Kombucha. The word, itself, conveys a sort of whimsy and exotic wonder. The first time I heard it, I was immediately drawn to it’s earthy aura and I determined to know more! That was 4 years ago, and I have been a supporter of this strange Kombucha mania, ever since. What I thought was a new and trendy invention, is actually a beverage that has been around for some 2,000 years! The Chinese used to call it the “The Immortal Health Elixir”. There are plenty of videos, blogs and papers explaining the benefits of this healthy brew, but I wanted to give my own explanation of why Kombucha should be added to your vocabulary and life!
- Your Gut: So this is a fermented drink that is made from a bacteria and yeast culture, called a “SCOBY” (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). Therefore, its probiotic properties put healthy bacteria in our systems. It is an acidic drink with bountiful nutrients like B-vitamints, glucaric acid (this is questioned), and antioxidants. It can aid in digestion and prevent candida overgrowth. I think of it like a healthier version of yogurt. It is especially great for vegans who are concerned with getting all of their needed B-vitamins, because it contains some of the healthy bacteria us vegans can miss out on. (Please note: In general, plant-based eaters (vegans) should not be at a lack of B vitamins, because we get plenty in a normal vegan diet, but just in case that is an area you struggle to maintain, this can help.)
- Detox: This drink acts like a liver detox, which is why it has often been linked to natural remedies to fight cancer and other diseases. Detoxing our bodies of harmful chemicals and toxins can aid in developing an environment for healthy cells to grow and weed out the abnormal/unhealthy mutations. My aunt’s naturopathic doctor even prescribed drinking one bottle of Kombucha everyday, while detoxing. I want to make a special note here that it is not Kombucha that is a cure for cancer or other diseases, rather it is an aid to giving our bodies a healthy environment and balancing our bodies so that they can better work toward healing themselves This concept is explained well on this page about kombucha myths and truths.
- Another Beverage Option: I have always been a big water drinker. I drink water ALL THE TIME, when I am feeling wild/adventurous, I break out some non-caffennated herbal teas or fresh squeezed juice! 😉 I have never been a soda/coffee/store-bought-juice drinker. However, my brother and my husband used to love soda, and they find that the carbonated fizzle that comes from the fermented Kombucha tea gives them a similar experience to soda. The best part about Kombucha is that even though it is made with caffeinated tea and sugar, by the time the scoby has finished its work, the liquid we drink has very little caffeine and very little, if any, sugar! This makes it an intensely beneficial replacement for soda. In fact, both my brother and my husband have been able to cut soda COMPLETELY from their diet. This is huge for soda drinkers, because not only are you cutting out a super detrimental liquid from your diet, you are replacing it with a bountiful health elixir!
- Mood Enhancing: This drink is rich in anti-oxidants which can bring you mental clarity, greater energy, and build your immune system. As further explained in this article by: Kristen Michaelis. I should also note that Kombucha does have trace amounts of alcohol (like .25-.5%). The percentage is extremely low, but fluctuates based on the length of “brew time”…I am not an alcohol drinker (Kombucha is the closest to alcohol I’ve ever come in my life), but I thought this point would be a good one to bring up in the “mood enhancing” section of this blog. 😉
- Cheap Health: This drink can easily be made in the privacy of our own homes costing nothing beyond material for glass jars, and black/green tea. It costs approximately 25-50 cents a gallon to make and is FULL of probiotics and nutrients. Many people wonder why Kombucha is not more widely known and talked about as a benefit to our diets. Well, it is cheap to make, and it can easily be made in our own homes. This does not make the medical industry/pharmaceutical companies happy! It doesn’t make the establishment any money, therefore, it is not widely circulated! (yep, there is my conspiracy moment for the day ;))
- Get a SCOBY: You can look to buy a SCOBY online, or find a friend that has one and will give you some of theirs!
- Locate Jars: We found large 1 gallon glass jars at Goodwill or Salvation Army, or you can purchase them online. We prefer jars that have a spout at the bottom so we can test our Kombucha as it is brewing, without disturbing the SCOBY on top.
- Get black/green Tea: We have used a variety of green and black teas, but we have heard that herbal teas do not work…I am not totally sure why?
- The Process: (for 1 Gallon of Kombucha)
- Boil hot water and soak tea bags or tea leaves in the hot water. I do this right in the jars we are going to use, but make sure you put room temperature water in first so that you don’t crack the jar with the hot water. Also, leave a good amount of space at the top because you will need to add some of the fermented mixture from a previous batch or apple cider vinegar.
- Add 1 cup of sugar per gallon. Stir it in. Wait for the tea to finish seeping and for the water to cool down.
- Add 2 cups of the fermented mixture from a previous brew or apple cider vinegar.
- Place your SCOBY in the jar and secure a cloth over the top. Then wait at least 10-25 days before giving it a try.
- SCOBYs like warm environments (70 degrees or warmer) However, if it is winter and you keep your house as cold as we do (62 degrees) I recommend getting a handy heating pad for plants.
- Once it is done, you can bottle it and refrigerate it. You can drink it plain, or add a flavoring of your own. We like to add a drop of various essential oils. (My FAVORITE flavors are “Slim and Sassy” by DoTERRA and Lavender)
If you are not interested in making your own, there are a TON of wonderful Kombucha-making companies! You can totally buy from them!! I have tried lots and I tend to purchase local, when possible, but GT’s Kombucha is pretty awesome, and you can read more about that here!
This page did a super cool analysis of their Kombucha to test the health and nutrition benefits. I find that is supports many of the claims above, but puts realistic expectations and numbers with their information.