Rambling over.... Kava Tea. (Making, flavoring and drinking - with photos)

This post is not sponsored by any particular company.  I did my own research and spent my own money to buy from a company that does sell on Amazon as well as their own site.  I'm not affiliated with them in any way.

Rambling over Kava tea?  Yeah, you thought I was going to say coffee!

Even this coffee girl needs to sleep sometimes - and sleep doesn't come easy for me. 

Come 1:30, 2:30 in the morning I usually wake up and boom! My brain is not only instantly awake but it's going 100 mph and I'm trying to solve every problem in the world.  My anxiety shoots through the roof.  I'm over educated enough to know everything that can go wrong in situations and I over think them to death.  I don't fall back to sleep until about 5:00 or 5:30 am and then of course the universe needs me to be awake and functioning soon after so..... Sleep. The elusive sleep. Enter Kava Tea.

Kava tea or kava drinks come from a root that grows in the Pacific Islands.  It's muddy-tasting, dirty water looking drink that the Islanders have been drinking for centuries;  in my research I even found sources that say it's been used in the Fiji Islands for thousands of years.

It's touted as a potent anxiety reliever; kava offers a non-alcoholic way to wind down and relax or fall asleep.

Calming but keeps you alert - it just takes the edge off and relaxes you.  There have been numerous studies shown that kava does in fact work and some have found it comparable to antidepressants and chemicals like Xanax and Valium but without any side effects or addictions.   I did read in my research that there were liver damage warnings for heavy use but digging deeper, I found those to be flawed.  1) One of the studies found the participants experiencing problems were on other drugs that have liver damaging side effects and 2) Another did not differentiate between the source of the Kava.  You do not use the leaves nor the stem.  Use of the kava root only is a must (which is why you have to trust your purchase source!  Know what you are buying!)

Please do your own research on the benefits, warnings, recipes, ingredients, effects, studies, etc. on Kava.  Don't take my word for it - I am just sharing my story and how I make it.  There are kava 'experts' out there and I suggest you find one if you have any specific questions. 

There are different kinds of Kava and they have different effects after drinking them.  I choose one of the best ones for sleep and anxiety.   

I will link to some you can order through Amazon below this post.

The traditional way to make kava is to put about 2-4 tablespoons of ground up kava root into a strainer, muslin bag, cheesecloth, etc. You can even use an old, clean t-shirt. For each 2-4 tablespoons of kava use about a cup to 12 oz. of hot water depending on how strong you want your Kava mixture to taste. Hot from the tap is a good temperature although I used hot water from my coffee machine.

Place the strainer containing the kava root into your bowl. Next, pour the hot water directly into the bag/cloth with the kava root. Let this sit in the bowl for about 10 minutes.

Now start twisting and wringing.  Twist the top of your kava strainer/cloth closed and press out all the excess air. Begin kneading the kava root that’s inside the bag in the remaining water in the bowl. Alternate kneading the bag in the bowl and twisting it to strain all the water out. Your water should be turning a nice milky brown color similar to chocolate milk or dirty water. After kneading 5-10 minutes, twist the bag tight to remove all water from the root while not letting any actual root into your kava liquid.

Some people drink it warm but most like it chilled.  So add whatever flavorings you wish and chill it or if you are impatient like I am, dump some ice in it.

I started out doing it that way but realized kneading and twisting was more time consuming than I had patience for, and wasn't real comfortable on my sore shoulder!  Commence to switch to the EASY method!

Quick Kava Tea Method

Add 2-4 Tablespoons of Kava for each 8-12 oz hot water and put into a blender. Blend on high for approximately 3-4 minutes, empty and strain this through a cloth strainer, twisting and kneading. I let mine drip strain in the glass pitcher in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before straining.  I like to do two strainings because there is always pulp left in my cheesecloth after the second and I don't want that in my drink.

Note: after the first strain, when you throw the pulp away, it looks like a dirty baby diaper.  Just be prepared - this is not a 'pretty' drink prep!  The double straining process also helps because in my researching I found some people reported headaches or nausea after drinking; but when they started to double strain and get more of the pulp out, they had no headaches or nausea.  I never did either, although I've been double straining since the first.

FLAVORINGS:  I read it worked best mixed with coconut milk or milk.  Then you add whatever flavors you wish.  It has a 'muddy' flavor - an earthy taste to it. If you don't mind it, drink it straight.  I opt to use coconut milk or almond milk along with a dash of almond coffee syrup or extract, some vanilla coffee syrup or extract, and a stick of cinnamon.  I like cardamom in it when I have it on hand and some people put ginger in it but I'm not a fan so I don't. Within a few minutes of drinking it you should feel your tongue start to tingle a little bit.  Then you'll know you have real, good kava from a reputable source.

There are also Kava Extract Drops available that you simply use instead of brewing a tea with the powdered root and I will link to some below, but I've never used those.  And Micro powder versions which I'm told you don't have to use as much, nor a blender to mix but I've never used that style.

This is the brand and kind of Kava I chose due to the reaction I needed from my tea:  SLEEP and anti-anxiety.

Blending the hot water and kava powder in a blender

I chose to use some cheesecloth and a margarita pitcher. I simple twisted the top, pushed into the ice block slot & let drip while chilling

It clogs up the strainer or cheesecloth you still need to twist & knead and press to get the water out.  I double strained mine.

Note:  You only want the pure Noble variety.  So make sure you use a good source company.

I only researched these kinds as I was looking for the best to use for sleep and shoulder pain.  
There are more varieties available and more companies but you'll have to do your own research.

Tongan Pouni Ono - uplifting and happy calm - good for daytime use
Fiji Loa Waka - happy and calming then relaxed- balanced - afternoon use
Vanuatu Borogu - happy and calming then relaxed - balanced - afternoon use
Fiji Vula Waka - for sleep/anxiety (and only available through the KavaKalm site right now as of this posting) - night use
Vanuatu Borongru - for sleep/anxiety - night use

I said above I would link to the extra drops even though I've not used drops.  However these are two companies I read good things about and one of the brands below is sold by a very well known, large and reputable herb and spice company.  I am linking to the product on Amazon if you are interested.

Gaia Herbs - Kava Kava Root Extra Strength - 2 oz

Kava Kava HawaiiPharm NON-Alcohol Liquid Extract, Kava Kava (Piper Methysticum) Dried Root Glycerite 2 oz

Rambling over Coffee: Today's topic is pondering Acrylamide and Cancer in Humans

This is one of those posts where I just sip my coffee and chit-chat about what's on my mind. 

In 2002 my Mom was diagnosed with cancer and started with the surgeries, the chemo and rounds of radiation.  It was soon after this, I started to research 'cancer' more in depth.  That search led me down many different paths.  One of those paths was around that time Swedish scientists had found acrylamide in starchy foods cooked at high temperatures and there were some warnings that we needed to study this a little more.  The levels of acrylamide in things like Cheerios, french fries, potato chips and corn chips, etc. were high.  Extremely high.  And the initial studies done on mice and rats showed the levels to be cancer causing.  The question was;  'What effect do they have on humans?'

Since that was about 15 years ago, you would think a lot of testing had been done by now, right?


Very little has actually been done. That is how this post came to be.

This morning I was wondering what the latest studies and updates on acrylamide and cancer rates in humans were.  I did a little bit of quick research only to find no one is really studying this... a handful of tests or studies here and there but they have been based on the same studies someone else has already done.  As a matter of fact, I found the same tiny mouse/rat study quoted over and over.  

From:  cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/acrylamide-fact-sheet

Is there acrylamide in food? 

Researchers in Europe and the United States have found acrylamide in certain foods that were heated to a temperature above 120 degrees Celsius (248 degrees Fahrenheit), but not in foods prepared below this temperature (1). Potato chips and French fries were found to contain higher levels of acrylamide compared with other foods (2). The World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations stated that the levels of acrylamide in foods pose a “major concern” and that more research is needed to determine the risk of dietary acrylamide exposure (2).

Does acrylamide increase the risk of cancer?

Studies in rodent models have found that acrylamide exposure poses a risk for several types of cancer (11, 12, 13). However, the evidence from human studies is still incomplete. The National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer consider acrylamide to be a “probable human carcinogen,” based on studies in laboratory animals given acrylamide in drinking water. However, toxicology studies have shown differences in acrylamide absorption rates between humans and rodents (14).

From: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15668103

Acrylamide is carcinogenic to experimental mice and rats, causing tumors at multiple organ sites in both species when given in drinking water or by other means. In mice, acrylamide increases the incidence of alveologenic lung tumors and initiates skin tumors after dermal exposures. In two bioassays in rats, acrylamide administered in drinking water consistently induced peritesticular mesotheliomas, thyroid follicular cell tumors, and mammary gland tumors, as well as primary brain tumors when all such tumors were included in data analysis. In one of the rat bioassays, increased numbers of adrenal pheochromocytomas, adenomas of pituitary and clitoral glands, papillomas of the oral cavity, and adenocarcinomas of the uterus also occurred. In both humans and experimental animals, a significant fraction of ingested acrylamide is converted metabolically to the chemically reactive and genotoxic epoxide, glycidamide, which is likely to play an important role in the carcinogenicity of acrylamide. No studies on the carcinogenicity of glycidamide have been published, but bioassays of this compound are in progress


My comments interjected here...

This next 'study' was actually made me chuckle as I started to read through it.  As I read about this 'study' I find it wasn't actually a controlled study at all.  They simply were paid to read through whatever written articles, studies or cases they could find and publish their findings.  So, let's go there for a minute first;


A total of 586 publications were identified in the search (supplemental Appendix 1, available at Annals of Oncology online). The selection of publications relevant for our review is illustrated in supplemental Appendix Figure 1 (available at Annals of Oncology online). By examining the title, 407 publications, mainly experimental studies using acrylamide-based gels, were excluded (a1–a407); the abstract of the remaining 179 publications was looked in detail. Forty-eight publications were excluded as nonrelevant (reviews, experimental and clinical studies, etc.) (a408–a455), while the remaining 131 publications were abstracted and reviewed in detail. Among them, 106 did not report original epidemiological results on acrylamide and cancer and were no longer considered (a456–a561), whereas the remaining 25 publications were retained for the review. The review of the reference lists of these publications resulted in the identification of one additional report. Among these, 19 publications reported results on dietary intake of acrylamide [6–24], 2 publications reported results on biomarkers of exposure [22, 25] and 6 publications reported results on occupational exposure [26–31].

"Among these, 19 publications reported results on dietary intake of acrylamide [6–24], 2 publications reported results on biomarkers of exposure [22, 25] and 6 publications reported results on occupational exposure..."

So this often quoted study used a total of 19 publications two people sat and read through.
19 publications.
That was their study.
So findings are going to be uh... interesting to say the least as I'm not sure that you can really draw legit conclusions from a small study of reading 19 publications but wait, it gets better... look who funded the study....

"The project was supported partially by an unrestricted grant from Fritolay to the International Prevention Research Institute and by the International Prevention Research Institute's internal resources."


My comments in here really quick on this next part....

Note a total of 15 epidemiologic studies.  Fifteen.  Since 2002.  That's it.


Conjectured associations between dietary acrylamide intake and cancer have been evaluated in more than 15 epidemiologic studies examining almost every major cancer site.


So... does the US regulate this at all?
No.  I'm not really sure they should... I'm not for so much government 'regulations' but I do like to be informed so I can make my own choices in the foods I put into my body and the bodies of my loved ones - especially my kids and husband.  I would like to KNOW what levels are in which foods.  



In the United States, the FDA regulates the amount of residual acrylamide in a variety of materials that come in contact with food, but there are currently no regulations on the presence of acrylamide in food itself. 

 In 2016, the FDA issued guidance to help the food industry reduce the amount of acrylamide in certain foods, but these are recommendations, not regulations.

The EPA regulates acrylamide in drinking water. The EPA has set an acceptable level of acrylamide exposure, which is low enough to account for any uncertainty in the data relating acrylamide to cancer and other health effects.
In the workplace, exposure to acrylamide is regulated by the EPA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Can I lower my exposure to acrylamide?


For most people, the major potential sources of acrylamide exposure are in certain foods and in cigarette smoke. It’s not yet clear if the levels of acrylamide in foods raise cancer risk, but for people who are concerned, there are some things you can do to lower your exposure.

Certain foods are more likely to contain acrylamide than others. These include potato products (especially French fries and potato chips), coffee, and foods made from grains (such as breakfast cereals, cookies, and toast). These foods are often part of a regular diet. But if you want to lower your acrylamide intake, reducing your intake of these foods is one way to do so.
The FDA’s advice on acrylamide is to adopt a healthy eating plan, consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, that:
  • Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
  • Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
This type of diet is likely to have health benefits beyond lowering acrylamide levels.

Acrylamide has been detected in both home-cooked and in packaged or processed foods. Acrylamide levels in foods can vary widely depending on the manufacturer, the cooking time, and the method and temperature of the cooking process. Since acrylamide is formed from natural chemicals in food during cooking, acrylamide levels in cooked organic foods are likely to be similar to levels in cooked non-organic foods.

When cooking at home, some methods may lower the acrylamide levels produced in certain foods.

For potatoes, frying causes the highest acrylamide formation. Roasting potato pieces causes less acrylamide formation, followed by baking whole potatoes. Boiling potatoes and microwaving whole potatoes with skin on does not create acrylamide.

Soaking raw potato slices in water for 15 to 30 minutes before frying or roasting helps reduce acrylamide formation during cooking. (Soaked potatoes should be drained and blotted dry before cooking to prevent splattering or fires.)

Storing potatoes in the refrigerator can result in increased acrylamide during cooking. Therefore, store potatoes outside the refrigerator, preferably in a dark, cool place, such as a closet or a pantry, to prevent sprouting.

Generally, acrylamide levels rise when cooking is done for longer periods or at higher temperatures. Cooking cut potato products, such as frozen French fries or potato slices, to a golden yellow color rather than a brown color helps reduce acrylamide formation. Brown areas tend to have more acrylamide.

Toasting bread to a light brown color, rather than a dark brown color, lowers the amount of acrylamide. Very brown areas contain the most acrylamide.

Acrylamide forms in coffee when coffee beans are roasted, not when coffee is brewed at home or in a restaurant. So far, scientists have not found good ways to reduce acrylamide formation in coffee.

Not smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke are other ways to potentially reduce your exposure to acrylamide, as well as to many other potentially harmful chemicals.


  Ending thoughts?  Well, I as I finish the last of my now cold coffee and get ready to go brew a new cup (which incidentally apparently has acrylamide in it since it's made by roasting coffee beans at a high temperature... the only thing really in my mind is that it sounds to me like perhaps we should be doing some more studies on this.  Any foods that have the potential to cause cancer in humans is worth looking into although I'd like to see it funded by an industry that does not have a vested interested in the final documentation to support their food product sales....  But then again, in this day and age it's very difficult to find a case study that doesn't have the funders in bed with the researchers.  So...  (shrugging my shoulders) I guess it may be another 30 years before we really know anything.

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Media bias against President Trump: Where is the pro Trump rally coverage? A screenshot of NBC news and CNN shows just how biased they are against our President

I'm not in the mood to do a big blog post on this one... really, what can you say? It's so disgustingly obvious Americans cannot get facts in the news from major so-called 'news' sources anymore.  Gone are the days are when tv news stations and newspapers reported the facts and left their personal opinions to the editorial sections.

I never really had a dog in this fight.  I stopped watching television in Fall of 1998 or 1999 when I was in my 20's (I wised up pretty fast).  From there it used to be easy to get whatever news I wanted online - it was better than having a TV anchor person spoon feeding me their version. However, in the last few years it's even difficult to find the truth online from 'reputable' main stream media because frankly; they aren't reputable anymore.

There is too much money involved.  Too many big wigs at the TV stations in bed with politicians.  Too many immature and young people put in positions about 10 years above their age level.  Too much shock-and-awe.  Too much bias.

Too much yellow journalism.

Yellow journalism, or the yellow press, is a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers. Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering or sensationalism.

Today (right now) there are some pretty big pro-President Trump rallies going on.  I checked social media to see videos and photos of the huge crowds.

Just for fun (well, not fun, but you know....)  I went to NBC News and CNN to see what was on their homepage.  Because if it was that ... well, if it was Mr. Obama, the headlines and photos would be FILLING their homepage.  They would be kissing his behind, and making him out to be the next Messiah.  That man could lie through his teeth, disregard our Constitution, say whatever he wanted whether it was true or not, and the media would pee their pants and swoon - a few were probably brought to orgasm just looking at him (there are a couple celebrities that come to mind).  Personally I had to hold back nausea and vomit... I tried not to look at him much.  He seemed disgustingly evil to me. Sly like a fox, and intelligent in a creepy way.  When you don't watch TV it makes it a little easier... and the little red x in the corner of my computer screen helped.

But where was I?


So, just take a look for yourself.

You will see almost NOTHING positive about our current President because they are butt-hurt over him.  Even positive issues and stories are flipped around so they can put a negative spin on it.  And those rallies going on right now with huge crowds?  Nary a mention or coverage of them.

Yellow Journalism.
The double standards and bias is sickening.

Our media makes me sick... and believe it or not I was not a Trump supporter before the election.
I sure as heck would never in a million years vote for that other person (that woman) running;  But he is our PRESIDENT.  And the media is sickening.  They need to put on their big boy and girl panties and get back to doing their JOBS and leave their pissy attitudes at home in the morning.

HEY LOOK!  If you scroll down the page far enough you can see a TINY BLURB about the rallies... but look at how it's presented.  A HUGE photo of that unethical, morally bankrupt liar pants at a stupid stamp unveiling while the President gets a little less-than-half size photo screenshot from a little video, and he's barely in the shot.

If President Trump found the cure for cancer the media would still make it out to be negative and find fault.
My mind is just blown each day looking at the yellow journalism staring us right in the face.