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Okay, okay, I know many of you have been waiting for this post as long as you waited for my post on putting BUTTER in my COFFEE. Every time I put pictures up of this good stuff, you guys continue to ask what the HECK I’m drinking! So, this is a little Q & A session based on YOUR questions from social media!

What IS kombucha? It’s a fizzy, fermented tea drink that is actually full of beneficial bacteria and yeast. Regular consumption of fermented food and drink promotes the growth of healthy flora and gut health. Crazy cool, right!?

What does it taste like? Truly, my friends, I think it tastes a lot like hard cider. Or, maybe even Mike’s Hard Lemonade if you’ve ever had one of those 🙂 I love the fact that it hardly has any sugar, and it’s FULL of stuff that’s GOOD for you! I may never drink a hard cider again… (key word, “may” 😉 ) But in all seriousness, pour it into a wine glass and your friends from college probably won’t even notice the difference. You can even add a shot of vodka or tequila to make a healthier mixed drink, like I did in this TV segment. And yes, kombucha DOES contain a small amount of alcohol, but it’s a very trace amount. This is good to keep in mind, because I’m not a big drinker and it doesn’t affect me at all when I drink 16 ounces in one sitting. On the mornings when I’m not drinking coffee (Read #3 in this post for why every month I take time off of coffee), I drink kombucha instead. It’s a great alternative!

How do you get past the fact that when you drink kombucha, you’re guzzling a colony of bacteria and yeast!? I know it’s a little weird, but for me it’s just like eating yogurt (and if you can’t get past the fact that there are live critters in yogurt, then, well, I can’t help you out there). It’s important to understand your gut NEEDS these good critters. The same thing happens when you take a probiotic supplement. You’re giving your body what it needs to function efficiently, keeping digestion working properly and your immune system working at its potential.

Does drinking kombucha replace my daily probiotic? No. Think of it as a bonus for your gut. Especially because it contains different strains of bacteria, I still take my probiotic supplements every time I drink a bottle of kombucha (sometimes with the kombucha). (The bacterial strains I recommend are daily supplementation of both bifidobacterium and lactobaccilus acidophilus bacteria, and most store-bought kombuchas don’t have these strands.)

How much does it cost? I find that on average, kombucha is around $3.50 or $4 per 16 ounce bottle. When they’re on sale (I consider $2.49 a really good deal), I stock up! The expiration dates are usually at least a couple months out.

Can’t you make your own? You sure can! I’ve heard it’s pretty easy and all you really need is sugar, tea bags and a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) which you can buy online for between $12 and $30. Mark Sisson has a good post with instructions on how to homebrew your own.

Where do you get this strange drink? The cool thing is it’s becoming more widely available. I try to get mine at a health foods store because they’re cheaper. (Health products are usually cheaper at health foods stores because of the higher ratio of supply and demand.) Cub Foods, a mainstream grocery store in Minnesota, carries kombucha and in a couple different spots —not just the organic section! The other day I saw them flaunted next to all the sugary pops and energy drinks in the little refrigerator at the checkout! When you purchase it though, do make note of the sugar content… The 16-ounce bottles contain two servings (but don’t feel guilty about drinking it all at once!) and I aim for 4 grams of sugar or less per serving.

Which flavor do you recommend for a Kombucha newbie to start with? I like them all! I haven’t yet found a flavor I haven’t enjoyed. I started with “Gingerberry” by G.T’s Kombucha. I chose this one first because ginger is known as a stomach settler, so you can’t go wrong, right? LIVE soda kombucha would also be a great starting point because it’s carbonated like pop (or soda for you non-Midwesterners 😉 ). If you’re feeling adventurous, go for the ones with chia seeds; the texture in those are very different than the others. I love them now, but think it would have creeped me out if my first bottle had little seeds going down my throat in every sip. The live cultures are enough to get past, mentally 🙂

There you have it. I’m no kombucha expert, but that’s my take on this wonderful fermented drink. Give it a try and let me know what you think! Especially if you venture out and make your own 🙂

kombucha love

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