Online Consultation Resources

CONSULTATION RESOURCES

Click on the links below to view the files. You may not need or want to print every file. Check your personal recommendations notes.

Basic Foods & Cooking Utensils Shopping List

Where to Buy Macrobiotic Foods, Books and Cooking Utensils

How to Learn More: Macrobiotic Courses with David & Cynthia Briscoe

ESSENTIAL RECIPES

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.

WHOLE GRAIN

Pressure-cooked Short Grain Brown Rice

Pressure-cooked Short Grain Brown Rice with Hato Mugi

Soft Whole Grain & Whole Grain-Vegetables (good for breakfast)

Simmered Millet

Genuine Rice Cream (for use when digestion is very weak and appetite is low)

Brown Rice + Vegetables Salad

Barley + Vegetables Salad

Millet + Vegetables + Chickpeas Salad

 

CONDIMENTS FOR SPRINKLING ON TOP OF WHOLE GRAINS

Gomasio

Goma-Wakame

Kombu Powder

Iriko Condiment

Shiguri Miso

VEGETABLES

Boiled Salad

Kinpira

Nishime

Pressed Salad

Cooked Dark Leafy Greens

Oil- or Water-Sauteed Vegetables

SEA VEGETABLES

Arame and Onions

Hiziki Condiment

Hiziki (hijiki) – Lotus Root

SOUPS

Miso Soup with Daikon and Wakame

Miso Soup with Burdock, Daikon and Carrot

Miso Soup: Creamy Onion and Carrot

STEWS

Bean + Barley + Vegetables Stew

Millet + Chickpeas + Vegetables Stew

BEANS, TOFU, TEMPEH

Azuki (Aduki) Beans with Squash and Kombu

Stew with Dried Tofu

(There are additional bean recipes in the “Miscellaneous Recipes” below.)

MISCELLANEOUS RECIPES

Part 1

Part 2

WHAT’S FOR BREAKFAST?

Porridge

HOME REMEDIES (Use only those recommended to you by David Briscoe as indicated in his consultation notes.)

Salt Bath

Ginger Compress

Morning Tea

Body / Skin Scrub

Miscellaneous Macrobiotic Home Remedies

SPECIAL DISHES

Dried Daikon with Kombu

SPECIAL DRINKS

Sweet Vegetable Drink

EXERCISE, BREATHING, QIGONG and SELF-MASSAGE

Hara (abdominal) Massage

Breathing/Relaxation

8 Easy Qigong Exercises

Inner Smile

READINGS

Physical and Mental Stability: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Liver, Ki and Women’s Health

Acid-Alkaline

Sugar Cravings

The Macrobiotic View of Cancer

Cancer and Macrobiotic Self-Healing

What To Expect When Beginning A Macrobiotic Self-Healing Practice

Why Macrobiotics Recommends Whole Grains

For additional recipes, readings and other useful information visit the How To Get Startedsection of this web site.

Macrobiotics America
1735 Robinson St. #1874
Oroville, CA 95965-9998
Phone: 530.282.3518
or 530.521.0236

Posted by on Sep 18th, 2018 in About Macrobiotics America | Comments Off on

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Making Your Own Dried Daikon with David Briscoe

Posted by on Jul 2nd, 2018 in About Macrobiotics America, Unique Foods of Macrobiotics | Comments Off on Making Your Own Dried Daikon with David Briscoe

 Nutrition & Benefits of Dried “Kiriboshi” Daikon When compared to the same weight of raw daikon, kiriboshi-daikon contains fifteen times more calcium to strengthen bones and teeth, 32 times more iron to prevent pernicious anemia, and ten times more vitamins B1 and B2 to support metabolism. Because the volume decreases to approximately one tenth when dried, kiriboshi-daikon is a more efficient way to absorb nutrients. As a rich source of dietary fiber, it improves digestion and promotes beautiful skin. Kiriboshi-daikon is effective in weight-loss diets because it gives a sense of fullness even in small quantities. It also works to restore liver and stomach functions weakened by hangover, and it mitigates sensitivity to cold through its heat insulating action. Kiriboshi-daikon was a valuable food in the past when fresh vegetables were not readily available. Today, it is desired as a food packed with the nutrients that many people lack. _________________________________________________________  Recipe for Cooking Dried Daikon Dried Daikon with Onion, Burdock and Carrot 2 cups dried daikon, soaked (discard the soaking water) 1 onion, cut in ¼ inch wedges 6-8 inches burdock root, cut into ½ inch rounds 4 large dried shitake, soaked until completely soft, cut into quarters (save soaking water) 1 carrot, cut into wedges Sesame oil Sea salt Shoyu 1. Sauté the onion with some sesame oil until caramelized. Then sauté the burdock, dried daikon and then carrot, adding salt. 2. Add shitake water to half the height of the ingredients. 3. Bring up to pressure and cook for 10 minutes. 4. Bring down pressure and carefully reduce most of the liquid. 5. Finish seasoning with shoyu if needed.               I never paid much attention to dried daikon. It was one of those imported macrobiotic specialty foods that was hard to find. Where I lived, it had to be mail ordered. Besides, it was usually recommended in the books as a home remedy or special dish for specific conditions. So, I never viewed it as a regular food.  It faded from use in my kitchen, and the two packages I had on hand, moved to the dark back corner of a kitchen drawer. Occasionally, over the years, I would encounter them while searching for something, and the dried daikon would look darker and unappealing as the years passed. There also developed a general aversion in the macrobiotic community to the use of dried daikon, as some counselors would advise against its use, admonishing people that they were becoming “too yang,” and that dried daikon would only make them more so. All in all dried daikon fell out of favor and was all but forgotten by most macrobiotic cooks. Some years ago, Cynthia and I set out on a mission to see how many of the imported macrobiotic foods we could make ourselves. So far we’ve made miso, natto, umeboshi, ume vinegar, ume ginger pickles, takuan rice bran pickles, brown rice syrup, shoyu, amasake, tempeh, naturally leavened bread. We had been inspired years before by our late, great cooking master, the inimitable and irreplaceable Cornellia Aihara. She taught that the spirit of macrobiotics encouraged us to make as many of our foods at home as possible, with local ingredients. So, at her Vega Study Center in California, students were very fortunate to learn from her how...

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Remembering Herman This Father’s Day

Posted by on Jun 7th, 2018 in About Macrobiotics America | Comments Off on Remembering Herman This Father’s Day

Remembering Herman This Father’s Day                     by Cynthia Briscoe   On Father’s Day, we honor the men in our lives who lifted us up when we fell and raised us with the hope we would grow to be strong, happy, resilient functioning adults. These values and more were centerpiece in Herman Aihara’s teaching, and for that reason I celebrate Herman this Father’s Day. Through his dedication, hard work, wise counsel and thought-provoking teaching style, he helped raise many of us “macrobiotically”. Generationally, Herman was a key link in carrying forward the lineage of macrobiotic teaching for future generations.      For those of you who spent time with Herman, I hope these words bring smiles of recognition to your face. For those of you who never met Herman, I hope these words bring smiles to your face as well and convey something of Herman’s teaching spirit. ____________________________________ The last evening of every two-week program at the Vega Study Center, Herman and his wife, Cornellia,  made it a point to join students and staff for the farewell celebration dinner. Many students passed through the Vega doors and many asked the same questions. Even though a hundred different students had asked Herman the same question, he still enthusiastically launched into an explanation as if this was the first time someone had posed this most interesting question. I don’t exactly remember the preceding conversation, probably some question about insomnia or kidney health. All I remember is Herman’s response: “Night time, I go Infinity. Morning time, I come back.” Herman had this way of understating something profound. He could ‘haiku’ a complex thought in very few words. He also had a habit of wrapping the words in a space large enough to magnify the thought. His teaching style was not one to aggressively launch into any immediate extrapolations. He would simply unmoor some dirigible thought and give it ample time to float around freely, watching to see where it might travel. During this silent intermission, Herman passed his attention around the dinner table as generously as the food. Each person’s eyes were a destination along the way as his gaze travelled around the table, his eyes inextricably lit like a smile tickled free from some child within. Next, he would typically lean back, peering skyward into some far off place like a fisherman who had cast his line and hooked a star. Then he would reel that thought back in and repeat the same question: “Night time, I go Infinity. Morning time, I come back.” Sometimes, a brave soul would offer his or her reflection on his statement. Whatever the response, Herman considered it “veery inter-resting.” Even if it the response was way off the mark, he would simply say, “Aah. You think so?” Revisiting that evening dinner and reflecting on it, Herman”s words still inspire me years later. I set forth these notions as an ongoing student with the caveat being that there is no solitary “correct” interpretation. I love it that Herman’s idea is still alive in its movement and evolution. So please carry your own thoughts forward. At night, when we pull down the shades on our windows, we also pull down the shades on our active daytime mind. When we sleep, our minds rest in the infinite field of conscious vibration letting rest the waking consciousness of everyday living in the relative world – the world of...

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Kukicha: Ya Gotta Love it! by Cynthia Briscoe

Posted by on May 11th, 2018 in About Macrobiotics America | Comments Off on Kukicha: Ya Gotta Love it! by Cynthia Briscoe

Ya Gotta Love It!  by Cynthia Briscoe Have you heard the saying, “Love is in the eye of the beholder”? Perhaps this sentiment aptly applies to kukicha, aka twig tea. At first sight, twig tea appears to be just that, a pile of unappetizing, plain-Jane, stripped down, brown twigs. However, first appearances can be deceiving. Now, put on your ‘Ohsawa Magical Spectacles’ and examine the bigger view of these humble twigs. You too, will discover the beauty within.Did you know that when you drink tea, you are actuallly drinking camellia leaves? Below are two comparative photos of camellias. The flowers of camellia var: sinensis from which tea is made are not very flashy compared to many variations of camellia var: japonica that has been cultivated for its strikingly beautiful flowers. George Ohsawa was a pretty smart guy to recommend kukicha as a daily beverage for macrobiotic practice. Partly, this judgment was historically based, but primarily the judgment was based on macrobiotic principles. Historically, tea has been consumed in China for 5,000 thousand plus years. In the beginning, tea was consumed as a medicinal beverage. Tea consumption was brought to the forefront according to one legend, by the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung in 2737BC. At first it was recommended to drink tea instead of wine. In 600-800AD travelling monks introduced tea to Japan and Korea. Over these thousands of years, tea production and consumption grew into a fine art and is even celebrated in rituals such as the famous Japanese tea ceremony. Variations in growing methods, harvesting, aging and processing developed to produce unique flavors, qualities and types of tea. The highest grade of green tea comes from pinching off of the first new buds and tender leaves showing after winter dormancy. Only the leaf bud tip with its two new leaves were taken. Originally, this tea was reserved for emperors. These outer tips represent the more yin part of the plant due to their peripheral location on the tea bush. (Peripheral location is considered more yin, or expanded energy expression.) Rapid growth is yet another yin quality. These new buds and leaves are highest in vitamin C and caffeine, both of which are more yin quality components. Subsequent leaves and flushes of growth are harvested, processed and sold. Tea farmers often could not afford to lose profit by consuming valuable tea leaves for themselves, so they began trimming the small branches after the leaves had been harvested and made tea for their personal use from the twigs.  They steamed, dried, aged and roasted the twigs. Hence, twig tea, or kukicha, was nicknamed “peasant tea” and generally snubbed as a poor-man’s tea. Yet this was the tea George Ohsawa chose as a healthy, daily beverage for macrobiotic consumption. Why did he choose kukicha over the myriad other teas available? Let’s put on our ‘magical spectacles’ and let’s look at twig tea from a macrobiotic point of view. Twig tea is more balanced in terms of yin and yang because twigs are less yin than leaves. Ohsawa observed that daily consumption of concentrated yin could be harmful to health. Kukicha is also known as ‘three year tea’. This means that traditionally, the twig trimmings are from three-year growth on the tea bush. This older growth also reduces caffeine in the twigs. The negligible amount of caffeine in the twigs is further reduced by slow roasting. Also, the twigs are harvested during the fall when there is less caffeine present in...

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Tis The Season: Persimmons

Posted by on Dec 11th, 2017 in About Macrobiotics America | Comments Off on Tis The Season: Persimmons

by Cynthia Briscoe Yesterday I visited the persimmon tree in our back yard to perform what has become a winter welcoming ritual. I greet her with an upturned face, “Hello. Indeed you are breathtakingly beautiful today!” She wears an exquisite sky-blue kimono patterned with crisscrossed bare twigs, like the leaded veins of a stained glass window. The twig and sky pattern compliment an overlay of deep orange fruit suspended like glowing ember-lit lanterns. She welcomes my adoration with generosity, offering a jewel-ripe fruit. This is her custom to all who come to admire her, birds and beasts alike. I snip the fruit free. Her apparel now has one less persimmon adorning it. The first bite of sweetness is always a little shocking, like jumping into a cold mountain stream. Her laughter reminds me of a wind chime, and we exchange pleasantries in a language consisting primarily of vowels and consonants that express throaty satisfaction and enjoyment like, “Aaah,” “ooh” and “mm.” One should note, however, that as well as being so elegantly sweet, she also has a bit of the prankster in her. Without proper introduction, she tempts the initiate persimmon sampler to bite one of her unripe offerings. The astringency has the unique ability to temporarily pucker one’s mouth like gray flannel and cause the tongue to scrape the roof of the mouth like scraping muddy shoes onto a bootjack. This time, “persimmon-ese” vocabulary is limited to vowels and consonants that shape the mouth into a pucker and close off the throat: “Wow!… Aaugh…Oh no!” The funny facial contortions elicit her laughter as well. She usually plays this joke only once. The initiation is well worth it though, as one quickly learns to read fully ripe signs and be rewarded with the delicious sweetness of her affection. Birds have no problem reading the signs. They know to peck at only the very softest fruit. All sorts of birds flock to her branches to feast on ripe persimmons, adding and subtracting elements from her ever-changing kimono. My favorite, though, are the hummingbirds’ darting beaks needling the ripe fruit like a delectable pincushion. After so many punctures and feedings, the fruit loosens from its mooring and splats on the ground below. None is wasted as the insects take over. How to Choose a Persimmon The two most common varieties of persimmon are the Hachiya and Fuju. The tree we have is a Hachiya. To enjoy those fruits fresh, one must be patient for the full ripening. The Hachiya should feel squishy like an under-filled water balloon. They are deee-licious eaten fresh or incorporated into cakes, cookies or pudding. They will become sweet when picked firm, peeled and dried.  The Fuju have a sweet, crunchy texture and may be eaten raw when still firm. The Fuju variety is more commonly available commercially Because the persimmon color is such a rich, warm orange, one might think the fruit itself would be warming to eat. If you pick a soft, ripe persimmon from the tree, it is delicious indeed. However, you might curiously note that the fruit seems colder than the surrounding temperature. That’s because persimmon has a “cold” energy signature. Cornellia told me once that the emperor’s courtesans were forbidden to eat persimmon, especially when pregnant.  She said the reason was because the cold energy of persimmon...

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Wild Shiso “Guerilla Gardening”

Posted by on Oct 29th, 2017 in About Macrobiotics America | Comments Off on Wild Shiso “Guerilla Gardening”

Wild Shiso “Gorilla Gardening”     by Cynthia Briscoe My friend, Cynthia Vann, inspired the following plot, actually two plots. The first is a lush plot: a plot of shiso. And secondly, is a totally different kind of plot, a plot to counter pharmaceuticals. The guerilla gardener in me stirred and then with hairy knuckles began beating her chest and bellowing out a mighty Tarzan yodel. You might ask how Cynthia Vann inspired such a response.   Cynthia Vann is a longtime friend, cookbook author, and  currently a student in our Healing Chef Training Training  Course. One of the course projects is to research a macrobiotic food product and share the results with the class.  She chose to research shiso and sent a photo of her  successful garden bed of purple shiso. I must admit that I was a little jealous of her shiso success,  as many of my attempts to grow shiso in our tiny yard have  been thwarted by the searing summers of northern California. My shiso plants have been small, and they bolt  when the heat hits triple digits shortly into the growing  season.  Every year I have big dreams and high hopes for  lush shiso plants. Each year I learn a new gardening lesson  in growing shiso here in the Sacramento Valley. Two years ago I had semi success when another friend, Keiko, gave me some 6-inch shiso plants from her yard, both the purple and the green varieties. The plants grew large enough to supply shiso for some meals, but not enough to add to the large crocks of umeboshi in the basement longing for purple shiso. (Purple shiso is what gives the umeboshi its red color.) These plants grew nicely during our short spring, but as soon as the heat turned up, the plants bolted, flowered and busied themselves producing seeds. The leaves grew tough and not viable to add to the umeboshi. I saved seeds and tried again the next spring. Zillions of baby shiso “dicot” sprouts sprouted. However, when I checked them the next morning, there were none to be found! What happened? Like a good detective, I followed nearby pearlescent slimy trails to discover fat, satiated snails and slugs snoozing during the day in beds of shady vegetation. These ravenous, nocturnal stealth-grazers had acquired a gastronomical affinity for the complex flavor bouquet shiso offers with its bright minty/anise flavor. I couldn’t fault them for their good taste. I tried all kinds of snail foils – buried cans filled with stale beer, upside down flowerpots covering the baby shiso, and diatomaceous earth. I even had neighbors saving eggshells to crumble and surround plant perimeters. I began a campaign to catch and release buckets of snails collected during flashlight night patrols or after a rain. All these snail foils foiled. The snails tunneled under flowerpots, even when weighted with rocks on top. This was a lot of work because the pots would have to be removed during the day and replaced at night. I cut the tops off plastic pots thinking to avert their tunneling and pushed the pots deep into the soil. These acrobatic snails still managed to infiltrate. Eggshells and diatomaceous earth did not deter them. Relocating buckets of snails was not enough to counter their fertile reproduction. Maybe they...

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Homemade Dill Pickles – Nothing Better for a Summer Picnic

Posted by on Jul 2nd, 2017 in Condiments & Pickles, Make Your Own Fermented Foods, Original Writings, Pickles | Comments Off on Homemade Dill Pickles – Nothing Better for a Summer Picnic

Homemade Dill Pickles – Nothing Better for a Summer Picnic

            Cucumber Dill Pickles                        2 lbs. small pickling cucumbers 1 quart water 3 level Tablespoons sea salt 7 cloves of garlic peeled 1 Tablespoon whole peppercorns 5 bay leaves 1 Tablespoon whole mustard seeds 16 small dried red peppers ½ gallon jar 3 umbels of dried dill 5 fresh grape leaves Heat the water and sea salt lightly until the salt dissolves and let cool to room temperature. Wash the cucumbers and drain. Wash the grape leaves and pinch off the stem, also pinching off a little of the leaf where it joins the stem, as this holds dirt. Place the grape leaves in the bottom of the jar. They will also stick to the sides of the jar if they are a little wet. Pack the cucumbers tightly in the jar standing them vertically. Distribute the other ingredients as the cucumbers are added to the jar. Poor the brine over the ingredients enough to cover the cucumber tops. The tops of the cucumbers must be covered in brine to prevent spoilage. Place a piece of cheesecloth over the jar and secure with a rubber band. Let sit at room temperature for 3-5 days. Lactic acid fermentation speeds up in warmer temperatures and slows down in cooler temperatures. You will know when fermentation is active when a few small bubbles begin to appear in the jar and it starts to smell a little sour. Place the lid on the jar and store in the refrigerator. The dill pickles will still ferment very slowly in the refrigerator, but will keep for months, unless of course they get eaten sooner. Makes 2 quarts or ½ gallon dill pickles. The proportion of salt is 3 Tablespoons sea salt to 1 quart of water. To measure how much salt water is needed to make your dill pickles, you can pack your jar with cucumbers and then fill the jar with water. Pour off the water into a measuring cup and you will know exactly how much brine to make.  The grape leaves are optional, but the tannins in the leaves make the pickles crispier. If you do not have access to grapes, wild grapes are plentiful and may be used as well. Select newer growth leaves that are more tender. © Macrobiotics America  ...

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Seed of a Seed article Life Lessons Taught by an Umeboshi Pit

Posted by on May 2nd, 2017 in About Macrobiotics America, Magazine Articles, Original Writings | Comments Off on Seed of a Seed article Life Lessons Taught by an Umeboshi Pit

Seed of a Seed article Life Lessons Taught by an Umeboshi Pit

The Seed of a Seed      Life lessons taught by an umeboshi pit.    by Cynthia Briscoe                                    There’s a tiny spark, a potent intelligence that lies dormant, indestructible, despite all logic. It lies patiently coiled until the awakened moment when the serpent springs forth. I witnessed this phenomenon this spring – a lesson taught firsthand by an umeboshi.       “What?” “Huh?” “What on earth are you talking about?” These might be some common responses to what I’ve written so far. Bear with me, and please be as patient an umeboshi, because you carry that same ‘Seed of a Seed’ that an umeboshi carries. Late winter-early spring 2017 erupted in chaos as the teeter-totter of extremes rebalanced. The past 5 years here in Northern California have been a period of extreme drought. Lake Oroville, that normally holds 3 ½ million cubic acres of water, had wasted to practically nothing. Then the drought ended with record rainfall. The 800-foot deep lake swelled to overfull, and the world’s 2nd largest earthen dam (2nd only to the Aswan Dam in Egypt) became compromised. The force of water released at 100,00 cubic feet per second tore loose the lower half of the aged main spillway. The lake filled beyond capacity and water gushed over a second, auxiliary, spillway (a non-reinforced hillside), washing away soil and threatening to unleash a 60-foot wall of water over the town below where we live.   Mandatory evacuation was ordered. Folks had a frantic one-hour notice to locate family members, load up pets, valuables and emergency supplies. Evacuation routes were clogged with crawling traffic. Some poor souls were walking, carrying a few belongings in plastic grocery bags. No government plan was in place to assist elderly or disabled persons to leave. Emergency information was disorganized, unreliable and incomplete. The town once full of activity emptied. There was a palpable, eerie atmosphere of apocalyptic abandonment. A few bewildered cats left behind meowed in alleyways. Even the sound of birds was silenced. Folks clung to any local news conferences for information as to whether their homes would be safe or not. You could leave town, but not return, as incoming roads were blocked. It was an atmosphere of fear and shock.      Unbeknownst to me, at the same time we were all caught up in the evacuation, a contrasting story of nature’s order and quiet strength was at play. Amid all the chaos, umeboshi pits were calmly swelling and sprouting, breaking free from their hard shells, in our backyard garden. These were no ordinary seeds. They had been pickled in 18% salt by weight and preserved since 1999!   …to be continued in part 2 The Seed of a Seed, Part 2 Life lessons taught by an umeboshi pit by Cynthia Briscoe For those readers who have never heard of an umeboshi, let me briefly explain. Umeboshi is the very salty, very sour pickled fruit from an ume tree. Ume trees are highly respected and cherished in Eastern cultures. The trees flowering in spring are celebrated with the same admiration as we view the cherry blossoms in Washington, DC. The small apricot-looking fruit never becomes juicy or sweet. Even at its ripest, ume fruit remains very sour. Ume...

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Whole Salt or Refined Salt: What’s the difference?

Posted by on Oct 15th, 2016 in Articles, Health & Healing Notes | Comments Off on Whole Salt or Refined Salt: What’s the difference?

Whole Salt or Refined Salt: What’s the difference?

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...

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