The day I graduated high school I decided to no longer drink soda. Don't ask me why. I had no real reason. I wasn't a health nerd like I am now. It just sounded like a noble thing to do. Throughout college I rarely, if ever, drank soda. When I met my husband, things changed a little. You see, my husband, though fit as a fiddle when we got married, had a bit of an orange soda addiction. I never cared for the stuff myself...that is until I started taking sips of his. Soda still never became a huge part of my liquid intake, but I did drink it with popcorn, pizza, and really any time it was around. This is the reason that my husband isn't allowed to go to the store most of the time. Soda ends up sneaking its way in the house.
When I got interested in real traditional food, I started learning about homemade probiotic rich drinks, like water kefir and kombucha that were naturally carbonated and reminiscent to soda. I had never heard of such things, but I was intrigued.
Kombucha is essentially just sweet tea fermented with a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). See that thing floating in the tea? That's a SCOBY. Freaky looking, huh?
I visited Whole Foods one day and saw individual bottles of kombucha, and I was feeling adventurous, so I thought I would give one a try. It was a bit strong, fizzy, and had that burn that soda has that I love so much. It was different. I drank half of the bottle that night and the other half the next day. I dismissed it as something kind of neat, but not something I would want to drink on a regular basis. Plus the price was like $4 for an individual bottle. That's crazy talk for my budget. No way would that be making its way into my grocery cart on a regular basis.
Then I started reading about all of the benefits of kombucha and how it has been around for over 2000 years. Anything that has been around that long and people have such good things to say about it, I'm open to learning more. Here's what I found.
Benefits of Kombucha:
- Kombucha is a powerful detoxifier:
Kombucha is excellent at supporting the liver and helping it detox. When your liver is in top shape, your body will be much healthier for it because it's able to do its job of cleansing the body. Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions, says it like this.
“The kombucha ‘mushroom’ acts on sugar and tea to produce not only acetic and lactic acid but also small amounts of a potent detoxifying substance, glucuronic acid. Normally this organic acid is produced by the liver in sufficient quantities to neutralize toxins in the body…However, when liver function becomes overloaded, and when the body must deal with a superabundance of toxins form the inviroment-certainly the case with most of us today-additional glucuronic acid taken in the form of kombucha is said to be a powerful aid to the body’s natural cleansing process, a boost to the immune system and a proven prophylactic against cancer and other degenerative diseases.”
- Kombucha aids in digestion and helps heal the gut
- Kombucha alkalizes the body
- Kombucha is excellent for your joints
- Kombucha is great for your immune system
- Kombucha can normalize your weight: This is probably related to the digestion effects and ease of elimination.
- Kombucha can help heal the skin: Also due to detoxification.
Pretty cool stuff if you ask me! I'm just getting in to kombucha, so I can not personally attest to all of the above benefits. I will say that when I regularly drink kombucha, my skin breakouts decrease and I can go to the bathroom easier. Everyone in my family drinks it and likes it. My daughter actually begs me for it! I have my kids drink it to help heal their gut, my daughter's now mild eczema, and food allergies. So far so good. It has been a great soda replacement for our Friday night pizza nights. I feel good about giving my kids an alternative to just plain water that is tasty and fun for them to drink.
A word of warning
As with any detoxifier, slow and steady wins the race. You do NOT want to guzzle this stuff the first time you try it. You could end up with what is called a "healing crisis" and could experience headaches, rashes, or general sick feeling. Drink small amounts every day and work up.
Where to find kombucha?
You can find bottles of kombucha at your local health food store, but I prefer to make my own. It's less than a dollar for an entire gallon, tastes better in my opinion, can be customized with different flavors, and is super easy.
How to brew kombucha
Brewing your own kombucha at home is so simple. You do need to obtain a SCOBY, which you can get from a friend who brews kombucha or a reputable online supplier like Kombucha Kamp (affiliate link). Here's how I brew mine:
How to brew kombucha
- 5 organic black tea bags
- 1 cup organic white sugar (Yes white. It is eaten by the bacteria and very little sugar will be present after fermentation)
- 4 cups filtered water
- 2 ½ quarts cold or room temperature filtered water
- 1 cup starter liquid (already brewed kombucha)
- 1 SCOBY
Bring the four cups of water to a boil.
Add tea bags, remove from heat, and steep for 7-10 minutes.
Add sugar and stir to dissolve.
Add cool or room temp water to hot sweet tea to bring the liquid down to room temperature. Hot tea kills the SCOBY.
Pour the tea mixture and one cup of starter liquid in a gallon sized glass or ceramic vessel.
With clean hands, place the SCOBY into the vessel.
It may float, it may sink. Both are normal.
Cover with a cloth and secure with a rubber band to prevent debris and fruit flies from getting in.
Place in a dark place for 7 days.
After the 7 days is over, take out the SCOBY along with one cup of brewed kombucha. There will probably be another new SCOBY that has grown on top. Keep it or give it to a friend. I keep mine in a jar in the cabinet until I'm ready to brew my next batch. Now you can store your kombucha in the fridge, bottle it, or flavor it with fruit or juice.
Free Shipping on all Kombucha Mushroom Kits! can be found at Kombucha Kamp.