Friday, September 18, 2009

Tutorial: How to make Kombucha Tea

There are plenty of tutorials out there for making Kombucha, and now there's one more. Someday I'll do a video one for YouTube, but for now the written word will have to suffice. My main complaint for most of the tutorials I have read, is that they don't have enough pictures and don't follow through to the bottling process. If you've never cultured something before it can be a bit mysterious. Fortunately, Kombucha is really easy!

What is Kombucha? Well, Kombucha is a fermented tea made with a particular strain of beneficial bacteria. This bacteria produces a spongy mass commonly referred to the Kombucha mushroom, although strictly speaking, it's not a mushroom. The mushroom is where the bacteria lives and grows.

A lot has been said about the beneficial effects of drinking Kombucha. According to the Synergy web site, Kombucha helps the health "mostly through its influence on the liver, the blood and the digestive system, where it normalizes the acidity or pH. Metabolic balancing and detoxification is perhaps the most important function of Kombucha."

Lord knows I need more of that.

Personally, I love the stuff and feel more energized on the days when I drink it. You can drink 1-3 cups a day, but any more won't increase the benefit.

What you'll need:
  • 8 green tea bags. I used Lipton, but your local health food store has some good organic ones. I also used 1 Numi organic iced tea bag in the Citrus Black flavor. Yum!
  • a 1 gallon glass jar or sun tea jar
  • 1 coffee filter - to fit over the mouth of your jar - 10 to 12 cup size
  • 1 rubber band - to fit around the mouth of the sun tea jar
  • 1 C. white sugar (you can use turbinado or organic too)
  • 1 bottle of Synergy Kombucha and/or a Kombucha mushroom (I'm using both). You don't need a mushroom to start the culture. The Synergy Kombucha tea is enough.
  • 1/4th C. apple cider vinegar (if you're making your first batch)
  • a 1 C. measuring cup
  • a wooden spoon
  • 1 gallon of filtered water (you won't need all of it)
A few things to remember:
  • Kombuch is alive and needs to be handled with clean instruments. Please wash your spoons, cups and jars with MILD soap and rinse thoroughly. Residues of soap will hurt your culture. Please wash your hands too.
  • Prolonged contact with metals other than stainless steel will injure Kombucha as well. My Kombucha mushroom above is in a stainless steel bowl.
  • Filtered water must be used because chlorine will kill the Kombuch culture.
Let's make tea!
  • Put 6 C. of filtered water into a pot and bring it to a boil.
  • Drop your tea bags into the boiling water, cover and turn off the heat. It's very important to turn the heat off, or you'll lose too much of your liquid and damage the flavor of the tea.
  • Leave covered for 20 minutes.
  • While the tea is steeping, put filtered water in your sun tea jar. I put 4 inches of water in the jar. This is to keep the jar from cracking when I add the hot tea. I'm too impatient to wait for the tea to cool so I use this method and haven't cracked a jar jet.
  • Add 1 C. of sugar to the water in the jar and stir with your wooden spoon till it's dissolved.
  • Uncover your tea and take out the spent tea bags. Let the tea cool for a few minutes more.
  • Pour your tea into the sun tea jar and stir with the wooden spoon. Put your hand on the jar to see how warm it is. If it feels hot, wait a bit to put in the live Kombucha culture. The jar should be room temperature or slightly warm to the touch or the heat may kill the Kombucha.
  • Once the tea is cool enough, add 1 C. of the Synergy Kombucha drink and stir a bit
  • Add your Kombucha mushroom, if you have one. There should be room at the top of the jar for the mushroom to grow, so you don't want the liquid to go higher than the bend in the glass. If the tea seems low, you can add more filtered water.
  • Add 1/4th C. of apple cider vinegar (if you're making it for the 1st time)
  • Cover the mouth of the jar with the coffee filter and secure it with the rubber band. The Kombucha mushroom will rise to the top eventually and start making a baby mushroom on top of the mother.
  • Put the jar in a warm spot (I have mine outside, in the shade of my orchid plants). The temperature should be between 72 and 90 degrees Farenheit. The warmer it is, the faster your culture will grow. No direct sunlight though, or it will die...
  • Wait 7 days and then taste your Kombucha. It should have a pleasant sweet and sour taste and be fizzy. I've allowed my tea to brew for up to 2 weeks (it will become more vinegar-like with age) with no ill effects.
Don't despair if the top of your first Kombucha looks like something the cat barfed up. The culture takes a full week to get going and your first mushroom will be thin and a bit patchy looking. It may have some dark stringy stuff hanging down on the underside as well. No problem. That's a natural part of the culture.

  • When your Kombucha is done, you can bottle it up with fresh strained juices. You will want to strain any fresh juice as the little pieces are unappetizing. Citrus fruits and berries are my favorite combination. You can put in whole berries and citrus peels too. The Kombucha will continue to ferment once it's in a bottle, just not as much once the lid is on. Be careful of Kombucha that has been bottled with fresh juice, as it will become VERY carbonated. Refrigerate it to keep it under control.
  • Bottle only in glass bottles or jars with a tight lid. I just use old Synergy bottles and lids that I've run through the dish washer. It's not like the canning process where you have to sterilize everything. Clean and dry should be good enough. Just make sure you don't get your fingers in everything. Hands are really dirty!
  • I have kept my bottled Kombucha for up to a year, unrefrigerated with no problems. If you have any doubts, just keep it in the fridge.
Voila! You've made Kombucha. Easy stuff too and sooooooo good for you. I highly recommend trying out the Synergy brand Kombucha tea. They make many flavors and all are delicious. My favorite is Trilogy. Even though I make it at home, I still buy bottles of Synergy. Yum-O!

Some day I hope to make as good a tea as they do!

Whole Foods Market carries Synergy as well as many health food stores across the nation. The Synergy web side can help you find a store in your area.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Revenge of the hydrogen peroxide protocol

After 2 days of my hydrogen peroxide protocol I awoke with a crushing exhaustion, headache, body aches and slight fever. Ah yes, a cleansing reaction. I spent all of yesterday confined to my bed, barely able to move. I started to feel a bit better in the evening and took a couple aspirin to help me get to sleep and then popped up again this morning feeling pretty good. Needless to say, I didn't take any hydrogen peroxide yesterday. I'll take some more tonight before I go to bed (as I forgot to take it this morning before my shake, oops). I did manage to have half my morning shake and a miso soup yesterday for sustenance, although I did have to moan my way through making the shake. Movement was still painful at that point.

Also, I forgot to mention that I did lose 11 pounds since beginning this sojourn. What the hell, only 160 left to go...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thai style fish marinade

This marinade is good for any light fish type. I used salmon, but talipia would be lovely too. If you don't like things that are too spicy, leave out or reduce the hot pepper flakes. I got my dried shallots, keffir leaves and fried garlic at my local Asian grocery. Nama shoyu is usually found in health food stores. I included online links for you in case you can't find something.

  • 1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
  • 2 keffir lime leaves
  • 1 TBS dried shallots
  • 1/2 tsp fried garlic
  • 1 inch grated fresh ginger
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 inches fresh lemongrass - cut into 1 inch pieces and twisted to release flavor
  • 2 TBS nama shoyu
  • 2 TBS sesame oil
  • 2 TBS agave syrup
  • 4 TBS coconut milk
I marinated my salmon for about an hour and then popped it into a 375 F. oven for 35 minutes. If your salmon steaks are very thick you might need a few more minutes to bake them through. It came out fragrant and beautiful to behold. Yes, I'm a carnivore.

I served this up fragrant salmon with the Szechuan snow peas slaw from the Sunny Raw Kitchen.


Breakfast shake with tonic herbs

This makes a nice yummy shake filled with tonic herbs that are very good for you and taste good too. Please use fruit that is organic so as not to poison yourself with nasty pesticides. Very important. This shake is best made in a Vitamix, or some other high speed blender. Otherwise it won't be smooth and creamy.
  • 1/3rd of a banana
  • 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 lime
  • 12 grapes
  • 5 strawberries
  • 1 TBS dried unsweetened coconut
  • 4 wedges of frozen peach
  • 1/4th to 1/3rd C. unsweetened almond milk
The tonic herbs:
These herbs have various qualities that I'm looking for to help with my physical issues. Click on the names to see what each of them have to offer. I'm hoping to strengthen my immune system, liver and adrenal function, and reduce my fibromyalgia with these herbs.

Blend the whole business together for 2 minutes and then add 4-6 ice cubes and blend till the ice is smoothed in.

Drink immediately!

Candidaisis and Weight Loss Protocol

So, I spent the last week flapping about like a freaked out hen trying to get a protocol together designed for weight loss and to tackle my candidiasis issue. I think I've settled on a plan of attack, which I'm hoping will work. I'm going to try it out and see what happens. I may have to make changes as I go along. This diet may be too heavy on the carbohydrates and simple sugars to adequately address candidiasis.

I believe that my weight problem is linked to my candidiasis problem, so without addressing both at the same time, nothing will come of any of this. I'm not one to waste effort. I also believe that candidiasis is responsible for my rediculous food cravings, adult acne, dandruff, vaginal yeast infection, hypoglycemia, intetrigo, chronic fatigue, mood swings, indigestion and brain fog.

That said, I'm giving you all the link to the candida protocol that I found online that seems the most logical to me. It give several different ways to take food grade hydrogen peroxide and talks about the benefits and the possible reactions you might have to taking it. Please note that I take full responsibility for what I'm doing and have not had the advice of a physician regarding this protocol. (nor do I want any)

Below (in green) is the protocol I'll be following, taken word for word from the site:


It is suggested to take the below dosages either one hour
before eating or 3 hours after eating.

Use the dosages listed in the chart with 5 ounces of distilled or purified water. When reaching higher dosages, more water may be used. Take on an empty stomach, 1 hour before a meal and at least 3 hours after a meal. If your stomach gets upset at any level, stay at that level, or go back one level.

Candida victims may need to start at 1 drop 3 times per day.

Dosage Schedule for undiluted 33% H202

1st day,use 9 drops ( 3 drops, 3 times/day)

2nd day,use 12 drops ( 4 drops, 3 times/day)

3rd day,use 15 drops ( 5 drops, 3 times/day)

4th day,use 18 drops ( 6 drops, 3 times/day)

5th day,use 21 drops ( 7 drops, 3 times/day)

6th day,use 24 drops ( 8 drops, 3 times/day)

7th day,use 27 drops ( 9 drops, 3 times/day)
8th day,use 30 drops (10 drops, 3 times/day)

9th day,use 36 drops (12 drops, 3 times/day

10th day,use 42 drops (14 drops, 3 times/day)

11th day,use 48 drops (16 drops, 3 times/day)

12th day,use 54 drops (18 drops, 3 times/day

13th day,use 60 drops (20 drops, 3 times/day)

14th day,use 66 drops (22 drops, 3 times/day)

15th day,use 72 drops (24 drops, 3 times/day

16th day,use 75 drops (25 drops, 3 times/day)

For more serious complaints stay at 25 drops, 3 times per
day for 1 - 3 weeks. Next graduate down to 25 drops, 2 times per day until the problem is taken care of. This may take from 1 - 6 months. Don't give up!

When free of complaints, you may taper off by taking:
25 drops once every other day, 4 times 25 drops once every third day for 2 weeks 25 drops once every fourth day for 3 weeks A good maintenance would be 5 - 15 drops per week, depending on the amount of cooked and processed foods you are eating.

I had my first dose first thing this morning and felt no ill effects. I tried a different hydrogen peroxide product years ago and did myself in by drinking too much too soon and wanted to DIE from the die off. I was nauseated beyond belief and headachey and generally sick as a dog. It was my fault too, since I rushed the program and thought it wouldn't have such a big effect on me. I won't be repeating that debacle.

I purchased the food grade hydrogen peroxide online (which comes in a 33% solution and has to be diluted before use) and am very happy with my purchase. This in not something you can just pick up at the drug store. Do NOT use the stuff from the drugstore either! It has various chemicals in it that will make you very sick!!!

How can I be sure that I have candidiasis? Well, besides the symptoms that started when I took my first round of antibiotics (when I was 7), I took the informal at-home test.

When you get up in the morning (first thing before anything else), you spit into a glass of water. Normal saliva is clear and will not have any substance. Those with a candidiasis problem will have saliva that has long stringy stuff floating around in the glass, be cloudy and or sink to the bottom in a clump.

My nasty pictures are below:

Think I have candidiasis? Uh, yeah...

As you can see, there are the yucky stringy icky things floating in the glass of water that are described perfectly in this link. While it's not proof positive, it's good enough for me. You can go to your doctor and take a candida immune complexes test if you want to, but I'd rather not. If your doctor won't go along with testing you, you can always order one online for yourself.

My new daily routine:

Upon rising:
  • take hydrogen peroxide in water
  • wait 1 hour to eat breakfast
  • take blood stabilizer pills
  • 1 fruit shake with tonic herbs (recipe to follow)
  • wait 3 hours to take next round of hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide - round 2
  • wait 1 hour to eat lunch
  • take blood stabilizer pills
  • Large salad with vegetables and salad dressing
  • wait 3 hours to take next round of hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide - round 3 (last of the day)
  • wait 1 hour to eat dinner
Before bed:
  • chamomile tea
I'm not sure what role fruit type desserts, crackers, wraps and the like will be playing here. I'm getting an Excalibur dehydrator and will be experimenting with that over the next few weeks. I'm expecting a few spectacular flame-outs over that one...

I also plan to squeeze in a daily Kombucha tea. I'll be putting up a tutorial on how to make that as well, as soon as I can get myself together to write the darn thing.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Recipe Archive

The following is a complete list of all the recipes I've made and put up on my blog so far. I'll be adding to this list as I go along. Please note that not all these recipes are raw, as I'm only about 80% raw and still eating some animal protein and cooked food.

Shakes and Smoothies
Fermented Foods

    Italian style tomato and avocado salad

    I made this Italian style salad yesterday and it turned out rather well. This is reminiscent of the classic Italian tomato and mozzarella salad just without the cheese. When I get my cashew cheese done I'll do this salad again and see how it is with nut cheese.

    • 1 large beefsteak tomato
    • 1 half avocado - peeled and sliced
    • 10 fresh basil leaves - cut into a chiffonade (stack the leaves, roll them up lengthwise and cut into thin slices)
    • 1 TBS sunflower seeds
    • Cold pressed organic olive oil
    • Balsamic vinegar
    • fresh cracked pepper, sea salt and dried Italian herbs to taste
    Cut out the core of the tomato and cut it into slices horizontally. Arrange on a plate so that the slices overlap. Put an avocado slice on each piece of tomato. Salt, pepper and sprinkle with Italian herbs. Drizzle Balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the tomato's and arrange the basil chiffonade on top. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds.


    Tuesday, September 1, 2009

    Off the cleanse and back on to food

    A few hours after my lunch salad yesterday I had to run to the bathroom. I guess my stomach couldn't handle the greens because I spewed forth with a fiery green sewage that could only have been my lunch. Never has anything gone through me so fast in my life!

    There's no doubt that my intestines have been cleaned out...

    The fiery green sewage lasted until this morning when it finally petered out. I have decided to pull back on greens for a bit and stick with fruit and soup for a few days until my bowels have had a chance to normalize. In the meantime I'll be working on a few recipes that I'll be posting here to cheer me up on my Rawvenge adventure.

    I found a couple wonderful raw food blogs that I want to share with you. The Sunny Raw Kitchen is written by a very lovely woman named Carmella Soleil who is living near Quebec with with Don, Kylo (puppy dog) and DaPuss (kitty). She has filled her blog full of enticing photographs and yummy recipes that inspire me to drool every time I visit. I simply must buy myself a dehydrator so I can try all of her recipes.

    Her Super Caramel Chocolate Tarts, Cheddar and Smoked Veggie Pizza, Garlic and Dill Cheeze, Basil and Black Olive Pasta, and Black Forest Cherry Cake look heavenly! I'm hungry now just writing this.

    This yummy nut cheese may get a try in the next day or two...

    Next, there's a charming bloke from England, Russell James, who's a professional chef and is gracing us with mouth watering recipes like Maca Ice Cream and Cacao Crackle Sandwiches, Vegetable Samosas with Cucumber and Mint Raita, Pesto and Carmalized Onion Pizza, and Mushroom Curry with Parsnip Rice & Spiced Mango Chutney . Oh Lordy, I love a goumet meal and his recipes look just wonderful. I'll have to wait to get my dehydrator to try some of them though.

    These killer ice cream sandwiches will have to wait for another day, as will the samosas and the pizza...

    The Mushroom Curry below may get a try soon...

    All these photos were borrowed from their respective sites and are not meant to infringe on any copyright laws. Each one links back to it's original page.

    Many, many thanks to Carmella and Russell for inspiring me with their delicious recipes!