Kombucha Kleanse

Had it been any other week, we probably wouldn't have shelled out. But this is the week after New Year's. The week when we resolve to eat healthy, exercise, give up alcohol, and generally attempt to be super-human. So Sunday night we spent more than $15 on three bottles of kombucha. We'll try anything to save ourselves from our over-fed, over-indulged holiday haze -- even if it costs us an arm and a leg.

So what is so special about this fermented tea-like drink that made us shell out about $3.50 a bottle? Some call it a miracle elixir. Some just call it a super food. Either way, it tastes pretty rough, so it must be good for us.

It sounds like some ritualistic rite of passage, but kombucha is actually a colony of bacteria and yeast. Not exactly the most appetizing combo, but possibly one of the healthiest. To make the tea, the colony is added to sugar and black or green tea and allowed to ferment. The bottle even has a warning that the fermentation may cause trace amounts of alcohol in the tea. But this is not the new liquor craze. It's not going to even give you a buzz, so feel free to chug it at work.

Kombucha tea does have strange floating stuff in it, which almost discouraged us from trying it. We don't even like pulp in our orange juice. But the website of Millennium Products, which makes Synergy Kombucha, told us not to be afraid of the floaties. They are strands of the culture and actually good for us.

It's amazing what we will subject ourselves to in the name of health. This super beverage supposedly helps the immune system, digestion, liver function and detoxification. The kind we tried even claimed to help treat cancer. There is little scientific evidence supporting these claims, but we did feel like we were doing something healthy. It can't be any worse on our bodies than holiday gluttony.

For your first kombucha, we recommend Millennium's Synergy version. The company also makes GT's Kombucha, but the Synergy has real fruit juice to help the bacteria go down easier. Once you reach hardcore Kombucha status, you can attempt the GT's.

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Jane Catherine Collins