July 2013

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live in good health Healthy brew An ancient East Asian healing tradition, Kombucha tea is a tangy fermented brew swirling with medicinal properties. Vanessa Tortolano, co-founder of Madison's NessAlla Kombucha, has concocted this easy guide for sipping your way to better health The benefits: Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, Kombucha can do your body good in many ways, from detoxification to increasing energy levels to boosting the immune system. Its probiotics (like those present in yogurt) aid digestion, and its glucosamines can help ease joint pain. The tea's calming effects also help some with sleep disorders, depression and anxiety. Prepare it: While ready-made brews offer the same health benefits, home-brewing allows you to control your drink's ingredients. To start you'll need to include a SCOBY (a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast responsible for fermentation, found locally at the Willy Street Co-op), filtered water, black tea, sugar and some already finished Kombucha. Tortolano says taking a home-brewing class like the one she teaches at the Willy Street Co-op is a great starting point for a home-brewing adventure. Make it fun: Once you've got the basic recipe down, try adding herbs and juices to spice up your cup o' tea. For ideas, sample NessAlla's six flavors—including Peach Blush and Lemongrass Ginger—available at the Co-op, Woodman's and other shops around Madison. And look out for NessAlla's Youtube series, "Booch N' Bitch," for a new mixed cocktail featuring Kombucha every month. 12 BRAVA Magazine July 2013

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