This fermented fizzy drink has really taken off on the Gold Coast over the last 4 years, and plenty of cafes and restaurants carry various brands. Kombucha is the end result of fermenting black or green tea, water and sugar. A SCOBY is the organism that consumes all the sugar in the liquid and turns it into a fermented drink. SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. After the initial ferment is completed, fruit, flowers and other items are added to give the Kombucha its flavour. Many people choose to drink Kombucha as a refreshing fizzy drink alternative, but it can also be drunk simply for its medicinal value.
When starting out, try 50-100ml of kombucha per day and increase it from there. There is no medicinal need to have more than 200ml per day, but many like drinking 350ml as a beverage. When choosing kombucha a sour, tangy brew is better than a sweet lightly bubbly brew. Sweetness means the sugar has not been all consumed by the SCOBY and its nutritional benefits are not at their peak. Kombucha is full of live probiotics, good bacteria that live in our guts and are needed for healthy digestion, immunity, mood balance, and general health.
Kefir is another traditional fermented beverage that has been consumed for centuries due to its unique health-enhancing properties. Kefir is also made from a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts but instead of a SCOBY, they exist in granules. Traditionally kefir is made with dairy milk as the lactose feeds the good bacteria, however it is now possible to get water kefir, or as we stock- coconut water kefir. This means the product is dairy free and suitable for all people.
Kefir promotes good digestion, gut health, immunity and even enhance brain function and mood. A potent and delicious beverage to enjoy daily, coconut kefir has said to be beneficial in cleansing and detoxifying the body, aiding digestion, balancing hormones, increasing energy levels, reducing cravings and eliminating unhealthy bacterial infections in the body. 30-50ml per day of kefir is the ideal dosage.
With a very long history from Eastern Europe, fermenting vegetables (originally cabbage) was one way to preserve them before refrigeration, canning and freezing. Nowadays fermenting many types of vegetable including cabbage, carrot, daikon, kale, ginger, seaweed, broccoli and beetroot has become popular. Unpasteurised, raw sauerkraut is very high is healthy probiotics and enzymes to aid digestive health. It has also been attributed to improving general health and healing of gastrointestinal disorders.
It is a wonderful addition to most meals. Traditionally eaten with meat, it aids digestion of proteins. Adding it to salads, sandwiches, wraps, sushi or even just eating a spoonful before meals is a great way to incorporate it into your diet. Start off with only a tablespoon per day. Too much will often cause bloating and flatulence. The amount you eat can be increased as you become used to the high level of probiotics and fermented foods.
Traditionally made from fermented soy beans, tempeh is now being produced from chickpeas and fava beans for those wanting to avoid soy. Tempeh is a fermented ‘living’ food, which originated in Indonesia but has been consumed in many Asian countries for centuries. As a whole food, tempeh is nutritionally very rich. Tempeh is one of the highest known vegetarian source of vitamin B12. It is also one of the best sources of vegetarian protein. Because of its fermented nature, tempeh is very high in natural probiotics. This makes it very easy to digest. Tempeh is high in fibre, contains no cholesterol and is very low in saturated fat.
It is best thinly sliced, marinated in soy sauce, tamari, or sweet chili sauce and shallow fried in coconut oil to become crispy on the outside. Add it to salads, on burgers, instead of sausages at BBQs, or in kebab style wraps.
All of these naturally fermented foods are fantastic for digestive health, but can cause some gas, bloating and flatulence when you initially start consuming them. Starting with the recommended amount and them working your way up from there will ensure you don’t suffer side effects. Your body will likely take only 2 weeks to become used to the increase in your fermented foods, and you will begin noticing benefits around the same time. For any questions please pop in store and talk to Rhianna our Naturopath, or Jess our vitamins consultant. Both are big fermented food lovers and are happy to help you get started.
PS Below is a picture of some stir fried veg, topped with chickpea tempeh, avocado and Kim Chi Kraut!