It has been purported that trillions of bacteria live in your body, but most live in your digestive tract. The ones that live in our gut have the most significant impact on our health and well-being. We need to have a balance of good yeast and bacteria in our digestive tract to maintain our health. One way to bring stability is to consume Lacto-fermented food and beverages. Kombucha is a Lacto-fermented beverage. After being asked to write about Kombucha and share my recipe, I wondered what I could possibly say about this amazing drink that has not already been said. When you do a google search on Kombucha, you get pages and pages full of posts running from the gamut of miracle tea to harmful hoax.
How does one begin to navigate the truth about Kombucha? The best place to start is what is Kombucha? It is a raw, beneficial health drink made from sweetened black tea and a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). The SCOBY feeds off of the caffeine and sugar in the brewed tea, the result is a fizzy drink rich with live enzymes, b vitamins, probiotics and high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic, and lactic). Although the tea is acidic, it is alkalizing to the body. Many claims have been made that the tea originates from Asia and is over 2000 years old. I first read about the drink over ten years ago in The Makers Diet by Jordan Rubin in a small paragraph about fermented beverages. Many of Rubin’s recipes are from Sally Fallon’s book, Nourishing Traditions, which has a recipe for Kombucha.
Let’s talk about the benefits. Since Kombucha is categorized as a Lacto-fermented beverage, it is nutrient- dense, meaning there are more nutrients available for your body to absorb and use. What are some of these benefits? Probiotics, live enzymes, minerals, lactic acid, beneficial bacteria and yeast all of which aid and support a healthy gut. Some of the benefits many consumers experience are increased energy, relief from constipation, premenstrual syndrome, and inflammation. Also, it aids in detoxification, boosts your immune system and promotes overall good health and stamina. This is not an exhaustive list, and for more information, I would refer you to others who are credible such as Dr. Mercola, and Dr. Axe. I also reference Dave, owner of GTS Kombucha, his website is www.getkombucha.com. He has a plethora of information on his site along with other uses for Kombucha and recipes to help. He is called the king of Kombucha.
My Story with Kombucha
I first read about Kombucha when reading The Maker’s Diet. At the time I was looking to maintain gut health, especially in the area of keeping candida (yeast infections) away. Back then, the only brand of kombucha that was available was the GTS brand. I loved it; loved the taste, the fizziness and how it made me feel. My chiropractor’s muscle tested me to see if it was a good fit, it was. It made me feel supported in my body and just plain felt better overall. I followed the instructions on starting slow, like drink ½ cup with dinner and see how it goes. Because of the expense, I maintained that for a bit, increased as time went on, and then stumbled onto making it myself. I’ve been making Kombucha now for over 10 years now.
Drinking Kombucha for over a decade now, I can see the many health benefits this fantastic drink has brought my way. Here is my list of benefits that I have received:
- Aids in digestion especially when eating a more substantial meal.
- Immune support – On those days when I feel like I may be coming down with a cold or virus, many times I have been avoided getting sick.
- Protects liver and digestive tract: When I found out I was mercury toxic, the doctor tested the areas of my body where the metals settled and amazingly my liver and gastrointestinal tract were metal free, which I give credit to Kombucha although I cannot medically back that up.
- Because it supports the immune system, digestion, detoxification, mood enhancement, energy, overall well-being, I bring it with me when I travel.
- Detoxification: When exposed to an allergen, it aids in removing the toxin from my body.
- Aids in reducing inflammation.
- Excellent substitute for soda.
If you decide you would like to try some Kombucha, buy a bottle and begin to drink it slowly. The reason I say to start slow is to see how your body reacts. Start small (1/4 cup) and drink with your dinner because that is usually your most substantial meal of the day. See how you feel. Do it for three days and if it’s okay, increase it to a 1/2 cup. Then continue to increase up to one bottle a day which is 16 oz. Or 2 cups. Once your body is used to it, you can drink it any time. Kombucha contains caffeine so you may want to limit your intake if it affects your sleep. Drink water in equal proportions to the amount of Kombucha consumed. Now some of you may be asking, okay which brand, what flavor, and where do I get this stuff? Good questions. I typically buy the GTS brand. There are others, but I find that that brand works for me. It’s been around for many years and Dave, the owner of the company, has a website that discusses Kombucha and teaches you how to make it. That is how I learned. He has videos, kits, recipes and all kinds of great information.
Flavor: that is more of a preference but when starting something new, go with something you know you will like. I recommend “Trilogy” for the first time you are trying it. On average you can buy a bottle for about $3.50. You can buy Kombucha in health food stores, and online. I used to buy it by the case through a food co-op. After trying Kombucha, you may decide you want to brew your own Kombucha because it is much cheaper to make than to buy. Like any food or drink, there are risks of allergies or adverse reaction. According to WebMD, improperly prepared Kombucha can grow harmful bacteria and mold. Therefore, they do not recommend Kombucha. I have been brewing Kombucha for over 10 years and have never had mold or any harmful growth in my brewer. I sterilize all my equipment and wash my hands consistently when making Kombucha. Like any food or drink, you need to research your sources and decide if the benefits outweigh the risks. Because it is a fermented beverage, it contains small amounts of alcohol.