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
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 persimmon...read more
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...read more
Vivo: I am Alive! by Cynthia Briscoe Many times, I am grateful for macrobiotic knowledge and the subsequent healing power waiting to be activated from a macrobiotic kitchen. Daily macrobiotic practice builds a strong foundation for health – and sometimes that same knowledge can prove vital in an emergency life-and-death situation. Such was the case beginning six days ago when an unexpected visitor surrendered himself on our front porch. Flattened, looking not unlike a wet gray flannel shirt flung onto the cement. I took a second look, because the “shirt” had ears. I kneeled down for closer examination to discover the sickliest young cat I had ever seen. He appeared to have collapsed after expending an effort to make it up the three shallow steps onto the porch. I know he was weak and exhausted because he did not lift his head when I approached him. Only his eyes rolled in their sockets toward me. He was a frail skeleton draped in lint-textured cat fur. His nose and mouth were masked behind crusted layers of mattered discharge imbedded with leaves, twigs, dirt and other debris. I carefully scooped him up, calling out to David to grab some old towels and a clean washcloth. Chunks of brittle debris gradually succumbed to the warm wet washcloth, patient soaking and slightly firm scrubbing. He breathed a little easier. Either he knew I was trying to help him or else he was simply too weak to protest. He presented himself as a compliant, grateful, and also desperate patient. Once the debris was cleaned from his face, it became obvious that he had an abscess on the side of his face. I knew it needed to be opened and drained, and soon! I put in a call to our daughter, Ana, to see if she would be willing to lance the abscess. I figured she had more medical experience than I, as she works for a podiatrist and has performed similar duties on people’s feet with sharp tools. We wrapped him securely in a towel and she attempted to lance the abscess. However, his hide was very tough and the abscess had hardened inside. The blade simply glanced off the abscess. It was painful for him, so I determined to take him to PAWS first thing in the morning to get professional veterinary treatment…if he lasted through the night. He was thin as a rail and severely dehydrated. I scrambled to make a dashi broth for him. Dashi is a soup broth made from a base of kombu and dried shitake mushrooms, to which I added a handful of iriko (small dried anchovies). Often with a severely dehydrated animal, just giving plain water animal is not effective because the water cannot be absorbed. The minerals in the kombu encourage the cells and tissue to accept water through osmosis. Also beneficial, is that seaweed has a softening effect on hard deposits in the body plus the shitake has a yin expanding quality that he needed in his highly contracted condition. Iriko are highly nutritious because they...read more
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 ...read more
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 is...read more
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