My relationship with kombucha

 RIP my kombucha scoby

I ended my last post with this statement: “I hope that writing down my failure to write will give me the internal permission that I need to start blogging again.”

If I am honest with myself, there is one more reason, aside from busy-ness, that has kept me from blogging. One more post that I felt I “should” write but I can’t.

I promised several of you a post on how to do a second fermentation of kombucha. I have done many successful second fermentations and I even took step-by-step photos of one of them which would work well for a post.

But I have to tell the truth now: I’ve stopped making kombucha. Not out of neglect, not by mistake. I quit on purpose.

I have been afraid to tell anyone.

Because everyone knows the really cool green bloggers all drink kombucha. I mean, I liked it! I loved second fermented kombucha. It gave me energy! It was nearly free! I was making something! I was also glad to share my scobys with anyone who emailed me.

You might also remember that I’ve been having ongoing issues with my stomach again since spring. One thing that particularly seems to aggravate whatever-it-is: probiotics. Anything fermented. It got to the point where kombucha was just eating away at my stomach every time I took a sip. I mean, probably not literally, since I have had x-rays and endoscopys and blood tests and pee tests that all verify over and over that I do not have a reflux or acid imbalance that would literally be eating away at my stomach lining. But that’s what it feels like. It’s so hard to describe to someone who doesn’t have chronic stomach pain what it is like to have this level of discomfort all the time, and the lengths you’ll eventually start going to in order to avoid a flare up. The weekend that I finally had to go into urgent care and accept antibiotics, I had cramping so severe that it was starting to make natural childbirth seem comfy. Even though the doctor still couldn’t find anything wrong with me, she did mention that there was a weird form of bacteria in my stomach that she couldn’t identify. I did have blood in my samples. It was that weekend that I stopped drinking kombucha altogether.

I still have one last scoby in my fridge, but I’m pretty sure it’s dead by now. I have this fear that if I throw it away for good, I’m losing a little bit of my green cred. Like I’m not truly crunchy anymore because my stomach is too weak for this thing that should be helping, but only gives me a horrible churniness for hours and even days after I drink it. Or it’s just another cooking/DIY failure for me because maybe I accidentally created a few batches that got contaminated with bad bacteria that made me sick. Definitely always a risk with kombucha, and there’s no way to know if that truly was what happened or how to avoid it in the future if it was.

Either way, I’m afraid the kombucha days are over for me, at least until I can resolve my current stomach issues.

If you have ever accidentally brewed a batch of contaminated kombucha, I’d love to hear from you — how did you know for sure that is what happened? How do you avoid it going forward?

5 thoughts on “My relationship with kombucha

  1. Beth says:

    This post reminds me of when I quit breastfeeding. I’m a dietitian and thought anything less was like feeding my baby MacDonald’s. But I wasn’t producing and he didn’t have a sucking reflex and the two of those together caused a hungry (and skinny) baby and a very sad mommy. Don’t let the “politics” of being a green blogger interfere with your health and happiness. What works best to heal your stomach issues, may not be what’s best for others. Or, it just may be what helps another green person quit kombucha and let his/her stomach heal as well. Keep on sharing and I’ll keep on supporting you for your honesty, and not judge you for your choices.

  2. Vicky says:

    I was surfing the net on Kombucha and feeding the excess scoby to chickens. Yep. Anyway I’m sorry you had a bad experience with brewing. I do know that the scoby’s are not to be kept in the frig. So I don’t and have only been brewing myself for a short time. I’ve used The Kombucha Kamp site by Hannah Crum. I haven’t experienced what you have, though I believe possible. I would like to say if you haven’t already – throw the scoby away. Being fearful of something has it’s own effect on the gut; as well as, your whole being. I’m hoping your on the mend. Vicky

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