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The Power of Kombucha (and sugar!)

I have two short stories from my family today to share about Kombucha and the power of ferments. And the negative power of sugar even after 2.5 years of healing on GAPS! (What is GAPS?) Usually my family can’t tolerate Kombucha.  We do love it but it doesn’t love us.  However sometimes it is just exactly what we need.  Thankfully I made some up a while ago.  I had some sitting in a swing top bottle in the basement (not in the fridge) from January.  I haven’t been able to drink it so it just sat there and I prayed that it wouldn’t explode!  Who can give fridge space to something you can’t consume in a GAPS kitchen! This morning I woke up with a very specific back ache/weakness that I have had many times before. It hurts up near my shoulder blades and feels very weak like I can barely hold myself upright. In the past I would have treated it like an injury to my back with medications, massage, heating pads etc. Last fall I discovered that this can be treated and even cured by the right probiotic. I usually have no gut symptoms when this is happening and today was no exception but I am no longer fooled by referred pain. Often the probiotic that works is kombucha. So I went to the basement and retrieved that bottle. I suspected that it would taste like vinegar after all this time but I didn’t care. I needed to feel better! I chilled the bottle for fear of having a geyser when I opened it up. It still fizzed a bunch but I kept it from making a mess. Finally I drank a couple of ounces of that Kombucha and now I’m all better. It works very quickly.  It also didn’t taste at all like vinegar. It was quite yummy! Sadly kombucha probably has way too many oxalates for me to drink regularly. (What Are Oxalates?) So I’m thinking I may try to make it from another kind of tea with fewer oxalates, or something.  I did have the back pain come back a two more times today but drinking more kombucha quickly fixed it each time.  Clearly my body is working through something here.  I am just thankful I know how to help it along.

Also W, my 8 year old, is helping me make water kefir. She has never done well on cane sugar but I am hopeful that it will be transformed enough by kefiring process for her to tolerate it. We just got the grains a few days ago and our first batch is brewing in the Pickl-it. We tasted it yesterday for the first time to see if it was ready. Just a tiny sip. It was still very sweet. Today is day 3 and we tasted it each again to to see if it is ready now. I poured about an oz into a glass. I took a tiny sip and then handed it to W. I assumed she would remember from yesterday to just take a tiny sip. Nope she downed it. And smiled. It is still very sweet and tastes yummy. I reminded her of how lousy she feels (and acts) if she gets sugar. At lunch time she fell apart because her sister did something that neither of us can recall any more. She was sobbing. Not normal behavior. I thought that she was perhaps over tired. Then I remembered the sugar in the water kefir. I had already poured her a shot of kombucha before I noticed this behavior. So I had her drink the shot of kombucha. Within a short time she was all better and has been fine the rest of the day. She doesn’t even remember crying or anything about the incident.   These two incidents were just further proof to me about the profound impact that the state of your gut can have on your physical and mental health. Who would have thought that a couple of ounces of fermented tea would fix my back pain?  And my daughters melt down?  Or that a very small serving of sugar water would cause such a profound problem for my daughter?  People on GAPS know about the amazing impact the food you consume can have.  

Do you have any GAPS healing stories to share?  I would love to hear them! 

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Thank You! –PattyLA

10 Comments

  1. Yikes! Does kombuchka contain oxilates? Are they changed in the fermentation process? Can you use 1/2 black tea and 1/2 green tea to lessen the impact?
    Thanks for all of your great information!

    • 8 oz of Kombucha, Organic Raw, Original, Synergy has 10.08 mg oxalate. That is pretty comparable to what is in that much tea (There is a range of levels depending on the brand of tea). I don’t know how that compares to my home made kombucha but I figure I’m close to that #. Since I need to limit my meals to 10-15mg of oxalate that would make eating any vegetable with a meal that contains kombucha difficult unless I only drank a small serving. Children should be at about half that level depending on their energy needs.
      I thought that I had read that green tea is lower oxalate but looking over the spread sheet that does not seem to be true. White tea does seem to be lower oxalate but it doesn’t make as good a kombucha either.

      • I have just started making kombucha again I used to make it with herbal teas…it’s fun experimenting with different herbal teas. first batch this time I made with organic rosehip tea with lemon grass and ginger…My second batch with ordinary black tea…I usually make ginger beer every summmer, but hoping to make kombucha with ginger to get it to taste like ginger beer. we call it ginger beer in Australia, you probably call it ginger ail..not sure..

  2. If you figure out a low oxalate version of kombucha, please post it! I love kombucha but found out recently I have oxalate issues.
    Thanks!

  3. My anxious 3 year old was having a very rough couple of days recently. We have house guests (Chinese, so she’s kind of into the natural stuff), and I didn’t even say anything about this, but she suspected that because she likes sweet (fruit), perhaps her blood sugar was off. I’d already knew that, and do try to limit sweets. But sometimes I get careless and let her have too much. So I didn’t let her have any fruit for 2 days, and she was a little angel. It’s sad because when she gets ornery, I lose my patience with her. It’s hard not to compare her to my other two who are good tempered. But then I am reminded it is PHYSICAL. Not her personality. Everyone else in the world will tell me that is her personality, and I should just love her that way (I should love her, of course, but also help her through it). But I was so glad for my Chinese friend, who could see that it was in fact, physical.

    • That brings to mind a FB post I read, from Cara at Health Home and Happiness, the other day. She has yet to blog about it, but I await an article with anticipation…

      “Two treatments (and some exercises we’re doing at home) with a Chinese medicine practitioner and my little one can eat fruit without impulsive/hyperactive reactions! I’m so excited!”

      Comments… Will you share more about this on your blog?

      “I will, I just started looking into this (2 weeks ago) so I’m nowhere near able to explain it yet. But a book I can recommend is The Web that has no Weaver, I’m reading it right now. And when looking for a practitioner, get a recommendation from someone who is serious about studying this stuff, like most natural medicine stuff there are a lot of people who don’t know what they’re doing.”

      “Okay, another update, she’s talking a TON today. Before she’d use maybe one new word a week, but shes used about 10 this morning. And she’s talking in full sentences where before (um, yesterday) it was always 3-4 word combinations. SO EXCITED!”

      Yay! Thanking God for all the wonderful developments you’re seeing through Chinese medicine. Keep us posted :)

      “I will! You guys on my Facebook page here are usually the first to know when something works, since I know so many of you are working to help your child like I am.”

      As I said, I am eager to see her write more about it. My younger two also deal with hyperactive issues with too much fruit. I love this sort of online family of helpful people who have blessed me (and many others) as we are all on this journey to find wisdom for natural health together. :)

  4. Kombucha definitely calms the beast in our house, too.

    Waiting to see how your water kefir turns out. I’d like to start it again.

    • The water kefir is a big hit here! I’ll have to blog about how I make it soon.

  5. I have found kombucha to be my secret energy source! I have no idea where the energy boost comes from, but it is fantastic. I still stick with no more than a couple of ounces a day to prevent major die off, but even that small amount does the job well. I’m glad you’ve tapped into what it does best for your family. We have experimented with a few foods unsuccessfully lately, so little miss cranky pants Katie is about to get a dose as soon as I can chase her down. 😉

    Thanks for your sharing your vast store of knowledge as usual!

    • That is great! Different things work for different people. Just keep listening to your body and you will know what to do!

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