Kombucha Recipe

Kombucha Tea

Have you ever heard of kombucha tea? It’s taking storm at the moment and there are hundreds of natural “kombucha recipes” popping up everywhere {note: my favorite recipe is by “deliciously organic” here}. However, if you aren’t into making your own there are a few GREAT STORE-BOUGHT options now – which is quite exciting {the stuff takes 2+ weeks to make at home!}. Natures Emporium offers the most selection I have seen of the drink thus far.

What Is Kombucha?

Made from sweetened tea that’s been fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (a SCOBY, a.k.a. “mother” because of its ability to reproduce, or “mushroom” because of its appearance), Kombucha didn’t gain prominence in the West until recently.

History of Kombucha

Kombucha has actually been around for more than 2,000 years. It is said to have originated in ancient China and was referred to as the “beverage of immortal health”. Today it’s gaining mainstream success in Montreal largely because of the local brand RISE Kombucha (refer to picture below), which is owned by Crudessence Kombucha Inc.

Popular Kombucha Brands

Since 2009, one brand in particular called RISE has sold more than one million bottles since 2009. The only downside is that it is a bit expensive – a standard 355 mL bottle costs around $3.50 to $4. However, it’s WELL worth it. The drink, which comes in bold flavors like mint chlorophyll and blueberry maple, is gaining a devoted following among health-conscious individuals looking for an alternative to sugary soft drinks.

kombucha recipe

I was also surprised to see that YOGI tea came out with their own Kombucha green tea {although I am not sure how the cultures can remain “live” in teabag form).

Health Benefits of Kombuca Tea

The benefits of kombucha are amazing. Many articles have been written on this topic, so I won’t get into it too much. Just know, it is very good for joint care (rich in glucosamines to prevent and treat arthritis), digestion and gut health (it’s a probiotic beverage), fight harmful yeast overgrowth in the body, reduce fibromyalgia symptoms, improve immune system (antioxidant rich), increase energy and aid in detoxification.

When you dive into the research you will even find that the Russian’s scientifically proved centuries ago the incredible benefits of Kombucha. For example, one study published in the International Journal of Food Research stated:

“Research conducted in Russia at the beginning of the century and testimony indicate that Kombucha can improve resistance against cancer, prevent cardiovascular diseases, promote digestive functions, stimulate the immune system, reduce inflammatory problems, and can have many other benefits.”

So if you want an energy boost before the holidays and ensure that you do not get sick, make sure to pick up some Kombucha.

What are your thoughts on Kombucha? Do you like it? Feel free to leave a comment below 🙂

Coconut Oil Health Benefits

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil Most people are afraid of eating anything that has a lot of “fat” nowadays, but there is a difference between “good fats” (i.e. saturated) and “bad fats” (i.e. trans fats, hydrogenated fats). Often, these bad fats are produced in food processing and are thus present in many foods that aren’t healthy to begin with, such as processed food. However, we have remember that, as humans, eating “good fats” (i.e. saturated fats found in avocados and coconut oil) are very important for our health and even our brain function.

Coconut oil is an example of an incredible oil that is actually considered a superfood. Coconut oil contains “saturated fat” which is a good fat that constitutes 50% of our cells’ membranes. These saturated fats are necessary in our body to strengthening our cell walls and protecting the inside of each cell.

Coconut oil has many other health benefits because of it’s unique combination of “good fats”. For example, the saturated fats in the oil play a vital role in the health of our bones, protect our liver from alcohol and other toxins, and ensure the proper use of the omega-3 fatty acids.

Virgin coconut oil is a medium-chain saturated fat (MCFA), and because of this it can actually will speed up weight loss, lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart attack and improve diabetic conditions. Furthermore, MCFA do not need the liver and gallbladder to digest them, which means instant energy and increased metabolic rate through thermogenesis in your body.

Coconut oil is actually quite beneficial to the immune system because it has antimicrobial and anti fungal properties. It can also target the thyroid and beef up the metabolisms, melting any abdominal fat quickly and is a surprisingly great addition to any weight loss program.

Fire Retardant Chemical In Mountain Dew

Let’s face it, we all have a carbonated beverage now and again, or a Gatorade after a long workout. Or maybe your the one who opts for the “sugar-free” beverage FRESCA when you want to reduce your caloric intake and be nicer to your body (even though it still contains aspartame).

So what do Gatorate, Powerade, Mountain Dew and Fresca all have in common? A chemical called “Brominate Vegetable Oil” (BVO). BVO is classified as a food additive, but there is limited knowledge of its composition, researchers have found. However, it does contain bromine, which is also a flame retardant! YUCK! It’s main use however is to keep flavor oils in suspension and provide that cloudy appearance.

SOFT DRINK SHOCKER Although, Health Canada and the Food and Drug Administration in the USA say there are “no health risks associated with BVO when the density-adjusting agent is used according to regulations” (i.e. 15 ppm are allowed to be used in citrus or spruce-flavored beverages as consumed), it still doesn’t sit right with many consumers today. If it there are no health risks, why is it banned in Japan and mostly all EU countries?!

It is important to note the BVO was used in Canada prior to the creation of Health Canada’s food additive table in 1964 and was only formally added to the table with its current restrictions in the late 1960s or 1970s (aka, when North American’s were not addicted to soda!). The problem only escalates when you learn that carbonated soft drinks are the most-consumed beverages, with an average of 44.7 gallons consumed per person, per year in America (source: Huffington Post). So it is most likely, that consumers will ingest more than the limit of 15ppm of BVO – making it harmful to one’s health!

Health Effects of Bromine To Body

So what are the exact health implications BVO causes? There is limited research but scientists will acknowledge that bromine Bromine will build up in your body lipids (aka your body holds onto it and doesn’t properly excrete it). According to Mary Hartley, R.D. in SHAPE Magazine

“BVO leaves residues in the body’s fatty tissues, including the brain, liver, and other organs,” Hartley says. “It can cause a wide variety of symptoms, such as headaches, vision problems, loss of coordination, and skin rashes. Animal studies show that BVO is transferred from mother’s milk to a nursing infant, which, in theory, could cause heart lesions, fatty changes in the liver, impaired growth, and behavioral problems.”

Action Taken to Remove Brominated Vegetable Oil From Gatorade

There has been an overgrowing movement to take BVO out of PepsiCo’s drinks. In fact, a young girl by the name of Sara Kavanagh, now 16, created a petition on the ever-so-popular “change.org” website  last year called “Don’t put flame retardant chemicals in Gatorade” after Goggling the ingredient found on her Gatorade. As a result 206,652 people signed her online petition and as of January, 2013 PepsiCo removed BVO from Gatorade, and replaced it with “sucrose acetate isobutyrate” (SAID).

Small Problem – PepsiCo’s ONLY removed BVO from Gatorade, not Mountain Dew or Fresca

I applaud PepsiCo for doing the responsible thing and voluntarily getting BVO out of Gatorade without waiting for government officials to require it to do so. That said, Gatorade without BVO is nutritionally no better than with it.

The unfortunate part about all this, is that despite PepsiCo taking BVO out of GATORADE and replacing this chemical with SAID, they did NOT REMOVE BVO from any other products they make. It is still in Mountain Dew and a slew of other soft drinks -grr!

remove BVO from mountain dew If you want PepsiCo to remove BVO from all drinks, sign the petition here.

12 Best Foods For Skin Detoxing

Do you ever find that no matter what products you use, your skin doesn’t improve? We have put together another free report (full of research and great facts) that describes the 12 best foods for your skin. Specifically, we focus on foods for reducing acne, improving skins radiance and reducing acne. To access the report, just subscribe to our e-mail list 🙂

12 best foods

People who have a lot of “wrinkles” and “deep lines” on their face, tend to eat a lot of congesting foods, such as meat, shellfish and dairy; all which contain no fiber and move much more slowly through the digestive tract. As soon as your clear blockages in the colon, the lines on your face may start to lighten.

Dull skin has the inevitable effect of undermining your beauty. It is impossible to truly hide dull skin behind mineral-infused foundation and shimmery highlighters. This is why you need to eat certain food’s which will eradicate dull skin and replace it with lustrous, velvety luminescent skin. Also, looking radiant will help you FEEL radiant, which can change your whole outlook on the world, and change the way the world looks at you.

You may be one of those people who have wondered why you can’t get your pesky acne to vanish. Our approach to acne addresses the root cause, which concerns blockages within the internal organs, specifically the liver and colon.

skin detox

The liver filters toxins and usually pushes the waste into the colon. But when these organs become overloaded with waste and toxins, the toxins have to be pushed out through the sin, another elimination organ, creating those ugly pimples.

 Yes, it may perhaps seem strange that you intestines, deep within you body affect the skin on your face. But all parts of your body are interconnected. If you want to eradicate acne, you have to eliminate the root case by minimizing toxicity in your body and maintaining ongoing cleansing of your digesting tract through better dietary choices.

So if you want access to our mini report with the 12 best foods for your skin, just subscribe to our e-mail list.

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12 BEST Foods For Skin Detoxing

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What To Look For On Your Shampoo Label? Phthalate Free and Sulfate Free!

Eco-Savy recently wrote about the importance of sulfate-free shampoo’s, but have you ever heard about “phthalates” in your shampoo products? More often than not, they are there, and are often partially responsible for that that lovely “orchid must” or “citrus zing” smell that has lured you into buying the particular brand in the first place. Unfortunately, chances are, you have been taking in a dose of these hormone-disrupting phthalates with every squirt,smear or slather, whether the scent aggravates your senses or not.

Phthalates are not just found in shampoo products, they are found in personal care products, makeup, fragrances and toys. Indeed they are hard to find on labels and often hidden behind the word “fragrance”. However, you can and should look for the phrase “phthalate free“.

Dibutyl phthalate (DBT) and diethylhexyl pthalate (DEHP) are two of the phthalates that have been banned from toys but are still found in cosmetics here in Canada. However, back in 2007, 72% of the deodorants, perfumes, hairsprays /mousses/gels and lotions tested in a report called “Not Too Pretty” by Health Care Without Harm and Environmental Working Group contained at least one phthalate.

Fortunately, consumers are growing wiser and becoming more self-educated in navigating themselves through the marketplace and reading labels (hopefully Eco-Savy has been helping you in this journey too!). As a result, corporations are getting the message.   A great example of a popular brand that is making it’s shampoo, conditioner and body lotion toxin-free is Crabtreee & Evelyn (refer to image below). A few years ago we would never have recommended their products to you because of the amount of parabens, sodium-lauryl sulfate (SLS) and pthalates in them. However, this new line of products by them says RIGHT ON THE LABEL that there are NO phthalates, sulfates or parabens in this particular shampoo product. We were so excited about this, we just had to share it with you. Note however to still read the label on their products to ensure they have not just done this for this one shampoo/conditioner/body lotion line.

  sulfate free shampoo