When our son married the love of his life in 2005, we knew we would love her, too. We just didn’t realize how much. As time marches on, we are discovering Dara to be an interesting blend of Annie Oakley, Martha Stewart, Lynn Jennings, and Granny Clampett.
I had little respect for her pantry full of weird hippy food the first few times I snooped. “There’s nothing to eat in this house,” I’d grumble. What were they feeding my grandson? What was with the bags of black beans? What was quinoa and how was it pronounced? What kind of animal did hemp hearts come from? What did one do with couscous?
But that was back when I took my health for granted. Funny how things start to look different when you stop doing that. My newfound interest in nutrition soon had me cooking differently and noticing the benefits, too. I’m thankful Dara feeds my grandkids more nutritiously than I fed her husband.
When she tried to introduce us to her home-brewed kombucha, however, I felt skeptical. I’d never heard of it, for one thing. It smelled suspiciously like wine, for another. And the deal-breaker was the floating blob of slime in every bottle. Seriously? People drink this stuff?
It was apparently loaded with probiotics, which I understood. But knowing it was made from either tea or berries, that it was fermented, and that it contained something called Hyaluronic acid all made it sound like a perfect storm for me and my Interstitial Cystitis.
Then I went on a two-week stint of antibiotics for a lung infection. I hate taking antibiotics, but if I must, I make sure I take probiotics at the same time. Why do so few doctors tell you that antibiotics kill your good bacteria along with the bad? Sure, the pharmacist hands you a list of possible side effects, but provides little if any explanation for why the side effects occur or what you can do to prevent them.
Good probiotics cost a fortune at the health food store, though, so I decided to take advantage of the free, homemade kombucha Dara offered. I drink an ounce with each antibiotic tablet and it seems to be succeeding at keeping typical antibiotic side effects at bay. And it even tastes good.
Turns out kombucha has been around a little longer than I have, at least 2000 years. It boasts a rich anecdotal history of health benefits like preventing and fighting cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases. Its beneficial claims include detoxification, joint care, digestive health, and immunity boosting. It helps provide your body what it needs to heal itself by aiding your liver in removing harmful substances, promoting balance in your digestive system, and being rich in health-promoting vitamins, enzymes, and acids.
While Russia and Germany have conducted extensive studies on the benefits of kombucha, no major medical studies are being done in the west. Could the reason be that no one in the drug industry stands to profit from researching a beverage the average consumer can make for as little as 12 cents a liter?
Although there’s a lot of information available online, including how to make kombucha, I wanted to share a little about it here for those who, like me, hadn’t heard of it. You can do your own research, but the general consensus seems to be that with regular, daily consumption, you can notice improvement in immune system functioning and energy levels within about a week, the healing of more minor ailments within a month, and the healing of more radical illnesses within a year.
So you could say my daughter-in-law made a believer (and a drinker) out of me. But I draw the line at swallowing the slimy floating blob. I don’t care how healthy she tells me it is.