Lemon Water’s Michelle Siman Wants to be a Different Kind of Health & Wellness Blogger

"You want to ask me what my favourite juice is? Sure, I'll tell you. Am I spending $12 on that juice everyday? Hell no."

Toronto-based Michelle Siman first got the idea for Lemon Water in 2017. “At the time, health and wellness bloggers were all kind of the same,” she says between sips of her almond decaf latte. “It was all very cookie-cutter, and I couldn’t see myself in the space. I felt like the conversations being had weren’t necessarily authentic. Like, straight up, these people were annoying to listen to. I realized I probably wasn’t the only person that feels this way.”

So Michelle weighed her options: she could start a blog, create a YouTube channel, or, she could pool together her cash, rent some recording equipment and teach herself how to do a podcast. To test the concept, she launched an Instagram mood board: think original sneaker, sweatsuits and citrus content interlaced with ’80s Adidas ads and encouraging quotes.

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Her goal with the project was to make wellness attainable, as opposed to “this pretentious thing that not everyone can access.” Instagram-hyped health and fitness trends don’t come cheap, and she gets that. “You want to ask me what my favourite juice is?” she asks. “Sure, I’ll tell you. Am I spending $12 on that juice everyday? Hell no. There are so many things you can just make at home.”

But you won’t find DIY juicing and morning smoothie recipes on the Lemon Water Instagram page. Instead, you’ll have to head to Michelle’s personal account, @simansays, where she frequently shares snaps of her Chaga mushroom coffee, heavy metal detox smoothies (ideal for women with copper IUDs) and, of course, glasses of lemon water. Sometimes, she’ll post a pic of a $12 juice. Usually, she’s IG storying a step-by-step celery juice tutorial.

“I had people messaging me asking why I use a blender to make celery juice. It’s simple: not everyone can dish out $200 on a juicer,” Michelle explains. “You make do with what you already have; there is no need to spend more money.”

Browsing through Michelle’s account, you might also run into some fresh pasta porn or a video of her dancing at the bar with her friends. “Life without balance is not healthy,” she says, “that’s not what being well is. I’m not your typical wellness blogger because once a month I’m gonna go out with my friends and we’re going to down seven tequila shots and have the best time. Being happy is a part of being well—and I think that’s what the industry kinda needs right now. We don’t need more people preaching an intimidatingly unattainable lifestyle. Because those health gurus you see on Instagram are probably taking shots with their friends too, they’re just choosing not to share that.”

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Michelle is a rare breed of influencer that isn’t necessarily interested in influencing her audience. Instead, she wants to leave room for those in her community to do their own research and make their own decisions before hopping on a health trend. She wants to remind people that supplements like “vitamins are not one size fit all, you need to talk to your doctor before trying new things.”

So, instead of peddling products, she’s created a space for ongoing conversation. And the best place to talk, it turns out, is a podcast. With Lemon Water, Michelle invites the women whose DMs she often slides into for advice—like Steph Gee of Gee BeautyHana James of Greenhouse Juice and Sara Panton of vitruvi—to talk to her about all things fitness, food, skincare, remedies and rituals. “I’m just having conversations with women who are already my healers; people I looked up to in the industry. These people are already educating, I just want to have a more wholesome, authentic conversation with them. With the podcast, I was just letting other people eavesdrop on the conversation.”

Season Two of Lemon Water is available now on Apple Podcasts.