Click on the links below to view the files. You may not need or want to print every file. Check your personal recommendations notes.
Below are a variety of “getting started” recipes. You will eventually need to compliment them with additional recipes from macrobiotic cookbooks and by receiving intruction in basic macrobiotic cooking from an experienced teacher.
Soft Whole Grain & Whole Grain-Vegetables (good for breakfast)
Genuine Rice Cream (for use when digestion is very weak and appetite is low)
CONDIMENTS FOR SPRINKLING ON TOP OF WHOLE GRAINS
BEANS, TOFU, TEMPEH
(There are additional bean recipes in the “Miscellaneous Recipes” below.)
WHAT’S FOR BREAKFAST?
HOME REMEDIES (Use only those recommended to you by David Briscoe as indicated in his consultation notes.)
EXERCISE, BREATHING, QIGONG and SELF-MASSAGE
For additional recipes, readings and other useful information visit the How To Get Startedsection of this web site.
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Oroville, CA 95965-9998
Food Fiber: Beyond Just Adding Bulk…It’s Prebiotic! by Cynthia Briscoe I remember my first macrobiotic cooking class with Aveline Kushi. We drove from Kansas City to Chicago in our Hornet station wagon purchased for $150. Talk about trust in the Universe! The brakes gave out during rush hour traffic upon entering Chicago. Miraculously, we made it to the hotel ballroom where Aveline Kushi lightly floated behind butane-fueled cook stoves preparing a delicate blanched salad. I recall her words of wisdom as she blanched the whole stems of parsley. She advised us to include the stems because, “They are like little toothbrushes in the intestines.” The image her words invoked stuck with me, especially whenever I mince parsley! This was in the ‘80’s (post Wonder Bread generation), when fiber was recommended to moisten the stool, cleanse the intestinal villi and add bulk in order to move the stool along, thereby preventing constipation and avoiding diverticulitis. The gamut of IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease), such as Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, gluten intolerance and other subsequent related inflammatory diseases were not yet common medical diagnoses. Oh, life gets more and more complex! It seems that generationally, diseases progressively compound to mirror our ever-increasingly refined dietary practices. Also, subsequent generations inherit the health conditions arising from the previous generation’s dietary patterns, both at the dinner table and through their genomes. Here’s the good news, though. Aveline Kushi’s words still ring true, as does the wisdom within a macrobiotic diet centered on whole grains, vegetables and legumes. Current science reveals much more than little fibrous toothbrushes scrubbing the lining of our intestines. While fiber was previously thought of as indigestible to humans, turns out to be an essential food for literally hundreds of commensal bacteria (helpful microbes) in our colon with outstanding implications to our health. Perhaps it is the microbes that are wielding teensy tiny little toothbrushes. Fiber is found exclusively in whole plant-based foods. You will not find a speck of fiber in flesh foods or dairy foods. Fiber provides a source of energy that plants can utilize, but fiber is virtually unaffected by the digestive enzymes of humans. Fiber travels all the way through the digestive tract intact until it reaches the colon. Most of the excess water and nutrients have already been extracted along the way. At the end of the line, we have colonies of specialized bacteria waiting for the “goodie wagon” to arrive so that they can have dinner. These bacteria thrive on fiber and are able to digest the complex carbohydrate locked within fiber and turn it a myriad of chemical substances and short chain fatty acids. One of the most notable of these by-products of microbial fiber digestion is butyrate. Butyrate repairs the gut mucosal lining so that toxic waste and pathogens do not leak through the intestinal wall and enter the blood stream. It keeps our heart healthy by removing plaque from our arteries. Butyrate acts as an epigenetic switch that serves a healthy immune system by stimulating the production of regulatory T-cells in the gut. By keeping these friendly microbes fed with plant fiber, we can avoid the cascade of autoimmune diseases such as atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, IBD, and diabetes to name just a few. An interesting experiment conducted by Tim Spector, Professor of epidemiology at...read more
Your Own Morning & Evening Self-Health Review by David Briscoe The morning, when we first wake up, and the evening right before we go to sleep, are unique times of our day. In the morning, we are just beginning our day, and in the evening we are coming to the end of our day. Both of these times offer us a special opportunity to do a self-review of our health and well-being, whereas during the day we may become too busy and end up missing valuable messages from the body and the mind. As soon as we wake up in the morning, we may receive a variety of messages from the body, but these messages often recede from our awareness, or disappear physically, after 20-30 minutes of being up and about. Paying attention to how we are feeling, and to signs and symptoms that may be present as soon as we get up, can give us helpful insight into the current state of our health. It often happens that a person finds sticky substance coming from around the eyes upon first awakening. Or another person may notice especially swollen bags or puffiness around the eyes upon waking. Really dry mouth or “cotton mouth” is another common symptom noticed in the morning. Someone else gets out of bed, and upon standing feels pain in the bottoms of the feet and/or the ankles. Other kinds of joint stiffness, pain, and swolling are often noticd in the morning. It’s not uncommon for many people to feel stiffness in the neck and shoulders upon first waking up. The most obvious symptom in the morning is fatigue, sometimes coupled with the thought, “I just don’t feel like getting up.” There can be many different reasons for these morning symptoms. The most common cause is the over-eating of acid-forming foods and drinks, especially late at night before sleeping. If a food is concentrated in protein, fat and/or simple sugar it is acid-forming in the body. This acid builds up in the fluid surrounding cells in the body, causing the cells to weaken, and as a result, organs and glands start to poorly function. Acid can also increase inflammation, pain, and general achiness. Increasing the consumption of plant foods that are alkaline-forming, while decreasing acid-forming foods and drinks can help over time. Most green vegetables are alkaline-forming in the body, as is vegetable soup seasoned with miso. Edible sea vegetables are off-the-chart alkaline supportive in the body. Whole yellow millet is a wonderful whole grain for giving alkaline support in the body. A varied plant-based macrobiotic diet is alkaline supportive overall. The evening, right as we are lying down for sleep, offers another self-review opportunity. Complementary to the morning time with its opportunity for reflecting on physical symptoms, the evening can offer an opportunity for emotional and personal happiness self-reflection. We often find ourselves thinking, after we turn the lights off, “How did my day go?” or “Did I do what I really wanted to do with my life today?” We may think back for a moment on our behavior, or the behavior of others toward us, and our responses to them during the day. We might anticipate tomorrow. It’s a moment where we can get a sense of how we feel about our life as it is currently going. I view one day as the concentrated version of one’s whole life....read more
More About What Your Fingers Reveal: Self-Diagnosis & “Unique Techniques Not Found In Books” by David Briscoe As one eats a plant-based macrobiotic diet over time, bodily changes can be observed externally, reflecting what’s going on inside. The fingers give us much information, including how the body condition is steadily being restored from the past effects of what I call “hard protein” consumption. I use this term to distinguish protein from different food sources. From a modern nutritional viewpoint, all protein is the same no matter what it’s source. From a macrobiotic view, on the other hand, protein has different qualities depending on the food source. Therefore, there will be different effects on the body cells, tissue and organs. The experience of many people has been that when they change from eating the hard protein of beef, pork, chicken, eggs, shrimp, lobster, cheese, and most other animal foods, and switch to eating protein from plant-based sources, they feel their body becoming more flexible, resilient, and softer in the healthy sense of “soft.” The body starts to recover from the premature-aging effects of regular consumption of hard protein to a more naturally youthful state that a plant-based macrobiotic diet supports. Go to any macrobiotic gathering and observe the older, long-time macrobiotic, people there and you’ll see what I mean. One indicator that reveals the type of protein a person consumes is in the fingers, particularly the area from the top of the middle knuckle up to the cuticle (see illustration above). When the body condition is showing the influence of regular consumption of hard protein, the skin on this area of the finger will be thick, and there will be few and very deep horizontal lines (see Figure A below). As the consumption of hard protein foods changes, and the protein consumed is from plant food sources, the lines gradually change from the fewer deep lines to significantly more horizontal lines going up from the top of the knuckles, and these horizontal lines become very shallow, and in some cases almost imperceptible (see Figure B: finger of someone who has been on a plant-based macrobiotic diet for many years.) It takes time for these changes to be reflected in the lines on the fingers, but in time they will happen. By observing the fingers we can watch these changes and the natural restoration of the body from an increasingly less flexible, prematurely aging state, to one that is increasingly flexible and youthful. Other “Unique Techniques Not Found In Books,” based on my 35+ years of doing macrobiotic counseling, can be learned in the 1-Year Online Macrobiotic Counselor Training Course. A new course will begin on October 15, 2015. $3000 Scholarship Discounts available for three lucky students until October 5. Click here for more information. Figure A Figure...read more
Fermentation + Macrobiotic Principles = Eat “Local & Seasonal Microbes” by Cynthia Briscoe Macrobiotic guidelines are founded upon natural order. One such guideline is to eat local and seasonal foods. The premise is that food produced in the area in which you live is inherently synchronized with the climate zone, weather patterns and soil matrix. By ingesting local foods, we align our health with these particulars. To me, there is additional unsung benefit of eating locally and seasonally grown foods: We also partake of the indigenous microbes of the region. The majority of food consumed is a jumble of cross-country products shipped east to west, north to south, and from different hemispheres. The modern profit-drive food industry entices everyone to join in the grab-bag chaos of processed convenience foods, mass produced sterile foods, fragments from whole foods, and even so-called “frankenfood” chemically constructed in laboratories. Unwittingly, people are constructing their cells, tissue and organs from this food removed from its natural origins. From these deconstructed foods, we attempt to put back the missing pieces with supplements and repair the damage with pharmaceuticals. Also damaged within the chain of modern food supply are health-giving microbes. Within the last 15 years, technological advancements in DNA sequencing have exploded microbe identification and the mapping of the human microbiome (the composition, diversity, and ecology of microbes in and on the human body) previously not possible. The relationship of our health to the health of our human microbiome is unfolding as this unseen world is now being observed. Microbiologists believe that of the 100 trillion cells that compose our body, only 10% of those cells are human. The rest is all microbes! It only seems logical that that the healthy ecology of our personal microbes would benefit our individual health. Who are we really if 90% of our DNA is microbial DNA? How does the health and diversity of our microbe community affect our health? This is certainly an interesting question. The microbe mapping is well underway, but the relationship of the human microbiome to human health is yet in the frontier stage of data collection and interpretation. Down the road, science hopes to connect the dots between diet and a healthy human microbiome. In the future, scientists predict that when we go for a medical checkup, instead of drawing blood, we will have our microbiome analyzed and adjusted. Regardless of where you live, what nationality, or occupation, if you compare yourself to another human, you share 99.9% of your human genetic DNA. However, if you compare yourself to another human in terms of your microbiome, you share only 10% of your microbes respectively. As individual members of the human race, we are practically identical in our DNA composition. However, perhaps our unique individual identity lies within the composition of microbes that we host. Respectively that composition is greatly influenced by what kinds of food we choose to eat and how and where that food was produced. Family members that live together and eat together share greater commonality in their microbiome. The air in our home, touching the food while preparing it, and even our pets contribute to the unique collective microbial ecology that family members share. By cooking together and eating together we may be sharing a whole lot more than conversation. One significant way to increase...read more
Who doesn’t love corn on the cob? Raise your hand. What! No hands? Corn on the cob has to be one of the glories of summer fare. Picture picnics and watermelon, Fourth of July, baked beans and children gnawing their way across ears of corn like teeth on a typewriter carriage. The very first cooking class I ever had with the late, great macrobiotic teacher, Cornellia Aihara was a delicious summer meal that began with her fresh corn soup. It was followed with brown rice, fresh gomashio, pan fried eggplant with lemon miso, pressed salad and an apple juice kanten floating with succulent bing cherry orbs pitted by chopstick. I still remember the simplicity and celebration of summer produce, attentively prepared, and so delicious!Two words often heard coming from Cornellia’s lips were “NO WASTING!” Her instruction concerning no wasting contained implied lessons grounded in the practical, and expanding outwardly to embrace the more subtle realms of macrobiotic principles. She never overtly spoke of such things, they were merely implied and woven within the layers of food preparation and the rhythmic chop-chop-chop sound of her knife. In practical terms, when it came to ears of corn, that meant making use of many of the parts of the ear that many people discard without thought. By utilizing as much of the ear as possible, we not only save money but also extract as much goodness as possible from the graceful union of heaven and earth forces that miraculously and uniquely express themselves in an ear of corn. We also honor the efforts of all those who planted the seeds, those who grew, harvested and transported the corn from field to table. We value the life of the corn that in turn gives us life and energy to pursue our dreams. Following is the method Cornellia taught for cutting corn with “no wasting”. Not only does it show appreciation for the ear of corn, but you will appreciate new depths of deliciousness! Place the ear of corn in a bowl to catch the kernels as you slice them from the cob in downward strokes. (for a short demo of this cutting and scraping technique see “No Wasting” Corn Cutting Demo by Cynthia Briscoe) Using the backside of the knife, (the dull side) scrape the cob to remove the remaining pulp from the cob. Notice the tiny dark yellow pyramid shaped bits on your knife blade. Those are the corn germ, the vital storehouse of regeneration Break the cob in half and add to soup stock or place in the pot when cooking millet or rice for a delicious sweet corn flavor. Cornellia’s Fresh Corn Soup 3 ears fresh corn 2 medium-sized yellow onions minced 6 cups spring water or filtered water 1 tablespoon kuzu 1 teaspoon sea salt 1 stem of parsley, finely minced for garnish Trim corn from cob. Scrape cob with the dull back side of the knife to remove remaining pulp. Set corn aside. Place onion, corncobs and sea salt in a soup pot. Add enough of the water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered until onions are completely soft. Add corn and remaining water. Return to a boil and cook an additional 10 minutes. Dilute kuzu in a little water and add to soup pot. Cook until kuzu turns...read more
“Peach-boshi” (Part 2) by Cynthia Briscoe In a previous post, we discussed the idea of substituting green peaches to replace the ume fruit traditionally used to make umeboshi. Not too many folks have an ume tree growing in their yard, but they might have access to an apricot tree or a peach tree. A few Japanese-specific grocers may sell fresh ume fruit in June, but again, this proves to be an exceptional find and is most likely not organic. When David and I lived in Kansas City, I ordered three ume trees from a nursery in Washington. The Midwest is actually not conducive to growing ume, but in my youthful enthusiasm, I planted them regardless. The trees will live, but very rarely do they bear fruit. Late frosts, common to the region, freeze the blossoms and consequently, no fruit will be produced that year. I found a good rule of thumb before planting an ume tree is to find out whether apricots grow locally, since apricots are the closest relative to ume. Also check with your Agricultural Extension Service concerning the growing success for apricots. Much to my chagrin, I discovered that in Kansas City, apricot trees bear fruit once every 7 to 11 years! So much for growing and making my own umeboshi in Kansas! Perhaps though, if I had been more creative, I could have made “peach-boshi”. Here in California, our ume tree blooms in January. Our peach tree blooms later in the spring. It has never failed to produce fruit, but even here, the ume blossoms sometimes receive frost. Often the ume blossom time here corresponds with many solid days of rain, making it impossible for the bees to get out and pollinate. Due to my love of summer peaches, it seems a little sacrilegious to pick all the peaches green. So I plan to pick some of the peaches while they are still green to make “peach-boshi”, and leave the rest to mature and ripen. Then I can enjoy “peach-boshi” and fresh sweet peaches, too! Another necessary component in making umeboshi or “peach-boshi” is an herb called shiso. Shiso is also known as perilla or beefsteak. The purple shiso is the variety used to impart the red color to umeboshi. Shiso is very rich in iron and calcium. It also boasts anti-bacterial properties. Traditionally, fresh shiso leaves are served as a garnish with sushi containing raw fish, as it protects against fish poisoning, just in case the fish is tainted. Shiso is easy to grow your own shiso in any climate. Seeds can be ordered online. Once you establish a patch of shiso, it reseeds itself and will return year after year. Plant in the spring and it will be ready to harvest in...read more
“Peach-boshi” – Making Umeboshi with Peaches? (Part 1) by Cynthia Briscoe The peach is my all-time favorite fruit. I’m sure this is the result of childhood memories of climbing the peach tree with my Missouri farm cousin and picking only the ripest, juiciest, red-cheekiest, sun-warm peaches right off the tree. We delighted in the heavenly stickiness dripping from our mouths and down our elbows as it stuck a day’s worth of summer play dirt to our shirts. To even think of picking peaches while still hard and green would never have entered my mind back then. But recently I spied small green peaches lacing the boughs of an abandoned peach tree. Valiantly, the tree had survived neglect and drought and yet still generously offered the kindness of fruit. Undersized from lack of water, at first I thought the small green fruits might be unripe apricots. But no, the apricots had already come and gone. I remembered Mr. Muramoto, author of ‘Healing Ourselves’ had creatively substituted apricots, for lack of ume, and created what he called “apri-boshi”. “Hmm…why not try green peaches?” I thought. And so this experiment has begun....read more
Buckwheat Salad There’s been a long-standing prejudice toward buckwheat in the macrobiotic teachings. This is unfortunate as buckwheat can be a very nice addition to one’s whole grain repertoire. The macrobiotic view of many over the last 15 years has maintained a stubborn stance that buckwheat will make a person “too yang.” And since so many have developed a fear of being too yang, buckwheat is avoided. There is also the view that buckwheat is an exclusively cold weather grain since it is a favorite in Russia. “Buckwheat makes you yang and hot!” the macrobiotic counselor admonishes. As a result, it seems to me that the macrobiotic view has been unnecessarily one-dimensional when it comes to buckwheat. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, on the other hand, buckwheat is used to remove excess heat from the body. In Japan cool buckwheat (soba) noodles are used during the hottest and most humid days of the year to reduce heat and excess dampness in the body. If you’ve ever cooked whole buckwheat, you saw how much faster it absorbs water compared to all other whole grains. It has a water-absorbing nature. This can be useful for anyone who tends to pool excess dampness internally. This excess dampness can make one feel quite miserable on hot and humid days, because the moisture in the body that normally evaporates through the skin can’t, due to the excess moisture in the humid air. Eating some buckwheat or soba noodles can help. I don’t suggest that buckwheat is to be eaten three times daily for weeks on end. Just try it once. If it makes you feel hot, OK, then you won’t want to use it in hot weather. On the other hand, it might help you feel better in hot weather. You have to find out for yourself. Usually buckwheat dishes served in hot weather are served at room temperature, not hot. A favorite recipe of mine for a hot weather buckwheat dish is Buckwheat Salad. It is served at room temperature or, if you prefer, slightly chilled. Buckwheat Salad Yield: 5 to 5½ cups 3 cups cooked buckwheat groats (pre-cook in water and sauerkraut juice) pinch of sea salt 2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley 1 cup steamed, chopped kale or leftover leafy greens 1 cup chopped, drained sauerkraut ½ cup red cabbage, thinly sliced, blanched and sprinkled with ¼ tsp brown rice vinegar to brighten and preserve the color ¼ to ½ cup soy sauce 1 tsp ginger juice Sauté finely chopped parsley in a very small amount of water. Mix the parsley with the buckwheat. Mix in the steamed, chopped kale and chopped sauerkraut. Mix the soy sauce and ginger juice, pour over the buckwheat salad, and mix...read more
This simple qigong exercise can be done at home. It’s can cool down an over-heated heart on a hot day.read more
Dandelion Oily Miso Dandelion Oily Miso beneficial to the liver and gall bladder, builds red blood cells 4 cups dandelion greens chopped into 1/4 inch piece 1 Tablespoon sesame oil 1 Tablespoon barley miso 1. Wash dandelion, drain and cut into small pieces. Separate roots and greens if using the whole plant. 2. Warm oil in a heavy skillet. 3. Add dandelion roots first, then greens. Sauté the roots first until golden, then add the chopped greens, cooking until the color turns bright green. 4. Add miso on top of dandelion green. Stir with a spoon or chopstick, breaking up miso into smaller sections until it melts into the dandelion. 5. Shut off flame and place in a small serving bowl. 6. Serve a rounded teaspoon on top of rice cream porridge or other...read more