Thirsty Thursday: Ancient and Mysterious Kombucha!

It’s all the rage.  You’ve probably seen it lining the shelves of your local grocery store.  I’m talking about kombucha, pronounced KOM-boo-CHA… I think.  I’ve never said it in public out loud, so could be wrong.

KOMBUCHA THREE

The varieties and brands of kombucha are multiplying by the second, but before you buy, let’s explain what it is.  Kombucha a fizzy fermented tea that contains lots of little bacteria that are supposed to help with digestion, which could in turn prevent certain types of cancers, give a boost to the immune system, and improve liver function.  According to the Internets,  Kombucha originated in China, then eventually made its way over to Russia.  And even though it’s commercially available now, people are still home brewing this stuff, which can be extremely dangerous considering there are bugs and bacteria involved.  It’s called food poisoning is not pleasant.  Unless you know what you’re doing, just don’t.  Please don’t.

I first heard of kombucha through a roommate last year.  She gave me a sip, thought it tasted like sour pee, I gagged, then I forgot all about it… until one day in the produce section.  The bottles were all lined up in the cooler.  They looked so colorful and pretty.  The health claims were just too good.  I’m clearly a total sucker for marketing tactics.  I decided to give it another try.

So far, I’ve only had the pleasure of drinking one brand – GT’s.  They have over 20 different formulas.  Some contain extra fiber, antioxidants or chia seeds.  All are organic and raw.  I’ve had three flavors: Guava goddess, the Mystic Mango, and the grape one with the chia seeds.  All of them were good enough for me to buy again.  The taste is a little sour at first, like sweet vinegar, but it’s really not bad once you get used to it.  Remember the first time you had beer?  Yeah, kinda like that.  It’s an acquired taste.

From everything I’ve read, there are NO SCIENTIFIC STUDIES to back up any of the health claims on the bottle, but I have to admit… I do feel a little something going on in my gut after I drink one.  It’s like that warm feeling you get in your belly right after you take a shot.  It makes me nostalgic for college.

Speaking of booze… from what I understand, the fruity varieties are like the wine coolers of the kombucha world.  Only amateurs like me drink those.  I haven’t worked up the courage to try the hardcore “original formula” THAT ACTUALLY REQUIRES ID to buy.  That’s right.  Because of the fermenting process, there is alcohol in every single bottle, and even more in the original flavor.  Not much.  Just about .5%.  But that kinda increases the cool factor for me.  I don’t know why.  Maybe I need rehab.

THE HARD FACTS: 

  • Nutrition: Kombucha is low in calories, compared to other bottled drinks.  Depending on the flavor, you’re looking at as few as 30 calories in an 8 oz. serving.  My Mystic Mango had 50.  The varieties with chia seeds have more because the chia contains healthy fats.
  • Cost:  I’ve seen GT’s Kombucha sold for nearly $4 a bottle.  Like a daily Starbucks habit, it has the potential of getting real expensive real fast.

KOMBUCHA TWO KOMBUCHA ONE

BOTTOM LINE:  Kombucha can be tasty.  It can also be expensive.  Enjoying it in moderation may not cure cancer, but it probably won’t hurt.

P.S. Can we talk about GT’s endorsements?  The may have picked two of the worst celebrities to quote on their website:

“Turbocharge your metabolism with Kombucha” – Dr. Oz (GENERALLY IRRESPONSIBLE WACKJOB)

“It’s zingy and it gives me a boost.  Who knows what it does, but I like it.” – Al Roker (ADMITTED TO SHITTING HIS PANTS AT THE WHITE HOUSE)

AL ROKER

I digress.  Have you tried kombucha?  What happened?  Did you throw up?  Or were you instantly able to fly?  Tell me about your experience!  Either comment in the section below or e-mail me at thehungrytortoise@gmail.com.

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