A glass of lemon water at room temperature has been a morning ritual for me for years. I’m not sure why I started this habit, but it’s something I cannot start my day without. I’m so hooked that when I travel, I take a bottle of Minute Maid 100% lemon juice with me. On travel day, I pack it frozen in a checked bag. When I get to my destination, I store it in the mini refrigerator and enjoy my elixir mixed in a water bottle before breakfast.
At home, I use the fresh fruit. I don’t like dealing with the pesky seeds after squeezing the juice, so my obsession led me to seedless lemons. I discovered that not all seedless lemons are created the same. The Wonderful brand lemons have been a game changer for me. Unlike other brands, they have thin skins, which makes them super easy to squeeze into my glass of water, and I haven’t found a seed yet.
To justify this obsession with morning lemon water, I did a little research about its benefits. The internet abounds with justifications: lemon water hydrates, stimulates the digestive system and promotes elimination, and gives you a dose of vitamin C. Considering that I try to get the recommended 64 ounces of water daily, which can be boring, a squirt of lemon makes this less of a challenge. And, finally, it just tastes good.
Lemon juice is also one of the ingredients in “wellness shots,” something I learned of while researching a story on food trends. Turmeric and ginger are the other main ingredients along with a dash of black pepper in many wellness shots. I asked Monika Celly, owner of Polka Dots and Curry, who is a health and wellness coach who practices Ayurvedic medicine, about this drink.
“Yes, I take this drink first thing in the morning,” she said. “I use one cup of lukewarm water, a few drops of fresh lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder and a pinch of black pepper to increase absorption of turmeric. It’s a common drink in many Indian households, especially now during COVID.”
She told me about another turmeric beverage she uses at bedtime.
“It’s similar,” she said. “It’s one cup of any type of milk, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, a pinch of black pepper, and a pinch of cinnamon to mask the turmeric flavor for those who are new to this drink. Boil these together and drink it hot. Add sugar if desired. I avoid sugar as it causes inflammation and turmeric is anti-inflammatory — so sugar negates the effect of turmeric inside the body.”
She explained some of the benefits of turmeric.
“This potent spice has far more benefits than just as an important ingredient to make curries,” she said. “The active compound curcumin in turmeric is believed to have a wide range of biological effects like being anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-cancerous.”
She uses fresh turmeric root.
“I get the fresh turmeric root at Whole Foods Market,” she said. “They usually have it. Or I buy organic turmeric powder from Amazon, Whole Foods or any grocery store. It is available in small jars in the spice section at local stores. Be careful using it. It dyes everything it touches bright yellow—– even your hands. Use rubber gloves.”
She also likes to make a ginger tea, which she explained has a long list of health benefits.
For the tea, she boils 2 cups of water with an inch of freshly sliced ginger root. She simmers it on medium heat for five minutes. Then she strains it and adds few drops of fresh lemon juice and honey for flavor.
She gave the following health benefits of ginger:
Eases joint pain.
Relieves period pain.
Helps to recover appetite.
Soothes sore muscles.
Rich in antioxidants.
Natural remedy for colds.
Keeps oral cavity healthy.
“I personally use fresh ginger instead of powdered ginger,” she said. The powder ginger loses its potency over time. Just peel some organic ginger to make ginger tea.”
I gave Celly’s recipes for wellness a shot (pardon me…) and liked them. While they won’t replace my simple morning glass of lemon water, I’ll definitely will make them again.
Contact the writer: 636-0271.
contact the writer: 636-0271.