Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Whole Foods Run and Is Kombucha Going To Kill Me?

Our nearest Whole Foods is over an hour away, so we only go every few months. On our last trip, I thought I would snap a picture of our haul.  Let's see...we have tofu, Gnu bars, Sheese, tortillas, organic teething biscuits for Olivia, three things of ketchup (Tony will not let me buy any other ketchup), kombucha, soy crisps, nutritional yeast, and three different kinds of salsa. 

This was my first experience with Sheese. Whole Foods had two kinds: blue, and smoked cheddar. I went with the blue style. I've just been eating it on crackers. It has a very strong blue cheese flavor, true to the real thing.  I wish it wasn't quite so strong. I'm going to try putting it in a salad, but I'm a little nervous that it will overwhelm the other flavors.

And then we have the kombucha. Here's the thing...a couple years ago, I got a meal from the Whole Foods hot bar and I quickly grabbed a bottle of kombucha to go with it, thinking it was an iced tea.  I took a drink and almost started crying. It felt like I had drunk from bottle of warm, fermented vinegar that someone had backwashed in repeatedly.  How could anyone voluntarily drink this? The extreme fizziness, the sour taste and smell, the slimy strands of...something...floating in it? 

And yet I gave it a second chance. It's so popular right now and they have all these different flavors. And the label says it is full of enzymes, probiotics, antioxidants.  Maybe it has improved greatly in the past couple years?

I drank it ice cold, which was a good decision. The addition of cranberry juice in this particular bottle helped cut the vinegar taste somewhat, although it still smelled awful.  It wasn't good, but it was ok.

But then, I noticed that I seemed to be getting a buzz. Kombucha supposedly contains .5% alcohol. Now, I am kind of a lightweight, but I don't think I am that much of a lightweight. I mean, I only drank half a bottle, 8 oz. 

20 minutes later, my buzz had worn off and I had a dry mouth, slight headache, and felt blah and irritable. It was like an instant hangover. Thanks a lot, kombucha.

So now I don't know if I'll drink the rest. It took me two weeks to get around to opening the bottle, so obviously I was not too excited about it to begin with. The flavor didn't bother me so much as the weird effects.

A long time ago when I was a smoker, I would often buy a smoothie on my way to work, and occasionally I would get a wheatgrass shot along with it. I always felt sick right after drinking the wheatgrass shot. Someone told me that this was because I smoked, and the wheatgrass was fighting the toxins in my body. I always felt great later in the day, and I would think to myself, "The wheatgrass has won!" So, anyway, I know "health" foods can have these unusual effects on the body. But these days, I definitely don't smoke, so why would the kombucha make me feel drunk, then blah?

Do you like kombucha? Do you get weird effects from drinking it?


  1. Hi Sara -- I too have a bit of an odd relationship with Kombucha. I do not like the green flavor at all. Trilogy is better, and my favorite is Ginger. I think what you are getting is a detox symptom. Something in the kombucha is stirring up something nasty in your system that had been pushed into some little corner of your liver to hide. You don't feel it when it's hiding, but you want to get it out. It's just not fun as it is leaving. It could be something you ingested from a very long time ago. I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV. Just kidding. Seriously, I will ask my Integrative Med. MD about it next time I go and will let you know. http://midlifevegan.blogspot.com

  2. I've never been a fan of kombucha, but my mother always says it makes her a little buzzed, too, and prefers to stay away from it because of that.

  3. Kombucha, is the devil...plain and simple...lol
    It is just to nasty for me to drink, I make my own energy juice without the mother and I like it much better!

  4. I had the exact same bottle of that stuff as you did. I loved the taste but within about 6 hours, I felt really bad. I ended up with an intense fever and extreme fatigue for about 24 hours. It kind of freaked me out. I have no proof that it was the drink but, perhaps it had taken on some unwanted fungus or bacteria. I do not know if my reaction was a rare thing or not, or if this was some sort of detox thing. I just thought that I would pass that information on.

    1. I forgot to add that during the high fever, I'm pretty sure Dick Cheney came in my room and urged me to vote Republican and buy slim jims. I threw a nightlight and piece of cheesecake at him and he left.