My Experience With the Marukan ACV Challenge

We are an official ambassador for Marukan. Marukan provided us with product samples for the purpose of this post, as well as compensation for our time. As always, all opinions expressed are our own.

The health benefits of apple cider vinegar aren’t exactly new — and I don’t mean that in the sense that you’ve probably been hearing about it for a few years. Sure, it’s made headlines, often as a part of “detox diets” and the like, but if that’s the extent of your ACV knowledge, let me challenge you to learn a little more.

Way back in ancient Greece, around 400 B.C, Hippocrates prescribed ACV, mixed with a little honey, as a remedy for things like coughs and colds. And since then, it’s been used to fight infections, manage blood sugar, and — most interesting to me, personally — improve digestion because it contains probiotics.

While my tummy isn’t terribly sensitive, toward the end of 2020, I realized it was … well, let’s say it was acting a little more rebellious each morning than usual, and I wasn’t sure why. Was it stress? (Entirely possible!) Had my eating habits changed? (Probably — I’d gotten pretty tired of cooking every. single. day.) Was it something else? (Could be — digestive issues run in my family.)

So, as 2021 kicked off, I began implementing a few changes designed to soothe my stomach. I switched from a mesh filter to a paper filter for my coffee to reduce the acidity of my morning joe, I cut out weekday booze and stuck to just a glass or two for the occasional weekend happy hour, and, in February, I began the Marukan ACV 24 Day Challenge — which turned out to be the easiest change imaginable.

As longtime readers know, here at FBG we are all about focusing on the good things you can add in when trying to improve your health, rather than looking at what you need to reduce, so knocking back an ounce of Marukan’s ACV each day? Can do!

And that proved especially easy to do thanks to their new Marukan Organic Apple Cider & Rice Vinegar Drink Blend, which is the world’s first blend of apple cider vinegar and rice vinegar with just 1 gram of sugar per serving. Whereas pure ACV should be diluted before drinking, Marukan’s ACV Drink Blend can be consumed as a 1-ounce shot requiring no preparation or mixing — and I quickly found myself craving it each morning. It’s sharply sour, of course, being made with vinegar, but the blend offers just enough sweetness to give it kind of a kombucha vibe. It’s also tasty in smoothies; I particularly enjoyed it mixed in with frozen pineapple, frozen banana, kale, fresh ginger, and a splash of OJ, adding just enough water to it to help it blend nicely.

But smoothies aren’t the only type of recipe where ACV works well. In fact, the Marukan ACV 24 Day Challenge calendar (which you can download and print for yourself) includes recipes using their ACV Drink Blend and their new Organic Apple Cider Vinegar for chicken thighs, Waldorf salad, beef and broccoli. And the recipes on their website go well beyond that, offering everything from Instant Pot-friendly recipes to sushi to marinades and more.

That being said, the recipe I’ve gone back to over and over again is one that also supports my goal to consume less booze. I’d been pretty into shrubs and switchels for a while, but had only ever ordered them when out at a restaurant. (Which means, of course, that I hadn’t had one in quite some time. Thanks, 2020!)

As I looked into mocktails that could easily take the place of a post-work glass of wine, I quickly realized that the switchel was a perfect option.

After tinkering around with a couple of recipes, I found my ideal switchel concoction:

  • 2 Tablespoons Marukan ACV
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • a blob of honey (probably around a tablespoon, although if you prefer sweet, use more!)
  • 8 oz. club soda
  • squeeze of lime

Just be sure to stir it up thoroughly; I serve mine over ice, and trust me when I say it’s really a treat.

Now, something else I’ve learned on this ACV journey is that the type of apple cider vinegar you use really does matter. If it’s health benefits you’re looking for, you want to stick to raw, unfiltered options that include “the mother;” filtering and heating vinegars causes them to lose the proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria that make them so good for us. And since Marukan has a 370-year Japanese vinegar brewing legacy under its belt, I feel confident when the brand says that their ACV products, made from fresh-pressed apples grown in the U.S., hit all these marks — and, on top of that, are gluten-free, calorie-free and fat-free, as well as certified organic, Non-GMO and Kosher.

As I near the end of my 24 day challenge, the first thing that comes to mind is that I don’t actually want it to end. Fortunately, I don’t have to stop here — I can keep taking my morning ACV Drink Blend shot, mixing ACV into smoothies, and, of course, enjoying the occasional switchel in the backyard for happy hour. (Seriously, I’ve started looking more forward to that than a glass of wine.)

I won’t say my digestion is perfect, but the improvement is notable. Without going into detail, let’s just say that my stomach feels better in general, I’m experiencing less bloating, and mornings are … more predictable. And sure, I’ve made a few changes so I can’t chalk it all up to the ACV Challenge, but I’m comfortable giving it some credit, for sure. Between that improvement and the fact that I legitimately enjoy the taste, I think you can call me a convert. I’m living that ACV life and I don’t want to go back!

Have you ever gotten into the ACV habit? What benefits did you experience? Learn how you can take the Marukan ACV 24 Day Challenge here! –Kristen

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