Washington, who cultivated and collected both rare and commonplace plants in the gardens at Mount Vernon. Washington amassed a collection of 476 different varieties of cucumbers meant for pickling.

The moral of this story is simple. If you have a very deep and powerful enthusiasm for something — even as common as a pickle — you must follow your joy. Follow your enthusiasm to full flower. It may lead to a lot more than just a tasty pickle; you might even start a whole new country as swell as the U.S.A.

No one knows how much time they have on earth. We act as if we must take care of ourselves so we can live to be 100. But how many of us make it to that age? And do you really want to?

Maybe it’s time to wake up and reshuffle the deck. Starting with a piece of blueberry pie for breakfast. It’s not as deviant as you may think. Pie’s a pastry, after all. It’s meant for breakfast since it goes great with coffee. Plus wth breakfast pie, you have all day to burn off the calories. And what goes better with pie than ice cream? Add a dollop of vanilla with your pie; it’s no different than putting cream in your coffee.

“The pie is an English institution, which, planted on American soil, forthwith ran rampant and burst forth into an untold variety of genera and species. Not merely the old mince pie, but a thousand strictly American seedlings from that main stock, evinced the power of American housewives to adapt old institutions to new uses.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe 1869 novel “Oldtown Folks.”

Pie became so strongly identified with America by the 19th century that writers and journalists from both near and far declared Americans to be suffering a kind of pie madness. New Englanders, who were particularly prone to pie-eating, made good fodder for satire and good targets for scolding by increasingly health-conscious cookbook writers. As more Americans traveled abroad and became acquainted with European food culture, it became fashionable to condemn pie as food for the “rustic.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson found pie to be just such a pleasing medium, as his friend James Thayer recalled, describing a breakfast taken with Emerson and friends in the 1870s. Pie, Thayer reported, “at breakfast was one of Mr. Emerson’s weaknesses.” Emerson offered slices to his fellow diners, who one by one declined, prompting him to protest in humor, “but … what is pie for?”