I’ve long recommended this daily ritual to my 1-1 clients and sugar cleansers as a natural way to support the body’s built-in detoxification pathways.

The recipe:

Juice from 1/2 a lemon added to 8-12 oz warm water or ginger tea

Why? It’s a simple practice with a huge return – and you can start it today. Here are few reasons to add this to your morning routine if you don’t already do it.

  1. Hydration! This counts towards your daily water intake needs.
  2. Doing it first thing in the morning (yes, even before coffee) sends the message to the body that you acknowledge water is critical to life and your body’s ability to function at the most basic level. It’s like saying “You’re safe body. I got you.”
  3. It primes the pumps, optimizing digestion, promoting regular bowel movements, and urination. AKA, our natural detox pathways. It helps flush the body out and keeps things moving along.
  4. It adds a high dose of food-based vitamin C, about a 30-50 mg dose; this powerful antioxidant reduces oxidative damage and boosts immunity, just to name a couple benefits. If you breakaway from this habit in the summer time, be sure to come back to it in fall and winter as part of your home immune boosting protocol.
  5. It offers a nice dose of potassium as well; think nerve-muscle communication.
  6. To love on your liver! Our liver is responsible for 500+ vital functions (!) in the body and most western lifestyles put quite a burden on it. Lemon stimulates the liver to flush out toxins by breaking down harmful substances, along with their by-products, by excreting them through the feces. **Note that lemon alone, while strong medicine, does not flush all toxins from the liver. 
  7. To support healthy metabolism and weight loss, because healthy water intake is directly related to increased calorie burning.
  8. Glow-y skin – oh la la! Vitamin C helps boost collagen production and staying well hydrated from the inside out, helps clear the skin. And when the bowels are moving regularly and the liver is happy, the skin is happy. Those who participate in my virtually Guided Seasonal Sugar Cleanses consistently report clearer skin!
  9. Preventing kidney stones. If you’re someone who is prone to that, the citric acid in lemons can help inhibit stone formation and break up small stones that may be forming. More here.


Be aware of false claims. Drinking warm lemon water, while laden with a ton of health benefits, is not a cure all. It alone doesn’t cure cancer and it doesn’t “alkalize” the body. The alkaline hypothesis is a bit over simplified, in my opinion. Check out this article by Chris Kesser if you’d like to hear more about that perspective.



  1. What about my teeth? Drink this quickly (no slow sipping) or use a straw. The acidity from the lemon, overtime, can contribute to erosion of tooth enamel. It’s good to be mindful of this.
  2. What if it’s too acidic for me? If it’s too strong for you, cut it down to a 1/4 lemon or consider adding it to your morning tea, like a turmeric or ginger tea, with a bit of raw honey. You can also benefit from simply drinking warm water in the morning if lemon doesn’t work for you.
  3. Does it have to be warm? Yes. Warm water is key. No shocking our GI system first thing in the AM. Room temp during the summer is fine as well, just no ice.
  4. Does it matter what time of day I drink it? You can drink warm lemon water anytime of day, but there are greater benefits to doing it upon rising, as noted above.
  5. So like, when do I brush my teeth? Do what works for you. Some like to brush their teeth before and some after; if after, just wait about 30 min or so.
  6. Can I use the zest? Heck yes. If you’re using organic lemons, zest it first and tuck that away in the freezer for future use. When a dish calls for lemon, ask yourself, “Hmmm, how would I like a pop of zest in here?” And take that dish a level up. Waste not.


Any reason I shouldn’t do this?

If you’re intolerant to fruit, have a lemon/citrus allergy, or it worsens an existing condition, such as reflux. It shouldn’t feel bad or cause any pain. Or, if you simply don’t enjoy it. If you’re concerned before starting this daily ritual, chat with your doctor about it.