Last week, I was on shift with one of my favorite co-workers, chatting, gossiping and trying to enjoy spending Friday night serving pints to the Manchester public.
But, the poor thing was stopping every five minutes to blow her nose and rub it raw with yet another tissue. I felt so bad for her, and then horrified watching her crack open a second Coca-Cola and ask for a cigarette break. I desperately wanted to whip her up a green juice and put her in bed, but that would be weird, wouldn’t it? I was thinking of her gorgeous body, trying to fight off this awful cold.
When she returned from break, she took out paper and a pen and began writing a list. I love making lists, so gazed sheepishly over her shoulder to see what this one entailed. It read things like “learn French” and “read Stanislavski”.
Then she turned to me and said: “what would you like to add? I want to use my holiday properly and get stuff done! I don’t want to just waste it!”
I love lists. I have too many. I have daily “To Do” lists, a “Life Goals” list, a “What I Want to Do To My Flat” list… you name it!
I grabbed the pen without any further prompting and hunched over to scribble one sentence before handing it back to her.
“Start every day with a cup of hot water and lemon.”
She looked perplexed, then smiled (from politeness, I’m sure) and said “Hot water and lemon, eh?”
I assured her that it’ll help with her voice (she performs), her cold recovery, waking up her body in the morning and feeling more energized. There’s lots of stuff about “PH” and “alkaline” and all that, but for now, let’s just go with “you’ll feel loads better.” She nodded along furiously and confessed that her “diet” currently was made up of mainly crisps, coffee and chocolate.
I tapped the list: start small, start with lemon.
It’s only a tiny change, but will make a big difference. I know she’s skeptical, but I have no doubts.
This is the magic of our incredible bodies. They follow the golden rule – they treat us as they would like to be treated. If we give them crap, they will perform like crap. If we deprive them of sleep – they will be drowsy and tired. If we cover them in chemicals, they will break out. Just as simply – if we treat them with love and respect – they will love us back.
The best thing is – it’s not even difficult. We are told that being healthy is hard and expensive, when in practice it’s no more difficult to peel a banana than it is to peel the wrapper off a snickers bar.
But it’s a step-by-step process that won’t happen overnight. It certainly didn’t for me.
This is where the humble lemon is my best friend and easiest converter. Most people start their day with some kind of routine, whether it’s just brushing their teeth immediately or putting on runners and going outside for a jog. Flicking the kettle on and making a hot water with lemon to drink first thing is not too tricky, but the rewards are enormous.
My lovely co-worker has since reported back: she is addicted. She loves her new morning drink and cannot believe the immediate benefits. She indeed feels more energized, better from her cold and (most importantly) she wants to now, having nailed this part of the day, move on to a new, healthy habit.
It’s true: goodness fuels goodness. When you start to feel good it is contagious! You want to keep feeling great and therefore are likely to take on the next challenge. Will it be increasing your water intake? Cutting back on crisps? Or a biggie: quitting smoking? Whatever it is – it may suddenly seem a little easier and worthwhile.
Lemons are cheap, which is fantastic because I get through a lot of them! They are my main staple for morning and evening beverages and a favorite to use in the kitchen. I love to use lemon juice as a salad dressing. It can be a key ingredient in a lovely simple recipe, or literally just squeezing the lemon juice over crispy, fresh vegetables!
My (kinda famous) Lemon Tahini Dressing:
Place 1 or 2 tablespoons of tahini (I use raw tahini, but they’re all good!), in a bowl and dilute with approximately half a cup of lemon juice and water, but adding very gradually. Gently work the tahini and lemon together to create a nice smooth consistency, adding more juice as you go. Add more lemon/water as you like to make thinner and taste as you go to keep the flavors balanced. You can add salt and pepper to this if you like – but I don’t think it needs it!
Just lemon! One of the best dressings I ever “made” was literally squeezing a lemon over my delicious salad and adding some chopped fresh dill and parsley. It was beyond divine.
There is my ode to the humble lemon! And, according to this amazing list I found on trueactivist.com, lemons can do a lot more than taste good and keep us healthy!