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Hannah Crum – Everything You Need to Know About Kombucha

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Stu: This week we welcome Hannah Crum to the show. Hannah is The Kombucha Mamma, founder of Kombucha Kamp, the most visited website in the world for Kombucha information, recipes and advice. KKamp’s mission is to “change the world, one gut at a time.” Along with partner Alex LaGory, Hannah is also an industry journalist & Master Brewer, directly mentoring thousands of new and experienced Kombucha brewers and providing consultation services for Kombucha start-ups since 2007.

She has truly lived up to her title as The Kombucha Mamma by shipping freshly grown, full-size Kombucha starter cultures to more than 10,000 people worldwide and offers kits and Continuous Brew Packages, the ultimate in convenient home brewed Kombucha, via her webstore. Kombucha is incredibly easy to make and a lifetime supply can be made from one fresh, healthy culture. In this episode we discuss the health benefits, home brewing and the impact kombucha has on our microbiome, enjoy…

Audio Version

downloaditunesListen to Stitcher Questions we ask in this episode:

  • What are the health benefits from drinking kombucha?
  • What’s the process for making our own kombucha?
  • How can we tell if shop-bought versions are really authentic?

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Full Transcript

 Stu: 00:03 Hey, this is Stu from 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of The Health Sessions. It’s here that we connect with the world’s best experts in health, wellness, and human performance in an attempt to cut through the confusion around what it actually takes to achieve long-lasting health, and I’m sure that’s something that we all strive to have. I certainly do.

00:23 Before we get into the show today, you might not know that we make products too. That’s right. We’re into whole food nutrition and have a range of superfoods and natural supplements to help support your day. If you are curious, want to find out more, just jump over to our website. That is 180nutrition.com.au and take a look. Okay, back to the show.

00:44 This week I’m excited to welcome Hannah Crum. Hannah is the Kombucha Mamma. She’s a master brewer, consultant, and educator who empowers people to safely brew kombucha tea. In this episode, we discuss the process of home brewing, the healing benefits, and how live cultures can really enhance our wellbeing. If you’re interested in learning more about the wonders of kombucha and nourishing your gut with this delicious drink, you will love this podcast. Over to Hannah.

01:15 Hey, this is Stu from 180 Nutrition, and I’m delighted to welcome Hannah Crum to the show. Good morning, Hannah, for me at least. Good afternoon, no doubt, for you. How are you?

Hannah 

01:25 I’m great. How are you Stuart?

Stu

01:28 Very well, thank you. Very well. Really pleased to connect with you because kombucha is a hot topic. Very popular over here. But before we go into the questions, I just wonder if you could tell our listeners a little bit about yourself. Who you are, what you do, and perhaps why you do it as well.

Hannah

01:47 Sure. I’m Hannah Crum, also known as the Kombucha Mamma. I’ve been brewing and educating people about kombucha for almost 15 years.

Stu

01:55 Yes.

Hannah

01:55 And I’m a Scoby, like the culture that ferments the tea, in that my husband and I work very closely together. But kombucha, for those that don’t know, is fermented tea. Just the sauerkraut is fermented cabbage or yogurt is fermented milk.

Stu

02:11 Yes.

Hannah

02:12 And why do I do what I do? Well, I [inaudible 00:02:16]. I had never heard of it. Never tried it. Went to visit some friends in San Francisco in the early 2000s, and they were making kombucha.

Stu

02:26 Right.

Hannah

02:28 We didn’t even get a chance to try it, but when I got back to L.A., of course, the whole food shelves were filled with kombucha so it was early for me to grab a taste. What was your first sip of kombucha like, Stuart? What did your face look like? Did it go?

Stu

02:42 I’ve got a little bit of an unusual taste palate, and I do like weird things. And I’m not saying kombucha is weird. But I’ve also been into lots of vinegary things as well. I like my apple cider vinegar, and so it was different. Like, yeah. It was different.

Hannah

03:00 Yeah, we call this kombucha face. It’s that little sourpuss face that a lot of people get at their first taste. Well, you are an unusual person, Stuart, but you’re also like me in that I love pickle juice, and so drinking kombucha, while it wasn’t exactly as salty as pickle juice, had some of those same kind of savory, yummy, fermented flavors, and then the nutrition hit me, and I was just like whoa! This stuff is powerful, and I could tell that I really need it and I was going to love it. Of course, my thirst outgrew my budget, just like a lot of folks.

Stu

03:35 Yeah.

Hannah

03:35 Thirst will do. And so since I’ve seen mysterious jars in the scoby. Well, I’ll just get some of that and make my own, and here we are 15 years later.

Stu

03:45 Here we are. Fantastic. Well, we’ve got so many questions to day to ask you. As I mentioned before. It’s becoming very popular over here, and you’ll see so many different varieties of kombucha as well in the store these days. Just to backtrack a little bit. Anybody out there that may not of heard of kombucha, and I guess there will be a few people, it’s a fermented tea basically. Is that?

Hannah

04:10 Exactly right. Fermentation, for folks who maybe aren’t aware, is an ancient form of preservation. Back before we had the convenience of a refrigerator in every household, say 150 years ago, we didn’t have ways to keep our food well preserved and so fermentation is something that ancient man has been using since before recorded history.

Stu

04:10 Yeah.

Hannah

04:34 Fermentation is basically a form of digestion that occurs outside of the body, but those microbes then protect and enhance the nutritional value of whatever it is you’re fermenting. Kombucha is actually well known around the world and has been popular at many different times in history, and I think it’s really the internet and this age of understanding probiotics and the human microbiome where all fermented foods, including kombucha, are really starting to have a hay day because we’re understanding why do these weird, funky, sometimes stinky things nutrify us and are good for us?

05:16 But it’s like all the finer things in life, right? Even your first sip of coffee was probably like ugh, that’s gross. It requires a little bit of consuming it over time, and then your palate sophisticates and it really enjoys it. Chocolate’s fermented. Many things are fermented that we don’t even realize.

Stu

05:36 Yes, no. Absolutely. Now, you mention the gut. New science now is connecting us to a deeper understanding of the gut and its vital importance in its every day health as well. I wondered if you could just tell us a little bit more about the health benefits from drinking kombucha regularly?

Hannah

05:56 Absolutely. First of all, most of the health benefits are coming from the fact that it’s made from tea. Right? You go and you research tea, you find loads of studies on cancer fighting, weight management, cholesterol lowering. You want to know why kombucha’s got a great reputation? Well, it’s starting with a great plant to begin with. Tea is really important

06:17 Then, the microbes themselves and sugar is really important. I know that we’re also really sugar sensitive right now, which we should be because there is a heck of a lot of added sugar in products that maybe we don’t actually need it. But in the case of fermentation, the sugar is a fuel source for the microorganisms, and then it’s that little bit of sweetness at the end that helps make the medicine go down. But the sugar is part of what creates many of the healthy acids in kombucha that gives it that detoxifying reputation. Then that low pH, those healthy acids, getting that back into your gut is what helps with things like digestion and acid reflux.

06:55 All parts of the kombucha work together to give you that nutrition in a living form, B vitamins in a living form which help with energy, that natural detoxification process by keeping the liver clean, and, of course, all those great benefits from the fact that it’s made with tea.

Stu

07:10 Fantastic. Boy, you can’t get much better than that, can you? In a drink that you can buy next to the soda pops in the stores as well. Fantastic.

07:22 Safe for children to drink?

Hannah

07:24 Safe for everybody to drink. It’s a food, right? Is asparagus safe for people to eat? Or how much asparagus should we eat? At a certain point I was like all right, enough with the green stuff, let’s try something else. The same thing is true with kombucha. I think it’s easy to get confused because we’re so used to thinking of things as supplements or dosages, but in reality its a food, so trust your gut means listening to how that food is impacting your body and paying attention to those feedback loops.

07:54 Here’s a really great example. When people have candida overgrowth, first of all it’s not the candida that’s the problem, it’s the fact that there’s too much of it. You have candida overgrowth, your body might be driven to consume sugar because that’s what those organisms feed on. But when you consume that sugar, even though it might taste good or light up those pleasure centers, in the end you’re getting a yeast infection or you feel yucky or you’ve got brain fog, and so the feedback loop there is that sugar isn’t good for you right now even if your taste buds are like yes, this is amazing.

08:28 When you drink kombucha, it’s about feeling how does this impact my body after I’ve had a chance to consume it? And that’s where having it on an empty stomach first thing in the morning can be great way to explore feeling how that impacts your body.

Stu

08:40 Great. Fantastic. As a guide, I mean, you know when you truly embrace something, whether it be an exercise program or a new food or supplement or something like that, you go voraciously in and just go right, I’m going to have so much of that. As a guide, how many times do you think we should be drinking kombucha a day?

Hannah

09:05 Couple ways to think about it. First of all, most of these fermented foods and drinks, think about your sauerkraut, your fermented condiments. Even ketchup, well it used to be fermented fish sauce before it turned into tomato paste or whatever.

09:19 My point in that is that condiments aren’t something we’re eating by the glass full or downing a huge quantity of. It’s always something we’re having in small amounts because it’s really intense, but it also helps with the digestion. Having a smaller amount of kombucha spread out throughout the day can really be beneficial because it’s like a vitamin shot, but those vitamins are in that living form. Again, it may not have the same quantity of vitamins that you might find in a packed supplement, but the form in which they enter the body is one where the body can instantly use it and uptake it.

09:55 That said, some people will have a couple ounces and then they’re in the bathrooms. It’s listening to how it’s impacting your body. Some people, my husband will sometimes drink a gallon a day. For me, it works really well. I personally drink anywhere from zero to 32 ounces. That means some days I don’t have any kombucha at all. After a few days of that, I certainly notice I haven’t, but then some days I can’t get enough.

10:19 To your point exactly, Stuart, how initially you might feel you have a greater craving, part of that is maybe you’re missing something nutritionally that this is now filling. Again, there’s a couple things we have to way here, right? A home brew kombucha is likely going to be a bit more powerful or a bit more intense than maybe something you’re getting at a grocery store. I have to admit I haven’t tried all the lovely kombucha’s down there. Just a few. When they come over to the U.S. for our Kombuchakon every year. The ones I have, sometimes they’re a lighter profile. Sometimes they’re less sweet. Sometimes they don’t have any vinegar tang at all, and so it makes you wonder does it have that same healthy acid?

11:06 Long story short is if you’re drinking it and you’re feeling good from it, then that’s probably a sign that you’re okay. But if you’re drinking and it’s the one with all the sugar and it tastes like it’s a soda pop then maybe you want to monitor your intake there a little bit more.

Stu

11:21 Got it. Okay. And in terms of the shop versions, because there are many brands out there now, and it’s a little bit like cultured yogurts that you see on the shelves as well, we just don’t know which ones are the best. Which ones are truly live or which ones are more in the range of the soda pops as well. Is there a way to tell? Should we be looking at any figures on the back?

Hannah

11:50 Well, first of all, most of the time kombucha is unpasteurized, and so usually the verbiage around that is raw. You might also then see culture floating in the bottle. That’s a great sign. If it has some cloudiness at the bottom that’s usually yeast. The best way to test if it’s authentic kombucha is just pour some in a glass, let it sit on your counter for a few days. If it grows a scoby then you know you’re on the right track.

12:15 Again, I don’t want to say that some of these lighter kombuchas don’t have any nutritional benefit at all because I don’t think that’s true. And I think they’re always going to be a better choice than a soda any day of the week, but it’s degrees, right? It’s like you said, the cultured yogurts versus the traditionally fermented yogurt. That’s going to be a very different product in the end than something with three strains added.

12:39 But I do believe, and again I’m not down there, but I believe that most of the producers are doing a raw, authentic product. Then it’s just finding what fits your flavor profile. What’s making you feel good. And remembering that fermented drinks are the original sodas. Right? Soda is a fake version of these fermented drinks.

Stu

12:58 Good point.

Hannah 

12:59 They should share the same shelf space.

Stu

13:02 Excellent. You mentioned candida before as well. Kombucha won’t aggravate, exacerbate candida bacterial overgrowth in the gut at all?

Hannah 

13:16 Great question, Stuart. The reality is that while kombucha is known to have certain candida [inaudible 00:13:23] caprylic acid and a couple other things. It’s also been shown to be anti-fungal towards many candida species. Again, we’re talking about how is it produced? When you’re making it at home, you have more control over that process. That’s more likely to be true. Some folks, because sour isn’t their jam, right?

Stu

13:41 That’s right.

Hannah

13:42 Maybe they need that sweetness or whatever. But sometimes if you’re purchasing a product where it’s a little too sweet and you’re re-aggravating the candida, then maybe that’s not a product to consume or you want to allow that product to ferment a little bit longer on your countertop so it does have more of that tang, less of the sugary flavor, and then that can have that better effect on you of helping to element the candida rather than reactivating it.

Stu

13:42 Got it.

Hannah

14:05 It can be a little tricky to figure out, and this is where again trusting your gut is going to be so important because we also experience what’s called a Herxheimer reaction, and this is just whenever we start a detox protocol or we take herbs or supplements that help to eliminate things from our body, as those toxins are exiting your body, they might re-express, and so you might end up with a light rash. You might end up with a fever or mild cold systems or things like that that will prop up and you’ll think oh no, the kombucha’s making me sick, but in fact these are things on their way out. Drinking more water at that time, helping to flush those things through, and again really asking your body. We have a ton of wisdom in our DNA, and we also have a ton of propaganda that’s constantly …

Stu

14:57 Yeah, we do

Hannah

14:57 … impacting us. Then we have conflicting information. This is again shutting all that information off.

15:00 -And so this is again, shutting all that information off, going into your body, trusting the wisdom that it’s sharing with you and emerging from that perspective and really, and then going in and doing the research and look at everything and see how that adds up this way.

15:16 Then when you have this kind of, when your heart and your brain merge, this is trust your gut. This is where everything comes together in that intuitive way.

Stu

15:23 Perfect. I love that phrase ‘trust your gut’. It’s so true as well, I think that [inaudible 00:15:27] process that you were speaking about can be so confusing because the very thing that you’re doing is working. Of course, you’re frantic and you’re thinking, “Oh, wow, I’ve got a headache of my skin’s broken out, it’s not working, I’ve got to stop it”, but I guess we’ve got to try and trust your gut and run with it as well.

15:51 If we want to make this a home, which it sounds to me like a great hobby to get into to be able to produce something which is so beneficial for everyone as well. How complex is it, what do we need, how do we get started.

Hannah 

16:11 It’s pretty straight forward. How about I give you a little song.

Stu

16:15 Yes, please.

Hannah 

16:16 It’ll help you remember the recipe always. It goes like this.

16:19 Kombucha tea, easy as one, two, three. Brew sweet tea, add a scoby. Wait a week and then repeat.

Stu

16:28 Easy. Wow, I can remember that.

Hannah 

16:30 Yeah, exactly right. Thanks to Michael Jackson. Well, kombucha I find is very creative and inspires my creativity but it really is that simple. Now, let’s be realistic. Just because you have a recipe and all these ingredients doesn’t mean that what you’re gonna make is gonna turn out exactly in your imagination how you think it will. That’s the art of the process, and that’s where repetition and getting your rhythm and not just doing one batch, but give yourself, do several batches and give it a try and see if you can get into that rhythm.

17:02 Now, it does require feedback also. Tasting it frequently at different times in the process so that you start to see where that sweet sour balance is for you and some folks might start harvesting it sooner in the process where it’s a little sweeter, but overtime your body really craves sour, it craves bitter. Those are the flavors of digestion and health that have been mostly eradicated by all the sugary stuff that’s been put into our food supply.

17:28 Those are the flavors that the body really loves. Think about sour patch kids or any of the sour sweet candies that kids really love. We love that balance of sour and sweet innately, and so by engaging in the process, trusting it, it really is first of all, it’s incredibly safe to do at home. All fermentation, imagine ancient man living much closer to the ground, a bit dirtier, however you want to think of that than we do now, if this stuff were truly dangerous, were truly different to do, it would have been thrown on the compost heap and none of us would know what it is today.

18:04 That fact that it still persists, that it’s so hardy, that it’s very reproductive, the acids it creates are naturally antimicrobial, but it’s a food. What happens to food when it goes bad?

Stu

18:16 Moldy.

Hannah 

18:18 Exactly right, it gets mold. The same thing with kombucha. If you notice your food has mold on it, then you throw it away. The nice thing about kombucha cultures is they’re highly reproductive so we can often save them in what we call a scoby hotel, living it up in the hotel scoby-fornia.

18:35 All right. It’s basically just a jar with scoby. They look kind of funky but they’re really neat. That’s your backup. As long as you’re keeping the backup, should you run into mold, which isn’t common but also could potentially happen then you just grab a fresh one and start over.

18:55 So, where do you get a scoby in the first place? Because a scoby needs a scoby to beget another scoby. First you can ask a friend, if you’ve got friends who are making kombucha. That’s a great place. Just make sure you’re getting enough starter liquid for the culture and size batch you’re making. If you don’t have a trusted friend then go to a trusted source. Of course, kombucha camp is a trusted source. We are over here in the United States, but we ship all over the world. So, if you’re not finding a trusted source locally then definitely check us out because we do ship to Australia.

19:27 Once you have the scoby that’s really it. Because it’s so reproductive, as long as you’re caring for it, it will give you lifetime supply.

Stu

19:35 Fantastic. So, [inaudible 00:19:37] we can go onto your website, can we, and get the full instructions. Is there a step by step process of what to do, what you need?

Hannah

19:49 Absolutely. Yeah, if you go to kombuchaKamp.com and that’s camp with a ‘k’ ’cause I’m cute and clever, you saw the ‘k’ there, right, the little ‘k’? All right-

Stu

19:56 I like it.

Hannah

19:58 When you go to kombuchakamp.com you can download a free recipe. That’s gonna have all the steps. Our book, the big book of kombucha, I believe you can also find it in Australia as well. That’s 400 pages on the subject-

Stu

20:10 Oh, my word.

Hannah 

20:11 Exactly right. They call it the kombucha bible because you can geek out and there’s so many ideas for not only the brewing and the troubleshooting but 260 flavor suggestions, cooking with it, making face mask, hair toner, composting it, feeding to your animals. There’s literally, it slices, it dices, it julienne.

Stu

20:30 No, it doesn’t really.

20:31 It does everything but clean itself. It really is a very simple process and there’s so much great stuff you can do with it.

20:40 Brilliant. Fantastic. Well, we will push everybody over to the resources there so they can find exactly everything that I need to start their own process.

20:50 I’ve made a batch at home and I’ve taste tested and it’s all good. The longer I leave it, is it the more fermented will it become more powerful in terms of its benefits to the gut?

Hannah

21:05 Yes, so this is exactly right. The longer it ferments, the more sour it becomes and that’s because kombucha is an acid, ferment like vinegar. We’re essentially making tea vinegar but rather than allowing it to be so sour that we wouldn’t enjoy it or we’d have to drink it like our ACV, most vinegars are around 4-8% acidic acid, kombucha’s around 1% or less. So, it’s a … we got easy drinking vinegar.

21:32 But there are healthy acids that are created later in the fermentation process. The ones I mentioned that specifically help detoxify the liver, so that’s gonna be gluconic and glucuronic acid. This is again why it’s important that we’re using sugar as a disaccharide. It has both fructose and glucose. That glucose is vital for making these gluconic and glucuronic acids.

21:54 Those acids might end up manifesting later in the process but then we want to temper the flavor so that it’s not too sour and that’s where doing a continuous brew versus a batch brew can really be beneficial.

22:08 Most folks start with batch brew where you make a gallon or four liters or however much you’re making at a time. The culture reproduces. You end up with two scobys. You take both those out, you take a little off the top for the next batch and then the rest is yours to drink. You start that whole process over again.

22:24 With continuous, we’re typically in a larger vessel, more like a ten liter vessel. Instead of draining the entire vessel when that first batch is done, it might take a little bit longer since it’s a larger batch, we only take off 25-50%. That means we’re leaving a good chunk of already fermented kombucha in the vessel. That fermentation process can continue along and make more of those healthy acids.

22:48 Now, we’re adding sweet tea to that. First of all, it’s in a ph protected environment because instead of one part starter to nine parts sweet tea, we flip that ratio. There’s a lot more already fermented kombucha in the vessel. It’s in a ph protected environment, makes it a lot safer, you add your sweet tea, and now instead of waiting two weeks or however long it took for that first batch, it’s ready in three to five days, just depending on how much you took out.

23:14 You’re able to get four liters a week if you like or more or you can pace it. Let’s say that’s too much for you, you’re one person. You don’t want to drink that much. Just don’t top off immediately. Then where you’re a few days from wanting more, add more sweet tea and then you’re ready to decant.

23:31 A lot of people ask, “Well, doesn’t that leave too much sugar in the brew?” And the answer is no because first of all, you’re basically adding sweet to vinegar and that’s gonna cause it to sour very quickly, so those sugars are going to be utilized and then there’s some research showing when we add sugar to the brew that’s already fermenting or is in a later stage of fermenting, more of those acids can be created.

23:54 There’s a lot of great benefits to it and a lot of people will do both. I have both continuous brew for my main drinking kombucha, and then I have batch brew for all my experiments and all the different types of things I might be doing, and you can go back and forth between them so it’s just really fun once you get into it, how much variation and creativity there is.

Stu

24:12 Yeah, it sounds like. It just sounds like a process. You’re new to it, and like anything you’re always gonna, you’re probably gonna mess up a little bit on the first time, but keep going, you’ll get it right. You’ll perfect it.

24:27 How long would a typical home brew batch last?
Hannah Crum: 24:33 This is the really neat thing about ferments, right? How long does a bottle of wine last?

24:38 Not very long in our house.

Hannah

24:41 That’s because everyone drinks it [inaudible 00:24:43]. If I were to leave it alone, who knows. Maybe 100 years from now we might even try drinking that wine and think, “Oh, this is alright”, depending on the conditions. My point is that it’s the same kind of thing. It never goes bad in the sense of it could spoil and create potential harm to humans.
Hannah Crum: 24:58 It can continue to sour even in the refrigerator or cool temperatures and you may or may not like that flavor after a long time. But there isn’t ever any potential harm that can befall us in a longer ferment again provided there’s no visible mold.

Stu

25:13 Great. Fantastic. And the ingredients that we use to make our first batch. We’ve got sugar and tea bags or tea. Any particular type of sugar and any particular type of tea? Obviously tea is a whole world on its own and so many to choose from. Such confusion.

Hannah

25:34 It’s true. There are a lot to choose from. Then we also use the word, we abuse the word tea. We call it peppermint tea and there’s no tea in it. Tea refers to camellia sinensis, and all tea which is really neat, I didn’t know this before I started making kombucha, comes from the same plant. Camellia sinensis. How it’s grown, when it’s picked, how it’s dried, all of that is what creates green tea, black tea, white tea.

26:00 White tea’s gonna be the least processed, the earlier leaves, fewer tannins because it’s not as oxidized. Green tea a little, it’s been fried or air dried in some way so it has more of that grassy flavor. And then the black tea is what kombucha is traditionally fermented with. That’s the most oxidized highest in tannins, highest in purines, and so a black tea kombucha is really great.

26:24 It has a little bit more of that apple cider flavor. People tend to want the benefits of both types of tea, so really what’s popular is a blend of green and black. You can actually go further than that. You can put a few herbs in there somethings like that. Once you get really adept at kombucha, you’ll see it’s flexible technology. Which means, as much as we say stick to tea and sugar for your first batches because you want to make sure the mother reproduces, once you have extras you don’t need to use any tea at all. You could do just a hibiscus brew. You could do just ginger in the primary fermentation. You could switch out from sugar to pasteurized honey or use fruit juice instead.

27:02 There’s a lot of creative ways to work with it but the basics are tea, sugar, scoby.

Stu

27:09 Got it. Easy. Now, I had a question I was asked yesterday when a friend of mine found out that I was going to be speaking to you today. Alcohol and kombucha. Do they mix well?

Hannah

27:24 Absolutely, kombucha cocktails are some of my absolute most favorite beverages. Why, because I still get buzzed but then I don’t have a hang over the next day.

Stu

27:34 Wow. Fancy that.

Hannah 

27:36 The b vitamins and living [crosstalk 00:27:37], it’s a little antidote with your poison. The other question about alcohol that we also hear, “But isn’t there alcohol in kombucha?” Well, there’s alcohol in every fermented food and drink. Alcohol is a preservative. You think of rubbing alcohol, you rub it on a wound to prevent infection from occurring.

27:52 So, alcohol acts as a preservative. It prevents, it out competes mold. This is one of the amazing strategies, the evolutionary strategies of yeast, is that it was able to out compete other molds by creating alcohol. Then alcohol also allows for the absorption of nutrition. It relaxes the organism when we don’t over drink, and it also thins the blood so that you can absorb that nutrition more easily.

28:16 It serves a very specific function in all fermented foods and drinks and it good for you. Again, in terms of children and pregnant women, and I even have several friends who are in the program and they drink kombucha with no issue. But again, it’s that personal choice. It’s trusting your gut, and so everybody makes the decision that’s right for them.

Stu

28:38 Great. Fantastic. You mentioned the program. What’s the program?

Hannah 

28:43 Oh, I’m so sorry. 12 step program. AA, alcoholics anonymous.

Stu

28:47 I understand, got it. Okay. Safely consume it beneficial, wow.

Hannah 

28:53 Again, many people do and are fine. I’ve had many folks who say it helps curve my alcohol cravings. I found that I consume less alcohol when I’m drinking kombucha. But again, some people they won’t even use mouth wash because they feel like that’s too much.
Hannah Crum: 29:07 That’s what I mean by trusting your gut. Some people find it’s a wonderful substitute and is way better than anything else, where as other folks are just not comfortable with it and so choose not to include it.

Stu

29:18 Got it. Okay. Do you consume any other fermented foods?

Hannah 

29:25 Oh yeah. I don’t necessarily make any other fermented foods but I definitely consume them. You know, you can’t make everything. I really love milk kefir, it’s again one of these acquired tastes but it’s super versatile. I use it anywhere I might use buttermilk.
Hannah Crum: 29:43 At least here in the US buttermilk is nothing more than acidulated milk product with no bacteria or anything in it, whereas the milk kefir, it has this lovely sour tanginess to it and it creates a great fluff. Then of course I love sauerkraut and I buy the kraut juice too. Here we can get sauerkraut juice in a bottle.

Stu

30:03 Wow, really?

Hannah

30:00 Here we can get like sauerkraut juice in a bottle.

Stu

30:05 Wow, really?

Hannah

30:05 Yes, but beware, I was so thirsty I was in like Iowa, and they didn’t have a lot of fermented foods, and I finally found a place that had them, and I got this bottle and I was so thirsty because it was summer, and I drank the whole thing and then I had an unintentional cleanse for the rest of the afternoon. So, that’s where even an experienced fermentor can accidentally over do it sometimes.

Stu

30:28 Yeah, okay, tread with caution. Fantastic. So tell us a little bit about, I mean you’re clearly you’re so into your fermentable’s and your wealth of knowledge. So what are your non-negotiables? The things that you do every single day without fail to crush every day. And that might mean, you know, you might get up and you might do a little bit of meditation, drink some kombucha, I don’t know what you do, but I would love to know.

Hannah

30:57 Yes, so definitely most days I’m drinking kombucha first thing in the morning. I’m always walking the dog in the morning which is just nice because most days I just leave my phone at home, I saturate myself in the moment, this is my moment before my day starts. I get to spend time with the animal that I love, I get to be out in nature. I live in a really lovely environment, a great neighborhood where I can walk her and just admire the beauty of nature and just really get grounded in…there’s so much good happening right now that as much as everything, as soon as I turn on all the devices they’re gonna tell me the world is ending. At least I can know that all is well in the world when I ground myself in that. And then have to admit, I’m a tarot card fan, so I do my cards every week, and I have a little part of the day. Sometimes I look at it first thing, and sometimes I look at it at the end of the day and I just kind of see how did this percolate my day? What kind of themes, what information did I get. And then yes, those are probably the things that I do the most.

Stu

32:03 Brilliant, that’s a great insight. So, for all of our audience that wanna find out more about you, what can they expect when they enter your world? You’ve got the book, you’ve got the recipes, and you’ve got so much going on there. What else is going on?

Hannah

32:21 Well, so in 2014 Alex and I also founded Kombucha Brewers International, which is the Trade Association representing commercial kombucha around the world. I sort of alluded to it with KombuchaCon, which is our annual conference. We have had five annual conferences, and so we’re just in our fifth year now, and we started with 40 member brands and we’re over 300. So it’s a testament to how quickly kombucha’s growing, and how quickly it’s growing around the world. Australia is definitely one of the faster growing markets that we see. But yeah, that’s my world is all kombucha all the time. And fermented food and drinks, human microbiome, you know, really what kombucha has done has led me to view the world through a bacterial lens. Because that is truly what this world is made up of.

33:11 I can tell you some of my crazy theories just about, you know, bacteria communicate with each other, and so, when we have ESP or something like that, is that truly something that’s outside of us, or is it our bacteria communicating with us, picking up on information from other people’s bacterial clouds. I really love this research because it keeps demonstrating that my crazy theories might have some basis. Which is just that we’re all connected through bacteria. The other thing is when you meet me Stewart, I always ask a hug or a handshake because there is no way I am not meeting you and not getting some of your bacteria.

Stu

33:51 I love it, fantastic.

Hannah

33:53 And then when people go for the handshake I go, see I was just hugging your hand.

Stu

33:58 I love it, I love it. So what’s-

34:02 But it’s not interconnectedness, it’s about acknowledging that just like the soil has to be diverse and healthy, so does the soil in our gut for us to be diverse and healthy. And it also gives hope in that every living organism when provided what it needs to thrive, will. And that means things that feel impossible from a medical perspective may not be as bad because at least here in the United States, so much of the medical profession is dominated by prescribing prescriptions and pills as opposed to focusing on nutrition, focusing on herbalism, which is something humans have long used. I mean, traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic, homeopathy, all of these are systems of herbal medicine and wisdom that humans have used for a really long time. And I think there’s a wonderful opportunity to marry these two fields and really create a much better healthcare system out of all of it.

34:58 Yeah, it’s fascinating isn’t it because there are so many ancient practices and principles that are now emerging back into our way of thinking that seems to be very beneficial in looking more at the root ’cause rather than the symptoms. Even the word culture as well, I remember I was chatting to somebody awhile back, and they were talking to me about the culture of travel and people think oh well what does that actually mean, but it’s when you visit other countries and you’re exposed to different cultures, different forms of bacteria and that then helps to build on the diversity of what lives inside of you as well. So yeah, we’re very sterile at the moment, and I really don’t think that’s doing us any justice. You can kind of see it with all of the allergies and sensitivities that are emerging through the kids all the way through to the likes of you and me, which is crazy. We’ve never been so clean, and I don’t know whether that’s perhaps the right way to be.

Hannah

36:03 Well, I mean I think sanitation is key, but I agree with you. I personally believe we’re gonna look back and find pasteurization was absolutely the wrong thing. I mean I could say some more things, but I’ll leave it there. But basically, well because I think you know, even supposedly Pasteur on his death bed said, [inaudible 00:36:24] “It’s not the germ, it’s the environment it’s in.” And I think the human microbiome research is really defining that. When you look at the studies that they did on the Hazda people in Africa, and you see that they have known pathogens that live in their body, in their system. Yet they are not expressing disease. I think it’s a powerful message that germ theory while sexy and simple is not the full story.

36:49 It’s not just is there a pathogen and organism present, it’s in what quantity. And that’s the same with the Candida overgrowth, everybody has Candida in their systems, but it’s when it’s allowed to over proliferate, when the environment shifts and it’s allowed to then takeover, that’s when the problem occurs. I think if we start to look at the entire system and hold those things in balance and check, it’s not that you can never have some kind of sugary treat from the Western world, or never have a fast food meal. But it’s when you’re making an informed decision, when you’re making other choices that help support your body, first of all your body’s probably not even gonna appreciate that. It’s gonna be like oh, what is that garbage you just put in me. But quality over quantity. I think we’re gonna recognize that a lot of these pills and other solutions that we’ve tried to come up with, while superalimentation can be beneficial at times for certain situations, that relying on supplements to be your entire healthcare is just not, it’s not gonna work.

Stu

37:52 No, that’s right. Well at the end of the day it’s a supplement right, isn’t it. So essentially you really wanna make sure you’ve got your bases covered before you supplement.

Hannah

38:01 Absolutely.

Stu

38:02 On that note, do you supplement?

Hannah

38:05 I do some, yeah. I traditionally have been anti-supplement. You know how life, how ebb and flow with your, with everything. But I’ve come back around especially to like Chinese herbs and you know, supplements that are in more of that living form, a higher quality supplement. But it’s more to augment and in those trace amounts rather than to substitute for a good diet. And so, you know, we’re very, we eat organic because it’s important to us. A lot of our, we’re very conscientious of sourcing our meat and things like that. And recognizing that source is often more important than preparation right? Because it really, if it’s sourced properly than it’s gonna be easier for the body to take that nutrition in.

Stu

39:01 Yeah, fascinating. We had a chat called Jeff Cholson on the podcast awhile back, and he’s a mushroom cultivator and really pioneer in this game. He sent me some products and I’ve been experimenting with Lions Mane as a supplement, mushroom supplement, and Reishi as well. But boy some of these things can be quite powerful. I took Lions Mane for the very first time a few weeks ago, and it felt like it switched me on from a cognitive perspective it was like wow, what’s happening here. So yeah, there’s certainly a lot of stuff that we can dial into more from the natural supplement side, that brings us back to nature and switches on the right stuff in the body.

Hannah

39:47 Exactly right. And then what I often find is if I over consume a certain sup, even an herb or something from nature, that that effect will gradually wean. And that’s again with my kombucha consumption, that’s why it ebbs and flows because the human was not designed to eat the exact same thing 24/7 365. This is why we have seasons, this is also why we have feast and famine. This is why we’re not suppose to eat three meals every single day or five meals or however people are eating these days. Some days you do need to take a break and give your body a break. Being okay with that, so much of our culture pushes consume consume consume consume, and I think again if you go back to that quality over quantity, you end up living a healthier happier life in the long run.

Stu

40:39 That’s great advice, fantastic. So what’s next for Hannah Crumb? What are you up to?

Hannah

40:40 Oh my gosh, what’s next, there’s always something next. Well we’re pondering the next book, we’re pondering how to continue to grow and get the word out to more and more people. We’ve got video classes in the hopper, we do have some videos up on YouTube, so you can already check us out there.

Stu

40:57 Fantastic.

Hannah

40:59 But yeah, we’re an education company, we’re empowerment through education and so, the more closely we also through KBI as well as our own personal research work with scientists. We’re now starting to see scientists studying kombucha here in the U.S, which here too far, well there’s hundreds of research papers, and we do have a research database up on the Kombucha Kamp website. If you go to Kombucha Kamp dot com backslash research you can go and search up different papers. Not a lot of that research has come from the U.S and I don’t know if we’re ever gonna see, you know, drug type clinical trials on kombucha because who’s going to fund that you know. This isn’t something you can patent, it’s not something that you even wanna put in a pill per se. But, I think that you know, and I totally and humans using it for hundreds maybe thousands of years deserves some validation of why do we still consume it then if it was completely useless.

Stu

41:57 Nice, perfect. And for all of our audience, everybody out there that is listening or watching this, or reading the transcripts as well, where can we go to get more of Hannah Crum?

Hannah 

42:09 Kombucha Kamp dot com. We’re also on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube is their platform amiss, Twitter, so we’re all over the interwebs. We’re at your public library, we’re at Amazon, we are, we try to be everywhere that we can be.

Stu

42:28 Fantastic. Well I have really really enjoyed your enthusiasm and your knowledge today, its been fantastic. Can not wait to share this with our audience. Thank you again so much for all of your words today, it’s been so good.

Hannah 

42:42 Oh thank you Stewart, really appreciate it.

Stu

42:45 Hopefully I will speak to you, or meet you at some stage in the future.

Hannah

42:50 Yes, definitely. Take care.

Stu

42:52 Thank you, bye bye.

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