Meet Mackenzi who is a little Vams drinker. This is when she was trying our latest kefir water flavour, Ambient Space for the first time. Courtesy of Local Organics in Seaforth, ON, who now carry our products! Follow them on Instagram and visit their website:https://localorganicsc4th.ca/
Mama, we made it! Check out this cool behind-the-scenes clip of a short film called "Orchid" where VAMS bevvies are featured! So awesome seeing our babies in a nice production like this one!
The topic of pickled and fermented foods can be quite a confusing one. Are pickled foods also fermented?! Are fermented foods considered pickled?! Are they just fancy names for the exact same thing?!?!
Well guess what? It's actually a lot simpler than you think! Both pickling and fermenting were methods used to preserve food during times when refrigerators weren't readily available. Food preservation prolongs the time it takes for food to spoil - allowing food to have a longer shelf life. Today, we eat pickled and fermented foods for their health benefits and to add some unique qualities into our everyday diet.
When it comes to pickling and fermenting, the most significant characteristic separating the two is that one contains live cultures. Whether it be kombucha, yogurt, or kimchi, fermented foods will have live cultures, called probiotics, that fill your system with good bacteria. If you're a kombucha drinker or fermented food connoisseur, you'll know that probiotics help build up and strengthen your immune system, detoxify your body, and boosts your energy. But, that doesn't mean you should stay away from pickled foods! Although pickled foods don't possess those live cultures, they're a great addition to add some kick in your meals.
For those still curious, we've made a visual of the differences between pickled and fermented foods!
*All photos used were taken by VAMS unless stated otherwise
Drinking copious amounts of kombucha is sure to leave your gut feeling like a well oiled machine but that also means having a bunch of empty bottles laying around the house. You now have 2 options--recycle the bottles OR reuse them! We opted for the latter and encourage you to do the same. To spruce up the look of the bottles, we gave them a quick makeover. We tried out a few different techniques to get a variety of different looks.
Sea Glass Spray Paint
The first one is crazy simple. You only need one thing--Sea Glass spray. We used Krylon’s Sea Glass spray in Sea Foam but feel free to choose whichever brand and colour is available. 1. Take your clean, empty bottles and flip them upside down on a protective material so you don’t get paint on unwanted surfaces. 2. Spray. Make sure you’re in a well ventilated space while spraying, preferably outdoors. Once you’ve sprayed it to your desired look, 3. let it dry in a cool place.
Spray Painted Yarn Wrapped Jars
This next one is similar to the sea glass spray with just a small addition. Before spraying the bottle, 1. take some yarn and wrap it around the bottle however is desired and then make sure the yarn is kept in place. 2. Flip the bottle upside down and spray. Again, make sure you’re in a well ventilated space when spraying. 3. Leave it in a cool space to dry.
(Photo credit: Goods Home Design)
Oven Baked Decal
For this one all you need is an oil-based sharpie/permanent marker, and oven. 1. Take your permanent marker and design your bottle! Don’t be afraid to get creative with it. When you’ve got your desired pattern, 2. let the ink dry for an hour or more. 3. Place the bottles in an oven preheated to 350 for 30 minutes to dry. *Pro-tip/safety tip: put your bottles in the oven before you begin to preheat it and also leave it in the oven after while both the bottles and oven cool to prevent cracking.
Autumn Stained Glass
Be prepared, these autumn stained glasses are a bit of a process, but worth it! 1. Put about 1tbsp of mod podge in a mixing cup/bowl. *Pro-tip: Try to get a disposable materials for mixing to allow an easier, mess-free cleanup. 2. Add food colouring to your liking and mix with the mod podge. Keep adjusting the colour until you get something you’re happy with. 3. Pour the mixture into the bottle and slowly coat the entire inside of the bottle. 4. Prepare a baking sheet lined with newspaper or scrap paper and flip the fully coated bottle upside down onto the tray to let the excess run down. 5. Leave it on the tray for about an hour to allow the excess to drip down. 6. After an hour has passed, turn the bottles over and transfer onto a baking sheet. 7. Put the baking sheet with your bottle(s) in an oven preheated to 225 for 45 minutes. For full and complete instructions, click here.
Now that the bottles are done, you can use them as vases, fill them with spices, turn them into soap and lotion jars, and pretty much anything you can think of! Enjoy your creations!
2017 is the year to keep it trendy, and that doesn’t just mean with your fashion, music, or technology--expect to see some trends with your food too! Now, we’re not just talking about any food, we’re talking superfoods. The spotlight is moving away from kale and onto these new goodies.
First things first, what exactly is a superfood? A certain food is given its “superfood” title based on 3 things--nutrient density, the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index system (ANDI), pH balance, and the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) value of that food. To put in simpler terms, a food that has lots of nutrients with few calories, regulates the body, and is filled with antioxidants will be considered a superfood.
Here are our top 5 superfoods for 2017:
Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has actually been both consumed and used around the house for years but it’s starting to pick up some speed and more people are jumping aboard. Apple cider vinegar has numerous benefits when consumed or even used on topically on the skin. When your energy is on the low side or you feel a cold kicking in, drinking apple cider vinegar can help combat those nasty germs, while potassium and enzymes in the vinegar help the feeling of tiredness. It can also help lower blood sugar levels due to the effect of it being acidic. Bonus, if you have a special occasion you’re getting ready for, a wedding, a hot date, whatever it is, apple cider vinegar can also help you clear your acne, reduce dandruff, and get rid of bad breath so you’ll be ready for anything! P.s. Look out for a drink inspired by apple cider vinegar from VAMS soon -wink, wink- Photo credit: Ali Blumenthal for Reader's Digest via www.rd.com
Turmeric: Already, turmeric has been popping up more and more. It’s no longer just a spice you put into your food while cooking. You can find turmeric being added to anything from kombucha to lattes.Turmeric is a great superfood for its anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease any body pain such as joint pain, muscle fatigue, and arthritis. This spice is believed to be so powerful that its strengths are compared to work similar to ibuprofen. Except, of course, choosing turmeric is a much more natural and delicious alternative. Check out VAMS’ Lime + Turmeric kefir water! Photo credit: greenblender.com
Matcha: Matcha is another one of those foods that’s been around but hasn’t exactly had the spotlight directed at them. Matcha is actually quite accessible, at cafes, restaurants, dessert shops, you name it, but it’s beginning to become recognized for the amazing superfood that it is. Matcha is known for its energizing and anti-inflammatory properties. Unlike coffee, matcha gives you the needed energy to power through the day sans jitters--more focus, less wanting to bounce off the walls. The high chlorophyll content that comes from matcha is another great benefit since it helps your skin, protects your heart and the blood that’s pumping through, and prevent inflamed joints. Photo credit: Shutterstock/Jari Hindstroemgrafvision via eater.com Photo credit: vegkitchen.com
Maca: Maca root originated from Peru and has made it’s way across the world to be on our list of 2017’s superfoods. Maca almost takes shape similar to that of a garlic bulb. It can be used either whole or bought in a powder form. The three most prominent health benefits that maca is believed to have is the ability to balance hormones, increase energy, and wait for it….increase sex drive. Now, before you all rush to the health goods store to stock up on every possible maca product available, does this mean you’re absolutely good to go after consuming as much as your body allows? Probably not, sorry! Maca is a superfood but it won’t give you superpowers in bed. Buzzkill...I know. But don’t be afraid to incorporate this root into your diet to reap the all the positive benefits.
Photo credit: Getty Images via telegraph.co.uk
Chaga: This medicinal mushroom is something you should definitely keep your eyes out for in 2017. Chaga has a special characteristic that really makes it stand out from the other superfoods mentioned. This special quality is its adaptogen property. Chaga is almost like a brain where it knows exactly which way your immune system needs support. When your immune system needs a boost, chaga will do exactly that, but when your system needs to take it slow, it’ll aid in slowing your system down. Other benefits present include antimicrobial, antioxidant, and soothing properties which help to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol. Work this mushroom’s magic by giving VAMS’ E3 Live + Chaga kombucha a-go.
By now, the trend of drinking kombucha has seriously increased and more people are becoming aware of all the glorious health benefits from consuming the probiotic-rich beverage. So, is it time to take the drink to the next level? We know that we absorb the lively cultures when we consume kombucha internally but can we get the same benefits using it externally? After doing some research, it seems that people have been testing kombucha out as part of their skin care regimen. Kombucha is being used at cleansers, toners, moisturizers, face masks, and even being incorporated into soap and hair rinses. If #NewYearNewMe was one of your New Year mantras or you just want to change things up, here’s how to beautify with kombucha.
Cleanser: To start off, of course we would need to first wash and cleanse our faces. Skip the typical chemically filled cleansers and reach for the closest bottle of kombucha. Simply take the kombucha and wash it over your face like you would with your everyday cleanser . Literally. That’s it. It may take some getting used to and after reading other people’s experiences, your skin may freak out a bit but stick with it and see how your skin changes over time.
Read Courtney’s skin story here. (Photo credit to Courtney Leiva) Toner: The next step after washing your face is toning. To make your own kombucha toner, take a kombucha of your choice and add in a couple drops of your favourite essential oil, and give a quick mix. Dab the mixture onto a cotton pad and gently wipe over the face. Or if you prefer spritzing it onto your face, transfer the concoction into a spray bottle.
Face Mask: This one’s for those days where you need some extra TLC and what better than to relax with a giant SCOBY on your face. That’s right, just take a SCOBY and place it nicely on your face. Make sure you get comfy for this one. Leave the SCOBY on your face for about 10-15 minutes or until you feel is good. Also make sure you have a towel handy in case some liquid starts to drip down your face. The SCOBY mask is supposed to act like a peel mask, leaving your skin looking renewed and glowing. If you’re curious how others felt while having a giant gelatinous disc of goodness on their face, read Trace’s experience. (Photo credit to Trace Barnhill)
Moisturizer: After all that washing, toning, and masking, it's time to keep the moisture in. Beware that this kombucha moisturizer does require a bit of DIY-ing. Unlike traditional moisturizers that will absorb into the skin when rubbed in, this one is doesn't do that. It acts more like an uber hydrating daily face mask. To make the moisturizer, you'll need:
- 1 SCOBY
- ½ cup coconut oil/jojoba oil/olive oil⅛-¼ cup kombucha
- 2 drops peppermint oil
- 4 drops frankincense essential oils
- 4 drops lavender oil
Blend all the ingredients in a blender until you reach a smooth consistency. Once blended, apply the product to your face, leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse it off with water. If you have drier skin, apply the moisturizer daily at night. Those with oily skin should use this every other day or couple days. (Photo credit to Mama's Kitchen)
Hair Rinse/Tonic: For something a little extra, try using kombucha for your hair as well! Mix 1 part kombucha with 3 parts waters. Shake the ingredients together in a bottle and apply to your hair but avoiding your scalp, and then rinse with water. For this one, it’s best if you can get or brew a fairly vingeary/sour kombucha but if not, skip the water if your brew isn’t as vinegary. For full instructions, check out Humblebee and Me’s post! (Photo credit to Humblebee and Me) But of course, if you prefer to purchase beauty products already infused with kombucha instead of making your own, some big companies are starting to pick up the trend and make it a part of their ingredients. Brands such as Andalou has a wide range of kombucha infused skin care products that can be purchased either online or at Qi Natural Foods for all your beautification needs. Now, go treat yo'self to some well deserved you-time and let us know how these products worked for you! Happy washing! Sources: https://intothegloss.com/2014/11/kombucha-beauty-mask/ http://www.self.com/story/kombucha-skin-care-scoby-mask http://www.food.com/recipe/kombucha-coconut-oil-face-cream-515544 http://www.humblebeeandme.com/kombucha-hair-rinse/