Banana Büch Muffins by Amita Massey

These muffins are gluten-free, paleo friendly, moist, fluffy and high in healthy days and protein! Who doesn't love the sound of that. Check out what you need to make them and how below.

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Ingredients:

1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup Vanilla Chai Kombucha
1/3 cup almond milk
1 super ripe banana (mashed)
3 tsp maple syrup
Shredded coconut or nuts for topping (optional)

Baking Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375° and line 8 muffin tins with non-stick liners.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the almond flour, coconut flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder and sea salt.
  3. In a separate bowl mash the banana with a fork until it is smooth and no chunks remain. Measure and whisk in the remaining wet ingredients.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk together so a smooth batter forms. 
  5. Using a large spoon scoop the batter into the muffin liners so they are about 3/4 of the way full. Optional to sprinkle with shredded coconut or nuts.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through and browned on top.
  7. Cool on a wire rack before storing in an airtight container in the fridge. Will store for 4-5 days and are best served warm with a nice bottle of kombucha!

Photos & Recipe by Amita Massey - be sure to give her a follow! 

Every week should be Earth Week.

This year we wanted to pour some extra attention on Earth Week and what it means for local Calgary. We couldn’t think of a better way to do this than to talk to REAP Calgary about their Be Local Campaign. We sat down with Stephanie Jackman (founder & president) and she filled us in on some great things you can do to get involved in Earth Week this year. 

Tell us a little about REAP:
REAP stands for Respect for the Earth and All People. It’s a community hub made up of 150 local businesses that are committed to being sustainable and responsible in the communities they operate in.  We highlight the businesses that create more good.

What does it take to become a REAP business?

1.     Local ownership. Most locally owned businesses are rooted in their communities. They are more likely to keep their money here and support other businesses around them.

2.     All members must show a commitment to green sustainability in their operations and in their products.

After those two criteria are met, basically any business can be a REAP business. We have bigger participants like ATB Financial and Greengate Garden Centres all the way down to business that are just getting started.

Why did you start REAP?

I was working a corporate, job making big companies bigger. The work I was doing didn’t have the meaning I wanted it to, and I knew that I wanted to make a change.  

It all came to a head when I was at a Lynne Twist conference learning about the Soul of Money. I got inspired by what she was talking about and at the end of the conference she asked everyone to make a declaration, mine was to start REAP.

How will you guys be participating in Earth Week?

It’s REAPs job to connect as many people and business owners as we can with green solutions. A big part of going green is going local because local businesses have a smaller footprint, 15x less than non-local businesses in fact.  We are the voice telling people who they should support and why it’s important.

Every year for Earth Week we run a festival that supports all things local and all things sustainable, and this is our 9th year hosting it. At the festival, you can find local food, local finance, and local social innovation. The festival is an amazing and unique way to connect with the city and find out how you can do a little good.

If you want to participate in this year's festival you have three really great opportunities:  

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Growing Food, Jobs & Hope

APRIL 24, 2017
Capital for Cause: Back to Basics

APRIL 27, 2017
Innovating for Shared Prosperity

If people can't attend an event how can they get involved with REAP?
People can participate in our Be Local Awards Program that highlights the all-stars in our local network who are doing good. All you need to do is sign up for the REAP weekly newsletter to stay in the know.

Lastly they can check out our business directory and support local sustainable businesses as much as possible.


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50 Cents from every bottle of Blueberry Rooibos Kombucha sold goes towards a REAP, Be Local partnership with a Community Orchard called Grow Calgary. The money donated goes to buy trees, shrubs, and seeds that produce food for those who need it most. 

Anyone can volunteer at the orchard – learn more about it here.

To Leftovers, with love.

 

When you hear that close to half of the food produced in the world goes to into the garbage, a typical response might be to reduce your waste at home. For Lourdes Juan the answer was starting Leftovers YYC - a non profit that distributes food that would otherwise go to the landfill, to those in need .

From the moment we met Lourdes, we knew that Leftovers and Trüe Buch would form a great partnership through our shared values. We sat down with her over coffee to chat all things Calgary and all things food rescue. 

Lourdes Juan, Leftovers YYC Founder (Photo by Jean Perron) 

Lourdes Juan, Leftovers YYC Founder

(Photo by Jean Perron) 

Why did you start Leftovers YYC?
Leftovers was started because I saw that we desperately needed a solution to food waste and food insecurity.  I was at a Cobbs Bread one night with my cousin picking up bread for his church. Cobbs, like most places, won't serve day old food and they had agreed to donate 50 pounds of day old bread. While we were there I found out that they were going to be tossing out 200 pounds of bread that night.  I couldn't just sit back and let that happen so I took it to The Drop In Centre and they said it would be gone by the next day. 

That night the gears started turning and I began looking into who else throws out food and I realized that it was a massive local and global problem.  The thing about food waste is that at some point you have either been guilty of it or have seen it happen. On the flip side of that, most people are also aware of food insecurity. I wanted to find out if there was a way we could operationally take food that was still good from vendors who can't sell anymore and give it to people who are ready to eat it. 

Where does Leftovers deliver food?
We deliver around 3,000 pounds of food a week. There are 55 different food vendors that we work with between Calgary and Edmonton and  deliver to 32 different service agencies across both cities. The food goes anywhere from the Mustard Seed and the Drop In Centre to smaller schools in marginalized areas for the families that go there. 

How big is the Leftovers team?
We are 100% volunteered powered, there is myself and 10 others on the executive team and 155 drivers who make the dream work. We have more people who have done one off pick-ups and deliveries as well.  It takes a village to work around complex issues like this one and we are just scratching the surface. Redirecting food is just the start.

Where do you see Leftovers going?
The company wants to tackle the root cause of food waste and food insecurity. For food waste it starts at a policy level. We have engaged the school of Public Policy at the University of Calgary, where we have a student working on a capstone project trying to wrap her head around where we can engage Leftovers on a bigger level. We need policies that say grocery stores and coffee shops aren't allowed to throw away food, they need to triage it in a way so that it either gets brought to those in need, composted, put into animal feed or something along those lines. 

What organizations are a part of Leftovers in Calgary?
Out of the 55 we have on our list the big ones for us are Blush Lane, Calgary Farmers Market, and  Bridgeland Market.  They have been really supportive of the program. 

Are there plans to bring larger grocery chains into the program?
Of course! It's a little tricky when you are dealing with them because they view the donation as a liability.
There is something called a Charitable Food Donation Act which states that if you are donating food without ill intent, you can donate it without holding onto any liability.  In Calgary all the partnerships we have built were done through face to face interactions and that is hard to do when most larger companies have head offices in other parts of Canada or America. It all just takes time. 

How can people get involved with Leftovers?
Everything is online! We have a volunteer sign-up sheet that you can fill out if you want to help drive food to service agencies.   We try to make every route less than 20 minutes so it's easy for people to commit to.  There is also a place where you can donate money which all goes to funding programs within Leftovers.  In addition to that, all of our executive team can be reached by email if you have any specific questions.  

 

50 cents from every bottle of TrueBüch  Vanilla Chai sold goes to Leftovers YYC. The money we raised this year went to buy a refrigerated truck. This truck allows them to pick up more produce and dairy and distribute it to those in need as well as larger food donations that can't fit into cars. 

 

To Mealshare, with love.

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At True Büch, one of our core values is to reinvest 10% of all our proceeds into community partners and projects we are passionate about. For our Flavour of the Month program, we partnered with Mealshare over a year ago, and with the help of our amazing customers - YOU - we have already provided over 2,500 meals to youth in need!  Mealshare works as a "buy one, give one" model, and in the case of True Büch, every time you buy or fill a bottle of our Flavour of the Month, a meal is provided to a youth in need. It's a win-win! 

We got to hang out with Breanne Sich from Mealshare this week at Brown Bagging for Calgary Kids. While we were cutting up apples for lunches we got to talking about their program and thought it was a story worth sharing…

How did Mealshare get started?
Mealshare started right here in Calgary in July 2013. Mealshare was created by two cousins, Andrew Hall & Jeremy Bryant, who saw an opportunity that could change the way people dine. Our founders were lucky enough to be working for multinational consulting and accounting firms, they felt fortunate about their circumstances but realized not everyone was as lucky. Then they learned that eight million Canadians dine out every single day, while over 200,000 youth are food insecure. They didn’t see this as a reason to feel guilty but rather an amazing opportunity. That’s when they had an idea. What if those 8 million people could help all those youth? What if we could turn dining out into helping out?

Eliminating youth hunger became Mealshare's goal. We know it's audacious so we are taking it step by step; youth hunger can’t be solved in a day, or even a couple years. But what we can do today and tomorrow is add more partner restaurants on, share more meals, and spread the word. If we can keep doing this, we can make a dent in youth hunger both locally, and internationally.

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Why do you think the program has done so well in Calgary?
Calgary is a community. It is a city that lends a helping hand when it is called upon, and often, even when it is not. There is a strong alliance of generous souls here that want to see the city, the people, and the future of both continue to grow. Since inception, Mealshare has been welcomed into Calgary restaurants and organizations with open arms. These partners have invested time, resources, and positive interest into making it such a success.

All of this, coupled with the fact that Mealshare has some of the best restaurants and businesses in Calgary participating in the program, makes it easy for supporters to get involved.

If people want to get involved how can they?
There are a couple different ways to get involved:

1).  Buy True Büch's flavour of the month! Every time you buy or fill a bottle, you will be providing a meal to a youth in need. 

2) Go to a Mealshare partner restaurant and order the Mealshare item! Every time you order the item, you will be providing a meal to a youth in need. 

3)   Volunteer with us! Email Breanne@mealshare.ca for dates on when you can come lend a hand at one of our participating charity partners!

4)   Be a Mealshare ambassador! Encourage others to “dine out, and help out”, volunteer, help promote, etc! Learn more by emailing Breanne@mealshare.ca

5)   Know of a restaurant that may be a good fit for our program? Let Breanne know!

 

Congee Recipe ft. Love Your Guts Bone Broth

Congee has it’s roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine, known for its amazing healing qualities. Don’t be scared off by the White Rice, just make sure it’s organic. In a recipe like this, the rice is broken down by the time it’s ready to eat, making it easier on your body to digest the rice and absorb all the nutrients.

Bone broth is extremely high in collagen, which is responsible for so many different functions of the body. Bone Broth is one of the only things known to help heal and soothe the lining of your gut! It is an essential in my kitchen. You can check out all the amazing benefits of The Gut Lab’s Bone Broth and where to get your own on their website: http://www.thegutlab.ca/

The Lemongrass, Ginger and Reishi in this Congee is a powerful immune builder. Reishi is a powerful adaptogen, meaning it really caters to whatever your body needs, its been labelled as the “mushroom of immortality”! Along with these ingredients and The Gut Lab’s Bone Broth, this Congee is such a powerful tool for overall health and wellbeing, plus it’s perfect for the cold winter nights or mornings!

Ingredients: 

·      1 cup White Jasmine Rice (Organic)·
·     7 cups The Gut Lab Bone Broth
·      1.5 inches Ginger (Fresh)
·      1 stalk Lemongrass (Fresh)
·      5 Morel Mushrooms
·      3 Reishi Slices
·      1.5 cups Celery (Chopped)
·      1 Head of Bok Choy
·      2 Cups Cremini Mushrooms (Chopped)
·      5-10 Large Basil Leaves
·      Salt and Pepper to taste

How to make:

1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker at low heat.
2. Leave for *7 hours
3. Top with toppings of your choice (I like kimchi) and salt and pepper to taste

*I personally like a thicker Congee consistency, but if you would like it more liquid just add another cup or 

Kombucha Cocktails

By Whole and Wellthy

(Sally Powis Campbell and Mia Shettler) 

 

It's that time of year. A time for celebrations & health kicks. Let's balance those out, shall we?

At Whole + Wellthy, we like to put some (or a lot) of thought into what we eat & drink. Now even though you can often follow along in our quest to create healthy & delicious food & beverages (thank you instagram stories!), we truly believe life is all about balance!

If you've been following our Whole + Wellthy adventures as of late, you'll have seen our Market Collective launch, where we shared with the world our serious love for mason jars. As foodie fate would have it, we were table neighbours with TrueBuch (buch being another healthy obsession of ours). This summer we got creative making mocktails & cocktails with kombucha, but with the holiday buzz, we got to thinking... how do we combine our fave gut feeding drink with holiday seasonal flavours to warm the heart & soul? So we've whipped up some fun cocktails featuring local ingredients, highlighting all the flavours of kombucha that TrueBuch has to offer, along with a few of our other local friends like Light Cellar, Eau Claire Distillery, and Drizzle Honey!

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We're serving our kombucha cocktails in mason jars, for more than one reason! First off, they're so trendy! No longer are they destined for canning. Second, they're cheap -- at less than a dollar a piece at places like Canadian Tire and Superstore. Third, they reduce toxic load, being made of glass rather than those cheap (and, eh hem, tacky) red plastic cups! Fourth, you can personalize the jars, adding your friends' names on them with a paint pen that you can pick up from a crafting store like Michaels for $5.

 

Kombucha is taking the world by storm! But what exactly is it? Kombucha is a lightly effervescent fermented beverage made of tea and sugar that is fermented with a scoby, a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast responsible for initiating the fermentation process when combined with sugar. We at Whole + Wellthy don't need an excuse to pop a bottle, morning noon or night (kombucha that is!), but when it comes to New Year's celebrations, here's a few reasons why you should consider boochin' up your beverage:

 

  1. ENERGY: most kombucha is made with black tea which contains small amounts of iron, and b-vitamins that can energize the body. It may give that extra kick you need to make it to the countdown...

  2. GUT HEALTH: with the myriad of meals and potlucks and cocktail parties you've found yourself at over the holiday season, or perhaps some antibiotics you found yourself on with the post-holiday crash, your gut can use a boost. Kombucha is a fermented beverage containing probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria needed for digestion, gut health, and proper nutrient absorption.

  3. DETOXIFICATION: alcohol takes a toll on your liver, and over the holidays we know how hard it can be to turn down a glass or two or wine (or the harder stuff), especially when everyone is indulging. So how could you ease your exposure to a toxin like alcohol? Kombucha's antioxidant activity may help protect against disease from oxidative stress (stress over the holidays ... bring on the antioxidants).

  4. RECOVERY: The day after your NYE celebrations are a time to build that immunity! Because kombucha contains live probiotic cultures, it helps the gut repopulate with good bacteria and starve harmful pathogens that cause digestive upset, inflammation and gut problems.

 

Bring on the cocktails!

Chai One On

Cardamom... cinnamon... ginger.... we're warmed just thinking of these seasonal spices that make up the internationally loved chai tea. While it's served cold, this cocktail is so warming & well balanced. Take the time to close your eyes, lift the mason jar up to your nose, and tap into your sense of smell before even imbibing in this kombu cocktail. Then tap into your taste, rolling it around your tongue, feeling the texture of effervescence as you taste the flavours that perfectly marry on the palate.

 

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Ingredients ::

2 oz Eau Claire Distillery Prickly Pear Equineox Vodka

1/2 bottle TrueBuch Vanilla Chai Kombucha

Garnish with light cellar true cinnamon powder and vanilla bean powder

 

Directions ::

In a chilled tumbler, add prickly pear vodka and vanilla chai kombucha (add more or less than suggested volume depending on strength preference).

Want it on ice, add a couple ice cubes and garnish before serving.

 

The Hippie Mama Mule

Up in our neck of the woods, this drink has made an appearance at more than a few dinner parties & block parties! It's a serious conversation piece, from the questions about what bourbon is all about, to the use of buch instead of ginger beer (gutsy move, friends, but so worth it for the taste buds & belly!), to the use of essential oils (did you know citrus oils have been found to have mood boosting properties?). For this drink you can serve in a chilled copper mug for tradition purposes. You'll also always find a couple of those in our freezers.

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Ingredients ::

2 oz Maker's Mark Bourbon

1/2 355 ml bottle TrueBuch Ginger Kombucha

Juice of 1/2 lime

1 pkg stevia

1 drop DoTERRA lime essential oil

 

Directions ::

Juice a lime.

Add stevia, bourbon, and essential oil, mix with a spoon.

Add ice.

Pour kombucha over ice.

Garnish with a lime

 

Sparkling Sangria

Sure you can start the NYE night off with sparkling wine. Orrrrr let's get some sparkling sangria on the go. Because sangria isn't just for sipping under the summer sun friends! Sangria is a great way to use up all those random half-drank bottles of wine from the Christmas holiday festivities. As a general rule, when making red sangria, you want to look for something that’s fruity with low tannins. But truly, use your leftovers if you have some! Try this recipe out, & use any fruit and fresh or frozen berries you like.

 

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Ingredients ::

1 bottle of wine

1/4 cup Eau Claire Distillery Parlour Gin

2 355ml bottles of TrueBuch Blueberry Rooibos Kombucha

1/4 cup Drizzle Honey (raw, local honey)

 

Directions ::

Combine all ingredients in a large jug or pitcher. Optional to store in fridge depending on temperature preference.

Allow to sit for at least 4 hours before serving.

 

Mojito-rita

Most commercial margaritas use a ton of refined sugar; this kombucha margarita is slightly sweetened from the kombucha and a pinch of stevia or honey, if desired. We like to add a surprises to our food to get the taste buds and curiosity firing, so we've added some cayenne to the rim.

 

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Ingredients ::

1/2 355 mL bottle of TrueBuch Mojito Mint Kombucha

2 oz tequila

2 oz fresh lime juice (about 1-2 limes)

Light Cellar Sea Salt (or any sea salt)

Pinch of cayenne pepper

 

Directions ::

On a small plate, blend sea salt with 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper to coat the rim of the mason jar. Run a lime wedge along the rim of the glass and dip in the salt mixture.

Shake all the ingredients except the kombucha with ice in a cocktail shaker until the exterior frosts.

Add the komchua and give a quick stir.

Strain into a glass over rocks, or into a cocktail glass without ice. Garnish with a slice of lime, if desired.

 

 

The Cure

Friends, we have you covered for New Year's Day. With an ingredient & directions list that are each 1 item long. You got this.

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Ingredients ::

1 bottle of TrueBuch The Cure Kombucha (available exclusively at the beloved Kensington-based elixir bar, Wild&Raw)

Directions ::

You gotta drink this one neat. Your head & tum will thank you (& TrueBuch).

 

 

 

XO Happy New Year YYC (& Beyond)!

Love your friends @wholistichealthyyc + @the_wellth

Catching up with Drizzle Honey

Our Champagne Kombucha is here for the holiday season. It's brewed by fermenting only organic green tea and honey with a special bacteria colony that makes it very dry, bubbly and delicious, just like a Champagne (but without the hangover)! 

You can fill up with Champagne Kombucha at Market Collective December 16-18 and at Bridgeland Market starting December 22. 

We've partnered up with our favourite local honey for this special flavour, and we want to highlight what this great company is up to! 

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On a frozen December afternoon we caught up with Aja from Drizzle Honey to talk all things honey, community & supporting local. 

Tell us how Drizzle started...

Drizzle got its start while I was doing Agriculture and Culinary research at SAIT Polytechnic in 2013. We received a grant to work alongside a beekeeping group based out of Calgary to focus on rooftop beekeeping and beekeeping in urban environments. We looked at all sorts of things like the quality and quantity of honey that you can get off urban hives verse rural hives. We were looking to see whether or not you could use urban hives for commercial use. 

We checked the quality of honey that we got off the urban hives in comparison to hives made in traditional settings and found that there is the potential to produce more honey because of warmer, stable temperatures. 

While doing that I fell in love with honey. I got to know the industry and lots of the beekeepers in the province. In 2015 I took the plunge and started Drizzle. 

Does Alberta have a honey industry? 
Alberta is the highest producing honey province in Canada and our honey is some of the best in the world. On the market, we get a premium price for our honey produced here. 

What makes honey good honey?
A bunch of different things. You can measure honey on the floral source, the texture, the colour; our honey is really light, especially when creamed. Honey in its natural state can come in all colours and flavours depending on the season and location which gets masked in the commercial honey world. At Drizzle we wanted to represent something different, transparency is a huge part of what we do.

Expanding on that, what did you want Drizzle to represent, how did you want it to be different?
In addition to transparency, sustainability was important to us. No one was actively saying they were sustainable in the honey industry so we try to do what we can to reduce our footprint. Everything from our packaging to how we ship out is considered. 

So where does Drizzle honey come from?
The retail line comes from Northern Alberta. I used to do it myself in the city; we had backyard hives and the rooftop hives. The rooftop hives feed honey into the SAIT Culinary School, it's a real farm to fork program that not a lot of people know about.  

I chose the hives in Northern Alberta after intensively testing honey from around they world, they produced the best honey I could find. It's largely based on the organic floral fields that support the hives up there. 

Where can you find Drizzle? 
Rosso, Juice Because, Plant, Greater Goods ... you can find the full list here. 

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What is the next step with Drizzle? 
We just got into a a local venture program.  Drizzle Honey and 10 other companies are working to grow their businesses. It's an intensive program that gets your company in front of stores, distribution, working on potentially getting you over the border. 

The vision would be to add more products to the Drizzle line up, different types of honey, potentially a skincare line, the sky is the limit really. 

Aside from collaborating with True Buch for our Champagne Kombucha, what other collaborations do you have in the city?
Our honey is in a blend with Juice Because, Bark YYC does honey and pumpkin dog treats, and Wild Prairie Botanicals does a honeysuckle face mask. I also supply honey to Last Best Brewery and Rosso Coffee Roasters.

What do you love about working in Calgary?
We have a growing local community movement happening here in Calgary, and Drizzle wanted to be a part of that. There is a lot of support here too, other companies are more than willing to help you out and that's really great.  

This holiday season, don't forget to fill up your growlers with Champagne Kombucha made with Drizzle Honey. Happy holidays and cheers to you!

Meet Stewart!

Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS) is one of our favourite Calgary-based charities. They rescue abandoned animals from around Alberta, and with the help of many volunteers and donations, they bring them back to health and into foster care so they can ultimately be adopted into their forever homes. 

When we set up our bottle program, we knew right away that we wanted to partner with AARCS and donate a portion of our proceeds to them (see here for the full list of organizations we support) .

*both these dogs are up for adoption - click the photo to learn more about them! 

*both these dogs are up for adoption - click the photo to learn more about them! 

So far in 2016, our Ginger Kombucha has raised almost $2,000 for this great organization and today we learned which dog it went to help:

Stewart is a sweet senior dog who came into AARCS in September from rural Alberta. Upon intake, they noticed that his neck had massive swelling and he had a hard time walking. After exams, it was evident that he had a large a large mass in his throat that needed to be removed as well as a surgery to repair his hip. Thanks to all of you who bought ginger True Buch in the last year, the cost of Stewart's medical surgeries are covered! Once he is healed, he will be up for adoption to find his forever family. We hope for a happy, long life for Stewart. 

To help other animals like Stewart, visit aarcs.ca and keep drinking that ginger 'Buch! 

True Büch Gummy Bears

Why you should eat these?

These are the ultimate gut healing treat! Kombucha provides the probiotics necessary to help maintain a healthy gut bacteria balance. As we age, the amount of Collagen our body naturally produces begins to decrease. Collagen is responsible for so many functions in the body, like skin elasticity, joint health, brain power as well as Collagen plays a huge role in helping to repair the digestive system. The combination of Kombucha and Collagen really could not get much better. 

VERY BERRY HIBISCUS BEARS:

1 cup Very Berry Kombucha
¼ cup Collagen Protein Gelatin
1 tbsp. Maple Syrup
2.5 tbsp. chopped Raspberries (Frozen or fresh)
1 tbsp. Hibiscus

GINGER LEMON HONEY BEARS:

1 cup Ginger Kombucha
¼ cup Collagen Protein Gelatin
2 tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 rounded tbsp. Honey

*This will make approx. 20 large gummies.

 

How To Make These:

1. Combine the Kombucha and Gelatin in a saucepan. Let it mingle for a few minutes before turning on the heat.

2. Turn on low/medium heat until the gelatin has dissolved, and you’re left with just liquid.

3. Remove from heat and immediately add extra ingredients (sweeteners, berries, lemon, hibiscus), stirring well to combine.

4. Pour the mixture into your molds

5. Place your soon to be gummies into the fridge for about an hour to set.

*Keep refrigerated to store.

 

Recipe by Maggie Archibald

Catching up with Naked Leaf

Naked Leaf is our favourite boutique tea shop in the heart of Kensington. We partnered with this great local business two years ago and they have been our exclusive local supplier of organic teas since the beginning. At the helm is Jonathan Kane, tea expert and YYC advocate, who has owned and operated the shop for nearly nine years - we sat down with him to talk about his business, Calgary and all things tea. 

How did Naked Leaf start?
The idea all started with an allergy to coffee – it was the reason I started drinking tea so intensely. I couldn’t find what I wanted tea wise in Calgary so when I was ready to make a career change (at the time I was teaching at the University of Calgary in the fine arts program) I decided that Naked Leaf was my next step. I enrolled in an entrepreneurship program at Mount Royal that really helped me transition from one career to another. 

What did you want Naked Leaf to bring to Calgary?

I wanted to bring interesting and unique teas that are hard to find into the city. It took a long time to build the relationships all over the world that you need in order to bring in what no one else has. 

What is your favorite part of operating a business in Calgary?

I find that there is a large part of Calgary that is really passionate about supporting local, independent businesses, which is great. Calgary also provides a ton of opportunity to collaborate with other local businesses to bring in unique products to the shop.  As the city looks for more interesting shopping experiences and different products it’s the independent boutiques that have the opportunity to provide that.  

What are some unique things you can find at Naked Leaf?

We have chocolate that is infused with our tea, that you can’t find anywhere else. We also make customized tea packaging where you can submit your own artwork or photos to get put on a tea container. 

How does Naked Leaf work with the Community? 

Our packaging supports the community - we have a line up of tea tins that are decorated by local Calgary artists. We ask for submissions from anyone and everyone, we print 50-100 labels and once they’re gone they’re gone. 

We also have a lot of different local companies who use our tea to make different products, everything from body wash to chocolate and even kombucha! It was part of our mandate from day one to be involved with the community and the arts. Collaborations like these are the way we do that.

For someone who is new to tea – what’s something they should know?

All tea comes from the same plant, white, green, black, Oolong – it’s all the same leaf it is just processed differently. The simple explanation of the difference is oxidization, black tea is a fully oxidized leaf whereas green tea isn’t oxidized.
There is also a misconception that certain teas don’t have caffeine in them – if it comes from a tea plant it contains caffeine. Herbal teas, on the other hand, aren’t made from the tea plant so they don’t contain caffeine.  

 

If you haven’t been in to Naked Leaf yet – head on down to Kensington where Jonathan & his team can teach you a thing or two about tea. While you are there try the root beer rooibos we use for our rootbeer kombucha - it’s incredible. 

- Shelby Stewart for True Büch