Category Archives: macrobiotics

Are you ready to take the 7 Day Whole Grain Challenge?

Not eating enough whole grains? Incorporating whole grains into your diet can be challenging when you have a busy schedule and no time to cook. Because they contain intact fiber, whole grains provide complex carbohydrates for energy while keeping blood glucose levels steady throughout the day.

Polished grains, like white rice, are digested very quickly and absorbed immediately into the bloodstream, spiking your blood glucose level, which then falls suddenly, leading to a “crash.” These erratic highs and lows of blood glucose levels contribute to diabetes, weight gain, depression, and a host of other conditions.

Traditional cultures used healing whole grains everyday in stews, soups, and salads. You can balance your diet by adding whole grains to your recipes in one week with the 7 Day Whole Grain Challenge.

Day 1: Shopping Day

Choose 2-3 whole grain recipes, make a list of ingredients, and shop! When you get home, soak grains overnight as prep for the next day’s recipe. Experiment with a variety of grains besides the staple brown rice: barley, quinoa, oat groats, amaranth, etc.

Day 2: Prep ‘n Cook Day

Cook grains and chop veggies while grains are cooking. Boil water and blanch veggies for a quick meal.

Day 3: Leftovers

Want an easy way to eat whole grains at work? Turn leftover grain into a delicious grain salad. Stir in umeboshi vinegar, olive oil, chopped scallions, and grated carrot. Take your salad to work for a healthy lunch. Before you leave, prepare another grain for soaking while you are at work. When you return home, your grain is ready to be cooked.

Day 4: Whole Grains on the Go

No time to make a whole grain lunch? Find Asian restaurants near your work and call to see which one serves brown rice. Order a delicious lunch of brown rice and sautéed veggies…and ta da! A fast and easy way to have a whole grain lunch.

Day 5: Quick Cooking Quinoa

Quick-cooking, protein-packed quinoa takes 15 minutes to cook. Keep in the fridge and mix with chopped blanched veggies for easy lunches and dinners (cook 1 cup quinoa in 2 cups water or broth, season with shoyu soy sauce).

Day 6: Traveling Food

Want to take whole grains on trips? Make your own healthy “happy” meals! Stuff nori sheets with seasoned grains and blanched veggies and roll up to make sushi. Or roll seasoned grains into balls, stuff with a little umeboshi plum, and cover with nori sheets.

Day 7: Chewing Experiment

Have a sweet tooth? Chew each bite at least 20 times. You’ll be surprised at how sweet your whole grains become. Added benefits include better digestion and a relaxing and satisfying feeling!

Healthy Relationship Tip

Widen your definition of food. Think about this: Food includes more than just what you eat. Loving relationships, satisfying careers, spiritual growth, and exercise feed you in more ways than whole grains and veggies alone. This wholistic way of living is your primary food.

The Aphrodisiac Twig

While sensuous aphrodisiacs like rose or chocolate take center stage on date night, twig-like burdock root has largely been ignored. Growing deep in the earth, burdock’s downward gathering energy nourishes the lower half of the body, including the reproductive organs. But unlike stimulants that activate the adrenals temporarily, burdock provides healing benefits that are long lasting. When your reproductive organs are healthy, so is your sex life.

Adding meat-like flavor to this beautiful kinpira dish, burdock root is cut into brown matchsticks.

Deeply strengthening to the intestines, kidneys, and reproductive organs, burdock root is also used in the macrobiotic diet to purify the blood and cleanse the liver. Its meaty flavor enhances sautes, stews, soups, and gravies. A traditional Japanese healing dish called kimpira uses braised burdock and carrot. Because it contains volatile oils, saute burdock a few minutes to allow oils to evaporate before adding burdock to a dish.

Burdock, Carrot, and Caramelized Red Onion Kimpira
Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup burdock root, matchsticks
3/4 cup carrot, matchsticks
1 pinch sea salt

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add red onion and saute until caramelized. Remove onion from pan and set aside.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and burdock and saute over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add carrots on top of burdock. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Bring to boil, lower heat, and simmer 20 minutes, covered, or until vegetables are tender. Add water if necessary to prevent pan from drying out. Season with salt. Continue cooking, covered, 2 minutes. Remove cover and cook until water is evaporated. Top carrots and burdock with caramelized red onion.

Whether you are feeling lethargic or just want to improve your sex life, burdock is a natural way to increase youthful vitality in all the right places–without pills or surgery!

Sensing Your Food

Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.
~Ashley Smith

Memories, imagination, old sentiments, and associations are more readily reached through the sense of smell than through any other channel.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Do you remember as a child how fun it was to play in the grass and smell the flowers? That fun doesn’t have to end. Your awareness of the world is dependent on your senses, which are part of your body. Through your senses, you can experience the natural state of interconnectedness between you and everything around you, even your food. Cultivating mindfulness can enhance your relationship with food and help in the healing process.

Focusing on your senses helps you become mindfully awake and perceive the vividness of each moment. Rather than separating you from your food, every sense organ can become a doorway that provides the experience of natural connection between all beings in nature. Does this make sense?

When you experience yourself as being part of the whole family of life, you become open to universal healing energy. Everything you see is a communion of you and nature, no separation, joined through your senses. Use smell, taste, sight, touch, and sound to connect with your food.

Let’s focus on your sense of smell. To develop a conscious relationship with food, smell your food when you are:

  • Standing at the produce counter in the grocery store
  • Buying grains and sea vegetables in bulk
  • Cutting vegetables for a recipe
  • Washing rice before soaking
  • Cooking a meal
  • Adding herbs and spices to a dish
  • Walking through a garden
  • Sitting in a restaurant

Now practice using your senses of sight, touch, taste, and sound. As you use your senses, you can develop an intimate relationship and profound respect for your food. Can you see how this deep respect and reverence helps to strengthen your connection with nature and allows the healing process to unfold?

Living Organically

Everything is the product of one universal creative effort. There is nothing dead in Nature. Everything is organic and living, and therefore the whole world appears to be a living organism.
~ Seneca, Roman philosopher, mid-1st century AD

Eating whole foods grown without pesticides and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are two ways to create a holistic organic experience. How are you living an organic life?

You’d be surprised to know that you are already living the basic meaning of the word organic. Here are three reasons why:

1. Each part is integral to the whole.

According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, the essence of the word organic means “of, relating to, or derived from living organisms.” An organism is defined as “a complex structure of interdependent and subordinate elements whose relations and properties are largely determined by their function in the whole.” This suggests that life itself is organic and that each element is integral to the whole. Everything around you is part of a whole living system.

2. Your choices have consequences.

The choices you make begin a chain of events that affect the whole. The cosmos adjusts to balance the pendulum of the living organism of the universe. Because each part is integral to the whole, when one part of an organism becomes diseased, the rest of the organism compensates to allow healing to begin.

3. To heal is to make whole.

The choice to be open to universal energy creates a natural healing pathway in the body. This begins at the spiritual level. In fact, the meaning of the word heal is “to make whole.” At the spiritual level, when an organism chooses to heal, all of its members reconnect in an ancient dance of creation and destruction, rebalancing and making adjustments for the continuation of life.

Universal energy connects everything together, and your gratitude keeps this energy flowing. So, say a prayer the next time you bite into that deliciously crunchy salad, and remember how important it is to the organization of the whole of life.

Word of the Day

Organic-ism is “a theory that life and living processes are the manifestation of an activity possible only because of the autonomous organization of the system rather than because of its individual components.”

New Beginnings

A good traveler is one who does not know where he is going to, and a perfect traveler is one who does not know where he came from.
~Lin Yu-t’ang

One of the principles of macrobiotics is, “What has a beginning has an end.” Beginnings and endings are so intertwined and dependent on each other, neither one would exist without the other. Indeed, the word “beginning” itself implies there will be an end result, just as the word “end” implies there was a beginning.

Yin and Yang

Just as there is a beginning, so must there be an end, and it follows that there must be both yin and yang forces in everything. Complementary opposites of yin and yang at the extreme transform into each other: yin changes into yang and yang changes into yin. For example, a seed is the source of the mature tree. Yet, in looking at the seed, you can not see the mature tree inherent in it; the tree is waiting to be born.

One Infinity

The seed and mature tree, although separate in appearance, are one and the same energy force. Thus, there is one infinity, not only with complementary opposites that transform into each other, but also with beginnings and ends that change into their opposites in a never-ending cycle of life.

Creating Your Goals

As the creator of your life, you can design your vision as general or as specific as you like. Some people like to be in the flow with universal forces, accepting situations as they come, feeling grateful for the gifts they receive. These people are like reeds in water and bend with the current, moving in harmony with universal forces. Other people like to plan their life, taking an active role in creating their future, planting the seeds to harvest the fruit they wish to eat later.

In macrobiotics, the first approach is more yin in nature, passive and receptive. The latter approach is more yang in nature, active and direct. Since the universe is a balance of both approaches, I suggest making appropriate choices to create the life you want, while being open to unexpected gifts that come your way.

The following goal setting format is a general approach to creating your goals (this tool is also useful for New Year’s resolutions). If you want to get more specific with your vision, add some details like dates. Then visualize how you will feel when they magically appear.

Recipe for Success: New Life Goals Format

By Dave Cunningham, Front Runners LLC

  1. For each category below, consider the first things that come into your mind. Don’t question it or try to think it through. Just write it down (or ask someone to write as you speak). For some categories, you will immediately think of several goals. Again, just write them down (or dictate them to someone who will write them for you.

    New Life Categories

    • Physical
    • Spiritual
    • Mental
    • Emotional

    Optional Categories

    • Career
    • Relationship
    • Financial
    • Other
  2. After writing goals for the categories, go back and read through each one. Prioritize them. You may want edit them or add others or delete them altogether. Go ahead and do so.
  3. Finally, make a finished list of goals by category.
  4. Now make a sacred agreement with yourself that you will read them every day for two weeks or a month or whatever you are comfortable with. Then do it. Over the period of the year, you will think of re-reading your goals. When you do, do so. It will become less important, because the acts of writing them down and reading them regularly in the beginning (or January for New Year’s resolutions) will plant them in your mind and heart. You will effortlessly follow the path to achieving your goals.

To get the long term goals accomplished, you must do short term goals step-by-step in an organized fashion. Dividing the yearly goals into twelve monthly goals makes the vision less overwhelming and more attainable. When you surrender and release limiting thoughts and beliefs on the inside, you become open to the many opportunities on the outside that you were unable to see, because you were blind to them.

A Personal Note

Everybody has different needs in their lives, so your list may look quite different from someone else’s. When you try to determine your optional categories, think of what means the most to you. Is it playing with your children? Is it spending time in the garden? Is it trying new and different things? Whatever it is, add it to your list of optional categories. Only you can dictate your priorities, so make sure to include everything that is important to you.

Let’s reiterate these points by exploring two quotes by men who had a clear grasp on their life ambitions:

“There is no security on this earth, there is only opportunity.”
~Douglas MacArthur 

“When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters – one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.”
~
John F. Kennedy

I cannot stress the importance of opportunity enough, so it is a good thing that Douglas MacArthur and John F. Kennedy could!

Recipe for Success: Creating Your New Life

Create a recipe for your New Life in your journal. For each category, list your ingredients, which are the components you need to fulfill your vision. Then answer the following questions:

  1. How will you feel? Remember why you want this vision. What is your passion? Connect in with the essences of your feelings. What do you really want? Examples are Love, Freedom, Joy, and Peace.
  2. What thoughts and beliefs will you have when you live your new life category?
  3. What actions will you take?
  4. Every great person has a great team behind him or her handling the details. What team members do you need?
  5. What are you inspired to do right now to amp up your energy that will carry you forward?

Recipe for Success: Step-by-Step Guide to Monthly Goals

For each month, list the following for each new life category:

  1. What are your goals?
  2. What are your dates and time frames?
  3. What actions will you take to accomplish your goals?
  4. What is your progress so far?
  5. What are your limiting thoughts and beliefs that are holding you back?
  6. What you will allow Spirit to offer you? How you will allow Spirit to love you?
  7. What you will allow for yourself? How you will love yourself? (Connect with your Bliss Guide for the answer to this one.)
  8. Visualize yourself receiving the gifts in Technicolor.
  9. List the opportunities and positive evidence as they appear.
  10. Be grateful.

Actively participating in the creation of your life instead of reacting to what comes gives you more awareness of your own power as you follow your bliss. This trust of your intuition will become stronger everyday, and you will be better able to speak your truth and teach others to do the same. As each day begins, you will reflect on what your goals are and visualize yourself attaining them.

Because the mind does not distinguish whether the event is happening now or in the future, the emotions of gratitude that arise will create a flowing energy that manifests the event. The most important thing you need to improve your life is to remember that you are connected with the universe and to speak your truth, using your inner guidance. In this way, you can live a balanced life in peace and happiness.

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