Foods You Never Knew You Liked: Kombucha

I am writing this post fully aware that I will not convert many of you to my favorite drink. It took me a very long time to try it, and I didn’t like it at first- and I will get to why later. Put I promise, if you stick with me, you’ll discover a new favorite beverage that is not only a treat for your taste buds, but your whole body as well.

Kombucha is, essentially, fermented sweet tea. There is more to it that that, specific cultures of bacteria and full of amino acids and the like, but that’s really all you need to know. It can be flavored with fresh juices, mixed with spirulina, stirred into cocktails, you name it. With a very slight vinegar taste (which, as an avid opposer to the existence of vinegar, I find easy to ignore), this elixir is naturally carbonated and positively excellent for you to consume. Straight from the #1 blog on the subject, here is a list of the wonderdrink’s supposed health benefits:

Probiotics – healthy bacteria


Alkalize the body – balances internal pH


Detoxify the liver

Increase metabolism

Improve digestion 


Rebuild connective tissue – helps with arthritis, gout, asthma, rheumatism


Cancer prevention

Alleviate constipation


Boost energy – helps with chronic fatigue


Reduce blood pressure

Relieve headaches & migraines

Reduce kidney stones


High in antioxidants – destroy free-radicals that cause cancer


High in polyphenols


Improve eyesight


Heal excema – can be applied topically to soften the skin


Prevent artheriosclerosis


Speed healing of ulcers – kills h.pylori on contact


Help clear up candida & yeast infections


Aid healthy cell regeneration


Reduce gray hair


Lower glucose levels – prevents spiking from eating

Yes, some of these are lofty claims, and none of them are backed up by the FDA, so hear me when I say that THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE and drinking kombucha is not going to cure anything. But I will promise you that you will feel better- maybe in a way that you can’t explain, but you will. If you are a person who suffers from digestive irregularity, this is for you. Tired in the afternoon? This drink has virtually cut out my 2pm sleepies. I get sick less often, have clearer skin, hold less water weight, and have a more balanced appetite!

My favorite brand of store-bought kombucha is GT’s, available at Whole Foods, Wegmans, and many co-ops and health stores. Their Synergy line is very easy to drink and great for ‘whetting the palate’ to kombucha. Personally, I think that the mango flavor is my favorite, followed closely by their Trilogy, a blend of raspberry, lemon, and ginger juices.

It is possible to ‘brew’ your own kombucha at home- in fact, I am in the process right now! More info and pictures when the brew is complete.

My Signature Quick Curry Recipe

There is nothing more satisfying, to me, than a piping hot bowl of curry on a winter (or, let’s face it, summer) night. This recipe has been perfected over the last few years, is easily adaptable, and kicks that sluggish winter digestive system into gear with lots of spices and fiber. Very easily doubles and triples for company, and can even be made in the slow-cooker.

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By the way, I didn’t leave out the curry powder. Traditionally, curry is a blend of regional spices- whatever a certain town had a lot of or favored, that’s what went in. This is my favorite blend. I have been known to add in some sweet cinnamon a time or two, but beware- it definitely changes the flavor to a more fall/winteresque stew. Still delicious, though. Come up with your own signature curry spice blend!

2 cans organic garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained

1 medium-sized white onion, diced small

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 medium-sized tomatoes, diced (or 1 can organic stewed tomatoes)

2 T olive oil

1 T crushed red pepper

2 T cumin

1 T turmeric

1 T ginger

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon ground red pepper

Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in the bottom of a large sauce pot. Once the oil begins to shimmer, sauté the onions until barely translucent, then top with crushed red pepper to toast and make fragrant. Once the onions are nice and soft, add the garlic until just browned- be careful not to burn it. NOTE: It is important to cook the onions before the garlic; not at the same time, so as not to burn the garlic. This will ruin your curry, and nobody likes that!

As soon as the garlic is cooked and fragrant, stir in the tomatoes. You’ll be ready to do this because you’ll be scared that everything is burning and that there isn’t enough liquid- the tomatoes solve that problem! Stir them in and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any stuck bits off the bottom. Now, pour in the rest of the spices and thoroughly combine. Let this tomato-onion-garlic-spice mixture simmer for a bit, maybe 5 or ten minutes.

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When you are ready, stir in the garbanzo beans. Let this simmer and soak up flavor for as long as you like, then serve it up nice and hot. At our house, we make homemade whole wheat na’an bread (or get storebought na’an or pita in a pinch) and eat the curry with our hands- way more fun and less dishes to clean up!