This country is full of strange and mysterious new things every time I come back here!
I keep having to adapt and re-invent my habits because all the food is different from what I've grown used to in Europe. At lunch, for example, I couldn't find any rainforest juice (apparently it's a Swiss thing even though it comes from the Amazon -- the Swiss are all about sustainable+fair+eco foods), so I had to pick something else. I decided to try
Kombucha!!! I had to try it since I've been wondering what in the world is kombucha? ever since I started reading Kombucha Chic's blog. Here's the verdict:
* I like it even though it tastes like vinegar. Especially the green kind.
* Seems invigorating, as claimed on the label.
* I've been drinking it for the past few days, and it's starting to grow on me. (Also in me, being a "living food"...)
* I'm not entirely convinced this stuff is safe.
I know humans safely eat some foods that contain live cultures such as yogurt and and certain cheeses, but those are foods that people have been eating for millenia. The bottle says that Kombucha is Chinese, so it's possible that people have been drinking it cold, raw, and alive for millenia, but maybe not. The ingredients are listed as "100% G.T.'s organic raw kombucha*, and 100% pure love!!!" which is probably accurate, and yet it leads me to suspect that the FDA hasn't examined this product very closely.
Then there's the list of health benefits: digestion, metabolism, immune system, appetite control, weight control, liver function, body alkalinity, anti-aging, cell integrity, and healthy skin & hair -- with a disclaimer saying that these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Further evidence for my theory above!)
I just like it as a beverage, but I'm a little worried that I may be supporting the woo industry. In particular, the testimonial on the bottle about how it helped the kombucha-maker's mother in her battle with breast cancer reminded me of Julie's post How Infertility Made Me a Skeptic w.r.t. confusing the effects of "complementary" and "alternative" treatments with the effects of whatever real treatment the patient is concurrently following.
On the other hand, it's theoretically possible that it's health-promoting. And not dangerous.
Anybody else out there tried this stuff?