Kombucha – let’s toast to your health!

Kombucha

What is Kombucha (kom-bu-cha) anyway?

It’s the beverage the ancient Chinese called the “Immortal Health Elixir.” It’s been around for more than 2,000 years and has a rich anecdotal history of health benefits like preventing and fighting cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases.

While there are limited amounts of research done on the beverage, there has been lots of research done on many of the nutrients and acids it contains in large quantities (such as B-vitamins, antioxidants, and glucaric acids).

Kombucha is a naturally carbonated, fermented tea, which is very good for you.

While pasteurization and irradiation kill bacteria and yeast, fermentation actually uses live bacteria and yeast, as well as sugar, to create its finished product, which also include naturally fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, sourdough bread, beer, wine, yogurt, kefir, kvass and yes, kombucha. Kombucha is not as fermented as wine or beer — it only has a tiny amount of alcohol.

What are the health benefits?

1. Boosts the Immune System

Think of allergies, colds, and being run down in general – by consuming fermented foods and drinks, you can build up your immune system naturally. 70-80% of our immune system resides in our gut. Most of us have been on some form of antibiotics and other drugs that kill off bacteria, both good and bad. The ending results are that Kombucha’s fermentation encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria. Probiotics are good for your gut and good for your immunity.

Kombucha is also rich in antioxidants, which help to strengthen immunity.

2. Natural Detoxifier

Kombucha has probiotics and enzymes that promote detoxification. One of the main jobs of the good bacteria in your gut is to detoxify. By adding more beneficial bacteria to your gut, you’re getting the job done faster.

Kombucha promotes detoxification. Regular consumption of kombucha tea also supports liver function.

3. Energy Boost

Kombucha is the original energy drink. Don’t mistake this to mean that you are getting this by some form of artificial boost. Because kombucha helps the body detoxify, there is less burden on your system, and as a result, you get more energy. As stated below, kombucha is also rich in B vitamins, which gives the body energy.

4. Rich in vitamins and enzymes

In addition to beneficial bacteria, kombucha contains B vitamins and enzymes.

B vitamins provide support for the body’s metabolic functions including overall energy, utilization of carbohydrates, heart health, and healthy hair, skin, and nails. Adequate intake of B vitamins can reduce stress, anxiety and depression, boost memory, and relieve PMS.

Most of us don’t get enough enzymes these days because we don’t eat enough raw food. The role of digestive enzymes is to break down the foods that we eat into smaller compounds so the nutrients can be more easily absorbed into the bloodstream.

Because it’s naturally fermented with a living colony of bacteria and yeast, Kombucha is a probiotic beverage. This has a myriad of benefits such as improved digestion, fighting candida (harmful yeast) overgrowth, mental clarity, and mood stability. As such, it’s noted for reducing or eliminating the symptoms of fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, etc.

5. Increased Metabolism

Enzymes boost metabolism. In addition, all the beneficial bacterial and enzymes in the kombucha help your body work better and take the burden off of its functioning.

6. PMS Relief

Kombucha helps to relieve PMS. How? B vitamins help to break down and flush out excess estrogen from the body (a condition called estrogen dominance). This can help to reduce PMS symptoms.

7. Relief from Arthritis and Joint Pain

Kombucha contains glucosamine, a strong preventive and treatment for all forms of arthritis. Glucosamine increase synovial hyaluronic acid production. Hyaluronic acid functions physiologically to aid preservation of cartilage structure and prevent arthritic pain, with relief comparable to NSAIDs and advantage over glucocorticoids. Hyaluronic acid enables connective tissue to bind moisture thousands of times its weight and maintains tissue structure, moisture, lubrication and flexibility and lessens free radical damage, while associated collagen retards and reduces wrinkles.

If you’d like to tackle making this wonderful drink yourself, click here for my go-to recipe. While there are many sources and methods, this is the easiest and most satisfying. There are many sources to order a Scoby and a nice starter from, a friend or Google it and you’ll find many reputable locations. I drink it every day and so should you.

If you’re not quite ready for making it yourself, most health food stores carry it as well as stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, etc.

Cheers to your health,

Kellie

Holistic Health Coach

What’s your gut say about you?

Ferments

 

When I ask you the question, what’s your gut say about you? What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Perhaps it’s something like, it’s always bloated, or I have gas a lot, or I seem to catch all the bugs going around.

Does any of this sound familiar? Have you heard that anywhere from 70-80% of your immune system comes from the health of your gut? This is why in some circles it’s referred to as your second brain.

There is so much going on inside our gut, it’s like a little city all of its own. It’s actually quite amazing. I read an interesting take on our immune system from my friend Wardeh that I thought I’d share because it helps put this into an easy to understand perspective.

A layer of bacteria protects the gut wall, also known as the digestive tract. In a healthy adult, that bacteria weighs between 2 and 4 ½ pounds. This is the heart of the immune system and here’s why.

Think of the digestive tract like a pasture. The gut wall itself is the soil. The beneficial bacteria that reside there are the various grasses, herbs and legumes covering the soil. These plants, a highly organized system, act as protection against invasion and erosion. There are some opportunistic plants in the pasture too, as well as various passerby floating in the wind, but the healthy plants keep everything at bay and tightly regulated by out-competing it all.

However, if the beneficial plants in this pasture are damaged, the soil will be exposed to anything else that comes along and takes root, such as a virus, fungus, pathogen, or toxin. Over time, further erosion and stripping occurs. Eventually, the enemy invaders may take over completely. They will continue damaging the soil, sucking up nutrients and spreading disease.

Remember, this analogy is about the gut and the microbial population. But don’t think for a second that what happens there is isolated. No, our overall health is intimately tied to this balance of organisms. When the good buys are in charge, they facilitate efficient absorption of nutrients from food. They neutralize potential toxins and anti-nutrients. They produce antibiotic, anti-tumor, anti-viral, and anti-fungal substances. And certainly not last or least, the acids they give off make the gut all an uncomfortably acidic place for pathogens.

There is so much evidence that suggests that compromised gut health leads to development of food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances. There are many others, including myself that believe that good gut health can improve these conditions, as well as reverse or significantly improve diseases such as depression, autism, dyslexia and other mental diseases.

This circles back to my belief in eating or consuming fermented foods and beverages daily as a way to supply our bodies with beneficial organisms to keep the health of our gut running smoothly. When our gut works optimally, it has the ability to nourish the rest of our body, which also includes the immune system.

The end result in this…..your immune system relies on the health of your gut. How healthy is yours?

I mentioned fermented foods and beverages as some of the sources for helping your gut stay healthy or if already compromised, help heal it or greatly improve it.

My love for fermented foods came about as an experiment really. The more I’ve dabbled in and taught classes of how to, the more I truly love the magnificent abilities that these foods have.

Not only is it a way to be super-efficient with our resources, saves time and money, but it has the ability to give so much more! Not only the pure pleasure of eating or drinking them, but the art and craft of preparing them.

Have you tried any fermented foods or consumed any fermented drinks? If so, what was your experience? Share below. I can’t wait to read your comments.

Here’s to abundant health,

Kellie

Do you celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day?

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Every year on March 17, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart across the globe observe St. Patrick’s Day. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a whole lot of green.

While there are many of us who get together to dress up in our favorite green garb and shamrocks, watch the area parade and act a little silly, it only rolls around once a year.

Do you do something fun to celebrate this annual event? I thought it fun to dig a little into the history of the day and see what this day is really all about. Care to explore with me?

Saint Patrick’s Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick’s is a cultural and religious holiday that’s celebrated annually on March 17th, the death date of the most commonly-recognized patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461).

Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early seventeenth century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Lutheran Church. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland as well as celebrating the culture and heritage of the Irish in general. The forms of celebration generally include public parades and festivals, and we can’t forget wearing or green clothing and shamrocks. Christians also attend church services and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day, which has encouraged and propagated the holiday’s tradition of alcohol consumption.

Saint Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador and Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora around the world; especially in Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

If we dig a little into Patrick’s earlier life, there isn’t a lot known. He was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century, into a wealthy Romano-British family. His father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the Christian church. It is said that when he was sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and was taken captive to Ireland as a slave. According to his Confession, he was told by God in a dream to flee from captivity to the coast, where he would board a ship and return to Britain. Upon returning, he quickly joined the Church in Auxerre in Gaul and studied to be a priest.

                        Clover

 

In 432, he said that he was called back again to Ireland, though as a bishop, to bring Christianity to the Irish. According to Irish folklore, one of his teaching methods included using the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity to the Irish people. After nearly thirty years of evangelism, he died on 17 March 461, and according to tradition, was buried at Downpatrick.

What’s interesting to me is, originally, the color associated with Saint Patrick was blue. Over the years the color green and its association with Saint Patrick’s Day grew. Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick’s Day as early as the 17th century. Another interesting tidbit, in the 1798 rebellion, to make a political statement, Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on 17 March in hopes of catching public attention. The phrase “the wearing of the green”, meaning to wear a shamrock on one’s clothing, comes from a song by the same name.

While there are many local and area traditions to be found, there are also the food items that are found in most areas. Let’s not forget about Corn Beef and Hash, Irish stew, Green Beer and Shamrock shakes.

While I don’t drink the beer, can’t bring myself to put in green dye, it’s fun to look at and partake of the festivities. I love a good hardy stew and shakes are really yummy. This last thought inspired me to go digging for a healthier version than the typical “McDonald’s” shake that always makes a come-back this time of year.

For all those interested, I’ve included a healthy version of a Shamrock Shake in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day. Click here.

Make it a fun and safe day. Did you wear your green or will you get pinched? What’s your favorite Saint Patrick’s Day celebration?

Kellie