Drink This, Get Pretty! (Or Maybe Not)

What the hell is Kombucha tea? Why is everyone all of a sudden slugging coconut milk? What about the whole green juice craze?

The makers or retailers of any of these drinks would have you believe glowing skin, shiny hair and a flat stomach really is just a bottle away. But we all know better. Or do we? Just this weekend, The New York Times opined on how all these Williamsburg hipsters in New York are toting around real-deal coconuts with a straw sticking out, claiming what health foodies have been saying for a while — that coconut juice is the magic get-purdy drink loaded with nutrients. Recently, I’ve noticed health food stores and even corner bodegas here in NYC have started carrying an alarming amount of very expensive Kombucha Tea. What is it, you ask, and will it make me hotter? Well, I’ve tried it and here’s the deal … According to the Mayo Clinic, “Kombucha is not a mushroom—it’s a colony of bacteria and yeast. Kombucha tea is made by adding the colony to sugar and black or green tea and allowing the mix to ferment. The resulting liquid contains vinegar, B vitamins and a number of other chemical compounds.” Colonies of yeast. Sounds delish, huh? Well, like a slew of other people, I’ve started imbibing the tea, and depending on who I make take a sip, it tastes like “apple cider beer” (there are trace amounts of alcohol in it, actually) or “rotten apples crossed with vinegar” and [insert gagging face here].

For all its taste naysayers, I’ve found that you actually get pretty used to the flavor — I’ve come to sort of enjoy it. (Is that like saying if you drink it enough, you’ll start to enjoy the taste of your own pee? Perhaps.) I have to admit, I’m a sucker for anything that will give me glowing skin and a better immune system. So, while I have yet to experience any of the good health claims yet, I hold out hope. At least for a few bottles longer. And what about the whole green juice craze? Juicing up kale, celery, spinach and parsley with a little green apple for taste sounds like a smart enough idea—if you can’t eat the nutrient dense foods, why not drink ‘em, right? But if you’ve ever tried to get down a green shake without holding your nose closed, you’ll testify that drinking the veggies is not easier than chewing them. I never got past the horrid (in my opinion) taste of the shakes or juices. One tip for those willing to try: Skip the celery; it really makes the juice taste rank.

Personally, the only drink I’m whole-hog behind is good old tap water. It’s free, cuts down on bloating, hydrates like none other and generally makes my body feel better when I’m consuming more of it. What are your sip-able, get-pretty experiments?