The gut produces 90 to 95% of the body’s serotonin depending on which study you look at.

What does serotonin do?

A lot!

Here’s just one thing mentioned at the Cleveland Clinic’s website:

Mood: Serotonin in your brain regulates your mood. It’s often called your body’s natural “feel good” chemical. When serotonin is at normal levels, you feel more focused, emotionally stable, happier and calmer. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression. Many medications used to treat anxiety, depression and other mood disorders often target ways to increase the level of serotonin in your brain.

If serotonin production and other neurotransmitters are out of balance, how we think, feel, and act will be out of balance.

Since the gut is so critical, does it not make sense to optimize our health?

Because if the gut is unhealthy, then that is going to muddle our inner work with all sorts of emotions and physical imbalances. When the emotions and body are out of balance, your ego mind will react. Your thoughts get muddled too.

You are now in no state to do inner work in a healthy way.

What’s in Your Breakfast?

Does your breakfast look like the picture above? (Not the top picture; that’s a picture of homemade chili. That’s what’s for lunch. Let’s take it one meal at a time for now. haha).

Mine used to.

And I would have said, “But oh, hey, this is healthy.”

Have you looked at all the additives and sugar that gets dumped into those blood glucose bombs up above?


How about the sugar in most commercial yogurt–another supposedly “healthy” choice?

Most commercial yogurt is drowning in sugar.

Yogurt often has more sugar per content than ice cream!

So many foods have marketed themselves successfully as healthy. They aren’t. They aren’t healthy or natural or what our bodies really need to THRIVE.

I spent so many years with brain fog and physical energy crashes and cravings because I ate crap like that, milk and cereal, toast and eggs, pancakes covered in syrup, English muffins covered in cheese, and large breakfasts with way too much protein (eggs, bacon, etc.).

And by American standards, this isn’t bad.

By our bodies’ standards, it is terrible.

But don’t take my word for it.

Take this challenge.

Join the 7-day Breakfast Challenge!

On this path, we learn to stay curious, and after having a lot of positive feedback from my students, I’m now inviting all of you to try this challenge to eat what I eat for breakfast for just 7 days.

Here are the specifics:

Boiled buckwheat groats or oats (oat groats, steel cut oats, thick oats, and regular oats are good, just not quick oats or the crap in those packets)

1 green vegetable (bok choy, kale, or broccoli)

1 orange root vegetable (I’ll cook yam or sweet potato ahead of time or cook carrot with the mix)

Ginger is a great spice.

Broccoli works well with nutmeg and paprika

Add nuts, coconut flakes, and seeds if you want.

I boil the veggies with the buckwheat or oats in a pot. I typically add the seeds, nuts, etc. (sometimes peanut butter or a nut butter) after words.

Mix together and enjoy. I typically go with as much local and organic stuff as well, but that’s not necessarily important to this experiment. Or it is. Who knows right now….

Please consult your medical professionals if you have any health concerns. Discontinue if you have significant health problems. If you have known allergies to something, use something else instead.

As part of doing it, write down in your journal after eating this breakfast:

  1. How does your mind feel and think?
  2. How do your emotions feel?
  3. How does your body feel?
  4. How do the above things progress until your next meal?
  5. How do you feel overall?

On the spiritual path, we make changes like this to make sure that when we are working on an emotional or physical issue that it IS an attachment and not a body imbalance signal.

Spread the Word to Friends

I encourage everyone to do the 7-day Jim Tolles Breakfast Challenge with friends and family members.

Here are some things you can do to help support others in their health:

  • Directly email, text, etc. this link to 5 people
  • Share this post on social media with #jimtollesbreakfastchallenge #awakeningtofood #spiritualawakeningprocess
  • Leave a comment on this blog post when you start.
  • Come back after 7 days to leave a comment about how your experience went

I look forward to hearing how this goes for you!

In love and kindness,

Jim Tolles

Building a Body Strong Enough for Awakening


I'm a spiritual teacher who helps people find freedom from suffering.


  1. Susie Ball Reply

    Hi Jim,

    Myself and my two young children have been doing the challenge. Thank you for sharing it. It’s been going well and is such a good way to start the day. We do it Buddha bowl style, with the children selecting what they want for their bowl. My daughter has been happily wolfing down a big bowl of greens for starters. I cook it the night before to make it quick and easy before the school run. This has been really helpful for us and we can introduce enough variety day to day. We’re feeling drawn to adding in some beetroot into the mix too which hopefully fits the bill. It’s great to have the peace of mind that breakfast was really wholesome and that we’ve all had veggies before we’ve left the house. For myself, the more I eat this breakfast the more I feel the urge to drop caffeinated tea that I usually have with breakfast!

  2. Hi Jim,

    Thank you for sharing the breakfast you have. I tried the challenge and really enjoyed making it, it had psychological benefits for me feeling like I am really taking care of myself and nourishing myself through food. And it was delicious! I was a bit surprised by this, since it was quite an odd mix to put together for breakfast, but my body responded very well to it and found it tasty. I also felt affirmed throughout the week by noticing the difference in how I felt, that my body already felt really good 🙂 An added bonus was that it was also a very beautiful bowl to start the day with, seeing all those different colours together. It was a great way to add variety and fun to try something new!

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