FYI – First and foremost, talk to your doctor to determine if Kombucha tea is a safe option for you, especially if you take medications or have health conditions.
“Fermentation is the exhalation of a substance through the admixture of a ferment which, by virtue of its spirit, penetrates the mass and transforms it into its own nature.” – Andreas Libavius
I stumbled upon Kombucha tea while researching about acid reflux cures online.
While reading about the benefits of fermented foods for GERD on Dr.Mercola’s site, one of the drinks mentioned by him was Kombucha.
Kombucha tea is a fermented, carbonated, vinegary, ciderish, probiotic beverage that has been around for thousands of years believed to have originated in Asia.
Later on, Kombucha worked its way through Russia, then through Eastern Europe and eventually to the United States.
It’s made by fermenting tea with a culture in much the same way milk is cultured to produce yogurt
Kombucha claims several health benefits including:
- Improved Digestion
- Weight Loss
- Increased Energy
- Cleansing and Detoxification
- Immune Support
- Reduced Joint Pain
- Cancer Prevention
It seemed everywhere I looked someone was talking about the amazing health benefits of Kombucha Tea.
I’ve always have had poor food digestion since I was a kid and it seemed to be getting worse recently.
So as I do with any nagging problem I have, I look for cures and tools to assist me.
After reading about Kombucha Tea I had to try some for myself.
So I searched online for any retail stores that carried it.
I thought I would have to go to Mom’s Organic Market or Dave’s Natural Market to buy some. (FYI – Whole Foods and Wegmans also carries Kombucha Teas.)
All of which are about 30 minutes or longer from my home.
But, I was lucky because I discovered that Safeway carried Kombucha Tea and Safeway is only about 10 minutes from my house.
I happily hurried along to Safeway and found Kombucha Tea on the endcap in the healthy, natural foods section.
(Funny how there is a healthy, natural section. What products are all the other isles filled with?)
There were so many brands and flavors to choose from.
The first bottle I bought was by a manufacturer named Kevita.
I opted for their Master Brew Ginger flavor.
After I purchased it at the check-out counter I had to take a sip.
Kevita’s Kombucha had a very strong vinegar taste which I didn’t mind since I already drink raw apple cider vinegar diluted in water almost daily.
The first night of drinking Kevita’s Kombucha I felt sort of drowsy.
I slept really well that night I might add.
I enjoyed Kevita Kombucha so much that I went back to Safeway and bought three more bottles at $3.50 apiece.
I know, it’s a bit pricey, but I don’t believe in cutting corners when it comes to my health.
I discovered after drinking Kombucha Tea that my cravings were reduced.
I didn’t want coffee, sweets or other foods as much as I normally would.
And like I said, I slept very well after drinking Kombucha and my stomach distress had gone down considerably.
I felt ecstatic to have found something that is healthy and cuts down on my cravings and stomach distress.
That was until I went to Safeway and they were all out of Kevita Kombucha Ginger flavored.
They had other flavors but I wasn’t looking for something for the flavor, I was looking for results.
And since ginger has such a positive effect on my stomach, there were no other options for me.
That was until after scanning the shelf for other Kombucha choices that I stumbled upon another brand: GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha Gingerade, also at $3.50.
“Yes”, I thought to myself.
So I bought a bottle of GT’s Gingerade, paid for it and left Safeway to try it out.
I opened it up and took a sip.
It tasted somewhat similar to a very light wine cooler but not nearly as strong or bitter.
I haven’t drunk alcohol in over ten years and I was a bit surprised by the taste since Kevita’s brand tasted more like vinegar than a wine cooler.
But, I was desperate I tell you, desperate.
I checked the label and found that GT’s and all Kombucha for that matter contain trace amounts of alcohol, (less than 0.5%) but not enough to be considered an alcoholic drink.
One thing I prefer about GT’s over Kevita is that it has less sugar per serving.
GT’s has 2 grams of sugar per serving or 4 grams per 16oz bottle whereas Kevita has 8 grams per serving or 16 grams per bottle.
Kevita does offer a sparkling probiotic drink that only has one gram of sugar.
It is recommended that you only drink 4 to 8 ounces of Kombucha in the beginning until your body assimilates to it even though GT’s founder Dave says he drinks about a gallon and a half a day because he samples each batch.
I am still a fan of both brands and still buy both when available.
However, it seems that there are other fans of Kombucha Ginger at Safeway because they seem to run out of stock rather quickly when I go there.
Kevita contains Vitamin C and Folic Acid, while GT’s contains Folate while both brands contain multiple B Vitamins and several strands of probiotic cultures.
Kombucha is a drink that you sip and not chug. It usually takes me several hours to finish a bottle.
Note: Kombucha Tea is not a cure for disease; it’s more a healthy, maintenance tool for the body when taken in moderation and is a healthier alternative to soda or other highly sweetened beverages.
How to Make Your Own Kombucha
Before you make your own, please research as much as possible online about safety precautions when making homemade Kombucha. Kombucha Kamp is a great website to get you acquainted with the art of Kombucha making.
Homebrewed Kombucha dangers can arise in a variety of forms, from allergic reactions to contamination. It is important to completely sterilize all your brewing equipment before making homemade Kombucha.
Many health food stores offer classes that can teach you how to properly ferment foods and drinks. I would recommend trying that first before making any on your own.
I have not yet experimented with homemade Kombucha but I will this winter. I will write about my results after I have successfully created a batch. I would also like to experiment with making homemade sauerkraut and kimchi too.
What you’ll need:
- 1 Cup Organic Sugar
- One gallon (16 cups) of unflouridated and unchlorinated water
- 8-10 Teabags of Black tea. Some websites suggest to use White and Green tea as alternatives.
- Kombucha Starter Culture – SCOBY = Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast The SCOBY, bacteria and yeast eat most of the sugar in the tea, transforming the tea into a fizzy, slightly sour fermented drink.
- 2 Cups starter liquid from another Kombucha tea. You can buy plain Kombucha Tea from the store and use that, or you can borrow some from a friend.
- Cloth cover or coffee filter
- Rubber band
How to make:
- Bring one gallon (16 cups) of unchlorinated and unfluoridated water to a boil.
- Turn off water, add tea bags and let steep for about 15 minutes.
- Stir in 1 Cup of organic sugar and stir until dissolved. (One cup of sugar per gallon is suggested).
- Let the tea cool completely.
- After the tea cools, pour it in a sterile one gallon size brewing jar.
- Pour in the starter liquid and SCOBY.
- Cover it with a cloth or coffee filter and secure it with rubber band.
- Set it in a dark place (your countertop will do) out of direct sunlight away from plants and your trashcan. It needs some airflow so don’t place in in your cabinet. Optimum room temperature is about 72F – 85F.
- Keep untouched for 7 to 10 days.
- After 7 days try a sample of your Kombucha. If it’s too bitter, then it’s been fermenting too long. If it’s super sweet, than it hasn’t fermented long enough.
- Save the Scoby and enough liquid from the bottom of the jar to use for your next batch of Kombucha
You can also try adding different flavors like fresh ginger or fruit like apples or grapes. You will need to do a second fermentation –about two or three days after adding flavoring ingredients.
Kombucha does contain a little bit of alcohol as a by-product of the fermentation process. It is usually no more than 1%. Unless you drink a lot of glasses in one sitting you won’t feel the effects. People with alcohol sensitivities or who avoid alcohol should be aware of its existence.
Dr. Andrew Weil – Thoughts about Kombucha Tea and Dangers
(For the sake of fair and balanced writing I decided to add this part about Kombucha from Dr. Weil.)
“Kombucha sipped daily has been recommended as a treatment for everything from AIDS and arthritis to baldness. I’ve seen discussions about kombucha benefits including claims that it boosts energy and improves eyesight.
A few years ago, kombucha tea was credited with the recovery of a patient suffering from advanced AIDS. Accounts of this seemingly miraculous turnaround left out the fact that the patient had begun treatment with an FDA-approved experimental drug therapy at the same time.
While some laboratory studies suggest that kombucha tea may have some health benefits (one published in January 2009 in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture investigated potential cholesterol-lowering and antioxidant effects), no human study has been published showing a beneficial effect for kombucha.
I am also concerned about the possibility of contamination in home-brewed kombucha.
Some batches contain aspergillus, a toxin-producing fungus. This would be a significant risk for individuals with compromised immune systems, such as those with AIDS or in chemotherapy for cancer.
There have been reports in the medical literature of adverse reactions, including nausea, vomiting and headaches, in people drinking more than four ounces of kombucha tea daily.
In 2009, physicians at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles reported a life-threatening case of lactic acidosis (the build-up of lactic acid in the bloodstream faster than it can be removed) and acute kidney failure in a 22-year-old man newly diagnosed with HIV within a few hours of his consuming kombucha tea.
Other cases of lactic acidosis and cases of serious liver dysfunction associated with ingestion of kombucha tea have also been reported, along with allergic reactions, jaundice, and head and neck pain. I would particularly caution pregnant women, nursing mothers, the elderly, children and anyone with a compromised immune system against consuming it.
In summary, I know of no kombucha benefits to be gained by drinking this tea.”
If you’re not ready to make Kombucha then try this instead:
Heat up (don’t boil) some warm water on the stove.
Next add about a tablespoon of grated ginger. If grated ginger is too strong for you then slice it instead. Add your ginger to the water on the stove. Next squeeze some lemon and lime into the water and let simmer for a few minutes.
Pour the mixture into your favorite hot drinking vessel.
Add some carbonated water and a small amount of raw sugar, stevia or raw honey.
Stir and enjoy.
Probiotics and Stomach Health
I’ve been taking probiotics for over a year now.
I take capsules and also eat and drink them.
I also enjoy probiotic foods like plain Kefir milk and raw, unpasteurized, fermented foods like Kimchi, sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar and pickles.
Probiotics are a simple way to restore the balance of friendly bacteria in both the gut and the intestines.
I also take Mastic Gum in capsule form. Mastic gum is exuded by the bark of the mastic tree, Pistacia lentiscus, which grows primarily on the Greek island of Chios in the Aegean Sea. Mastic has been used for gastrointestinal ailments for several thousand years.
Other stomach/digestive health hacks I use is taking several spoonfuls of raw organic coconut oil and a shot or two of raw olive oil daily as well as raw aloe juice and Tumeric Powder.
There’s a war going on in your stomach
The stomach is known as the second brain and this is where we get the term “gut feeling” from.
A healthy stomach is teeming with beneficial microorganisms –healthy gut flora while an unhealthy stomach is teeming with yeast and candida overgrowth – a type of fungus.
An overgrowth of yeast and candida can cause fatigue, mood swings and other disorders, acne, inflammation, joint disorders, bloating and dozens of other physical and psychological ailments.
Point blank, yeast and candida feed off of sugar and this is why it is so important to eliminate or at least reduce sugar and processed foods from your diet to the best of your ability.
Yeast and candida feed off of you, they are parasites.
Not only are they parasites, but they eliminate their waste products inside of your body.
The only way to reduce yeast and candida is by eating, whole, healthy foods and supplementing with probiotic rich foods and drinks.
Most junk food cravings are caused by yeast and candida overgrowth.
They need their feeding frenzy and you are the source.
Since they are inside of your body they can hack into you making you crave foods that are bad for your body, but good for the yeast and candida.
This is why it is important to keep your gut balanced and healthy for optimal wellness.
Stress causes more health issues than anything else.
Some of the top stressors are:
- Too many obligations and responsibilities
- Saying yes to things you’d rather say no to
- Rushing against time
- Unresolved issues
- Not enough quiet time for rest and rejuvenation
- Poor food and drink habits
- Financial debts/money issues
- Excessive sugar consumption
When we are stressed we often rely on comfort foods to temporarily make us feel better even though these comfort foods will cause us to feel worse later on.
Also when we are stressed we tend to tense up which causes digestive processes to slow down.
So I encourage you to make 2016 a year to take care of you by opting for healthier and vibrant lifestyle choices.
P.S. I am sipping on a bottle of Kevita Master Brew Ginger right now. Safeway had a sale today on this brand – 2 for $5.00. 🙂
P.S.S. I went to Mom’s Organic Market yesterday to pick up some Sambucus and I thought to myself, why not check out the Kombucha section?
After mulling over the choices I tried a brand I had never heard of before – High Country Kombucha.
I bought the Ginger flavored again.
This brand tasted way different than GT’s and Kevita.
It tasted more like Tea than the other two and less vinegary.
I’ve been drinking store bought Kombucha for over two months now without any negative side-effects.
How about you?
Would you buy store bought Kombucha or would you rather make your own.
How to Make Kombucha:
Health Benefits of Kombucha
Safety Precautions for Kombucha