I used to drink so much coffee every morning it was ridiculous. I was a student for christ sake – it was hardly like I had responsibilities. Oh, if only I knew… Actually, drinking too much wine the night before was (and still is) a contributing factor, but I only realised just how bad I was when I started staying at my boyfriend’s place and there was only decaf in the cupboard. It sent me crazy! And even worse, I didn’t know it was decaf, so I carried on drinking and he just thought I was always in a terrible mood. I’ve thought about apologising, but it’s his fault really…
I know it’s only coffee, but it did kind of scare me how dependent I was, and how I really couldn’t function without at least two cups within an hour of waking up. I also got to the point where I was literally drinking cup after cup of strong black coffee each day – which, no joke, started to make my hands shake. Like, that’s not good. And by mid-afternoon it was also making me sluggish, and just feeling kind of “meh”, which seemed totally counter productive.
So I started to look for an alternative that would perk me up the same way in the morning, but that also had its own set of benefits, and not so many shortfalls. And honestly, I feel so much better for it…
Hot lemon water
For the past two years now, I’ve been drinking a cup of hot lemon water first thing when I wake up every day, and – without exaggerating – it’s honestly a game-changer. I didn’t actually realise just how many proven health benefits there were to this when I first tried it; I just thought ooh, lemon’s zesty, maybe that’ll wake me up… But after a couple of weeks, I noticed I was feeling markedly better in myself, and did a quick online search on the off-chance I’d find something “scientific”.
Of course, there’s the old wives tale of lemon and honey to help ease a sore throat or cold, but what I didn’t realise was just how good lemon actually is for you all year round. It has so many health benefits – and, I have to say, I don’t come down with colds or fevers nearly as often as I used to, which is probably because lemons are full of vitamin C, which increases the production of white blood cells, helping fight off viruses. They also:
- Help control blood pressure
- Balance the body’s pH levels (although on the outside they’re acidic, they actually have an alkalising effect)
- Aid digestion and reduce bloating
- Promote weight loss and control hunger levels
- Clear skin
- Freshen breath
I also find that after having my morning drink I don’t crave coffee nearly as much as I normally would. Even if I woke up desperate for an espresso, I somehow totally lose my taste for it after a couple of sips of lemon water. It’s probably something to do with the acidic flavour and alkalising effects, but if you are trying to kick the coffee habit, I’ve seen quite a few people who say they’ve experienced the same reduced craving since making the switch.
I really don’t like the word “diet” – I think it’s become so ugly lately and people misuse it to mean all the wrong things. But I’m all for making small lifestyle changes that, over time, can have a major, positive impact on your everyday life – and this is one of my favourites. Yes, I still drink coffee – probably one cup each day – but balance is key, and this has definitely helped me take control of my caffeine cravings.