Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Better than Mylanta

Last week I ate a meal that didn't agree with my stomach and wound up having upper-stomach cramps for several hours. I had no other symptoms but the cramps went on and on, getting worse and worse, coming in progressively more painful waves. Finally I bought Mylanta (we don't even have over-the-counter remedies like this in the house, that's how healthy we usually are!) and took 2 tsp. I thought at least the magnesium would help a little if nothing else, but the pain actually seemed to get worse. I kept trying to think of what else might work, like some lacto-fermented veggies or kefir (I should have remembered to eat sauerkraut with the offending meal--oops!). Finally I remembered I had kombucha in the fridge! Within thirty minutes the pain was 90% gone, and I had only had a small glass. Hooray for kombucha!

In case you don't know, kombucha is a centuries-old beverage dating back over 2000 years, and is made by fermenting tea and sugar using a kombucha culture (a large mushroom is involved in this which is why it's also sometimes called "mushroom tea"). This is probably the only time you will hear me advocating the use of tea and sugar, so drink up!

Kombucha is not only delicious (with a bubbly sweet-sour taste) it also is a great source of digestive-friendly bacteria and I've heard it has antimicrobial properties (which is why you wouldn't actually want to drink it excessively). I like to have kombucha when I'm in the mood for something a little sweet and refreshing, or when I am having any sort of stomach pain (including cramps, bloating, gas pain, anything of the sort), which is pretty rare for me now. Using plenty of lacto-fermented foods and fermented & cultured beverages on a daily basis really helps prevent any sort of digestive trouble.

If you want to buy kombucha in NYC and/or learn more about why it's so healthful and delicious you can visit You can also purchase kombucha in health food stores, at Whole Foods, and even at many chain drug stores (but for a hefty price). You can also make your own if you have a kombucha culture which is even better.

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