My gut health (Part 1) plus how to make kombucha (and your own SCOBY!)
Last week I shared with you my new found mission to restore my gut health and explore the many ways in which I can help heal my gut after 7 years on the contraceptive pill and acquiring a parasite during my latest adventure in Central and South America.
So many of you have shown such an interest in this, and it has made me realize how many people out there are dealing with a similar situation and a time in their lives where reaching optimum gut health is of high priority. It’s one thing to show up on the yoga mat, steer clear of the junk food and eat your greens; but it’s a real act of honouring and nuturing your body to take the next step and proactively seek the medicine your body is craving and committing to a journey of healing and restoration. So kudos to you – Im so stoked you’re here!
When it comes to helping my insides function properly and radiate health, I am focusing my energy on a few specific areas:
1. Adding various foods and supplements to my diet that help to nourish, rebuild and nurture my gut. These include but are not limited to kombucha, fermented foods such as sauerkraut, bone broth, maca, filtered water.
2. Removing various foods from my diet that either foster poor gut health or prevent healing, such as gluten, sugar, tap water.
3. Focusing on reducing the unnecessary and sometimes unconscious stress that is present in my life, regardless of how small it may seem.
4. Focusing on breeding nourishing, positive thoughts that support wellness and good health, and in turn crowd out the destructive, negative beliefs (more on this later)
5. And in doing all of this, keeping track of how my body feels, reacts and adapts to these changes by documenting the process
As I dive into each of these areas with you over the next few weeks, I would love to hear of any additional suggestions, comments or experiments you have undertaken on your own journey to good gut health. I’d also love to hear from you if you are coming along on this ride with me and trying any of this out – We are all in this together!
So without further ado, let's dive into the first and possibly my favourite part of restoring gut health – the food (Although, when is that not my favourite part of anything!)! Today I want to kick things off with Kombucha!
Whilst technically it’s a drink, not a food; Kombucha is so bloody-crazy-good for you that I’m not so sure where to begin. First and foremost it is a fermented tea that is essentially made from organic black tea, organic sugar (don’t worry – this all gets eaten up during the fermentation process so you are in the clear here!), and a delightfully little (or not so little) thing called a SCOBY – aka a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. Essentially this culture sits in the sugary tea and turns it into a probiotic-rich beverage that aids digestion, absorption of nutrients and improves our gut flora. You can buy kombucha in all good health food stores in an incredible range of delicious flavours, but what is even better is that you can make it yourself at home. And it is incredibly easy!
How to make Kombucha (and your own thriving SCOBY!):
First up, you are going to need a SCOBY. To get your hands on one of these babies you either need to purchase one (some places sell them either fresh and ready to go, or dehydrated for easier transportation), be gifted one by a loving friend who has their own SCOBY that has multiplied and produced a ‘baby’, or you can do what I did and grow your own.
This information was shared with me by a work colleague during my first week at my new job, and it is just too good not to share. Essentially, all you need to do is find a baby SCOBY hiding within a bottle of store-bought Kombucha. 'Mojo' and 'Buchi' are two brands I recommend, and becasue they do not filter their kombucha before bottling, you can often see a small, cloudy group of culture floating around inside the bottle. This is actually a baby SCOBY just waiting to be looked after and nurtured!
Take the bottle of store-bought kombucha home, and decant the baby SCOBY and about one cup of kombucha into a separate jar or bottle. Add a tsp of organic sugar to the jar and cover it with a clean cloth fastened with an elastic band. Then place the jar into a cool, dark place (mine lives in my linen closet!) and leave it there for as long as it takes for the scoby to grow to the circumference of the jar. This may take a week or two. Don't be disheartened if you don't see anything happen in the first few days. It will start to float on the surface and develop a slimy, thin layer which will slowly grow and become thicker. Patience is your best friend here!
Once the SCOBY has grown to the size of your jar's circumference, you now have a beautiful, healthy scoby ready to use in your first batch of kombucha! First up, brew just under three litres of organic black tea (I use 6 tea bags to 2.9L of water - Feel free to change up the measurements to suit you, keeping the ratios in check). Dissolve 1 cup of organic raw sugar into the tea, and allow it to cool to room temperature.
It’s now time to add the SCOBY! I use a large glass juice dispenser to store my kombucha, as I find it is the perfect size, and the dispenser at the bottom allows me to drain the kombucha when its time to separate it from the SCOBY. Just be sure that the dispenser (or anything else inside the container) isn’t metal, as this will react with the kombucha and ruin all your good work.
Pour your cooled tea into the glass container and then add your SCOBY and the 1 cup of kombucha that it has been living in. Don’t worry if it sinks to the bottom and you can no longer see it floating around in there – simply cover the glass container with a clean cloth, fasten with an elastic band and put it back into the cool, dark place for at least a week. The longer you leave it, the stronger the kombucha. But seeing as though you are trying to grow your kombucha into a full grown mother, it's best to leave it a little while longer. I left mine for 10 days, and it has developed into quite a fine young lady! It has even begun growing a baby of it’s own already!
Once you have waited patiently and your scoby is looking like the one above, you can dispense the liquid into glass bottles and begin to get creative with flavours. I absolutely love ginger flavoured kombucha, so I juiced a huge piece of ginger and added about 100ml of ginger juice to each of my bottles. Once you have added your juice, seal your bottles (best to use a bottle with a seal like shown below) and once again store in a cool, dark place for 3-4 days to allow the kombucha to ferment for a second time and carbonate. And then its ready to be put in the fridge and enjoyed!
I hope this post has inspired you to give your own kombucha a go, or perhaps even just work up the courage to try kombucha for the first time. I would love to hear of all your favourite flavour combos, brewing tips and tricks, and how you go with setting up your own kombucha scoby at home, so please fill me in in the comments section below. I would also love for you to click 'share' below and share this gut friendly info with all your friends and family.
Until next time - laters babes!