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03.04.2017

To say that Ashwini Raghupathy is a culture enthusiast is to allude to more than just her Odissi dance performances. When she’s not on stage, she grows kombucha and kefir cultures, preparing and selling the healthy-hip beverages to Bangalore’s SCOBY sistas.

We’re at Ashwini’s studio on a Friday, listening to her gush about bacteria, convincing us to crush on yeast, and telling us how a steady IV of kombucha helped her battle fatigue, asthma and genetic cholesterol. Following her recovery, she adopted a new alter ego – Gut-nanji (shakti of the gut) – and started a company called Good Life with Gutnanji, a fermented and live foods company.

Ashwini believes in the no-gut-no-glory way of life (she follows a full fermented diet, but won’t impose it on you). “Start slow and increase your probiotic intake over a longer duration.” But as we all know, acquiring gut(s) to start a new venture isn’t easy. “I had to really hunt for reliable yeast and travel a fair amount. It was at this time I met my mentor in Canada, who helped me set up the mother culture or SCOBY.” It is Ashwini’s hope to introduce Bangalore to fermented foods’ health benefits, and establish these drinks as long-term solutions rather than fly-by-night fads.  

Following her recovery, she adopted a new alter ego – Gut-nanji (shakti of the gut) – and started a company called Good Life with Gutnanji, a fermented and live foods company.

Milk The Benefits

Apart from Kombucha, Ashwini also brews and sells milk kefir and water kefir; she also conducts workshops on fermentation and live foods. At her studio, you will be introduced to varied yeast samples and beautiful jars of pickles, beets and sauerkraut. You can also set up your own probiotic experiments by buying kombucha and kefir cultures from Good Life.

We ordered a sampler set of the Holy Triad with much trepidation (bpb isn’t really into booch. Hooch, sure, but not booch). The mildly sweetened kombucha, cold and effervescent, definitely wins for its more pleasing personality. Milk kefir though, slightly funky, is certainly an acquired taste.

If you want to be a more “welcoming host” to your bacteria, Ashwini aka Gutnanji will be travelling across the country over the next few months to conduct workshops on fermenting SCOBY. Maybe she’ll do a dance as well. We think it’s the yeast she can do for you.

Getting there: You can order a sample pack of three 300 ml bottles of Kombucha and Kefirs for Rs 500 plus delivery charges. Call/ WhatsApp 9901159106 or mail at gutnanji@gmail.com

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