Making Kombucha Tea

I remember when I first made my own kombucha.  We drank the bottled Synergy kombucha, but I thought it would be more economical if I made my own.  So with a little trepidation, I found a mushroom and got to work.  Once I made one gallon, I calmed down a bit.  (If you would like to make your own, click on the “Kombucha for your Tummy” link at the top, and I have information for a free kombucha mushroom.)

A couple of thoughts: 1. For first-time-ever kombucha drinkers: start small, and let your stomach adjust to the probiotics.  Otherwise you will end up sick.  2.  While the tea ferments, do not store near house plants.  This will ruin the tea.  3.   People use the mushroom for more than just making fermented tea, I’ve heard-tell.  Some folks use it on sunburns or on toe fungus.  You can try it if you want, but for now, in our house, we use it for tea.

What you need:

Kombucha mushroom, plus 1/2c. fermented tea from last batch

1 gallon distilled water (only! because tap water contains chlorine which can kill your mushroom)

1 cup of sugar

1 pinch of Celtic Sea Salt (most recipes don’t call for this, but I add it to give the water some natural minerals)

Boil your distilled water.  Add sugar (and Celtic Sea Salt) and boil 5 minutes longer, until dissovled.  Turn off stove and add lose-leaf green or black tea.  (You can use tea bags, but I find the lose-leaf works better.)  Let the tea cool to room temperature.  Then pour into a large, glass bowl.  You do this for two reasons: 1. The mushroom needs lots of surface area to get enough oxygen to process the sugar. 2.  Growing your mushroom in a crystal, metal or ceramic bowl can be toxic because the mushroom will leach the metals, thereby poisoning your kombucha.  Next add your mushroom and starter.  The kombucha should be placed with the darker or bumpier side down.  No metal should touch your mushroom.  Place a pretty cloth over the top, and secure with a rubber band.  Store your kombucha in a quiet place with no direct sunlight.  The warmer the area, the faster it will ferment.  Now, I let my kombucha ferment about seven days.  This amount of time seems just about right for us, as the longer you let it sit the more tart it becomes.  You can get a feel for how long is just right for you by using a wooden spoon to sample everyday until you’ve found your match!  Once you’ve found your match, filter and pour into a glass pitcher.  Store in your refridgerator, and drink 4oz. threed times a day for your health.  Finally, you start over with fresh tea and by seperating the baby kombucha from its mother.  Now you have one for a friend. 🙂

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Goodness! Chocolate

Did you know that the ancient Mayans and Aztecs used cacao beans in their cooking? The beans were held in high regard because of their health benefits and were even used as currency. Cocoa beans contain phenols which contain those oh-so-wonderful antioxidants, and you know what? The less diluted your chocolate, the better it is for you.

You can order cocao nibs from a variety of places. Prices generally range from about $3.99 to $116.00 depending on quality. Grind them, and be like an Ancient Aztec: use them in your chili!

Treat Yourself

Treats

You can find this gluten-free treat at Vitamin Cottage and Whole Foods. It’s about twice as much money as a Hershey’s candy bar, but the cacao has more antioxidants in it since it’s undiluted. The almond butter is really yummy and full of protien as well as magnesium. All Two Moms in the Raw products come from my home state of Colorado! The only downside? It contains agave nectar which is a processed sugar from the agave plant, and it has twice as much fructose as high fructose corn syrup.

Cravings II

Sometimes when we have cravings for food, it’s not always food that we want. Human beings are complex, and there is more to us than just what we eat. For example, sometimes when I’m home alone and I could clean or take a walk, I feel listless and slightly bored. This happens more when I have to leave in, say, half-an-hour to get my son from camp. The next thing I know I look through the pantry searching for some gluten-free treat or that oh-so-good dark chocolate; I start munching. I suppose I should use the past tense: started. Now I sit down with a book or call a friend. OK this isn’t a totally serious craving. Yet it’s not off either. Sometimes people aren’t happy at work, or they are lonely. Food becomes a solace. So you see, people really are complex, and cravings can indicate other needs that aren’t being met. The next time you have a craving take a moment to reflect:is it something nourishing I want (which it could!), or is there some other need I have that isn’t being met?

I hope that you have a super, great day. 🙂

Cravings

Last night at my son’s ball game, my husband had this HUGE craving for…potatoes. You probably have had cravings like this too. I know I have, and I start thinking I just can’t stay away from “fill in the blank.” He plotted ways of getting himself a nice, big baked potato, how long it would take, and how he would love eating it. Did you know cravings aren’t bad? They’re a signal from your body to let you know you need something, as in the case of my core-conditioning, “let’s run the stairs” husband. Obviously he was low on carbs, and he didn’t necessarily need a potato to get those.  They aren’t a sign that you have no self-control. So next time you have a craving, stop and think about what your body tells you.