Sunday, November 27, 2011

Kombucha!!! Starter Guide:

I've been planning on putting together a blog post on my experience with Kombucha with tips and tricks for a while now, but just haven't found the time... I still haven't found the time, but I wanted to put together the basics so that you can get started. I'll add more details, tips and tricks over time ;-)

Start by reading herehere and here...

Basic Equipment:

1) Large stainless steel pot to make the sweet tea (size appropriately for the culturing container)

2) Large glass container for culturing your Kombucha... avoid metal and glass due to interactions with the acidic Kombucha culture. Ceramic and high quality stainless steel (18/8 or similar) are ok, but I like to see the culture as it develops! The best glass containers are wide mouth (better air flow) jars with a good lip (for pouring and to hold the cloth on the top w/ a rubber band). I looked around for a long time for the perfect jar (and most economical), the two best are below (1 gallon and 2 gallon, I personally use the 2 gal.):
3) Glass bottles for your Kombucha after it's done culturing... I use clear all glass 1 Liter jars from Weck to store my extra SCOBYs. To store the Kombucha I use 16 oz brown glass flip-cap bottles that work perfectly and produce a naturally carbonated brew:

  • 16 oz Brown Flip-Cap Glass Bottles

  • Basic Ingredients:
    Ingredients for 1 quart, multiply amounts proportionally to get gallons (4 qt. = 1 gal.)

    • 1/4 cup Cane Sugar, preferably Organic (Not brown sugar, molasses impedes fermentation)
    • 1/2 tablespoon Black Tea, Organic (Numi Organic Chinese Black Tea)
    • 1/2 tablespoon Green Tea, Organic (Numi Organic Gunpowder Green Tea)
    • 1 quart non-chlorinated/fluoridated water (RO system?)
    • 1 Kombucha Culture (SCOBI), and 1/4 cup starter Kombucha (Organic ACV works as well)

    Basic Directions:

    I make 1.5 gallons in my 2 gallon jar... these are the steps I take:
    • Pour 4 quarts of water into the steel pot, bring to a boil and shut off heat. Add the sugar and tea, stir occasionally and steep for about 5 minutes. Remove the tea leaves with a slotted spoon (don't worry about a few stragglers) or strainer and let your sweet tea brew cool over several hours.
    • Once you can touch the pot without burning yourself, pour the sweet tea mixture through a metal sieve into the 2 gallon jar. Add the remaining 2 quarts cold water to bring the mixture to near room temperature. If it's still a little warm, wait until it's barely warm to the touch and then add the Kombucha SCOBI and pour the starter Kombucha on top (in my case, 1.5 cups). It's important that the starter Kombucha be added last to protect the top from unwanted bacteria contamination.
    • Cover the jar with a close knit kitchen towel (chese cloth works well) and fasten to the top with a rubber band.
    • Leave the Kombucha culture for 7-14 days in a warm area protected from direct sunlight... I like to put mine in my cupboard.
    • After 7-14 days, stick a straw in the Kombucha culture and taste it... if it's tart you should be good to go. If it's still sweet, leave it for a few more days... it really varies on room temp (colder temps result in longer brew times). I've left a culture fermenting up to a month before and enjoy a stronger brew... Ultimately, ferment it to your taste!
    • Once the Kombucha is done, pour it out into the bottles or jars and age it in the bottles/jars at room temperature for 5 days, then move them to the fridge (this builds up carbonation, so if you prefer it flat just put the bottles/jars directly into the refrigerator).

    You're Done!!! Enjoy your fresh Kombucha!

    *Update: (1/29/2013)*
    After making my 2 gallon batches for a while, I decided to upgrade to a 5 gallon batch process to save time overall... it takes a little longer to make a full batch, but I only have to go through the process about once every few months! Of course, this only works if you either drink a lot of Kombucha, or you don't mind a strong brew (result of long brew times)... I'm more of the latter, so letting the Kombucha ferment for a month or two is actually preferable (almost no sugar). If you're interested in trying it out, here are the links to the 5 gallon glass barrel and larger 1 Liter Amber bottles I've been using to bottle the second ferment.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

As Nature Intended it... Raw Milk!

I've read a lot of posts and articles about Raw Milk over the years; everything from better vitamin/mineral content/bio-availability to less protein/CLA decomp and improved lactose/lactase ratios... but the article from Underground Wellness really does a great job describing these things and more, so I thought I'd share it with you.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Meat Glue: What is your steak made from?

You might think you're getting a nice juicy steak at a restaurant, but after watching this video I'm not so sure anymore, especially from the big chain restaurants...

Just another reason to get to know your farmer, and buy meats locally!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

US News “Best” Diets: The Paleo Diet Misinformation

Many of you may have already heard of or read the US News piece published last week, I'd just like to pass on a very in-depth rebuttal to that piece written by Dr. Loren Cordain, Maelán Fontes Villalba and Pedro Carrera Bastos. Their response on the subject is copied in its entirety below per Robb Wolf's request to pass it on. I'd also like to add that if you go to the link below and look over the US News rankings you will notice something a little off... the diets ranked highest aren't the ones that the majority of people think actually work!!! In fact, if you go by the "Did this diet work for you?" ratings the Paleo Diet is by far the best! I'm not sure how unbiased these ratings are either (are ip addresses logged so multiple votes don't count, etc...), but nonetheless it is interesting that the "worst" rated diet has the highest success rate among site visitors.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Good Science, Bad Science... Who can you really trust?

I've read over a few posts lately regarding research papers and how to interpret the results of these studies and I thought I'd summarize everything here and include an awesome presentation by Tom Naughton on the subject (and maybe make you laugh a little too).

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Book Recommendations

I finally finished my post (it took a while) about good health and nutrition books. As promised, here are a few that I'd recommend checking out. I'd also like to hear your thoughts on texts that have inspired you, so leave anything I missed in the comments. I've added my own descriptions of each book to help you decide which one to start with and which ones might interest you the most...

1) The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet [Robb Wolf]
Robb Wolf studied under Loren Cordain (#6 The Paleo Diet) so they have very similar views on health and nutrition, but differ in a couple key areas. Originally, Cordain was against all saturated fats and recommended limiting their intake while Wolf has always pushed for consumption of good saturated fats. Cordain has since changed his stance, and recommends some sat. fats (olive oil, avocados and coconut oil). The reason I put this book first is because it's so easy to read. Wolf mixes humor with stories and even adds in his own life experiences to help the reader understand how our food directly affects our health and body. I also liked the detailed discussion of all the nutrients and the step by step walk through of how inflammation in our system ultimately leads to many of the problems of modern society. All in all, I think this is a good first book to read... It's a good intro to all the topics covered in the other books, and goes into enough detail for most people (check the reference list at the end of the book) while not loosing everyone else with too much scientific language.

2) Nutrition and Physical Degeneration [Weston A. Price]
This book is old (originally written in the 1930's) but the research still stands as one of the best sources of information on "hunter gatherer" type diets we have today. This research can never be duplicated, as many of the societies studied have been westernized and their traditional ways of living forgotten. Price's detailed investigations into these traditional diets, and the striking pictures he took of the natives before and after Westernization leave no doubt about what causes the "diseases of civilization". Refined grains, sugars and oils were the cause of all manner of physical degeneration in these primitive societies. I think this book had the greatest impact on me because these were studies done on living people at the time, not scientific "guesses" on what our ancestors ate. For me, this made it much more real, and the pictures just drive the point home even further. If you're interested in a historical background on healthy diets and a very well researched book with many nutritional suggestions I would strongly suggest picking up this book, you won't be disappointed and it may be one of the most important books you ever read...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Few Good Videos Everyone Should Watch...

The first video is actually a presentation by Sally Fallon for Wise Traditions back in 2008, but it's one of the best overall presentations on nutrition I have ever watched from a historical perspective. Very compelling research with important studies on "primitive" tribes that were much healthier than we are today (amazingly), even without our advances in technology. Weston A. Price did most of the research for this presentation (in the 1920s!)  and it provides a very compelling case for a more "primal" diet.

Traditional Diets:

*Admittedly this is a pretty long presentation and may even be a bit dry at times, but it basically condenses all 527 pages of Weston A. Price's, "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" into a little over an hour... worth it...

The second video takes an interesting approach to health and wellness... health on the cellular level is analogous to overall personal health, and more specifically, the health of you mitochondria are particularly important! Terry Wahls was able to put her Multiple Sclerosis into remission with simple nutritional and environmental changes in her life. Watch her amazing TED Talk for the details.

Mitochondrial Health = Overall Metric for Health

The third video is a compilation of different philosophies on life, lifting, nutrition and health. I like Drew Baye's perspective on life, and in this video he gives it to you straight. It's real, it makes you think, it might even change your life.

Ultimate "Strength" - Drew Baye on Life

The final video is a documentary called Fat Head. I don't agree with the diet he eats (he even admits it's not the best), but the point he's trying to make about fat is valid and his rebuttal to Super Size Me is enlightening (again, I don't agree with everything, but Spurlock was clearly deceiving viewers with his documentary... I mean, 5,000 calories per day... and he got fat, really?). Fat does not make you fat is the main point, and I think this documentary shows and explains this concept pretty well:

Documentary - The Truth about Fat:
FYI - Netflix has this on instant view

Monday, March 7, 2011

First Blog Post and Healthy Foods on the Space Coast...

I thought for a first blog post it might be good to make a list of local and internet sources of healthy foods that I've found here on the Space Coast. At first I was disappointed that we don't have a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's in the area (Orlando has a couple WF, no TJ in FL at all), but after looking around I found out that we actually have quite a few options around here. I made a list below, broken down into local and internet sources as well as a few links at the bottom if you want to search around yourself.


1) Fresh Box Organics Space Girl Organics [] - This is currently my favorite organic produce service. The produce is consistently fresh and in good condition, sourced locally when possible, and is the largest delivery of any of the produce services I've tried. When they say they deliver a box of fresh produce to your door, they mean a big box! Highly recommended, and much cheaper than Publix and even Whole Foods from what I've found. They also service most of Brevard county and parts of Orlando as well!

2) Appleseed Health Foods [] - This is a health food Co-op in the Rockledge area that has a good variety of organic natural foods, as well as fresh produce from the area and raw milk and yogurt from the local Christmas Farms. I love raw milk (and it's health benefits) and this is the only place in the area that sells raw dairy products (you can also buy directly from Christmas Farms).

3) Lily's Organic Produce [] - This is a weekly fresh organic produce service with a huge selection of extra items from meats, dairy and extra produce items to oils, nuts and many other products. You send in your order by Monday Noon and then pick up your fresh produce and other items on Tuesday. I've found it to be much cheaper than the organic section in Publix and other health food stores.

4) Happy Healthy Human [] - A raw vegan cafe (I know, I know... but they have good produce) and juice bar in Indian Harbour Beach. They also do produce boxes on Tuesday's and they have good fresh organic produce. I also like that they throw in spices and herbs as well as the fresh produce.

5) Paradise Health and Nutrition [] - My favorite local health food store. It's a little pricey, but they have a pretty good selection and they are really helpful if you are looking for information on a new product and will order anything you need.

6) Sunseed Food Co-op [] - I like this health food store, I just wish it was closer instead of on A1A out by Cape Canaveral. For those of you a little closer, it's a great Co-op with a wide selection of produce, organic foods, supplements, coffee/teas, etc... It's actually probably the best stocked health food store I've found in the area, so I try to make it out there from time to time. There's also a nice gluten free bakery and coffee shop near by called The Bald Strawberry, be sure to check that out too!


1) Slanker's Grass-fed Meats [] - I haven't found an affordable source of good grass-fed meats in this area yet so I've been using Slanker's for my meats for now. They have reasonable prices on everything from beef, bison, chicken and turkey to seafood, cooking oils and dairy products. If you order in bulk, the shipping costs aren't too bad and it's still much cheaper than anything local.

2) Tropical Traditions [] - A good source of organic coconut oil, coconut flour and many other products.

3) Nutsonline [] - The cheapest source of raw organic nuts that I have found. Check out the raw organic macadamia nuts, they're awesome!!!


1) Rawfoodrawfoods [] - A good resource for healthy restaurants and other services in Brevard county

2) Eat Wild [] - This is where I started on my grass-fed meat search, and I found a few local farmers that sold grass fed beef, but it was mostly by the 1/4 or 1/2 (200 lbs) cow and I'm not ready to buy that much meat yet, haha. The prices on cuts of meat (at least the steaks) were about $5 more per pound, so I ended up going with Slanker's for now.

3) Brevard Farmer's Markets [] - This website is good for finding local farmer's markets. I've checked out a few of the local ones but I've found that most of the produce isn't organic. So, although it's fresher than the local Publix produce, it's just as bad as far as pesticides and other chemicals... You're welcome to check it out though, and let me know if you find organic produce.

I think that's enough for now, and a pretty good first post. For those just starting the Primal journey I hope this helps (I'll do a post on good books soon) and for those already Primal maybe there's a new place you haven't heard of yet. I look forward to meeting others with similar views on health and nutrition in the area.

- Joshua