A Savory Green Smoothie a day…

I don’t know if it is post-vacation blues, but lately I’ve been feeling more tired and low-energy than usual. I’m sure it is a combination of working more, running more (pre-marathon training has begun), the temperature change and potentially recovering from e coli, or whatever weird virus I contracted in Morocco. I have been extremely mindful of what I am fueling my body and nothing is more frustrating than knowing that everything I have consumed should do nothing but give me adequate energy. But alas, here we are. When your body is craving rest, listen to it, don’t push it. I have a very difficult time with this, especially when I can’t find as much time as I’d like to rest, but you have to make an effort in whatever way you can which is why I prioritize fueling my body with quality, whole foods.

Green smoothies, kombucha, matcha, water… those are my go-to’s when it comes to boosting natural energy without resorting to coffee. That’s where this savory green smoothie was born! I really wanted a kick of energy and electrolytes but did not want anything sweet. Green smoothies, kombucha, matcha, water… those are my go-to’s when it comes to boosting natural energy without resorting to coffee. That’s where this savory green smoothie was born!This smoothie could be turned into a chilled soup with some added thickness for those hot summer months. It’s so delicious. I drank it in probably 60 seconds. Try this first thing in the morning or as an afternoon pick-me up. You won’t regret it!

Savory Green, Energizing Smoothie 

Servings: 1

Ingredients:img_9611

  • 1 cup coconut water-natural electrolytes
  • 1/2 frozen avocado – stabilizes blood sugar, healthy fats for sustained energy
  • Handful of arugula- helps alkalizes the body
  • Small handful of frozen pineapple – anti-inflammatory and natural electrolytes
  • 1 scoop of Amazing Grass Greens powder – contains all daily vegetable servings plus vitamins, minerals and probiotics
  • 4 basil leaves – anti-inflammatory
  • 1 knob ginger- anti-inflammatory, aids digestion

You may need to add a little more coconut or regular water for optimal blending. Blend and enjoy!

Cheers, friends!

Why Spring is my Time for Resolutions.

It’s FINALLY starting to feel like Spring!

I don’t know about you, but Spring is when I truly feel like my year is beginning. Maybe that’s because my birthday is seven days after Spring starts and I literally become one year older when Spring comes around… but that’s beside the point. Spring is the time for resolutions!

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Me, on my Birthday, enjoying Dim Sum at Tim Ho Wan. 

For me, Winter is a perfect time to catch up on sleep, relax, spend time with family, cook rich, comforting foods and practice self-care. It doesn’t feel right to start off a new year with loads of resolutions in the bleak mid-winter. Most everyone, especially those who live in temperate climates, experience a lack of motivation during the Winter. We’re kind of programmed to do so. We’ve evolved (humans) but we don’t forget where we came from! And where we came from, we had to  hibernate and bulk up during the winter to SURVIVE, so, let’s be easy on ourselves when the new year comes around, shall we? Is it just me? I get that it’s a new “calendar year” or whatever, but geez, can we all just accept that it’ll be freezing cold for the next couple of months and that it’s totally acceptable to want to hibernate?

Anyway, Spring:

Spring is a time for hope and renewal. Flowers and leaves bloom, the grass gets greener and birds chirp. There’s a distinctly crisp smell in the air that’s filled with infinite possibility. Cultures and religions across the globe celebrate Spring with Easter, Equinox, Passover, Holi (the Festival of Colors) and May Day, just to name a few. What they all have in common is the cleansing of the past for hopeful, new beginnings.

To promote renewal in your diet, add cleansing and alkaline greens such as dandelion greens, arugula, asparagus, fennel, watercress and artichokes. Increase your raw or lightly cooked food consumption, juices, smoothies and be mindful about chewing your food throughly for complete digestion and assimilation. All of these small dietary changes can help your body shed any extra winter weight and restore your energy.

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Spring is the perfect time to focus on renewal, detoxification and refocusing your purpose. The mind and body are incredibly influential on the another, so what will affect one, will affect the other. So when you’re looking to make new resolutions, think about not only your diet, but your life, your choices, your relationships, your spirituality, your soul. Breathe fresh air and rediscover your love for your life and for yourself. Don’t feel like you have to do it all, one change, no matter how small, is better than no change at all.

What am I focusing on? Eating seasonal, cleansing greens and herbs such as fennel, asparagus, peas, arugula and watercress. I’m increasing my juice and smoothie intake because my body is craving a cooler, hydrating and energizing form of nutrients. I’m running, and taking leisurely walks, outside. I’m refocusing my business plan and what I truly want to accomplish in the next year. I’m rediscovering my spirituality and working on my relationship with myself and some trust issues and mental road blocks.

I hope I’ve given you some inspiration to figure out what you want reborn and revitalized within yourself this Spring.

There’s never a more perfect time to bloom than during the Spring.

Take care and be well!

I leave you with a spring-y, cleansing and detoxifying Green Juice to give a try!

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Detoxifying Springtime Green Juice

Ingredients:

  • 1 Apple
  • 5 Celery Stalks
  • 1 large Cucumber, or 3-4 small Persian Cucumbers
  • 3 Fennel Stalks
  • 2 Limes
  • 1 Knob of Ginger
  • 2 Handfuls of Kale

Juice it up in a juicer, baby!

 

 

14 Day Elimination Diet Wrap-Up

And just like that, I’m done with the cleanse!

*cue fan fare*

Wow, I learned a lot. I did a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong. But who’s perfect, anyway? Certainly not me. I may be a Health Coach, but I am on a health and wellness journey just like everybody else and perfection, especially in health and wellness, is not possible. What is possible? Balance. Feeling good without being perfect. That’s possible.

It’s difficult to grabble with the imperfect mindset in the midst of an intense detox, which is all about sticking to “the plan”. I’ll be honest with you, I wanted to quit a couple of different times and eat an entire bag of salt and vinegar potato chips or order pizza and drink beer. But I didn’t. Instead I asked myself: “why do I want to quit?” And in both instances it was to eat my feelings; to forget about why I had an emotional or bad day. This is my go-to bad habit and always has been since I was the new girl in my third grade class coping with a tragic death in my family in addition to moving 12 hours away. It was a lot to deal with as a 7 year old. So, I turned to food. Bread, in particular. And that’s been my pattern for the past 20 years.

I mean, I’m not a little butterball anymore:

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Instead of caving and satisfying my cravings, I (begrudgingly) made myself a dinner (it always happens around dinner-time, interesting to note) that I thought would satisfy the craving I was having in a healthy, clean way. That I am familiar with, but not with as many restrictions as I was on with the elimination diet. But I made it work! And guess what? I felt satisfied and proud of myself. Win-win.

What else went wrong? Well, I’m pretty sure while being out and about a couple of times I accidentally had sugar. I had the famed Unicorn Latte at THE END in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and it most definitely had honey in it because I felt extremely buzzed and I thought it was the E3 live, a nutrient-dense blue green algae, but then I realized that it felt like a sugar high. Oops. I was really mad at myself, but you know what, sh*t happens and I moved on.

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The trendy Unicorn Latte

I also didn’t plan well for some long days at work and some outings with friends and instead of packing food I could eat to tide me over until I could cook at home, I didn’t eat. That’s not okay either. There were a couple of days that I didn’t have lunch and I felt so freakin’ hangry (hungry and angry aka my favorite word) and annoyed with myself. “Who am I? A Health Coach who doesn’t meal prep properly and doesn’t come prepared?!” . Again, no use in trying to be perfect because we all have flaws, and one of mine is that I sometimes neglect planning ahead and like to live spontaneously which usually works out just fine, but on a cleanse, it clearly does not. This lead to a desperate Anne searching for something to eat off a random subway stop on the Upper East Side. I luckily found some baby carrots, hummus and green juice. I survived! Side-note: this is never a cheap situation to be in. I think I paid $15 for the hummus, carrots and green juice. UGH. Not worth it. Lesson learned.

I only dealt with a few days where I felt like crap, had a headache and was going through withdrawal. The second week was pretty much a breeze in terms of cleanse symptoms which was great. I will say that one symptom that is bewildering to me is my gassy-ness. Sorry, TMI, but we’re talking about digestive cleansing, farts are going to come up. I started to become really gassy by the third day and it’s ranged from fine to horrible for the rest of the cleanse. I can’t really pinpoint exactly why, other than the major increase in veggies in smoothie and juice form, which is difficult for your intestines and bowels to break down because of the massive, quick, rush of nutrients and the temperature, hence the gas. That’s definitely a thing, so I tried to back off the delicious avocado smoothies and came up with the most delicious PB&J Chia Porridge recipe because of it.

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PB&J Chia Porridge

Before the cleanse I was experiencing a lot of gas and bloating and thought it was because I wrecked havoc on my digestive system by eating pizza and cheese just a little too much for the past month, but now I’m not so sure. I was also curious about eggs, so we’ll see how the re-introduction phase goes.

Wow, I’m a horrible salesman. I’m talking about all of the problems I had. What went well? Many things!

  • Clearer skin
  • Increased clarity and conciousness
  • Regular bowel movements
  • Satisfied longer
  • Hair is softer
  • Eyes are vibrant, not bloodshot
  • I feel lighter
  • SO much more energy
  • Experiencing almost no cravings
  • Increased yoga and meditation practice, because I felt like it!
  • Tried making new things: Chia Porridge, Sweet Potato Toast and homemade Golden Milk and Matcha Lattes!
  • I discovered new places like Pressed Juicery Freeze, aka ice cream without sugar or dairy, Hu Kitchen and Bluestone Lane Coffee with plenty of clean options!
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Seriously ridiculous. This was the chocolate flavor made simply out of  cacao, almonds, dates, vanilla bean and sea salt topped with almond butter, raspberries and coconut.

I am very glad I did this cleanse for numerous reasons, but mainly because I kept a promise that I made to myself. It was incredible practice in self-love and self-care. I realized how personal cleansing can be, and how close you become to your body, senses, mind and intuition. Because you’re eliminating common dietary irritants that cause inflammation, your body is working harder to detox all your systems of toxins and irritants. When your body is rid of all that crap, you’re left with a more conscious version of yourself. And it can be painful, but it can also be fun. Getting a front row seat to my body’s innate healing abilities made me really appreciate all of the hard work it was doing. I was amazed. The body will get well on it’s own, if we let it. And I let it. And it brought me closer to myself.

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I’ve now been elimination-diet free for one day and I want to go back! I seriously messed up today and reintroduced coffee and sugar. I didn’t think it was a big deal to have a small cup of coffee and a little bit of granola sweetened with coconut sugar (low glycemic index) but it was clearly not a good idea because I’ve been in bed for the past 5 hours. My heart began to race, I got a terrible headache and I felt nauseous which induced a small anxiety attack. Wow, right? On one hand, I’m glad I got rid of a lot of inflammation and cravings caused, and related to sugar, but now I have no tolerance to it. I felt like I had a very, very bad high.

Whoops.

Lesson learned; do not reintroduced two YIN foods at once after an elimination diet. What I should have done was a yin food, coffee, and a yang food, eggs. Yin and Yang, aka a yin-yang, is a macrobiotic dietary tool that helps establish balance in your diet and lifestyle. Pairing yin (energetic) and yang (grounding) foods together should help maintain a sense of balance in the body and in your mind. I actually didn’t grasp this concept until today thanks to this experience. So, that’s another plus I guess! Now I know what to tell people NOT to do! Ah, the sacrifices of finding your bio-individuality.

Tomorrow I will probably go back to matcha and try to reintroduce eggs. We’ll see how that goes. Given today’s experience, I’m going to continue to leave sugar out of my diet for the time being because I feel better without it. I never thought I’d say that. I also never thought I’d be comfortable in my own skin so, you just never know.

Be well, friends.

Until next time.

Sugar Free PB&J Chia Porridgeimg_7977

Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons Chia Seeds
  • 1/2 cup culinary full-fat coconut milk + 2 tablespoons
  • Handful of blueberries
  • 1 date, pitted
  • 2-3 figs, halved
  • Dash of cinnamon & nutmeg
  • Dollop of nut butter
  • Whatever toppings you’d like. I used unsweetened coconut shreds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds. Other ideas: dairy-free yogurt, nuts, banana, more fruit.

Directions: Warm up the milk over medium heat until it’s bubbling. Add chia seeds slowly, stir consistently. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the additional milk and bring back to a simmer for about 2 minutes. Add blueberries, figs and date. Stir consistently for about 4 minutes until the porridge is thick and tinted from the blueberries. The blueberries act as the “jelly” so you want them to liquify to get all the natural sugars out! Pour into a bowl, add peanut butter and your choice of toppings!

Detox Diary and a Recipe

So remember when I told you I was detoxing? Yea, that’s still happening. Today is Day 5 and it’s actually going really well. Read more about what I’ve been eating and how I’ve been feeling.

Day 1

Breakfast: Almond Milk Matcha Latte mixed with Vital Proteins Collagen  and Mashed Sweet Potato and Carrot Breakfast Bowl. (recipe below)

I felt a little buzz after having the matcha, like a high! It was awesome. I wonder if this was how I felt when I first had coffee… hmm. 

Lunch: Sautéed Kale, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, and Potatoes topped with nutritional yeast,olive oil, Trader Joe’s 21 seasoning salute, salt and pepper.

Dinner: Spaghetti Squash with Shredded Chicken, Peas, and Sweet Potatoes topped with olive oil, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.

Snacks: Green Tea, Fatty Coconut Nut Balls, Dark Chocolate, Banana.

Yes, snacking on a detox is fine! If you’re active and working out, snacking and keeping your energy up is a great idea especially if you’re snacking on quality fats and protein. 

img_7817Mashed Sweet Potato and Carrot Breakfast Bowl & Matcha Latte

Day 2

Breakfast: Almond Milk Matcha Latte mixed with Vital Proteins Collagen and Mashed Sweet Potato and Carrot Breakfast Bowl.

Lunch: Grain-free Vegetarian Lasagna at Hu Kitchen.

Hu Kitchen specializes in organic everything, hormone-free meat, and uses minimal ingredients. They keep it REAL.  I was out and about and hungry and knew that I could walk through these doors and find something that was compliant with the elimination diet. This lasagna was unreal and I was SO FULL. The “cheese” they used was made out of cashews and it was to die for. 

Dinner: Roasted Cauliflower, Carrots, Brussel sprouts, and Sweet Potatoes over a bed of Spinach at Whole Foods.

Snacks: Apple Cinnamon Larabar and the Golden Milk Turmeric Latte from Bluestone Lane Coffee. I AM OBSESSED. 

As you can see I ate out a lot on Friday and I still stuck to the cleanse. It’s not easy when you’re out and about but if you do proper research, you can find places that have exactly what you’re looking for. If you aren’t sure about ingredients, ask the chef, or ask to see the nutritional facts, most places should be able to provide you with the comfort of knowing exactly what you’re putting in your mouth. I am lucky to live in NYC where there are numerous healthy restaurants and a Whole Foods at least every 20 blocks. That’s not to say there isn’t temptation, because that $1 pizza joint  and that empanada truck I passed on the way to Whole Foods smelled better than it ever has in my entire life… it’s funny when you start to crave things that you never eat. That’s detoxing for you.

fullsizeoutput_218dFatty Coconut Balls & Green Tea during study time

Day 3

Breakfast: Almond milk Matcha Latte with a Smoothie (Avocado, Spinach, Pineapple, Celery, and Coconut Water)

Lunch: Lentil Dahl (curried lentils) with Kale, Cauliflower, Butternut Squash, and Potato topped with a homemade Tahini Dressing

Dinner: Coconut Chicken Curry with Asparagus, Purple Cabbage, Carrot, and Potato

Snack: Fatty Coconut Nut Balls, Peanut Butter, and Kombucha

Today was a hard day. I had a horrible headache from sun-up to sun-down. I was definitely going through withdrawal from caffeine and sugar. It sucked, honestly. I tried to run three miles and everything hurt. I walked a couple of miles afterwards because it was a beautiful day but couldn’t enjoy myself because my head hurt so much. But I didn’t give up, I didn’t grab a cup of coffee. I took a long hot shower and tried to rest as much as possible. This is important to do when you’re on a detox. Your body is going through a lot so it’s important to take it easy, which means rest and sleep… a lot of it. 

 

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Bluestone Lane’s Golden Milk and Beet Latte, oh so beautiful.

Day 4

Breakfast: Green Tea and a Smoothie (Avocado, Banana, Spinach, Collagen, and Coconut Water)

Second Breakfast: Roasted Potatoes and Oranges

Lunch: N/A yea… not good… I was at work.

Dinner: Lentil Dahl with Kale, Butternut Squash, and Sweet Potatoes

Snacks: Fatty Coconut Nut Balls, Almonds, Mashed Sweet Potato and Carrot Bowl

I surprisingly felt very energized throughout the day and I attribute that to my amazing Avocado Smoothie! I’m obsessed. It’s silky texture reminds me of a milkshake. I packed it with protein and good fat that sustained my energy. At work I had some roasted potatoes and oranges because I needed a little something, but no lunch… that’s how it goes sometimes. Instead of beating myself up, I look at how well I fueled myself to sustain a long, hard, day at work and look to do better next time. 

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I woke like this. With an Avocado Smoothie in hand. Or within 15 minutes of waking up…

Day 5 

Breakfast: Almond Milk Matcha Latte and a… you guessed it, Avocado Smoothie!  I can’t stop. Except tomorrow I might have to since I ran out of avocados… 

Lunch: Shrimp Papaya Salad from Chop’t with no dressing, just lemon, lime, and olive oil. This was YUM! 

Dinner: Curried Lentil Dahl with Pulled Chicken, Butternut Squash, and a Potato.

Snacks: Salmon Avocado Cauliflower Rice Sushi roll and a Golden Milk Turmeric Latte from Bluestone Lane Coffee again because, it’s ridiculous and I’m obsessed.

As you can tell, once I find something that’s healthy and delicious I can’t get enough of it. I should probably vary my diet a bit more than I do, but when you’re cleansing and detoxing I  think that it’s comforting to have a few go-to meals that you know are satisfying and delicious. It helps keep the: “oh my god I can’t eat anything. I give up. Give me the bag of chips.” at bay.

The hardest part of the cleanse so far is making plans with friends and having to explain that I’d rather not go to that restaurant, or that bar, and asking them if they’d like to come over to my apartment instead. This takes so much discipline and dedication, but it is possible. All of my friends are understanding and for that, I am grateful. But I do want to buy a bottle of wine and make pasta, or eat BBQ, or go to that new Dim Sum place with them! It’ll happen, just not now, and that’s okay. I know why I’m doing this, and that I’ll feel great afterwards,  so it’s worth it.

I want to emphasize that this is a cleanse and not the way I plan to live my life from now on. Detoxes and cleanses aren’t meant to be maintained for longer than a month or two. Once you detox, you slowly reintroduce your body to the things you eliminated, and you’ll discover what you should keep, and what you should minimize. It’s about balance. It’s not about giving up social engagements that involve any sort of food or drink and staying at home by yourself. That’s not sustainable. It’s about getting rid of cravings, getting in touch with your true wants in regards to food and drink, giving your body a break and eliminating toxins and allergens so you can start with a blank slate.

Okay, day 5 almost done, 9 to go.

Mashed Sweet Potato and Carrot Breakfast Bowl Recipe

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Health Benefits: High in fiber, protein, vitamins, quality fats, betacarotene, potassium, magnesium and antioxidants.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Sweet Potato, mashed (I make a big batch ahead of time and heat up)
  • 1-2 Carrots, mashed (see above)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Toppings:

  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened, plain dairy free yogurt, or greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp nut butter
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp hemp seeds
  • sprinkle of coconut shreds
  • sprinkle of nuts
  • dash of cinnamon
  • Other topping ideas: granola, flax seeds, cacao nibs, dates, banana, blueberries, pumpkin seeds, freeze dried, or regular dried,  fruit (no sugar added)

Mix the sweet potato and carrot together in small saucepan with the coconut oil. Dash with cinnamon and mix until heated through. Put the mixture into a bowl and top it up! It’s that easy.

Why Detox?

Today is my first day, out of fourteen, on the Elimination Diet, or my version of the Elimination Diet. AKA a detox. The Elimination Diet removes all common dietary irritants in an effort to detox your liver, give your body a break and feel better. This means no:

  • Dairy
  • Gluten
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Eggs
  • Grains
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Sugar

Often times we eat foods for us that make us feel sick but we’re stuck in cycle of feeling like crap that we barely notice that food may be the issue. We blame it on everything except food. I’ve been there.

The first time I did this sort of diet was when I was severely struggling with IBS and really didn’t want to give up anything. I experienced a lot of withdrawal and had a lot of frustrating grocery store experiences, but afterwards I was energized and felt the healthiest I’d ever felt!

Why detox? It sounds impossible!

Okay, detoxing is not supposed to be how you live your life 365 days a year. That’s just insane. The goal is to live a balanced life, not deprive yourself of foods that you love. (yes, that means eating hot dogs are okay from time to time) Doing a detox or cleanse like the elimination diet is useful 1-2 times per year. It helps free your body of toxins, free radicals, and other irritants. Do this 1-2 times a year and your digestive, endocrine, nervous, immune… ALL of your systems in your amazing computer of a body… will be in tip top shape.

But WHY?

If you’re experiencing any of the following, I’d consider doing a detox/cleanse/elimination diet:

  • Weight Gain
  • Digestive Issues- IBS, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas
  • Brain fog- general tiredness and inability to focus
  • Red, blood-shot eyes
  • Acne, rashes, and other skin issues
  • Anxiety, depression, moodiness
  • Autoimmune Diseases

 

I decided to do it for a couple of reasons.

  1. I want to experiment on myself and create a comprehensive Gut Health 2 Week Detox Plan. So I’m going to figure out how to make cleansing not totally SUCK. (hopefully)
  2. My digestive system is out of wack, lots of gas and bloating (cute, I know).
  3. My eyes are red and blood shot which is a topical sign that your liver needs detoxing.
  4. General feelings of tiredness, which may just be the time of year, but this will help.

 

How am I doing?

So far, so good! I REALLY wanted coffee this morning especially since I’ve been indulging in the Bulletproof Coffee trend lately. That stuff is SO good. But, instead of going for the tea kettle right away, I made myself a Lemon Turmeric Ginger Elixirto get the liver detoxing and flowing. I actually do this pretty much every morning anyway, but especially because I’m following a specific detoxifying diet, it’s important to help your body with it’s natural detoxifying process. Because, yes, even if we don’t take measures to detox and cleanse our bodies, it’ll do it anyway. We’re overexposed to food and environmental toxins so there’s no way the body can do it all perfectly all the time. A little help never hurt anyone, right? Why not make it more efficient? ANYWAY. The rest of my day has gone pretty well so far, I haven’t had any headaches or crabbiness!

I’m going to keep you updated with Elimination Diet recipes for the next couple of weeks and chronicle my journey. Today’s recipe is the morning elixir! Even if you’re not ready to do an elimination diet or detox yet, I highly recommend adding this to your daily routine. Do it first thing in the morning before anything else. I promise you’ll notice a difference whether it’s better digestion, more energy, curbed appetite, glowing skin, happiness, or all of the above!

Lemon Turmeric Ginger Elixir

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Health Benefits: detoxifies liver, flushes digestive system, rehydrates the body, anti-inflammatory, boosts immune system, clearer skin.

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground (or 1 tablespoon fresh) ginger
  • squeeze half a lemon
  • room temp/warm water *

Mix it all up and drink!

*this is important! Room temp/warm water first thing in the morning helps your body absorb all of the nutrients in the lemon, ginger, and turmeric.