It's around this time of year when I usually get a little desperate. Thanksgiving is lovely but after a bit too much food, a bit too much wine, I feel like doing something drastic to detox! Cut this, limit that - do something to boost my energy, take control of the cravings and stop feeling so blah. I also find as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, I become an absolute caffeine freak and drink waaay to much coffee for quick energy (like right now, as I'm writing this). I used to try fasts and cleanses that made me very irritable but worked for a few days before I slipped into the same patterns. Well, here’s a more balanced solution that most people can incorporate into their daily routine: cayenne pepper and lemon!
I’m not referring to the hardcore cleanse where you only drink cayenne pepper, lemon juice and maple syrup or honey for over a week and lose a ton of (mostly water) weight. This is a daily cleanse naturopaths will recommend to stimulate the body’s natural detoxification process. As soon as you wake up in the morning, before eating anything, just squeeze half a lemon into some warm water and add a pinch of cayenne pepper. Then drink a large glass of water. Then go shower, get ready and eat your breakfast half an hour later. The thing is, after drinking this you will already feel this warm sensation in your stomach and moving across your body. You will want to drink more water, and because you feel that little boost of energy you will likely make healthier food choices for breakfast, maybe even skipping that coffee for one day.
Cayenne pepper actually increases the internal heat of your body which speeds up your metabolism, and studies have shown that it positively affects the proteins that break down fat. In addition, cayenne pepper increases blood flow throughout your body, improving circulation. You’re combining this with lemons which are packed with antioxidants and are also high in vitamin C, which transforms toxins into digestible material. Bye bye toxins, hello energy!
Some nutritionists suggest adding as much as ½ a teaspoon to your drink for maximum health benefits - I love cayenne but that is A LOT of cayenne! I think that would cause more of a burning sensation than a warming sensation across my body. For your drink, start with a pinch and work your way up. You’ll know if it’s the right amount for you by the way you feel. And if this drink sounds more like punishment than a fun way to get your juices flowing in the morning, try adding some cayenne pepper to eggs or an omelette - brown some onions then add a ¼ teaspoon of cayenne and fry for a few minutes before adding veggies and eggs.
There are still mornings when I just need a coffee before anything else, but this lemon and cayenne drink is definitely helping me curb that craving and make healthier breakfast choices.
Get organic, non-irradiated cayenne pepper here.