Spring Cleaning Morning Toddy

1 small lemon, juiced
1 tsp raw, local honey (or maple syrup)
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
Dash of cayenne pepper powder
½ cup hot water

Add ingredients to a mug in the order they're listed. Stir to combine. Drink first thing in the morning while warm, within 5-10 minutes. Wait at least 20 minutes before consuming any other food.

Spring Cleaning Morning Toddy.png

Ahhhhhhh, spring.

The earth is waking up. The days are staying lighter longer. We are starting to feel more motivated.

At this time of year, however, we may also be feeling sluggish after the coldest months during which we tend to eat warming, heavier foods, move a bit less, and sleep a bit more.

Well, I’ve got the morning pick-me-up you need to put some spring in your step! (pun totally intended)

Reaching waaaaaay back to my Chinese medicine study days, I can tell you that every season is ruled by an element and has a dominant organ. If I recall correctly, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine a season’s dominant organ is the one (or part of a group of similar organs) working hardest, needing the most attention and the most likely to have issues during this season. Spring is ruled by wood and the dominant organ of spring is the liver. Makes sense, right? Nature is coming into a fresh bloom after shedding off unneeded parts to its whole. Winter is like a cleanse and without that cleanse period, spring wouldn’t be so vibrant.

It’s kind of the same for humans. We will be much more vibrant and capable during the next season if we are cleansed from the inside out and getting all we need though natural, whole foods nutrition. This Morning Toddy is a great drink to help clean up your gut, kick start your metabolism, boost your immune system, and keep your blood sugar levels even all day!

I’m sure you’ve seen some variation of this recipe before. I’ve been drinking this for years — long before the lemonade cleanse trend was trendy. While I don’t personally believe in long fasts like the lemonade one, I do believe in cleansing by eating with the seasons, and using foods to bring us into alignment. This can mean cleaning our guts in gentle ways that keep the flora there healthy. I also agree with why the lemonade fast thing is the lemonade fast thing… the ingredients all do wonders for balancing our ph levels, cleansing our guts gently, and keeping us nourished and hydrated. I just don’t believe you need to deprive your body of other nutrients in order to get clean inside. That said, I’m talking about what works for me at a normal state of health and honor the fact that extremely toxic people may feel the need, and benefit from fasts such as the lemonade one.

The basis of my Morning Toddy is lemon juice. Citrus fruits are full of a flavonoid called nobiletin as well as d-limonene and narngenin. In English that means: Flavonoids are health boosting antioxidants and nobiletin (see the word bile in there?) switches on the genes that are responsible for burning fat. d-limonene is a compound that flushes toxins out through the liver. Narngenin is also a flavonoid. This one improves your cells’ sensitivity to insulin by 64% which can ward off blood sugar crashes, cravings, mood swings and weight gain.

My version of this is not meant to be a meal replacement, but I do recommend starting your day with this drink, drinking it about 30 minutes before you consume food. I feel best when I wake up and chug 6-8 oz of water while heating the kettle for this toddy. Then I enjoy the ritual of making and drinking this before I go about my morning. Full disclosure: sometimes I do this AFTER I practice yoga because I like to practice on an empty stomach as tradition dictates, but often I don’t have the time to practice first thing in the morning so usually I start my day with this and get to yoga and movement afterward. So far the yoga police have never issued a citation (though, there is very likely a warrant out for my arrest. LOL!) My nature tends toward hypoglycemic attacks, even when I’ve eaten. I notice that my metabolism stays much more even throughout the day when I start with hydration and this cleanse-drink. Then I get on to the business of movement and yoga and I’m a happy mama.

Ancient yogic texts are full of guidance about daily cleansing rituals, and while this isn’t one of them, it is a great one in alignment with them all. For me, this is a fantastic replacer to swallowing salt water-soaked gauze and regurgitating it back up by holding onto one end and then pulling it back into the mouth! Yes. That is a thing. Some people swear by it. Being the teetotaler that I am, I’ll stick to having this warm, balancing drink do the cleaning for me.

This is also my first go to for immune boosting if I feel like I’m coming down with something. I’ll drink some variation of this mixture throughout the day and it usually really helps! This is safe to drink everyday, but I am more diligent about this in the transitional seasons of fall and spring so I have what I need to enter the more draining seasons in total health.

If you don’t do honey, substitute maple syrup which is full of iron and easier on blood sugar levels. Using local honey helps keep me boosted in spring, staving off seasonal allergies. This recipe is super simple and really forgiving so play with the ratios to make it work for you — you can omit the cayenne pepper altogether, but know it’s part of this because it is extremely good at supporting total health and lowering blood pressure. When you start the day with a little cayenne, you start the day calmer and more even-keeled. The apple cider vinegar in this drink also supports blood sugar levels staying even as well as general cardiovascular and cholesterol balancing. The honey (or maple syrup) relieves some of the intense tartness of the lemon and vinegar. That said, I wouldn’t make it super sweet! The more you drink this, the more used to the tartness you’ll become. It’s good for you. Just swallow it! With almost 10 years of parenting under my belt, I can speak this like a real mom, can’t I?

Ok. Enough! Try the recipe. Enjoy a little internal spring cleaning and drink in total health! I can’t wait to hear how it works for you. Cheers & Namasté!