Two years ago, qualified nutritional therapist Katie Sewell had a vision. Her involvement with both the Forest Row and Lewes branches of health food store The Seasons gave her an awareness of the public’s desire for tasty and nutritious drinks. Wanting to put her knowledge into something practical and create an accessible way for people to consume probiotics – beneficial bacteria and yeast – she founded Katie’s Tonix, a small company based in Brighton that specialises in organic fermented drinks.
Katie says: “One of the biggest things I learnt while studying nutrition is how important gut health and our ‘microbiome’, the bacteria and fungi that resides in our gut, are to wellbeing. Many common ailments start with an imbalance of the microbiome, and modern lifestyle stress, pollution and bad diet disrupts it. Gut microbes play roles in many important body processes including digestion, the endocrine (hormone) and immune systems, and the regulation of cholesterol levels. Consuming probiotics, such as those in fermented drinks, helps repopulate the microbiome with good bugs.”
Katie now supplies shops all over Brighton and across Sussex with distinctive fermented beverages such as water kefir, kvass, and turmeric and ginger shots – one of their bestselling drinks. Turmeric contains anti-inflammatory properties, and ginger and tamarind boosts the immune system, making for a very healthy drink, while water kefir and kvass contain a vast array of probiotics. Katie adds: “Bringing back balance to the gut and our bodies has been linked to many health benefits, and fermentation can also increase the bioavailability of nutrients that occur in other foods.”
As well as caring for the health of the gut, Katie’s Tonix does its bit for the health of the planet, operating a bottle return scheme where customers bring their empties back to specific shops. These are personally collected by Katie, cleaned, sterilised and re-used. Although all Katie’s Tonix bottles are fully recyclable, this scheme offers an even more sustainable solution to our throwaway culture and waste problems. As well as this zero-waste initiative, Katie has set up a dispenser for water kefir in The Seasons at Lewes, where kefir can be obtained on tap!
For those wanting a little more hands-on experience with probiotics, Katie’s Tonix also sell kefir grains for people to make DIY kefir at home. These have sold well during the lockdown as a fun project for people to try for themselves.
In times when wellbeing matters more than ever, organic probiotic products are an important contribution and Katie’s mission is to encourage people further to eat healthily – and genuinely live from the gut.
Visit Katie’s website at: www.katiestonix.com or search for her on Instagram to find out more.