Thanks to a group of my very health–enlightened friends, I have been on an apple cider vinegar routine. Just typing those words make me cringe. For any who have attempted this feat, you must already know the horror of the flavor, stench and bite this absolutely amazing drink carries. For all its hassle, apple cider vinegar is a modern day panacea. If you can stomach the punch, you’ll be greatly rewarded with a plethora of health benefits. I find the classic saying—No pain, no gain—very pertinent.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV from now on) is an ancient healing remedy. I was first introduced to it by my father, who I swore was crazy for even buying the stuff. It turns out, health gurus from as early as 3000 BC were downing this ‘delightful’ drink. We are able to confirm ACV usage back in ancient Egypt. It was used as a healing remedy in Babylonia (Egypt) and travelled out of the Fertile Crescent towards ancient Greece and the Roman Empire where enlightened thinkers such as Hippocrates (400BC) and Julius Caesar (100BC) used it for its cleansing properties. As it reached further out, it headed towards Japan, where samurais used it for strength. It is recorded that in biblical times it was considered as one of the world’s first antiseptics. In more recent times, it was used during the Middle Ages in Paris as a body deodorant and healing tonic. Christopher Columbus and his crew drank it to prevent scurvy. And according to Bragg, it was even used in the US Civil war to prevent disease amongst soldiers.
It’s obvious many people across many culture and timespans understood the benefits of ACV. But that still leaves us with a few questions. First, what is it?
ACV is made from crushed apples that are allowed to mature naturally in wooden barrels (obviously today methods may vary). Wood was the container of choice as it boosts fermentation. ACV carries a rich brown color and the stuff you want to drink has a “mother” floating in it. The mother is a cob-web like structure that will hang around the bottom of the container. This is an ESSENTIAL part of choosing the correct ACV. It indicates that the brew is raw and alive, which means it has not been pasteurized. Once it is pasteurized, just like any other living food, many nutrients and enzymes are destroyed. The mother is essentially a large mass of enzymes stuck together.
Now, the second question usually goes like this: What does ACV really do? There is a ton of undocumented heresay about the healing properties of ACV, but what has actually been shown to work scientifically?
To this I answer in two parts. One: stop thinking so scientifically. There are many areas of existence that science is still incapable of measuring and just because science can’t see something does not mean it doesn’t exist. And because I know that’s not going to cut it for many people, two: There is a TON of science behind ACV.
In 2007, a study published in “Diabetes Care” found that those with type two diabetes who took 2 tbsp. of ACV before bedtime showed favorable changes in blood sugar levels the next morning. In 2009, a Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry study found obese people who consumed ACV daily for 12 weeks showed significant decrease in body weight. It is also scientifically understood that ACV restores alkalinity in the body (an important factor as our acidic diets invite favorable conditions for disease).
Some less scientifically studied, but widely proven ACV benefits are healing dandruff, reducing acne and supporting regularity in digestion.
So the third question: How do you drink it?
Well, this is an ongoing pursuit for me, but I started out with just 2 tbsp of ACV in 1/2 C of water with the juice of one lemon. This was slightly less painful than just taking a pure shot (which is highly not recommended as it can lead to enamel loss and possibly burning sensitive tissues in the throat). Next, I tried 2 tbps ACV and a cup of apple juice. This drink tasted much better. However, I don’t know about you, but I love my apple juice and I’d rather not waste it masking the flavor of ACV. So this led me to my current option, which is the best I have found so far.
I take 1 0z. ACV squeeze 1/4 ruby red grapefruit, 1/2 orange (can be a blood orange, tangerine, or regular orange), and 1/2 lime (depending on size maybe 1/4). I mix this all together and get about 3 oz. of liquids and chug it down. It still leaves a nasty after taste, but I’m working on it.
Personally, I will attest to the energetic properties of ACV. Not only do I take it every morning to get up and go, but it sustains me through the morning hours. What actually inspired me to write this very detailed post on ACV was the shot I just took of it. You can feel energy right away and the heat in your stomach and digestive system is very apparent. Give it a try and let me know in the comments what you think. Also if you have a secret recipe PLEASE let me know. I’m dying to find the best one so that I can make my mornings a little more pleasant =)