If you are new to macrobiotics, there are plenty of knowledgeable exponents and a wealthy of recipes to try. However we recommend The Great Life Cook Book approach to macrobiotics and the large scale entertaining theme of this inspired book.
Co-author Priscilla Timberlake studied macrobiotics to learn all she could about food and healing. Each season/element has a matching color and taste with respect to food. A healthy balanced meal should comprise food from each of the elements. She says this is the theory of menu planning behind The Great Life Cook Book.
To get you familiar with macrobiotics here are 10 recommended – and lesser known- ingredients:
- Umeboshi plum vinegar, and
- Umeboshi plum paste: made from pickled Japanes ume plums. Used in salad dressings and nori rolls to add a pungent flavor. Balances the blood (especially if you have eaten too many sweets).
- Sea salt – contains a vast array of trace minerals as it is harvested from evaporated seawater. Switching from processed table salt to sea salt is recommended by the authors as a first change in transitioning to a healthier diet;
- Brown rice syrup: a substantial, grounding source of rich sweetness, it contains trace minerals and complex carbohydrates that make it a more whole and complete food than refined or raw sugar. Long chains of sugar in the syrup and released evenly into the blood stream.
- Dark brown rice miso: savory and naturally fermented for about 2 years. When using in soup, add after reducing to a simmer at the end of cooking. The authors say boiling miso destroys the enzymes and thus the healing properties.
- Light sweet white miso: also called mellow miso, cured for less time than dark miso and a lighter and sweeter taste. Used in sweet vegetable soups, with corn for example. Also in dressings, sauces and raw dishes.
- Agar-agar flakes (from sea vegetables) and kuzu (from dried root of kudzu plant) are both thickeners.
- Un-hulled brown sesame seeds: can be toasted, excellent source of iron.
- Sesame tahini: thick paste made from ground sesame seed.
- Kasha: also known as buckwheat groats. Warming winter grain from the rhubarb family. – HEATHER FLETCHER