Kombucha is naturally P.H balanced and jam-packed full of anti-oxidants, amino acids, vitamins and enzymes, thought to be as good for your skin and hair as they are for your gut health. We'll be publishing more natural kombucha-based cosmetics recipes in future, so here's a little teaser: A gorgeous Kombucha and Frankincense Face Cream which is very easy to make. If you try this at home, please do let us know your thoughts!
You will need:
½ cup Shea butter
3 tablespoons carrier oil (olive oil and coconut oil are easiest to find, but you can also use almond, apricot, avocado or jojoba oil, which all work well).
1/4 bottle Equinox kombucha*
20 drops of Frankincense essential oil
10 drops of Tea tree oil (optional)
*Available to purchase from the Equinox kombucha website.
- Put the shea butter in a pan on a low heat. When it’s melted, add the carrier oil of your choice, then remove from the heat.
- Add the kombucha to this mixture and pour into a bowl. Place in the freezer for about 15 minutes (the mixture should be solid, but not frozen stiff).
- Add the Frankincense oil, which is the magic ingredient- an amazing essential oil which boosts cellular health, revitalises the skin and smoothes the appearance of wrinkles. You can add Tea tree here too if you have any skin problems. It's a natural antiseptic and generally an all-round amazing natural remedy for all kinds of skin problems: rashes, pimples, infections, bites and burns, psoriasis and warts, amongst many other things (Tea Tree is great for itchy scalp and athletes foot, too).
- Whisk the mixture until it is light and fluffy. Store what’s left in the refrigerator (it will last for around 3 months, but we think you'll finish it all before then!)
Here at Equinox HQ we are thrilled to announce our original flavour kombucha has just been awarded a Great Taste Award, which is arguably the most prestigious industry prize of all! The Great Taste Awards are the world's biggest and most trusted food and drink awards, with experts giving away between one and three stars to the finest products on the market. The Guild of Fine Food's judging panel is made up of 450 industry experts, with chefs, buyers, food writers and retailers among them. Great Taste stars are undoubtedly highly respected seals of approval, so we are really honoured to have been chosen this year! Here's what the judges say about how tough the accreditation process is:
'Our winners are all genuine food people who care about the quality of food and drink they produce. Those producers entered 10,000 products with only 141 foods achieving the highest and most coveted rating, three stars. We had 878 foods grabbing 2 stars and 2520 were awarded a 1 star. That means only 35% of entries were accredited – it’s tough.'
We received two stars for our original flavour, with the following appraisal made by judges:
"Clear, sparkling, light, clean tasting and refreshing, were the immediate comments. A nose which has fermented notes of yeast, bread starter culture, making wine and with some distinct flavours, very gently sparkling with distinct notes and a refreshing finish. An excellent example of kombucha, we love the sparkle, the almost winey ferment, and the very well judged level of sweetness. The finish is clean, bright, yet persistent. Very good indeed as it stands at the moment of tasting."
"We were very pleased that the sugar had fermented out so it isn't too sweet. One judge who wouldn't normally seek this sort of product out, found it pleasant, unusual and delicious. Even judges who didn't like green tea enjoyed it. Lovely drinking a healthy product, that we know is packed with probiotics to aid the gut, that we found very coiffable and nicely balanced."
Do you agree? We'd love to hear your comments below!
Jaw-dropping science facts, part 6
Scientists have found evidence that gut bacteria has a direct physical effect on the brain, and suggest that it may one day be possible to treat diseases such as multiple sclerosis (and possibly even psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia) by altering gut microbial composition.
Researchers at University College in Cork, Ireland, discovered that gut bacteria has a much more important role than was previously thought: they regulate nerve fibre insulation, affecting how impulses in the brain are conducted. According to The Guardian, which picked up on the story:
'Gut microbe research has exploded in the past 10 years, and in that time, it has become increasingly clear that there is a two-way line of communication between gut bacteria and the brain. The human gut microbiome seems to play important roles in health and disease, and alterations in its composition have been implicated in a wide range of neurological and psychiatric conditions, including autism, chronic pain, depression, and Parkinson’s Disease.'
John Cryan of the APC Microbiome Institute told the newspaper:
"To our knowledge this is the first study showing a clear relationship between the microbiome and myelination in the brain.” The new findings could, therefore, eventually lead to novel treatments for multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases, based on prebiotics, probiotics, or even fecal transplants, all of which could potentially be used to adjust the exact composition of microbes in the gut."
The original scientific research, published in Translational Psychiatry last April, can be found here.
Like this article? Please comment below and share this news!
One of our lovely blog readers asked if you can eat a SCOBY, the live culture that makes kombucha so special and healthy. The answer is yes- if you’re brave enough! Here’s a recipe using a SCOBY (followed by the cutest video of a little girl begging her mum to eat one at home). We dare you to do the same!
Recipe: SCOBY Tempura Salad
Republished with kind thanks from the fantastic book Kombucha! By Eric and Jessica Childs. Special thanks to LW Yang for the image.
You will need:
1 cup unbleached cake flour
1 cup white rice flour
6 cups liquid coconut oil
1 large organic egg, beaten
1.5 cups sparkling water
1/2 cup of cold original Equinox kombucha
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into slices
1/4 pound of fresh broccoli, trimmed into 2 inch florets
8 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
1 cup diced kombucha SCOBY
half a head of lettuce, washed and chopped
half a cup simple kombucha salad dressing*
1. Combine the cake flour and rice flour in a medium glass bowl. Set aside.
2. Heat the coconut oil in a wok or large saucepan on high heat until it reaches 375˚F. If you don’t have a deep fry thermometer, test the heat by placing a droplet of batter into the pan to see if it fizzles and fries. If it browns immediately, the oil is too hot (it should stay there for 45 seconds before browning).
3. Prepare the batter just before you want to use it. Whisk the egg, water and kombucha in a medium bowl. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and whisk to combine. Some lumps may remain, but try to do away with the big ones. Set the glass batter bowl inside a larger bowl filled with ice to keep it as cool as possible while you fry.
4. Dip the sweet potatoes into the batter using tongs, drain for 1 second over the bowl, then add to the hot oil. Adjust the heat to 375˚F if needed, and don’t put more than 6 pieces in the pan at a time to avoid overcrowding. The tempura is done when it’s puffy and light gold in colour. Remove and sprinkle with salt.
5. Repeat this coating and frying process with the broccoli and parsley, and finally for the pieces of SCOBY.
6. Arrange the lettuce on 4 plates. Place the tempura veggies around the lettuce and toss the tempura SCOBY pieces on top. Drizzle with the dressing and enjoy immediately.
*Salad dressing consists of a pinch of pepper, a pinch of dried herbs, 1 tablespoon honey, ¾ cup of extra virgin olive oil, ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, and ¼ cup of Equinox kombucha vinegar. (Note: This is simply over-fermented kombucha, so leave a bottle with the lid off until it smells and tastes like vinegar and you're all ready to go).
Thanks to all of you who took the time to fill in our questionnaire, and well done to the lucky folks who won tickets to the Taste of London event last week!
Many of you got in touch to tell us that our kombucha has helped with various ailments: from digestion to diabetes, IBS to Crohns, and we were thrilled to hear that so many of you credited our kombucha with better health and increased energy levels. We are so happy to hear your stories, although it's very important to note that we don't make any health claims about kombucha ourselves. Saying that, our regular blog posts reporting what scientists are saying about the importance of probiotics and fermented food in fighting a wide range of diseases demonstrate that maintaining a healthy gut could have a positive knock-on effect on the body as a whole. We'd love to hear more of these anecdotes, so please do get in touch with us if you have a story to share!
You suggested making Aloe Vera, Chia seed, and Rose & Orange flavoured kombucha...mmm, they all sound delicious and we'll certainly bear all these ideas in mind! We were throwing ideas around in the office and we quite fancy adding a Mango and Lime flavour to our range...what do you all think?
We've listened to your requests for bottles in a range of sizes, and are looking into this. You asked for quicker delivery times, and we've since outsourced distribution so the process is speeded up and there's better communication on when your kombucha will arrive. We've also added shipping costs to the price of each multipack on our online shop, so you can see exactly what you'll be spending in total before you get to the checkout.
A few of you were worried that you couldn't find your favourite kombucha in local stores; this was probably due to the Boxing Day floods that devastated the brewery and our distribution chain for many months. We're finally getting back on our feet and into the shops, so hopefully any availability problems are a thing of the past. Also, don't forget that you can use our online store locator to find your nearest stockist.
We've also put together a short Q&A addressing all the queries you lovely lot asked us:
Q: "I am very interested in fermented products but would worry about any added sugar negating the benefits."
A: Kombucha is made by fermenting tea and sugar and a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts), so it would be impossible to brew without any sugar at all. Sugar is a necessary ingredient for any fermentation process. Here at Equinox we only add the necessary amount of raw, organic cane sugar to kick-start the process, but we don't add any extra sugar after this step. The SCOBY actually 'eats' or absorbs most of the sugar during fermentation, meaning the final product is low in calories and totally natural. Calorie content for each flavour is printed on the back of the bottles, right at the bottom of the label. Ingredients can be found running up the back right hand side of each bottle label.
Q: "I always wonder if it's OK to eat the lumpy stuff but everyone I ask says it's fine."
A: You must be talking about the SCOBY, a living organism made up of yeasts and good bacteria. You can indeed eat a SCOBY, and there are many interesting recipes using this gelatinous super-blob that you might want to check out. Why not check out our step-by-step instructions on how to make tempura salad using a SCOBY...not for the faint-hearted, but definitely fascinating!
Q: "Does it contain caffeine?"
A: Because our kombucha is brewed with organic Chun-Mee green tea, it inevitably has trace elements of caffeine. However this amount is quite insignificant and doesn't begin to compare to the caffeine levels of a cup of coffee.
Q: "I was wondering if the best way to store it is if I buy many 20 packs at once. I know it says 'consume within 3 days of opening and keep refrigerated' but I'm assuming I can store them outside the refrigerator unopened."
A: Unlike other similar brands, Equinox kombucha has a 12 month shelf life and doesn't need to be refrigerated until you want to consume it. Our kombucha is best served chilled, but that's just because it tastes better that way. So yes- as long as you store boxes in a cool, dark place, it will stay fresh. Ordering multiple cases is a great idea to make sure you never run out!
Q. Is your kombucha pasteurised?
A: No. The process of pasteurisation kills off the good bacteria, which is what makes kombucha a 'living tea.' Equinox kombucha is 100% raw and unpasteurised, just like it should be.
Finally, thanks for all your wonderful testimonies. Here are just a few:
"I love the taste, the colour and the gentle fizz. I have it at 7pm in a champagne glass and it makes me feel like a treat without the sugar of wine."
Great idea! Here's a question for the rest of you- how do you drink yours?
"My children love it, it's great to be able to give them a drink that is good for them."
"It seriously makes me happy seeing my fridge full of ginger kombucha!"
"The taste is so much better than other similar products. Also the after-feeling: increased energy, digestion and balance."
"I love the taste of all the different flavours, but Wild Berry is my favourite! It has just the right amount of bubbles and the bottles are beautiful."
"It tastes and smells like a summer's day! Also, I know it's doing my gut good!"
We're really humbled by your amazing feedback, so thanks again for letting us know your thoughts! If you're new to the #kombucharevolution you might want to check out our handy FAQ on the wonders of kombucha. If you have anything to add, please either comment below or (for stories) send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Big love from all at Equinox HQ x
Jaw-dropping science facts part 5
One in three of us will suffer from cancer in our lifetimes, and despite the basic advice: (eat less meat, get your five-a-day, don't smoke, etc), there's really nothing we can do to eliminate the risk entirely. Or is there?
An article in the Telegraph caught our eye recently when it listed fermented probiotic food and drinks as a scientifically proven way to avoid the disease. In a fascinating feature called 'Eight proven ways to prevent cancer', author Anna Magee writes:
"It has been long known that cancers are caused by a combination of our genes, diet and lifestyle. However, as we gradually understand more about epigenetics - the way our genes are switched on and off by factors in our environment – the more we will discover about what we can do to help turn on genes linked with cancer protection and switch off those linked with causing it. Research shows small lifestyle changes could prevent a staggering 40 cent of Britain’s cancers."
In addition to eating more fibre, taking a daily aspirin and exercising more, Magee- editor of healthista.com- recommends getting as much good bacteria into your gut as possible.
"Our gut bacteria or micro-biome has recently been linked to everything from mood to obesity, and a growing number of studies are now linking it to a lowered cancer risk," Magee writes.
The latest, published in April in the journal PLOS One, gave one group of mice beneficial bacteria through probiotic supplements while the other group were given non-beneficial bacteria. The mice receiving the good bacteria produced metabolites known to prevent cancer in their guts, and were also better able to metabolise fats, which the researchers said could help lower the risk of cancer.
"The results are positive and that’s probably because the microbes help break down some of the toxins in the gut that might normally cause cancer, but also because they keep the immune system in great shape generally so it beats off cancer cells," says Tim Spector, professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London, founder of the British Gut Project and author of The Diet Myth (Weidenfeld and Nicholson £8.99).
Prof Spector recommends: "To keep your gut bacteria healthy, eat a mix of probiotic foods such as live yoghurt, kefir (fermented milk drink) and sauerkraut as well as prebiotic foods such as fruit, vegetables and high fibre whole grains and legumes to feed bacteria and help it grow."
This is by no means the only scientific study to make such bold claims about the wonders of probiotics for cancer prevention. In May this year, researchers in Hong Kong developed and successfully tested a probiotic mixture called Prohep which was proven to reduce liver cancer in rats. Scientists found that healthy gut bacteria administered to rats reduced tumours by as much as 40%. This is very exciting news and researchers hope to begin testing on cancer patients in due course- we will keep you updated with any progress!
In a third study, carried out by researchers at the University of Brighton in December 2012, catechins in green tea were tested for their potential effect to reduce cancer risk, cardiovascular disease risk and weight loss. While scientists stopped short of declaring the study a roaring success, they did indeed find positive signs that green tea- as used in the fermentation of kombucha- could reduce the risk of contracting the disease. Researchers concluded:
"There is some positive evidence for risk reduction of breast, prostate, ovarian and endometrial cancers with green tea. RCTs of green tea and cardiovascular risk factors suggest that green tea may reduce low-density lipoproteins and total cholesterol.”
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Disclaimer: Equinox kombucha makes no health claims, we simply publish interesting scientific news relating to our product. The consumption of kombucha (and other fermented food and drinks) should never replace proper medical treatment wherever necessary.