Gut health is one of the new developments in nutrition, or at least one that’s being talked about a LOT lately. We have an entire living “microbiome” in our guts – that can influence not only our digestive systems but our immune systems, our metabolism, cholesterol levels and even our MENTAL health. In understanding gut health, here are two terms you need to know:
PREbiotic – Prebiotics are the “non-digestible” parts of the food we eat, such as fiber. Prebiotics are a nondigestible food ingredient that promotes the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines.
PRObiotic – A probiotic is a live (good) bacteria that you’re consuming. The more types of friendly gut bacteria we harbor, the better job of digestion the gut does, and the less chance that a particular food or food component will upset it or trigger a harmful inflammatory response. Here are some of the most potent probiotic foods:
- Fermented vegetables (kimchi, sauerkraut, carrots, green beans, beets, lacto-fermented pickles, traditional cured Greek olives)
- Fermented soybeans (miso, natto, tempeh)
- Cultured dairy products (buttermilk, yogurt, kefir, cheese)
- Cultured nondairy products (yogurts and kefirs made from organic soy, coconut, etc.)
- Fermented grains and beans (lacto-fermented lentils, chickpea, miso, etc.)
- Fermented condiments (raw apple cider vinegar)
- Fermented beverages (kefirs and kombuchas)
So, what the heck is KOMBUCHA? It’s an effervescent fermented tea beverage that’s good for the gut – but it can be expensive if you purchase it pre-made bottled in stores. So, I decided to make my own. It is incredibly easy, and FUN! I got my Kombucha Brewing Kit HERE on Amazon. You could buy the supplies separately; but this made the most sense for me. You can get the SCOBY separately here too.
When I made mine, I simply followed the directions in the kit, which called for organic cane sugar, black tea, a thermometer, test strips and a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). You’ll need to make sure your kombucha is at the proper ph level and temperature before adding the starter/SCOBY. Then, just pour into your jar, place in a warm location for 7-10 days and wait.
- 8 black tea bags
- 2 C organic cane sugar
- clean glass 2-gallon jar
Boil 2 quarts water on the stovetop. Remove from heat, stir in sugar until it dissolves. Steep tea bags in the sugar water for about 10 minutes. Let the water cool down to near-room temperature (under 80 degrees). If the water is too hot, it will kill the active bacteria in the scoby and your kombucha won’t ferment. Pour the sugar/tea water into the glass jar, and add the scoby and kombucha starter. Allow to process for 7-10 days. Test your kombucha after about 10 days to see if the “sugary” taste has gone away. A kombucha that hasn’t processed long enough will still be very sweet.
Next, start the second fermentation process. The second ferment is when you add flavor. Unlike the first ferment, it takes just a few days. I did mine by adding strawberries, ginger and a squirt of lime juice and placed in quart size canning jars. You can also do apples and cinnamon – which is also delish!
My friend warned me that sometimes these jars can build up pressure and the lids will need to be burped, but mine were fine without doing that. Now, I just leave the lids somewhat loose and out of reach so nobody knocks them over.