The first thing you put into your body in the morning is pretty powerful. It can change the way you eat and feel for the rest of the day. Throughout my life I have tried several approaches to my “upon rising” food or drink. But above every trial and error, this mug seems to be the thing that makes me feel the best for the rest of the day. No, this is not breakfast, but this is the first thing I drink every morning upon rising, about an hour or so before breakfast. It hydrates me, gives me a splash of energy and a clean feeling from the inside out to start my day.
UPDATE – 4/2015: Since writing this post, years ago I have stuck to this wellness habit. I am kind of shocked actually. But I literally CRAVE this tea first think in the morning. My recipe has changes a bit. I still add goji berries once in a while, but right now I am just using:
2 small or 1 large lemons + 8 ounces water + 1 tsp maple syrup +3 pinches cayenne + 1 tea bag (usually a dandelion tea)
On some mornings I will microplane fresh ginger into the tea or add a few more spoonfuls of maple if I want something sweeter. I am so “addicted” to this tea that I will even pack lemons in my suitcases on travel (when possible) so I can have this tea in my hotel room! OK, so I do not always do that, but it is an option! Those lemon-y antioxidants are my morning boost! This is also the way I force myself to start drinking water throughout the day to stay hydrated. I think drinking water in the morning is so important. Your body has been sleeping 6-9 hours on average and needs that hydration in the morning.
So yes, I am still loving this wellness tip years later. I have finally kicked my Starbucks addiction. And that feels awesome.
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First off, THANK YOU for all the kind tweets and comments regarding the launch of the pre-order of my smoothies book! More details and check out the cover shot here: 365 Vegan Smoothies.
Sunrise. Yawn. Stumble into the kitchen. Hmm. Now what?..
Well this is what works for me.
Now remember this tea is *first thing* in the morning. Literally ten minutes after I get out of bed. About an hour or so later I usually have a big protein smoothie or oatmeal or tofu scramble or some other breakfast-type thing.
Why? It is always a good idea to hydrate first thing in the morning. So even if you are not drinking my tea, make sure you chug something like water (or coconut water!) or something (healthy) first thing in the morning. I really like warm beverages for easier absorption.
The lemon has cleansing properties and although it is acidic by nature, the theory goes that they actually have an alkalyzing effect on the body. So in a sense the lemon and water brings your digestive system back to a “clean” and healthy state to start your day of eating. Of course, you can believe this theory or not, but I have found it true for me.
I always feel so much better after drinking this tea first thing in the morning, so I keep doing it.
Why Goji Berries? I love this explanation from WebMD:
“Research shows that eating berries — like blueberries, acai berries, cranberries, strawberries, and cherries — offers some definite health benefits. Berries like the goji berry are filled with powerful antioxidants and other compounds that may help prevent cancer and other illnesses, including heart disease. Antioxidants may also boost the immune system and lower cholesterol.
Eating foods high in antioxidants may slow the aging process as well. It does this by minimizing damage from free radicals that injure cells and damage DNA..
Goji berries also have compounds rich in vitamin A that may have anti-aging benefits. These special compounds help boost immune function, protect vision, and may help prevent heart disease.
Some research suggests that goji berry extracts may boost brain health and may protect against age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Other studies using goji berry juice founds benefits in mental well-being, and calmness, athletic performance, happiness, quality of sleep, and feelings of good health…”
The cayenne adds some spiciness to perk up your system and the grade B maple syrup is my favorite sweetener.
What About Just Lemon and Water? So I am also a huge fan of the simple warm water + lemon juice method which most people use. But I kinda evolved into loving this one even more. Either one will have that same cleansing effect. I just like the added antioxidants and energy from the tea, berries and maple syrup splash. I also like the fiber from those goji berries. And since the berries become very soft when they soak in the hot water, they are very easy to digest.
AM. Some people crack eggs. I crack open lemons.
Lemon Morning Tea
This is my go-to lemon tea for starting my day on the right wellness foot!
- 8 ounces purified water
- 2 small or 1 large lemon, squeezed (seeds removed or strained out)
- 1-3 pinches of cayenne
- 1-4 tsp maple syrup (or another sweetener of choice
- 1 tea bag (green, black, dandelion, “detox” or another fave flavor)
- optional: 1 1/2 Tbsp Goji berries
- Heat water to just under boiling.
- Add lemon juice, cayenne, maple, goji and tea bag.
- Allow the tea bag to steep and the goji berries to soften (if using) for 1-3 minutes.
- Squeeze out tea bag and press spoon against goji berries to “squeeze” them a bit.
- Drink and enjoy! Yes, you eat the goji berries too
- Bonus! I usually nibble a few Brazil nuts with my tea too, to get my daily intake of selenium.
Yield: 1 mugPrep Time: 00 hrs. 05 mins. Total time: 5 mins. Tags: tea,lemon tea,morning,breakfast,wellness,vegan,goji berries, goji tea
* Start Slow! If you find it hard to drink this at first (the lemon and cayenne can be strong to newbies) start with a watered down version. Also, you could eat a few nuts along side at first to get your stomach used to this drink. Toast or a banana may also help. Or just use less lemon and cayenne, and gradually build up a better tolerance for it.
..but don’t get me wrong, this tea is tasty! Sweet, spicy and slightly tart. I crave it! Try it and let me know what you think.
* When travelling, I literally stuff lemons into my luggage so that I can do a modified version of this beverage in my hotel room with some hot water from the hotel. (Or you can ask room service for a lemon half! .. You would need to bring your own gojis though..)
In closing, there are many healthy things you could drink first thing in the morning. Plain old water works too! This is just what works for me. What works for you? I’d love to know!
ps… if you take medications first thing in the morning obviously you would want to ask your doctor about how to take those. I know citrus can sometimes interact with certain medications oddly. (Always ask you doctor.)