In my last post, I talked about a new series that I’m starting – what works and what doesn’t work for our family, with regards to changes we have made in our lifestyle. As promised, today’s post is all about Kombucha. I know, many of you are saying, “Kom-what-a?” I had no idea what it was, either, until my dear friend and I stumbled upon it. She bought a bottle to drink, and I thought she was crazy. 🙂 So, I did some research on it to learn what it was all about, finally got brave enough to try it, and loved it. I then learned to make my own, which is waaayyy more cost effective than what you buy in the store.
So what is Kombucha??? In simple terms, it is basically a fermented sweet tea, full of beneficial bacteria. It can help alkalize the body, balancing the internal PH; detoxify the liver; improve digestion,boost energy (some people claim drinking kombucha is like a B12 shot); and countless other benefits. You can read more about them here.
Kombucha is made from a starter culture, which is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, otherwise known as a “scoby, mother, or mushroom.” “Symbiotic” means that the bacteria and yeast live together and support and depend on each other. They are what makes Kombucha act the way it does, and what makes it have it’s characteristic fizz. You can buy a scoby from many sources online, but you can also make your own from a store-bought bottle, as long as it has a mother in it. This is where it gets a little bit disturbing for my OCD friends (myself included.) The mother will look like brown strands floating around in the tea, and the actual scoby is a big, slimy, slug-looking wonder. Here is what a scoby in kombucha looks like: And here is what the scoby on it’s own is like: Impressive, isn’t it? (This picture is quite a healthy one – normally they aren’t that thick) It took me awhile to get over the appearance and consistency of it, but now, it is no big deal. Having strong OCD tendencies myself, my husband is astounded that I even look at the thing, let alone touch it, but I have come to love my kombucha so much, that it has become like second nature and I think people that think it’s weird are weird. 😉 I started my own scoby from a bottle I purchased at the health food store – I’m cheap and impatient like that. I could go into an explanation of how it’s actually made, but it’s best explained from my two favorite websites on the subject, here and here.
Why do I drink it? As I said, kombucha has many benefits. Rather than taking an expensive probiotic supplement, kombucha (and kefir, which I’ll cover in another post) more than fits that bill. It helps keep my digestive system balanced and gives me energy – some people recommend drinking Kombucha first thing in the morning, but I find it to be a bit acidic for my stomach before eating. I like to drink it in the afternoon, around the 2-3 o’clock “slump.” It’s a great pick-me-up, and it also leaves me feeling satisfied and keeps me from snacking, especially if I stir in some beloved chia. One thing I love about kombucha is that it can be made from many different types of tea, and it’s a great way to get beneficial antioxidants, especially if you use green tea. It’s fun to come up with different flavor combinations. Right now, vanilla rooibos is my favorite. Rooibos tea, on it’s own, has many benefits, including treating headaches, insomnia, digestion issues, and is high in minerals including zinc, alpha-hydroxy acid and magnesium. It also is high in antioxidants and flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
Another reason I love drinking kombucha, is because it has helped with my craving for soda. Because it is fizzy in nature, it calms that urge and tricks that part of the brain that says “I need a diet Coke.” It is totally refreshing on a hot day, or after a good workout and I love having a drink that I enjoy that I don’t have to feel guilty about consuming.
So what did and didn’t work for us? Well, to put it simply, it works for me, and that’s it. Try as I might, I just cannot get anyone else in my family to share the love for kombucha. I still try every-so-often to get them to taste it again, but they’re not going for it. It does tend to have a vinegary smell and taste (depending on how long you let it ferment), and once they get a whiff of it, they’re tapping out. And it’s not something I can just sneak into a smoothie or baked good. But this is one area that I don’t mind that they’re not going for it. Not everything will be embraced by all, and they’re not going to die if they don’t like it. Plus, this way, I don’t have to share. 🙂 I make a gallon at a time, and it lasts me quite awhile.
I’d be happy to share with you the different combinations I’ve used in my kombucha making. If you’re interested, leave me a message and what you would like to know, or any questions you may have. For those of you who live nearby, I do have a number of extra “baby” scobys, that I would be willing to share, and I am happy to get you started/teach you how to make it. And stay tuned for part 3 of this series, where I will be talking about coconut oil.
Closing with a picture I love: This one is from Deception Pass, near La Conner, Washington. I just love the fluidity of the kelp bed. What you can’t see is that there was a seal swimming along the edge of it, searching for fish – I wasn’t fast enough with my telephoto to get his sweet head. 🙂