Being on a ketogenic diet and incorporating the foods you love can be tricky. It often involves coming up with creative substitutions or the removal of a carb filled ingredient. I've been following this diet for 9 months and have found a way to have my daily dose of homemade kombucha without kicking myself out of ketosis. In this blog post, I intend to share the secrets to making a low carb, keto-friendly kombucha.
I understand that every body is different and that some bodies can have more carbohydrates and stay in ketosis then others, these are stereotypically men. But I am not a large person, only 5' 4" and 145 lbs (that's 30 lbs lighter than I started) so it doesn't take many carbs to push me out of that fat burning zone known as ketosis. So a sugary kombucha drink, despite its amazing health benefits which include boosting my immune system, and regulating my mood through proper gut health, wasn't on the menu.
So how do you stick to your keto diet and also drink something known to have organic cane sugar as an ingredient? The secret is in the fermentation process.
Yes, sugar is necessary for the kombucha brewing process, and no, fake sugars made of alcohols etc. will not work as food for yeast so don't even bother trying. When you brew a gallon of kombucha, you will receive less than 1/16th cup of sugar in each cup of finished kombucha. This is because the yeast is eating the sugar and turning it into alcohol and carbon dioxide (carbonation bubbles). The longer it ferments, the more sugar gets eaten by the yeast (and also more alcohol is produced). So the first secret to keto-friendly kombucha is fermenting it for longer periods of time. I ferment mine for 3 weeks instead of the standard 2 week minimum.
Secret number two is the most important for controlling sugar content. When you go to bottle your booch for its second fermentation, instead of adding fruits like mango, strawberry, guava, or passion fruit, you can go nude - add nothing at all. That's right, I just put the kombucha into a glass swing-top bottle and don't add anything else to it. Green tea kombucha has an amazing flavor all on its own (I wouldn't do this with black tea but that's just my personal flavor preference).
Perhaps you're now thinking to yourself, well that's nice, but that's also really boring. There are many things I do add when I want to spice things up without adding carbs. The first of which is actual spices. Drop a cinnamon stick, or 3 cloves in a 16 oz bottle for added flavor without increasing the sugar content. Instead of using the juice from lemons, limes, and oranges, only add the rind containing the flavor rich oils. Try adding flavorful herbs like basil, rosemary, or thyme. Ground ginger root is also a great flavor enhancer with no added carbohydrates. And fresh flowers such as pink jasmine, or orange blossoms can also fill your kombucha with flavor without impacting the sugar level.
Below are some no-carb or low-carb added flavor combinations you might like to try and the ingredient amounts needed per 16 oz bottle of green tea kombucha:
Summer Refresher - 1 long sprig of fresh rosemary, 2 tbsp grated grapefruit peel.
Basil-ade - 5 fresh basil leaves, 2 tbsp grated lemon peel, optional 1 tbsp lemon grass puree. (Optional lemongrass puree adds approximately 1 g carbs for the whole bottle / 0.5 g carbs per serving.)
Winter Spice - half a cinnamon stick, 1 star anise, 2 cloves, 1 tbsp grated orange peel, and optional 1 oz of raw cranberries mashed. (Optional cranberries add approximately 3 g carbs for the whole bottle / 1.5 g carbs per serving.)
Want more advice on how to flavor your kombucha? RSVP for this weekend's brewing and bottling workshop July 20th at Reveal Wellness in Palos Verdes from 11:00 am - 12:30 pm call 424-262-0839 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets.