by Gerard T. Lum, editor
The Everything® Guide to Macrobiotics (Adams Media, 2010, $15.95), by macrobiotic counselor Julie S. Ong, was recently published in July. The paperback book consists of five chapters covering macrobiotic theory and practice, 15 chapters of recipes, and four appendices of supplementary information.
Unlike some introductory books, which tread lightly over the theoretical aspects of macrobiotics, or avoid presenting them at all, Julie approaches macrobiotic theory head-on—as you might expect from a level four graduate of the Kushi Institute. Topics covered in Chapter 1 include Chi, or energy; Yin and Yang (fundamental to macrobiotics); What is a Balanced Meal?; How Food Affects Moods; and Connection with Nature. Practical topics covered in the introductory chapters include The Kitchen as Macrobiotic Playground (“You connect with the essence of cooking by expanding your perceptions and tapping into intuition and creativity”); Menu Planning; and Foods to Reduce or Avoid.
Significantly, Julie also includes coverage of Cooking According to the Seasons: spring, summer, late summer, fall, and winter (Five Element Theory). Each season is explained, including the major organs that are affected, the corresponding moods and emotions associated with each organ, and appropriate foods and cooking styles. Her presentation of this seasonal information is understandable and accessible—it is a nice inclusion in the book, and shows her thorough approach.
The theory and practice are complemented by 150 recipes, covering 15 categories of dishes, each with a nutritional analysis by Lorena Novak Bull, RD. The recipes are often annotated with the effects that the foods and the method of preparation have on you.
Julie presents macrobiotics as an intricate system that has been very well worked out, “a way of living in harmony with the natural order by following the principles and laws of the universe.” Throughout the book, her emphasis is on developing your own understanding about foods and their effect on you, and ultimately developing your own intuitive approach to living, “to guide you back to your center.” Her new book is a fine and useful acquisition for anyone with a serious interest in macrobiotics.
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