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Let's talk about your gut microbiome

Homebrew kombucha gaining in popularity, says local holistic nutritionist
kombucha scoby stock

Do you ever worry about your microbiome? The little universe that lives inside your gut matters more than you think, according to Sault-based registered holistic nutritionist Brittany Nicholson.

Now the Country Way staff member is providing an in-house training session (this Thursday, Nov. 28) on how to make your own kombucha, a sweet fizzy drink that not only aids in digestion, but boosts your immunity too.

“The term ‘gut microbiome’ refers to microorganisms living in the intestinal tract,” Nicholson explains. “And a growing field of research shows just how much that part of our body controls."

Nicholson says that kombucha can help maintain your ‘gut’ because it releases a powerful probiotric bacteria – in other words, the good kind! Her workshop demonstrates how to make the powerful concoction of yeast, sugar and fermented tea – either green or black.

“We’ve learned more about how fermented foods and beverages can help our bodies,” says Nicholson. “The special mix of bacteria and yeast – what we call the scoby – breaks down the sugar in the tea and that’s when you get the good stuff.”

So what puts the booch in kombucha? Creepily, it’s called the “mother” (or mushroom) – which essentially looks like a large slimy ball – which is actually the potent scoby concoction ingesting all the sugar and releasing gluconic and acetic acid, fructose, and probiotics. But don’t let your mixture ferment too long or it could become contaminated.

“Sterilizing the bottles is an important part of the process,” says Nicholson.

Participants in the workshop receive a gallon glass jar and brew lid, a scoby, starter culture, sugar, tea, and a thermometer – as well as a batch of fresh kombucha to take home. A 14-day brewing period will allow for carbonation to build up and strengthen the brew.

“You will have to ‘burp’ your bottles though,” laughs Nicholson. “Especially after day 3 – or the bottles might explode.”

If you do plan to try kombucha solo, make sure not to use herbal or flavoured tea, Nicholson recommends. Never use white sugar – only brown.

“And throw out any batch that looks moldy – especially the ones made with black tea.”

Other fermented foods said to provide probiotic benefits include sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and yogurt, says Nicholson. But kombucha stands as the best replacement for sodas – it keeps you hydrated. Most of all, your gut will thank you.

To check out more about the kombucha workshop and other health-related seminars, check out the Country Way’s facebook page for updates.