I’m an admitted Kombucha addict. This is an interesting fact, considering that once upon a not-so-long-ago, I shunned the idea of any additional ‘boosts’ (read: caffeine) and abhorred the addictive nature of many coffee addicts. Since I neither like the taste or smell of coffee, it was easy to take such a righteous stance. If one could not get through one’s day without a jolt, then perhaps one should evaluate one’s life choices. Right? Wrong.
I happened upon Kombucha with affiliation of some controversy: the oft legally challenged Lindsay Lohan had been arrested for some thing or another, and blamed Kombucha for her problems. The miniscule amount of fermentation in this yeast-based drink allegedly possessed just enough intoxicant to inform her system that she ought to act as if there was something much stronger coursing through her veins (and let’s be honest, there probably was). Anyway, curiosity led to investigation, and eventually a taste of this drink that in fact does NOT contain enough fermentation to produce an alcoholic result.
It was love at first sip.
I started slow, with something easy and pedestrian like Reeds. The mild blend goes down beautifully and tastes a lot like flat soda. Goji Ginger was my favorite, and set me up to get a little more involved in the benefits of enjoying this fermented drink. I started to buy Reeds by the case, unable to have just one per day. They became my preferred drink, whether alone or accompanied with a meal.
I eventually graduated to Kejiwa, but at nearly $5 per 6-ounce bottle, that habit got to be really expensive, really quick. Plus, supplies were scarce. There’s some story about the makers blessing each bottle yada yada yada, and the result was that more often than not, those little bottles of exotic carbonated goodness simply weren’t available for purchase. If I were pressed, I’d have to admit that Kejiwa makes some of the best tasting kombucha… anywhere. But between long lulls between deliveries, there was just no way to get a taste without jumping through a few rings of fire. Who has time for that?
Yoga teacher training happened sometime in 2014, and that’s when I came face to face with Health Ade. One of my teachers was a rep, and often carted the old-fashioned tonic bottles around with her. My first experience wasn’t the best. Since Health Ade is stronger than both Reeds and Kejiwa, the highly carbonated mix made its way directly to my sinus cavity and sent me into a sneezing fit.. The smell (like beer) wasn’t so pleasant either. But once I learned to sip it, my love for the blend grew. I went from the very pedestrian Pink Lady Apple (and now California Grape) to the much stronger Ginger/Lemon and Cayenne Cleanse (my favorite). It’s been about a year since I started drinking Health Ade consistently, and I show no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Kombucha drinkers claim a myriad of health benefits, from introducing healthy bacteria into the gut, to providing mental clarity and flushing toxins from the body. You can take or leave any of these claims. But I’ll tell you what I know for sure: I’ve never felt better. Kombucha energizes me (it’s the caffeine. Shut up), keeps my system moving and relatively clean, probably keeps my skin clear, and honestly just tastes good. I’ve tried a few generic brands from my local Farmer’s Market, but found that even those home-grown recipes don’t hold a candle to Health Ade. It’s still an expensive habit ($5 a bottle seems to be the going rate), but the bottles are bigger (16 ounces) and I’ve learned to pace myself.
I still roll my eyes a bit at the hordes of coffee addicts lined up at any given café-du-jour, anxiously awaiting their bitter fix. But I smile inside with a bit of empathy as a clutch my hefty bottle of Health Ade, because I get it. We all have our little… habits. And let’s face it, like many an entertainer who found themselves in handcuffs and facing the possibility of rehab or worse, we could all be strung out on something a lot stronger.
*All health claims are the sole opinion of the author, and do not reflect any formal or independent study on considerations, potential positive/negative effects, or benefits of consuming Kombucha.