Guest blog – Tina’s story

My lovely workshop “graduates” are hitting their milestones and some of them are even sending me their stories – thanks guys – we love stories and I am always humbled by the way people open their hearts and “share” at the beginning of our workshops.

All our stories around alcohol are different but by sharing our angst about the booze we can all become stronger – there is a great benefit to being open and honest and that is how we will change our relationship with alcohol – as well as inspire other people.

A couple of weeks ago I posted “Nick’s Story”, today it is Tina’s turn and “Jamie’s story” is in the pipeline – so watch this space!

TINA’s STORY

Alcohol was my best friend, my go to strategy when feeling blessed, stressed or depressed.

I grew up with alcohol – from my first party at 14 to girls holidays in Ibiza – from countless afternoons in the wine bars of London with work colleagues to milestone birthdays in Vegas. It was fun, it made a good night out great and gave me unbridled confidence.

I always turned up for work – I worked hard and played hard – I never drank on Mondays and thought that meant my health wouldn’t be impacted because I often took breaks of 2-3 days, sometimes weeks at a time.

The years of partying continued into my late forties. But then thing started to change, I noticed it was taking longer and longer for me to reach that ‘buzz’ and even longer to recover from a ‘big night out’ or ‘legendary lunch’.

The hangovers were getting worse and the frequency of waking up not entirely sure what had gone on the night before were increasing (I now know these to be blackouts) I particularly didn’t enjoy the feeling of waking up and having to retrace my steps through bar and taxi receipts (let alone text messages).

My health was also suffering. I was bloated, had chronic indigestion, my skin was dehydrated and my diet was generally poor – the hangover days were fueled with carb and sugar frenzies.

I slowly started to resent how alcohol was dominating my social life. Days and nights out were built around alcohol – even going to the theatre had to involve pre, during and post show drinks.

Still I carried on consuming way over the recommended amount of 14 units (I mean who sticks to that, really?). It was normal to get plastered at the weekend- everyone drank as much as I did…. Right?

The problem was my conscience was nagging me. It wouldn’t let up. I had known for years that I drank way too much – I’d often thought about stopping but knew I needed help. I kept minimizing the adverse side effects and attempted to cut down on my own but that lead to drinking more and eventually my consumption began to negatively impact my relationships and so I decided enough was enough and last October I made the decision to quit.

It wasn’t an easy decision and it’s been a challenging journey but with the help of support groups I am looking forward to celebrating my one year soberversary.

A lot of people questioned why I would want to give up alcohol and now one year later I frequently get asked how I feel and have I experienced any benefits.

Truth is there are many benefits – I’ve listed a few below.

My anxiety has dramatically reduced

I can focus better

I stick to my commitments (like training for a half marathon)

My sight has improved and my skin is clearer

My face is not bloated or puffy

I don’t binge all day on pizza, crisps and coca cola

I listen to others instead of talking about myself all the time

I’ve not injured myself or anyone else

I’ve met some amazingly cool and fun sober people

I still party like its 1999 – I just remember everything and don’t lose the next day to a hangover.

If you’re thinking of quitting for 30 days, 100 days, a year, forever the best thing you can do is join a support group. I had stopped for a few weeks but was struggling, then I attended the World Without Wine Workshop in Cape Town. It helped me enormously.and now, 1 year later, I want to help others on their sober journey.

If I ever doubt my decision to quit I only have to ask myself this … is my life better or worse with alcohol…

Tina

Time to get rebellious!

A lot of this sobriety game is psychological

When you think of the billions spent by the liquor industry to brainwash us into believing that we need their product it’s little wonder some of us get hooked.

Not to mention the fact that alcohol is chemically designed to be addictive.

And then you have the fact that drinking alcohol has become so “normalised” that it makes it’s appearance at just about every event from a Christening to a Funeral.

It’s the lubricant that oils our social life, it’s the gasoline of fun!

Or is it?

How about we get a bit rebellious here and go against the grain, move out of our comfort zone and even defy social expectations a little.

I know I started to drink because I just wanted to “fit in”.

Yes it takes a fair amount of confidence and courage to socialise sober – and to dare to be different.

But it does get easier.

So maybe it’s time to rise above all that social conditioning.

After all we got wise about cigarettes – we now know they kill you and are not particularly cool or sexy.

Let’s get ahead of the game and see booze for what it really is – a poisonous trap.

janet xxx

7 Ways Alcohol Impacts Your Looks…

Many of us spend a fortune on “beauty treatments” not to mention gym membership and organic food bills but the quickest and certainly the cheapest way to get your freshness back is to ditch the drink…

If you need convincing then just check out Nicola in the photos – Nicola came to one of our workshops and as a result she quit drinking – she took a photo before she stopped and then again after just a few weeks of not drinking – they say a picture speaks a thousand words so I will say no more..

I will just post a quick listicle of how drinking impacts your looks…

  1.  Tired eyes – evening drinking affects your sleep – it cuts REM cycles from 5 or 7 to just 1 or 2 so you wake up feeling tired
  2. Grey skin – alcohol is a diuretic and makes your kidneys pass more fluids.  Skin needs moisture to stay healthy and will become dull
  3. Sagging – regular drinking can leave your skin missing the essential vitamins and minerals that help keep it elastic and smooth
  4. Red blotches – alcohol dilutes the small bood vessels in your skin which can result in red blotches
  5. It ages you – New York nutritionist Jairo Rodriguez always tells his patients “if you want to look older, then go ahead and drink!”
  6. Drinking leads to zinc deficiency which can lead to hairloss so those luscious locks may suffer as well as your face!
  7. We all want to be slim but did you know your body will not even think about burning any fat until its got rid of that deadly alcohol you drank?

We have more workshops coming up in September – make a booking and we will throw in a complimentary online support system called “Take a Break” which will get you through an alcohol free month – a great way to prepare for a workshop and find out how dependent you may have become.

If you don’t live in Cape Town or Joburg then just sign up for “Take a Break” – have an alcohol free month and get your sparkle back!

Just don’t forget to do that selfie at the beginning and end of your alcohol free month – send it to us and we will send you a WorldWithoutWine t-shirt.

janet x

 

 

 

 

 

getting the sparkle back…

This is my first blogpost for more than a year – not because I “fell off the wagon” but because I have been busy building my alcohol free life – and making it awesome.

I started blogging the day I stopped drinking and used it to track my first year of sobriety – first blogpost was May 2015 so if you want the whole story just click HERE

I hope this new post is reaching some of those kind people who encouraged me through those tough early months – would love to hear from you and anyone else who would like to leave a comment!

One of the best things about sobriety has been the opportunity to help other people via the worldwithoutwine workshops – we run them in Cape Town and Joburg and more than a hundred people have attended – about a third of those people have stopped drinking completely, another third of them have cut down and the rest did not reply to our survey so I have concluded that they are still “in contemplation”.

Contemplation is actually a vital part of the change process – my decade of trying (and failing) to moderate was definitely “contemplation” before I finally accepted that I would have to stop drinking completely.

My biggest learning as I begin my third year of sobriety is that putting down that last alcoholic drink is just the beginning. If you don’t make some serious changes in your life then you end up trying to live your normal life with a big hole in it – where the booze used to be. I certainly went through that phase, feeling depressed – and stuck because I couldn’t even chase away the blues with wine. I used say that I felt as if I had lost more than I had gained – but now I feel the opposite. Now I know that you need to fill that big hole with stuff that’s going to lift you up, connect you with others and broaden your horizons.

I have learned so much about addiction since I got sober so am planning to share some of those learnings, as well as some personal insights, via a weekly blogpost – please follow me if you’d like to get notification when I post.

Never forget that the opposite of addiction is connection.

I leave you with a quote from Mary Karr:-

“When I got sober, I thought giving up was saying goodbye to all the fun and all the sparkle, and it turned out to be just the opposite”

That’s when the sparkle started for me”.

janet x

 

 

DARE TO BE DIFFERENT!

10 Reasons to be Dry this December

It’s late November and the traffic is hectic, the shops are heaving, the party invites are flooding in and your relatives are already squabbling over whose turn it is to host the Christmas get-together.  Your head is spinning and your to-do list is getting longer by the day.

Same old, same old – every flippin’ year… but… why not make this year just a bit DIFFERENT?

No I’m not talking about cancelling Christmas but I am talking about a whole new way of coping.  Yes I’m talking about a DRY DECEMBER!

I know it’s crazy, I know it’s “off the wall” but sometimes it feels good to swim against the tide…

So here we go – 10 reasons to be dry this December…

  1. December is a madly busy time – chances are that whatever your profession you will be busy at work, busy socially – and of course busy creating that “perfect Christmas” for your family.  If you give up alcohol for December you can actually claw back a lot of time.  Time usually devoted to planning drinking sessions, drinking and then getting over the drinking.
  2. Everybody does “Dry January” but only the seriously cool people do “Dry December” and then start the new year feeling fantastic – rather than exhausted and poisoned with excess food and alcohol. Always remember that “sober is the new black”.
  3. There is never a perfect time to give up or cut down on alcohol – there will always be a party, a wedding or that “teambuilding” event coming up.  In fact December is just about the most crazy time to take a break from the booze – but maybe crazy is how you roll?
  4. You will reduce your stress as you “take control” – you will sleep better and steam through your “to-do” list and even begin to feel slightly superior to your pals as they struggle with their hangovers…if your friends give you a hard time just tell them you are doing 30 dry days to raise money for Earthchild – maybe they will even join you…
  5. You will have a wonderful excuse for avoiding the dreaded “office party” – “I’m taking a break from alcohol at the moment so think I will give it a miss this year” – let somebody else do the “walk of shame” through the open plan office the morning after the office Christmas party.  You can be sure you will hear about exactly who did what to whom before the day draws to a close.
  6. You won’t have that anxiety in your heart about the amount you are drinking and the nagging thought that you really must do something about it come January – you will be way ahead of the game this year…
  7. Action is the key – “Just Do It” – at least get through those first few days in December “alcohol free” – and if you can’t manage it then maybe you do need to seriously think about addressing your relationship with alcohol.
  8. You will lose weight!  We are surrounded by super-fattening foods during December and after a glass of wine or two we just get stuck in.  Staying sober means you can stay in control of what you are eating and drinking.  As an extra bonus you can opt out of the dieting misery train that we are all supposed to board come January 1st.
  9. A lot of people worry that they cannot enjoy themselves without alcohol – but think about it – what makes a good Christmas?  – being with your family and seeing the joy on the children’s faces as they open their presents – or knocking back the booze?
  10. At the very least a sober Christmas will be an interesting experiment – even if you hate it you will have tried – and who knows – you may even discover a whole new side of yourself…

To help you on your way WorldWithoutWine have launched their “Dry January Challenge” which in fact can also be “Dry December” if you dare – just make a small donation by clicking HERE

In return you will receive a daily motivational e-mail from WorldWithoutWine to keep you on track for 30 days.

We are raising money for the Earthchild Project – just as we did last year –  check out this 5 minute movie we made about how we spent the R30,000 we raised last year..

Thanks for reading!

Janet x

Soso’s story – Youth to Yogi

Another little clip from the video we made to celebrate the success of our Dry January Challenge fund-raising.  Soso’s story begins as one of Earthchild’s first little yogi’s and now – ten years later – she has classes of her own to teach…

 

 

Dry January Does Good!

Son and girlfriend were over from London recently so they came with us to Khayelitsha to help us make a little movie about how we are spending all that lovely money we raised from the Dry January Challenge. We went to one of the schools where Earthchild run their yoga classes where we were viewed with curiosity by the pupils.  Although white people are no longer a rarity in the townships white people with pink hair are not a common sight.  Son’s girlfriend now knows what it’s be like to be famous – in the pic she is being mobbed by kids who just wanted to touch her hair…

We made this film to thank our donors (thank you donors!) – Son had excellent idea to get a group of kids shouting “thank you” which somehow came out as “thank youuuuuuuuuuuu”  Here is a pic of us trying to get them ready for the shot – organised chaos would be a good description!

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Photo by Pinkgraphy

As you will see in the film which you can watch HERE we had a tremendous response to our Dry January Challenge.  The idea was that people would sign up to an alcohol-free January and donate the money they saved to a good cause – some people procrastinated so long about starting the long, dry month that they did a Dry February instead!  Shame for them it was a Leap Year 😉

In return for their donation I sent a daily e-mail to everybody that signed up – tips, inspiration and encouragement.  Got some lovely feedback from my mails which really seemed to help – plenty of people felt so good at the end of their dry month that they were going to continue and others felt it would be so much easier for them to “moderate” after a complete break.

The success of this initiative made me wonder if W0rldWithoutWine should offer the e-mail support to anyone who wanted to take a month off the Drink at anytime during the year.  We could call it the MOD (Month off the Drink) and it would start on the 1st of every month.  Let me know if you think that idea has legs…

We have some advice from Cate in our regular feature Cate’s Cache – you can read it HERE

That’s all for now – am going to leave you with another one of Pinkgraphy’s stunning photographs.

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It’s hip to be sober!

A mindful Sober & Hip subculture is emerging, indicating that we’re seeking out deeper, more meaningful connections to others.

Not everyone is a drinker by any means, and this social shift is welcome news, indicating that we’re striving to deepen (and actually remember) our tangible connections with others.

 

Read another piece that proves ‘Sober is the new Black!‘ An inspiring article from wanderlust.com

 

7 Reasons to Drink Kombucha Every Day

Known as the “Immortal Health Elixir” by the Chinese and originating in the Far East around 2,000 years ago, kombucha is a beverage with tremendous health benefits.

Kombucha is a fermented beverage of black tea and sugar (from various sources including cane sugar, fruit or honey) that’s used as a functional food. It contains a colony of bacteria and yeast that are responsible for initiating the fermentation process once combined with sugar. After being fermented, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, b-vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic and lactic), which are tied with the following effects:

The sugar-tea solution is fermented by bacteria and yeast commonly known as a “SCOBY” (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Although it’s usually made with black tea, kombucha can also be made with green tea too.

You can make kombucha yourself at home or buy it for $3–$5 a bottle at most health food stores and some coffee shops.

Beneficial Probiotics in Kombucha 

An article published in the journal Food Microbiology established that the following probiotics make up this health elixir:

  • Gluconacetobacter (>85 percent in most samples)
  • Acetobacter (<2 percent)
  • Lactobacillus (up to 30 percent in some samples)
  • Zygosaccharomyces (>95 percent)

Ultimately, this cocktail of good bacteria interact together in a unique way to produce some unbelievable health benefits for those who drink it.

7 Kombucha Health Benefits

In research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food 2014, researchers from the University of Latvia say the following about the health benefits of kombucha:

It is shown that [kombucha] can efficiently act in health preservation and recovery due to four main properties: detoxification, anti-oxidation, energizing potencies, and promotion of boosting immunity.

We agree! In fact, according to research there are five main health benefits of kombucha.

1. Detoxification

The detoxifying capacity of kombucha is immense. A perfect example is in its ability to counteract liver cell toxicity.

In one study, the liver cells were protected from oxidative injury and actually maintained their normal physiology, in spite of being exposed to a toxin! According to researchers, this was “probably due to its antioxidant activity and could be beneficial against liver diseases, where oxidative stress is known to play a crucial role.”

2. Digestion

Naturally, the antioxidant prowess of this ancient tea counteracts free radicals that create mayhem in the digestive system. However, the greatest reason kombucha supports digestion is because of its high levels of beneficial acid, probiotics and enzymes.

Some research has shown kombucha’s ability to prevent and heal leaky gut and stomach ulcers. No surprise to us, in some instances it’s even proven to be as effective as drugs like Prilosec, which are commonly prescribed for heartburn, GERD and ulcers.

Kombucha can also help heal candida yeast from overpopulating within the gut because it helps restore balance to the digestive system. Kombucha is a great way to fight candida because it contains live probiotic cultures that help the gut to repopulate with good bacteria while crowding out the candida yeast. Kombucha does have bacteria, but these are not harmful pathogen bacteria, instead they are the beneficial kind (called “apathogens”) that compete with “bad” pathogen bacteria in the gut and digestive tract.

One thing to mention here is that candida or other digestive problems can sometimes be complicated issues to fix and symptoms might actually get worse before getting better. This doesn’t mean that kombucha isn’t effective or is exacerbating the problem, just that gut problems aren’t always a straight path to healing and at times some patience or trial and error is needed.

3. Energy

Kombucha’s ability to invigorate people is credited to the formation of iron that is released from the black tea during the fermentation process. It also contains some caffeine (although in very small amounts) and b-vitamins, which can energize the body.

Through a special process known as chelation, the iron released helps boost blood hemoglobin, improving oxygen supply to tissues and stimulating the energy-producing process at the cellular level. In other words, by helping the body create more energy (ATP), the ancient tea can help those who regularly drink it stay energized.

4. Immune Health

The overall effect that kombucha has to modulate the immune system is best seen in its ability to control free radicals through antioxidant measures.

Clinically proven to decrease oxidative stress and related immuno-suppression, a powerful antioxidant known as D-saccharic acid-1, 4-lactone (DSL) was discovered during the kombucha fermentation process that’s not found in black tea alone.

Scientists suspect that DSL and the vitamin C present in kombucha are its main secrets in protecting against cell damage, inflammatory diseases, tumors and overall depression of the immune system. Also, we know the probiotics found in kombucha support the immune system.

5. Joint Care

Kombucha can help heal, repair and prevent joint damage in a number of ways. Kombucha is loaded with glucosamines, which increase synovial hyaluronic acid production. This supports the preservation of collagen and prevents arthritic pain. In the same way it supports joint collagen, it also supports collagen of the entire body and reduces the appearance of wrinkles on the skin.

6. Cancer Prevention

Kombucha is also beneficial for cancer prevention and recovery. A study published in Cancer Letters found that consuming glucaric acid found in kombucha reduced the risk of cancer in humans.

President Reagan even reportedly drank kombucha daily as part of his regimen to battle stomach cancer.

7. Weight Loss

Data from a study in 2005 showed evidence that kombucha improves metabolism and limits fat accumulation. Though we need to see more studies before we can confirm these results, it makes sense that kombucha supports weight loss since it’s high in acetic acid (just like apple cider vinegar is) and polyphenols, which are proven to help increase weight loss.

How to Make Kombucha

Kombucha is simple to make yourself, and because it can be a bit costly to buy bottled kombucha almost every day, we recommend you give it a shot.

Here is a simple recipe for making your own kombucha at home. This recipe makes about eight cups of kombucha, but you can also double the recipe to make more and you still only need one SCOBY disk.

Kombucha Recipe

Yields: 8 cups

You need:

  • 1 large glass/metal jar or bowl that has a wide opening. You want to avoid using a plastic jar or bowl because the chemicals in the plastic can leach into the kombucha during the fermentation period. It’s also possible that ceramic pots might cause lead to leach into the kombucha once the acid comes into contact with the ceramic glaze. Look for a big metal or glass jug/jar/bowl online or in large kitchen stores, and make sure the opening is wide enough to allow a lot of oxygen to reach the kombucha while it ferments.
  • 1 large piece of cloth or dish towel to secure around the opening of the jar with a rubber band. It’s not recommended to use a cheese cloth since this allows particles to pass through. You can even try using an old thin cotton t-shirt or some simple cotton fabric from any textile store.
  • 1 SCOBY disk. You will need to purchase a “SCOBY” disk and can find one either in health food stores or online at very inexpensive prices. A SCOBY disk can be vacuumed-sealed in a small pouch and shipped directly to your house for only a few dollars, while still preserving all of the active yeast ingredients.
  • 8 cups of water (preferably filtered, but people who use tap water feel this works fine too). Some prefer using distilled water which will contain less contaminants or metals than tap water will. Distilled water is inexpensive (only like 88 cents a gallon) and can be found at most large drug or convenience stores.
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar or honey. When it comes to sugar substitutions, some feel that it’s not a good idea to substitute cane sugar for another kind of sugar, honey, stevia or anything else. On the other hand some people have reported making kombucha successfully with raw honey. The quality of the sugar is important in order to avoid contaminants, so look for organic sugar. Yes, this is one of the few times we’ll tell you to use real sugar! Most of it is actually “eaten” by the yeast during the fermentation process, so there is very little sugar actually left in the recipe by the time you consume it.
  • 4 black tea bags (preferably organic which some people have reported works better). Some people also like to use green tea, although black tea is the kind used traditionally in most cases.
  • 1 cup of pre-made kombucha, which you can either buy or use from a previous kombucha batch that you or a friend made.

Directions:

1. Bring your water to boil in a big pot on the stovetop. Once boiling, remove from the heat and add your teabags and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

2. Allow the pot to sit and the tea to steep for about 15 minutes, then remove and discard tea bags.

3. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature (which usually takes about one hour). Once it’s cooled, add your tea mixture to your big jar/bowl. Drop in your SCOBY disk and 1 cup of pre-made kombucha.

4. Cover your jar/bowl with your cloth or thin kitchen towel, and try to keep the cloth in plate by using a rubber hand or some sort of tie. You want the cloth to cover the wide opening of the jar and stay in place, but be thin enough to allow air to pass through.

5. Allow the kombucha to sit for 7–10 days depending on the flavor you’re looking for. Less time produces a weaker kombucha that tastes less sour, while a longer sitting time makes the kombucha ferment even longer and develop more taste. Some people have reported fermenting kombucha for up to a month with great results, so taste test the batch every couple of days to see if its reached the right taste and level of carbonation you’re looking for.

Usually, the warmer your home is, the less time the kombucha needs to ferment. Once you’re happy with the taste, put your kombucha into smaller glass bottles (or whatever type of bottle fits in your refrigerator), and refrigerate the kombucha for at least 24 hours to allow it to cool and finish carbonating. Once it’s cooled, you are ready to drink your homemade kombucha!

*Note that as the fermentation process happens, you will notice that the SCOBY disk “grows” a second SCOBY disk. Many people call the SCOBY that you purchased and used to make the kombucha the “mother” SCOBY and the second SCOBY that grows the “baby.” The mother SCOBY is located on top of the baby.

You can actually use the newly formed baby SCOBY to create a whole new batch of kombucha, so you don’t want to throw out the baby disk. Store the baby SCOBY in a bit of already-made kombucha in a glass jar while not using it, so you have it on hand to start a new batch when you want it. It will “active” for several weeks when it’s stored in some kombucha at room temperature on a counter top. While some people prefer to keep the mother scoby disk attached to the baby, others prefer to throw away the mother SCOBY once the kombucha is finished fermenting.

It seems to work well both ways and keeping the mother disk hasn’t caused any reported problems or contamination. According to some sources, the mother disk can keep fermenting new kombucha batches for about another month after its first use, but then will become inactive and should be thrown away.

Making Flavored Kombucha:

The recipe above is for a basic, unflavored kombucha. You can try adding unique flavors like fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice; ginger root “juice” made by blending ginger and water, blended berries, fresh-squeezed orange, pomegranate or cranberry juices; or many other natural and low-sugar flavors.

We recommend doing this after the kombucha has fermented and is ready to drink, although some people to prefer to add flavor-enhancers to the kombucha a day or two before it’s done so the flavor can intensify. Either way to seems to work well, but keep in mind that berries and other perishable fruits will not last as long as the kombucha itself, so those will limit the time you have to store it.

Another thing to keep in mind is that flavored, bottled kombucha tends to have more sugar than the plain kind. Some brands add very low-sugar flavors like lemon, lime, or ginger juice which won’t jack up the sugar content, but look out for kinds that are high in added sugar and aggravate health problems.

Kombucha’s Potential Side Effects 

Most people experience great benefits drinking kombucha and have no negative side effects. However, there are possible interactions and side effect symptoms to be aware of, mostly in populations that already have weakened immune systems and digestive problems. Side effects seem to be more of a risk when making homemade kombucha because contamination is possible and the SCOBY disk and finished products both aren’t tested for quality control, like they are when larger manufacturers produce them. If you’re going to brew your own, pay careful attention to using sterile equipment, clean working spaces and high-quality ingredients.

A small percentage of people have experienced stomach upset, infections and allergic reactions when drinking kombucha. Because kombucha has a high level of acidity, it’s possible that this can cause problems for people with digestive problems like stomach ulcers, heartburn, or any sensitivity to very acidic foods.

It’s a good idea to start with a small amount in moderation and gradually work your way up to drinking more in order to see if you have any negative reaction to it. Stick to about 8 ounces per day, especially in the beginning. To limit your risk, buy pre-made kombucha that’s been tested for bacterial contamination.

Other groups that might want to limit their kombucha consumption include: people with leaky gut syndrome, those with very poor immune systems and pregnant women. More information can be found below about risks related to those groups:

Use caution if you have a weakened immune system

People who have compromised immunity due to certain viruses like HIV/AIDS need to be careful about consuming kombucha, since there is always a possibility that the yeast can grow harmful bacteria that can cause illness. This is especially true of homemade kombucha, where contamination is more likely to happen if it’s brewed in an unsanitary environment.

Women who are pregnant or nursing

While kombucha hasn’t been studied much at all in pregnant women, there is always concern that pregnant women shouldn’t consume alcohol or caffeine, both of which are present in kombucha in small amounts. Before more formal research is conducted showing that it’s completely safe, pregnant women are advised to err on the safe side and avoid kombucha, or at least to enjoy it in small quantities.

Those who cannot tolerate even low levels of sugar, caffeine or alcohol

Kombucha is brewed using black tea and sugar, which when fermented turn into alcohol is very small amounts (only about 1 percent of kombucha is believed to be alcohol). For people with existing diabetes, kombucha likely won’t cause much of a problem considering it’s very low in sugar (about 2 grams per 8 ounce), but it’s worth being careful and monitoring blood sugar levels and related symptoms. For those with digestive problems like IBS or anxiety disorders, the low level of caffeine in kombucha is also something to be conscious of, since caffeine can sometimes aggravate these conditions.

As you can see, kombucha boasts many health benefits, and you can even make it yourself for a very low cost so you always have some kombucha within arm’s reach! So drink up for your health!

References:

  • American Cancer Society. Kombucha Tea. Available at: http://www.cancer.org
  • Bhattacharya S, et al. Protective effect of kombucha tea against tertiary butyl hydroperoxide induced cytotoxicity and cell death in murine hepatocytes. Indian J. Exp Biol 2011; 49:       511–524.
  • Bhattacharya S, et al. Hepatoprotective properties of kombucha tea against TBHP-induced oxidative stress via suppression of mitochondria dependent apoptosis. Pathophysiology 2011; 18:221–234.
  • Banerjee D, et al. Comparative healing property of kombucha tea and black tea against indomethacin-induced gastric ulceration in mice: possible mechanism of action. Food Funct 2010; 1: 284–293.
  • Danielian LT. Kombucha and Its Biological Features. Meditsina, Moscow, 2005.
  • Dufresne C, et al. Tea, kombucha and health: a review. Food Res Int 2000; 33: 409–421.
  • Fu NF, et al. Clearance of free silica in rat lungs by spraying with chinese herbal kombucha. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2013; 2013:790792.
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