The Switch: Kombucha

According to Google’s dictionary kombucha is: “a beverage produced by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria”. So if you know anything about beer this sounds quite similar. It’s even served on tap and bottled in growlers. What is kombucha really though? What does it do to/for your body? What does it really taste like? These are all questions I asked when my kombucha kick started about a month ago. I am grateful for what it has done for me, so I have decided to share my findings with you!

What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a drink for health that originated over 2000 years ago. It is rumored to have been dubbed an immortal elixir by the ancient Chinese. There is no scientific evidence proving the benefits of drinking kombucha, so it’s different for everyone. This goes for all intake though- being receptive to your body and the things going into it is an important lesson. Trying a small bottle of kombucha and drinking it over a few days is a good idea. If the results are desirable, a growler might be in order!

What does kombucha do to/for your body?
Kombucha could be considered one of those health kicks that eventually fades away. It’s not proven to be healthy, it can be “harmful”, and it doesn’t necessarily taste great, so what is so great about it? Why bother even considering? DO consider, because it is great. Science hasn’t devoted much time to this elixir but many years of human consumption have, and we’re loving it. Kombucha naturally contains thousands of happy bacteria, acids, and vitamins that our body typically needs more of- which help us with detox, gut health, joint care, wrinkle prevention, immune health, and general uplifting! That is a list I can love! Improving gut health was my initial reasoning for my new kombucha lifestyle. Improving your stomach flora with natural probiotics can help with anxiety and depression, weight control, boosting immunity, and more. So as you can see, the positivity list goes on. The negatives that you might find while searching the internet are from a small number of incidents where someone was doing a bad job home cooking kombucha.
If you’re still feeling uncertain but want to give this lovely drink a try, talk to the nutritionist at your health food store (they may even have kombucha on tap!). A lot of the information I’m sharing with you today came from snippets given to me by the ladies at the Lake Placid health food store- the Green Goddess (they have kombucha on tap!).

What does kombucha really taste like? 
There are hundreds if not thousands of different types and flavors of kombucha. It can be made with different teas, and even different textures. Chia seeds can be added make a chunky and somewhat sweeter brew- some consider this type slimy so beware if texture isn’t your thing. The brand I have been buying on tap is Aqua ViTea and it’s smooth and effervescent. I have been getting a growler of the Strawberry Sage every Wednesday for about a month now. It’s their summer seasonal and extremely tasty. I highly recommend it for first tries of kombucha because it’s a bit sweet and tastes fresh. There is a bitterness/ tartness along with the sweet, something along the lines of a glass of wine or light beer. If your first few tastes aren’t lovable but you’re willing to continue for purpose of health, just try drinking an ounce or two ounces once every other day. I recommend buying a small personal bottle of a flavor that catches your interest, or trying a glass of it on tap nearby if that’s an option. The acquired taste comes quickly. My partner did not like any of the flavors at first. He tried it 3-4 times and now we both share a glass every morning. We absolutely love how it makes us feel.

Personal Discoveries 
It hasn’t been anything crazy, I don’t suddenly feel like I’ll live forever, but I feel great. Coffee is no longer necessary because the small serving of kombucha I drink has lots of vitamin B12 which awaken me. I have replaced my morning juice with kombucha, getting rid of lots of unnecessary sugars and unhealthy ingredients that come along with certain juice brands. I also have gotten used to not having anything other than club soda, water, or hot tea to drink for the rest of my day. Although I don’t have much consistency at this point in my life in regard to sleep and eat, my stomach feels balanced and happy. I also know I’m getting a dose of vitamins I used to forget to take daily.

As for pricing, the small bottles ARE expensive and it will look like an unaffordable vitamin at first- but I beat the system for you. Growlers are inexpensive at $13 for refills, and depending on your health food store you can bring your own glass container. We go through about one growler a week, which is a small 4-6 oz. glass every morning. The bubbles last about one week in the fridge so it’s been the perfect schedule for us, and at $2 per day it’s totally affordable! You can also get yourself a “mother” or “scoby” and home brew!  All together, this is something I would recommend everyone giving a “shot”, even once a week! ­čÖé

Hugs and Backpacks full of Fermented Tea,
BB.

P.S. For added sweetness add fresh or frozen fruit. Surprisingly delicious Ôś║´ŞĆ

 

 

 

 

Diary of a New-Bee

Honing in on what I really love to do has been a serious focus for over a year now. I dearly wish I had learned to do this earlier in life, but my theory is- I’m still young and better late than never. 
This “self-discovery” time has brought me closer to my writing, closer again to nature, closer to my relationships, and closer to understanding my emotions. 

Today I’m most excited about my newest discovery: Beekeeping a.k.a. Apiculture.


The random way in which this hobby came into my life was almost cosmic- a mention from my beloved father, a call to the bee community nearby, a purchase of a suit, and finally, the hook, a meeting attendance. And now I’ve got the fever. 

So, you might ask, what’s so great about beekeeping? Well I’m super fresh to the bee world, but to me it’s great for a few reasons. Most of all, I’ve spent my entire life knowing I want to help the world somehow but didn’t know exactly how to contribute. 

Recycling & composting, using organic and locally grown foods and products, shopping small, not putting straws in drinks (­čśü) are things I’ve done for awhile. At one job I even made cases against their styrofoam usage and non-recycling practices. None of this feels like enough though. It has been time for awhile that I found a real cause. A cause like beekeeping. 

If you’re unsure of why beekeeping helps the earth- you should know that bees are on the out, becoming extinct. Without the bees the world will have no food- or barely any. And it’s as simple as that. 

So what else makes beekeeping great? I would say that my favorite part about it is the support for the female involved in their culture. The strength given to females in the hive is truly fascinating to me. The bees have recognized the power of females to reproduce and harvest food and have devoted their lives to the protection of this female. While male bees are still somewhat important to reproduction, the difference here is evident. Strong nature super organism with a female lead, what’s not to like? 


The last and not least thing that got me going for bees was the local community. This was by far the most welcoming group I’ve begun in life thus far. They made it easy to fall in love. It was a huge group of instant family, feeding me honey and home grown goodies, showing me their bee children, and inviting me to help with their personal hives. 


Something to consider on these journies to understanding is that it starts with a basic fact about you. I came to an understanding that I need to help the earth to feel complete. Beekeeping feels like an answer to that need for now, with more to come in the future! 

Hugs and Backpacks,

BB. 

Heaven Hill Trails- A Short Walk Through the Woods

Instead of staying inside and not enjoying the day before work, my partner and I decided to take a picnic trip to Heaven Hill in Lake Placid. This is a trail system comprised of short hikes through the woods and in open fields. We decided to do both the Big Field Loop and the Old Orchard Loop.

Every time I’ve walked this trail runners and walkers are present with their super kind and adorable pups. It’s definitely not a quiet trail if that’s what you’re seeking, but it isn’t over saturated. Lovely views are everywhere. Each field provides a different angle of the peaks. The forest surrounding the fields is lush and dense. It was full of birds during this short trip.


We were about halfway through our stroll when we heard what sounded like someone starting a large farm vehicle- turned out to be thunder. It was a good thing we both had rain coats for this chance storm. Mine was used for protecting my camera and I got soaked, but it was a warm pre-summer rain and quite lovely to embrace. The coolest part about this experience is that when we made it to the Old Orchard the storm had moved over the peaks. This provided us with a view of the now sunny day over us, and the storm emptying over the mountains. It was certainly worth the wet.


All in all Heaven Hill Farm is definitely worth a check in. On a day when you’re short of time it’s the perfect option. It isn’t far from town, and the trail is short without too much elevation gain. This trail is perfect for running and cross country skiing as well. For specifics and directions check here.

Thanks for reading, and remember that the outdoors are always there just waiting for us to meet up with them. They’re super forgiving and won’t give us a hard time for taking some space, but they’re always missing us. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to get out there, just take it!

Hugs and Backpacks,
BB.

5 Steps Toward Mindful Cross-Country Skiing

It’s snow globe time in Lake Placid. This means soft twinkling lights in every shop, toasty outdoor fires, rich hot cocoa, and aromatic balsam. Skiing though, tops the list for many of those native and local to the area.

On the surface cross-country (x-c) skiing is what it sounds like- fun exercise; popping two boards onto your feet and sliding across the snowy earth. Depending on your experience with x-c skiing this can be somewhat difficult. I can assure you though, that with a small amount of dedicated time it will become a thoroughly enjoyed practice.

As a beginner the focus should be on staying balanced. As you begin to find your center, skiing will become less of an outward focus and more of an inward focus. There are uncountable number of steps that one can take toward this inward focal mindful skiing. I have gathered 5 that have helped me in my personal journeys.

1. Synchronize Breathing with Strides
Incorporating breathing into every physical activity has completly changed my perspective and ability. Breathing deeply naturally calms the body and gives it a nourishing treat of fresh oxygen. Especially in the middle of beautiful and aromatic evergreen trees of the Adirondacks, full of year long life.
A strategy that works for me is to incorporate breathing into my strides. Each stride is either a breath in or out. Each single breath might take more than one stride, it’s about your own personal comfort and speed. Work at this technique and practice to find your rhythm; stick to a rhythm that feels comfortable and calming.

2. Correct Form
Now you are in the middle of the woods, balanced, and breathing, a short list of lovely things for your body, mind, and soul. At this point sliding woods should be enjoyable and relaxing.  Practicing good form is another step toward relaxing in your practice and getting internal focus accomplished. In everyday life good form comes from better posture, deeper breathing, and steady focus. These things can be accomplished by applying them while skiing. Good form in x-c skiing is an athletic stance with feet shoulder width apart. Glide as if you are moving on an elliptical. Use your right ski with left pole and the opposite to ensure easiest forwarding motion. And lastly, always tighten your abs for extra control with winter sports. Eventually you should be feeling in a meditative state of focusing on your breathing and movements being paired.

3. Extend Mind and Body
Once you’ve accomplished a form that feels comfortable it’s time to push yourself a little bit, yes push yourself! Relaxing your mind comes with some element of also extending your mind, so metaphorically we’re going to tie together extending the mind and extending the body. Think about reaching for your future, and being mindful of challenge. Extending body-extending mindfulness. While reaching for your goals remember to extend your legs and arms just a bit further. This will be difficult but rewarding. It’s a better work out and much more fun. Your body and mind will thank you dearly.

4. Address Adversity
We got through all of that. We are balanced, we are breathing in sync with life, we have better form and posture, and we are extending toward a mindful challenge. Now the real challenge has officially arrived. Whatever this challenge may be, something going on in personal life or work life, getting better at skiing, etc, this will be embraced by your ability to set aside these issues and focus on your inner self. Embrace aches and pains on the ski, embrace recent emotions, and hardships, and then let them go as you extend toward your future goals. This adversity is important to teach us to push ourselves, even just a little. There will be difficult sections, you will fall, and you will get tired, but this will help to prepare you for all of life’s little curveballs. Being able to return yourself to balanced posture and steady breathing will help on your ski and every day. Begin again slowly, and allow for pride in pushing yourself far enough to fall. Staying in a comfort zone keeps us in the same place forever. Those practicing their hardest are going to fall, and we will deem these falls a vision of success.

5. Create Goals
The last and most important step of this mindful skiing session are the goals that are created along the way. I personally use my outdoor activities to allow for something that has really been pressing my mind to come to fruition and work itself out. For me there’s nothing better than a good sweat in the middle of the woods for figuring out my life’s problems. X-c skiing is a great example of this not only because of its exercise, but its connection to the earth right between the trees. You’re surviving with what you’ve brought- which better be adequate at best!- and you’re surrounded by your thoughts. Don’t let the thoughts overwhelm and create tension. Try to best understand the feelings present and create goals based on those feelings. From there move forward with your balance and breathing as discussed. Ski faster or ski with better mindfulness, whichever makes you happiest!┬áWhatever the case may be, make it calming, and make it about you. These are steps toward self-understanding! Love yourself first. ­čÖé

Hugs & Backpacks,
Bee