Monday, August 17, 2009

Kombucha Tea and Sugar Addiction

I started drinking Kombucha tea a few years ago and immediately noticed positive changes in my health. It seemed as if my digestive system was waking up. It cleared out my sinuses and reduced my sugar cravings. Even my hormone imbalance seemed to clear up!

Kombucha tea is a fermented drink said to strengthen the immune system by repopulating the digestive tract with live probiotics and enzymes that grow during the fermentation process.

When I first learned about it I was hesitant to make it because the recipe called for sugar and black tea, two foods I had stayed away from for decades. I was told that I had to make it this way or the benefits would be minimized. Having recovered from candidiasis I was concerned about drinking something with sugar in it. I was also unable to consume caffeine, (kept me up at night and made my hands shake) and was concerned about the caffeine in the tea. I went ahead and made it with herbal mint tea and organic sugar. It came out great and I felt sure the drink was plenty potent! I did not get any candida symptoms as long as I drank it in small amounts.

After making this lovely gentle potion for a few years I finally took a sip of a commercial kombucha drink, made with black tea. That one sip felt like a shock to my system. I knew my gentle herbal kombucha tea was right for me.

Recently, a few people expressed to me that they had been drinking Kombucha tea for awhile, felt good results but then got to a point where their bodies didn’t want it anymore. I was surprised to hear this as my body was craving a little every day.

Then, this summer, all of a sudden, my body didn’t want it! I tried a few sips, but no, it just wasn’t right anymore. I wonder if the kombucha did for me what I needed at the time and then I simply didn’t need it anymore.

I use a variety of lacto fermented products and I find myself craving different ones at different times. I trusted my body when it said it no longer needed Kombucha.

One of the major concerns about Kombucha is the large amount of sugar used for the fermentation. I believe that most of the sugar is used during the fermentation stage but I also believe that if one is extremely sensitive to sugar, candida, diabetes, IBS, it may not be the right drink.

I’ve also been thinking about some of my students who have had a difficult time “giving up” sugar. I’ve been through this myself. We are trying to heal illnesses such as candida, IBS, chronic fatigue, hypoglycemia, and fibromyalgia. We cut out the sugar and begin to feel deprived. Then it’s easy to binge on sugar and carbs exacerbating our symptoms.

I'm beginning to see Kombucha tea as being an important stepping stone for some people making the shift away from sugar. If someone is trying to minimize sugar intake but has occasional uncontrollable bingeing it seems that it could be more beneficial to drink the kombucha tea as an interim step. They could sip some tea when the craving for dessert shows up. They could sip some more when everyone is having a soda. They could put a slice of lemon in it when everyone is drinking overly sweet lemonade. This may satisfy the sugar fix while beginning the healing of their digestive and immune systems enabling the person to stay away from ice cream, baked goods and candy. As the bodily systems begin to return to a higher state of health the feeling of being sugar deprived could become a distant memory.

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