There’s a mixed feeling when we think of labels.
In many ways, we resist them. They are limiting, binding and places us into a box of how others should, could or would like to see us. It is a way of defying us. A way of placing us into a category.
As a mindset we resist them
In theory, as a mindset we don’t want this. As an energy we don’t want this. We want to be able to be free to express who we are at any moment without being defined. Its a way of ‘breaking free’ from those binds that tie us.
Yet, there is much to be said about labels. They actually bring order to chaos. They provide a space in which we can place things in order to create order. To allow for an easy way for us to ‘find’ things. Even to observe things. Or more so ways for us to discover things.
A few positive examples?
I think of a library system - and the categories that allow us to walk in and discover a section of books related to our chosen topics. With ease we can search through and discover a whole selection of authors under one category.
I think of the supermarket and how it is easy for us to find things based on dry cold or frozen. Even down to how we would utilise things like a ‘cleaning’ section.
These are ways in which labels, definition, provides order to chaos.
Could you even imagine walking in to either place without having some form of system in place for which we would find things?
So whilst my mindset doesn’t want to feel labelled, we need labelling to help us find order amongst the chaos of life.
The positives, are that we can ‘search’ under a topic and that definition allows us greater chance to find what we are looking for and the ability for us to connect and discover.
The down side to this is when we find something ‘out of order’. Something that is not ‘defined’ properly or appropriately. What comes to mind may be the system used for the rating of TV shows and movies. How we utilise this system of rating to allow us to know what is suitable to our taste or our gender or an age etc. I recall recently a HUGE backlash to this when a children’s movie Peter Rabbit had a trailer pre the show of a horror movie called Hereditary. A HUGE uproar went up by parents - rightly so - as they huddled to hide their children’s eyes and ears from this horror movie prior to settling them into cute little rabbits.
We need labels to help with order.
We need Labels need to be the truth
We depend on labelling now to tell the truth so we can find whats right for us.
They guide us to our needs. They guide us to right or wrong for us. You can imagine how essential it is to be guided away from what is wrong, especially when our lives depend on it.
AND IN FOOD THIS IS SO VERY VERY IMPORTANT!
You can imagine the implications for wrong labelling when it comes to what we put into our body. And this is where we ALL need to take stock of the importance of labelling.
I have never been so amazed at food and beverage labelling
Until recently in all my years I knew of labelling and reading the label. But now that I am creating a product that requires a TRUTHFUL label it is astounding as to what is actually out there!
A wrong label on a food or beverage literally can mean someones life. Not being clear on the exact ingredients, or making claims about ingredients has a HUGE impact upon our health.
If you are diabetic, or have Coeliac or Crohn’s you know how one wrong move can have dire and painful results. They can even be life threatening.
So it’s so important to really embrace the label, and what information we are given so that we make good choices.
The impacts on the Kombucha industry are yet to unfold
But they are well on the way. So many claims have already been made against Kombucha makers regarding incorrect sugar labels and the impact on diets and diabetes. The amount of alcohol has been raised when Lindsay Lohan was charged after coming out of a rehab clinic and her habitual Kombucha use was blamed for her high alcohol level. Even down to the claims being made regarding the healing powers has come to the courts of late.
So I wanted to share a few really important tips about the labelling around our favourite beverage, but these tips really relate to any label.
If it tastes sweet, then it is sweet. There IS sugar. There is no difference between sugar once it enters the body and it is really important to look at sugar levels both on the label, and to your own tastes but use common sense. It would appear that many brands in kombucha test sugar at the end of the first ferment when all the sugar has been used for bacteria creation BUT then don't retest once they’ve added fruits as flavour. Fruit is still a free form sugar once it is juiced and placed into a drink. It will still impact your sugar consumption levels. In the Australian Health system a LOW SUGAR claim cannot be made unless it is under 2.5% sugar at the time of bottling- or packaging - which is at the end of the entire process. SO trust your taste buds, if it tastes sweet- then it is sweet! Kombucha and JUN are a fermented vinegar beverage so it isn't designed to be sweet. When it comes to any product find a brand that is suited to your taste AND your allowed sugar consumption level.
Read the label! And check what it says regarding ‘serving size’. Serving sizes vary with every label. Some 330ml bottles of drink and some packages of food may actually state they are a one serve drink or a one serve portion. If you then look at the sugar percent you can see what is relevant to the whole bottle. BUT some are a two drink 330ml size or a two serve per packet product - making them about 165ml per serve for the amount of sugar - so if you aren't aware of this - you may be taking in more sugar than you originally thought. Look at the size of the bottle or package you’ve bought and check how many servings they recommend and then look at the label per serving size to know what you are getting.
In beverages carbonation can enhance the sweetness flavour. Most Kombuchas these days are carbonated drinks. Many use a forced carbonation at the end of the process to give a kick to the fizz. In this way the bubbles fill with the sweetness and can make it sweeter than it is so if you need it sweet then look for something with more bubbles and the label may say ‘carbonated’ or ‘fizzy drink’. If you want to test that - buy a bottle of your fav drink and decarbonate it and then drink it - you will find a HUGE difference to flavour and sweetness!
Health and healing claims. Whilst we all love the stories around these magical elixirs of Kombucha and Jun even, we need more research. Don’t buy into the drink thinking you are going to be cured of anything. It absolutely will help if it holds the right probiotics in the beverage, because our gut biota will pick these up and make a short meal of turning them into good bacteria in our gut helping to balance out our inner microbiota. But as for curing anything, we need more research, more time and with all things healing what will help one may not help another. So take up this habit knowing you are doing great thing for your body, but don’t ask for it to be the only miracle!
Labelling is an important way for us to find whats right
‘Clean Labelling’ is very much a thing now. With it becoming more popular as time goes by with people asking for truthful and upfront names and percentages of ingredients.
When truthful labels are our very best guide to what is right for us. What we don’t want is anything misleading or misguided to take us down a path that isn't right.
Our job is to use them and understand them and to keep them honest!
Whilst my mindset doesn't want a defining label of a box I should fit into, I am grateful for the labelling we use in order to find things and make clear what is within something.
In this way we clear the chaos around what is a great product for us to buy.