A Morning In Her Shoes – Jessica Giljam-Brown

A morning in her shoes…

It’s been said time and time again that attaining a morning ritual or taking solo time before the pressures of the day begin, can truly help success, productivity and happiness. 

Call me nosy, but i’ve always been curious about how other people spend their mornings before they arrive in the public eye polished for their day.  

I wonder, how did their day start…have they eaten breakfast yet? Did they meditate? Did they already run 8km? Find out…

We will be asking a range of successful ladies from all over to find out what habits put the spring in their morning step.

This week, we have the glowing holistic nutritionist Jessica from ‘Wellness By Jessica’

Jess is a busy holistic nutritionist who works from The Tonic Room and The Exercise Room, both in Auckland City. Jess uses evidence-based science to offer education and guidance on how to heal your body through food, nutritional medicine and positive lifestyle changes.  She’s also a well-known contributor and writer for various wellness publications, including her own blog – Wellness By Jessica.

Tell us, what does your morning look like as you roll out of bed…what habits or rituals do you have that keep you on top and in the game?

Each day I tend to do something different; some days i’m working one on one with clients, other days i’m working from home researching or writing, and other days i’m presenting nutrition and wellness information to groups and audiences.
However, since the majority of my day doesn’t have a regular schedule I like to make sure my morning does. I find that having a familiar morning routine helps to set my mind up for the day and gets me into a more focused mindset for whatever my day holds.

I usually wake up naturally between 6am-6.30am, and the first thing I do is put on some music and open the curtains. The exposure to natural light  in the morning really helps to clear the sleep hormones from your brain and help you to feel much more awake.

Then I usually spend 10 minutes on social media or a news app, which I hate to admit is part of my routine, but I really love to see what my friends in different time zones have been up to over night and catch up on what is going on in the world.

What do you Drink?

First thing in the morning I will make a lemon drink. This is the juice of half a lemon with a a few table spoons of warm water, I drink it before eating or drinking anything else.  It helps to kick start my digestion by stimulating stomach acid production, and also gives me a dose of vitamin C.

Throughout the morning I normally drink about a litre of water with lemon juice and 2-3 table spoons of chia seeds in it. The water and chia seeds are great for digestion and efficient elimination.  Chia seeds are also rich in omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fibre and calcium — I try to include them every day. Rehydrating in the morning is something I think it really important, as some mornings it can be 12 hours since I last ate or drank anything, and I wake up quite dehydrated. If I forget to rehydrate in the morning I find that I have a headache come 10am, lots of my clients experience this too and often think that it is a signal that they need a coffee, but for most people it is their body signally that it needs some water.

What do you Eat?

If I go for a walk or a paddle I will always eat afterwards, and what I eat will vary depending on my day ahead, how much time I have and what is in season.
If I am low on time I will have a green smoothie ( ½ a banana, ½ cup of frozen berries, 2-3 tbs of flax meal, ½ cup nuts and seeds, 1 cup water & a handful of greens (kale, spinach, parsley)).
Some mornings I will have home made granola with almond milk and some fruit, otherwise it might be a vegetable omelette made with two eggs and 2-3 servings of vegetables.
If it’s the weekend I sometimes make almond flour pancakes and have these with butter and smashed berries or nut butter and banana.

I never skip breakfast, because if I do I find myself craving carbohydrate rich food all day and can never seem to get on top of my appetite.

If I am really pressed for time I will take a green smoothie with me or a ‘breakfast box’ with a few snack type foods to eat over the morning.
In my breakfast box I might include; hard boiled eggs, handful of walnuts, some raw broccoli, and a piece of raw baking.
I try to include at least 7 servings of vegetables each day, and to ensure that I reach this goal I always include vegetables at breakfast time. If I have granola or another non-vegetable type of breakfast then i’ll always make a green juice to have later in the morning.

How do you Move?

My work day doesn’t usually start until 9am, so most mornings I have the time to get out and move my body in some way.
I really love to take my paddle board out on the water, this is something that I do at least 4 times a week.
I normally go for a 30-45 minute paddle, it is such a great work out! If the sea is a bit too choppy or the wind is up then I will take the dog to the beach, I like to visit Long Bay Beach or do the walk between Milford and Takapuna (in Auckland).
I like to include resistance exercises a few times a week, this will be a combination of squats, lunges, push ups, and some planks — usually only 15-20 minutes worth.

Do you have a practice of stillness or quiet?

I find paddle boarding really therapeutic, for most of the time when I am on my board I am trying to go as fast as possible, but towards the end I will spend some time paddling around slowly, watching what is happening out on the water and watching the sun come up.
Being out on the water when no one else is around is very grounding, I can’t help but feel good and have a clear mind after coming in for a paddle.

Another thing I do each morning when I wake up is write done everything that I need to remember for the day or the morning.

Once I see what I have to do down on paper it doesn’t seem as overwhelming, it becomes a lot more manageable. This helps to take the busyness and ‘rush’ out of my day.

Can you share you fave go-to morning breakfast recipe?

My favourite go-to breakfast recipe is my home made Crunchy Granola. I normally make a double batch so that I have enough for two weeks. I have roughly ½ a cup with yoghurt or almond milk and top it with smashed berries, some passionfruit or some sliced banana.

Homemade Crunchy Granola


  • 1 cup whole grain oats
  • 1 cup of coconut threads
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
  • 3tbs coconut oil
  • 2 tbs maple syrup
  • Pinch of saltOptional Extras
    • 1/2 cup of puffed or normal buckwheat
    • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
    • 1/4 goji berries
    • 1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (apricots, cranberries, raisins)
    • 1/2 pistachio nuts
    • 1/2 cup cashew nuts

    Flavoring Options

    Plain and simple: You can make the recipe as suggested with no additional flavors, it will still be really tasty!

    Zesty Orange: Add 3 tbs of orange juice and the zest of one orange. Add this into the wet ingredients and follow instructions.

    Chocolate: Add 2 tbs of cacao to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add 2 tbs of vanilla paste to the wet mixture.

    Sweet and Spicy: Add 1 tsp of ground ginger powder and 1 tsp of cinnamon to the dry ingredients, mix well.


    1. Preheat oven to 180C.
    2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
    3. Melt the coconut oil and then whisk in the maple syrup and vanilla paste.
    4. Pour the coconut oil mixture over the dry ingredients and mix to combine.
    5. Spread mixture out over a lined baking tray.
    6. Place tray in the oven and leave for 20-30 minutes, be sure to keep an eye on it and turn it often.
    7. Remove tray from oven and leave to cool, store in an air-tight jar when cold.YUM!Find more delicious and nutritious recipes like this from Jessica on her website, www.wellnessbyjessica.com