Life Lesson Learned From Brewing Kombucha

kombucha

Brewing Kombucha has been a part of my life for over a year now, but my love for this healthy brew goes beyond that. The health benefits associated with consuming kombucha are long and storied; namely liver detoxification, boosting digestive health and providing an energy lift mid afternoon. However, today I want to talk about some key life lessons I have learned from brewing kombucha on my own.

  • Patience

If you know me personally then you likely know that patience is not a virtue I possess naturally, I’ve always been an “I want it now” kind of person; but with kombucha, patience is necessary to create a strong mother (the symbiotic bacterial culture). It takes about 30 days for a kombucha baby to turn into a mother; and BOY was it hard for me to wait 30 days to start mixing up flavours for my kombucha. Truly, every day I would stare at my kombucha baby growing and wish her to grow faster; but there are many rewards for the patient, namely a strong and high yielding kombucha mother.

Beyond the first 30 days of growth, each brew takes about 7 days to come to fruition; and I have learned that patience in brewing kombucha, applies to life too. Rushing in the kitchen can lead to serious cuts and/or burns; rushing while driving can lead to accidents (happened to me September); and lastly rushing in all areas can lead to stress and an all around frazzled existence. Slow down and brew kombucha!

“A man who is a master of patience is master of everything else.”
George Savile

  • Sharing is Caring

I’m an only child and I can freely admit that it was a steep learning curve in adulthood, adopting a sharing is caring attitude; I know all my fellow only children can relate. Growing up and never having to compromise or share with siblings creates a “me” mindset; although I have worked through my only child issues, brewing kombucha has served as reinforcement of my newfound “me to we” sensibilities.

When a kombucha mother flourishes and grows little babies (future mothers to be), they must be shared. You see, when a kombucha mother gets to be too big, she get’s bogged down and the brew becomes sluggish; however, when you remove the little babies and share them with other wanna-be kombucha brew masters, not only is the love shared, but the mother is then able to flourish and make deliciously healthy kombucha. Only children and sibling alike can learn a lesson or two from brewing kombucha!

“I’m just someone who likes cooking and for whom sharing food is a form of expression.
Maya Angelou”

  • Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

Now this isn’t to say that I operate in mess- far from it in fact; however, when working with kombucha, things needs to be positively sterile. You see, kombucha is bacteria and when you’re messing around with bacteria, you don’t want to mess around with mess- seriously; this healthy bacterial “juice” is a health dynamo, but introduce any bad bacteria and things will get crazy INCREDIBLY fast! Think black, stinky bacterial culture- yuck!

Whenever I am working with my kombucha, I clean my whole kitchen first, to ensure that nothing potentially damaging is introduced into the sacred environment that is a my kombucha brew. Now this is two fold amazing, 1) my kitchen is clean! And 2) I keep my kombucha health and thriving. If I can impart any kitchen lessons to wanna-be chef and kombucha masters, cleanliness is it; when you operate in organization and tidiness, your kitchen experience will be fun and rewarding, whereas mess just makes everything feel more hectic.

“Cleanliness becomes more important when godliness is unlikely.
P. J. O’Rourke”

The last place I would expect life lessons to sprout would be out of my spouted kombucha brewer, but life is unexpectedly wonderful like that! For more information about brewing your own kombucha, take a peek at one of my most popular videos!



Have a Happy Holiday with A.Vogel

happy holiday avogel

We are less than two weeks from the BIG day- Christmas- and with the season at full throttle, and brisk temperatures sweeping the continent, winter wellness is at the forefront of EVERYONE’S mind.

The Rundown
Being busy, eating less than stellar grub, booze and lack of quality sleep can lead to a less than happy holiday; because being sick and rundown means you cannot partake in all your planned yuletide festivities. Enter A.Vogel.

BioStrath Tonic
A.Vogel’s BioStrath Tonic is a natural vitamin B supplement, that works to support the body during this demanding time. Why? Vitamin B is a factor in the maintenance of good health and helps the body to metabolize carbohydrates, fats, proteins, in addition to aiding in normal growth. But what does this mean for us? When our bodies are able to effectively metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins, we then are able to take these nutrients and use them to stay healthy- a happy holiday indeed! And, of course, Bio-Strath is 100% natural food and free from preservatives, colourings or any artificially produced substances; I wouldn’t suggest it otherwise.

It’s Simple
Adding A.Vogel to your daily routine is anything but challenging; albeit the dosage suggestion was 3 times daily before meals, but for convenience sake I took 2 teaspoons in the am and then another 2 teaspoons at the days end, and it worked for me; I’m having a happy holiday season so far- is it the A.Vogel?! I think it certainly has something to do with it!

Now, the reason that I love A.Vogel is because the company is founded by a legendary nutritionist, phytotherapist and overall health advocate Alfred Vogel; despite him not being with us anymore, his legacy lives on in his products dedicated to making the world a healthier place- pretty bad ass if you ask me!

Action Point
Regardless of which holiday you celebrate, a happy holiday season hinges upon being your best self- healthy and vital; do yourself a favour, and pick up some Bio-Strath (available here) and keep your body in holiday fighting form!

Smile, Be Well and Have a Happy Holiday with A.Vogel!



Food For The Busy~ Shaved Zucchini and Black Bean Salsa Salad

food

The holidays are in FULL swing, which for me means brainstorming and planning 2014; this month also heralds the beginning of a hectic season of catering. As I get busy during the day, I sometimes come up for air and realize I haven’t had food in hours, which leaves me hungry and scrambling for a sustenance.

This zucchini salad has quickly become my stand-by quick food source during the day, because it couldn’t be easier to prepare; this salad is an exercise in make ahead food! The salsa can be made ahead, and the zucchini can be shaved days in advance, so when the time comes for quick, high frequency food to fuel your day, this salad is ready in a pinch- it’s all assembly!

I want to stress the importance of food as fuel during stressful times; when we are under nourished AND stressed, the result is sickness. I don’t know about you, but getting sick during the holidays does all sorts of sabotage to my yuletide cheer. Raw food is a friend to us all during the winter, despite what you might think; because raw foods are brimming with nutrients that fortify the body and promote immunity- Eat RAW, be WELL!

In the nature of keeping it brief, because we are all phenomenally busy, I present to you Shaved Zucchini and Black Bean Salsa Salad- perfect food for the busy!

Shaved Zucchini and Black Bean Salsa Salad

1 lrg zucchini, washed and shaved with a peeler
3 roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 small onion, minced
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1/2 can BPA Free Black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp salt

In a bowl combine, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, onion, jalapeno and beans, and toss with lime juice and oil; season with salt and reserve.

When you are ready to serve the salad, fold in the shaved zucchini. PERFECT food for the busy!

 

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The Pink Kefir Lady

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Can you believe it’s already mid November? The holidays are coming- I can feel it; and when the yuletide season makes it debut, most people find themselves sniffling and sneezing, which is so not festive at all. During the holidays I load up on fermented foods of all kinds, from miso to kombucha to kefir.

Kefir, one of my go to fermented foods, is a probiotic food that is made by culturing fresh milk with kefir grains, which are live colonies of bacteria and yeast. In addition to boosting digestion, kefir is a great source of calcium, protein and potassium. And for those of us who don’t tolerate lactose well, kefir may be for you!

The Breakdown
By breaking down, or predigesting, the lactose in milk, kefir can significantly reduce the symptoms of lactose intolerance, including reducing bloating and stomach pain; in addition to aiding those with other food allergies, such as those to eggs.

For Immunity and Beyond!
Kefiran, an indigestible fibre unique to kefir, boast anti-inflammatory and immunity supportive properties; and regular consumption may contribute to an increase in activity of the body’s natural soldier cells and T-helper cells, which kickstart the immune response. Kefir also maintains homeostasis of healthy bacteria in the gut crucial for fighting harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Winter Wellness Tonic
This week in the Vitality Kitchen, kefir was a main player. I thought, “why haven’t I been drinking more kefir this season?“, last year I was all over it. So with leftover pomegranates, bee pollen and raw honey (known immunity boosters) I went to work on a new seasonal sipper. Not much to say about this except it’s PACKED with antioxidants from the pomegranates, immune boosting due to kefir being the base; and deliciously floral and lightly sweet thanks to the bee’s.

Winter wellness, I think I’m beginning to get the hang of you!

Pink (Kefir) Lady

1 1/2 cups plain kefir
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1 tsp bee pollen 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp raw honey

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until well combined; strain out the seeds with 3 layers of cheesecloth and enjoy over ice!


Lemon Lavender Mint Refresher

lemon lavender lemonade

Summer is here; and with summer vibes, comes summer libations. I’m guilty of having a few cocktails during the summers months, as I believe that nothing compliments the summer sun quite like a white wine spritzer. Life is for living and should be balanced, so in order to tip the scales back in my favor, I like to sip beverages that support my body in it’s detoxification efforts.

I love lemons, and lemons are a natural diuretic that helps reduce swelling, inflammation and bloating in the body- all natural by products of a hangover. Since lemons are also antibacterial, they flush out bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections; do yourselves a favor ladies and consume lemons UTI’s are no fun. And for those of us with anemia or low iron, vitamin C in lemons help the body absorb non-heme iron, a form of iron from plant sources, such as vegetables.

I made this lavender lemonade for a backyard BBQ, and truth be told, I spiked it with wine; however, during the week, I make a large batch and sip it diluted in water for a detoxifying and sweet sipper. By steeping the lavender and mint with coconut sugar and water, creates an extremely flavorful syrup.

Summer sippin’ redefined!

Lavender Mint Lemonade

7 meyer lemons
2 tbsp dried lavender flowers
4 cups water
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1 cup water
15 leaves fresh mint

In a small sauce pot, add 1 cup water, coconut sugar, lavender flowers and mint; bring to a boil, remove from heat and steep for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, juice the lemons into 4 cups of water.

Once cool, strain the lavender mint syrup and discard the solids; stir the syrup into the lemon water. Serve ice cold.