The Benefits of Starting Your Day with a Wellness Tonic

This wellness tonic was inspired by a drink at one of my favorite vegetarian/vegan restaurants in Portland- Harlow! Harlow is a restaurant that actually focuses on good for you plant-based meals. As much as I like to treat myself to vegan comfort foods, I try to live by the 80-20 rule and eat good-for-you foods 80% of the time (and treat myself 20% of the time). Whenever I go to Harlow, I love to treat myself to their wellness toddy- a deliciously spicy drink that I’ve always wished I could have every morning. Unfortunately I don’t live close enough to drink it *every* morning, but I did figure out to create a similar and every-bit-as-good wellness toddy, myself.

On a side note, if you’re ever in Portland and looking for a healthy place to eat, definitely check out Harlow or their sister restaurant, Prasad! Everything I’ve had off the menu has been really good.

Anyways, I know how annoying it is when you’re reading a recipe post and the recipe is buried at the bottom. So, I am putting it right up top. However, if you want to know what makes this wellness tonic good for you (and not just taste good), read below! I am breaking down the ingredients and why they should be in your diet pretty much everyday!

Anti Inflammatory Drink

Wellness Tonic Recipe


  • 1 Lemon
  • 16 oz. Filtered Water
  • 1 Inch Piece of Ginger (ground)
  • 1 Tsp. Turmeric Powder or Turmeric Root (ground)
  • 1/4 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 Tsp. Black Pepper


  1. Boil 16 oz. of water.
  2. While water is boiling, juice 1 lemon into 1 cup (for 16 oz. drink) or two cups (for 2 8 oz. drinks).
  3. Grind 1 inch piece of ginger into and split between cups if necessary.
  4. Add 1 tsp. of tumeric, 1/4 tsp. of cayenne, and 1/4 tsp. of black pepper, and split between cups if necessary.
  5. Add boiling water and let steep for a few minutes.

Note: I use fresh ginger and turmeric, but you can use the ground versions too! It also is fine if you chop the ginger into big chunks if you don’t want to directly drink ginger, just let it steep in the water a few minutes before removing.

I’ve only tried this drink hot, however if you experiment and try it cold let me know because I would love to hear how it turned out!

The Benefits of Starting Your Day with a Wellness Tonic

Okay, a wellness tonic with ginger, lemon, turmeric, cayenne, and black pepper isn’t exactly groundbreaking. There are probably hundreds of recipes already online similar to the above. This recipe is just what I’ve found to be best for my taste. It’s really spicy (how I like it), so it can be modified with less ginger and cayenne if you prefer your drink to be less spicy. I also use a huge lemon so if you don’t want yours to be as lemon-y you can use a smaller lemon or dilute with more water.

Let’s get into why these ingredients are so good for you!


First of all, lemons are a great source of vitamin C and flavonoids. These are antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent damage to the cells in our body by removing free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that cause damage in your body that result in aging (and tissue damage that results from the aging process), cancer, certain diseases. That’s probably a lot to absorb if you don’t already have previous knowledge about free radicals and antioxidants, so if you’re interested you can check out the video below!

“Free Radical Damage- Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment” via Osmosis on Youtube

Of course, lemons aren’t the only food with a great source of antioxidants- that’s why you should include a variety of fruits and veggies in your diet!


The main component of ginger that creates its medicinal affects is gingerol. Gingerol is another antioxidant in addition to being an anti-inflammatory. Chronic inflammation can lead to health problems in the future like osteoporosis and (according to Dr. Mike Dow, author of The Brain Fog Fix) a more serious condition called leaky brain.

Ginger is also well known to relieve nausea, relieve muscle soreness or pain and decrease blood sugar.

Turmeric and Black Pepper:

The active compound in turmeric is called curcumin. Again, this is another type of antioxidant and it also is a strong anti-inflammatory properties, like gingerol. However, curcumin isn’t readily absorbed by the blood. Combining turmeric with black pepper can increase the absorption due to black pepper containing piperine.


The active compound in cayenne pepper is called capsaicin. This is what gives cayenne it’s spicy taste. It also helps to boost metabolism (although the effect is small), reduce hunger, and also lower blood pressure.

Adding cayenne to this tonic is totally optional, however I think that it offsets the taste of the lemon nicely and adds a spicier flavor than just the ginger alone if you’re a fan of spiciness!

A Recap on the Benefits:

To sum all the benefits up, consuming this drink is a great source of antioxidants and also a good anti-inflammatory. This is good for your long term health since chronic inflammation can lead to a slew of health issues and antioxidants are important to neutralize free radicals. It’s crazy how much inflammation most people hold in their body without even realizing it.

This tonic is easy to make, provides health benefits, and hydrates you first thing in the morning! Basically, you can’t go wrong by drinking this (especially everyday!). It’s why I’ve added it to my daily morning routine.

If you try this tonic, let me know in the comment below! I would love to hear what you think of it. I promise you’ll feel *extra* healthy after drinking it and it will encourage you to eat healthier for the rest of the day, too.

For more posts on all things health, wellness, and lifestyle be sure to subscribe to my newsletter below or follow my socials to be updated on new posts. My Facebook page can be found here and Instagram is @maddie_deer and can be found here.


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