Gut Feelings: Can This Fizzy Drink Improve Your Mood?

WE’RE LEARNING a lot about the role our foods play in directing our hormones and emotions, thanks to integrative health and food therapy specialist, Christine Dionese. Did you know, for example, that our gut health dictates just how much oxytocin (A.K.A. the “love hormone” linked to feelings of trust, fear and cultivating bonds) we’re able to absorb? Serotonin, the neurotransmitter related to one’s intuition, is also formed in the gut. Makes sense right? It’s essential to our feed ourselves healthy fermented, probiotic-rich foods to support our overall well being and hormone development. 

The connection between our gut health and our emotions is a strong one – and one so few of us are hip to. Get the full scoop in Christine’s story today, then learn to make her insanely delicious version of kombucha below to support your emotional health. Bottom’s up!

Basil Hibiscus Kombucha:


1 heat-safe glass bowl or wide-mouth jar
roll of food-safe tape or masking tape
rubber bands
woven cloth/muslin/cheesecloth
muslin tea bags for tea and flowers

3 quarts clean water
1 cup evaporated cane sugar
1 Tbsp loose-leaf, organic, black tea
½ – 1 cup dehydrated basil leaves
3 Tbsp dehydrated and ground hibiscus
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar


Bring one quart water to a boil. Remove from heat and pour into heat-safe glass jar or bowl. Add sugar, tea, basil and hibiscus, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cover and steep tea + basil + hibiscus for about 15 minutes. Remove tea + basil + hibiscus and add additional two quarts of water.

Add apple cider vinegar and SCOBY, dark-side down, into liquid.

Cover container tightly with cloth and rubber band. If you chose to use a bowl, cross strips of tape to prevent cloth from collapsing into bowl. Store in a warm, well-ventilated area away from any other plants, vegetables, fruit or compost bins. Prevent any direct sunlight from contacting.

Kombucha will be ready for consumption about 6-12 days later. To tell if it’s ready, look into jar. Do you see a little organism forming above your SCOBY? If so, it’s ready to try. The preferred taste is sweet to slightly tart. This particular combo of ingredients will be just that!

If you plan to bottle, remove the SCOBY. You can keep these to make another batch or compost. Using a funnel, fill glass bottles or jars with air-tight lids. Because kombucha is acidic, place a piece of waxed paper beneath the lid before covering. Bottling will help improve effervescence.

Take your homebrewing to the next level with this brew upgrade kit from Food 52.

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