Those of you who know me (and are following me on Snapchat), know that for the past couple of days, I've been on a detox. Why, you ask? You see, I'm beginning to find myself (and my body) to be in this odd transitional phase. Perhaps it is the changing of the seasons here in London but, maybe, it could also be because I'm about to experience another major change in my life (more on that another time, perhaps?). What this means, basically, is that I've been feeling rather floaty and ungrounded. And that's not a great feeling.
Now, the best way to realign yourself with the universe is by going on a detox. Ok, I have to admit, that sounds too much of a "mambo-jambo/hocus-pocus" even for me but, seriously speaking, I wanted to get my body and my mind ready for the coming month of Ramadan (the Muslim holy month kicks off on June 6th).
I'll expand on what exactly happened during the detox another time but what I wanted to highlight is this new daily routine that I've since incorporated into my mornings.
Part of being on a detox requires me to, of course, remove toxins and other unwanted elements from my body. Basically, I've had to give up -among other things- coffee (gasp! the horror!) and cigarettes (of course. What's the point of going on a detox if you're going to continue introducing harmful toxins?).
Like many of you, I am a caffeine addict. It is something that I need at the start of my day to make sure that my "system" is properly woken up and energised. So, to give that up is a major change and requires alot of effort. Especially since I'm highly irritable before the caffeine kicks in. Sidenote: I have a coffee mug that literally indicates when people can start talking to me in the morning (yes, I'm really not a morning person).
To ensure that I get that morning energy boost, I was asked to replace my coffee with lemon water. Ok, before I continue, I must say that I usually drink a glass of hot water upon waking up... followed by coffee. So now, there are more things for me to add to that cup of hot water.
Trust me when I say that this concoction - which Beyoncé AND Naomi Campbell both swear by, by the way - works like magic. Think of it like a Master Cleanse but less crazy.
So basically, the tangy flavour of the lemon water (coupled with the dash of cayenne) is the ideal alternative to coffee.
What's the benefits, really?
According to nutritionists and naturopaths, warm lemon water in the morning helps kickstart the digestion process for the day. The two biggest benefits, however, are lemons’ strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers as well as their use as a weight loss aid. Lemons also contain many substances that promote immunity and fight against various infections.
The most important for me, since I can't have coffee during the detox was that the warm lemon water really energises you and enhances your mood. This is essential to me. I'm pretty much a terror without caffeine - no patience for anything and super short fused. But warm lemon water took care of that! This is because lemon is one of the few foods that contain more negative-charged ions, providing your body with more energy when it enters the digestive tract. The scent of lemon also has mood enhancing and energising properties. The smell of lemon juice can brighten your mood and help clear your mind.
Also, lemon water cleanses your system. Unwanted elements and toxins are quickly flushed out of your body and when this happens early in the morning, you can be sure your whole day would be better.
My favourite: It supports weight loss. Lemon juice contains pectin, a soluble fiber that has been shown to aid in weight-loss struggles. And if you've been sipping on a cup of tea loaded with sugar or honey every morning or even coffee with sugar and milk, this beverage will slash calories from your daily diet. Erm.. yay!
What you need
Essentially, you'll need water, lemons and, if you like, cayenne pepper. I suggest going for organic versions of the lemons and cayenne pepper. Yes, it is slightly pricey in Singapore but at least you can be sure that they do not contain pesticides or unwanted chemicals. Also, go for filtered or purified water - you can do this at home if you have the BRITA jug which helps to filter the tap water. Otherwise, you can just boil the tap water.
Ok, now that you have those ready. Begin by boiling the water - I usually do about 8oz but let's not be precious about this. I think the equivalent of a tall glass would suffice. While the water is boiling, squeeze the lemon, making sure you got everything out. Once the water is boiled, pour in the lemon juice together with the pulp (minus the seed), add a dash of cayenne pepper and stir to make sure that it's mixed in properly.
You also want to make sure that the water is not scalding hot. It should be at a temperature that's easily consumed without burning your tongue off. You want to avoid ice cold water, since that can be a lot for your body to process and it takes more energy to process ice cold water.
But what are the cons?
Nothing much in general except for one thing: Lemon water is rather acidic and the acidity level is high. So, in the long run, the enamel coating your teeth will erode or gets damaged. This is why, if you noticed from the picture, I use a straw. It's a way to counteract that bit.
However, I must say that this is a small con. I mean, fizzy drinks, like Coke or Sprite, also corrodes your teeth, and they have high sugar content. So, the scale is tipped in favour of warm lemon water.
Is that all?
Of course not. But it's a start! Our body needs at least 2.5 litres of water a day and this amount will ensure that we have enough substance to flush out toxins, promote clear skin and encourage better digestion.
However, I can totally understand how drinking water is not at the top of everyone's list - It was never on mine. But I believe, since we're making a conscious effort and decision to kickstart our day with lemon water, we'll take into consideration sipping water throughout the day as well.
And for those wondering - No, I have not given up on coffee. I've just moved on to a more potent form of coffee - Bulletproof. But, i'll save that for my next post.
Till then, do you have a morning cleansing ritual you'd like to share? Do you drink lemon water in the morning? Tell me your favourite benefit and how it has changed your life. I want to hear your thoughts!