I've mentioned my friend Maddy before (here, here, and here, and most likely somewhere else;). She is sassy and smart and I lover her to pieces. And though she is years younger than me, she teaches me new things all the time. Mad is the lady responsible for getting me on the vegetarian track! I asked her to write me something for the blog (which I'll undoubtedly do again and if she's willing: regularly). So with no further adieu...Madeleine Starkey:
If you are at all a health food aficionado you have most likely heard of kombucha. Until recently, komucha was sold in Whole Foods across the country. Whole Foods carried the most popular and ubiquitous brand, G.T. Other, smaller health food retailers similarly stocked the brand. While other kombucha suppliers and manufacturers exist, G.T. has undeniably been the most frequently purchased, and the most recognizable.
According to Wikipedia, kombucha is "a fermented tea that is often drunk for medicinal purposes. There is limited scientific information supporting any health benefit and few studies are being conducted, although there are several centuries of anecdotal accounts supporting some of the health benefits attributed to the tea. Kombucha is available commercially and can be made at home by fermenting tea using a visible, solid mass of yeast and bacteria which forms the kombucha culture which is often referred to as the 'mushroom' or the 'mother'".
Proponents of the fermented beverage consider it an elixir that improves immune function, hair and skin health, and that supports the proliferation of of "good bacteria" of probiotics in the digestive process.
Skeptics feel such claims are anecdotal rather than proven, and further they fear the potential hazards of home-brewed kombucha. The risks of home brewing include contamination and mold.
The underground kombucha culture was going strong until suddenly, earlier this summer, G.T. took a hiatus from distributing its products. According to G.T.'s website,
Furthermore, it seems the Whole Foods embargo incited a suspension of all kombucha sales at Whole Foods, and G.T. Kombucha sales at smaller retailers.
While smaller retailers have started to carry G.T. kombucha again, it has yet to return to Whole Foods.