Kombucha: My Next Challenge!

Kombucha: My Next Challenge! post image

I’ve been in this Real Food movement for years and I still have so many things to try. Like kombucha. I’ve tasted it at various times and been a little hesitant, mainly because of the carbonation which I never liked, but also because the sugar content in the kombucha concerned me. Well, I’ve gotten over all that and I’m here to tell you about the incredible benefits of kombucha!I don’t want this to sound like it’s snake oil, but there are many benefits. However, not everyone experiences all of them and some people do not experience any. I’m hoping that I will notice a difference and if you try it, maybe you will too.

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a beverage made from fermenting white, green or black tea, by adding sugar for the cultures to consume. When the sugar is mostly gone, it is ready to drink and contains many beneficial elements.

It looks like a nasty jello pancake that is called a mushroom or mother. But it is not a mushroom at all. It is actually a SCOBY.

A SCOBY is an acronym that stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. It’s a lot easier to say SCOBY when referring to the culture, which may also be referred to as the mother. Say that with respect!

History

It appears to have been around for at least 2000 years in Russia, China, Japan and Korea. Families brewed kombucha and handed down the cultures from generation to generation because they noticed the health benefits.

What’s In It?

A kombucha culture has a wide range of organic acids, vitamins and enzymes that give it its extraordinary value.

  • B vitamins; especially B1, B2, B12 — Important for energy formation and a multitude of metabolic reactions in the body.
  • Vitamin C — Important for detoxification and immune support.

There are also many important organic acids present in kombucha. Here are some of them.

  • Lactic acid is essential for healthy digestion and is produced by the beneficial bacteria in the culture.
  • Acetic acid is an antiseptic and inhibitor of pathogenic bacteria.
  • Glucuronic acid is a powerful detoxifier. It helps neutralize the toxic effects of plastics, herbicides, pesticides and resins. When toxins enter the liver, they bind to glucuronic acid and get flushed out through the kidneys. Additionally, glucosamines are derived from glucuronic acid and are important to our joints and other collagen and cartilage dependent tissues as well as the fluids which lubricate the joints. These elements are also present in our skin and mucous membranes.
  • Malic acid also helps in detoxification of the liver.
  • Butyric acid (produced by the yeast) protects mucous membranes and is important in the large intestine.
  • Gluconic acid is produced by the bacteria and strengthens the walls of the gut. This helps heal intestinal permeability caused by candida yeasts.
  • Nucleic acids, like RNA and DNA, transmit information to the cells on how to perform correctly and regenerate.
  • Amino acids produce important enzymes, such as those involved with glutathione, a powerful antioxidant which provides protection from alcohol, pollution and other toxins.

Adaptogenic Effects

But beyond this extensive list of beneficial elements present in kombucha, is another aspect that it very important.

Kombucha is a adaptogen. This means that it is a metabolic regulator which increases our ability to adapt to environmental factors, and to avoid damage from these factors. Environmental factors can be physical, such as injury or aging, or mental, such as anxiety or stress.

Kombucha’s adaptogen effect is seen mostly through its influence on the liver, the blood and the digestive system, where it normalizes the acidity or pH.

Acid/Alkaline Balance

Human metabolism depends on the acid-alkaline balance which is constantly changing in order to prevent disturbances to homeostasis brought about by stressors.The body has a dynamic balancing system that maintains the different organs at the pH level each requires for optimal functioning.

A cell’s pH balance is disrupted by metabolism and by toxins, which create more acidity. The body gets rid of toxic acids by various means of elimination. One of the benefits of kombucha is that it helps to flush out the toxins through the kidneys and by doing so supports the liver.

The Composition in Kombucha Translates into Health Benefits

While there are no million dollar, double blind, multi-clinic studies, many people offer anecdotal evidence of the health benefits of drinking kombucha. Just a few of these include improvements in:

  • Digestion
  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Sugar metabolism
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • General health and well being

Additionally, the health benefits due to the probiotic content and other elements in kombucha as noted above all make it a powerful health tonic.

How Much To Drink?

Typical portions would be 1/2 cup three times a day. It is convenient to have it with meals and the enzymes in it will help digest food. Many people with low acid (heartburn) report that their reflux is gone once they start drinking kombucha with meals.

Of course, it is wise to work up to this amount slowly in order to avoid any die off reactions.

Alcohol

The yeasts in kombucha produce alcohol but the bacteria in the culture turn most of the alcohol to organic acids. Only minute quantities of alcohol, typically 1% by volume remains in the kombucha brew. This is fine for most people — however there was an incident with a child in school that was reported here, even though the alcohol content on the bottle was less than .05%. Some people just don’t understand that the benefits far outweigh the tiny drop of alcohol — others feel that the alcohol does something beneficial as well.

Will You Join the Challenge?

Sign up here for the Kombucha Challenge!

Where to Buy Organic Kombucha and Kombucha Making Supplies

This post is shared at: Mommy Club, Seasonal Celebration. Healthy 2Day,  Wildcrafting Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Tasty Traditions, Thanks Your Body Thursday

Simple Lives Thursday, Homemaker Hop, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, Small FootPrint Friday. Foodie Friday, My Meatlsess Monday

 


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Leave a Comment

  • Mary Beth January 1, 2013, 10:32 pm

    It just looks so…well…icky! How does it taste?

    Reply
    • K January 1, 2013, 10:43 pm

      Kombucha tastes great! Especially when it’s flavored (my favorite is ginger). A lot less icky than one would imagine.

      Reply
  • georgia January 2, 2013, 6:23 am

    I try to like this and would really like to, but I just dont like it! Its so sour and bitter. Anyone know how I can alter it so I can like it? Or at least tolerate it?

    Reply
    • Susan January 2, 2013, 9:50 am

      Georgia-
      I read -somewhere- that one person, after brewing it in the big jar, takes smaller jars/bottles and pours in a bit of organic grape juice, and then adds the freshly brewed kombucha over the grape juice and lets all the bottles sit for another day before putting it in the frig. It is supposed to give it a slight grapey taste. They recommended one quarter grape juice to three quarter komboocha.

      I can drink plain kombucha, but I do prefer the taste of the flavored ones better. I’m going to take this challenge and start brewing my own and I definitely plan on doing the grape juice method when I do! Try buying a bottle of flavored booch to see if it helps you bond with it better.

      Reply
      • Summer January 11, 2013, 3:46 pm

        this grape juice method is exactly what i did to get my kids to love kombucha! I am convinced that there is a variation out there for everyone. I’ve also found that it is very vinegary for some folks, but when you brew it at home…you can control how sweet you want your kombucha. It’s ready when it tastes good to you!

        Reply
        • Holly January 11, 2013, 7:36 pm

          If it is vinegary, then it was brewed too long!

          Reply
  • Diane Balch January 2, 2013, 9:19 am

    I have been drinking this of and on and need to learn to make it. Great summary of health benefits. Happy New Year.

    Reply
  • Mary January 2, 2013, 10:35 am

    I love my kombucha…..but don’t feel I’ve given it the proper trial because of other things going on and a regiment I’m on with an iridologist to address some of these problems. I’d love to join your challenge to see if I can see more of the benefits. I do make my own and have some “babies” I can pay forward if someone lets me know. Looking forward to the challenge and want to commend you on the great detail you have in this article.

    Reply
    • Beth January 2, 2013, 10:49 am

      Mary–I would be interested in a “baby” …. I’ve wanted to try Kombucha for quite some time. I currently do kefir, yogurt, and many fermented vegetables all with great success. Let me know how that works, I don’t know where you live or if they can ship, but would foot the cost if it works out 🙂

      Reply
  • Charlotte January 2, 2013, 10:38 am

    I love kombucha, in fact i asked DH for a continuous brew system for Christmas so i will have a continuous supply. I find it’s an amazing pick-me-up in the late afternoon. It’s also a terrific drink if you have been overindulging and can help zap sugar cravings. I didn’t love it from the start, i think it’s an acquired taste, it will grow on you as you start to enjoy the benefits. I do still top up with some water to dilute the taste a little.

    Reply
  • Beth January 2, 2013, 11:00 am

    I have a question I have been trying to figure out regarding Kombucha (and ferments in general)–so if the sugar is being consumed by bacteria, is it no longer present when consumed, and therefore no longer having the negative effects of sugar? Will the caloric effect of sugar still be in place or is it simply converting the sugar to alcohol and maintaining the calories present in the beverage with the addition of vitamins and other beneficial nutrients. I am asking because I’ve avoided kombucha for much of the same reason you had alluded-the sugar content. Thank you!

    Reply
  • Jill January 2, 2013, 11:55 am

    @Ceorgia,
    There are many ways to flavor kombucha which we will be sharing during the Challenge.

    @Beth,
    Probably 99% of the sugar is gone by the time your ferment is ready. It really has no sweet taste at all so you know most of it has been eaten by the cultures.

    Reply
  • Pamela @ TraditionalFNH January 2, 2013, 12:44 pm

    Came on over via Real Food Wednesdays.
    Love Kombucha been brewing it for 4 1/2 years now.
    I like to add ginger on the second ferment for the added benefits of ginger being a great digestive aid. Drinking Gingered Kombucha is healthier to drink than say 7- up / Gingerale during the flu.

    Reply
  • teresa January 2, 2013, 2:23 pm

    Ive been growing kombucha for years
    http://www.royalkombucha.com is a great source they are guaranteed to grow and they have great customer support .

    Reply
  • Kathy @ Mind Body and Sole January 2, 2013, 3:34 pm

    Thanks for sharing this with Wildcrafting Wednesday. 🙂 I’ve been thinking about kombucha for a while, but with milk kefir, water kefir, sourdough, and natural yeast, I’m just not sure I want to “feed” one more thing. 🙂 You offer some really great information though, so I might just have to reconsider. 🙂

    Reply
  • Jill January 2, 2013, 4:08 pm

    @Kathy,
    I so know what you mean — not wanting to feed another culture… the challenge will not require you to grow your own though — just to start using it!

    Reply
  • Loretta | A Finn In The Kitchen January 2, 2013, 5:07 pm

    We love our kombucha so much we had to convert to a continuous brew system just to keep up with our ‘habit’! I like it plain, but prefer it flavored because of the carbonation and variety of flavors. My new current favorite is pomegranate lime! I can’t wait to see what you go over with this challenge!

    My daughter is obsessed….

    Reply
  • DebbieM January 2, 2013, 5:34 pm

    We’ve been brewing our own for over 8 years now…we use organic black tea. We love it year ’round! You can drink it at the sweeter stage as you get used to it and work toward a stronger more vinegary end product….if it’s too strong, just cut it with water or add a large splash to your water…for those who can’t stand drinking plain water!

    Reply
  • Laura @ WholeGreenLove January 2, 2013, 9:57 pm

    I can’t wait to hear about the challenge! I just made my first batch of kombucha yesterday with a starter kit and SCOBY I got for Christmas. It’s currently fermenting on top on my fridge and I’ll give it a taste in a couple of weeks 🙂 Cheers to kombucha!

    Reply
  • Jean January 2, 2013, 10:35 pm

    I have aquired a taste for kombucha. I like ginger in general, the ginger one reminds me of gingerale. I wish I had the time to make my own instead of paying the high price of it at Whole Foods or other stores in my area. I buy it when it is on sale. Looking forward to joining the challenge! Is it expensive to buy all the supplies to make kombucha?? Helping 2 children pay for college right now.

    Reply
    • Jill January 2, 2013, 10:46 pm

      Hi Jean,
      I like the ginger kombucha also. I think the initial investment is not too bad — or you can try to find a friend that will give you a SCOBY. In the long run, it will pay for itself over and over.

      Reply
  • Barb R January 3, 2013, 12:11 am

    I was first introduced to kombucha this fall when I went to the Fermentation Festival at Tara Firma Farms in Petaluma, CA. Hannah Crum, Kombucha Mama, was there and I loved it from the very first sip! I got my scoby from her and have been doing continuous brew ever since. I even used kombucha in my turkey brine at Thanksgiving. It was the best and moistest turkey we ever had. Looking forward to the kombucha challenge.

    Reply
  • Lisa Lynn January 3, 2013, 2:47 pm

    I would love to have you share your posts on The HomeAcre Hop!
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/01/the-homeacre-hop-2.html

    Reply
    • Lisa Lynn January 5, 2013, 2:48 pm

      Thanks for linking up! Great info…I have to admit, I’m a newbie to Kombucha 🙂

      Reply
  • Leslie @ Real Food Freaks January 3, 2013, 9:46 pm

    Love my booch! Been continuous brewing for a year… looking forward to your challenge! 🙂

    Reply
  • Theresa Groskopp, CN January 6, 2013, 4:12 pm

    I have been thinking Kombucha was on my list to try making. Good job on the info. Looking forward to following your challenge!

    Reply
  • Holly January 11, 2013, 7:32 pm

    I like berry flavors the best – I use frozen raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, and/or blackberries and let it ferment for a couple weeks more and it is fizzy and delicious! Also good with a splash of coconut milk!

    I need help – where is the linky to enter the giveaway?

    Reply
  • Cassie February 6, 2013, 9:58 pm

    This was a very informative post! I haven’t tried making my own yet, but have been drinking Kombucha (from Whole Foods) for a few months now and LOVE it! Need to take the plunge and try to make it myself as it is getting expensive. Thank you for the great facts you posted!

    Reply
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