(Disclaimer – This is not a review of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, but the reference is not lost on me!)
A few weeks ago, everyone in my office was given a copy of Joy McCarthy’s nutrition and recipe book, Joyous Health. Along with this generous gift, our vending machines were removed. Our executives explained that this was in an attempt to help our office start living a healthier lifestyle. As a frequent visitor of the chocolate bar vending machine (only in the winter, don’t judge!) I mourned the loss of my comfort chocolate for about 5 seconds before I completely drank the Kool-Aid. Except it wasn’t Kool-Aid, it was lemon water.
For anyone unfamiliar with Joy McCarthy, she is holistic nutritionist living and working in Toronto. Her goals are to help improve our daily lives by small changes to our attitude, diet and overall activity. She is a very upbeat, excitable lady (and has gorgeous hair) and it’s hard not to like her. (Though I must add that her tendency to call everything “joyous” makes me feel like I’ve become part of a new age cult.)
I brought her book home and decided to forgo my fiction novel for the night in favour of giving her introduction and first chapter a shot. My fiance watched me skeptically from his side of the bed. He is well aware of my tendency to be told something will change my life, I will believe it completely, live and breathe it for two days, buy all the necessary foods or equipment, then decide it’s too time-consuming/ expensive/ controlling/ whatever and stop entirely.
But I was bound to attack this differently. Joy wouldn’t be the dictator of my new regime, she would be a guide. I would read bits and pieces of the book as I saw fit, and make small adjustments that I felt were attainable to my daily routine. The first one was lemon water.
You can’t exist in today’s society without having heard the various benefits of lemon water (cleansing, alkalising, increasing your livers detoxifying enzymes, helps burn fat, etc..). If you’re anything like me, you’ve already heard that one overly healthy friend or coworker praising how it changed her life. I smile and nod. Now, I am that annoying friend.
Joy recommends squeezing half of a small lemon into 1 1/2 cups of room temperature water and drinking it on an empty stomach in the morning. Now, I tend to wait until I get to work to eat or drink anything, because I’m one of those weird people who can’t eat when they wake up. But chugging down my lemon water before making my toast left me starved, so I brought a water bottle on the subway with me; my lemon stuffed inside. Then, yesterday, my dentist mused with a furrowed brow that I was wearing through the cement on my post-braces wire (the joys of orthadontics lasts your whole life people!). She asked if I drank a lot of juice. Nope. Did I have acid reflux? Nope. Did I drink lemon water? Why yes, yes I do. Apparently, lemon water is a culprit in the war against deteriorating enamel on the teeth, and in my case, for wearing down cement bindings. She recommended getting a water bottle with a straw. All I heard was, “here is another reason to buy a cute new water bottle!” So on my walk back to work, I picked up an adorable plastic mason jar with a straw.
After my lemon water, I went into my work kitchen for coffee. Joy McCarthy is NOT a friend or fan of coffee, but there are some thing I am not willing to give up. As I loaded up the coffee machine, my coworker appeared beside me, with a glass of water, filled with lemons. She closed her eyes for a second while I poured the crushed coffee beans into the filter.
“That smells wonderful.”
We laughed about how giving up coffee was not in the plan for either of us, though clearly, adopting the lemon water was. As she filled her cup, she laughed and said “Really, who wants to cozy up with a good book or watch a good movie with a wonderful cup of … lemon water?” I ran to my desk and wrote that down.
So yes, my office, and more specifically me, is converted. There are a good chunk of us who arrive each morning with our lemon water in tow. And cult or no cult, I have to admit.. it works.
I’ve felt more .. something, since I started. We could be talking placebo effect for all I know (I drink something someone said was healthy, therefore I adopt the feeling of being healthy and rejuvenated). But more than likely, my body just likes being treated better. Along with the lemon water, I’ve also been cooking more. I made tuna cakes from a Joy McCarthy recipe (online here) the other day, and not only did I use mostly organic ingredients and some new things I’ve never tried before (coconut oil, anyone?) but my fiancé praised my meal.
I haven’t stopped there either. I also go for longer walks, eat less junk food and overall feel better about myself. I don’t deprive myself of thing I love (cough, COFFEE, cough) but I make a more conscious choice about what goes into my body. Fair enough, right? And the lemon water helps too..