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 Started section of this web site.
720 Bird St.
Oroville, CA 95965
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 Started section of this web site. Macrobiotics America720 Bird St.Oroville, CA 95965Phone: 530.282.3518or...read more
Make Your Own Delicious Mustard – It’s Easy! by Cynthia Briscoe Last night David made the most delicious seitan. Yum. “Let’s have seitan deli sandwiches and soup for dinner!” I exclaimed. And since we both love mustard on seitan sandwiches, I went to fetch a bottle of it. However, when I went to squeeze the mustard bottle, the “plph-fwwt-fwwt-fluppering” sound of not-enough-mustard dashed my sandwich dream. That was until I remembered the big jar of mustard seeds languishing in the spice drawer. “I’ll surprise David and make some delicious home-made mustard to compliment his tasty seitan,” or so I thought.“Look before you leap.”Sometimes I do quite the opposite, especially when blinded by a flash of inspiration. That’s how new recipes are born, right? I’d wanted to try making mustard for a while, and now the perfect opportunity presented itself. I eagerly poured a cup of brown mustard seeds into the Magic Bullet blender. “Hmm…what kind of vinegar should I add?” I asked myself. “Oh, I know – the persimmon vinegar I made this past fall.” I was sure it would be deliciously tangy and sweet. So, I added enough persimmon vinegar to cover the top of the seeds and began grinding.Quickly enough the little blender groaned for more liquid, I added the remainder of brown rice vinegar that was in another bottle. Still more liquid was needed, so I added some unfiltered apple cider vinegar, taking care not to let the mother vinegar slip into the blender. I tasted it and added additional water and more sea salt, as it was still pretty thick and pasty. On the next taste It was horrible, something akin to bitter dirt – nothing like the mustard of my flavorful imagination. With deeply deflated enthusiasm, I shoved the mustard toward the back of the counter, abandoning it to the company of the food processor. I really meant to compost it that night, but with other distractions, I forgot. Two days later, armed with a rubber spatula, I was ready to feed the failed mustard to the compost. But then, that ever-hopeful little voice told me to give it a farewell taste. Perhaps before it had only been a bad mustard dream. To my surprise, it now tasted like an expensive gourmet mustard – flavorfully pungent, very spicy, and with subtle tangy sweet undertones. Little did I know just how incredibly easy and foolproof it is to make your own mustard. With only three basic components, the possibilities are endless. There’s not even any cooking involved. Here’s a quick primer for what you need to know about the three main ingredients before launching into your own personal mustard adventure.The 3 Main Components in Making Mustard 1. Mustard seeds come in two basic varieties: light and dark. The lighter colored seeds, known as yellow or white, are milder tasting like the common yellow mustard. The darker colored seeds, referred to as black or brown, yield a spicier, more pungent and robust mustard. At least some of the seeds of either variety need to be broken or crushed in order to release the pungency.2. The liquid can be varied but almost always includes some type of vinegar. Fruit or fruit juice, citrus, water, beer or other spirits my be added. Acidity unlocks and activates the spicy volatile chemistry in the mustard seeds. The more acidic the liquid, the slower the heat is unlocked and the longer the heat will stay in the mustard. Acidity sets the spicy flavor and preserves it. If no sour liquid is used, for example, if only...read more
ABOUT CYNTHIA VANN: Cynthia is a respected member of the macrobiotic community. She is a dedicated long-time researcher, historian and archivist of macrobiotics. Cynthia attended the levels at the Kushi Institute and is a graduate from Macrobiotics America’s Counselor Training Program. She is currently enrolled in our Macrobiotic Chef Training Program. She is a macrobiotic counselor as well as consultant in iridology and sclerology. Cynthia compiled a 4-booklet series, Best of East West, containing many of the most popular seasonal recipes published in the East West Journal during the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. She is also an avid nature and hiking enthusiast. To contact Cynthia Vann: firstname.lastname@example.org In Here Comes the Sun, Part 1, we looked at how we are “solar powered.” Humans can’t directly capture the sun’s energy like plants; we are dependent upon the plant world to do that for us. Plants photosynthesize sunlight and store it primarily as carbohydrate. We then ingest plants, and through digestion unlock plant sourced solar energy to fuel our very existence. Sun exposure is a different, yet essential way in which we “ingest” sunlight – not through food consumption and digestion, but through our skin. By exposing our skin to sunlight, we are nourished by transmuting the sun’s energy into Vitamin D. Here in Part 2, I present an interview with Cynthia Vann, who shares her personal experience and long-time research of Vit D. CB: Cynthia, what first led you to study Vit D? CV: We were camping and hiking, about 8 miles in. On the last day I was enjoying a beautiful hike up the mountainside when I slipped on some loose shale. Reflexively, I broke the fall with my hand and heard a cracking sound. My companions helped me with the climb back down to camp and put a cast on it. I slept there overnight. The next day, I walked the 8 miles out. The injury was OK as long as I didn’t move it a certain way. After 2 days, I went to the ER and they patched it up. Well, that piqued my curiosity. I hadn’t had any prior breaks for decades, really. I’d recently had a bone density test that came out great. So I was surprised. Then I went to visit a friend, Mark Sorenson, who owns a spa. He had been studying Vit D quite extensively and had even written a book about it. He was giving lectures on the subject at hisspa. I had never considered Vit D to factor into my bone health and had never had my Vit D levels tested. He suggested that I get tested when I got home. Also, there was a woman staying at the spa, who had been diagnosed with osteopenia. She had brittle bones and marked depression, as well as other bothersome symptoms. Her Vit D level was at 6 ng/ml and it’s supposed to be at 40. She did a series of supplemental treatments and a sunbathing regime and raised her levels up to 40. Well, I was very impressed and my curiosity drove me to do extensive reading and research.CB: So, the lady who did the sunbathing, how much of her skin was exposed and how long was her sunbath? CV: She went out in a bikini. The length of time for sun exposure depends on your skin type. She was...read more
It’s hard to believe that less than five centuries ago, people believed that the earth was the center of the solar system. Copernicus’s heliocentric proposal was published in 1543 shortly before his death. His treatise was then somewhat shelved. It took another 100 years to “come to light” when Galileo attempted to build upon Copernican theory. A sun-centered view of God’s creation was such a radical departure from the accepted earth-centered cosmology that the very idea was considered heresy against the Church and Galileo was promptly placed under house arrest. Scientific understanding of our solar system is still evolving today as well as our view of our place within the cosmology of newly accepted theories. Regardless of human stellar opinion, the sun shines on. Aveline Kushi once taught us a children’s song called “Amaterasu” which translates, “the Sun is our Mother”. This concept was something I had never really considered in this way. In fact the sun, in my mind, was just there. It came up in the morning and went down at night. For my whole life, I had taken the sun for granted. From a child’s simple perspective, I recall a visceral and aesthetic moment in the sun. In one instance, I was laying on my back in the cool green grass, looking up at the swaying rhythm of the tree canopy above. The white sunlight dancing in partnership with limbs and leaves, was brilliantly blinding white in contrast to the cool, soft leaf shadows. It caused me to squint and my eyes to tear. I remember sinking into the delicious lullaby of dancing, green-shaded notes contrasting with the staccato of blinding white light. Squinting through the narrowest of slits, I was fascinated to see a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of rainbow orbs caught within my lashes. I don’t remember how long I stayed in that moment, but the tiny memory stuck with me all these years. Perhaps that was the moment I became so enthralled with color. If there were no sun, there would be no color. How is it that we can even see colors? The child within me wonders. Could it be because we internalize sunlight or that our biology evolved dependent upon sunlight? We Are Solar Powered If you think about it, our very existence is coalescent to the sun. If the sun was removed from the equation of life, there could be no life as we know it. We literally “eat” sunshine, perhaps not directly as we think of ingesting a meal, but further down the food chain. Unlike plants, we cannot go outside and wave our arms in the air and collect sunlight to fuel ourselves. Fortunately for us, plants can. Through photosynthesis, plants turn sunlight into various forms of carbohydrate, which is the baseline fuel source for humans and animals. Carbohydrates are converted storehouses of sun energy primarily sourced through the vegetable world. Even if a person chooses to eat meat, that person is still consuming sunlight via the animal that consumed the plants, that became flesh, which is then eaten. Eating meat inserts an animal between you and your source of energy in the food chain. After plants do the work of capturing sunlight and converting it into carbohydrate, we humans are able to recover the sunlight through our process of...read more
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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 to make miso, shoyu, umeboshi and...read more
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...read more
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...read more
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...read more