A few years ago, I was out to dinner at a fancy high-end restaurant and ordered a French Press coffee. I had never drank from a French Press before and somehow managed to screw it up. I ended up consuming some of the grounds and drank the entire thing. 30 minutes later my heart rate was 206, I couldn't really see, and I was uncontrollably shaking like a bowl of Jell-O. I thought I was having a heart attack. Naturally, I went to the ER - only to learn that I literally OD'd on caffeine. It took almost 2.5 hours for my heart rate to go back down below 150. (This is a funny story - please laugh at my stupidity!) Since the incident, I have not been able to tolerate coffee. It makes me anxious, sweaty, and even more scatter-brained than I already tend to be. Deciding "no more coffee" was especially difficult: at the time, I lived less than a mile from the Green Mountain Coffee HQ and the entire town smelled like deliciously brewed coffee 24/7 (not the worst problem to have, if you aren't trying to give up coffee).
This all happened right around the time where I started making healthier lifestyle and dietary choices, so I worked on finding a different + more nutritious way to start my mornings. I never really drank coffee for the a.m. caffeine boost; I mostly enjoyed the warmth and flavor. This drink gives me the warmth plus a delicious flavor that I enjoy. Even if you're a daily coffee drinker, you can incorporate this warm lemon drink into your day, perhaps squeezing it in (pun intended) before your cup of Joe.
All you need:
- A ceramic mug or travel mug
- Juice from half a lemon (store-bought lemon juice is not a healthy alternative, buy real lemons!) I use one ofthese.
- 8-10 oz of hot(ish) water, depending on how "strong" of a lemon flavor you want your drink to have
Here are some health benefits of enjoying warm lemon water first thing in the morning:
- Jumpstart your digestion. Lemons invigorate the liver, which then produces acids necessary for optimal digestion. The high vitamin + mineral count in lemons begins to break down build-up and toxins that accumulate in the digestive tract. Lemons also have the power to relieve constipation, bloating, and heartburn.
- Balance your pH. While lemons are acidic on their own, when broken down in the body, they are actually processed as alkaline. The citric acid doesn't actually break down as acid, which is why it's good for things like heartburn and indigestion. Disease, illness, pain and inflammation occur when the body's pH is not balanced, or highly acidic. By drinking lemon water in the morning, you're bringing down that high acidity and getting yourself closer to healthy, inflammation-free pH balance.
- Boost your Immune System. It's full-on flu season. Lemons are loaded with Vitamin C (a well-known vitamin that helps prevent getting sick) and Potassium, which stimulates brain and nerve function. Potassium also regulates blood pressure and enables the absorption of Iron, which is necessary for strong immune function. Lemons also have antimicrobial properties and can reduce overall mucous production.
- Move your Lymph! Lemons are extremely hydrating. When the body is hydrated, the lymphatic system is able to do it's job of keeping us healthy, alert, regular, and focused. Lemon is also a natural diuretic, so you'll be able to flush your system of any leftover toxins from the night before and start fresh. Hydrate yourself with warm water and lemon!
- Get Happy! Lemon essential oils have been used for years to uplift and invigorate the senses. It is said that the scent of lemon alone can be enough to begin to decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. The breakdown of lemon in the digestive tract is enough to jumpstart the body and refresh your spirits - a great reason to indulge!