I very rarely stick to challenges that have specific time limits for completion. But about five months ago I embarked on a 30-day challenge that would change this pattern. Little did I know, that as an added bonus, it would also change my life.
Okay, I guess this is the implied, if not overtly stated, point of any challenge: to change a specific life pattern. And, usually (hopefully), for the better. But who really expects to 1. Get past the initial excitement/anticipation phase and actually start [insert any challenge here] 2. Reach the end of [insert any challenge here] 3. Continue to weave elements of the [insert any challenge here] into every day life after.
Mostly no one, that’s who.
So you can image my pure and utter shock when I vowed to join thousands of challengers in trading their favorite sugary soda or coffee addiction for kombucha for 30 consecutive days and actually got something out of it, other than guilt.
The essence of the challenge was to give up your soda or coffee and drink kombucha instead for one month. And because I don’t drink sugary beverages and was not ready to give up coffee yet, I altered the rules of the challenge to suit my needs at the time. What interested me most about kombucha was its medicinal qualities. So I committed to drinking 2-4 oz, three times a day, usually before meals, as a medicinal elixir, rather than refreshing beverage. After about a week –and already feeling the benefits – which included increased energy, better digestion, and even mood enhancement – I was sold and decided to get my very own SCOBY from the curator of the 30-day Kombucha Challenge, Hanna Krum, over at Kombucha Kamp and make my own.
And so here I am, five months later, still brewing my own kombucha, bottling it, and sharing with friends. What began as an experimental 30-day challenge turned into a new way of living.
Kombucha is a living health drink made by fermenting tea and sugar with the kombucha culture (also known as SCOBY or Mother). The result can sometimes taste as little vinegary, but most say it tastes something like something between sparkling apple cider and champagne, depending on what kind of tea you use.
Its origins are not 100% know, however it is thought to have originated in China, where it has been consumed for nearly 2,000 years. During the Tsin Dynasty in 221 BC, kombucha was known as “The Tea of Immortality.” This is also where the first record of kombucha consumption comes from.
It has also been used in Russia, Japan and Eastern Europe for many centuries. From Russia it spread to Prussia, Poland, Germany and Denmark but has been said to have died out, temporarily, during World War Two. After the war Dr Rudolph Skelnar created renewed interest in kombucha in Germany when he used it in his practice to treat cancer patients, metabolic disorders, high blood pressure and diabetes.
The kombucha culture looks sort of like a rubbery pinkish-beige pancake. It is often referred to as SCOBY because it is a “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts.” When the culture is placed in sweetened black or green tea, it turns a bowl full of sweet tea into a bowl full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and healthy organic acids.
While the culture is digesting the sugar, it produces various organic acids like glucuronic acid, gluconic acid, lactic acid, acetic acid, butyric acid, malic acid and usnic acid; vitamins, particularly B vitamins and vitamin C; as well as amino acids, enzymes. Oh, and it has all the benefits of the probiotic microorganism!
It does have a very small alcohol content. But not very much. Usually 1% remains in the brew.
Every new brew you make, the culture forms a new layer of culture on the surface of the liquid. You can thicken these by brewing with them or separate them and save as a spare culture, which can be stored with a little sweet tea in the fridge. This is also a great way to share with friends!
In addition to the immediate effects of drinking kombucha, long-term health benefits are said to include some, if not all, of the following:
* Probiotics – healthy bacteria
* Alkalize the body – balances internal pH
* Detoxify the liver – happy liver = happy mood
* Increase metabolism – rev your internal engine
* Improve digestion – keep your system moving
* Rebuild connective tissue – helps with arthritis, gout, asthma, rheumatism
* Cancer prevention
* Alleviate constipation
* Boost energy – helps with chronic fatigue
* Reduce blood pressure
* Relieve headaches & migraines
* Reduce kidney stones
* High in antioxidants – destroy free-radicals that cause cancer
* High in polyphenols
* Improve eyesight
* Heal excema – can be applied topically to soften the skin
* Prevent artheriosclerosis
* Speed healing of ulcers – kills h.pylori on contact
* Help clear up candida & yeast infections
* Aid healthy cell regeneration
* Reduce gray hair
* Lower glucose levels – prevents spiking from eating
Feel free to post any questions you have in the comment box below and I will do my best to be of assistance. Happy brewing!