This is my story of an event that almost put The Kombucha Lady out of business. Read on…
I believe in naturopathic medicine and would rather take herbal supplements than prescription meds from a doctor that is beholden to big pharma, but…
I went to a local naturopath who sounded really good online for some hormonal issues. She ran blood tests. I liked that. But always get a second opinion and learn from my mistake. She diagnosed me with several serious diseases and gave me 5 prescription meds and about 7 other supplements and tinctures, most of which you could, of course, order from her website. arg. wake up! What was i thinking? Well, turns out I wasn’t thinking at all. (Read about antigens vs. antibodies).
About 3 weeks into the whole program, I started feeling raunchy. Nauseous, headaches, extreme fatigue, abdominal pain. I couldn’t eat or do much of anything. I asked family and friends to help me keep the kombucha going or I was going to lose this dream.
About 2 weeks later, I couldn’t go like this any longer so i went to my regular doc. The PA immediately ran blood tests and found my liver was shutting down. The doctor persuaded me to go to the ER, it was that bad. They thought I had a blocked bile duct, perhaps. Then something showed up in the CAT scan, maybe a mass on the liver or pancreas. Very scary. The word cancer was mentioned. Down to Hopkins for an exploratory procedure. I had the “talk” with close family members. Didn’t really know if I was coming back from this.
When I woke up from the procedure, the doc said, “You’re good to go home! We didn’t find anything at all!” I was pretty shocked, elated, but confused. I was still sick. My liver enzymes were dropping lower (good) but still extremely high. I searched for a liver specialist and found a highly rated doc. She came to our area once a month, so I called. The sweet lady that I spoke to was alarmed at the liver numbers and asked if I could make it down to Sibley the next day. Yes.
The liver doc did a very thorough exam and diagnosed me with DILI. Drug Induced Liver Injury. Who ever heard of such a thing? Looks like we Americans have been popping herbal supplements that are very strong medicine without really knowing how hard they can be on the liver. She asked me to stop all those supplements immediately ( I already had weeks ago ) and get blood work done every week. Each week those numbers came down. I also did Epsom salt baths, ate a vegan diet, juiced, applied Castor oil packs, drank much water, rested and downed at least a quart of kombucha daily and had green tea and bone broth as much as possible.
What the liver doc predicted would take a year to recover, came in 2 months! From being on the verge of needing a liver transplant to completely recovered! My liver is completely functional.
A very close call, my friends. I tell you this to warn you of two things:
Get a second opinion!
Beware and respect the herbs!
Read, research thoroughly and ask a trusted medical doctor. ( The liver doc said Black Cohosh is the biggest problem and some ladies have needed liver transplants from taking this herb!)
I am very very overjoyed to be alive. Grateful. Amazingly grateful for:
Family, friends, my pup
My business..The Kombucha Lady
Flowers, herbs, seafood, beer, music
my cows, my garden, peace and quiet on the porch
time on the hammock with my grandchildren, time at the beach with anybody
the smell of the ocean, the feel of the sunshine
seasons and colors in nature.
My unique twist of keeping that fruit in the jar was done with great fear and trembling. Would it freak people out to see floaties? But, I can tell you, the risk was worth it! The overwhelming response has been amazing. They love it. I think mostly because it proves my product is authentic. Kombucha is a crazy living and active community of beneficial bacteria and yeast. A bit unpredictable, too. So don’t expect every single jar to taste exactly the same. I just cannot control those lil buggars, sometimes.
Here’s some reasons I keep the fruit, herbs and spices in your jar of booch:
- The kombucha continues to draw the goodness and flavors out of the fruit in your refrigerator for days. The fruit is keeping those lil guys happy!
- The taste keeps improving with the slow fermentation. Even the color gets prettier with time.
- It’s authentic! You will see lil SCOBYs (the culture in kombucha) forming. Don’t be grossed out, please. They tell you that what you are drinking in the real deal and your gut will thank you for it! Just take a fork and lift it out, maybe chase someone around with it first. LOL!
~Strain your kombucha into your glass for a beautiful presentation. Garnish with fresh fruit, mint or a sprinkle of ginger.
~The spent fruit will be sour, so not so great to eat BUT you can add to smoothies.
~Cold slows the ferment way down, so if your booch is not bubbly you can leave out overnight or add extra fruit and seal tightly.
~ Use a straw and bypass the floaties.
DONT FEAR THE FLOATIES!
Cheers to your healthly gut!
Liz The Kombucha Lady
“This is the best kombucha I ever tasted!” I just love the quote above, and I hear it a lot. It amazes me every time. I have tested the other brands of kombucha and very few live up to The Kombucha Lady and I am not just braggin’. I have done some testing and research and I can explain to you why it tastes so so deeelicious. It’s mainly chemistry. Like when you meet that person and you just click. Sometimes even love happens, but there has to be chemistry. The following combo of chemistry just happened to come together perfectly. Love at first taste. #1 Reason: Water source. Our commercial kitchen has well water that is fed from the Catoctin Mountian aquifers. This water is from way, way down, full of minerals, clean and hard. The bacteria in my kombucha cultures just LOVE it!
#2 Culture: I grow amazing SCOBYs! These are my special hybrid super race, perfectly balanced bacteria and yeast colonies. I keep them super clean and fresh to produce consistently lovely ferments.
#3 Tea: only the absolute best organic teas. I am constantly experimenting with different teas. Every brew ferments differently. I absolutely LOVE experimenting and trying new combinations of herbs and all forms of tea. There are infinite possibilities. I have the best job ever.
#4 Temperature: Just so happens the fermenting closet is the exact perfect temperature. This is classified information. Let’s just say it wasn’t what i wanted or expected, but it worked.
#5 Time: We have the process down to a science. Each kind of brew takes different time to ferment. This is where experience has been the teacher.
#6 Testing: Each kind of fruit, herb or spice combo has been taste tested over and over to find the perfect taste pairing. Oh that you were a taste tester at our house! It’s always interesting let me say. But certain herbs, say mint for one, may seem to be a great idea but ferment up rather gross or medicine-like in a final ferment.
#7 Tasting: I really do taste test every single gallon I ferment. And each gallon is tested as far a ph goes, which will affect taste. This is the beauty of small batch local food and drink! Tea, Time, Taste, Test, Temperature… .
Last year we planted 100s of berry plants so more of your kombucha can have our own farm raised fruit to infuse all the organic goodness.
How wonderful to see them peeking up and starting to flower. Sorry about the bad photography but I am a farmer, yknow.
I planted strawberry plants all around the blueberries and it seems to be a agreeable arrangement for both.
Here are the tender new grape leaves unfurling on our Concord grapevines.
This is the new blackberry garden. These plants are from an uncle who’s father-in-law created a new variety down at the University of Maryland. It’s all a big secret but I have some of the plants! BIG and bursting with blackberry flavor! See all that wonderful compost from our happy cows? Now THAT is organic growing and the basis of healthy fruit, veggies and herbs from Dodson’s Promised Land farm.
I planted strawberries in the asparagus bed last spring! We will see how that goes, but so far so good!
And a peek at my gardening buddies Bodie and Curry!
Enjoy the outdoors! It will lift your spirits!
The Kombucha Lady
I do understand the need to feed our families nutritional, healthful foods free from chemicals and additives. I am a believer in “organic”. I also have seen a troubling trend in the last few years to place a trust in the wrong place. Your trust should be in your farmer, your supplier, or your own garden, for Pete’s sake, not a label or an ad that has been “allowed” by the USDA.
Organic, as in organic food, is not even defined in Webster’s dictionary. I think it’s defined so very loosely in the farm to table world. Meaning, this food is safe from nasty chemicals and grown in fertile soil? So we have come to trust the government to decide for us who meets their criteria for safe? Does anyone see a problem here?
Just a teeny tiny little point from my perspective to make you think. I have 30+ years of experience in growing, 2 years of vocational horticulture and a year of the Institute of Applied Agriculture, to back my opinion.
Hate to burst your bubble, but certified organic by the USDA doesn’t mean they don’t spray your fruit and veggies with chemicals. They probably do spray less? Here’s a good article to read about that issue.
I believe the healthiest food you could possibly obtain is from your own garden, or your local farmer who can show you exactly how they grow, or raise their animals. Small farmers and gardeners do not have the funds to use chemicals because they are expensive! I also want to passionately plead with you that the SOIL is the important issue, not necessarily the chemicals used.
Healthy soil, full of good bacteria that break down the nutrients for the plant’s roots produce delicious and healthful fruit and veggies that will even survive a couple attacks from a beetle. So the attention paid to what chemicals are used may be misplaced in my opinion, when the bigger deal is the way a crop is grown. Big production farms, organic or not, can’t love on the soil like I can in my little garden space.
The berries, herbs and veggies we grow here at Dodson’s Promised Land Farm are not certified organic by the USDA. I just don’t have the time or money right now to obtain this stamp of government approval. But they are the healthiest, most amazing fruits and veggies I have ever eaten! Homegrown at the PLF. You can trust that certification.
Would love your opinion!
Liz the kombucha lady
Yes? The answer to the the much asked question, “Will the alcohol kill the probiotics?” From all the reading and researching, I will take the safe stand and say, yes (question mark).
Several articles say that the good bacteria die slowly, so mix and drink your cocktail right away. Ha! ok. On the other hand, several articles say the beneficial bacteria survive just fine. My question is … how do you know? I highly doubt any of this has been reliably tested. So let’s use common sense. Kombucha has about .05% alcohol content and the probiotics stay intact in that medium just fine. They also survive low acidity, I know this because I can make new SCOBYs with very acidic kombucha. Articles by Dr. Mercola, backed with research data, prove that food based probiotics survive our stomach acids. So these are tough little buggars. So maybe….
BUT really? When you are imbibing, are you really thinking about probiotics? Nah. It’s too good to be true, right? Hmm.
I will make the case for using kombucha for cocktails:
~There are so many other health benefits from kombucha! Digestive enzymes. Vitamin B. Polyphenols (or better known as antioxidants). Liver support. And more. Seems to me, these are all good support for the body while celebrating with the occasional mixed drink.
~Taste! well yeAh. Kombucha has that wonderful sweet- tart flavor that pairs well with your favorite mixer, wine or even beer. My flavors will stir up your creative juices for amazing new cocktail recipes. Spices and herbs, fruits and juices..already in there. Makes it easy peasy.
~Bubbles! just enough and not too much to create that perfect balance. Flavors that are more bubbly are Ginger Lime, Blackberry Sage and Apple Chai.
~Kombucha is an amazing hang over cure. If you overdo it, you have your cure handy dandy. But if you care about your health, please treat your body kindly and moderate! Hint: For each ounce of cocktail you drink, drink that same amount of water.
If you have a problem with drinking alcohol, please do your research before drinking kombucha. It may not be for you.
My favorite mixed kombucha drinks:
Kombucha Lady’s Tropical Strawberry or Ginger Lime Booch-a-rita
Rub the rim with lime wedge and salt or sugar the rim!
6 oz Tropical Strawberry Kombucha or Ginger Lime Kombucha
3 oz Tequila
3 oz Triple Sec
3 oz Fresh lime juice
Honey or Agave to taste
The Kombucha Lady’s Sangria
Equal parts kombucha and wine or champagne, a spash of triple sec. Add some seltzer water for more bubbles. Add slices and cubes of fruit like limes for Ginger Lime, Strawberries with Tropical Strawberry..you get the idea. Let it sit overnight in the fridge to infuse the flavors. The possibilities are endless here! (Best to take out the used fruit that comes in the jar)
TKL Orange Spice Rum Runner
6 oz Orange Spice (or Apple Chai Kombucha is good here as well)
3 oz Spiced Rum
shake of nutmeg on top and a fresh orange slice
3 oz. TKL Blackberry Sage Kombucha
3 oz. vodka (I like Polish potato vodka)
2 oz. Triple sec
garnish with your choice of herbs..a sage leaf, thyme, rosemary or savory.
Check out the recipe here
Booch Shandy..no kidding!
Equal part beer to kombucha. We love a sour beer with Tropical Strawberry. Try it! Check out this article so you don’t think I have lost my mind.
Other mixes: A Pale Ale with Ginger Lime, Cheapo beer with Apple Chai… keep going. Healthy beer. It doesn’t get too much better in my book.
TKL Ginger Mule
6 oz Ginger Lime Kombucha
2-3 oz Gin (or vodka)
Twist of lime
How did your drink come out? Leave me a comment!
The Kombucha Lady ‘s brews are all about your health in a way that is delicious and fun. But this recipe is serious business.
Tea- We are using an organic black tea for this brew- Pekoe and China black. Black, white and green tea all contain antioxidants. The higher tannins in black tea make it perfect for the kombucha culture to thrive and kick up a mega bubbly brew. I brew this batch longer to lower the sugar content, therefore it will be a bit more tart. read more about the health benefits of organic black tea.
Elderberries- Elderberries are well known for their high antioxidant content and anti viral abilities. Their latin name, Sambucus, has been a familiar name on the medicine shelf for coughs, sore throats and colds for hundreds of years. I grow elderberries and make a cold medicine with local honey and elderberries,for my own family. Elderberry syrup is claimed to shorten the duration of viruses. Elderberries are also used to help soothe the stomach and have diuretic and detoxifying properties. Read more here from Dr. Mercola. This is my source for organic elderberries.
Aronia Berries- I am so excited about Aronia berries! They are off the chart high in antioxidants. I found a local grower of organic Aronia berries, another small farmer just like us in Keymar, MD. Read here for more information about Aronia berries. They are a cultivated version of the old chockberry bush. I infuse these little guys into our kombucha for all their antioxidant goodness!
Drink up and be well this winter with our Berry Well Kombucha!
Just her cup of tea.
We were in the Frederick News Post this week! Front page! Wooo hoo!
Check it out, it’s an excellent article.