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The Cycle Continues

The Cycle Continues

“I’m dying of being a girl”, was my monthly catch phrase from the very first cycle I ever had at age 16. I remember being spoon fed Vicodin as a last ditch effort to at least sleep and missing school 3 days every month. My […]

I’m Dying of Being a Girl

I’m Dying of Being a Girl

The worst part of being a girl; the part that brings shame, snide remarks and uncomfortable glances… (even though it shouldn’t) …when we talk about it; a highly misunderstood and rejected part of being a human female – Menstruation. This monthly cycle of pleasantries always […]

Panic Spills Over The Brim

Panic Spills Over The Brim

I feel myself breathing...

The feeling is not satiating. I know I have tasks I must complete, but I’m drained of all ability to fully function. Dragging myself through my day is a must. I’m not positive what came first, the anxiety or the IC. Sheer panic engulfs me when I’m having a flare, but I choose to continue through my day with mantras in my head, mantras I hate.

It’s not forever; it’s just for right now.

It’s a moment in time; not the big picture.

You’re stronger than your disease.

Pass through the place of your greatest pain.

This moment is made up of neverending torment. The negativity that makes up my inner voice reminds me of my worthless ways. I don’t feel strong; I feel weak, breakable, broken. I feel like a burden. I feel like giving up.

I don’t. I won’t. Some part of me is stronger than the anxiety and the pain of a flare. I still breathe. My lungs continue to take in air even when I feel like there is none.

Maybe the anxiety started after the death of a loved one. My step father died when I was 13; The day of my 8th grade graduation. I don’t know if I ever stopped holding my breath as I sucked in air and a part of me died when a fireman told me they’d done everything they could. I grew up in an instant. My life has seemed, at times, one downward spiral after another. My mom went off the deep end for a while though she came back I felt fully abandoned; and there’s parts of my personal history that I have buried so deep, that when they surface I feel afraid I’ll loose myself in the trauma, I panic in my attempts to shut out what I’m not ready to cope with. The following poem, to me, represents a turning point. The pivot your mind takes from ‘I’m truly fine’, to lying when you say it. It feels as if I’m not okay more days than I am. I perceive air as not entering my lungs easily, like forcing my body to breathe is an internal war. My lungs would rather render themselves, and me, immobile. I know that if I can put my energy into breathing, and really take in each breath, I can keep pushing forward in my pursuit of mental and physical healing.

How She Survives, Having Lost a Young Husband

 

She manages with no oxygen. Like

she’s in a room built without breathable

air. As if she’s a tree, she refuses to let

only carbon dioxide be her lack of

breath. As long as she commands

her lungs to compress and expand

she’ll keep living. Never mind the burn

in her throat and fire-filled chest.

She’ll keep existing in a room with no air.

 

Apple out,

K. Sullivan

Under The Weather

Under The Weather

My throat tickles and I have a general feeling of unwellness. I cannot be sick, I don’t have time to be sick. My thoughts flash to the previous day, I felt so exhausted yesterday. I told myself last night, “you’re going to crash soon.” Now […]

Word Whiplash

Word Whiplash

Careful what you say Don’t get cut on my edges For all the games you play There are always consequences   You’ll get cut on my edges My dialect is sharper than knives There will be consequences Ramifications, none survive   My tongue is sharper […]

When I’m a bitch

When I’m a bitch

I know I’m on edge, easily irritable

You don’t know what I’m up against

From pain my focus won’t steer

Split in half at my most intimate parts

 

You don’t know what I’m up against

Today I must bare my agony to a stranger

Split in half at my most intimate parts

The raw ache coursing through me

 

Today I must bare my pain to a stranger

Liquid emotion glides down my cheek

The raw ache coursing through me

Unsure to what extent I can be brave

 

Liquid emotion glides down my cheek

From pain my focus won’t steer

Unsure to what extent I can be brave

I know I’m on edge, easily irritable

An Attempt to Heal Through Food

An Attempt to Heal Through Food

Interstitial Cystitis -an autoimmune xxperience, I flare, pelvic floor tension, low back and hip pain – all engulf my body much more frequently than I’d like. Some days I am able to manage symptoms, but at other times they are terribly unbearable. Sensations  to the […]

I Eat My Anxiety

I Eat My Anxiety

Pleasure amplified, and pain dulled, all with hand to mouth action. The step I take to procrastinate and feel good about doing so  is eating. Stuffing my face until I’m painfully stuffed. Filled and overflowing with food to the point where only sleep or vomit […]

Kombucha (Part 3) – The Process

Kombucha (Part 3) – The Process

How to make a continuous brew (1st and 2nd ferment) Part 3

MAKING KOMBUCHA

What you need:

2 ½ gallon glass jugs & 2 ½ Gallon resealable bottles (glass is important, its your friend’s home!)

6 480 ml Glass jars or bottles, if they have a tight seal that’s best so they can get fizzy during 2nd stage.

Cheese Cloth

1 inch chunk of ginger ½ a lemon (this is the flavor I choose, you can really use any fruit)

Fruits, herbs, flavored teas. Endless opportunity to flavor. See more on flavroing here:

https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/kombucha/flavoring-bottling-kombucha/

Pure cane sugar unaltered and natural (from sprouts or natural grocers, the kind matters) https://www.cancercenter.com/discussions/blog/natural-vs-refined-sugars-whats-the-difference/

Filtered safe water:

According to fox news, water you can trust

http://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/2012/08/24/top-10-bottled-waters.html

 

Starting from scratch:

https://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/food/how-to-make-your-own-kombucha

https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/kombucha/how-to-make-kombucha/

https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/kombucha/how-to-make-kombucha/

https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/kombucha/kombucha-tea-frequently-asked-questions-faq/

You can go on Amazon and buy a scoby for around 7 bucks.

Or find someone who makes it to get a scoby from, each batch makes a new one.

The Process:

Clean carefully - Apple cider vinegar and hot water only

PH levels? You can test these however I haven’t been.

Don’t cover with anything other than organic cheese cloth. They’ve gotta have a good environment to be the beneficial critters you need. No paper towels! (God only knows what goes into the making of those.)

Get yourself a scoby from a friend who has a mother, or get setup online with a first batch starter kit.

The process of bottling: I found some pop top type bottles at Target and just use those for me 2nd fermentation and put it in the fridge. Really you’re looking for anything airtight. My mom recycles store bought kombucha jars for her brews.

When you’re ready to swap batches:

Ready made Kombucha = The batch you’ve had fermenting for 1 week.

Pitcher = New Batch To Bottle and 2nd Ferment.

Pot =  New batch to ferment for a week with your scoby.

Before starting:

Check the top of the scoby and make sure it looks good.

Blue or red fuzz can be a bad sign. Avoid fuzz or crazy colors.

Keeping a continuous brew:

6 -12 hours before you swap out batches:

#1 Brew 16 cups Fresh Green or Black Tea (12 tea bags) for 10 minutes

#2 Add 1 cup natural sugar after you remove from heat.

#3 Let Fresh Tea cool to room temperature. (At least 4-6 hours away from heat.)

#4 Take 6 cups and add to a pitcher

#5 Grate your 1 inch chunk of ginger, squeeze 1 lemon & grate a little peel into the pitcher.

#6 Blend your Pitcher. (bottle this)

#7 in a large empty pot add your fresh tea to 6 cups of ready made Kombucha. (Add your Friends Back In your ½ gallon jars and set aside to ferment)

 

Flavoring and fizzing:

#1 set friends aside.

#2 Use your fresh brewed tea. Gather 6 cups in a pitcher. (leave the other 10 cups in a pot)

#3 Grate your 1 inch chunk of ginger, squeeze 1 lemon & grate a little peel.

#4 Ad your flavorings in your pitcher of fresh tea and blend your Pitcher. (I use my ninja 16 oz cup and blend that with some of  fresh tea, the pitcher blender leaked but this one seals tight.) This is the first fermentation. You can drink at this stage.

#5 Combine pitcher contents with half your ready made kombucha (the stuff from the half gallon jug, leave the rest alone, you'll add fresh unflavored tea to this to start the 1st fermentation stage again) in bottles and leave on counter for 2nd fermentation, this creates carbonations if left out for 2-3 days (you may want to let pressure out daily to make sure your bottles don’t explode)  Less fermentation/fizzy put in fridge right away.

#6 You can strain out chunks and put in the fridge after 2-3 days. A whole batch this size should be consumed in 1-2 weeks after fridging.

 

Restarting 1st fermentation: (Make sure this batch stays unflavored)

#1 Add 6 cups ready made kombucha to your 10 cups of fresh tea  in the pot.

#2 In a large empty pot where  your 10 cups of fresh tea (what’s left of the unflavored) to 6 cups of ready made Kombucha.

#3 Put your unflavored  pot contents back into your ½ gallon jugs and add your friends.  

#4 Cover you jar with your scoby and top with cheese cloth, organic. Not paper towels because any particles can fuck with it.

#5 Leave your friends out on the counter in your kitchen away from a place that’ll disturb them for 7-10 days and heat changes will be minimal. Sort of like a funky sea monkey tank but it’s a funky bacteria tank of fermenting tea. (darker may be better)

#6 Wish it well. Give it good healing vibes.

#7 Ferment 7-10 days or it’ll start to taste more vinegar. Longer means higher acid content.

#8 After 7 days, swap batches and bottle new. This is the first fermentation. You can drink at this stage.

If it tastes too vinegary, you let it ferment too long. I let one 1st stage fermentation go 11 days and it ended up super vinegar-ish so I scrapped that batch, used ½ cup of the previous batch at 5 days in stage one and started a whole new batch. For me 7 days is golden. Every Sunday I make my juices and kombucha.  

Congratulations! You survived reading about me making kombucha. It’s been a hell of an experience and challenged me to add a new routine. It has created some drink variety for me and I believe after several weeks truly changed my gut health for the better.

 

Fermented apple out,

K. Sullivan

Kombucha (Part 2) – What is it?

Kombucha (Part 2) – What is it?

What is Kombucha? A fermented beverage containing beneficial bacteria in the form of yeast. According to SeedsOfHealth.com, “The first recorded use of kombucha comes from China in 221 BC during the Tsin Dynasty. It was known as “The Tea of Immortality”. It has been used […]