Assorted Links

  • Kombucha beer (which may not taste like beer)
  • A growing taste for sour. “I saw bottles of [kombucha] in rural Virginia gas stations . . .  kimchi, fermented cabbage, has spread from Korean kitchens to Los Angeles taco trucks.”
  • Exercise and weight loss. Only the extremes of exercise — very intense exercise (very brief) and very long lasting exercise (walking) — reduce weight or keep weight low. The middling exercise Americans actually choose (aerobics) has little effect. This post, by my friend Phil Price, gets the high-intensity part right but the low-intensity part wrong.
  • Weight loss fails to prevent heart attacks. “The study followed 5,200 patients and lasted 11 years.” Surely cost tens of millions of dollars. More evidence of mainstream ignorance about heart disease.
  • A kickback by any other name . . . “At least 17 of the top 20 Bystolic prescribers in Medicare’s prescription drug program in 2010 have been paid by Forest [which makes Bystolic] to deliver promotional talks. In 2012, they together received $284,700 for speeches and more than $20,000 in meals.”

Thanks to Bryan Castañeda and Hal Pashler.

You Don’t Need a “Mother” to Make Kombucha

You make kombucha by brewing tea, adding sugar, and adding a starter of some sort. Usually the starter is part of the “mother” (SCOBY) from a previous batch of kombucha but I have just found that adding a little bit of store-bought kombucha also works. I added two tablespoons of GT’s kombucha and two tablespoons of Revive kombucha to sugared tea. Two weeks later there was a perfectly good mother on top of the tea. This is useful to know even if you have a mother if you want to make kombucha slowly. In The Art of Fermentation, Sandor Katz advocates adding a bottle of kombucha into your sugared tea if you don’t have a mother.



Assorted Links

Thanks to Hal Pashler and Bryan Castañeda.

Assorted Links

  • Kombucha news: new scientific studies. Plus an expert says: ““When diets are fads, they never seem to last long.”
  • University of Pennsylvania clears medical school professors of ghost-writing. “‘It’s important to note,” [said the Penn report,]  ‘that the results of the study were negative to the sponsor’s product [and] were so characterized in the publication’ . . . But Lisa Lehmann, the director of the Center for Bioethics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, notes that the study’s findings were not unequivocally negative. ‘Penn noted that the study was negative and seems to imply that diminishes concerns about bias, but this is not entirely true. There is a segment of the population, those with low serum lithium levels, for whom the study recommends the medication.’ “
  • Jeffrey Sachs apparently believes in AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming). He also believes, according to Felix Salmon, “that development is easy, we know how to do it, and that given enough money, it’s relatively trivial to spend that money in an effective way to reduce poverty around the world.” Results from the Millennium Project do not support his beliefs.
  • 5 years of success with the Shangri-La Diet

Thanks to Alex Chernavsky.

Assorted Links

  • In praise of Rush Limbaugh.
  • Shangri-La Diet experience (“Bottom line: I lost three pounds in a week and a half”) of an artist named Elizabeth Periale.
  • Long interview with Tucker Max. “His fridge . . . is in one way very different: where you’d expect the six-pack of cold ones waiting for the game, instead you’ll find rows and rows of kombucha, the fermented health beverage.”
  • End of college campuses. Megan McArdle imagines a world in which college is replaced by distance learning. “95% of tenure-track jobs will be eliminated.” Jane Jacobs, in Systems of Survival, divided jobs into taking and trading. Teaching is trading if the student really wants to learn the subject. Teaching is taking if the student is forced to take (and pay for) the class. Scary thought: Every college student is asked about every class: would you take this class if you didn’t need to (and didn’t need to take other classes)?

Fruit Juice Kombucha

A reader of this blog named Heidi noticed the discussion of “kombucha” made by fermenting fruit juice with a kombucha culture (SCOBY) started by Parker Bohn. She wrote as follows:

I read somewhere on the internet that kombucha was traditionally brewed with rosehips and elderberries.  Since then I’ve been combining tea (either green, black, or raspberry leaf) with several kinds of wild fruit and making some absolutely amazing kombucha!  (Before then I experimented with lots of different herbal kombuchas with different medicinal properties.)  Black current, rosehips, elderberries, sumac berries, autumn olive berries, black cherries, and raspberries all made excellent kombucha.  The best results seemed to be from tea combined with two different fruits, one tart and the other with a unique flavor.  I also tried wild grape juice and hawthorn fruits but wasn’t as happy with the results, though the kombucha was still good. Also the SCOBY grows thicker with the tea and fruit combos.

I still used the same amounts of sugar and tea that I had been using, but I was using tart wild fruits that weren’t as sweet as store brought juice.  My brew of tea, wild fruits, and sugar was a lot stronger and more flavorful than the weak tea and sugar combo that most people use. I would have two or more people sample the results.  Different people would have different favorites, but everyone agreed that the fruit and tea combos were the best kombucha they’d ever had.

I also created herbal kombuchas to target different health issues that people had. For example I made a kombucha with wormwood and other parasite killing herbs. After awhile, I pushed it too far with the herbs though, and the SCOBY stopped fermenting well and started to mold.  I was able to nurse it back to life though. Certain herbs work much better than others.

Perhaps a mixture roughly half tea and sugar, half fruit juice will work best. At least, that’s where I’ll start exploring these possibilities. I may never go back to traditional kombucha. Because they are more complex, I can easily believe these newfangled brews taste better. It’s interesting they aren’t available commercially. Flavored kombucha drinks in stores are kombucha with small amounts of fruit juice added at the end.

Seth Roberts Interview With Pictures

This sidebar appeared in an article about self-tracking (only for subscribers) by James Kennedy, who works at The Future Laboratory in London. The top photo is at a market near my apartment. Below that are photos of my sleep records, my morning-faces setup, my butter, and my kombucha brewing jars. Back then I was comparing three amounts of sugar (each jar a different amount). Now I’m comparing green tea/black tea ratios.