Category Archives: macrobiotics

A Light at the End of the Migraine Tunnel

As much as you can eat healthy, it’s also important to remember to drink healthy, too. Tea is very healing.
~Kristin Chenoweth

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Do you ever experience headaches or migraines? Are you ready for a whole health approach to healing? If you’ve ever experienced migraines, you know how debilitating they can be. While the conventional approach to health focuses on eliminating pain, wholistic methods view the body as an interconnected whole that can be healed on many different levels. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the macrobiotic approach to healing migraines and provide wholistic alternatives to conventional pain relieving treatments.

In the Asian concept of the human body, there is an energy system, the life force or chi, which allows organs to communicate with each other to nourish or control the activity of other organs. This energy system connects organs through energy channels called meridians, which can become blocked or damaged through congestion or over activity. Blocked or disruptive energy can cause problems in organs, such as the brain, resulting in migraines or headaches.

Asian cultures have used healing brews for thousands of years to help relieve migraine pain on an energetic level. Let’s explore this wholistic perspective to relieving migraines with these three healing teas:

1. Ume Sho Kuzu Tea

Migraines may be caused by excess consumption of strong expansive foods, like sugar, alcohol, and fruit. These foods have upward rising energy which are attracted to the front (cognitive) and left (intellectual) side of the head, creating instability in areas that are usually more grounded. This healing beverage helps relieve pain in these areas by grounding and stabilizing the upward expansive energy.

1 teaspoon kuzu root starch
1 1/4 cup cold water
1/2 to 1 umeboshi plum (salted pickled plum), chopped
1/2 teaspoon shoyu soy sauce

  1. Dissolve kuzu in 1 1/4 cup cold water. Pour liquid into a saucepan and bring to boil, stirring constantly to prevent clumping.
  2. Turn down flame and simmer until liquid becomes translucent (about 2 minutes).
  3. Add umeboshi plum and shoyu.
  4. Simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

2. Apple Kuzu Tea

Strong contracting foods, like meat or salt, are attracted to the rear, center (primitive), and right (intuitive) side of the brain. Over consumption of foods with downward contracting energy can disrupt the normal flow of energy in these areas. The upward expanding energy in Apple Kuzu Tea helps relieve headaches in these areas by balancing the inward, contracting forces.

1 teaspoon kuzu root starch
1 1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup apple juice

  1. Dissolve kuzu in 1 1/4 cup cold water.
  2. Add apple juice.
  3. Pour liquid into a saucepan and bring to boil, stirring constantly to prevent clumping.
  4. Turn down flame and simmer until liquid becomes translucent (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat and serve.

3. Dried Daikon Shiitake Tea

Excess consumption of greasy oily foods, such as potato chips, fries, or nuts, blocks the natural upward movement of liver energy. When liver energy becomes stagnated, migraines can occur on the sides of the brain. Dissolving oil in the body with Japanese daikon radish and shiitake mushroom can help relieve pain in these areas.

1/2 cup dried daikon
1 shiitake mushroom, soaked and then sliced (save soaking water)
2 1/2 cups water (including soaking water)

  1. Add dried daikon, shiitake, and water to a saucepan. Bring to boil.
  2. Lower flame and simmer 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Strain. Remove from heat and serve.

Remember that pain can be a healing messenger, indicating where there are blockages of energy flow in the body. Understanding how to clear areas of stagnation with wholistic remedies can help relieve pain and bring your body back to its natural state of harmony.

Three Steps to Becoming a Better Cook

Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements.
~Chef Marcel Boulestin

mid section view of a woman cutting vegetables

Have you started making healthy food choices, but are confused about how to cook these new foods? Are you wondering how to pull it all together? If you’ve started along a life-enhancing path, you may have some questions about how to cook wholesome, delicious meals for your family. In this article, we’ll explore ways to overcome your concerns about cooking.

Now that you’ve embarked on a healthy regime, you may have some “challenges” around preparing meals. To help you become a better cook, follow these three simple steps:

1. Whenever possible, use fresh organic, locally grown ingredients

A dish will go only as far as the ingredients used. Your taste buds and sense of smell will help you discern whether you are using the best ingredients. Fresh vegetables that are organic and locally grown not only taste and smell good, they also look vibrant and alive. Taking shortcuts, like using processed and imitation ingredients, make your dish look and taste artificial and lifeless. The natural approach applies to whole healing as well. Unlike processed foods, fresh ingredients have more nutrients and life force energy that help support organ function.

2. Set aside 30 minutes each day to prepare food

By setting aside half an hour each day for food preparation, you create an intention to respect the food in a more loving way. The chef’s mental and emotional states affect the outcome of the cooking process. The stress of rushing through food preparation imparts agitating energy not only to your family but also to the dish you are cooking. Cooking is a sacred activity and must be treated with loving energy. Preparing food with love sets the tone for the meal, which brings peace to whoever eats it.

 3. Make it fun

No one said you had to suffer to eat well. Here are three things you can do to make cooking fun:

  • Cook foods that you like. We all enjoy eating foods that we like, and cooking these foods makes sticking to a healthy meal plan more enjoyable.
  • Trust yourself to experiment with seasonings and herbs. When you try out new flavors, your curiosity and sense of wonder are stimulated. Like children, we can “play” with our food and come up with new flavors that enhance the dish.
  • Share your food with others. Taking pride in what you accomplish is the fuel for future endeavors. When you share your joy of cooking, you’ll feel good and will want to continue to spread the love. Also, friends who taste your dishes will ask you about the ingredients, encouraging you to develop your knowledge about the food and the cooking process.

Cooking is more than just combining ingredients together on a plate. A healthy meal is symbolic of the loving energy the chef contributes to the food. By understanding this, you can transform your meals from ho-hum to Hallelujah!

(Dave Cunningham contributed to this article.)

Are you having a secret love affair?

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.
~Harriet Van Horne


You already know about the advantages of eating healthy— a stronger immune system, reduced risk of many diseases, physical fitness, and so much more. But did you know you were born with an inner guidance system for preparing life-enriching foods? The world’s best chefs already know this. When you build a connection with food and trust your inner guidance system, the process of healthy cooking will naturally fall into place.

Here a some tips for bonding with your food and strengthening your intuition to create delicious, healthy meals:

1. Experiment.

Organic food is delicious all on its own. The simple process of steaming some organic carrots can really bring out their flavor. However, if you are entertaining or just in the mood for something different, flex your creative muscles and change a dish up. You can use additional ingredients- like sauces, herbs, spices, and condiments— to enhance the food’s natural flavors. Condiments can also help to balance a dish, enhancing flavors and boosting the energy.

2. Use all of your assets.

You may want to try time-honored family recipes to get in touch with your cultural roots. However, don’t get locked into just following those recipes over and over. As your creativity expands, you can create new dishes centered around your family’s culinary heritage.

By making some mistakes along the way, you’ll learn to balance ingredients in a meal and how to make substitutions. This is an empowering process, and it allows you to make more informed decisions instead of just following someone else’s advice or instructions. You might prefer the dish to be more spicy, less spicy, or seasoned differently. When you cook without a recipe, you can adjust the seasonings and ingredients to make it your own. You can infuse a meal with your unique flair by trusting your energy and intuition.

3. Start a love affair.

One of the easiest ways to incorporate healthy cooking into your life is to develop an intimate relationship with food. Really make it a love affair— get truly passionate about healthy food. For example, incorporate one new vegetable or whole grain into your meal plan each week.

It’s sort of like getting to know someone you’ve just met. At first, it’s a little scary, because you don’t know how to behave around each other. And then after you spend some more time with them and you get to know each other, you start to build a mutual trust and feel safe around them. Eventually, you can’t imagine life without them. The same concept can be applied to your relationship with food. In the beginning, it will be a little scary, but after a while, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without your vegetables and whole grains.

As you build a love affair with food, you’ll not only make better tasting dishes, you’ll also develop an all-encompassing confidence that you can take with you out into the real world— your job, your relationships, and anything else that requires truth and intuition.

Want to strengthen your immune system this winter?

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.
~Edith Sitwell

Winter means snuggling up in front of a crackling fire, building snowmen on the lawn, and gathering family and friends together for a holiday meal. Imagine snowflakes falling softly, bright red berries on branches, aromatic herbs and seasonings, and warming soups and stews. Because the energy of winter slows down and turns inward, this is an ideal time to nourish your body deep inside and build up your immune system.

Seasonal cooking will help your body stay attuned to the order of the universe, becoming stronger and more resistant to illness. The key to achieving this balance is cooking according to the seasons. For example, in winter time, avoid eating cooling foods, like salads and frozen desserts. Instead, you want warming, strengthening dishes like the following recipe, which includes hardy winter greens.

Emerald Sauté with Cranberries and Pecans

This delicious side dish infuses rich flavor and color to any holiday meal. Bitter winter kale nourishes heart function and expands the heart’s capacity for love and joy. Rich in calcium and antioxidants, kale also protects against macular degeneration and osteoporosis.

Serves 4

1 bunch kale, chopped
2 teaspoons untoasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons spring water
1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries, fruit juice sweetened
lemon juice, to taste
shoyu soy sauce, to taste

  1. In a skillet, sauté greens in oil 2 minutes.
  2. Add water. Bring to boil, lower heat, and simmer, covered, 2 minutes.
  3. Season with lemon juice and shoyu. Garnish with chopped pecans and dried cranberries.

Food is not just about nutrition and calories—it’s also comprised of life force energy, related to the energy of the seasons, the time day, and your moods. When you balance your inner energy with external forces through seasonal cooking, you’ll not only have a stronger immune system, but also a more balanced life.

Want to successfully juggle healthy eating with a busy lifestyle?

I don’t run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet.
~Nadia Comaneci

Are you changing to a healthier diet, but struggling to include the right foods in your new meal plan? Are you wondering how to get it all done? Beginning a new meal plan requires adjustments to your daily routine. In this article, I’ll share with you the secrets of how to balance healthy eating with a busy lifestyle.

Now that you have made the decision to become healthier, you may face some “challenges” around changing dietary habits. Here are some questions you may have about how to juggle healthy eating with a busy lifestyle:

1. Does it take longer to heal?

The natural approach to healing is not a “quick” fix; healing takes time. Unlike drugs or surgery where improvements or changes occur fairly quickly, using food takes longer. By trusting in the process, you can allow the natural pace of healing to occur. You’ll experience deeper, longer lasting effects, when the body heals at its own pace rather than forcing the body to change. Mindfulness meditation while enjoying a meal is particularly helpful in calming and focusing the mind. Breathing and chewing slowly enhances digestion, relaxes the body, and promotes healing. (Refer to my blog for mindfulness meditation techniques while eating.)

2. Does cooking take longer in the kitchen?

Cooking is like any other routine that you fit into your life–you have to make room for it by setting aside the time. It will be helpful to schedule cooking in your daily plan on your calendar. When you plan your day, make some appointments in your calendar for cooking. Prepare long-cooked meals, like grains, beans, and soups, on the weekend so they are ready to heat up when you are in a rush. When you set the intention to make healthy eating a priority, your new lifestyle becomes the norm.

 3. Is eating healthy more expensive?

Over the long term, eating healthy foods is easy on your budget. Eating locally grown, seasonal whole foods saves you money not only in packaging costs but also in freshness. You will get a higher quality product and that shows up in flavor as well as in the state of your health. By paying for fresh organic food now, you are preventing disease later and that not only saves you in hospital costs, but also ensures a better quality of life in your later years.

Make sure you are getting the right foods into your meal plan. One of the easiest things you can do right now to fit healthy eating into your life is to throw away all your processed foods, including white bread, white rice, boxed cereals, and white flour products like pasta.

Now is the time to start fresh. You are on the right track and the best is yet to come!

Eating Meditation

Give up everything [in the way of food and drink] that is not absolutely necessary to your life for at least a week or two. You will catch a glimpse of freedom, happiness, and justice. You may soon understand why Macrobiotic persons are completely immunized from disease. The decision is yours.
~ George Ohsawa, Zen Macrobiotics

Would you like to boost your immune system without pills or tonics? A long life, free of disease, and filled with peace and happiness, is available to you right now. You can discover the natural ability of the body to heal itself through simple meditation and the art of eating.

What is meditation?

There are two kinds of meditation: concentration meditation and mindfulness meditation.

  1. Concentration meditation

    Concentration meditation is like a laser beam, which illuminates any object of focus. This kind of meditation produces a calm, unruffled mind, that is detached from emotional and interpersonal attachment. Any object of awareness can be the focus of concentration, whether internal or external, including words (mantra), an image (flame), a spot on the body (abdomen), or a kinesthetic feeling (breath). When the mind wanders, the mind returns to the object of concentration.

  2. Mindfulness meditation

    Mindfulness meditation is like a searchlight that shines over a wide range of objects as they arise in awareness, one at a time. You notice whatever predominates in awareness from moment to moment. Relaxed, choiceless awareness develops in the mind, which directs conscious attention instantly and naturally toward the changing elements of experience. Meditation begins with focus on the breath. Then you direct your awareness to include other experiences, including the senses of sight, sound, touch, smell, taste, and hearing. When the mind wanders, the mind returns to the breath.

Unlike concentration meditation, which focuses on internal and external objects, mindfulness focuses on experiences and broad awareness. However, both meditations return to the focus object or experience when the mind wanders. This combination of detached emotions and an absence of interpersonal involvement in the development of awareness is central to both meditations.

Eating Meditation

Eating meditation is an example of mindfulness. Follow these steps when you are sitting down to a meal to become aware of the present moment, and help boost your natural immunity:

  1. Take a bite of food and put your chopsticks or fork down.
  2. Chew between 50–100 times for each bite. Proper chewing is important to stimulate digestive enzymes and alkalinize your food.
  3. Swallow your saliva. (Saliva and the water in your body are reflections of the oceans on earth.)
  4. As you chew, breathe in and out five times. (The breath inside and outside your body contains life force energy, called prana in India.)
  5. Repeat this process until all the food is gone.

What did you experience? If you experienced peace and a heightened awareness of being in the present moment, this is what mindfulness meditation is: the process of slowing down, with directed, moment-to-moment, nonjudgmental attention. When you practice eating meditation, you open your heart to the present moment, the universal source of natural healing. Your appreciation and gratitude for the food and all who contributed to providing it for your nourishment are the keys to long-lasting health, peace, and happiness.

Want an everlasting love?

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.
~Virginia Woolf

Ready to embrace a “whole health” approach to your relationships? When you eat high quality foods and develop inner wisdom for optimal health and wholeness, your authentic self naturally shines through. As a result, your relationships become deeper and more intimate.

Incorporating whole foods into your diet can help to naturally boost energy, increase pleasure, and strengthen loving relationships. Here are three ways whole foods can impact your long-term relationships:

1. Whole foods nourish whole people.

Whole foods contain the all vital energy of the plant, which nourishes all levels of mind, body, and spirit. Eating organic, seasonal, locally grown vegetables and whole grains brings our bodies back into harmony with nature and its rhythms. For the best spectrum of vitamins and minerals, include a variety of vegetables in your meal plan and remember to eat the whole vegetable, including the ends and tips. This allows the energy of the entire plant to nourish your whole being – body, mind, and spirit.

2. You’re increasing energy flow to your organs.

When you eat seasonal, locally grown whole foods, you nourish and open up energy pathways in the body, which brings all organs, including your heart, back into harmony with the rhythms of nature. When your heart becomes open in a more loving way, your relationships become deeper and more intimate as well.

3. You’re building up strengthening energy in your reproductive organs.

Consider this – the more you increase energy flow to your kidneys and reproductive organs, the more strengthening energy accumulates in these organs. Now, when your reproductive organs are stronger, your overall energy and sexual vitality increases. When you’re feeling more energy and vitality, you are able to contribute to and experience the intimacy you really want.

Whole foods contain the vitality of life that contributes to health on all levels– body, mind, spirit, emotions, and relationships. A whole health regime can help reignite the spark of joy in your relationships through the natural energies of whole foods, creating deeper, more intimate relationships.

Chewing Meditation

I found out was, by the rhythm of my chewing, how I chewed fast, slow or what have you, I could tell the audience what my character was thinking and feeling.
~Rod Steiger

You already know that eating seasonal, locally grown organic foods is good for your health, but did you know that how you eat is as important for your overall well-being as choosing the right foods? One way to promote healing is to raise your awareness around your chewing process to strengthen your relationship with your food.

Setting an intention to cook with a loving mindset enhances the healing energy in your food. When the meal is ready to eat, set another intention to chew mindfully and nourish your relationship with your food for better health. Chewing has numerous benefits along with a macrobiotic diet, including:

  • Alkalinizing the blood
  • Promoting digestion
  • Relaxing the lower stomach muscle
  • Enhancing an overall state of rhythm and relaxation
  • Nourishing your connection with your food

Include the following chewing meditation exercises when you are sitting down to a meal. Before you begin chewing, answer the following questions:

  1. Do you have any food cravings?
  2. Do you have any areas of tension in your body?

During the chewing process, focus on the following contrasting activities:

  1. Take a bite of food and chew at normal speed.
  2. Next, chew faster than normal speed.
  3. Then chew slower than normal speed.
  4. Resume chewing at normal speed.
  5. In your journal, record your body’s experiences.

After doing the exercises, answer the following questions:

  1. What changes in your body did you notice while doing the meditation?
  2. How did changing the speed of chewing affect the way you felt about the food?
  3. How did your body’s wisdom guide you during chewing?

Compare your results and notice any guidance that arises that can take you to a deeper, richer relationship with food.

Can sea veggies boost sexual vitality?

Want to increase intimacy in your relationship? Look no further than the food on your plate. The secret to boosting sexual vitality can be found in the healing powers of sea vegetables.

Mineral-rich sea vegetables are used in macrobiotics to strengthen the main conduit in the body, the spine. This allows universal energy to flow through the main energy centers, or “chakras,” that run up the center of the body – a simple, nutritional way to harmonize the reproductive organs and strengthen sexual vitality.

Sea vegetables have unique compounds that bind to toxins and remove them from the body, boosting overall health as well as sexual vitality. Wakame, for example, is good for the uterus and helps cleanse dairy congestion from the reproductive organs. Sea vegetables also keep blood vessels flexible and strengthen the cardiovascular system. This allows more love to flow in your relationship.

So, increase intimacy and sexual vitality by adding nutrition-packed sea veggies to soups, stews, and sautés. Use them in gravies, pickles, and beans. And use roasted sea veggies, like dulse for bacon flavor, and roasted nori for sushi. Here’s a simple recipe, using a mild tasting sea vegetable called arame:

Arame with Carrots and Red Onion

Arame nourishes the spleen, stomach, and pancreas and is especially good for female reproductive organs. Because it contains mannitol (a non-caloric sugar), this sea vegetable helps keep blood pressure and blood sugar levels balanced. For variety, include other vegetables, like green beans, corn, and beets.

Ingredients
Serves 4

1 medium red onion, half moons
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup arame, rinsed
1/2 cup carrots, matchsticks
1/4 cup spring water
1 tablespoon shoyu, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon mirin (rice wine), or to taste
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

  1. In a frying pan, sauté onion in oil until translucent. Add arame on top of onions and carrots on top of arame. Add water and cover. Bring to boil, lower heat, and simmer 20 minutes. (If needed, add more water to prevent the pan from drying out.)
  2. Season with shoyu, stir, and continue to cook 2 minutes, uncovered.
  3. Season to taste with mirin. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

All you need is love, love, love . . .

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
~ Rumi

Want a vibrant, loving relationship that lasts forever? If you desire a romantic relationship, the key may be to unlock the door to the natural flow of Love. Any barriers you create against it are out of alignment with the natural order of the Universe.

Here are three ways to reconnect with your partner and allow Love to flow:

1. Restore balance with meditation and prayer.

While blockages in your relationships can be created by eating extreme or unbalanced foods, they can also be created by merely thinking negative thoughts. In such cases, you can restore balance in your relationships by re-focusing your thoughts on Love through meditation and prayer, to realign yourself with the order of the universe.

2. Focus on the positive.

Negative thoughts, just as extreme foods, can block universal energy from flowing through meridians or energy pathways in the body. However, by focusing on positive thoughts, you can come back to center.

3. Trust your intuition.

Trusting your intuition allows you to access your higher self which will guide you toward Love. All relationships can be healed when you follow your intuition in your daily macrobiotic practice.

Removing blockages to Love’s flow is the key reconnecting not only with your partner, but also with universal energy for a healthier, balanced life.

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