Tag Archives: kombucha

5 Kombucha Flavors {For Fall}

5-Kombucha-Flavors-for-Fall-Traditional-Cooking-School-GNOWFGLINS-pom

 

It can be expensive to purchase, but it costs just pennies to make at home!

I’m talking about the tart and sweet, naturally effervescent and refreshing, immune-boosting drink we call Kombucha. It’s one of my family’s favorite beverages.

Here are five fun flavors to try this fall. Some are spicy and reminiscent of a delicious dessert, while others are fruity and tart…[read the rest of this post at Traditional Cooking School]

Vanilla Cinnamon Apple Holiday Kombucha

I have been making kombucha for years and still never get tired of imagining new flavor combinations. I love the fizzy, fermented, slightly sour taste; it makes a great afternoon pick-me-up. It’s just an added bonus that it’s good for me! If you don’t know what kombucha is, I blogged about it here.

Buchi Kombucha company donated all the delicious kombucha for the meals at the recent Wise Traditions 2013 conference. They showcased their new holiday flavor of apple, vanilla, cinnamon and clove. I loved it and wanted to recreate it at home. My daughter, who loves my kombucha, isn’t crazy about clove, so I left that out for her. I include it here in the recipe, but you can omit it if you want.

apples and cinnamon sticksVanilla Apple Spice Kombucha

1 quart plain kombucha

1/2 cup organic apple cider

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/2″ piece of cinnamon stick

1 or 2 whole cloves

Add the spices, vanilla and cider to a clean swing-top or screw-top quart jar. Slowly pour in the plain kombucha to fill the container as full as possible. Close cap tightly. Cover the jar with a clean kitchen towel and set aside in an undisturbed place. Let the kombucha ferment at room temperature for two days. Chill well before enjoying.

 

Wise Traditions 2013 Day Three Synopsis

My apologies for taking so long to get this last blog up. As soon as the final session was over on Sunday we had to jump in the car and head home. For me that was two days of car travel,supergold kvass zukay but then once back home I turned right back around and started on another trip out west to visit more family. I’m writing this now from a hotel room in Tulsa. It’s kind of crazy to go from a weekend of fabulously healthy, farm fresh food for three meals a day straight into the food deserts of the airports and life on the road. I’m thankful to have found Zukay Live Foods Super Gold spicy beet kvass at the Tulsa Whole Foods yesterday. Dr. Mercola said one serving of fermented vegetables (this kvass qualifies for that!) is equal to a whole bottle of probiotic supplements.  Ok, on to my synopsis of the final day’s sessions….

I began the morning in a packed house to hear Dr. Joe Mercola. As usual, he was engaging and funny and had lots of good ideas. His loosely-organized talk on the failed drug system of conventional medicine was really an overview of his own recipe to take control of your own health. He had 12 bullet points with accompanying power point photo illustrations. I’ll list them here, but if you’ve spent any time on his website you are probably familiar with many already. The title of the talk could also be “Optimize Your Gut Flora”.  1. No sugar (you knew this was important!) 2. Reduce grains (or for the bold, eliminate grains entirely) 3. Eat lots of good vegetables and sprouts 4. Eat fermented vegetables, learn to ferment your own vegetables and fruits. We surprised Joe on this one…he said for anyone who had ever made their own fermented vegetables to raise their hand. Pretty much the whole room held hands high, and he was blown away. Said he’d never talked to an audience where the vast majority were fermenters much less even knew about it. This is when he told us that a 2-3oz serving of fermented vegetables has 100 trillion beneficial bacteria and is equal to an entire bottle of probiotic supplements. 6. Grow and eat your own sprouts. He recommends sprouting in soil rather than just in a sprouting dish. Sprouts have 30x the nutrients as the mature vegetable with sunflower seed sprouts being the highest. There are directions on his website on how to sprout using trays of soil. Takes about 5 days from start to finish. 7. Drink pure water. He said this was a good “gateway” first step for anyone wanting to begin the journey to health. 8. Eat a HIGH FAT diet. Especially for anyone who is currently insulin or leptin resistant he recommends using intermittent fasting techniques and converting to a fat-adapted diet rather than a glucose-burning diet. On the topic of fat-burning and eating high fat (good fats like coconut oil, butter) that insulin and leptin resistance lead to heart disease and cancer. Another moment of surprise for Dr. Mercola came when he asked anyone who has had a heart attack to raise their hand. In the packed auditorium of several hundred people only one person raised their hand – Mercola was stunned saying he attributed the low heart attack count to our healthy WAPF diets. 9. Exercise was next. Cardio, sitting killshe says, is not the most efficient. Better exercise is one that activates fast twitch muscles such as the Peak 8 training program. Great photo from this segment was a picture of a comfy chair with the caption “sitting kills”. 10. Grounding or Earthing – going barefoot on the earth or ocean activating a free flow of electrons to replicate natural principles to help naturally thin your blood. 11. Keep cell phones off and away from your body. 12. Small initiatives can make a big differences: say no to GMOs, Fluoride removal from city water supplies, ban mercury in dentistry, and the National Vaccine Information Center.

From Mercola I went upstairs to a more intimate classroom area to hear Dr. Deborah Gordon speak about Preventing Breast Cancer. This class was packed full of information, so much so that I want to do a more in-depth blog just on this topic. So what I give you here is just the surface of the deep pool.  First of all it is important to know that Prevention does not equal  Detection. 68% of women actually think mammograms prevent breast cancer. The industry claims they are the only way, but in reality there are many things you can do to help prevent breast cancer (and all cancers).  Prevention can come both before and after a diagnosis of breast cancer. It is important to know your personal risk factor. The Cancer.gov website has a Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool you can use to start with. Don’t stop there. Know about all the risk factors. Things like family history, age, race, age of menstruation/menopause, age of first full-term pregnancy, and breastfeeding all play a role. We have all heard of BRCA genes and while genetics themselves are fixed the epigenetics are modifiable. This means the environment we live in and the lifestyle we live. Exposure to radiation, carcinogens, toxic hormone modifiers and other substances are all risk factors we can lower or eliminate by lifestyle choices. Biggest is with food, personal care products, our homes and our lives. Keep cell phones away from your body and NEVER carry them in your bra! Choose organic foods and non-toxic cosmetics and cleaners. Parabens in deodorants are big cancer offenders. Use the EWG’s Skin Deep website to find good products. Never put anything on your skin you can’t safely eat. Sleep in a completely dark room, exercise – especially intense exercise for better hormone/metabolism/insulin. Have a little red wine – One 6oz serving per day at most. Manage your stress! Stress hormones kept low allow all your other glands to operate optimally! Eliminate sugar – many cancers are dependent on sugar, but humans are not. Vitamin D, probiotics, fermented foods, iodine, selenium, turmeric are all good. Statins double the risk of breast cancer.

Third up was a lecture called “Failed Promises-Flawed Science” from retired Col. Dr. Huber, Professor Emeritus Purdue University. Dr. Huber’s research into GMOs is legendary and stretches back 20 years or more to the inception of the biotech industry. This was another lecture that deserves its own blog post (or two or three). For this lecture he focused mainly on the herbicide glyphosate, brand name “Round Up”, used in GMO agriculture. Setting aside the actual GMO plants we learned that glyphosate on its own was a huge problem. It is a chelator of all cations, inhibits enzymes, shuts down the shikimate pathway (which I wrote about here), is a strong antibiotic (glyphosate was first marketed as an antibiotic before being used as an herbicide), and accumulates in shoot, root and reproductive tissues, accumulates in the soils, is toxic to beneficial soil organisms and just all-around nasty. Because of widespread glyphosate usage we are now seeing re-emergence of old diseases as well as brand new ones. Things like Corynespora Root Rot, Goss’ Wilt of Corn, Take-All of Wheat and Sudden Death Syndrome are all plaguing farmers now. It only takes 1/2 oz per ACRE of glyphosate to damage crops with low vigor, lower yields, and lower mineral values. Even after 30 years the glyphosate is still present in fields – it doesn’t go away. Now on to the crops themselves….There is a reduction in the nutrients from 13%-52% in RoundUp Ready (RR) crops. It takes extra fertilizer and micronutrients just to get these crops out of the ground. Animals fed GMO feed struggle due to nutrient deficiencies directly as a result of deficient feed plants. RR plants have a high amount of formaldehyde and contain at least 13% glyphosate within the plant itself. Mice and squirrels will ignore GMO feed corn due to the formaldehyde content. 80% of the beef livers from commercially raised and slaughtered cows have to be thrown away directly due to the premature aging from the GMO feed. 20% of all pregnancies in commercially raised dairy cattle are lost due to insufficiencies in the feed.  Erosion of the stomach and intestines from GMO soy and corn reproduce symptoms of autism in herds of animals eating GMO feed. When the GMO feed is removed the symptoms go away. Glyphosate presents long-term toxicity to liver, kidney and tissues and is a long-term carcinogen. Refining oils from GMO crops (soy, canola) concentrates this effect. We even have a new disease called Morgellan’s disease linked to GMOs.

buchi kombucha

buchi was a sponsor for Wise Traditions

The last session of the day was Kombucha and Cancer Therapies – Historic and Modern from Kombucha Kamp found Hannah Crum. Hannah’s bubbly personality spilled out like effervescent kombucha bringing a joyful tone to the serious topic of cancer.  Something I knew but forgot was that kombucha is not a lacto-fermented beverage like kefir or kvass. Instead it is an acetic acid ferment similar to apple cider vinegar. Vinegar is about 5% acetic acid while kombucha is a more drinkable 1%.  Hannah repeated what Deborah Gordon said about cancer being caused by environmental factors such as diet, toxins, lack of exercise and radiation.  Much of the research done on kombucha is from other countries where kombucha consumption is more the norm than it is in the US.  Stalin urged research on kombucha in the 1800s because he feared getting cancer. His scientists discovered a population in Russia living near an asbestos mine that should have been sick but instead the people were healthy – they drank kombucha. Dr. Rudolf Sklenar in Germany used kombucha to prevent cancer as well as treat and cure it using daily protocols of probiotics and kombucha. More recent research shows promise using kombucha to help heal diabetes, to repair kidneys from exposure to toxins such as carcinogenic solvents, to lower levels of radiation poisoning and to reduce human cancer cell activity. Hannah gave an in depth look at all the good things in kombucha from polyphenols to healing acids, and talked about how kombucha is a “gateway ferment”. People who are new to fermented foods often like kombucha just because it’s fizzy and it tastes good, but they keep drinking it because it makes them feel good.

 

Next year Wise Traditions 2014 will be in Indianapolis – I hope you can attend!

 

 

What is kombucha and where did it come from?

kombucha scoby in jarWhen you see your first kombucha culture it is easy to imagine that it might be some ancient creature from a forgotten civilization. The kombucha beverage itself defies exact description as it can be both tart yet somewhat sweet, effervescent yet not really carbonated. The mystique surrounding kombucha only grows when you inquire about its health-giving properties. From the Russian provinces come reports of certain kombucha-drinking districts that appeared to be immune to the cancer and alcoholism plaguing other parts of the country. Asiatic populations have used it for centuries to combat fatigue, tension, hardening of the arteries, gout, rheumatism, hemorrhoids and diabetes. Other people find kombucha to be effective against headaches, constipation, arthritis, and irritability.

Yet kombucha is fairly new to the US. Trendy Hollywood starlets have been photographed with bottles of kombucha as they stroll around town. Pricey bottles with fancy labels line the refrigerated shelves in upscale health food stores. Still many Americans have never even heard of it. Before commercial brewers made the beverage widely available, kombucha developed a wide following in the 1990s by immune-compromised people looking for alternative treatments to conventional drugs. Kombucha’s low-carb qualities helped boost it into the mainstream in the early 2000s as dieters began looking for sugary soda alternatives.

Kombucha truly is ancient. According to Tom Valentine of Search for Health magazine ( http://www.kombu.de/val-gwf.htm ), kombucha derives its name from a Korean physician, Kombu,apple kombucha who was called to treat the Japanese Emperor Inkyo back around the year 415 A.D. Longstanding Russian tradition calls the beverage “tea kvass” made from “Japanese mushroom”. Even the culture itself goes by several names. Names include tea fungus, sponge, mushroom and SCOBY. This last name is an acronym, and is probably the most accurate. It stands for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast.

How does the culture work and what does it really do? The kombucha SCOBY takes tea and sugar and ferments it, or cultures it, to make a powerful probiotic beverage full of beneficial acids, helpful enzymes and a wide spectrum of vitamins. The culture feeds on the sugar and tea producing these wonderful acids and vitamins. Star among the acids is glucuronic acid. Additional acids include lactic acid, acetic acid, usnic acid, oxalic acid, malic acid, gluconic acid and butyric acid. These various acids aid in digestion and assimilation of nutrients, provide antiviral properties, inhibit harmful bacteria, work synergistically with other nutrients, and aid in cell energy production. The main benefit of kombucha may come from the detoxifying effects of all of these components working together. Our bodies profit from kombucha due to these detoxifying effects.

Healthy livers make plenty of glucuronic acid in order to bind it to toxins that come from day-to-day metabolism and also from our environment. These toxins bind with glucuronic acid and are then sent to the excretory system and eliminated from our bodies. Toxins bound to glucuronic acid cannot be reabsorbed, so once they are bound up we are rid of them. Perscription drugs and antibiotics, pesticides, painkillers, even just eating too much sugar are all things that can damage a healthy liver. This begins a vicious cycle when our body’s detoxification system is damaged and we begin to suffer more disease and so we need more perscriptions to combat them which causes more damage and so on. The support received from the kombucha’s supply of glucuronic acid can be just what our bodies need to break free from this cycle.
kombucha ingredientsKombucha is easy to make at home. You can make gallons of refreshing, probiotic kombucha that cost less than one pint jar purchased from a health food store. You can flavor your home brewed kombucha in any way you like making custom-flavors not available in stores. Well Fed Family offers classes on home brewing kombucha. These classes include a starter jar and a SCOBY for each class participant. Contact us at healthyeating@wellfedfamily.net to schedule a class with your friends or to find out if we have an upcoming class available.