The Other 23

The Perfect Morning Wakeup Shake

By Mike Roussell, PhD

Dark chocolate

Morning energy and focus don’t only come from caffeine. If you can increase blood flow and oxygen to your brain, you’ll amp your awareness.

How can you do this? My go-to is a family of antioxidants called flavonoids, which are found in dark chocolate. Research specifically shows that consuming them can increase blood flow to your brain; this blood brings oxygen, igniting your focus and productivity. You can get this from unsweetened dark baking chocolate (or, in the recipe below, unsweetened baking cocoa). One tablespoon of unsweetened dark baking chocolate can contain as many antioxidants as an entire bar of dark chocolate.

Chocolate plays a key role in this morning-pick-me-up smoothie, which delivers an incredible mocha flavor and a hefty dose of muscle-repairing protein – without the empty calories your local barista would cram in. The best part: It doubles as both breakfast and morning coffee.

Nutritional facts

Calories 250, Protein 25g, Carbs 37.5g, Fat 2.5g


  • 1 cup cold brew coffee water

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened oat milk

  • 1 tbsp unsweetened baking cocoa

  • 1 scoop whey protein powder

  • 1 banana

  • 3-4 ice cubes

How to Make

1. Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend on high for 45 seconds until smooth and creamy.

2. Drink immediately.

3. Dominate your day


AUTHOR BIO: Mike Roussell, PhD

Mike Roussell, PhD, is an author, speaker, and nutrition strategist who has spent more than 20 years transforming complex nutritional concepts into practical habits that change lives.

His clients have included NBA all-stars, tech execs, and TV personalities.

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