With all the recent talk of kombucha on my IG feed lately, I’ve had several people ask what it is and why we would be so excited about a drink. I thought I’d take a minute to explain the drink and our history with it! Please know this only scratches the surface of the topic, but it’s a quick crash course on why you might consider adding it to your diet!
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a traditional fermented tea from Russia. It’s made with black and/or green tea, filtered water, white sugar, starter kombucha, and a SCOBY [Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast.] The SCOBY eats the sugar in the fermentation process and creates good bacteria in the process. Kombucha is full of natural probiotics and is a liver detoxer.
Everyone’s gut is full of good and bad bacteria but it’s essential that your gut has more good bacteria than bad, to keep the bad in check. Your good bacteria work against the bad bacteria by “producing antibiotic-like substances that dissolve membranes of viruses and bacteria; they engage the immune system to respond appropriately to invaders. Our healthy indigenous gut flora has a good ability to neutralize toxic substances. The good bacteria absorb many carcinogenic substances, making them inactive.” [Summarized from the GAPS Gut and Psychology Syndrome book by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride]
The problem is, things like antibiotics and chlorine in tap water wipe out the good and bad bacteria from your gut, leaving you vulnerable to a host of problems. If your gut doesn’t have enough natural probiotics via diet to assist the good bacteria in keeping the bad bacteria and yeasts at bay, the good bacteria can’t thrive.
One of the most commonly overgrown yeasts is called Candida. The good bacteria in an ideally healthy gut keep it in check, but when a round of antibiotics or chlorine in tap water wipes out the good bacteria, the candida can quickly take over the gut. Candida is a form of yeast with strands strong enough to penetrate the walls of the intestines and create tiny holes. These holes are known as “leaky gut” and anyone with a food allergy or intolerance has a leaky gut.
Two side notes: Candida isn’t the only cause of leaky gut. There are multiple potential culprits, this is just the one I’m touching on right now! Regardless of the cause, a leaky [and non-leaky] gut needs probiotics to keep the bad bacteria in check. Also, many people avoid drinking kombucha because it contains yeast, thinking it will worsen their candida. Candida yeast and kombucha yeast are two different strands. Some people experience a temporary elevation of candida symptoms when they start drinking kombucha, as their body’s gut starts to rebalance, but it will quickly level out and begin improving your gut health.
Both Emery and Cooper are intolerant to gluten and dairy. Even though the holes are still in their intestines, by keeping their guts full of good probiotics via kombucha and other ferments, I can prevent it from getting worse or at least slow it down. Ultimately, we plan to do the GAPS diet to heal and seal their intestinal walls, but for now I try to keep their diets packed with probiotics.
My typical schedule is to ferment 2-4 gallons of kombucha every 2 weeks or so. I let the kombucha ferment for 3-4 weeks, so I have a rotation going with 3 two gallon containers.
Here’s a link for further reading, if you’re interested in taking a powdered probiotic as well.
Why Does Everyone Need to Detox Their Liver?
This is the very reason we started drinking kombucha.
4 years ago Andrew was diagnosed with Fatty Liver Disease and was given very little information on how to care for himself in regards to this new information. He was very miserable at the time and often laid in bed at night complaining about how awful he felt. He couldn’t put his finger on it but he knew something was wrong. Once he received his diagnoses and I started aggressively researching how to care for his liver, I kept coming across kombucha.
I obtained a SCOBY from a friend, started our first batch, and his health began improving fairly quickly. 4 years later, he swears up and down that of all the changes we’ve made in our diets, kombucha has helped him more than anything, hands down. But people with sluggish or diseased livers aren’t the only ones who need to detox!
Your body is constantly exposed to toxins through food, body care products, cleaning products, and chemicals you inhale throughout the day in our modern environment. While our family has overhauled our food, body care, and cleaning supplies, we will never escape the environmental toxins. Your body needs help flushing these out of your system so your liver can function optimally. The more work it’s doing detoxing your body, the less energy it has to do other important tasks like creating bile, storing energy, creating proteins for blood clotting, etc. The less effective it is in doing it’s job, the greater the toll on your whole body. It’s important to understand that the liver doesn’t only effect the liver. Your entire body is one unit, working together. If one part of your body is not doing the best it can, the rest of your body can be effected in seemingly unrelated ways.
Riding your body of toxins and pumping your gut full of probiotics is one of the best moves you can make in your journey to better health. You can find kombucha in health food stores and many farmers markets or you can make it yourself. If you’re interested in getting started with brewing your own, I carry SCOBYs, starter kombucha, and an instruction packet in my etsy shop. There are several guidelines you need to follow, but the skill in and of itself is extremely easy – if you can make tea, you can make kombucha.
If you have any questions, please ask! I’d love to explain or walk you through whatever I can!
Hope you’re having a great week!