WHOLE GRAINS: Buckwheat Salad Can Reduce Heat. What?

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 in.

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