Secrets from My Macrobiotic Kitchen with Julie S. Ong

Eat better. Live better. Love better.


Can you incorporate healthy cooking into your jam-packed holiday?

May your walls know joy, may every room hold laughter, and every window open to great possibility.
~Mary Anne Radmacher

Want to find time during this hectic holiday season to cook healthy meals? If you find meal planning overwhelming, you are not alone. It’s all too easy to give in to the temptation to toss a frozen dinner into the microwave. But the reality is, it’s easy to incorporate healthy cooking into your holiday routine.

Here are a few tips to take the stress and anxiety out of planning daily meals for your family and friends.

1. Healthy cooking begins with preparation.

The secret to preparing nutritious, delicious meals in a hurry lies in the preparation. Before you even get out the cutting board and the knife, think about what steps are required to prepare your meal. Cooking can’t begin until the prep work has been done. But once the foods have been soaked or cut, the cooking process itself takes only about a half hour to fifty minutes. Once you retrain your thinking to focus on the prep instead of the cooking, the process goes much faster. Then you can just go into the kitchen and whip up a quick meal, because all the ingredients and components are ready to go.

2. Leftovers are your friends.

The biggest mistake busy home cooks make when planning a meal is not knowing how to use leftovers—repurposing food that has already been cooked in a different, creative way. You can even take it a step further and set aside time on the weekend to precook food to use in your meals during the week. Then when you’re crunched for time, you can whip up a quick meal on the go (and save money at the same time).

3. Design your menu around the largest meal.

If you’re having trouble designing a meal plan, tackle your largest meal first. From there, you can create smaller meals for the rest of the day. For example, if your biggest meal of the day is dinner, begin by listing all of the foods and ingredients you’ll need for that meal. Then your meals for breakfast and lunch will seem much smaller and easier, and won’t take as much time. This helps make the whole process less overwhelming. So instead of getting intimidated by facing three meals a day, just focus on the largest meal and then build the rest around that. Then designing the other two meals, such as porridge for breakfast and maybe a hearty soup for lunch, will be a much easier and more manageable task.

When you follow these basic steps, you’ll not only incorporate healthy cooking into your holiday routine, you’ll also be able to focus on what’s really important– celebrating the holiday season with family and friends.

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Want to strengthen your immune system this winter?

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.
~Edith Sitwell

Winter means snuggling up in front of a crackling fire, building snowmen on the lawn, and gathering family and friends together for a holiday meal. Imagine snowflakes falling softly, bright red berries on branches, aromatic herbs and seasonings, and warming soups and stews. Because the energy of winter slows down and turns inward, this is an ideal time to nourish your body deep inside and build up your immune system.

Seasonal cooking will help your body stay attuned to the order of the universe, becoming stronger and more resistant to illness. The key to achieving this balance is cooking according to the seasons. For example, in winter time, avoid eating cooling foods, like salads and frozen desserts. Instead, you want warming, strengthening dishes like the following recipe, which includes hardy winter greens.

Emerald Sauté with Cranberries and Pecans

This delicious side dish infuses rich flavor and color to any holiday meal. Bitter winter kale nourishes heart function and expands the heart’s capacity for love and joy. Rich in calcium and antioxidants, kale also protects against macular degeneration and osteoporosis.

Serves 4

1 bunch kale, chopped
2 teaspoons untoasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons spring water
1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries, fruit juice sweetened
lemon juice, to taste
shoyu soy sauce, to taste

  1. In a skillet, sauté greens in oil 2 minutes.
  2. Add water. Bring to boil, lower heat, and simmer, covered, 2 minutes.
  3. Season with lemon juice and shoyu. Garnish with chopped pecans and dried cranberries.

Food is not just about nutrition and calories—it’s also comprised of life force energy, related to the energy of the seasons, the time day, and your moods. When you balance your inner energy with external forces through seasonal cooking, you’ll not only have a stronger immune system, but also a more balanced life.


Intuitive Cooking

If you cannot face directly your sexuality, you will never discover your true spirituality. ~White Tigress Manual

Yoga is suppression with awareness; tantra is indulgence with awareness.
~Osho

Intuitive cooking is a sacred union with universal energy. By cooking according to the seasons, you revitalize your life by attaining that subtle balance of nutrients and energies that nourish you, body and spirit, and connect you with the natural world.

Here are three ways cooking nourishes your connection with the Divine:

1.  Cooking connects you with the present moment.

Ancient yogic practitioners reached union with source energy by embracing the present moment through connecting with their body. You can also learn to cultivate your connection with the present moment by using your senses when cooking. Touching, smelling, and tasting your food as you prepare delicious meals enhances your mindfulness spiritual practice.

2. Cooking awakens your intuition.

Cooking according to the seasons helps you strengthen your connection with nature and universal forces. These universal forces are also known as intuition or inner guidance. Through cooking, you connect with your senses, which are a profound resource for awakening your intuition to heal from the inside out.

3. Food preparation is a sacred ritual.

As you use your loving intention (guided by intuition) to improve the quality of food, this healing energy removes blockages in the energy flow through the body. Benefits include:

  • Improved sexual health
  • Greater emotional stability
  • Radiant complexion
  • Higher levels of immunity
  • Fewer doctor trips

And more abundant joy!


Summer Solstice Pancakes

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
~Albert Camus

As the seasons unfold through the year, your energy shifts to mirror the natural rhythms around you. Spring freshness inspires the birth of creativity and the germination of seeds of ideas. Summer radiance turns these ideas and inspirations into action. In Fall, you are in a safe, productive state of mind, enjoying the harvest of your labors. Winter is a time for hibernation, a chance to let go of things that are wearing you down.

Including seasonal foods in your meal plan can help you live in harmony with this natural order. To celebrate the solstice, cornmeal pancakes is a perfect dish for an outdoor summer breakfast with loved ones. Upward, expansive energy of corn and other summer foods can help you develop more nurturing, loving relationships. Corn contains fire energy, which fuels the flame of passion in the heart, expanding its capacity to experience joy and love. Corn’s energy also balances the heart’s ability to regulate mental activities and relieve stress. This allows you to open your heart to give and receive love.

Summer Solstice Pancakes

Makes about 5 pancakes.

3/4 cup spelt flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 cup rice milk
1 tablespoon kuzu root starch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil plus 5 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Combine spelt flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cornmeal in a large bowl.
  2. Combine rice milk, kuzu, vanilla, brown rice syrup, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small bowl.
  3. Stir liquid ingredients into dry ingredients until just mixed.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium heat.
  5. Pour three tablespoons batter onto hot skillet and cook until brown on bottom. Flip pancake over and brown other side. Remove pancake to plate.
  6. Repeat with remaining batter. Oil pan between pancakes to prevent sticking.


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What makes really great sex, really great?

Sex is more than an act of pleasure, it’s the ability to be able to feel so close to a person, so connected, so comfortable that it’s almost breathtaking to the point you feel you can’t take it. And at this moment you’re a part of them.
~Author Unknown

What makes really great sex, really great? Really great sex happens when there is a real energetic connection between a couple. This intimate spark is based on the energy each person brings to the relationship. Today, I’ll talk about three ways to amp up this energy for a more nurturing, loving relationship (and really great sex!).

A macrobiotic lifestyle is about living in harmony with nature by balancing life force energy within you and the environment. (This life force energy is called “chi” in Chinese.) By eating and cooking according to the seasons, you can connect with nature to strengthen your whole body, including the reproductive organs, from the inside out.

Eating a macrobiotic meal plan maximizes energy flow through the body, which translates to great sex. Follow these three tips to re-kindle the romance in the bedroom:

1. Avoid mucous-causing foods.

Food is intimately connected with your body’s health. Healing, balanced foods nourish physical health and energize the body, while mucous-causing foods, like sugar and white flour products, create stagnation and deplete the body’s natural state of wellness.

For example, a stream that flows without obstruction nourishes the plants downstream. However, if branches or rocks block the stream’s flow, the plants wither and die. Likewise, when the body is clean, energy can flow and sex is amazing. But when the body is clogged, the reproductive organs become stagnated and numb. When this happens, sexual vitality becomes diminished and relationships become compromised.

2. Eat heart healthy foods.

When your body is clogged from eating heavy, dense foods, like dairy products, meat, and greasy food, loving energy cannot flow; it becomes difficult for your heart to give and receive love. However, foods that support cardiac function enable your heart to open up to love and joy in your relationship. Heart healthy foods, like leafy green vegetables, have upward, expansive energy and nourish the upper part of the body. Then, love can flow outward, and sex becomes more than an act of pleasure; it becomes a richer experience of union and closeness.

3. Eat whole foods.

Whole foods are full of vital life force energy and have not been processed in any way. These foods contain grounding, stabilizing energy, which strengthens the reproductive organs as well as the body overall. For example, fresh, seasonal, locally grown vegetables picked fresh from the farm are bursting with vitality. This is the life force energy you need to cleanse your body and revitalize your reproductive organs.

A healthy meal you can eat to spice up your sex life is pressured cooked whole grains, like brown rice, with steamed vegetables and leafy greens. You can even include a bean dish as a protein source. Something so simple really strengthens your reproductive organs and brings you back to center, so you can enjoy a more satisfying, loving relationship with your partner.

The ancient Tantra traditions viewed sex as a blending of feminine and masculine energies (yin and yang), engaging universal flow of energy in a symbolic prayer or blessing. When you are in tune with natural forces and your energy flows inside and out, you are living in harmony with nature. Your relationships not only become more loving and intimate, the sex becomes really, really great.


Want an energized, exciting holiday season?

This is my wish for you: peace of mind, prosperity through the year, happiness that multiplies, health for you and yours, fun around every corner, energy to chase your dreams, joy to fill your holidays!
~D.M. Dellinger

Are you having an energized, exciting holiday season? Or do you feel sluggish and exhausted, barely making it through the entire day? If you feel tired and run down, you may be eating traditional holiday food and this kind of food depletes your energy.

If you want to feel stress-free and more energized, here are some things you can do to kick the holiday food habit and have an energized, vibrant, exciting holiday season:

1. Eat in moderation

The key is moderation, because when you overindulge, you become more susceptible to disease. Instead of filling your plate, choose a few items from the healthier dishes on the table and eat a smaller amount.

2. Eat energizing, exciting foods

During the holidays, you can tend to eat lots of rich, heavy, high fat holiday foods over a short period of time, which can shut down your digestion. When your digestion becomes compromised, your body becomes exhausted, and you feel tired and sluggish. If you want more energy without overdosing on caffeine, eat energizing, exciting macrobiotic foods. For example, use healthy substitutes for heavy, high fat ingredients, such as using almond milk instead cream.

3. Eat according to the season

During the holidays, the weather becomes colder. So, you adjust by wearing warmer clothes and putting on the heat. Remember to include warming seasonal foods in your routine, as well. When you eat seasonal foods, you’re less susceptible to colds. By eating foods that are warming, like soups, stews, and root vegetables, rather than cooling raw salads, you increase internal warmth and strengthen your immune system to fight colds and flu.

When you have a nutrition plan in place, you will not only make better food choices, you will also have more energy and stamina to get through the holidays. Wishing you a healthy, happy, holiday season!


Essence of Spring

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
~John Muir

Imagine seeds sprouting in the earth, buds opening on branches, and bright yellow daffodils smiling in the sun. The air is light and refreshing, as life stirs and awakens to the dawn of spring. You can harmonize with this essence of spring by including foods with upward rising energy in your macrobiotic diet: wild plants, sprouts, fresh baby greens, lightly fermented foods, lentils, fresh peas, and grains like barley, wheat, oats, and rye. Cooking styles for spring also include light cooking such as blanching, quick saute, and light pickling.

Because the liver is the organ for spring, this time of year is ideal for cleansing the liver. Along with upward growing plants, sour flavor supports liver function in digesting fats that have accumulated during winter. You can nourish your liver by including sour condiments, such as sauerkraut and umeboshi plum. Or enhance your dishes with a splash of lemon juice or grated lemon peel (zest).

A colorful and delicious recipe that supports liver energy is Essence of Spring Salad. This refreshing salad highlights spring plants like sprouts, herbs, and edible flowers. Edible flowers were used for centuries by Roman, Chinese, Indian, and Middle Eastern cultures in cooking. Bring your garden indoors by adding edible flowers for color, flavor, and texture to your dishes. (Consult a reliable source to make sure they are edible before consuming.) Use fresh herbs to alleviate symptoms and improve physical and emotional well-being.

Essence of Spring Salad

You can include freshly-picked, delicate herbs like basil and tarragon. However, harder herbs such as rosemary, lavender, and savory have stronger flavor and are tougher to chew. Grated orange, lemon, or lime peel (zest) also adds color and flavor to your salad.

Serves 6

1/2 bunch organic flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup organic sprouts (kohlrabi, red cabbage, tatsoi, mizuna, & arugula)
1/2 cup sprouted beans (garbanzo, pea, aduki, & lentil)
2 medium scallions, sliced thin or 1/2 bunch chives, sliced thin
1/2 cup organic edible flowers (nasturtium, pansy, borage, or lavender)

Dressing:

1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt, to taste

In a bowl, add herbs, sprouts, and flowers. Whisk together dressing ingredients. Drizzle dressing over salad and serve.

Enjoy this salad at the end of a hearty meal to balance heavy energy, cleanse your palate, and aid digestion.