Kombucha Tea: What am I Even Drinking?

 

Author: Lacy Davidson, MS, RDN, LD, CDE, RYT

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Registered Yoga Teacher

Chances are, unless you’re one of those new age hippies, err hipsters who’ve been sipping or maybe even home brewing SCOBY cocktails for the past few years, you may be wondering, what’s with all the buzz about Kombucha Tea?

Kombucha, translated ‘black tea mushroom’, is actually not a mushroom at all, but a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) allowed to ferment in a vat of typically, sweetened black or green tea. I know… yum, right? While this sort of new drink has been crawling across the nation since its first commercial bottling in California nearly 25 years ago, it’s actually been consumed around the world for over 5000 years!

Kombucha ‘mushroom’ making its tea SOURCE: blogilates.com

With roots in China and Japan, people have taken to drinking Kombucha for a myriad of reasons. From is proposed detoxifying and energizing benefits to its suggested ability to aid in digestion, Kombucha Tea drinkers swear by their daily brew.

While the science is lacking to support any true health benefits, there is no shortage of testimonials expressing what all this magic elixir can ‘cure’. Home brewers and commercially bottled beverage fans alike have made claims of being healed from diseases such as cancer and AIDS to a faster recovery from a belly ache or common cold.

While the jury is still out on if these health claims hold any weight, it is possible the health benefits experienced by regular drinker could be due in part to the chemistry of the cocktail.

Yeasts present in the SCOBY create alcohols which are fermented by the bacteria (think probiotic) into various organic acids (apple cider vinegar anyone?). The mixture also contains energy producing B-vitamins and immune system boosting vitamin C. Because Kombucha is grown in brewed tea, the drink is also caffeine containing, which can impart its own energy buzz. Not to mention it’s a ‘mostly water’ beverage (Yay!) with most brews containing a few trace electrolytes and not too much sugar which we really like. Several commercial brands have even started ‘enhancing’ their brews with chia seeds to up the omega 3 content for brain, heart and joint health benefits and adding functional food ingredients like turmeric and ginger to prevent aging and disease.

clip_image002

GT Brand Kombucha Tea – Industry market leader SOURCE: http://synergydrinks.com/

We’re not totally convinced it’s the ‘Immortal Health Elixir’ as some might describe, but we’re also not opposed to sipping it from time to time either. Locally, you can find a prepared Kombucha Tea drink at Healthy Life Market and other health food stores in our area.

We haven’t found any local brewers yet, but if you’re out there, give us a heads up! Tell us your experience with Kombucha Tea. Are you a member of the Kombucha Kult or just waiting on this fad to fade?

Posted in Food Fridays, Nutrition | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Picnic Month

clip_image002

Looking for something fun to do with the family, with friends or your significant other? Why not have picnics at the park or in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia? This month is National Picnic Month and I want to share with you a few tips on how to keep your foods safe should you choose to dine outdoors.

Temperature and time: Keep in mind that the time that perishable food items can be left out of the fridge or freezer is reduced from 2 hours to 1 hour in temperatures above 90 degrees F.

Bring non-perishable food items: Try baked potato chips or pretzels instead of pasta salads. Bring dried fruit or fruit cups in water instead of fresh cut fruit. Snack on trail mix, nuts or seeds. Here are a few other ideas for non-perishable items: peanut butter, unopened cans of meat, fish, fruit, or salsa, crackers, and unpeeled fresh fruit such as apples, oranges, bananas, etc.

Take 2 coolers: Use one for perishable food items and another one for drinks. Keep items cool by transporting them in an insulated cooler with ice or frozen gel packs. Minimize the amount of times you open the cooler by only opening it if you need to get something out.

Keep it clean: You want to keep your foods and area as clean as possible. Research your area ahead of time. Is there a place to sit and eat or should you bring a blanket? Check to see if there is a source for safe drinking water or should you bring extra water to prepare foods or clean up? If there is water bring soap to wash hands. Bring disposable clothes or moist paper towels for cleaning hands and surfaces.

Properly handle left overs: if leftovers have been sitting out for more than 1 hour, throw them out. Cold foods that are kept in a cooler that still have ice are typically safe. However, if the ice has melted, throw out any food that should be kept cold.

For more information on nutrition education and fitness plans come see us at the Rec! Call today at 304-696-4REC(4732) to schedule your appointment.

What is your favorite picnic spot?

Posted in Food Fridays | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Osteoporosis: Take Action Now or Wait?

 

image

The American Recall Center (www.recallcenter.com) is an HONcode verified site that aims to provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date healthcare information as well as important drug and medical device recall information. This month they have set out on a mission to create awareness on osteoporosis.

What is osteoporosis? Let us break this down. Our bones are living tissue that is always being broken down and replaced. Osteoporosis happens when the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up with the removal/breakdown of old bone. When this happens, it causes our bones to become weak and brittle. So brittle in fact, that a small fall or even a cough can cause them to fracture.

image

How do I know if I have osteoporosis? Typically there are no symptoms in early stages of bone loss. One usually will not notice a difference until the bones are weak. Once the bones have been weakened, one might experience back pain due to a fracture, loss in height, stooped posture and easily broken bones. If you start experiencing these types of symptoms consult your physician.

How does this affect me? The thing is males and females are at risk (I won’t bog you down with too many statistics; you can read other risk factors in an infographic below). If you are a younger adult you might be thinking, “Well I don’t have to be concerned with this right now because I am young.” One key to NOT develop osteoporosis is to take good care of yourself and your bones when you ARE young! Remember how osteoporosis develops? (Not growing enough bone to replace the old)- According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), our bones will reach their peak strength/mass for males and females between 20 and 30 years of age. Once we hit our 30’s we will gradually lose bone.

Here is an infographic from the American Recall Center that breaks down some of the statistics on this disease state.

image

What do we do to make sure we have taken optimal care of our bones? We take ACTION! While there are unchangeable risk factors such as age, sex, race, family history, and body frame size. There are dietary and lifestyle factors that can be changed for optimal health. One dietary factor to be aware of is our calcium intake. Here is a quick breakdown of calcium needs according to the AAOS:

· Boys and Girls age 10 to 20 years need at least 1,300 mg per day.

· Males and Females age 20 to 50 years need at least 1,000 mg per day.

· Females over age 50 years entering or have gone through menopause need 1,200 mg per day.

· Males and Females age 70 years and above need 1,200 mg per day.

Unhealthy habits can also increase your risk of osteoporosis. These include a sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol consumption and tobacco use.

www.choosemyplate.gov offers tips on how to get your calcium needs, how much physical activity you need and what types of activities you can do to promote bone health.

Don’t be vicious to your body, be nutritious and active! For more information on osteoporosis, visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation or The American Recall Center. If you need assistance on nutrition education and physical activity, visit us at the Rec Center! Call 304-696-4REC (4732) to schedule your appointment today!

How do you keep your bones healthy?

Posted in Food Fridays, Nutrition | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrate a Healthy Way

image

Summer is in full swing and many people are celebrating holidays, birthdays, friends and loved ones. I do not know about you, but for me food was the center of every celebration during my childhood. While this does not necessarily have to be an unhealthy thing, it can be depending on the food options available at these events. I want to share with you a few tips to make your summer celebrations fun and healthy!

Get people moving! Food does not always have to be the focal point of the party. Have activities that get your guest moving and interacting with each other. Dance, play volleyball, play Frisbee, swim, garden, etc. Whatever types of activities you and your friends like, add them to the event!

Keep it simple and cost effective! You do not need to be Betty Crocker to wow your guests with food dishes. You can jazz up a fruit dish by adding nuts or a yogurt dip. You can find simple, easy to make recipes on choosemyplate.gov. You also do not need to break the bank to have healthier food options at your party. Lessen the dent on your bank account by purchasing foods in season (not only do these taste better, they cost less), plan in advance and buy foods on sale. Another way to get great food at a low cost is to visit your local farmers market.

Set a good example for the kiddos! Children model the adults they are around. Participate in activities with the kids. Eat foods you want your kids to eat. Add more fruits to the event by making ice cube from 100% juice or adding fruit to water. Get the kids involved in preparing the food. A few easy food dishes for children to make could be fruit kabobs, yogurt and fruit parfaits, salads, and veggie trays.

Celebrations do not need to be vicious. With these basic tips you can keep them fun, active and nutritious. Come see us at the Rec Center. For more information on nutrition education and fitness plans, call us at 304-696-4REC(4732).

How do you celebrate?

Posted in Food Fridays | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Father’s Day

Father’s Day is just around the corner, this coming Sunday as a matter of fact. Whether you are a dad yourself or you want to celebrate your father, you can do so in a healthy way! Grilling season is in full swing and what better way to celebrate your dad than by cooking a delicious meal for him. I want to share with you a recipe I ran across on Food Done Light that you can use on the grill. It is fun, easy and healthy.

image

Grilled Salmon Salad with Warm Blueberry Vinaigrette

Ingredients

•2 salmon fillets (~6oz each)

•1 tsp olive oil

•1 tbl minced garlic

•1 tbl coconut oil or olive oil

•1 tbl balsamic vinegar

•¼ fresh blueberries (or frozen that are thawed)

•½ tsp grated lemon zest

•½ tsp sugar

•2 cups salad greens- choose dark leafy greens

Instructions

1.Preheat grill to medium-high.

2.Rub salmon with olive oil and mince garlic. Grill salmon until it is opaque and flaky. About 6 minutes per side (depending on how thick the fillets are).

3.While salmon is cooking, add coconut oil or olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat to melt. Add in vinegar, blueberries, and sugar. Let cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute or until the blueberries are soft. Add in lemon zest.

4.Serve salmon over a bed of greens and top with blueberry sauce and a little more fresh grated lemon juice

If you do not like blueberries you can always grill the salmon and lay over a bed of rice. Grill your favorite veggies and fruit for a side and dessert—bam! You have a nutritious meal that is not vicious to your body!

image

I hope you have a wonderful Father’s Day! Come see us at the Rec Center. For more information on nutrition education and fitness plans, call us at 304-696-4REC(4732).

Posted in Food Fridays | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Wanderlust Snowshoe

Marshall Campus Rec | Find Your Fit.<!–

I have been having some computer issues that have hindered me in posting this for a couple of days. There is nothing in the world more annoying to me than computer problems, I’m just that impatient. When I was to the point where I wanted to drop kick the laptop in front of a bus, I paused and took a deep breath. If there is anything I learned at Wanderlust, it was to keep my cool, and don’t sweat the small stuff.

If you follow this blog you know that Wanderlust is a 3-day festival that brings together yoga and meditation instructors, speakers, artists and chefs at resorts across the country. I have been dying to go to one for a few years now, and luckily they decided to host one in our own back yard- Snowshoe, West Virginia.

IMG_7217IMG_7222

Check out this video! https://goo.gl/QRqUnd

If you haven’t been to Snowshoe, it is one of my favorite places. It’s one of the only ski resorts where the village is on top of the mountain, not the bottom. This leads to some crazy weather at the top, and June was no exception for Wanderlust. Friday dawned gray and dreary, but there was excitement in the air! I started the day with an Asana class that focused on Hip Openers (all classes are 90 minutes, but they pass in a flash!) and I moved straight into a class called “Yoga Rocks the 80’s”. This was one of my favorites from the whole experience. The instructor Eric Paskel was on point with some great mantras, music and fun. You can watch some of his videos on Gaiam TV from home. I’m definitely going to do that, he was super inspiring and some of the things he had to say really resonated with me. I ended up taking another class from him on Sunday called “Vindalini” and was not disappointed.

Since the rain decided to come down pretty hard on Friday afternoon, I missed (skipped) my stand-up paddle boarding class at the lake, which was super disappointing. I have never done SUP, let alone SUP yoga. HUGE BUMMER. The weather cleared up in the afternoon, so I joined a short hike around the lake with some friends. Wanderlust scheduled lots of hikes, and there were options to do some trail running as well.

IMG_7224IMG_7223

The other classes/instructors that I have to mention  are

1. Sage Rountree (she assured us that was her real name!)  She is a rockstar in the field of endurance training and an international recognized authority on yoga for athletes. She has written several books and some of her clients have been Olympians, NBA and NFL players, and UNC athletes. I felt SO privileged to take 2 classes with her, one on learning how to mediate, and one on Yoga Nidra, AKA Yoga Sleep. She has the most soothing voice you’ve ever heard, and I’m thinking of getting one of her books for my husband that will be  competing in a full Ironman this fall.

2. Shakti Sunfire I had the opportunity to tackle a hula hoop class on Sunday morning at the top of the mountain. The weather was chilly in the 50’s and it was so foggy it was like standing in a cloud. That in itself was pretty inspiring, but taking a class with the talented Shakti Sunfire took the cake. After watching some of her videos, I was amazed that she didn’t laugh out loud at how terrible we were at hula hooping.  If you ever have a chance to take a class like this, I recommend it- step outside the box! Check out this video of her and prepare to be blown away: https://goo.gl/MPHRHM

3. Joe Barnett Holy Moly this was a good class. And the fact that he is loosely based in Cincinnati, OH is a huge plus- he’s somewhat close. I’d drive to Cinci to take another one of his Yin Yoga classes any day. So relaxing, his voice is unbelievable! This class also had live music which adds so much to the experience. Yin Yoga is a practice where you settle into a pose for 3-7 minutes and allow your muscles to relax. Sounds easy, but it’s hard to do!

Besides all of the yoga, my little group of friends had a great time in the evenings cooking and sitting around a campfire. We didn’t go to the top of the mountain for the evening entertainment, but next time I go to Wanderlust I’ll definitely make sure I get to them, the pictures posted on the Wanderlust Facebook page were pretty amazing.

IMG_7220IMG_7207

IMG_7219IMG_7201

Wanderlust had food trucks! Why is it that if they make food in a truck, you know it’s good? I had to include a picture of my turkey tacos for you to gaze at- is it lunch time yet?

Rumor has it that Wanderlust will be back in Snowshoe next June, and I’ll be first in line to get a ticket!

Posted in Outdoors, Random Rants | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Men’s Health Month

clip_image002

There are very few times in a man’s life when it is all about him. The entire month of June is dedicated to male health. The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to create awareness of preventable health issues and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.

I want to share with you ten nutrition tips for men’s health from the 10 Tips Nutrition Education Series on choosemyplate.gov.

clip_image004

(I know this is a little blurry, check out the website to read the tips!)

Find out what your needs are specifically for YOU, create a well-balanced diet and get plenty of exercise! For more information on men’s health, visit menshealthmonth.org.

Come see us at the Rec Center. For more information on nutrition education and fitness plans, call us at 304-696-4REC(4732).

Do you get your annual medical exam by a physician?

Posted in Wellness | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment