Tag Archives: macrobiotics

Barley shiitake meal soup

This is a very filling soup which we had as main course for dinner. It´s more kind of a stew 😀 The recipe actually comes from Jessica Porter´s Hip Chick´s Guide to Macrobiotics, but I made some adjustments…

Bring 2 bowls of wate to boil, together with 1/3 cup of barley, a 5-cm piece of kombu, 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, a small bunch of dried burdock pieces (optional, but adds great depth) and 2 larger but thin slices of ginger root. Lower the flame, cover and simmer for about 40 or 45 minutes, until the barley is soft. Take out the kombu, slice into thin strips and return to pot (or discard or save for another dish). Take out the shiitakes as well, chop up into small pieces (or slices) and return to pot. Discard the ginger slices. Meanwhile sautee one sliced medium onion on a bit of water with a pinch of salt, until soft. Add 2 tablespoons of oat flour (I crushed oatflakes in a suribashi to get a coarse powder) and a few spoons of hot water from the soup to thin the onion-flake mixture into a creamy consistency, watch out for lumps. Add this mixture to the soup and boil for a bit longer. At the end add a splash of lemon juice and 1 1/2 tbsp of dark barley miso. Garnish with chopped scallions. Yum!!

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Brown rice fast – day 4

Yesterday evening my stomach and head were hurting after the oven-baked rice – either I just had a too big portion (very likely) or my stomach didn´t agree with the overly yang meal (baking+tamari+rice=very yang) or both. Anyway I found out that the baked rice, while the crispiness is generally nice, is too dry and contracting for me. In the morning today I was literally longing for a moist creamy rice porridge – I mixed my bowl of leftover rice with three cups of water and cooked it fairly long. The result was amazingly soothing and veeeery creamy, with a teaspoon of umepaste and a bit of gomasio, yum!! That will be my breakfast in the next days I am sure.  It also helped with the constipation problem 😀

For lunch I had steamed leftover rice and for dinner freshly cooked rice; with different types of gomasio (my homemade and a store-bought  one with added nori and shiso sprinkles) and also tekka (a condiment made from roasting miso with some root vegetables). I must say that today I had a bit of a crisis with cravings – I feel fed up with the rice, mostly because it´s so yang!! My pancreas is tight…I really want something juicy, preferrably a veggie 😦 I think tomorrow I might start adding some vegetable pickles…

This night/morning I had hardly any mucous discharge which was nice (yesterday it was really annoying), but since yesterday I am experiencing more skin breakouts – again yin coming out. My lips are dry and in general I feel thirsty, I´m trying to drink more…tonight I also made myself a special treat, chicory coffee!! I sleep hard lately, with a loooot of dreams and it´s a bit hard to wake up.

Today it was bright sunny weather and again I had an urge to move – so we went at least for a little walk to our park. It´s strange how sometimes it seems so easy to endure the 10 days and sometimes it´s sooo hard. Right now I feel not so motivated because I am not having any really dramatic discharge neither am I feeling amazingly great. Is that still coming? I want to feel the peaceful meditative state that people describe during the rice fasts but instead I´m kind of irritable, a little depressed, not so energetic or on the other hand restless and not knowing what to focus on. Well, maybe this IS the discharge I need 😀 Wondering what the next days will bring. My boyfriend is quitting the fast tonight so it´s gonna be a bit lonesome battle from now on. Almost a week to go.

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Brown rice fast – day 2


Today I was feeling a little bit less tired and I had less tension in my head, yet my energy levels are still lower than usually. I did though have a bit of a restless feeling in the afternoon and a big urge to go outside (especially since there was sun shining at times), so I went for a quick walk into our park around the lake, which was really refreshing. Except that I feel quite cold even indoors, so outside I was nearly freezing 😀 I hope that the feeling of cold will subside in the next days of fasting. I feel less hungry than yesterday, which is good news! The bad news is that especially in the morning I had BIG trouble eating, because my jaw muscles hurt tremendously! It sounds funny but it actually ain´t funny! 😀 I had to massage my cheeks thoroughly and also during the eating process it got bearable, yet it´s my current biggest problem with this fast. Who would have thought…

I needed some variety today, so in the morning I added half an umeboshi to my usual bowl of rice with gomasio, for lunch I added a teaspoon of tamari and now for dinner I will bake the rice a bit in the oven 😀 I also prepared rice with an addition of 25% of sweet rice, mmmm!! Love that. Drinking a bit more than yesterday as I was a bit too thirsty – I don´t want to overdo it with minimizing the liquid.

There is one added bonus which surprised me a lot – my teeth feel extremely clean and even like polished! 🙂 Better than any toothpaste or dental treatment! That´s a side effect I didn´t expect, seems that the chewing of the whole grain works like a toothbrush taking away old plaque??

I do feel that the discharge is approaching…there is this “acid” feeling in my head, all the yin popping up…

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Brown rice fast – day 1

Today is the start of my ten-day journey of accomplishing a brown rice cleanse/fast as per the recommendations of George Ohsawa, one of the pioneers, teachers and “grandfathers” of macrobiotics 😀 I was really looking forward to this fast because I wanted to experience a cleanse which is efficient, yet gentle and doable in the way that you are not depriving yourself totally of food…I can actually eat as much as I want, provided it´s a grain and I chew each mouthful at least 50 times. This is also called Ohsawa´s “no. 7” diet, which is a 100% grain-based diet. It has though several variations and levels of strictness, I am first starting with one of the most strict versions, that is consuming only brown rice and gomasio (or tamari, tekka and such condiments) and some roasted tea (today hojicha, but I think I will prefer the twig teas such as kukicha and genmaicha in the next days). Later on I plan to add some pickles and also some other grains so that I can transition back to a “normal” MB diet. But rice is the most cleansing grain, so I´m sticking to that one now – besides, it is my most favourite grain!

It saves me a lot of time spent in the kitchen, too 😀 In the morning I just made a huge pot (actually, pressure cooker) full of rice (4 cups of rice, as my boyfriend is fasting with me as well, at least for some time), and later on I just scooped some into a bowl or steamed it to reheat it a bit. I must admit that while I love the taste of the brown rice (especially with yummy homemade gomasio), I am already craving some soup or veggies 😀 But the cravings are not too bad – yet. I am sure it will get worse still…I just miss some freshness and variety of taste/structure/energy.

In the last days I was indulging, and yes, bingeing…knowing that I will soon be on a pretty strict regimen and that even afterwards I will have to come back to a more usual diet slowly, and perhaps I will want to maintain a more healing diet for weeks if not months. That thought made me eat stuff I normally avoid (especially since we lately went to eat out a lot, to all kinds of ethnic restaurants, which was all very tasty, but WAY too much oil, salt, spices, and even some small amounts of egg, dairy and sugar which you could not control, such as in sauces etc.). There is so much that I need to heal…IF this rice fast helps me improve my condition significantly, then I think I will be motivated to not slip so often to unhealthy food – that´s my theory at least 😀

The first day my impressions are mostly that it´s really long and tiring to chew each mouthful until the rice becomes liquid…Each time it took us one hour to finish a not too big bowl of rice!! I was first counting, but then I found out it´s easier to just always chew until I get the required porridge-like texture of the content of my mouth. I was fascinated to observe how much saliva my mouth can produce! 😀 Also I can confirm that rice really becomes sweet when chewed long. But man, do my jaws hurt from all the exercise!! I think at the end of this fast my jaw muscles will be made of steel…

In the morning I woke up with a lot of mucus coming out after the last indulgent days…congested nose and headache and sneezing and runny eyes…All day I am having a headache and a general tension in my head, plus I feel tired, but that is just the start of the discharge :-p And I would probably feel like that anyway, even without the fast, as my discharge mechanisms are quite strong. But I am expecting to experience still some more dramatic effects in time…

Well, eating just rice definitely makes me hungry after a few hours (and we were just home lazy all day!), so I am already looking forward to dinner! 😀


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This time not a recipe aka Blessed be those who discharge

I decided to include some general talk which I usually don´t post in this blog, which is more of a recipe blog tracking my culinary experiments. But I feel this is really, really important and maybe it could help some who are struggling with similar issues…

When I went fully macro a few months ago (after many months of doing a strange semi-macro up and down diet, because my previous lifestyle was very complicated to combine with a real macrobiotic way of life), I started experiencing more discharge than usually. I started to also finally understand my discharge, which was even more important. I started seeing it for what it was – a persistent strong attempt of my body to heal itself and to get rid of large amounts of toxins that would otherwise accumulate, possibly eventually into tumours…

For years and years I thought I am soooo unlucky that I am suffering from all kinds of diseases. Since early puberty I was plagued with allergies (it started out as a pollen allergy, but in the last years it multiplied into several food allergies and some more general unexplicable allergies nobody really understood), a low immune system (I cannot count how many times I suffered from returning respiratory problems, sinusitis, colds etc.), chronic fatigue, headaches, loss of skin pigmentation, thyroid problems and severe acne which would never go away, no matter what medication and procedures I went through. Later on I was diagnosed with celiac disease and went completely glutenfree. The last few years a new thing appeared in my “collection” – dramatic hives, which would cover my body in a map of red, swollen, incredibly itchy “bumps”. I started experiencing swelling of eyelids, lips and various body parts, mostly hands and feet. Luckily I never had asthma, but during those nearly anaphylactic shock spells my throat closed up so it was hard to breathe, those were one of my worst moments, when I was afraid to choke. Long story short – before becoming macro my health was sometimes unbearable, that is, it would be unbearable without a pill, a powerful antihistamine, taken daily…I was addicted to this medication, that´s for sure.  And this same medication blocked all the discharge my body was attempting! Just like a corkscrew on a bottle, keeping all the “bad stuff” in. Neutralizing its effects (my symptoms), but never healing the cause, which it didn´t even pretend to do.

When I started my macrobiotic studies here in Holland, I immediately (after a couple of days of a strict macro diet 3 times a day) “caught” a cold, the same as most of my co-students. It was a overwhelming cold, with lots of mucus coming up, but it lasted only a few days and it was over. My body managed to discharge this more superficial layer of yin (mucus) accumulation pretty quickly, with the help of many healing dishes. I went through some digestive trouble for a week or so, but then I got regular again. Suddenly I felt a burst of energy flowing through my body. I went off my allergy pills!! That was a huge feeling of liberation. My mornings were not anymore the worst part of the day when I would experience massive amounts of mucus discharge and blocked sinuses, suddenly my mornings were bright and easy.

Of course, this phase didn´t last forever…in the later classes we learnt how to cook more rich indulgent menus, which was not the best for my prescribed strict healing diet…there was a fairly large ingestion of oils and macro desserts…I started feeling a bit heavy and blocked again. But still I was eating macrobiotic and the discharge continued. The yin was leaving my body quite quickly, but what I think happened next was the start of a discharge of deep yang accumulation (probably not meat anymore, since I was vegetarian for 7 years, but there was a LOT of cheese and eggs still in my cells…). I felt awful in the last two weeks – unbelievably irritable, with overwhelming waves of anger which wouldn´t actually leave totally at all, hot spells, dry throat, big thirst, feelings of exhaustion….I had a cycle with no ovulation, and my period came extremely late….and there came cravings, of course yin cravings, because I needed to relax and soothe my nerves and body. I went overboard with oils (even deep-frying a few times) and desserts and hot spices…my hives and swelling returned in the end and I had to compromise and take my good ole pill…what a failure. At least that was the emotion that accompanied this decision, although it was a necessary decision, because my breathing problems came back as well.

And since I already felt as a failure, I could confirm it even more, right? How to do that? By eating that Saint Nicholas traditional Dutch pie that was sitting on a little table in my room for weeks (yes, the Dutch eat this supersweet almondpaste filled pastry every year on St Nicholas eve). It was glutenfree, but other than that full of the worst macro nightmares – sugar, butter, eggs, milk, additives. It was a BIG pie, with a LOT of sugar. So much sugar (which I didn´t ingest for weeks) that it didn´t even taste sweet to me, it tasted ACID. Burning unpleasant strong acid. Sugar actually is very acid-forming for the blood, so no wonder. The funny thing is that you don´t probably have an idea that the actual taste of sugar is acid, unless you go for weeks without touching sugar. You also don´t feel the acid creeping through your whole body, through the digestive system and into your head as I did, unless you go for weeks without touching sugar. It was an extremely interesting though not pleasant experience of what sugar truly is, or, what it means for our bodies. I now don´t have the need to repeat this experience. I now know how badly this would affect me afterwards. The next few days I was (and am) busy discharging all this massive sugar – through hives, swelling, headaches, unclear thinking, mood swings etc.

I returned to point Zero.

Now I´m trying to get back on the more strict healing macro wagon…It´s tough because the body is confused, still discharging loads, still having a lot of cravings, the emotions are still swinging back and forth. But I am grateful for this lesson, no matter how painful it was and still is . Isn´t that macrobiotics? Learning by experience the effects of foods on your body and mind?


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Semi-macrobiotic pizza :-D

So I had this glutenfree non-macrobiotic premade pizza base sitting in my cupboard for a few months, and since I hate to throw things away, I decided to use it even if it´s not totally macro (especially since it has yeast in it).

But, all the rest I put on the pizza was pretty much macro, I´d say. As a pizza sauce I used the “fake tomato sauce”, you can read the recipe in my previous post. I made only some slight changes – I didn´t have celery stalk, so I used only carrot, beet and onion for the vegetables. I also made a smaller amount, because last time it was waaaay too much, especially the carrots you can really use less of them… And this time I even had fresh parsley 😀 But I forgot bay leaf, which didn´t matter much I think.

On this pizza sauce I sprinkled some organic corn kernels from a jar – my favourite pizza topping!

The most challenging part was the “cheese” – I decided to blanche tofu (maybe 200 g) cut into thick slices (you just need to blanche it for maybe 3 minutes), transferred it with some water to a blender, added a heaping tablespoon of tahini, two heaping teaspoons of mustard and about half a teaspoon of salt. It blended into a nice thick creamy sauce. To enhance the texture I mixed in one coarsely grated small block of mochi, and this tofu topping I spread on top of the corn+pizza sauce.

The result was definitely not your typical pizza (next time I will add some dried tomatoes to the sauce, because I kind of missed the tomato flavour), but I really liked it. The tofu cream cheese can still use some improvement, but I think the idea is not bad and it´s one of the closest things to cheese that I have so far tasted in macrobiotic cuisine…so, keep experimenting, I sure will!

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Filed under Complete meals, Grain dishes, Recipes, Tofu and tempeh dishes