kombucha

It's all about kombucha

This is how I feel right now. It's all about kombucha. I am absolutely crazyabout it. It is my go-to drink. I have blogged about it from time to time and have gotten a fair number of friends hooked on it, too. It is not a drug (ha, ha) but rather a fizzy, tasty drink with health benefits (so I guess in some senses it acts like a drug)! Kombucha is a fermented drink, born from a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). Its roots go back about 2000 years, but it is VERY 2016. You can buy it at a store in a glass 16-oz. container (at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and even Safeway), or you can try brewing your own at home! Here’s my attempt. I’m just starting out. Don't judge.

kombucha home
kombucha home

Last fall I had the privilege of meeting Hannah Crum, the "Kombucha Mamma," at the Wise Traditions conference in Anaheim, California. There, I got the chance to pick her brain to learn more about this alluring drink known as the "immortal health elixir!" She told me about its history, benefits, and how to get started making my own!

If you want to learn what all the hype is about, listen to this 30-minute interview, the Kombucha Craze. Or just go out and buy a bottle. Once you try it, you’ll understand why so many are raving about it. Still unsure about trying it? Check out some of its healing properties below!

K- Kicks cancer – Studies have shown that glucaric acid (found in kombucha) has cancer-fighting properties.

O – Oh, the weight you’ll lose! Kombucha speeds your metabolism and improves gut health.

M– Makes your immune system strong. It is rich in anti-oxidents which boost immune systems and help prevent colds, flus, etc.

B – Boosts your energy with enzymes and vitamins; brings balance to your gut's bacteria.

U – Unique nutrients such as acetic acid, enzymes, and polyphenols improve your body's functioning.

C– Cleanses and assists with detoxing the body, through gluconic acid and probiotics.

H – Helps the digestive system (populating your gut with needed probiotics).

A – Arthritis can be warded off and joint pain eased by the glucosamines in the drink.

So join the KOMBUCHA craze! And drink a toast to your health with this unusual but uber-beneficial all-natural fermented drink!

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Hilda Labrada Gore, a long-time DC resident, is an Integrative Nutrition health coach and fitness professional. She is the host and producer of the Wise Traditions podcast. Wise Traditions can be found on YouTube, Apple podcasts, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Overcast, Google Play Music, tunein, and at westonaprice.org. Basically, you can find it wherever you get your podcasts!

I have a bunch of invisible friends....

No, I have not gone off the deep end. Nor am I talking about an imaginary playmate (even though Jenny is always there for me when I need her)! (Just kidding.) Seriously, I have tiny friends that are not visible to the naked eye, but that nonetheless play a critical role in my health and vitality. They do the same in yours, as well. Here's the skinny on...probiotics!

Friends for life - These invisible, beneficial bacteria are our friends FOR LIFE. Yup, the word "probiotic" actually means "for life."  They do the opposite of what antibiotics do, obvi. Antibiotics have a scorched-earth policy---killing bad bacteria and good bacteria alike. Probiotics fight sickness and infection by strengthening the "good guys" and providing them with reinforcements.

It takes guts - Probiotics promote the healthy gut flora that we need for proper digestion, absorption of nutrients, and to promote health and well-being. If you struggle with constipation, headaches, bloating, gas or irritability, listen to your gut! different-headaches-400x400It's trying to tell you something. These symptoms could be a sign of an imbalance on the inside.

An inside job - Have you ever met someone who was just glowing with health? As much as Madison Avenue tries to persuade us to buy all of the right wrinkle-fighting and hydrating face creams, the real answer to outward beauty and vitality lies on what is happening inside our bodies. Probiotics help maintain the right balance of good and bad bacteria in our digestive tract, so that we can be healthy from the inside out.

So how do we introduce these popular little guys into our diets? You will see MANY foods touting them as ingredients. They are trendy. But a little sprinkling of probiotics is not the same as a product chock-full of them. Try any of the following to get the most bang for your bacteria buck:

1. yogurt - This is a delicious source of probiotics, but, pay attention! Not all yogurt has probiotics. Make sure the yogurt you buy has "live active cultures" on the label. (And, sorry, guys, even though it's fun to have a sweet treat now and then, frozen yogurt often does not meet this standard!)

2. kefir - fermented grains have many more strains of beneficial bacteria than just yogurt. Kefir is like yogurt on steroids. I get mine from the farm. It's a potent immune-system booster and has been shown to promote longevity. milk-kefir-01

3. kombucha - this fermented tea is one of my favorite ways to get healthy bacteria into my gut. It's tangy, fizzy, and yummy.

4. pickles or kimchi or carrots or beets or... - just about any fermented/pickled food is a good source of probiotics. I like to buy some of these products at the farmers market. They have zing and are so fresh. Our family likes to put these on our salads or in our tacos.

ginger-carrots What do you think of probiotics? I consider them my bffs---beneficial friends for life!

 

 

The lure of kombucha (or why a Hispanic woman is crazy about an ancient Chinese tea)

I don't drink coffee or tea. I've just never been a fan of hot drinks, period. IMG_0841

As you may remember from my last post, my drinking has changed over the years. The trajectory over the course of my life looks something like this:

chocolate milk, juice --> soda, lemonade --> seltzer water w/ lime --> spring water w/ lime

And then…I discovered kombucha. It hasn't replaced water, but it has been a nice addition to my beverage lineup. Kombucha is a fermented tea, said to have originated in Asia. It was referred to as the Tea of Immortality. It has enzymes and probiotics, along with B vitamins and antioxidants. Not much of a yogurt fan, I had been looking for a way to get more beneficial bacteria in my system, so I thought I'd give kombucha a try.

7-Benefits-of-Kombucha

I have to admit I didn't like the drink at first. It was way too sour. I gave some to my pastor recently and he said, "If I had wanted vinegar, I'd have drunk some vinegar." So, it wasn't love at first sip for him, either.

But then it grew on me. And that's a perfect way to describe the drink since it starts with scoby. Scoby stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. It's basically the culture that makes kombucha a fermented drink. (Don't worry, though! You don't have to work with scoby unless you decide to make your own kombucha, from scratch. I haven't gone this far yet. Maybe down the road, I'll try to make it--and I'll use this blog to document the step-by-step process, along with successes and certain failures!)

scoby

Right now, I just buy my kombucha, ready made, at Whole Foods (you get a 10% discount if you buy a case-full, 12 bottles). You can find kombucha at Safeway, too. Our whole family is hooked on it. We like GT's Synergy brand. Our favorite flavors are cosmic cranberry, gingerade, trilogy, and guava goddess.

2014-08-02 11.46.03-2

We love it for its zesty kick. It's not only tasty and effervescent, it is tremendously beneficial for our bodies! And it makes a great mid-afternoon pick-me-up. It's hard for me to even wrap my head around the fact that it's related in any way to regular tea. It must be a distant cousin, twice removed. Tea with a capital T.