Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Start Your Day with Warm Water & a Lemon (Video)

Every morning, rain or shine, sick or healthy, at home or on vacation...I do the same thing: drink a glass of warm water with a lemon right after I wake up. I read about this tip several months ago and I've been hooked on it ever since.

I've never been a coffee person, usually I just get up, eat something and get ready for my workout. But once I started doing warm water with a lemon first thing, I found myself craving it each morning. Probably because my body was getting the hydration and vitmains/minerals/enzymes it needed. And even better, my digestive system was super excited about it too because it gave me the kick in the pants (literally) to get out the food and waste from the day before and start fresh that day.

*Update 2015...guess what, it's been almost 3 years and I still do this tip daily! Here's a newer post and video as to why this is still my favorite health tip and how it's my #1 Healthy New Year's Resolution!*
Click here to read and watch why I still love this tip.

What do you do exactly?
All you have to do is take a glass of warm water, squeeze the juice of half of a lemon into it, and drink it right when you wake up. Repeat this daily.

Benefits of warm water with a lemon:
  1. Stimulates digestive system. Once you get in the habit of doing this (or maybe even after the first time you do this) you will find that it will probably get things moving in your digestive tract...and you'll be heading to the bathroom.
  2. Increase hydration. I love how hydrated this makes me feel each morning
  3. Help with cleansing and detoxing. The lemon water stimulates your liver to help with detoxing, and helps the digestive tract expel toxins.
  4. Improve skin. Thanks to the vitamin C in the lemons.
  5. Help with acid reflux and bloating.  
  6. Help make your body more alkaline. Despite the fact that lemons may seem acidic they are actually very alkaline when they are digested in our body. Drinking lemon water will help increase the alkalintiy of our body, a key goal in decreasing inflammation and preventing disease. (read more here)
  7. Support your immune system. Thank you vitamin C! I've also heard it can be helpful if you have a sore throat.
  8. Help with weight loss. One by keeping you hydrated and two, because they have pectin fiber which can help fill you up.
Here's my favorite article about drinking warm lemon water first thing, and from there you can learn  more of the benefits: "Why You Should Drink Warm Water & Lemon"

Guess who else does it? Kris Carr, my all-time favorite health idol and even Lauren Conrad from The Hills (favorite fashion/TV idol) does it too! So you know I had to give it a try!

Here's a breakdown in this week's video (with the help of Avery!) on how to go about making the warm lemon water and why you'll want to give it a try... 

If you are a classic over-thinker/perfectionist like me, you probably have questions like I did,
So here's some FAQs:

Can I just use the little lemon juice bottles from the store? We want fresh lemons that are full of live enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. Not the pasteurized stuff from the store.

What's the best way to get the juice out? I use a citrus juicer like the one shown below that I got at Target for $4 a few years back, but I can't find these days. So here's some other alternatives: a plastic one from Amazon ($5) or a stainless steel one also on Amazon ($19).  It's make my warm water with a lemon much easier and cleaner each morning. Plus it catches the seeds...bonus! There are all kinds of juicers on the market, so find whatever works for you.

Just place the lemon on top and twist away.

I love how it catches the seeds, those are never fun to drink.

Now if you don't have a citrus juicer, no worries. Just cut the lemon in half, and carefully cut off the peel, leaving as much of the lemon as possible. Take the "naked" lemon half and squeeze it into your warm water. Yes, this method is messy, but it will get much more juice out of the lemon than just cutting it in half and leaving the peel on. Give it a try.

Why does the water have to be warm? Cold water first thing will be a shock to the body. Warm water will not only be more gentle, it will also help stimulate your digestive tract even more.

Can I microwave the lemon water to make it warm? No, the microwave will kill the enzymes in the lemon. Instead just warm it up on the stove very briefly...not boiling. You could also use tap water and just warm it from the sink, but if you are trying to use only filtered water (after reading about the benefits I posted here) I suggest the stove-warming method so you can have your filtered water warmed gently. You could probably also use a tea pot to briefly warm it.

I gently warm the water on the stove, until it looks about like this
with a few little bubbles.
You definently don't want it boiling!
Then I just pour the warm water into my
glass. If it ever gets too hot, I'll let it cool
down a bit before I add the lemon juice.
Time for the lemon juice!

Will the acid from the lemons harm my teeth? Some people are worried about the lemon juice and the enamel on their teeth, so if this is a concern for you then you can use a straw. I like to use a straw anyways because I feel like I drink more when I use a straw. My favorite green straw is a Glass Dharma Glass Straw (I use the "Beautiful Bends Smoothie Straw" $10).

Read more about my glass straw swap here.

Do I have to drink it first thing in the morning? Yes, this is key. You have been sleeping all night and are probably dehydrated. The glass of water first thing will not only wake you up, it will give your body the hydration it needs to start the day. I find it is also key to maintaining "regular" elimination habits. Doing this tip first thing helps get out the yesterday's food and waste. 

Could you add anything else to the water? Yes! Kris Carr mentions adding a pinch of cayenne pepper to her warm water with a lemon each morning. So I've recently started adding, literally a pinch (or one shake) of cayenne pepper to my water each morning and I really like it. I resisted trying it for awhile because I figured it would taste like chili powder-water, but the tart lemon pairs well with the cayenne and they blend just fine together. Cayenne will help raise the temperature of your body to help with detoxing and to speed up your metabolism.

A pinch of cayenne is a great add-in with the lemon water.
This is about how much I put in (max).

You could also add some grated ginger to your lemon water for a little something extra. Pregnant mamas might really enjoy the anti-nausea benefits of the ginger, and for the rest of us, ginger is great for increasing circulation throughout the body.

Does the lemon water take the place of a meal? Definently not! Despite being more hydrated, your body will still be hungry! So feed it the fuel it needs. Go ahead and eat your normal breakfast/snack after your done with your lemon water. Usually I'll wait about 5 minutes or so and eat up before my morning workout.

Well, that wraps up the question section...I know, I know, leave it to me to make something as simple as putting lemon juice in warm water complicated and with a million questions, but I know there are others out there like me, so I hope this helps answer your questions too. But if you still have more, post them below. I'd be happy to share what I know. 

One of my favorite things about this tip is that it is so fancy shower filters to buy, no fancy technique or way of doing it, just drink a glass of warm water with the juice of half of a lemon every morning when you wake up. Will you give it a try?

Maybe you already do this tip...if so, share below if you have a favorite technique or any other benefits you've noticed since you started drinking your lemon water in the morning.

No matter what, just remember:



  1. I do this too but I didn't know about the cayenne, thanks for the tip! I don't feel that stovetop warming is energy efficient so I microwave my water in a coffee cup and then add the lemon. Can't wait to try the cayenne!

  2. can you tell me the water:lemon ratio? is it like half a lemon to a pint? :-)

  3. Hi! I just found your blog while looking up links pertaining to vegan pregnancy and I'm really enjoying your posts! They are very informative and I appreciate how thorough you are with everything. I'm excited to read and learn more. I was wondering if you were familiar with Kimberly Snyder and her Beauty Detox principles? I'm a big fan of her books and a lot of what she says is right in line with some of your tips and recipes, especially the lemon water. Anyway thanks for the great posts and I look forward to reading more!


  4. Hey
    I started having warm water with lemon juice but without honey. I have one question:
    Should I drink it before or after exercise?



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