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my DIY Kombucha saga...

Discussion in 'The Gut: De Meirleir & Maes; H2S; Leaky Gut' started by sarahg, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. sarahg

    sarahg Admin Assistant

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    ...Is about to begin. I have kombucha culture in my fridge that a friend brought from Maine and I am very soon about to make my own kombucha. Yesterday I had to feed it a little sugar to keep it strong, I was giddy to have something simple to fiddle with. She is going to help me start it later in the week and I have a few people giving me advice, along with a friend who is also going to make it for the first time to break his bottled kombucha habit. I thought that I would also plead for advice here, and also offer any that I find along the way. I am eager to hear of other's experiences.

    I can't afford to buy the bottled stuff very often, but I splurge on it when my digestion is really wacky or I am on antibiotics or I need a glass bottle. (I reuse the bottles for water cause they are easier to carry than mason jars)

    The friend that is also making it has been using it to keep his mouth bacteria healthy and help his teeth stop rotting as he is on a med that can really mess with your teeth. I am just aiming for happier digestion, and it usually seems to help that if I take it in small doses. Later I will maybe post some links as to the health benefits of kombucha when I have more of a brain.

    Warning! It contains a microscopic amount of alcohol when it is done fermenting (less that 0.5 %) and I luckily can borrow my mom's wine making thingy that reads alcohol content to make sure the home made stuff stays within that range. My alcohol intolerance is so bad that I can seriously get a bit of a buzz from like half a bottle of the commercial stuff. (in my previous life that would have been an insane concept!) So just take a few sips at a time if you are interested in trying the bottled stuff, and have the whole "CFS" related alcohol intolerance issue.

    Warning! even the commercial stuff smells kind of like a redemption center. (if you have lived in a state that does bottle returns, you will know what I mean!) don't be deterred, it does not taste bad, and is good for you!
     
  2. margib

    margib Senior Member

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    You're so brave! Where did you get your scobie (I can never say that without cracking up)? My latest for digestion woes is triple-blessed raw food kraut made with ginger & a whole lotta mojo. May you be blessed with the same! xo, m
     
  3. sarahg

    sarahg Admin Assistant

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    hahaha...I hate the word scobie so much! I try so hard not to have to say it (I am wierd like that about certain words, if I don't like how they sound)

    and WOW, your food sounds a lot braver than mine by far! How in the world does THAT taste? I've been thinking about making Kvas, which is a fermented beet juice and pulp, I've got my grandma's recipe and my aunt makes it sometimes, but I don't know if I'm brave enough or have the energy enough for that yet. (it's also supposed to have wonderful healing properties)
     
  4. starcycle

    starcycle Guest

    That's awesome! Subscribed to follow this story. Is kombucha supposed to have any immune stimming properties? I don't know much about it... I thought I remember it was used a lot in AIDS at one time (?).
     
  5. sarahg

    sarahg Admin Assistant

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    If I remember correctly it is more of an immune modulator, I'll really have to actually sit down and find some info on the internet to post here. I think that today we are setting it up. I have these HUGE glass jars that I found in our barn and I cleaned them excessively.
    My hair brained recollection of what we have to do is make a weak syrup with water (I have artesian spring water but if I had city water I would probably use bottled water) and white sugar (no other sweetener, sadly, will aid fermentation as well) and boil it for a while. Then we let it cool for like 15 minutes and add about 5 green or black tea bags. They can't be flavored in any way or it will get funky and taste awful apparently, but you can add any kind of flavor once it is done. Then we let it sit and add the culture. I think there are parts of this that I have really backwards now as I am done writing this, so I am glad to be led by a friend with a brain! There is no way I could set it up myself at this point.

    When I have actually done this, today or tomorrow, I will write about what actually took place rather than my inaccurate recollections of what we have to do.
     
  6. starcycle

    starcycle Guest

    Great! It would be awesome if you could take pics as you went through the various steps (I know it's asking a lot - no pressure! Just a suggestion :)). That would also provide a good "visual diary" of the process that could make it easier to remember in the future, or for others to duplicate the process. But just do what you can do, of course, it's just a suggestion. :)
     
  7. sarahg

    sarahg Admin Assistant

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    That's actually a great idea because it will help me remember what to do when I don't have somebody teaching me...because the pictures will be in order! thanks!


    Margi,
    I just realized I never answered you! I got it from a friend in Maine who makes it a lot, via a mutual friend who has family down here and came for x-mas.
     
  8. margib

    margib Senior Member

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    to the lovely sarahg,
    the kraut is awesome! i take a little after a meal (a digestif, if you will). i'm on day 12 of raw food diet. i'm more than hopeful. for the first time in so long, i have this weird realization about healing being from within (for me); i'm so sick (literally) of depending on pricey supplements, NT, etc. my afternoon crashes are almost gone. i'm sleeping at night. i'm not hungry anymore (i eat all day). forgive me for this vent, as i know it is probably "wrong" & unpopular at the very least. i finally feel like i have control of my body back. keep up the kombucha-making. with your lovely mojo (and it is, of course, all about the mojo, right?) you bet it works. :)
     
  9. sarahg

    sarahg Admin Assistant

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    I don't mean to leave anyone hanging but my brain has been fried. We made it last wednesday, it went well overall and I got some good directions from my former neighbor, we will see how it turns out. I will sit down and relate the whole process when I can actually get it out of my head in a way that makes at least a little sense.
     
  10. brenda

    brenda Senior Member

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    I love the stuff but it moved mercury round in me and I was ill.
     
  11. sarahg

    sarahg Admin Assistant

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    Well here it is!
    Our first round of culturing is probably just going to be to make enough culture and liquid that we can go our respective ways and make our own batches, so this was really our "starter" batch. I did want to take pictures as starcycle suggested, but CFIDS brain that I have, only remembered that I wanted to do this and brought my camera, when we were more than halfway through. So I have photos of the end of it, and of the representative ingredients, but not the process. I will do this next time though and post them, which should be in about a week give or take.

    Sadly the girl that was going to help us had to depart before we all got to a space and time where we could get this done together. So we got her over the phone advice, also great instructions from my former neighbor, and a few that were similar that I printed off the internet. Lucky that I have such awesome friends that all I had to do was gather the ingredients, ride to a friend's house, and read the instructions out loud. They are stunningly understanding of me! I also took the tea out of the wappers and ripped off the strings and labels. I had to bring water from my house so as not to use city water, but they carried everything.

    Then I got to rest in a recliner for most of the afternoon! I had to spend most of the day resting because it was one of my friend's birthdays and my major goal was to make it through the day so that I could at least sit up and look attentive for his small party and go to a bar with them for about an hour. (I made it! I am still recovering! I had a sip of beer! I stayed up astonishingly late!) They were all pretty impressed with what a trooper I was, and kept telling me to go to bed, I was pretty wobbly the next day and spent most of the next 3 days on the couch, I'm still not back to where I was, but I think birthdays call for a little splurging when it comes to energy.

    before I get started on what we did,
    here is some of what I found on the internet:
    http://vegetarian.lovetoknow.com/Recipe_for_Kombucha_Tea

    http://www.kombu.de/anleit-e.htm

    http://www.universal-tao.com/article/kombucha.html

    http://www.seedsofhealth.co.uk/fermenting/kombucha_howto.shtml

    http://www.superfoodgirl.com/kombucha/

    http://www.sustainlane.com/reviews/...wed-kombucha-tea/PD9WZWVH82R3MCBLSOB2MHHAAI7F


    between all of these there is conflicting info, but a lot is consistent. Some of them I have only skimmed through, but I figured I would put up everything I bookmarked.

    Ok so we followed a friends recipe and made 3 small batches at once because we had 3 cultures. We used huge glass jars. You can use straight green or black tea with no added flavors cause the flavors will make it nasty. you can add juice or a few berries when it is pretty much done. The tea we used was gunpowder temple of heaven green tea, as it is milder than a lot of green tea varieties.

    this can easily be doubled or tripled or whatever but it is the starting ratio. for each culture boil 4 cups of water and then add 2 tea bags or 2 tbsp tea and 1/4 cup sugar and let it cool to room temp. when it is cool we add the culture and 1/2 cup of liquid from a previous batch. if you do not have enough liquid you can use distilled white vinegar to make up the difference. (or boil and cool vinegar that is not distilled) The jar you put it in is then covered with a clean piece of cotton and secured with a rubberband. you let it sit in a place that won't go below 60 farenheit or above 75 farenheit for 8-14 days. then transfer to other clean glass jars and put in the fridge. save the culture and slightly more than 1/2 cup of liquid for the next batch.

    you want it in a place you will not have to move it because that messes it up for some reason. a new culture will grow on the surface of the liquid. It is important not to let metal come in contact with the culture cause that kills it. the longer you let it sit the more sugar will be converted to other good stuff. adding fruit juice and letting it sit in the fridge for a few days is supposed to make it more carbonated. If you let it sit for too long it can turn into vinegar. if you let it sit not long enough, not enough of the sugar will have converted.

    I am sure that towards the end here I have gotton sort of hair brained and I will come back and edit later to make sure I am clear and have left nothing out. right now our kombucha is still sitting at my friends house, we have slightly under a week before we split it up. I will let you all know how it turns out but we probably won't drink much and will immediately make new batches at home with the cultures and liquid from the first batches. Then I will tell you how it goes when I do it solo.
     
  12. Sunday

    Sunday Senior Member

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    sarahg, Your kombucha making is epic! And so you can avoid that word you loathe, out here in California we call it the "mother", as with vinegar. A friend of mine gave me one of the babies off his mother, I regret to say I killed it from neglect. I do enjoy kombucha very much on occasion but not enough to drink it on a steady basis. I hope to be acquiring kefir grains next week and will get my fermentation goodies that way. (I used to have a heavy organic kefir habit, but can't afford it any longer and feel bad at all the plastic empties. Also I understand that kefir-grain culture is far superior.)

    About the kombucha recycling-center smell: I have "kombucha virgin" story. I used to work in the local health food store, where that expensive but tasty bottled kombucha is a big seller. One day two women came in; I heard them discussing how they would try kombucha and which variety to pick (the register was near the refrigerator cases). They came up the reg, bought the kombucha, went out A few minutes later, they returned. "This is a bad batch; it tastes like vinegar." I knew the taste of kombucha naturally did, but also know that stuff happens with live foods; batches go bad. I poured a sip from their bottle into a cup. "It's not bad," I said. "That's what kombucha tastes like."

    sarahg, can you tell us what effects you're feeling from kombucha? It's early days yet, I know, but sometimes the first bits of trying something are the most telling.

    And by the way, I agree with you about making efforts for birthdays and special occasions. We have to treat ourselves well, yes, but we also have to have a life, and cultivate our loving and understanding friends. Hope the kombucha helped restore you quickly.
     
  13. sarahg

    sarahg Admin Assistant

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    sunday that is really a hilarious story! (I've found it's always better not to ever,ever smell it)
    Well the first batch is officially done as of a day ago! In the next few days my portion of it is getting brought to me and I get to start a new batch on my own. The first batch was really just about multiplying to have enough for all to go their own ways with it, but I am going to try a little of it when it gets here. I've been drinking a bit of the store bought stuff because I am yet again on antibiotics and my digestive system is angering as a result. I really do find it lessens the "freak- out" that my digestion usually has when I end up killing all the bacteria in my digestive tract, along with the evil sinus bacteria that got me into this mess in the first place!

    I'm loading up on probiotics too and am not allowing myself any cheating on the no-wheat rule. sometimes wheat does not bother me, but during and after abx or any sort of digestive stress it becomes a real problem. Under normal circumstances I just try to only eat it when nothing else will do, like at a restaurant or with take out pizza or when I want an egg sandwich. There are a lot of good substitutes for wheat when it comes to flour, pasta, crackers, breadcrumbs and stuff like that so I normally just moderate and hope for the best. But I swear I am being really good this time!

    Ok back to the kombucha, In the next few days, energy and brain cells permitting I am going to make a batch here at my house. I do not know if I will have help so that may impact how quickly it gets done. This time I am going to take photos of each step and keep them so I can refer to them later. If I actually manage to do that I will share them.

    I will not have much to try this time, but I will let you all know how it is. It will be another two weeks, give or take, before I have a big batch that I can actually try out "medicinally" and will let you know how it goes.
     
  14. Sunday

    Sunday Senior Member

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    sarahg, I enjoyed the diversions in your message as well as the info on how you use kombucha for your gut. Makes sense. I try to get a little miso or yogurt down every day, so something fermented is rumbling down there...just got some kefir grains and am trying my first batch of that.

    I like your "less wheat" as opposed to "wheatless" diet idea. I did quit eating wheat for a couple of months, but didn't notice any big difference when I went back on it. But I was real crashy then so maybe it was hard for me to tell.
     
  15. sarahg

    sarahg Admin Assistant

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    Just found out the next batch got made for me, so I don't even have to do a thing! The next (much bigger) batch will be ready in about 2 weeks. and I still (maybe tomorrow) get a taste of the first batch. I have awesome friends.

    Sunday, curious to see how your kefir turns out, you should see some of the stuff Kim has written here about it, she is really into it. Personally, anything that tastes like milk makes me gag, anytime I've had kefir I've had to disguise it in a smoothie. I get by eating yogurt by doing smoothies, mixing it with granola and jam and fruit, or by buying chocolate flavored yogurt. I have to trick myself basically.


    I stopped eating wheat most of the time for about a year and that got me over it making me feel like crap. So now I just heavily moderate the amount that I eat, and try to stop altogether if I am going through digestive turmoil. There have been a few times it has gotten quite uncomfortable for me to eat it again, but I just stop altogether for a few weeks and reintroduce it slowly. My wheat issue started right as I got sick, but I'm not sure if it was because I was sick or because they put me on antibiotics for a month because they couldn't figure out what was wrong with me.
     
  16. Sunday

    Sunday Senior Member

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    You do have awesome friends! I'll look forward to hearing your further kombucha adventures.

    I have two family members with immune diseases, and they both did macrobiotic diets for them. In macrobiotics, the first year of eating is very strict, and leaving out wheat is a big part of that. After that, you can eat out of the strict diet, but if you eat too much "wrong" food things start to go blooey again. The cure for that is to just not eat the foods for awhile. That sounds similar to your wheat-eating pattern.

    I love yogurt and kefir and all things dairy, I'm a real northern European that way. Years ago I gave up dairy for two years because of all the health buzz about it. When I started eating dairy again, I felt much better. I've read Kim's writings on kefir, actually her description sent me over the edge and inspired me to ask kat if she'd send me some. I've only been using this homemade version for about a week, so it's early days yet. I will say that it's great for taking my thirty million supplements of a morning; thick substances make them go down better and it's a good start to my digestive day, feels like. But if you hate it it wouldn't do much for you.

    There is such a thing as water kefir grains if you are interested, check the link.

    Apologies for the belated reply but I just upped my methylfolin dosage (I'm on Freddd's B12 protocol) and that sent me crashing down. However, it feels as if I'm coming out of it better...typical on this B12 protocol, get worse to get better.
     
  17. aaron_c

    aaron_c Senior Member

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    @sarahg

    I seem to say this so much: I know this is an old thread, but....

    Whatever happened with your kombucha? Did it help with energy at all? Was it only useful for digestion? Did it ever stop working?
     
  18. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    @aaron_c

    sarahg has not been here for about 3 years so you are not likely to get an answer!

    Sushi
     

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