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.
1735 Robinson St. #1874
Oroville, CA 95965-9998
Whole Salt or Refined Salt: What’s the difference? by Cynthia Briscoe Most Americans unknowingly consume a great deal of poor quality, commercial salt in the form of snack foods, prepared foods, fast foods and restaurant fare. The salt used in these products is highly refined. You can think of it as the white sugar of the salt world. Common refined table salt looks like salt and tastes like salt. However, you are getting much more and much less than you bargain for. Let ‘s look at the difference between commercial refined salt and naturally harvested sea salt. Much Less Common table salt is mined and stripped of its naturally occurring trace minerals, which are then sold separately for profit as supplements. Magnesium is extracted by processing the original salt with caustic soda or lime, fetching a higher price. Other valuable elements in the sea salt are also lost or extracted. Some folks argue that the trace minerals are of such miniscule proportion that they are insignificant to human health. It’s true that we do not need huge amounts of copper, manganese, selenium, boron, etc., but our human biology is evolved to include this subtle but vast array of trace minerals to support cell metabolism. Natural sea salt contains 60 to 90 trace minerals. Much More After stripping the salt from its naturally occurring minerals, commercial salt is heated at high temperatures and supplemented with iodine and various agents to make it free flowing. The most common free flowing agent is aluminum silicate. Aluminum concentrations have been found in the nerve dendrites of Alzheimer sufferers. Many people avoid aluminum cookware for this reason, but are not aware that they are consuming aluminum everyday in salt. Remember this cute little girl dressed in yellow, holding an open umbrella over her head? She adorned the carton of Morton’s Salt with the slogan, “When it rains, it pours”. The addition of aluminum silicate to Morton’s salt eliminated those pesky lumps in the saltshaker making it free flowing. Naturally processed sea salt has a softer texture and is hydroscopic, meaning it attracts some moisture from the air, which can form lumps. I would definitely “take my lumps” over “when it rains it pours.” Perusing salt cartons in the supermarket, I noticed another agent listed on the back of Morton’s Sea Salt and also on Morton’s Kosher salt: yellow sodium prussiate? Hmm, what is sodium prussiate? Sodium prussiate or sodium ferrocyanide (YPS or E535) is another free-flowing chemical agent industrially produced from hydrogen cyanide. It is added to road salt to keep it from clumping and a stabilizer for the coating on welding rods. In photography it is used for bleaching toning and fixing. According to the MSDS (Material Data Safety Sheet), it is a hazardous irritant to the skin, eyes and respiratory system. Advised in case of ingestion: Do not induce vomiting. Loosen tight clothing such as the collar, tie, belt or waistband. If the person is not breathing, perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and seek immediate medical attention. Obviously, the FDA must have approved a certain proportion of these anti-caking agents in food grade salt, but one must question the subtle long-term effects on human health, especially if an individual’s health is compromised. For me, I prefer the inconvenience of a few clumps...read more
What About Places Without Whole Grains? by David Briscoe In certain areas of the world there is no longer whole grain agriculture, and no modern tradition for using whole grains. And in some areas of the world people have never used whole grains. If macrobiotics encourages the use of whole grains as the principle food, what can people in these areas do? Yes, they can try to import whole grains, and yes, they could attempt to start whole grain farming in their area. But what has the actual tradition been? What helped traditional people stay healthy in these areas of the world, for generations, without whole grains? In two words: complex carbohydrate. To be more specific: complex carbohydrate with intact fiber. “Intact fiber” is the key to healthy carbohydrate use. For example, white rice is primarily starch, and it is often surprising for many to learn that this is in fact a complex carbohydrate, but white rice has had its fiber removed in the refining process. Fiber allows for carbohydrate to be properly digested and more gradually converted to glucose before being absorbed and used as blood sugar. Complex carbohydrate foods taken with fiber intact have be proven to prevent diabetes, high cholesterol, and numerous digestive and colon problems. The healthiest carbohydrate is complex carbohydrate that comes in food with its fiber intact. Whole grains are one such food, but there are others. At the bottom of my macrobiotic food pyramid, I used to write “Whole Grain,” but I began to realize that was too limited. Now I write, “Foods containing complex carbohydrate and intact fiber.” This makes it possible for people in every part of the world to apply macrobiotic principles based on their locally available and traditional foods. Placing complex carbohydrate foods with intact fiber at the foundation of daily eating is the healthiest choice and individual and society at large can make, in my opinion. I was surprised to discover that Africa has had a tradition of whole grain as a principle food for thousands of years. This still exists in some isolated areas, and there are whole grains used that we have never heard of in the West. Some of these are pearl millet, fero. kam-kam, and African rice. Very unfortunately, colonization over the centuries has drastically diminished the growing of these whole grains, but there is a now a movement afoot to help restore the growing and consumption of traditional African whole grains. Traditional people in many tropical areas have relied on tubers for their complex fiber-rich carbohydrate. Some of these we know about, but there are many we in temperate climates have never heard of. These include taro, manioc, cassava, and yam. Today there are various movements around the world actively teaching local people about the importance of restoring the dietary traditions of their ancestors by returning to using complex carbohydrate foods with intact fiber as the foundation food for daily eating. Without realizing it, they are teaching one of the basic macrobiotic principles of healthy eating for human beings. This is very good news! Some popular writers today advise the avoidance of complex carbohydrates, including whole grains, and they advocate the use of vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts in their place. This won’t be possible for the entire world, or...read more
Fearless Use of Salt In Cooking by Cynthia Briscoe Salt is a critical element in the alchemy of your cooking. Good use of salt in cooking prepares the food you eat to be aligned with human digestion and human blood quality, and thus is an important factor regarding your health. How you use salt in cooking is especially important in a plant-based diet, because when applied properly, it gives vegetable quality food a strengthening vitality or good quality yang energy. There is a lot of fear surrounding the use of salt. There are opposing viewpoints. In this series, I would like to present some tips and understanding about the use of salt, such that you can decide for yourself what is personally appropriate for your health. As David Briscoe often advises students, “Go from the land of ‘No’ to the land of ‘Know’”. I might add in behalf of all Kitchen Commandos, “Move from ‘Fear’ to ‘Fearless’’. The first point in this series, concerns giving sea salt ample time to cook with the food. In her cooking classes, Cornellia Aihara taught students the importance of cooking the salt into the food. In most instances of cooking with sea salt, she recommended cooking the salt in the food for 15 to 20 minutes. Following is a teaching story she shared: George Ohsawa once gave me only 20 minutes notice that he would be coming to visit. It was lunchtime, so I thought to make polenta, as it is quick to cook. In my haste, I forgot to add the salt in the beginning of cooking the polenta. I didn’t realize I had forgotten to add the salt until I tasted it. The polenta tasted very bland, so I stirred in salt after it had finished cooking. Mr. Ohsawa ate his lunch. Cornellia loved Ohsawa very much. It was important to her that he enjoyed his lunch. So she asked him in her Cornellia way, “You enjoy?” When telling the story, Cornellia imitated his voice by speaking in a low, slow voice with deep intonation, “Yes. I enjoy very much. Thank you. But you add salt too late.” Well, you might scratch your head and ask, “Really? How could Ohsawa tell that she had added the salt after the polenta had cooked?” You can distinguish, too, once you understand the difference of raw salt versus cooked salt. First of all, raw salt has a different taste and texture on the tongue. If you look at magnified grains of salt, you will see little cube shapes with sharp edges and corners. That’s the natural structure of how the sodium and chlorine molecules adhere to one another. This structure dissolves with water. So if Cornellia had added the salt as the water was coming to a boil, the salt crystals would have dissolved and combined very nicely with the polenta. Raw salt crystals have a strong, sharp salty blast of flavor on the tongue, almost a slight initial burning sensation. If the salt has been cooked into the food, it subtly combines with the flavors and has a different slightly sweet flavor. Also, perhaps George was very thirsty after eating lunch; another sign of uncooked salt. Raw salt makes you very thirsty. After a...read more
Na/K – Dr. Ishizuka Was Onto Something, Part 1 by David Briscoe Ever since coming across the first mention of Dr. Ishizuka’s sodium and potassium (Na/K from now on) theory over 40 years ago, I have been on a mission to find out more. George Ohsawa based his macrobiotic theory on Ishizuka’s teachings. It was Ishizuka’s books on Na/K applied to food and health that first caught Ohsawa’s attention, and by following these teachings he was able to recover from serious illness. Over time, Ohsawa created his yin-yang interpretation of Ishizuka’s theory, and macrobiotics was born. In the process, unfortunately in my opinion, Ishizuka’s original Na/K theory faded from view. Regretfully, I don’t read Japanese, so I have never been able to explore any of Ishizuka’s original writings. My search to understand Na/K and its relationship to food and health began, in its early days, by spending endless hours combing through dense scientific tomes and researching medical journals in university libraries. Most of it I couldn’t comprehend as I am not a trained scientist or physiologist, but I persisted. With persistent research discovering new bits of information, the pieces of the puzzle filled in to form a more comprehensive picture. Here’s my interpretation of Dr. Ishizuka’s theory in a nutshell: When the food we eat has an Na/K ratio closest to the Na/K of our body, we maintain good health. According to current scientific views, the Na/K of the human body is approximately 1:3. (George Ohsawa taught it as being something like 1:7.) When we regularly consume foods that are way high or way low in their Na/K ratio, their potential for contributing to various health problems increases. There are physical and mental health conditions which are signs of regularly consuming foods with a low Na high K ratio. There are physical and mental health conditions that are signs of regularly consuming foods with a high Na low K ratio. We can adjust the consumption of foods to restore balance to our body, by choosing food that have a more balanced Na/K ratio that is closer to that of our body. For an example of a food, let’s look at a banana. It’s Na/K ratio is 380:1. From Ishizuka’s viewpoint, banana, though it can certainly be enjoyed as a treat now and then, would not make a good primary and daily food for human consumption because its Na/K is way high in K. An opposite example is bacon. Bacon is extremely high in Na and low in K. George Ohsawa categorized foods that are high in Na and low in K as “yang.” Foods that were high in K and low in Na he categorized as “yin.” There are other factors that can be used to determine the yang or yin of food, but Na/K ratio was a significant determining factor in Ohsawa’s view. Ishizuka’s theory offers us another tool for determining how to appreciate a food, not just for taste and satisfying hunger, but for healing as...read more
Goma Wakame Saved Me From a Dumb Mistake! By Cynthia Briscoe When Cornellia Aihara taught students how to make miso soup, she always explained the significant protection of wakame in miso soup. Wakame has the ability to chelate or bind with heavy metals and remove them safely from the body. Remembering her lesson helped me recover from an unwitting mistake. This occurred perhaps 12 years ago. I enjoy repairing things around our home, a lovely solid Craftsman Style house constructed in 1924. The window screens and their original wooden frames sorely needed refurbishing. I bought this great little orbital sander to buzz off the peeling paint from the wood frames rather than messy stripping. I marveled at the many layers of paint. In my imagination I made up a history of the aproned women who chose yellow, apple green, peach or standard white. I pictured how they must have dressed or what color hair they had as I happily buzzed off layers of history back down to the bare wood with many changes of sandpaper. I completed the project, but then started feeling very weak, so very tired to the point I could barely get out of bed as well as flu-like symptoms such as headache, nausea and abdominal pain. A more seasoned repairman friend brought up the fact that I most likely had inhaled and ingested a great deal of lead paint dust due to the age of the house and the fact that lead based paint was used until 1978. Who knew? I hadn’t known or I certainly would have worn a mask! I thought, “How am I going to get myself out of this one?” Then Cornellia’s voice came into my head, “Wakame protects against lead poisoning, radiation exposure and other toxic pollutants we are exposed to every day.” Thank you Cornellia! I got busy and poured on the wakame – wakame in miso soup, baked wakame onion casserole, and goma wakame. Goma wakame afforded a concentrated amount of wakame that I could sprinkle on just about anything edible. I used it heavily on my breakfast porridge. It tasted great, so I knew my body needed it. After 5 days, I felt stronger. After 2 weeks I was fully recovered. That’s the beauty of macrobiotics: the cure often lies in your kitchen. I would like to share with you a recipe for Goma Wakame (see below). It is delicious and rich in minerals. It is suitable for children or people who wish to reduce sodium, as contains less sodium than Gomashio or sesame salt. It builds strong bones and teeth and is highly alkalizing. Best of all, it can save you if you are dumb enough to sand lead paint without proper protection! Goma Wakame Powdered Wakame and Toasted Sesame Seed Condiment 1/2 cup sesame seeds 12 inches of dried wakame Place the wakame strips on a cookie sheet and bake at 350˚ for 12-15 minutes or until the wakame is very dry and crumbles easily. Grind the roasted wakame in a suribachi until it is ground to a fine powder. Place sesame seeds in a bowl and cover with water. Pour off the seeds that float to the top into a fine mesh strainer to catch the sesame seeds. Repeat the above process,...read more
A PERSONAL HEALING CELEBRATION & INSPIRATION – We recently received this wonderful letter from our friends, the Cusenzas… “Hope this finds Cynthia and yourself well and enjoying life. I thought I would write you and let you know how Carol is doing after 10 years of being cancer free, with your help. You may remember she was diagnosed back in June of 2005 with stage 4a cervical cancer, which had spread throughout her body. The doctors gave her 6 months or so to live with no hope of curing it, and said there was nothing medical science could do. Basically the 6 doctors on the diagnostic board (surgeons, oncologists, and radiologist) told her to go away and die. I am so glad they did because you were there to give her hope and empowered her to fight the cancer and cure it. Following your advice and guidance on changes to a macrobiotic diet and lifestyle, based on Carol’s needs, not one size fits all, 6 months later her oncologist told her the tumor was gone, the metastasized sites were clear, and her lymphatic system was back to normal. He also told us “You can’t dissolve tumors!” while looking at the CT scan. That was our greatest Christmas gift ever. Today, Carol is doing well, active as always and enjoying life. As you often said, “Cancer can heal you,” and it certainly has. Carol and I still follow a somewhat macro diet, every morning it is miso soup, vegetables, and grains, though we do cheat a bit mostly at dinnertime, but since we know when we over step the line we also know how to steer ourselves back to a balanced diet. Knowledge is power. Can’t get our kids to follow it though, but then they have to live their own lives. Someday they may ask for help and we will be there for them. Here is our Christmas photo (see below) from last year and I think you can tell how happy Carol is to be here. I may be even happier than she. Thank you for all your love and support. May God continue to smile on Cynthia and you, and all the good people you help. You truly are a blessing.” Dave...read more
Outward Impatience & Internal Digestion by David Briscoe www.macroamerica.com “If you have no patience, you’ll become a patient.” – Herman Aihara You’ve probably noticed: it’s become a very impatient world. Individually and collectively, patience seems to be fading. On the road, in traffic, in stores, in relationships, in politics, international relations, finances, waiting in line, fast food, fast medicine, etc., lack of patience is expressed in many ways. There can be many explanations and opinions as to why this is so. I’d like to present one that is not commonly considered, if at all: we’ve become impatient at the physiological level; and very specifically we’ve become digestively impatient. The human digestive system has a very natural and gradual way for food to be digested, before it is absorbed into the blood and then assimilated by our cells. Let’s look at carbohydrate, for example. The way the body works is that carbohydrate digestion is supposed to begin in the mouth; that is, when the carbohydrate we are eating is the complex kind, polysaccharide. Complex carbohydrate is meant to be chewed, mixed with saliva, and through the action of the enzyme, salivary amylase, begins to be broken down to disaccharide, a simpler form of carbohydrate. If you’ve ever chewed brown rice really well, you noticed that it starts to taste sweet. You are tasting the complex carbohydrate in the brown rice being slowly converted to simpler carbohydrate, preparing it for the next stage of digestion. The body is smart. It likes to digest slowly and patiently. Next, the complex carbohydrate that has been chewed is swallowed and goes down to the stomach. No further digestion of the carbohydrate takes place in the stomach due to stomach acid that stops the action of the salivary amylase. The chewed carbohydrate moves from the stomach to the duodenum, the passageway between the stomach and small intestine, where is stimulates the secretion of pancreatic amylase from the pancreas, further breaking down the complex carbohydrate that wasn’t broken down through chewing. This disaccharide now enters the small intestine where the enzymes lactase, sucrase and maltase, break it down into monosaccharide, single sugars, that can then be absorbed through the small intestine and released into the blood. This is a gradual and natural process, relying on digestive patience. It’s how the body wants to digest carbohydrate, if given the chance to do it right. In today’s world the carbohydrate most widely consumed is not complex carbohydrate. It is chemically processed simple-sugar carbohydrate such as white sugar, candy, high fructose corn syrup, and dextrose. Even many so-called natural sweeteners like agave syrup, maple syrup, coconut sugar, evaporated cane juice, and others, are highly processed into simpler and concentrated sugars. And honey, long-considered by many to be the favored natural sweetener, is 100% simple sugar, pre-digested by the bees. All simple sugar bypasses the body’s need for natural and gradual complex carbohydrate digestion, since it has already been reduced to its simplest form. It travels quickly through to be released into the bloodstream. This impatient, hurry-up digestion has become the norm, and over decades of modern eating, the body has become habituated to it, though it doesn’t respond well to it. It is well-known that many physical and mental health problems today have their roots in the over-consumption of simple sugar. One...read more
Yin-Yang & Truth by Cynthia Briscoe When people first begin to study macrobiotic principles, they often get frustrated trying to pin down yin and yang. There are columns and lists of yin and yang to be memorized, but the lists are shifty as items may change columns relative to what is being compared to. Why? Because yin and yang are not ‘things’. Yin and yang in actuality are more verb-like, describing the active, relative movement of energy. In macrobiotics, we use the terms yin and yang as a relative means to describe states of energy in its movement from an expanded state of vibration to more dense state of materialization with relationship to time. Movement is the natural state of energy. Life is energy and we are made up of energy. Our lives express the undulation of energy between these two polarities. In our traverse between opposites, we cross that middle point of balance and that fleeting moment is the moment of truth: who we really are when the relative world is stripped away. It’s the eye of the hurricane, the stillness in the midst of the change swirling around us. So what is truth? I think of it as that center core within us that rings the bell of peace independent of the swirling relativity around us. It’s our core, our home base. Perhaps truth lives in the center of the spiral in our DNA that we share collectively as human beings regardless of race or religion or nationality and individually as a singular unique expression of energy. As we traverse between polarities and cross that sweet spot, we take a snapshot to hold in our soul memory. We hold it up to the light in times of darkness to remind ourselves of who we truly are and what we came to experience in this relative world. In macrobiotic practice, we try to move the edges of polarity closer to home center. Then as we oscillate between the poles of vibration, we cross that peaceful point more frequently and perhaps we are able to linger there just a moment longer. Macrobiotics considers the energy nature of everything and how the movement of that energy takes form in our health and conscious awareness. In the book Food for Thought by Saul Miller, he popularized the simple visual of the yin/yang teeter-totter seen in the version below. On the yang or contractive end of the food spectrum are condensed energy expressions such as meat, chicken, hard cheese and eggs. It takes about 16 lbs. of plant food to produce a pound of beef and 10 pounds of milk to produce a pound of cheese. On the yin or expansive end of the food spectrum are foods that express concentrations of that energy. For example, it takes 3 feet of sugar cane to make one teaspoon of sugar. When the extremes on both ends are reduced or eliminated, the pendulous swing between opposites becomes less extreme biologically, hormonally, emotionally and mentally. Eliminating the extreme yin and yang foods from the teeter-totter of our diet translates into less extremes of energy expression within our bodies, biologically and emotionally. In our lives, even though there may be the extremes of expressed energy chaotic and swirling around us, we are better able to...read more
Olive Making (Salt Cured) by Cynthia Briscoe Oroville, CA, where I live, claims fame as the home of the canned olive. When a woman named Mrs. Ehmann found herself widowed and penniless, she got busy and invented the canned olive, today commonly fitted as a joke by kids over their digits at the holiday table. The Mediterranean climate here in Oroville is perfectly suited to the growth of this illustrious fruit. There is even a town named Palermo nearby since it reminded the settlers of the Italian town. Olive trees abound here, as well as abandoned orchards that gradually succumb to housing projects and apartment complexes. Some survive the dozer and provide landscaping shade in schoolyards, parks, and around homes, as they require no water during the blazing hot summers. For most folks today, the fruits are a nuisance, staining their patios and sidewalks, but for me, they are a glorious treasure longing to be acknowledged and touched by human hands. The late fall and winter months provide an abundance of ripe olives. The colors are a rich and vibrant deep purple, almost black. There may be a few in the mix that are maroon in color. Throw in a few olive leaves and the palette of color will make your heart sing. Combine the olive picking with a picnic, children, grandchildren or a dear companion, and the flavor of your home cured olives will be even more delicious. Salt cured olives are so incredibly simple to make that it causes one to wonder why more people don’t, especially when you view the price tag on naturally cured olives. Perhaps folks just accept Mrs. Ehmann’s version of the dark, canned olive as the only way to have an olive. Probably they have not yet tasted the rich, robust, complex flavor of salt cured olives, or experienced the contrast of cool earth seeping through the soles of your shoes, balanced by the warm sun knitting rays into the back of your sweater…or a blue sky floating cloud patterns above your head whenever you look up to reach a higher branch heavy with olives. Mix that with the sounds of children, flushing wings, birdsong and the rubbery firm sound of olives bouncing into a bucket after picking: authentically life-delicious! Recipe for Salt Cured Black Olives 2 parts olives 1 part salt –Pick ripe olives from the tree. Resist the temptation to collect fallen olives from the ground as those are more susceptible to spoilage. –Sort through the olives and pick out any remaining stems and discard any olives that show signs of insect wounding. –Weigh the olives and write down the weight. -Take a small sharp knife and cut a slit in each olive. Place them in a bowl large enough for washing the olives. (The slit helps to leech the bitterness from the olives.) -Cover the olives with water. Pour off any floating debris, rinse again and drain. –Weigh out the salt. You need an amount of salt that is ½ the weight of the olives. If you are doing a small amount of olives, it may be affordable to use your expensive natural sea salt. If processing a larger volume of olives, use pickling salt that has no additives or you can use inexpensive rock salt (we...read more
Raspberry Sorbet & Heart-Shaped Chocolate Chip Cookiess SORBET INGREDIENTS 3 cups frozen raspberries a small pinch of lemon zest 1 1/2 cups brown rice syrup (or 1 cup amber agave syrup) 1/2 cup water (if using the 1 cup of agave, use 1 cup water) INSTRUCTIONS (Prepare your ice cream maker in advance.) Combine rice syrup (or agave), and water in saucepan over medium heat. Cook over medium heat until flavors blend – about 10 minutes. Strain and set aside to cool slightly. You want it to be warm, but not boiling. When cooled, combine your liquid and frozen raspberries in a blender or food processor. Pulse until the mixture is very smooth. Strain the raspberry mixture through a fine mesh strainer to get out all seeds and remaining solids. This will take a little effort. It helps to push mixture through with a rubber spatula. Mixture should be cool from the frozen raspberries, but if it is warm, put in the the refrigerator to cool for an hour. Once the mixture is cooled, start up the ice cream maker and add in the mixture with the pinch of lemon zest. Once your sorbet becomes the consistency of soft serve, you’re done. Serve immediately, or freeze overnight in an airtight container for a more solid sorbet. Heart-Shaped Chocolate Chip Cookies There are dozens of vegan cookie recipes on the internet, including chocolate chip ones. Just shape each into a heart before baking. Here is one of our chocolate chip cookie favorites, with a shout out of thanks to Christina Pirello…. ...read more