This is a bit of a controversial subject from what I’ve gathered in my short time of not drinking, and I have been back and forth about how I feel about it. If you’ve never heard of it, kombucha is a fermented tea that has had a sharp rise in popularity over the past few years. It has a zingy, sour flavor and is a little bubbly as well. You can get kombucha in just about any flavor you can imagine. I’ve personally tried kombuchas flavored like honey lemon ginger, cranberry, blackberry, and pineapple, and they were all pretty tasty.
So why do people like kombucha? Aside from the flavor, supposedly, the drink can provide some health benefits. It contains probiotics, which can contribute to a healthy gut biome. It may help to bolster your immune system and improve your digestion as well. Kombucha is also rich in polyphenols, which are strong antioxidants that may decrease inflammation and possibly provide protection against certain diseases.
The catch to all this is that kombucha is a fermented drink, which means that it contains a trace amount of alcohol. If you read the label on a bottle of kombucha, you may notice that it specifies that the product may contain alcohol, but usually the label will specify that the level of alcohol is no more than 0.5%. Still, there’s some alcohol in it, which is where the controversy comes into play.
Granted, you’re not going to get drunk on a bottle of kombucha even if it does have the full 0.5% alcohol in it. A healthy adult’s body can process that small amount of alcohol fast enough that it probably won’t affect you at all. But drinking too much kombucha may cause intestinal woes, headaches, nausea, or possibly even ketoacidosis (a medical emergency). And it is not recommended that you drink more than 16 ounces of kombucha per day, but other sources say between 4 and 12 ounces per day is actually the maximum, so who knows! However, for some people, the issue is not about whether or not kombucha will cause you to become drunk or sick. It is simply about the presence of alcohol in the beverage and how that may trigger alcohol cravings.
As I said, I have gone back and forth about this. I was too scared to even try kombucha at all in the first 5 months after I quit drinking. I felt like it was too dangerous. But then I read some articles on it that changed my mind and I had my first kombucha as my fancy drink on Christmas Eve. I had one on New Years Eve as well, along with my usual copious amount of sparkling water. On both occasions, I felt fine. But I had another kombucha yesterday evening while I was making my family dinner, and that is what has caused me to write this post. It didn’t get me drunk or anything like that, but it reminded me of one of my worst drinking habits.
Confession time: I used to be a “wine mom.” I used the stress of being a working mother to justify drinking wine nearly every day. I honestly thought I needed wine to relax, so I used to drink wine in the kitchen just about every night while I made dinner for my husband and son. I’d uncork a bottle of wine, intending to have just a glass while I cooked, and by the time dinner was done cooking, the bottle would be nearly empty and I would be drunk. I’d usually drink the last glass out of the bottle along with my meal, and sometimes I’d open another one to share with my husband. Then, I’d sit around the rest of the evening, drunk, tired, and full of food. I never did anything on those nights. I was like a slug, just watching TV and browsing the internet on my phone. It makes me sick when I think back on it. What a waste of my precious time on this earth!
After I quit drinking, I started talking to my husband and playing with my son in the kitchen while I made dinner instead of getting wasted and ignoring them. Now after dinner, we go for a walk, watch a movie, or play a video game together. I bake cookies, knit or crochet, read books to my son, and snuggle with my husband on the couch. Sober, I became a wife and mother who was present, engaged, in tune with my feelings, and fully aware of the blessings that God has given me. Life is 1,000 times better now.
If you’re wondering, no, kombucha didn’t make me drunk last night. It didn’t cause me to lose time, embarrass myself, or wake up with a punishing hangover. But it reminded me of what that old life was like in a small, yet significant way. I don’t know if it was because the trace amount of alcohol had some effect on me or if just knowing that I was drinking something with alcohol in it was what caused me to make this connection. Either way, I didn’t like it!
I thought kombucha was an okay option for me, but now I am worried that it is indeed a trigger that could cause me to regress. Therefore, I think that the best thing for me to do is to avoid kombucha and any other food or beverage that contains even a trace amount of alcohol in it. For example, my husband drinks non-alcoholic beers, which also contain less than 0.5% alcohol. I have tried them a couple of times, but I am going to avoid those as well.
There’s no one right path when it comes to sobriety. It’s a rocky road with lots of potential detours and roadblocks. People have to make their own decisions based on personal preference and experiences, and sometimes it’s hard to tell what option is best for you until you encounter a problem. I have closely examined both sides of the kombucha argument, but having my own experience with it is really what has helped me to decide where I stand on this issue. I cannot drink kombucha or anything that contains any amount of alcohol in it. I know in my heart that’s the best option for me. I hope you will find what’s best for you, too.
Thanks for reading! 🙂