Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Eating, cooking, and shopping macrobioticly

My third macrobiotic counseling session in August went well.

My counselor Denny Waxman and I conduct the sessions over Facetime which always feels like the universe is pulling for me as my success with Facetime usually ranges from not available at all to only available for a minute before the screen lags, freezes, and/or goes black. But for my macrobiotic consultations I've been able to conduct a 90 minute consultation in April followed by a 60 minute consultation in June and August with no disruptions whatsoever. Miracles. LOL

Udon noodles with toasted brown rice mochi, vegetables, and wakame seaweed

Each time we begin with my updating Denny on what is going on in my life/health. I share with him how my doctor's visits have gone, how I'm feeling, if I have any new particular health concerns, and how well I've been adhering to the recommendations he's already given me. He then tailors my diet and lifestyle suggestions off of all of the new information recommending new foods to eat, foods to discontinue using for now, how to best prepare everything for my condition, and using particular holistic therapies like body rubs, soaks, and/or compresses.

Right now my body is moving from a state of detoxifying to healing itself through the food I eat. Whenever possible I use organic. Worth noting is that even foods that may sound familiar (i.e. miso, pickles, and sauerkraut) are of macrobiotic quality with no sugar, pasteurization, or artificial preservatives added.

Because I've lost so much weight (over 25 pounds to date with my current AM weight at 94 lbs) and have seen some health concerns correct themselves, one of the most frequently asked questions I receive is: "What do you eat?" Here is a basic guideline of most of what I've been eating and how I prepare everything:

FOOD CHOICES (Some regularly and some occasionally)

Polenta with kim chi

Grains: Pearled Barley, hato mugi barley, medium grain brown rice, farro, millet, polenta, teff, wheat bulgur

Beans: Azuki, black beans, black soy beans, cannellini, chick peas, green lentils, kidney, navy, pinto, tofu

Pan Toasted Nuts: almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, walnuts (raw)

Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower

Leafy Greens: Bok choy, cabbage (green, napa, red, savoy), kale (all varieties), Swiss chard, watercress

Root Vegetables: burdock, carrots, parsnips, onions (green, leeks, yellow, white), radish (red and daikon), sweet potatoes, turnips

Vegetables: Celery, corn, cucumber, green beans, squash, Hokkaido pumpkin

Sea Vegetables: Dulse, konbu, nori, wakame

: Maitake, oyster, shiitake

Fruit: Apples, berries (wild blueberries, wild black raspberries, raspberries, blackberries), cherries, nectarines, pears, plums, oranges, lemon

Whole wheat ramen with toasted black sesame seeds

Pastas: Brown rice and whole wheat udon, ramen, somen, whole wheat Italian pastas

Fermented Foods: Kim chi, miso, overnight lightly salted vegetables, sauerkraut, takuan, umeboshi plums

Hosomaki sushi with umeboshi plum paste and pickled cabbage

Seasonings and Condiments: garlic, ginger, lemon juice, sesame seeds (brown and black both toasted and ground), shoyu, Si brand sea salt, ume-shiso powder, vinegars (ume and brown rice)

Cooking Oils: Expeller pressed sesame oil kept in the fridge brushed onto my cast iron pans for sauteing

Sweeteners: I use brown rice syrup and mirin sweet rice cooking wine rarely to occasionally

Beverages: Kukicha tea and water

Homemade black bean hummus and corn tortillas

Snacks: Brown rice mochi, hummus with soft corn tortillas, nuts, dried fruit


Most of my food is steamed, blanched, boiled, or sautéed, and pickled/fermented. I eat a small amount of raw vegetables occasionally.

I now only cook in clay pots, cast iron, or stainless steel cookware.


Processed Foods including those that sound like health foods and meat and dairy substitute products.

Meat: Beef, pork, poultry, all fish except occasionally (once a month) wild caught, white meat fish, usually, cod in small portions

Dairy: Butter, eggs, milk, yogurt, etc.

Hard Foods: Crackers, cookies, popcorn, or sourdough bread that hasn't been steamed to soften it first

Ice: Anything frozen

Sugar and Sweetners: Agave, artificial sweeteners, sugar (cane, coconut, date, palm), high fructose corn syrup, honey, or maple syrup

Vegetables: beets, tomato, potatoes, zucchini, spinach

Fruits: All tropical and temperate fruits like pineapple, mango, banana, etc.

Yeast: All products with the exception of sourdough bread that uses starter made from natural airborne yeasts and not active dry yeast


Baking, deep frying, grilling, roasting, smoking are not on my menu these days

Every type of nonstick, aluminum, tinned copper


Q: How long does it take to prepare macrobiotic meals?
A: Not too long. When pressed I can make a meal in 15 minutes as I usually have some things batch cooked ahead like grains and beans and sometimes even vegetables already steamed.

When cooking without fat and oils most vegetables taste good even cold from the fridge such as already steamed leafy greens or some leftover sweet potato that was cooked in a clay donabe pot. 

I reheat grains either in a petite clay pot on the stove top or even put them in a saute pan when I'm done making veggies. The hot pan usually holds just enough heat to warm the rice/grains nicely.

Things like already refrigerated millet and polenta can be mixed with water to turn them back into a porridge or sliced and sauted loaf style.

All grains can also be reheated with water to create a porridge. Sometimes I'll mix in some already cooked adzuki beans to make a heartier porridge.

Noodles take no more than 4 minutes to boil and can also be refrigerated if there are leftovers.

Cooking things like beans and grains take approximately an hour but very little prep time and I can busy myself with other things as it cooks.

Q: Where do I obtain my ingredients?
A: From both local stores in Grand Rapids and the internet.

It would have been much easier to pursue the diet when I lived in California as the number of health food stores within close range was extremely high. Here in West Michigan? It's approximately a 45 minute drive to shop at the two (Harvest Health and Fresh Thyme) closest health food stores to my home.

Online I order many products including Mitoku brand misos, mushrooms, noodles, beans, grains, mochi, condiments, seaweeds and dried vegetables like lotus and burdock from Natural Imports.

I found my clay donabe pots online at Toiro Kitchen and the green rice and grain steamer at Herron Avenue Studios on Etsy. 

And even though my macrobiotic counselor has urged me not to be concerned about calories I'll admit I have been because it's a little scary when you begin to rapidly lose weight. I looked online to find the calorie count of many of the things I'm eating and realized as long as I eat a cup of grains with each meal and eat a single 1 cup serving of both sweet potato and beans each day they would set me up with a default of 1000+ calories per day. As you can see veggies don't add a whole lot more but I've been trying to consume about 1300 calories per day.

I also want to point out that our bodies need carbs. What they don't need are the highly refined and processed carbs that so often fill the standard American diet. Whole grains as complex carbs give our bodied needed nutrients and won't cause weight gain if they are of high quality and eaten in healthy, rather than excessive, amounts.

In the most simple terms I'm now eating nutrient dense foods that are low in calories. I used to eat a standard American diet which is high in calories but low in nutrients. So 1300 calories a day may sound concerning but I'm certain they are enough to help restore my body to a natural state of health.

My natural adult weight of 91 lbs (that I was most of my life) is most likely where I'll end up. That's been a little alarming to many of my friends here in MI. When I arrived in 2014 I weighed 125 lbs. So to see me reduce to a weight significantly less than how they have known me has caused some concern. And my mom too. But it's ok. I've become comfortable with going back down that low as long as I was able to do it more slowly than the process began back in April when I was dropping a pound a day.

So here are the calorie counts I looked up:

1 cup teff 255
1 cup millet 207
1 cup brown rice 200
1 cup farro 200
1 cup pearled barley 193
1 cup whole wheat pasta 174
1 cup bulgur wheat 151

Udon 1/5 package 200
Ramen 1/5 package 200
1 cup Whole Wheat Varieties 159-174

1 cup steamed sweet potato 180
1 cup cooked leeks 161
1 cup parsnip 100
1 cup cooked carrots 82
1/4 cup onions 68
1 cup steamed broccoli 62
1 cup steamed cauliflower 62
1 cup cooked celery 60
1 cup napa cabbage 13
1 cup bok choy 9

1 cup Adzuki 294
1 cup Chick Peas 268
1 cup Cannellini 249
1 cup Lentils 230
1 cup Kidney 225
1 cup Black Beans 227
1 cup Black Soy Beans 240
1 cup Black Turtle 240
1 cup Pinto Beans 244
1/4 cup tofu 47

2.5 oz Cod 71

1 Bartlett pear 100
1 Honey crisp apple small 44
1 Orange 44

1 Sheet Nori 5
1 TBS Wakame 2

1 Almond 7
1 Walnut 13
1 Pecan 20
1 Peanut 6
1 Hazelnut 9

1 TBS Brown rice syrup 75
1 TBS Tamari 11
1 tsp Miso 11
1 Shitake mushroom 6

1 tsp sesame seeds 17
1 Nori one sheet 10
1 Umeboshi plum 3
1 TBS sauerkraut 2
Umeboshi vinegar 0

1 tsp Walnut oil 40 4.5g
1 tsp Sesame oil 40 4.5g

Things are on track and I'm feeling wonderful these days. I'll be doing a post about ArtPrize and a new Dr. I visited this month in IL. It's all part of my life journey and my journey to heal :)

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