Tag Archives: health

Kombucha!!!

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This post is for my niece, who wants to learn how to make her own kombucha scoby… Here you go, Cassie!

We love our kombucha.  Alot.  I’d have to say it is an acquired taste though. Our former pastor’s wife got me started a couple of years ago – she actually gave me a batch that was already fermenting. I remember her saying how much they loved it and frankly…initially I wondered WHY…???   After awhile, it did grow on me…now I am thoroughly addicted.  It’s better than drinking toxic pop, so I really have no guilt.  After a couple of years of trying to convince my husband that he too should drink it…he has caved decided to listen to his brilliant wife :-)…and now he enjoys it as well. I’ve been cyclical with making it over the past couple of years, but now we regularly go through about two gallons or so each week since there are four of us drinking it. There are continuous brewing systems out there…I just haven’t gone there yet, and I have two separate jars going – one that is “done” midweek and the other on the weekend. That keeps us in a steady stream of “booch” all week long.

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Kombucha is a probiotic drink that comes from Russia originally. It produces small amounts of a glucuronic acid – which is a potent detoxifier. It 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.” (Sally Morell Fallon, “Nourishing Traditions”) It is also high in B vitamins.  Kristen over at Food Renegade has a great post about the many health benefits so I’ll give you that link here.

Anyhow…the recipe:

Kombucha Tea – from “Nourishing Traditions”

3 quarts filtered water
1 c sugar
4 tea bags of organic black tea (must be organic as non-organic tea is high in fluoride)
1/2 c. kombucha from a previous culture
1 kombucha mushroom

Boil the water, add the sugar until dissolved. I do mine a little different than the recipe says (I have done 4-5 quarts and it has turned out fine, at least as far as I know)…so if anyone is sitting by with your copy of NT looking at this…just know that this is my spin on it. 🙂 The recipe says to steep the tea bags in the hot water and sugar mixture. I pour the sugar water into a large glass jar that I use only for kombucha, and steep the tea bags in there. Once the water is cool, I take out the tea bags, add the 1/2 c. of kombucha and place the mushroom on top. Cover (I use a dishcloth and a rubber band) and transfer to a warm dark place. I have been keeping mine on the counter lately (my canning allows for no extra room in my pantry) and I haven’t noticed a change, although it does not get direct sunlight.  It takes about 7-10 days to brew, sometimes longer in the winter.  It will be fizzy when done.  I don’t typically see it fizzing in the jar, but when I take off the scoby and pour it into jars, it fizzes quite a bit.

When the kombucha is ready, your mushroom/scoby will have had a “baby” (a new layer). Each batch will give you a new scoby. Depending on whether or not I have any “takers” who are interested in making it themselves – I take out what I need for my next batch (at least a layer of scoby and 1/2 c. of the kombucha)…and I typically compost the rest of the scoby. If you find others who are interested, just keep the other scoby in a glass pint jar with 1/2 c. of the kombucha to share. Keep your extra scobies and kombucha starters in the fridge; kombucha itself should also be refrigerated.  I keep mine in covered quart mason jars in the fridge, although there are special containers out there that keep it fizzy longer.

A couple words of warning. If it smells bad/rotten, it probably is. It should have a vinegary smell, and slightly sweet/sour taste.  The scoby should be tannish in color, with a sheen to it. If you have anything turn black, or get slimy/moldy, I’d throw the whole batch out and start from scratch. You also shouldn’t use metal in this process as it reacts with the kombucha. And also, I’ve heard urban legends about scobies growing in septic systems, so if you have one, I’d exercise care in washing and disposing of leftovers (I live in town but I still rinse it and dump it in my plants out back before washing it in the sink).

So now you say…hey, I’m feeling brave 🙂 and I’d like to try this!!!  A few options…a)  find a friend who brews who is looking for a good scoby home…b) order online…or c) grow your own scoby from scratch.  If you’re interested in option C…here is how you do it, from the April/May 2012 issue of “Mary Jane’s Farm” magazine:

Buy one bottle of unflavored, unpasteurized, organic kombucha (I used G.T. Synergy’s RAW original variety – can be found at any Whole Foods Market and many co-ops or natural food sections of larger grocery stores).  Pour the whole bottle into a large, wide-mouth glass jar (quart size works) and add one cup of cooled black organic tea that has been sweetened with 1 T. of sugar.  Cover the jar with a dishtowel and sit it on your counter away from direct sunlight.  The scoby will start to form on top of the kombucha.  At first, it will only be a thin film.  It will thicken over time; when it’s about 1/4″ thick (2-3 weeks, longer in winter), it’s ready to use.  Regardless of the size then, it will grow to fit whatever size jar you use to brew from that point.  It does take awhile to get a thicker scoby, but you can still continue to brew anyhow.  I did notice that those initial batches seemed to take longer than 7-10 days…probably closer to 2 weeks or more.  This is how I started my most recent scoby over a year ago, and you can see from the picture above just how big it is now.

Lately, we’ve been doing a second ferment on our kombucha.  I’m not going to go into detail on that, but I am going to include a couple of my favorite variations if you are so inclined… (the picture below is orange ginger root, I just haven’t strained it yet)

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Lemon Ginger Kombucha by Pickle Me Too

Cherry Vanilla Kombucha by Pickle Me Too (she has a bunch of great variations, I am just sharing my favorite two!)

Enjoy, and happy brewing!

P.S.  One final thought…as with anything…MODERATION MODERATION MODERATION.  If you aren’t used to drinking this, I wouldn’t drink a quart in a sitting.  Or probably even in a day.  Because it is a powerful detoxifier, you may even feel worse initially, so use your own good judgment on how much you or your family members drink.  Personally, I’d start small and work my way up gradually…but that’s just me.  So there’s my disclaimer. 🙂  And as always, I’m not getting paid through the links that I have on this post…they are simply there for your reference.  There are lots of great resources out there on this subject, I’d encourage you to look at other resources too.

This post has been shared at Butter Believer’s Sunday School; The Better Mom’s Monday’s Link Up; The Prairie Homestead’s Homestead Barn Hop; Living with Food Allergies and Celiac Disease’s Made From Scratch Monday; Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesdays; Simply Sugar and Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays; Cooking Traditional Foods Traditional Tuesdays; Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday; The Tasty Alternative’s Allergy Free Wednesdays; Frugally Sustainable’s Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways; GNOWFGLINS Simple Lives Thursday; The Cultured Palate’s Tasty Traditions; Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays; Vegetarian Mamma’s Gluten Free Fridays;

Non-Clinical Cognitive Observations from a GAPS Mama

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I’m going to preface this post with:  I AM NOT A DOCTOR.  I AM NOT A PSYCHIATRIST.  But I do know my child.  So take this for what it’s worth, it is my merely my humble, non-clinical opinion (and my husband’s).  Any nay-sayers or Doubting Thomases…keep on movin’ and keep it to yourselves.

My three year old and I have been on the GAPS Diet since February.  10 months.   We’ve learned alot along the way.  I’ll post the link to where we were at last summer for your reference, and if you’re reading about GAPS for the first time, it will give you a little more info…

Cool new things:  she has healed enough to be able to eat cheese and nuts, although being previously moderately allergic to dairy and all nuts.  Even a couple months ago, they were giving her diarrhea, eczema flares and causing some behaviors we didn’t much care for…so we removed them from her diet for awhile.  Being able to eat these foods has been a really positive change for her, and allows a few more options.   I won’t get much into the physical stuff that is no longer an issue…because we really had alot of that taken care previously and I talked about most of it in the GAPS Part 3 link shown above.

We never really thought that she had any cognitive issues before GAPS, or at least much outside of grumpiness.  I stated in the GAPS Part 3 post that at that time, I felt she had some sensory issues, and I’ll stick by that.  I don’t really know what else to call it.  She has always been extremely bright, and social when she wants to be.  Maybe we were just really focused on her physical health.  Maybe it didn’t click until we saw such dramatic sudden improvement.  Don’t really have an answer for that.  But when she started healing more…it was OBVIOUS.

A few months back, we were having issues with lots and lots (and lots) of screaming tantrums, that seemed to last indefinitely.  All day during times when we were home.  I’ll take the blame for the last bad bout we had…I was stupid human and I thought she’d be able to “cheat” at the State Fair just once, and eat some gluten free fries.  WRONG.  After that she went backwards and we started seeing alot more of the screaming tantrums, “fuzzy” behavior and rubbing her ears, and being more quiet and reserved socially.  Our setback lasted about a month and a half (I’ll include myself in this…fair fries…GF or not…BAD IDEA) and as suddenly as it started, it ended.  Even now, I really don’t know what happened to cause the dramatic shift in her behavior except that I have chalked it up to detoxing and/or further healing.  I can’t pinpoint one specific thing so that’s my best guess.

Things got a little better a month and a half after the fry incident…and they kept getting better.  About a month ago, we really started seeing some great stuff from her.  Her screaming tantrums are now what are typical for three year olds…fairly few and far between and redirectable.  Her speech has advanced alot suddenly, and she is cracking jokes and making witty comments, and she’s knows she’s witty.  Her level of facial animation is amazing, and she knows that her “funny faces” are a HOOT.  And best of all…she is initiating hugs and kisses and LOVE.  She has always been a very cuddly and clingy child, but it wasn’t until this change that I realized that she was seeking comfort more than she was actually showing love.  She started to tell us “I love you!” which she has never done before (this is personally my favorite part 🙂 ).   My big kids started to say this around age 2, and she is almost 4.  While we gave it no thought when she wasn’t saying it (figured it was just her personality)…it is obvious to both my husband and I that this is all part of her change and healing because it is all happening at the same time and is so sudden.  No, I don’t think it’s because she’s “feeling better” or because she’s “growing up”.  I think that based on what I’ve read from the “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” book and everything we’ve learned along the way, her brain is finally detoxifying.  I have long suspected that she was storing mercury and other toxic elements, and now maybe I’ll never know.  Which isn’t all bad.  We can just focus on HER.

Thank you Lord for giving us the tools to heal our child…and help her to be who You meant her to be. 🙂  I am forever grateful.  This all makes me so excited for the end result…so stay tuned!

This post was shared at The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter; Real Food Freaks Freaky Friday; Cultured Palate’s Tasty Traditions; Butter Believer’s Sunday School Blog Carnival; Healthy Home Economist’s Monday Mania; Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesdays; Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays; Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays; Cooking Traditional Foods Traditional Tuesdays;

Why I Love Real Salt…

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My Real Salt showed up today in the mail.  I was getting a little stressed out.  🙂  I had a little bit left and we wouldn’t have made it through the weekend.  I didn’t have a trip planned anywhere that we could get it so I would have been out of luck.

We love Real Salt.  Alot.  The taste is fantastic.  The color took my kids a little bit to get used to – it looks almost like light sand – but they got over it fast.  Now I don’t think they’d know what white salt even was if they saw it.

We used to use plain old table salt.  However – it contains anti-caking agents such as potassium chloride, calcium phosphates and fumeric acid.  Some salts also contain sugar in the form of dextrose.  I did a little looking after we started the GAPS Diet and found that fumeric acid is actually a derivative of corn.  A big “no no” if you are a) allergic to corn (like me) or b) on a grain free diet (again, like me!).  Chemically altered salt of any kind is nothing like the real deal anyhow.  They have been generally heat processed and have lost much of their natural trace minerals.

So…taking a bit of info right off the back of my Real Salt bag:

“Real Salt’s pinkish appearance and flecks of color come from more than 60 naturally occurring trace minerals.  The result is a “sweet salt” flavor that you may not have experienced before.”

According to the “Nutrition Facts”, 1/4 tsp contains the following daily average percentages:

Sodium Chloride 98.32%

Calcium .40%

Potassium .12%

Sulphur  .11%

Magnesium .10%

Iron  .06%

Phosphorus  .05%

Iodine .002%

Manganese .0015%

Copper .001%

Zinc  .0006%

Pretty good for salt, huh?

I should add one more thing in my non-medical opinion.  I work with elderly folks and/or people with various medical issues, including high blood pressure.  I frequently hear “I can’t eat salt”, “I’m not supposed to eat salt.”  Emphasizing my “non-medical opinion” again  🙂 – I’m going to add a well-written link regarding this topic right from the Real Salt website.   Regarding medical issues, good quality sea salt intake is also very important for people dealing with adrenal fatigue (one last time, like me!)…I find myself going through alot of it quickly.  Keeping in mind that on the GAPS Diet, we eat no processed foods, so there is no “built in sodium” (think:  frozen pizzas, stuffing mix and canned soup – YIKES!).  Anyhow, if you have blood pressure issues, please do your own research and/or talk with your doctor – I am simply providing this info as a “better option” that is worth exploring.

I got my Real Salt this time from Vitacost, although I generally buy it in bulk through our local food co-op.  I am not an affiliate of Vitacost, nor am I getting “kickbacks” from Real Salt. 🙂  Signing off to go and make some chicken stir fry…happily using my Real Salt.  Good night!

This post was shared at Butter Believer’s Sunday School; The Healthy Home Economist’s Monday Mania; The Prairie Homestead’s Homestead Barn Hop; Real Food Forager’s  Fat Tuesday; Cooking Traditional Foods’ Traditional Tuesdays; Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays; Frugally Sustainable’s Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways; The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter; GNOWFGLINS Simple Lives Thursday; Real Food Freaks Freaky Friday; Food Renegade Fight Back Friday; 21st Century Housewife’s Gallery of Favorites; Cultured Palate’s Tasty Traditions;