PROBIOTIC KOMBUCHA TEA

Heal Your Gut with Probiotics by Fermenting Your Own Kombucha Tea

“But when he heard it, he said, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.’” –Matthew 9:12

I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at age 19, soon after I met my husband. I’ve been having a flare of my disease for over three months now; the symptoms have become more aggressive by the week. Other than losing some weight and the betrayal of fatigue from my eyes, nothing is noticeably wrong with me. But I’ve been suffering with a “silent” disease; which means I look fine on the outside but actually my insides are on fire.

I’ve been researching several health blogs and podcasts, trying to find what I can do naturally to help myself. After reading how many people reversed their autoimmune disease symptoms with nutrient dense foods, one month ago I started the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol diet to gain wellness and possibly reduce my medication. Fermented foods are highly encouraged on this diet, so I am taking steps to introduce them into our daily meals, like the Kombucha recipe below.

Several blogs by people with chronic illness tell stories of horrific surgeries and experiences in their health journey. Writers speak often of how their diseases have stolen their joy and crushed their dreams; they’re angry. Understandably, chronic illness can be spiritually crushing. A few bloggers have mentioned how their illnesses have made them question their faith and the love that God has for them.

“But when he heard it, he said, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.’” –Matthew 9:12

Although Jesus, the Great Physician, did heal many sick people, His reference here is not of diseases. He was spending time with the social outcasts who had not been reconciled to God, the spiritually crushed, a different kind of “silent” disease.

 This might upset some of you. But as much as I want to cure my incurable disease and gain control over my symptoms by my diet, I don’t believe that I deserve to be healthy. The gospel of Christ is not that He came to heal the body, but to heal the soul. I am a sinner- by birth, by genetics, and by personal choice reflected in my every day actions. The price for my sin is death, eternally. But out of God’s love, He sent His perfect Son, Jesus, to pay the price for my sin by His death. When I believed and accepted Jesus as my Lord AND Savior (Romans 10:9-10), the undeserved gift of salvation was extended to me by God’s grace. I deserved to die at conception, but instead God is providing eternal life when this present life is over. And that  is unfair. Believe me; you do NOT want what you actually deserve! We need God to be unfair or else we are all doomed.

That’s where the anger comes from, the unfairness of it all. We think we don’t deserve this. To be sick, unhappy, or amidst tragedy. Anger is a secondary emotion to fear. We’re angry because we are scared. I’ve lost family members to illness. I’ve cared for them while their organs failed one by one. I know that someday that will come for me. But the truth is we all deserve death; but Jesus offers the undeserving a chance to live.

“And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, ‘Who was it that touched me?’ When all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!’ But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.’ And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed . . .” –Luke 8:43-48

There have been so many days I wished I was the woman in the crowd who could reach out to Jesus and be healed. I want to be healthy in this life, but more than that, I want this body to eventually die, for good. I don’t want this body to live for all eternity. I want the new body we are promised to receive the salvation He is holding for me; a body that doesn’t hurt, or fail me when I need it most.

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory”.- Ephesians 1:13-14

How can you be sure of your salvation? The Holy Spirit is the “seal” (and trust me, if you haven’t experienced Him, this is a real thing, people!), the sign of the promise that our salvation is waiting for us. It’s our inheritance. Which means that no matter how poorly this body gets on Earth, God is still good. God still kept His promise to me. He is holding my salvation on layaway until the appointed time; and that’s just how I want it.

It’s hard to muster faith when you are chronically ill, due to faith cannot be mustered. If it could, everyone would have plenty of it. I want to ask you a question. Where is your hope? Is it in a false deal you made with God for good health in exchange of being a good person? Is it in a false sense of control that you can heal yourself with food? And as much as I want that to be true, and I am trying, our bodies will fail us eventually, beyond any human’s control. Are you walking around, looking normal on the outside, but your insides are on fire?  Put your hope in Christ, our Great Physician, receive the eternal salvation God has for you which is sealed by the Holy Spirit.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” –Ephesians 2:8-9

It sucks to be in chronic pain. I hate that I can’t eat what I want, do what I want, that I fall asleep at the wrong time or can’t sleep at the right time, and that I have constant pain day after day. Don’t get me wrong, I HATE that. But I love Jesus, and because He resurrected three days after His crucifixion, proving He succeeded in absorbing our sin and triumphed over even death, He says I don’t have to be afraid of anything. And when I’m not afraid, suddenly I’m not angry anymore.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” –John 16:33

PROBIOTIC.KOMBUCHA.TEA

You may think you don’t need this; you do. You may think you won’t like it; you will! Kombucha is a fermented tea you can make at home or buy in the store. Among it’s numerous other healing properties, it adds probiotics to your gut, detoxes your liver, speeds up your metabolism, and helps with digestion and cancer prevention. You make it whatever flavor you want and adjust the sweetness to your taste. Kombucha self carbonates, so it tastes like a sweet, tangy, carbonated cold beverage. Perfect for this July heat!

Ingredients:

One gallon distilled or filtered water

One scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast)

One cup Kombucha or 1/2 cup vinegar

One pickle jar

Wooden spoon

4-6 black tea bags (not Earl Grey or herbal tea)

Fresh fruit or fruit juice (according to your preference)

Clean thin dish towel, cheesecloth, or fabric

Large rubber band

Clean, empty jars or bottles

You may be wondering, “What the heck is a scoby??” It has a similar look and feel to a disc of fat that will float on the top of your tea. The scoby is necessary for the fermentation process. I know I will lose some of you here, but just to remind you that several popular drinks have a fermentation process, like beer, wine, and cider. And we know those things are delicious!

A scoby mother can usually be purchased off of Craigslist for around $5 each. If your tea has the right pH-balance, you should produce a baby with at least half of your brews. Then you can give them to your friends or sell your own.

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Boil one gallon of distilled or filtered water; chlorinated water can injure the scoby. I use my kettle and saucepan to speed up the process.

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Pour one cup of granulated sugar into the brewing jar while water is boiling on the stove.

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Pour boiling water directly into jar. Stir with wooden spoon to dissolve sugar.

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Pull out tea bags and cover jar with cloth and rubberband until room temperature.

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Then stir again and carefully add scoby mother to jar with clean hand. Make sure all utensils and hands are clean, but not with anti-bacterial soap. We have to reprogram our minds, but we want the good bacteria to grow.

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This is the scoby; you’ll get used to it. 🙂

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Add one cup of Kombucha or 1/2 cup of organic apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar if that’s what you have on hand).

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Cover again and place in a dark spot at room temperature. Funny story, my good friend left her kombucha jar outside overnight while they were conquering house flies after being gone on vacation. And a raccoon ate the scoby. Yep. He’s going to have some good poops.

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Set reminder to taste Kombucha in one week. This batch was perfect after 3 weeks. The room temperature makes a big difference with fermentation speed. If you let the tea sit for too long it will turn to vinegar. But even then, it can be salvaged. Add extra sugar or juice to taste.

When you decide your tea is done, choose your vessel of choice for the finished product. Canning jars work great, but be sure the metal lids don’t touch the tea. Never let metal come in contact with the tea. I found these reusable bottles with plastic lids and seals at a thrift store. I was ecstatic.

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Fill bottles or jars 2/3 with tea.

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I chose to sweeten this batch with oranges. I have had great results with apple cider and berries also. Let me know your favorites!

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After stuffing in a few orange slices into each bottle, I topped off the rest with a little orange juice for Nate. He’s not a fan of vinegar, but he LOVES this stuff. He’s been drinking one bottle a day, and I’m trying to drink only half a bottle a day but it’s difficult to stop. Be sure to leave a gap at the top just like any other carbonated beverage.

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When the bottles or jars are sealed up tight, put them in the fridge. They will get fizzier the longer they sit. The cold temperature will stop the fermentation and the flavors will permeate throughout. To buy a bottle at the store will cost anywhere from $3-$6 each. We are saving a ton, and it really doesn’t take long at all. If this is your first time consuming this beverage, start with 2 oz a day. If you drink too much, you may get diarrhea. But Nate and I are used to it, and it has done wonders for his digestion.

Store the scoby mother (and baby if she made one) in a glass or plastic container in the fridge. Make sure it is covered with kombucha entirely for protection until the next brew.

This is the top shelf of my fridge- beautiful!

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