Warm Lemon Water

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My friends know my morning ritual. No matter where I am or how busy things become, I get in the morning, do a couple sun salutations and drink warm lemon water, workout and have breakfast.  I love lemons and always have tons of lemons in my fridge. I use them for cooking, warm lemon water, and even in DIY beauty recipes.

I’ve been drinking warm lemon water a few years and it’s one of the best habits I’ve incorporated.  It is a great and healthy way to start the day, and it makes me feel good to do something for myself. Some people may be skeptical of its benefits, but several of my friends and clients have also started drinking warm lemon water and rave about its benefits.  And when they do, I bite my tongue down to refrain from saying “I told you so!”

How to drink warm lemon water

  1. Ideally, warm lemon water should be consumed in the morning, after brushing your teeth, on an empty stomach to maximize its benefits.
  2. Water should be slightly warmer than room temperature, but not boiling hot. Hot water is not ideal because it can kill the enzymes in the lemons.
  3. Juice at least 1/3 lemon in 16oz of warm water. If 16oz feels like too much, start with 8oz and work your way up.
  4. Usually, I drink to drink plain warm lemon water, but you can also try to add a pinch of cayenne or fresh grated ginger.
  5. When traveling you can pack a few lemons in your luggage or you can order warm lemon water at a restaurant when dining out.

Benefits of Warm Lemon Water

  • Hydrates – After sleeping for 7-8 hours, the body can become dehydrated from a lack of water. Warm lemon water hydrates and rejuvenates the body. In contrast, drinking coffee on an empty stomach further dehydrates because it has a diuretic effect. If you want to consume coffee, you can still do it by drinking water lemon water first, and then having coffee.
  • Warms – Warm lemon water instantly warms the body and has a calming effect.
  • Detoxes – Warm lemon water detoxes the liver, kidneys and other internal organs, improves digestion, and leads to a stronger immune system and clearer and brighter skin.
  • Alkalizes – Although lemon juice is acidic, once it enters the body, it has an alkalizing effect. An alkaline system may also be less susceptible to disease and illness than an acidic system.

So, the next time life hands you lemons, ask for more because you will need them for warm lemon water!

Chocolate Truffles

Truffle

I make these fairly often to get my chocolate fix.  They’re quick (although rolling them can take some time), easy and healthy.  The best part?  They have no added or refined sugars because dates are naturally sweet, and are high in fiber, minerals and vitamins, including magnesium and potassium.  Unprocessed cacao powder is high in antioxidants, while maca powder provides energy and stamina.  Nut butters add some healthy fats and ground chia seeds add protein and melt the flavors together.

Bonus: If you are feeling artistic, you can also shape them into roses.

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Ingredients:

  • 8 oz medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder (plus extra)
  • 1 tbsp nut butter (almond or hazelnut butter works well)
  • 1 tbsp maca powder (plus extra)
  • 1/2 tbsp ground chia seed powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch, pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom (optional)

Directions:

  1. Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until it forms a dough.
  2. Shape the dough into truffle-sized balls (sprinkle some extra cacao or maca powder when working with the dough to keep it from sticking).

Yields: 12 servings

Lentil Soup

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I love Pret-a-Manger’s lentil soup on a cold or rainy day.  It is the perfect comfort food without being heavy.  I was trying to replicate a cleaner version of the soup sans the sodium, while keeping the process simple by using a crockpot.  Lentils have lots of protein and fiber, while carrots provide Vitamin A and Vitamin C.  Tomatoes are rich in Vitamin, E, folate and lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, which is absorbed easier when the tomatoes are cooked.  Onions and garlic provide an immunity boost, while the combination of spices adds flavor and aids in digestion. This soup is hearty enough to make a complete meal, but light enough to have as a side in a smaller portion.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups low sodium, organic vegetable broth
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 6 oz dried lentils
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 large chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 2 large minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp mild curry powder
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 bay leaf

Directions:

  1. Pour all ingredients, except the bay leaf, in a crockpot.
  2. Lay the bay leaf on top.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours on low heat until almost cooked.
  4. Pour about 1/3 of the soup in a blender (not including the bay leaf) and puree until smooth.
  5. Pour the pureed mixture back into the crockpot and cook for another 1-2 hours on low heat.
  6. Remove from heat, discard the bay leaf, and serve.

Yields: 12 servings

Turmeric Hummus

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Turmeric Hummus

I love fresh, warm, smooth, satisfying, creamy, savory hummus.  You can use it as a spread in pitas, eat it with crackers or veggies, or just have a spoonful on its own!  Garbanzo beans are full of fiber and a good source of vegetarian protein.  Soaking dried garbanzo beans overnight cuts down on anti-nutrients and speeds up the cooking time.  Olive oil and tahini contribute to a creamy texture and healthy fats, and using water cuts down on the amount of fat naturally.  Garlic boosts immunity and improves overall cardiovascular health.  Black pepper increases the absorbency of turmeric, which has anti-inflammatory benefits.  Go ahead and give this The Good Life staple a try!

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz garbanzo beans (+ a few extra for garnish), soaked overnight, rinsed and cooked
  • 1 oz olive oil (or a little less if using water from cooking garbanzo beans. + more for garnish)
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/2 inch of fresh turmeric or 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp paprika (+ more for garnish)
  • Pinch sea salt

Directions:

  1. Blend all ingredients together in a food processor.
  2. Adjust for desired taste and texture.
  3. Spoon the mixture into a bowl.
  4. Garnish by sprinkling black pepper and paprika and extra garbanzo beans.  Drizzle olive oil on top.
  5. Serve warm or room temperature with crackers and cut veggies.  Lasts approximately one week in the fridge.

Yields: 6 servings

 

 

Chocolat Pot De Creme

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Wow your guests with this surprisingly decadent and chocolatey dessert!  It requires minimal preparation and is surprisingly easy to whip up.  Cacao powder and cacao nibs are full of antioxidants and maca powder is great for energy and balance, while coconut oil and cashews add healthy fats.  No wonder this amazing dessert is one of my very favorites for clean eating and healthy living!

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked 4 hours, rinsed and drained.
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup raw unfiltered honey
  • 1/8 cup cacao powder
  • 1/8 cup maca powder 1 tsp milled or ground chia seed powder
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • crushed walnuts (optional for topping)
  • chocolate chips (optional for topping)
  • shaved chocolate (optional for topping)
  • cacao nibs (optional for topping)

Directions:

  1. Combine cashews, almond milk, coconut oil, honey, cacao powder, maca powder, chia seed powder, vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon, cardamom and salt in a blender until smooth and creamy.
  2. Pour into ramekins or small glass bowls.
  3. Chill in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours.
  4. To serve, garnish with shaved chocolate, crushed walnuts, chocolate chips or cacao nibs.  In a pinch you can also sprinkle some extra cacao powder or maca powder on top.

Yields: 4 servings