A few months ago I wrote about my struggle with sugar consumption. I am definitely addicted to that sweet stuff. Just writing about it now is causing me to feel the comfort of biting in to a treat. It really does cause something akin to comfort, doesn’t it? I can picture myself biting in to a piece of chocolate cake and feeling a little less anxious. Or a little less sad. Or a little less tired. It’s comfort food for me. Every time something starts to get a little difficult, I find myself reaching for something sugary. And then it doesn’t stop. It may be an impulse M&M grab at the check out line. Or purposely driving all the way to Target to grab Ben & Jerry’s. Either way, it’s extremely hard to stop that cycle.
I’m working on it. It’s all a part of this self care journey that I am on. It has it ups and downs.
Something that I’ve been experimenting with this week has been drinking hot lemon water in the morning. I used to put a slice of lemon in my water or tea every morning for a while. I stopped that habit, although I’m not quite sure why. So, I grabbed some lemons last weekend on my weekly grocery shopping trip. I cut them up Sunday night and put them in a container so they’d be ready to squeeze in to my morning cup of hot tea. Every single week day, except for Wednesday, I had hot tea with lemon. And every day, except for Wednesday, I avoided the sugary stuff. I talked myself out of going through the drive through at Starbucks for my Dirty Chai with soy. I talked myself out of making chocolate almond milk at the end of the night before bed. I switched out sugars in my oatmeal for blueberries and almonds. I was doing really, really well. But on Wednesday, when I did not have my hot tea with lemon, I did not do so great. I went out of my way to get that Dirty Chai with soy at Starbucks. I ate several cookies that were in the break room at work. I made chocolate almond milk at the end of the night.
Needless to say, I think the lemon is on to something here.
According to Wellness Mama, hot lemon water helps with digestion, helps keep our immune system healthy, increases cleaner skin, and helps maintain weight (n.d.). Let’s break these down a bit…
I can personally attest to this one. It seemed like every day I drank lemon with my tea, my intestines were working perfectly and delivered at exactly the same time each morning. Kristen Hyam, writer at Body and Soul claims that “it helps cleanse the bowel by flushing out waste more efficiently and stimulates the release of gastric juices, which aid digestion” (n.d.). Having a healthy bowel system is important, and this one is definitely a true benefit of drinking lemon in hot water.
Healthy Immune System
While I see how this one could be true, I can’t personally vouch for this claim. I wake up every morning with a slightly soar throat. I have not had a full blown cold or flu, but it feels like my body is working it’s way towards that eventually. My clients have all been catching colds, my husband’s allergies are out of control, and I’m very stressed lately due to switching jobs and adjusting to a crazy new schedule. However, I have not had a full blow cold or flu yet. While I don’t know for sure, I wonder if I can contribute keeping it away to drinking lemon water and practicing yoga. It’s a thought. Hyam states “the juice of half a lemon in a glass of water is rich in vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system and assists the body in fighting colds and flu” and suggests that vitamin C may help the body absorb iron (n.d.). We all need more iron, so either way, I’ll gladly take the lemony assist.
Again, this one is hard for me. I have been battling acne for most of my life. I’ve tried everything – from Proactiv to antibiotics to birth control to … you name it. It persists. In fact, my dermatologist in graduate school shook his head at me and said “what am I going to do with you, Beth?” after trying several routes that didn’t work. Yep, my acne is tough and persistent. I’ve also been slowly switching my skin care products to vegan and/or animal cruelty free, so it’s hard to say if this slight decrease in acne has been due to where I’m at in my monthly cycle, to the lemons, or to the switch in skin products. My acne HAS decreased, but not drastically. They are easier to cover with make up, but by the end of the day, those red spots are out at it again.
No one (that I know of) is claiming that drinking lemon water every day is going to be the cure to losing weight. But I do truly believe there is a lot of truth to this case. The days that I drank lemon in my hot tea were the days I stuck to my meal plans the most. I ate less sugar and drank more water throughout the day. I did maintain my weight and even flushed out two pounds by the end of the week, despite the day where I had Starbucks and cookies. It caused a significant reduction in my cravings for sweet stuff, which helped me abstain from it. In a way, the lemon I sipped every morning helped me make healthier choices subconsciously. That is something that I can get behind. It’s such a simple switch to my daily routine, and one that I think I can keep up with.
So, in conclusion, I will continue to squeeze a slice of lemon in to my morning earl grey tea. It tastes good and hopefully it will help me squash this sugar cycle once and for all. It can’t hurt, right?
Hyam, K. (n.d.). Kick start your day with lemon and water. Retrieved from http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/nutrition/nutrition+tips/kick+start+your+day+with+lemon+and+water,23007
Wellness Mama. (n.d.). Health benefits of lemon water. http://wellnessmama.com/35192/benefits-of-lemon-water/