We are only starting to crack the surface on the gut microbiome and its role in our total health. We do know that long-term dietary and environmental lifestyle changes have the greatest impact on our future health and the expression of our genes, even if we inherit a genetic code that could present as a disease. Recalling grade 9 science class, that’s genotypes vs. phenotypes. Genotype is the gene, phenotype is the expression a.k.a. gene + environment = phenotype.
What we are learning now is that our gut microbiome can be categorized into 3 states through the clustering of bacteria which is impacted greatly by diet. These are called, “Entrotypes” and doctors of the future may be able to determine the best diet for you based on your “gut type” (Source).
An estimated 90% of cells found in the human body are not human after all but of mostly prokaryotic origin, derived from at least 40 000 bacterial strains in 1800 genera. (Source).
Basically, we are made up of more bacteria, than we are our own cells. This is why it is imperative that we eat in a way that promotes a healthy inner eco-system in the long term vs. short-term satisfaction from food choices like Starbuck’s latest unicorn-themed toxic frappuccino.
My drink of choice these days? Kombucha!
Kombucha is fermented tea that originated in the East over 2000 years ago and has been proven to host an impressive high active bacterial culture that includes Lactobacillus (Source). Lactobacillus is known for its ability to soothe the bowels, even in cases of extreme inflammatory bowel disease such as IBS and Crohns. Certain strains also play a key role in the detoxification of environmental estrogens.
Kombucha has also been found to enhance healing of the gastric and intestinal lining and is as effective as the drug “omeprazole” used to treat stomach ulcers (Source).
This drink is magic for digestion and it’s applications as a healing elixir are only growing, but the best news of all is that you can make your own kombucha at home. It’s quite affordable and a little kombucha a day has a big impact on your inner eco-system.
I have had quite a few questions and much interest since I started posting about this beverage on my social media channels so I thought I would share the recipe I follow and a few tips to get you started.
Click HERE! For the recipe I follow which was created by Sarah Britton, a fellow Holistic Nutritionist with a culinary background.
- Where do I buy Scoby?
You can purchase Scoby and even DIY Kombucha Sets at your local Goodness Me or Nutrition store (I don’t believe Wholefoods has it around here). Scoby doubles each batch so it is a small investment of $20 in exchange for a lifetime of gut health. OR, if you know someone who brews, ask them if they have extra scoby. I bring it into work for my clients who are starting to brew.
- What is Scoby?
“Scoby” stands for “Symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast” and it is the culture needed to produce your Kombucha.
- Do I have to add sugar? I thought sugar is bad for me!
You must add sugar as it serves as food for the bacteria present in the Scoby. Without sugar, your Kombucha will not work. However, your brew won’t be sweet as the bacteria presence is pretty epic and that sugar will be consumed in 7-10 days. Start tasting it at 7 days and you will see. Let it go to 10 days and it’s basically unsweetened. No sweet tea here.
- Why can’t I put a tight lid on my first brew?
Air exchange is an important part of the fermentation process. A wise client and new-brewer turned me onto coffee filters and I just use 2 filters with an elastic band.
- Fermentation sounds scary. Can I get sick?
If something goes wrong in the fermentation process, you will KNOW. You will see bugs or mold. If you keep your space clean and use hydrogen peroxide to clean the jars before use, you will not have a problem. Make sure you wash your fruit before placing it out on the counter as this is an easy way to get fruit flies into your kitchen and they can ruin your batch.
- What kind of tea do you use?
I use organic green tea. It is high in antioxidants, boosts fat loss and it is a gentler flavour that mixes well with all fruits and flavours if you do a second ferment.
- How long does it take?
7-10 days or longer depending on your recipe and if you are drinking it pure or adding flavouring, which requires a second fermentation and an additional 7-10 days.
- What can I use to flavour the Kombucha?
Here’s a great link that explains just that. A little goes a long way.
- Can I use essential oils to flavour?
Use extracts and dried or fresh herbs over oils which may just float on the surface. Everyone is obsessed with essential oils. I’m going to start calling them obsessive oils…
- Why is it carbonated? I thought carbonation is bad for you.
CO2 is produced via fermentation. Natural carbonation is fine and you will find there is less carbonation than you find in (dare I mention it) pop. Kombucha is de-bloating vs. forced-carbonation which can bloat you and cause you to feel gassy.
- I want to make my Kombucha more bubbly. What can I do?
- In your first fermentation, your scoby forms a seal as it expands to the exact circumference of your jar and floats on top. If there are bumps or holes, gas will escape.
- Store in a dark, dry warm place to encourage fermentation process.
- Use airtight containers for your second brew when you add the fruit.
- If you add herbs, add a couple of raisins so that there is something sweet for that bacteria to feed on.
HAPPY BREWING! THANKS FOR READING!
Sarah Midghall CNP RNCP