Living With A Chronic Disease

It’s a struggle to get myself to eat healthy everyday and I’m sure I’m not the only person that feels that way. I’m all for those hearty fresh home cooked meals, but we all have our off days of course that lead to pizza on occasion and that isn’t a bad thing. I have to make sure I stay on top of preparing meals not only for myself but for my son too. My son is what keeps me going but sometimes I’m not always up for what the day may bring for me. I have to watch what I eat or it may cause me pain.

Just recently, I stumbled upon something so amazing, kombucha tea. For all the soda drinkers out there, it is a great alternative if you’d like to get away from that sugary drink. I’m still trying to get my son to drink it of course and it doesn’t taste bad at all. So, I decided I wanted to make my own tea and on to I went. Beats the $3.50 a bottle at the store! Besides trying to save money making it on my own, it also has so many health benefits.

So where does this amazing drink come from? I’ve done my research and so far what I’ve found out about where it comes from, well lets just say, its origin is unknown. I thought for sure it came for China or Japan but no darn website out there says exactly. It was also traced to Russia and Europe but mainly here in North America is where it has been consumed the most.

The tea is still amazing me at home much it can benefit my body. The main ingredient added to make this tea is called a scoby or for scientific reasons, symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. You may be thinking, what the heck, that’s gross but this is a good bacteria. The good bacteria are what help our body and mainly our guts. Here is a list of some health benefits kombucha tea is known for: prevents cancer, aids in digestion, prevents arthritis, and other degenerative diseases. A couple years ago I was diagnosed with a chronic disease and fought with the disease ever since. But let me tell you, ever since I’ve started drinking kombucha tea I’ve felt a whole lot better. Even since I had mom try it and now she drinks it everyday she is also feeling great. This tea is more like a magic potion I think. Like I said earlier I’ve tried to get my son to try it but I’m still pulling teeth with that one. I’ve also tried to get my son’s father to drink it who also has a chronic disease and he’s still in the testing phase with the tea. I usually only drink a bottle a day which is what is recommended. There are some trace amounts of alcohol in the tea but not nearly enough to get someone drunk because if that were the case I’d be drunk everyday.

That is what brings me to make some so amazing and beneficial. All you need is: 2 gallon jug with spout, 1 gallon of distilled water, loose leaf green and black teas, organic cane sugar, and a live scoby. Yes, that’s all! To start the process you need to brew some tea. Boil 1 gallon of distilled water and add 2 tablespoons of green tea and 4 tablespoons of black tea. Let steep for 10 minutes to an hour then add 2 cups of sugar and let it cool down to room temperature. So you’re basically just brewing tea most people already have on hand. The sugar is what helps the tea to ferment. If you will be making this for the first time, you will need to add a half a cup of vinegar. Now you can add you scoby to the tea. First I recommend pouring your tea into the jug and then putting the scoby in. Now it is just a waiting game. It takes about 14 days for the tea to ferment and once that is done you have just made kombucha tea! During this time that the scoby has been added, the original scoby will most likely sink to the bottom of your jug and a new one will form on the top of the jug. This is something you need to watch for because it usually means your tea is coming along just like it should. You can also add some flavor with pure fruit juices and refrigerate. One important point; make sure you keep it at room temperature usually between 68 and 84 degrees.

I spent about two weeks in Oregon, which came totally out of the blue due to a family emergency and it had been hard to find kombucha here. It hasn’t been a top priority but the days were going very slow and my body started to run low on energy. The tea seems to give me so much energy but in a good way without consuming energy drinks. I talked to some family members there who also like kombucha and I’m in the process of teaching them how to make their own. It had been nice catching up with family but I’d rather come out for a better reason. The trip had extended out to Thanksgiving. Yes, I was there with extended family but my family back home missed us. So, to make my time worthwhile I helped my son’s father out for a little and I made him his own batch of kombucha tea. Being a mother to my son doesn’t just stop with him. My son’s father’s mother left him at a young age and he grew up with his aunt and uncle. In a way I also feel like a mother to him because I still care about him. We’re still great friends even though our marriage didn’t work out.

So, I decided to set out and find everything I needed to make him his own tea. I feel that it will help him so much. He has crohn’s disease and I have ulcerative colitis, both chronic diseases with no cure. I’ve read so many cases online in which people have tried and continue to drink kombucha tea that claim it has helped with their symptoms. Some even stated that their disease has gone into remission. At this point I am in remission but my son’s father isn’t. I’m hoping that by this time next year he will be and a little help from the kombucha.

So, to say the least the kombucha I made in Oregon failed and of course I didn’t find this out till I got back to Pennsylvania. I’m not sure what went wrong with the batch, I did everything the same. I was informed that there was mold growing on the top of the new scoby that had been forming. The only thing I can think of is maybe the temperature in the room where it was kept was either too warm or maybe too moist. So, the tea went down the drain but that wasn’t the end. Thankfully, his sister moved back out to Portland, Oregon. It turns out she loves kombucha too! She had never made her own but was so joyed that I knew how. My own kombucha at home has survived and is now a continuous batch, meaning all you have to do is keep adding more sweet tea to the original batch.

Living with ulcerative colitis is not fun and I’m sure anyone else can agree with me on that. Even though I’m in remission, I still have to deal with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). I still suffer from the symptoms of that which can be almost as bad as ulcerative colitis symptoms. I really need to focus on what foods trigger the symptoms. The number one symptom for me is pain in my colon. The worst foods you can eat are the fried ones. That’s where kombucha comes in. Thanks to kombucha I’m almost pain free. As time goes on and I continue to drink the tea I notice how the pain rarely ever comes. The good bacteria in my gut, from drinking kombucha, helps fight off the bad bacteria. Basically my immune system is having a hard time determining what the bad bacteria is, thus it doesn’t fight the bad bacteria. The tea on the other hand is helping me. I don’t know yet if this will last my whole life before a cure is found but I suppose this means I will be drinking kombucha for a very long time. That’s fine with me though, because not only is it good for fighting off bad bacteria but also like I stated earlier, it’s great for your body in general.

Every two weeks I have to inject myself in order to keep my disease in remission and doctors still don’t know how long I will have to keep doing that. They say once in remission for at least three to five years they then may be able to take my off the medication. Along with taking the medication come all kinds of side effects that I must worry about. The whole time I’m on it my immune system remains suppressed. The disease alone suppresses my immune system. It still isn’t known why or what causes these types of diseases. I was listening to a podcast just recently that had a woman on talking about her crohn’s disease and what she thought may have triggered it. Her thoughts were maybe vaccines because she went to Africa and before she left she had to get about seven different vaccinations in order to travel there. After receiving the vaccinations she became very ill and ended up in the hospital. After many studies and a colonoscopy they determined she had crohn’s disease. They say that we already have the disease but something will trigger it to start.

When will all of this end and how will we continue to stay healthy? Foods have been so genetically modified and maybe that’s the reason we have the diseases we do. All we can do now is cover them up and continue to look for a cure.

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