Kombucha, a fermented beverage made from sweetened tea, has been around for over 2,000 years and has tremendous health benefits. It contains a colony of bacteria and yeast that, once combined with sugar, causes a fermentation process to occur. After being fermented, the liquid turns into the drinkable carbonated kombucha beverage and is comprised of b-vitamins, enzymes, organic acids (acetic, gluconic and lactic) and probiotics.
This sugar-tea liquid has many beneficial aspects and has been shown to:
You can buy kombucha at the store or make kombucha yourself at home for a fraction of the store bought price. Since it’s simple to make yourself, I recommend you give this a shot yourself!
So, how does one make this delicious and health promoting beverage?
There is a two-part process when making kombucha tea from scratch. First, start by creating a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast) since the SCOBY "consumes" the sugars in the sweetened tea leaving you with a fermented yummy beverage. Second, create the kombucha tea form your previously homemade SCOBY, and enjoy! Kombucha is usually made with black tea, though it can also be made with green tea too.
Step 1: How to create a SCOBY from scratch
Now that you have created a SCOBY, here are directions for making delicious and health promoting kombucha tea.
Step 2: How to create kombucha tea with your newly homemade SCOBY
These ingredients and instructions are very similar to the “how to create a SCOBY from scratch.” However, there are a few minor adjustments in the ingredients section (as you will be using you very own homemade SCOBY) and in the instructions in #5, #6 and #8.
Flavoring and Bottling Kombucha
When you find the perfect taste, place the kombucha into smaller airtight glass bottles and place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours to allow it to cool and finish carbonating. After it has cooled, your homemade kombucha is ready to drink.
Since the above recipe is for unflavored (original) kombucha, you can try adding your very own flavors to enhance the fermented tea, such as:
Pour and gently tumble the freshly made juices and allow the flavor to mix for a day or two. Do keep in mind that fruit and other perishable foods will not last as long as the kombucha by itself, so your time to consume these freshly flavored beverages are shortened to about 4-5 days. Unflavored kombucha can last in the refrigerator for months since the colder temperatures slows the fermentation process.
Kombucha, containing so many health benefits, can be made at home for a very low cost and without much effort. It's a fun process that the whole family can be enjoy. What homemade flavor(s) do you and your loved ones like the most?
PS - Wanting new recipe ideas? Follow me on Pinterest for some yummy and creative ideas.
While I enjoy celebrations, and I’m a big advocate of setting goals on a regular basis, I’ve found it difficult to get behind the big hype of New Year’s resolutions. Surveys show that most of the individuals who make resolutions are also in the same boat since only 8 percent of those who make resolutions are successful in achieving them.
No matter if you make new years resolutions or not, I feel it is important to recognize the transition period – hasta-luego 2015, hello 2016! – through personal reflection and growth.
Before we completely say goodbye to 2015 and plunge fully into 2016, I like to reflect upon these two specific questions:
I feel reflecting on these questions helps me to celebrate and enjoy my current life, while guiding me toward my vision going forward. I believe answering these questions as they pertain to each of us individually are major contributors to improving relationships, overall happiness and toward the life I want to generate and the world I want to contribute to.
This year I’m grateful for my wonderful family (and soon to be "official" new addition with the love-of-my-life, Will), for my health, for the work that I love doing and thoroughly care about, and for all my local and extended friends, colleagues, readers and clients. This year with our recent move to Washington, D.C. I am looking forward to enjoying the D.C. metro area, fun travels, our wedding celebration and helping more people feel better locally and nationally, helping them reach their personal health and/or performance goals while understanding how lifestyle and nutrition can greatly impact their body.
So, what are you grateful for?
What are you looking forward to in 2016?
Let me know on my Facebook page, I’d love to hear from you.
I hope 2016 brings you safe and joyous times with friends and loved ones!
PS - I've included a yummy and super simple dessert recipe below. If the ingredient list works for you and your digestion, try it out and let me know what you think!
PPS - Wanting new recipe ideas? Follow me on Pinterest for some yummy and creative ideas.
Nutty Coconut Balls
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 5 minutes
Serves: about 12 balls
With October being Diabetes awareness month, there's no time like to present to give some helpful Diabetes prevention tips.
But first, a little shocking statistics of where we have been and where we are at in relation to Diabetes....In the 1980’s the United States had among the lowest diabetes rates in the world. But now, Americans are in the upper third of nations. Currently, almost 10% of the U.S. population and about 26% of over 65 years of age have diabetes. In 2012, the total cost of diabetes in the U.S. was $245 billion and has continued to increase.
Diabetes is a red flag sending us a message that something important has gone awry. Diabetes has significant associations to many other health issues, such as neurological conditions, kidney disease, stroke and cancer. When comparing adults with a healthy weight (BMI values from 18.5 to 24.9), those with body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher are 2 to 7 times more likely to develop diabetes, hypertension, arthritis and asthma.
In 1990, no state had an obesity rate over 15%. In 2013, no state was under 20% and 18 states were over 30%. If we combine individuals who are obese and overweight, together this consists of about 2/3 of American adults.
Remember, the body is complex with its interwoven web-like connections throughout. When our bodies are malnourished, inflamed or giving us signs that something is not feeling right, this does not just impact one area of the body but the body as a whole.
There are three types of Diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3.
Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) occurs when the body is unable to produce insulin. Currently 5-10% of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have T1D. This has been linked to genetics, however genetics is not the sole reason behind why someone acquires T1D. Type 3 diabetes (T3D), also known as Alzheimer’s disease, has been linked to higher plasma insulin levels and reduced insulin clearance resistance, resulting in long-term reduction in brain insulin. Though both T1D and T3D are very important to discuss, we are only going to dive deeper into type 2 diabetes (T2D).
T2D is the most frequent type of diabetes. Formerly called ‘adult onset’ diabetes, but is now seen in younger ages, T2D occurs from the combination of insulin resistance with relative insulin deficiency. Insulin resistance is where the body fails to properly use the hormone insulin, thus impairing the ability to adequately dispose of glucose. Insulin resistance is an underlying biochemical imbalance not only in T2D, but cardiovascular disease, hypertension, polycystic ovarian syndrome and even colon and some breast cancers.
Some key diagnostic clues for diabetes are excessive thirst, urination and/or hunger.
A few additional signs for diabetes:
Those individuals who are at high risk for T2D, as noted by the American Diabetes Association, are:
All of the above factors are essential root causes to mend, let’s look at the last factor – high blood glucose.
It is important to maintain a healthy blood glucose level, not only for those with diabetes, but for all individuals as poor blood glucose levels (low and high) affect our hormones, our weight and leave us more susceptible to chronic disease like heart disease and cancer, in addition to autoimmune conditions.
Fasting plasma glucose test is a tool we can utilize to monitor an individual’s blood glucose level.
Blood sugar = glucose in the blood
Glucose is the most basic form of sugar. Glucose is necessary by all cells in the body for energy, from your brain to your red blood cells to your muscles. The other forms or chains of sugars, known as carbohydrates, need to be broken down by your digestive system to be transformed into the glucose that feeds your cells.
Simple carbohydrates vs. Complex carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates have fewer sugar molecules bound together. Foods that are typically known as “white foods” are refined foods, which are digested quickly and move into the blood stream at a fairly rapid rate. Refined sugars are simple carbohydrates, in addition to raisins, potatoes and juices.
Complex carbohydrates are molecules that have many sugars bound to them. These multiple branches slow the digestion of sugars allowing them to enter the blood stream at a slower and more consistent rate. Complex carbohydrates are usually filled with fiber, vitamins and minerals with the sugar branches, such as green vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
To keep your glucose levels in the healthy ranges and minimize insulin resistance, it is important to look at the glycemic index and glycemic load (GL) of foods. The glycemic index and glycemic load were developed to express the issue of carbohydrate digestion and how quickly foods break down into sugar (or glucose) in the body.
The glycemic load is a measure we prefer to utilize as it considers the total amount of rapidly absorbable carbohydrates – the starch or the sugar in food – in addition to the glycemic index. For instance, when isolating the sugar in a carrot, as the glycemic index does, the sugar content is rather high. But if you consider the rate of which those sugars are absorbed, due to all the wonderful fiber in the carrot (chewing is key!), as the glycemic load does, the absorption of the sugars is rather low, or slow.
Be in control of your blood sugar by consuming foods that slowly absorb sugar giving you more sustainable energy, weight management and overall health.
When you eat carbohydrates, your blood sugar rises and releases the hormone insulin. Insulin helps your cells pull sugar from your bloodstream to use as fuel. Simple carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels high and then results in an extremely low blood sugar drop affecting your hormones, moods, weight and leave you more susceptible to chronic diseases, immune complications and fatigue. Eating more complex carbohydrates allows your blood sugar levels to stay more even keeled, giving you fuel to function throughout the day.
Low GL Foods:
Feel your best and choose low!
Diet, lifestyle and environment have significant influence on the way we as individuals metabolize specific substances based upon our own genetic uniqueness. Keeping in mind that we are all individuals, here are some functional medicine approaches to combat diabetes:
For most type 2 diabetics, the disease can be prevented, delayed or reversed. It’s about giving your body the tools it needs to function at it’s optimal level and maintaining a healthy weight while minimizing disease.
PS - Wanting new recipe ideas? Follow me on Pinterest for some yummy and creative ideas.
See this week's blog published in the Memphis Health and Fitness Magazine
With October being breast cancer awareness month it’s a good reminder to make healthy choices not just for a month, but also throughout the year.
Let’s dive into two important aspects of breast cancer: epigenetics and estrogen.
In functional nutrition we often say: “genetics load the gun, and environment pulls the trigger.”
Gene and environmental interactions play a big role in our health destiny.
It’s wonderful to know that our health is not fully predetermined. Even though mom or Aunt Rose had cardiovascular disease or was obese, or that you might carry the genes for breast cancer, you can still out smart your genetics.
Utilizing 23andme to know more about our genes and understanding our genetic make-up is very informative, and a lot of people are doing it these days. But just because you have a certain mutation doesn’t mean it’s expressed. Did your environment turn on or off that gene?
Knowing how to turn on or off certain genes through epigenetics puts you in the driver seat of your health.
You have the power to help your genes just by affecting the environment within your body.
Within our body is the sequence of DNA --> RNA --> protein that can biochemically and physiologically change your hereditary fate. The key molecule that contains all your genes is DNA. Protein is the building block of all the cells in your body. It is these small and intricate proteins that give our bodies structure and function.
Even if you have genes that are geared to express themselves, you have the ability to turn those genes “on” or “off” with how and what you eat. It doesn’t matter if those genes are for obesity, methylation challenges or breast cancer – you are the master!
Remember, your genetic blueprint (genes) does not determine your health.
The foods you eat and the lifestyle that you live alters how your genes act.
Not only do our choices through epigenetics have an impact on our breast cancer outcomes, but breast cancer is strongly linked to estrogen dominance – something both men and women need to consider. Yes men, you have estrogen too!
Since roughly 75% of breast cancers are estrogen receptor positive, it is key to take action to maintain your internal hormonal balance.
Keep in mind that estrogen dominance does not solely result in the development of cancer.
Estrogen dominance can lead to a substantial increase in female-related disruptions, much more than ever seen in the past. It is influenced by environmental factors and our body’s ability to break down, process and eliminate the excessive estrogen that we are exposed to.
Remember, anything excess in your body acts as a toxin.
Here are a few hormonal instability related facts in our culture:
Scientific data shows that hormone disruption is at the root of breast cancer.
Many of us have toxic levels of estrogen, but this can be altered!
Some breast cancer powerhouses:
It is through the food we eat and the lifestyle that we live that enables our DNA to work with our health goals or against. What nutrition and lifestyle actions have you been taking to reach your health goals? Let me know below.
P.S. - A big THANK YOU to those individuals and families who have contributed to our Team Zero donation page for this Sunday's Ironman Chattanooga. Your donation is going to a great cause. If you haven't donated yet you can click here! Whatever amount you are able to donate, it will be greatly appreciated.
Is there a lady in your life who is competitive in nature and strongly disciplined?
I’m sure most of you are internally (or even out loud) saying YES!
These attributes can be very beneficial in being an athlete or succeeding in many aspects of life. However, they can also be a part of the equation that can lead to a very serious condition called the Female Athlete Triad, an issue of great concern to the health of the individual.
The Female Athlete Triad is something that is usually not discussed enough among physically active individuals, yet is very real and common. Ladies, it doesn’t matter how old you are as it can happen to any female of childbearing age.
Female Athlete Triad consists of the combination of these three:
Disordered eating describes a range of abnormal and harmful eating behaviors that are used to reduce body mass or maintain below normal body fat levels. This is the primary cause of lack of menses (i.e. no menstrual cycle) in physically active females.
Disordered eating can occur with or without the intentional or non-intentional under-consumption of calories, which results in nutrient deficiencies. And that’s the scary part in that you might be thinking that you are consuming enough of the right calories and nutrients to equal your level of physical activity, but you are not truly getting enough, which is just as harmful as intentionally not eating enough.
The second leg of the triad is irregular menstrual function (lack of regular menstrual function), which has two different degrees:
Both of these degrees of amenorrhea are more prevalent in athletes. Rigorous training schedules can lead to energy deficits. Keep in mind that exercise alone does not cause lack of menses, as amenorrhea is not just a normal part of being an athlete.
Severe consequences can occur when having irregular menstrual function, particularly in relation to bone health, such as:
The above improper bone health related consequences leads us to the third leg of the Triad, osteoporosis. This is where an individual has a bone mass density of 2.5 or more standard deviations below the mean, which is determined by peak bone mass. An individual’s peak bone mass is achieved in adolescence and early adulthood and is strongly linked to bone strength and resistance to fracture.
When discussing osteoporosis, it is also important to consider osteopenia. Osteopenia is known as low bone mass and makes an individual more susceptible to osteoporosis. In this situation an individual has a bone mass density of 1.0-2.5 standard deviations below the mean. Osteopenia is commonly seen in athletes and is of great concern once an individual reaches about 30 years of age since bone mineral density is at it’s max and individuals are no longer able to gain bone mass density beyond this age.
Thus, osteopenia increases your chances of getting a fracture later in life.
So, how will the Triad affect short-term performance?
Triad’s long-term impacts:
How to help prevent the Female Athlete Triad? Here are a few tips to help you stay active and healthy so you can enjoy your sport:
The Female Athlete Triad is preventable and can impact all physically active women. Let’s together continue down the path to long-term health – mind, body and bones.
If you have any experiences with the Triad, I’d love to hear from you below!
PS - Wanting new recipe ideas? Follow me on Pinterest for some yummy and creative ideas.
Hello, my name is Stacy Peterson, licensed Functional Nutritionist and Holistic Health, Wellness and Strength & Conditioning Coach with a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine practicing whole-foods nutrition and physical training to individuals around the globe.
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