The Morning Tonic Courtesy of Edo Jao


“Growing up, I learned many rituals from my mom. She always started each morning with warm water and royal jelly, I’m uncertain if there is significant direct benefit or if it is rather the mentality behind the act of self-care that ends up being the greatest benefit but people have thought that my mom and I were siblings since I was in high school, so this became one of many rituals I followed as well.

I heat my water over the stove until it boils, then I let it sit while I prep everything else. My water comes in 3 to 5 gallon glass carafes filled at an upstate aquifer, because the Manhattan public water system is not so great and most water filters do not remove all of the bad things while most water delivery services use plastic containers that leach toxins. I slice a half a lemon and pick out the seeds before squeezing it in the water. I keep it for the 2nd cup where I’ll soak the entire thing- peel and all, this is why it is important that the lemon is as clean as possible. It was important for me to be able to grow a few fruits and vegetables on my rooftop deck. I am adamant about growing them without any harmful chemicals which includes pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics, or artificial growth hormones. I had an agriculturalist test the fruits and vegetables against local and organic produce from the market and mine had less contaminants, probably because it is way smaller scale.

I scoop a dollop of royal jelly and mix it in, the slightly cooled temperature allows the royal jelly to melt without denaturing active nutrients. Royal Jelly is supercharged compared to honey and it is what the Queen Bee eats, in many Asian cultures it is considered to be a very nutrient dense, anti-aging supplement.

These three components form the base of my morning tonic. Taken first thing in the morning, they help set the pH, improve the digestive system, boost the immune system, and reduce inflammation.

Depending on whether I’m recovering from the evening before or preparing for the day ahead, I may mix in an organic superfood nutraceutical such as Moon Juice’s Brain Dust when I need to be on my a-game or Sun Potion’s Chlorella or Green Adaptogen blend when I’m trying to recuperate from jetlag or a generally grueling schedule. I know it sounds a little out there and I’m the furthest thing from being a crunchy-granola type but I believe that being informed about medicinal foods is essential for one’s wellness. There is no direct correlation between the consumption of these organic powders and measured effectiveness but I also can not argue against the fact that the ingredients are truly nutritionally beneficial as they are full of vitamins and minerals. So although Brain Dust may not necessarily make me sharper, I did observe that regular consumption had obvious effects such as making my hair and nails grow exceptionally well and at an annoyingly accelerated pace.

This tonic is a great way to wake up my system and give a boost of energy. Beyond the health benefits, following this ritual helps to keep me centered and focused through the rest of the day.”

Told to Garçon’s World
Photos taken in studio


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