Friday, December 16, 2005

Daily Insight

I was reading Yoga Journal's special daily insight. This seems true
not just of yoga, but also with one's macrobiotic practice too. It's
one thing I love about staying true to eating a healthy diet. If
you don't do yoga, just insert the word macrobiotics for yoga!

In much of conventional medicine, patients are passive recipients of
care. In yoga, it's what you do for yourself that matters. Yoga gives
you the tools to help you change, and you might start to feel better
the first time you try practicing. You may also notice that the more
you commit to practice, the more you benefit. This results in three
things: You get involved in your own care, you discover that your
involvement gives you the power to effect change, and seeing that you
can effect change gives you hope. And hope itself can be healing.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Kevin -- stroganoff for you!

Seitan Stroganoff over Udon Noodles

1 c onions, cut into crescents
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 cups water or broth (from shiitake, kombu, or seitan cooking broth)
1 to 2 cups seitan, sliced
2 or 3 T nut butter (such as almond or tahini)
2 to 3 T kuzu or arrowroot diluted in cold water
Shoyu or sea salt to taste
2 tsp sesame oil for sautéing
1 to 1 ½ cups tofu sour cream (recipe follows)
Parsley, to garnish
1 package of udon noodles

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Sauté onions in a small amount of sesame oil until they are limp and smell sweet (approximately 5 to 8 minutes on medium low heat). Push the onion to the side and add mushrooms. Sauté until the juice comes out, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Place lid on the pan and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the onions and mushrooms are limp. Add seitan and broth or water and adjust the seasoning. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add nut butter and kuzu/arrowroot. Cook for 1 to 2 more minutes. Add 1 to 1 ½ cups tofu sour cream just before serving.

Tofu Sour Cream

1 block tofu
3 T lemon juice, umeboshi vinegar OR brown rice vinegar
1 to 2 T umeboshi paste
Minced chives or parsley, optional

Boil a pot of water. Take the tofu out of the package and blanch for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain well. Add the juice or vinegar, and the umeboshi paste. Blend well. Place tofu mixture into a bowl. Mince the chives or parsley and gently fold into the tofu mixture.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Special Macrobiotic Event in Honolulu



Following a macrobiotic way of life brings us back into harmony with nature, with oneself, with other people on the islands, and helps restore the vitality and beauty of the culture. Eating foods grown for this climate achieves these goals.
Learn more about macrobiotic theory during lectures, taste Polynesian, Asian, and American-fusion recipes during cooking demonstrations, and receive private consultations specific to your own health goals.






Please call to register now.

Prices subject to change. Please check for most current information.

Church of the Crossroads
1212 University Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii



Friday, November 11, 2005

10 Steps to a Healthier Holiday

From the Natural Epicurean Website:


1. Take a healthy and delicious dish to share with everyone at holiday

2. Stop eating when you are 80% full. There are always plenty of
leftovers during the holidays. You'll probably get a chance to taste it again.

3. Fill your plate with smaller portions of each dish. Overeating is one
of the culprits of holiday sluggishness and extra holiday pounds.

4. CHEW each bite 20-25 times or more (no matter what you eat). This can
keep you from overeating and give you more time to enjoy mealtimes
with friends and family. It also leaves you more satisfied with what you

5. Eat a healthy meal before going to holiday parties, and take a
healthy dessert with you. It makes all that decadent (and fattening) holiday
food easier to resist. (Have you seen that Casa now offers take-out

4. If you eat snacks at parties, SIT DOWN to eat your food. Our bodies process and digest food better when we are sitting down.

5. Use rice syrup, barley malt, maple syrup or agave nectar to replace
the sugar in your holiday desserts.

6. Set holiday GOALS for your health with a friend or family member. It
is always easier to resist temptations when you have a buddy and someone
to whom you can be accountable.

7. Take time to tell someone how much you appreciate them.

8. Holidays are usually busy and stressful. Treat yourself to a shiatsu or healing massage to help you relax.

9. Make a list of things for which you are thankful.

10. Take time to reflect on what is really important to you in your
life. (And make sure you are spending at least some time doing these

Enjoy your holidays! And remember the rule:

If you eat something that you know is not the best for you....
SAVOR and ENJOY every bite, and leave the guilt out of it.

Yummy Yams

This is a recipe from The Natural Epicurean. I tried it the other night, and our knees got wobbly because it was so unbelievably delicious. I used the least amount of sweetener called for in the recipe, and it still was succulently sweet.

by Dawn Pallavi Serves: 8–10

When making my Thanksgiving menu, I can’t forget the Sweet Potato
Casserole. This traditional Thanksgiving dish is a favorite that you can
make more or less sweet depending on the amount of sweetener you use. I
find that for my taste, the casserole is sweet enough without the extra
barley malt. If you are cooking for family or friends who are used to a
lot of brown sugar, follow the recipe exactly, and you may even want to
double the pecans for the topping. This is a recipe that even my
meat-eating relatives ask me to bring for our annual family Thanksgiving

— Filling —
4 organic yams or sweet potatoes
1 cup spring or filtered water
1 pinch unrefined sea salt, SI brand recommended
3/4 cup organic barley malt or agave nectar
(optional for a sweeter casserole)
2 tablespoons organic kuzu, dissolved in the apple juice
3 tablespoons organic apple juice
zest of 1 organic orange or tangerine
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1 teaspoon organic cinnamon
— Topping —
1 cup whole organic pecans
1/4–1/2 cup organic maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut sweet potatoes into 1-inch squares. Bring to
a boil in spring water with sea salt, turn flame to medium low, and cook
until tender. Place cooked sweet potatoes in a blender or food
processor, or mash with a potato masher. Dissolve the kuzu in room
temperature apple juice. Add dissolved kuzu, barley malt (if desired),
and blend until smooth. Stir in orange zest, cinnamon and vanilla. Pour
mixture into casserole dish.

Prepare topping by mixing pecans and maple syrup together in a bowl.
Pour over casserole or arrange pecan halves on top of the casserole and
bake at 375° F for 1 hour.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Current Goals

My current goals are to:

1) Get more sleep. I've set a goal to be in bed by 10:30 to 11:00 pm every night. I've been burning the candle at both ends and paying for it. It's amazing how much better I feel with 8 as opposed to 6 hours of sleep, and I don't feel as hungry all the time too.

2) Exercise more. I've been putting aside taking care of my own needs to meet the needs of others. I plan to recommit myself to my yoga practice (which has been going well) and to manage my time better so I can go for a walk, go to the gym and take a kick boxing class, or to spend time in my living room stretching to a yoga DVD.

3) Take what I have developed thus far with macrobiotic classes, and to improve upon it in whatever way possible. Now more people in Honolulu have learned about macrobiotics, and I'd love to bring more classes to them in better locations. I've been enjoying all the classes at both Kaiser Highschool and also at UH in particular for different reasons. The main thing I love is that the classes are affordable for adults in the community and for students at UH.

4) Learn more about macrobiotics. While in Japan, I had lots of time to study, but I have had less time to study here. I guess I'm learning other aspects of things surrounding macrobiotics, such as figuring food costs, interacting with organizations, brainstorming creative ways to bring more into the community, and in believing that anything is possible.

5) On a practical level, I'd love to get back to my body scrub. In Japan, I had a regular practice since the showers there are so high tech. I could dry off, and then reset the temperature for my water to a higher level, and in about 2 minutes, refill my bucket. Here, I have to get out of the shower, and boil water to get it hot enough. For some reason, I haven't felt totally comfortable working out a new system. It's a goal to recommit to that, since I feel so much better.

6) Eat less. I have such a powerful appetite! Geez!

This should be enough to keep my working for a while.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Yoga and the Roots of Vegetarianism

The Roots of Vegetarianism

Modern yogis who struggle with the question of whether to eat meat can look to ancient wisdom for the answer.

By Jennifer Barrett

Ask any number of yogis to describe their diets and you'll likely get responses as varied as the styles they practice. Many traditionalists see yoga as being inextricably linked with the meatless path, citing numerous ancient Indian texts to prove their conviction. Others put less stock in centuries-old warnings like "the slaughter of animals obstructs the way to heaven" (from the Dharma Sutras) than in what their bodies have to say. If eating flesh begets health and energy, they argue, it must be the right choice for them--and their yoga.

Today's range of dietary habits might seem like a recent development, but delve back into the historical record and you'll find a long tradition of ethical wrangling with respect to animals. Indeed, the different stances yogis now take on vegetarianism reflect just the latest turn in a debate that started thousands of years ago.

The Past-Life Argument

The history of vegetarianism in India began in the Vedic period, an era that dawned sometime between 4000 and 1500 b.c.e., depending on whom you ask. Four sacred texts known as the Vedas were the bedrock of early Hindu spiritual thought. Among those texts' hymns and songs that described with reverence the wondrous power of the natural world, we find a nascent idea that sets the stage for vegetarianism in later centuries. "The concept of the transmigration of souls... first dimly appears in the Rig Veda," explains Colin Spencer in Vegetarianism: A History (Four Walls, Eight Windows, 2002). "In the totemistic culture of the pre-Indus civilization, there was already a sense of oneness with creation." A fervent belief in this idea, he contends, would give rise to vegetarianism later on.

In subsequent ancient texts, including the Upanishads, the idea of rebirth emerged as a central point. In these writings, according to Kerry Walters and Lisa Portmess, editors of Religious Vegetarianism (State University of New York Press, 2001), "gods take animal form, human beings have had past animal lives, [and] animals have had past human lives." All creatures harbored the Divine, so that rather than being fixed in time, life was fluid. (A cow alone, notes Spencer, held 330 million gods and goddesses. To kill one set you back 86 transmigrations of the soul.) Again, the idea that the meat on a dinner plate once lived in a different--and possibly human--form made it all the less palatable.

Dietary guidelines became explicit centuries later in the Laws of Manu, written between 200 b.c.e. and 100 c.e., say Walters and Portmess. In this text, we discover that the sage Manu doesn't find fault just with those who eat meat. "He who permits the slaughter of an animal," he wrote, "he who cuts it up, he who kills it, he who buys or sells meat, he who cooks it, he who serves it up, and he who eats it, must all be considered as the slayers of the animal."

The Bhagavad Gita, arguably the most influential text of the Hindu tradition (written sometime between the fourth and first centuries b.c.e.), added to the vegetarian argument with its practical dietary guidelines. It specifies that sattvic foods (milk, butter, fruit, vegetables, and grains) "promote vitality, health, pleasure, strength, and long life." Bitter, salty, and sour rajasic foods (including meat, fish, and alcohol) "cause pain, disease, and discomfort." At the bottom rung lies the tamasic category: "stale, overcooked, contaminated" and otherwise rotten or impure foods. These explanations have endured, becoming the guidelines by which many modern yogis eat.

Spiritual Contradiction

The case for vegetarianism mounted as centuries passed, while another practice--animal sacrifice--persisted alongside it. The same Vedas that extolled the virtues of the natural world also emphasized the need for animal sacrifice to the gods. The uneasy coexistence between India's emerging inclination toward vegetarianism and its history of animal sacrifice continued over hundreds of years, says Edwin Bryant, professor of Hinduism at Rutgers University. Oftentimes the conflict played out in the pages of the same text.

The sage Manu, for instance, condemned recreational meat eating, stating, "There is no greater sinner than that man who...seeks to increase the bulk of his own flesh by the flesh of other beings." But orthodox followers of Vedic culture--including Manu--were "forced to allow the performance of animal sacrifice," Bryant notes. Ultimately, the discomfort that many in ancient India felt about animal sacrifice helped fuel the demise of the practice.

Some orthodox traditionalists, for instance, felt uncomfortable challenging the ancient texts on the issue out of respect for what they believed were the writings' divine origins. However, they did condemn everyday meat eating, adding a number of conditions to animal sacrifice so that "the practice accrued ghastly karmic results that far outweighed any benefits gained," explains Professor Bryant in A Communion of Subjects: Animals in Religion and Ethics, edited by Kimberly Patton and Paul Waldau (to be published in 2004).

Others simply deemed the ancient texts outdated, and went on to form groups such as the Jainas and the Buddhists. No longer bound by Vedic authority, Bryant says, they "could scorn the whole sacrificial culture and preach an unencumbered ahimsa," or doctrine of nonviolence. This concept of ahimsa, championed by Mahavira in the sixth century, has emerged at the core of the vegetarian argument in modern times.

Some later Indian sages strengthened the case for vegetarianism. Swami Vivekananda, writing a hundred years ago, pointed out the communality we have with other animals: "The amoeba and I are the same. The difference is only one of degree; and from the standpoint of the highest life, all differences vanish." Swami Prabhupada, scholar and founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, offered a more stark pronouncement: "If you want to eat animals, then [God] will give you... the body of a tiger in your next life so that you can eat flesh very freely."

In most cultures today, the rights of animals have at least prevailed over the ritual of sacrifice, if not meat eating. Scores of yogis live and eat with the understanding, as expressed by B.K.S. Iyengar, that a vegetarian diet is "a necessity" to the practice of yoga. But other, equally dedicated yogis find flesh a necessary fuel, without which their practice suffers. Those yoga enthusiasts still on the fence when it comes to the meat question should take heart, however. It seems that a thoughtful, deliberate, and at times even challenging consideration of vegetarianism is very much in the spirit of the Indian spiritual tradition.

Contributing Editor Jennifer Barrett is editor of The Herb Quarterly. She lives in Connecticut.

July/August 2003

This article can be found online at

Living Ethically

Beginning the Journey

Living ethically, according to Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, is the first step on the true path of yoga.

By Judith Lasater

When our children were young, my husband and I would occasionally summon up the courage to take them out for dinner. Before entering the restaurant, one of us would remind them to "be good" or we would leave. This warning was only mildly successful, but then one day my husband reasoned out a more effective approach. On our next outing we stopped outside the restaurant and reminded them specifically to "stay in your chair, don't throw food, and don't yell. If you do any of these things, one of us will take you out of the restaurant at once." We had stumbled upon a very effective technique, and it worked like a charm.

Interestingly, Patanjali, the author of the Yoga Sutra written some two centuries after the life of Jesus, demonstrates a similar approach to the study of yoga. In the second chapter of his book he presents five specific ethical precepts called yamas, which give us basic guidelines for living a life of personal fulfillment that will also benefit society. He then makes clear the consequence of not following these teachings: It is simply that we will continue to suffer.

Arranged in four chapters, or padas, the Yoga Sutra elucidates the basic teachings of yoga in short verses called sutras. In the second chapter Patanjali presents the ashtanga, or eight-limbed system, for which he is so famous. While Westerners may be most familiar with the asana, the third limb (posture), the yamas are really the first step in a practice that addresses the whole fabric of our lives, not just physical health or solitary spiritual existence. The rest of the limbs are the niyamas, more personal precepts; pranayama, breathing exercises; pratyahara, conscious withdrawal of energy away from the senses; dharana, concentration; dhyana, meditation; and samadhi, self-actualization.

The Yoga Sutra is not presented in an attempt to control behavior based on moral imperatives. The sutras don't imply that we are "bad" or "good" based upon our behavior, but rather that if we choose certain behavior we get certain results. If you steal, for example, not only will you harm others, but you will suffer as well.

The first yama is perhaps the most famous one: ahimsa, usually translated as "nonviolence." This refers not only to physical violence, but also to the violence of words or thoughts. What we think about ourselves or others can be as powerful as any physical attempt to harm. To practice ahimsa is to be constantly vigilant, to observe ourselves in interaction with others and to notice our thoughts and intentions. Try practicing ahimsa by observing your thoughts when a smoker sits next to you. Your thoughts may be just as damaging to you as his cigarette is to him.

It is often said that if one can perfect the practice of ahimsa, one need learn no other practice of yoga, for all the other practices are subsumed in it. Whatever practices we do after the yamas must include ahimsa as well. Practicing breathing or postures without ahimsa, for example, negates the benefits these practices offer.

There is a famous story about ahimsa told in the Vedas, the vast collection of ancient philosophical teachings from India. A certain sadhu, or wandering monk, would make a yearly circuit of villages in order to teach. One day as he entered a village he saw a large and menacing snake who was terrorizing the people. The sadhu spoke to the snake and taught him about ahimsa. The following year when the sadhu made his visit to the village, he again saw the snake. How changed he was. This once magnificent creature was skinny and bruised. The sadhu asked the snake what had happened. He replied that he had taken the teaching of ahimsa to heart and had stopped terrorizing the village. But because he was no longer menacing, the children now threw rocks and taunted him, and he was afraid to leave his hiding place to hunt. The sadhu shook his head. "I did advise against violence," he said to the snake, "but I never told you not to hiss."

Protecting ourselves and others does not violate ahimsa. Practicing ahimsa means we take responsibility for our own harmful behavior and attempt to stop the harm caused by others. Being neutral is not the point. Practicing true ahimsa springs from the clear intention to act with clarity and love.

Patanjali lists satya, or truth, as the next yama. But telling the truth may not be as easy as it sounds. Researchers have found that eyewitnesses to an event are notoriously unreliable. The more adamant the witnesses are, the more inaccurate they tend to be. Even trained scientists, whose job it is to be completely objective, disagree on what they see and on the interpretation of their results.

So what does telling the truth mean? To me it means that I speak with the intention of being truthful, given that what I call the "truth" is filtered through my own experience and beliefs about the world. But when I speak with that intention, I have a better chance of not harming others.

Another aspect of satya has to do with inner truth or integrity, a deeper and more internal practice. Honesty is what we do when others are around and might judge our actions or words, but to have integrity is to act in an honest manner when others are not around and will never know about our actions.

In Sanskrit, sat means the eternal, unchanging truth beyond all knowing; ya is the activating suffix which means "do it." So satya means "actively expressing and being in harmony with the ultimate truth." In this state we cannot lie or act untruthful, because we are unified with pure truth itself.

The third yama is asteya, nonstealing. While commonly understood as not taking what is not ours, it can also mean not taking more than we need. We fail to practice asteya when we take credit that is not ours or take more food than we can eat. We fail also when we steal from ourselves—by neglecting a talent, or by letting a lack of commitment keep us from practicing yoga. In order to steal, one has to be mired in avidya, or ignorance about the nature of reality, a term introduced by Patanjali in his second chapter. Avidya is the opposite of yoga, which connects us with all that is.

The next yama is brahmacharya, one of the most difficult for Westerners to understand. The classical translation is "celibacy," but Brahma is the name of a deity, char means "to walk," and ya means "actively," so brahmacharya means "walking with God."

For some people, sexual love holds no great attraction. Others sacrifice this part of life to live as a monk or nun and thus consecrate their sexuality to God. Brahmacharya does not just mean giving up sex; it also means to transmute the energy of sex into something else, principally, devotion to God.

But for the average person who has taken up the study of yoga, brahmacharya might mean simply to remain faithful within a monogamous relationship. Dr. Usharbudh Arya, author of an extensive translation of the Yoga Sutra, once gave this simple explanation of brahmacharya: When you are having sex, have sex; when you're not, don't. Remain in the present and focus on what is happening right now without obsession.

Another approach is to use sexual energy, like all life energies, in accord with the practice of ahimsa. This means that we respect ourselves and our partner when we are in a sexual relationship and do not use others or have sex mindlessly. Remembering the divinity of self and other, we can allow sexuality to be part of the wider practice of yoga.

The final yama in Patanjali's list is aparigraha, or nongreed. This is a very difficult one to practice, surrounded as we are with advertisements that attempt to whip up our desire for more. In some ways our society's economic system is based on greed.

When my husband was in law school we lived a simple life; we wore jeans, drove an old Volvo, and rarely had money for such luxuries as new clothes, fancy dinners, or vacations. After he graduated and started working, things changed. One day he invited me downtown for lunch, and I met him in a richly appointed hotel lobby. As I waited for him to arrive, I couldn't help noticing the beautiful people who passed by in their elegant clothes, glancing at their expensive watches. I was filled with a strange and powerful longing. When I explained my feelings to my husband, his response was simple: "That's greed."

But greed is not just confined to material goods. We may hunger after enlightenment, difficult asanas, spiritual powers, or perfect bliss. One way to sidestep the trap of greed is to follow the advice of the sages: Be happy with what you have. This spirit of true renunciation will diminish the power of aparigraha.

In verse 30 of Chapter 2 of the Yoga Sutra, Patanjali calls the yamas "the great vow," to be practiced at all times. This is a difficult assignment, but if we follow this vow, the power released in our lives and the lives of others will be stunning. One way to do this is to choose one yama to focus on for a length of time. Then reflect upon how this practice has affected your life. Don't worry if you forget to practice your yama, or even if you can't follow through in each situation. Your effort and awareness will be the victory.

Judith Lasater is an internationally known yoga teacher and author of Living Your Yoga and Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times (Rodmell Press).
November/December 1998

This article can be found online at

Monday, October 24, 2005

Feeling Grateful

Last weekend, I found out that a friend of someone close to me had a stroke. This woman is somewhere in her mid-40's with 2 beautiful daughters. We went to visit her in the hospital and were shocked to see her partially paralyzed with slurred speech. She's a pretty spunky lady, so we expect she'll recover, and we hope she'll adjust her lifestyle to prevent future problems.

As we left, I stood in the lobby of the ICU and just observed everything happening. Plenty of people got wheeled by, unconscious, with tubes and machines, and nurses dressed all in blue carting them off somewhere. Not only the patients, but also the visitors of various patients, appeared quite overweight. At that very moment, I felt intensely blessed for my health, and blessed that the people I love are in generally great health too. If we could all just take better care of ourselves on a day to day basis, we could prevent so many illnesses.

I can't imagine what it would be like to have my mother in the hospital from a stroke, especially if I had to go through that as a woman entering my 20's. It would be devastating. Thank God my parents are both well. I'm sending my prayers for this other mom's speedy recovery.


"The goddess in me greets and honors the Goddess in you"
"I salute the divine qualities in you"
"I salute the God within you"
"My soul bows to your soul"
"I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells"

Thursday, September 29, 2005

I'm rich beyond belief

Monday night, Sept. 26th, 2005 changed me in a profound way. I went to give a private cooking lesson for a family whose patriarch is suffering from cancer. We had our cooking lesson, and I left the house really in a daze. Suddenly, I realized that I have everything that I could possibly need. I have my health, my boyfriend, my friends, my family, enough money to pay my bills and get by. I have a roof over my head and a job with good people. I have people who trusted me for no reason and invited me to teach at their schools or to work in their homes. The stars were brighter, the musical notes more articulated, and the air more quenching. The next morning, I woke up and felt ALIVE. I felt grateful for everything and everyone around me and in my life. There is so much to be thankful for. Thank you to the people in my life who have given so much to me. Thank you to this family for their beauty and lifeforce.

Things that have been happening lately

I can't believe how long it has been since posting my last message. I have emails to send to people that I've neglected.... One of those people, if she's out there reading, is in Europe! I think about her often, and will write soon!

Where does the time go? Since my last posting, I have been working really hard. I've been doing lots of cooking lessons, which seem to be going very well. I'm so encourgaged by the turn out. For example, one that I did in Kailua, HI brought in close to 70 people. I nearly fainted when I "went on stage". It's only through macrobiotics that I have come out of my shy clamshell to find less fear about public speaking. I have more confidence, and I also have genuine passion about this topic that I want to share with everyone.

My other cooking classes have been filling up too. These have been more hands-on instead of demonstrations, so the students really get a lot more out of it. Even as an English teacher, I've had a strong inclination towards experiential learning.

One of the weekly classes is through the local Adult Education program. The local highschools open up at night for a variety of courses with things like Magic, yoga, Italian, French, ukelele lessons, Tai Chi, crocheting, faberge egg decorating, and pretty much anything else under the sun that you can think of. I love that it's affordable and accessible to people who can REALLY benefit from wholefoods and macrobiotic principles. Tonight we had our second class, and so far, the students (with all varying ages, ethnicities, and life experiences)again remarked on the ingredients, the changes they made in just one week, how easy the food is to cook, and how delicious they feel the food is. I'm so pleased!

One of my other fun things has been bringing vegan and vegan-macro potlucks to the community. We have the Veg Society of HI and the UH Veg club people attending and a handful of macrobiotic people too. Recently, a sweet and lovely woman named Kaori came from Japan for a short work-related visit. She's a student of my teacher's, the Naka's, and so I got to meet her and spend time at a party. She's so sweet and wonderful!

The potlucks fill a gap felt by many. Several people remarked to me through the evening how they opt not to go to social events because they can't fathom the thought of being around meat cooking on the grill.... Or that they find themselves withdrawing from friends they had before and making new friends who share a similar lifestyle. I'm glad that I can offer an opportunity for others to network and share something that we all feel passionate about.

I've been making some waves in Honolulu with macrobiotics. People overall have been extremely willing to listen.... Even those who are not so interested wnat to come to the potlucks and partake in the gourmet vegan food made with love and friendly conversation. Like Hiroyuki taught me, a strong headwind (obstacle) can suddenly change and become a tailwind!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The cooks in the kitchen

Originally uploaded by macro808.
Kathy, in her petite and powerful glory, was the cooking class coordinator, and I was one of her assistants. We worked sooo hard, and we all did a great job. There were several other volunteers who made the experience very memorable for me. Hope to see everyone next year.

My dear friend

Originally uploaded by macro808.
My long-time friend, Reni, came all the way from Japan to Poultney, VT for our conference. It was so great to be in her aura again. I love her so much! When life gets rough, and people look at me like a counter culture weirdo, I can count on her to bring me back to reality. We share the same language, yin and yang.
Thanks for your friendship, Reni.

Paige and Sean

Originally uploaded by macro808.
While at the conference, I got to meet Paige and Sean. They were such COOL people and made the conference an amazing experience for me.

My teachers

Originally uploaded by macro808.
At the Kushi Summer Conference, I got to see my amazing, generous, beautiful teachers, Hiroyuki and Mie Naka. They are coming to Hawaii in January to teach us all macrobiotics and give consultations.

Zen Retreat Leader

Originally uploaded by macro808.
When I was in Japan, I met Danjou-san, the amazing and incredible monk who tends Saijouji temple near Hiroshima, Japan. He came to the American Macrobiotic Summer Conference and he blew me away. This man is magical and talented. He played guitar with the band, chanted for all, danced to his heart's content, and despite language barriers, talked with whomever he could. He's such a wonderful person.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Summer Conference 2005

I just got back on Sunday,July 31st, from the 21st Annual Kushi Summer Macrobiotic Conference. My flight landed in Albany, and my wonderful friend Julie picked me up and took me back to her house where we hung out for a couple of days. It was so great seeing her, spending time on her property, and also with her family. She has two boys that are loving and affectionate, so I got lots of hugs, which was wonderful. One day we spent at the lake BBQing, swimming, boating, and eating lots of summer foods. It was a perfect summer day. They are always really kind about trying to accomodate my macrobiotic diet. Julie even made brown rice and veggies for me for breakfast. I was so happy.

Upstate NY is just gorgeous with vast amounts of space that blew me away. After living in Japan and Hawaii, seeing all this space and the huge homes was novel and exciting. The planter baskets, corn fields, and long stretches of empty road on a hot day were breathtaking.

She dropped me back off at the airport in Albany, where I took a shuttle to Poultney, VT. This was my second conference, and my first experience as a volunteer. My job was to work in the cooking classes as an assistant which meant lots of prepping veggies and making sure that the teacher had everything he or she needed. There was a lot of work, so there was little time to attend sessions. One great part of the cooking classes was meeting and assisting Michael Marcus, the owner of Bizen, a restaurant in MA. He's a sushi chef, and makes wonderful creative sushi. Other good teachers who I assisted were Warren Kramer, Dawn Black, and Chef Sato. All had interesting information to teach the students, and made delicious foods. There were many other teachers, but I wasn't able to work with them directly. Someone taught the most delicious steamed cake I have ever eaten. One would never have guessed that it wasn't baked. Steaming cakes and cookies is much better for one's health than baking. Baked flour wreaks havoc on our intestines! (I'm happy to say that I avoided the baked flour in the cafe successfully. That place has wonderful baked goods and food in general. It's a true highlight of the conference.)

When I did have time outside of the work, I spent it going to the teacher's conference, where I got to network with a lot of people, ask questions, and feel inspired by the great people there.

I also got to know several people just through volunteering and also through meeting them at meal times. I made some great new friends. That was wonderful too. Paige and I took one free afternoon to swim in a nearby lake. We had such a dynamic conversation. She is a dynamic, intelligent, beautiful person who reminds me of a cousin of mine (also dynamic, intelligent, and beautiful)!

The food they served all the 500 attendees was quite good and now that I am back home, I feel relaxed, my skin is clear, and other bodily functions are running smoothly. A macro diet is just amazing! It transformed me in just about one week and brought me back to center again.

Who knows whether the conference will be at the same place next year or not, but the town itself is very quaint, comfortable, and fun. The main street has everything you need, from the post office, to the pharmacy, wine shop and deli, used book store, laundromat, library, gas station, grocery store, antique shops, etc. It's all green and lush, and people have flowers overflowing from planters lining the entire street.

If you have a chance to go to next summer's conference, I highly recommend it. I can't wait!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A typical macrobiotic day

I finally got down to reading this wonderful book. I learned a lot from it, and discovered new recipes to try out too. Thanks Jessica! I especially enjoyed the following, from page 170.

A Typical Macrobiotic Day
From the Hip Chicks Guide to Macrobiotics by Jessica Porter

Wake up with the sun.
Feel sublime.
Be thankful for every single blade of grass that has ever been grown
under the sun.
Chew rice four thousand times.
Plant new rice in backyard rice paddy.
Make homemade clothes for twelve children.
Homeschool the children.
Appreciate life.
Cook nineteen course meal.
Chew rice nine thousand times.
Harvest rice.
Write letters to loved ones around the world, thanking them for just
Call Gwyenth and gossip.
Put twelve children to bed.
Make love to soul mate.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Macrobiotic Pregnancy and morning sickness

It seems like all my female friends and family are preganant. That is so thrilling for them. I can't wait to see their sweet keikis! My cousin was asking about what to eat on the macrobiotic diet to have a smooth and healthy pregnancy, and another friend was telling me that she has morning sickness. Here are are few ideas for them:

For a healthy pregnancy, eat the standard macrobiotic diet. See for exactly what this is. The main point is that it's important to avoid extremes.

For morning sickness (nausea, queasiness, and lack of desire for certain foods, or foods in general), in Macrobiotic Pregnancy and Care of the Newborn, Aveline Kushi says:

Yin morning sickness comes from the overintake of sugar, fruit, fruit juice, milk, and other dairy products, spices, tomatoes, and other more yin items. The standard diet, together with reducing extreme yin, will help offset the morning sickness. Stronger cooking methods are recommended in these cases.

Yang morning sickness comes from too much salt, baked food, animal products, and other more yang items. The stomach stomach and other organs become overly contracted. Women often lose their appetite for things like brown rice and cooked vegetables (yang repels yang). Relax your lifestyle and make your diet more yin. Soft cooked rice and other grains are helpful, as is mochi/sweet rice, umeboshi or sour pickles, grated raw daikon with tamari and nori. In addition, tempura can be taken a few times a week, and sweet vegetables are nice too , such as squash, daikon, carrot, parsnip and others. Other recommendations are to reduce salt, enjoy some yang berries in small quantities, amazake, or hot apple juice.

For a home remedy for low appetite, miso soup is good, and so is umeboshi , as with ume-sho-bancha or ume-sho-kuzu drinks.

This book says not to worry about morning sickness. It's not a serious problem, and will go away after the third month.

Macrobiotic Pregnancy Recommendations

1. Be happy about having a baby
2. Every day, pray for a safe pregnancy and for a happy and healthy baby
3. Avoid upsetting or overly stimulating movies, entertainment, or books
4. Keep all of your personal relationships smooth and happy
5. Wear clothing made from cotton and other natural vegetable fibers
6. Keep your home and surroundings clean and orderly
7. Keep active and busy

Friday, June 03, 2005

Succulent BBQ Tempeh Dish

Now that I am back in the US, I get to play with all the yummy ingredients we have here that I couldn't find or that cost and arm and a leg in Japan. The weather in Hawaii has been scorching, and I can't help but have that summer feeling..... BBQ just popped into my mind.... This recipe is in Fresh from a Vegetarian Kitchen by Meredith McCarty. I cut the tempeh into bite-sized pieces, oven baked them in the sauce, and put into the pita bread with the fixin's like a gyro. Variety is the spice of life. This dish packs a lot of flavor and is fun for an occasional indulgence of the senses.

Barbecued Tempeh Cutlets in Pocket Pitas

8 oz tempeh, cut in 4 pieces or in bite sized cubes
1 c Red BBQ sauce (recipe follows)
2 whole wheat pita pocket breads
1/2 cup tofu mayonnaise (recipe follows)
lettuce, sprouts, onion, cucumber, or whatever you would like to stuff the pita bread with

Red BBQ Sauce
1 C Red Sauce
(6 carrots, 1 small beet, and celery pressure cooked for 10 minutes and blended. Use the leftovers for an Italian Pasta Sauce or Tofu Pizza. Yummy!)
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup natural soy sauce
2 T onion, minced
2 T brown rice syrup
1 T wet mustard
1 T sesame oil
1/4 t basil
1/4 t oregano
1/4 t cumin
1/16 t cayenne pepper powder

Mix ingredients well. Marinate tempeh in BBQ sauce for 30 min. Preheat BBQ, broiler, or oven while you make the rest. Cut each pita bread in half and steam for about 2 minutes to soften it. Spread some tofu mayo inside and stuff with veggies. BBQ tempeh, covered, for 5 to 7 min on each side, turning just once. To broil, cook on first side until toasted about 8 min, then turn it over, spoon on a bit more sauce, and cook 8 min more. To bake, cook for 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then turn the cutlets over, and bake 15 minutes more. Add cutlets to the pita sandwiches.

Tofu Mayonnaise

250 g tofu
1 T ume vinegar
1 T lemon juice
Dash of oil (optional)
1 t wweet white miso
pinch of salt

Blend all ingredients in the food processor, and adjust flavors to taste.

Macrobiotic Method to Stay Happy

Do you feel depressed, nervous, or that perhaps your condition is currently bad? One great way to move yourself through this energy is to surround yourself with happy things and happy people. Not only do we take in nourishment and energy from the food that we eat, but we also take in from the environment around us. Surround yourself with happy, healthy, successful people. For example, right now I am working on starting a business, so finding and reading success stories of others who have started from scratch, watching movies, or meeting people who have made it happen for themselves is what the macro doctor orders.

If you are feeling sad about love, romance, and relationships, find yourself a great story, book, or movie about a relationship that has a happy ending. If you are fighting with your loved ones, your own condition is not good, so work on improving your condition, and the rest will work itself out. If you think too much about the problem, and hang around depressed, sad, down people, or those with relationship problems, it will pull you down further. Find some positive energy and cheerful people. Sing a happy song!

Keep a positive image in your mind, and find how your macrobiotic life brings the miracle you want.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Modern Macrobiotic/Vegan Cooking Lessons

Leslie’s whole food cooking classes are for people who seek a healthier lifestyle and a natural approach to diet and healing. Learn how to bring more balance, flexibility, and joy into your life through the power of food. Discover the importance and health benefits of a whole food diet consisting of grains, land and sea vegetables, beans and bean products, fruits, seeds, nuts and natural sweeteners. Recipes are low in fat and salt but high in fiber and complex carbohydrates, and contain no sugar, dairy, or other refined foods. Only the freshest, organic, seasonal ingredients are used in a variety of sumptuous and enticing ways. Learn macrobiotic cuisine, international cuisine, foods in healing, home remedies, sugar free desserts, seasonal gourmet dinners, and more.

Discover the healing potential for conditions such as weight gain, food allergies, candida, emotional imbalances like depression and stress, acne, PMS, cancer, osteoporosis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and others.

Classes include an introductory lecture, demonstrations, hands-on experience, free recipes and educational material. We enjoy learning and cooking together, and sit down to enjoy a delicious meal, followed by cooperative kitchen cleanup. All questions welcomed during the cooking classes.

For more information, go to

Friday, May 20, 2005

Albert Einstein said this??

"Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity." Three Rules of Work

Great, I have a lot of opportunity then!

David Kelman Inspired Me

There is a magazine I have never read before called Fit Yoga. I love yoga, so thought, "What the heck, let's check it out." Inside the May 05 issue is an article about David Kelman, and reading it gave me a lot of inspiration and comfort. After the 9/11 tragedy, he dropped his high powered career in investment banking to do something to improve the world, to serve people, and to show his kids a different model of being "American". For these reasons, he opened a huge and beautiful yoga studio with several types of yoga offered (ashtanga, iyengar, and one other....i can't remember). He talks about having days when he felt he was in a desperate nightmare because no one came to the studio at all. (Like my days of no income.) On good days, he oscillated between panic and euphoria (For me one day will be panic, the next euphoria.) He experienced a shift in friends since he no longer fit neatly into the box, but is more in the margins, or what he called a "counterculture weirdo." I can also relate to those feelings, but thank the Universe for my family and Reni who gives me regular Leslie Maintainance, and Kathy Maddux who offers me work out of the kindness in her heart, and is the only other macrobiotic woman I know here. Like my teachers, he says "I believe that the right intention coupled with right action can produce something special." It was comforting to read about another's journey, and to know I am not alone.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

A Ziggy Cartoon

Last night I saw a funny Ziggy cartoon. Ziggy said,

"I ate 7 Happy Meals, and I am still depressed."

The Daniel Diet

Last night I met Dr. Shintani who wrote "The Hawaii Diet". He gave a faith based seminar at a local church here in Honolulu and the topic was the food Daniel ate during that particular time in biblical history. Now, I am not Christian, but I could really appreciate that there were so many people there at the seminar who were interested, genuinely interested, in how they could change their diets. The point was that the King wanted the peasants to eat King's food (imagine perhaps wine and other rich foods), believing it would make guards of the kingdom stronger and better able to protect the King. But Daniel refused, and would only accept food as God delivered it. That means it was fresh, local, organic, in season, and non processed -- essentially a macrobiotic diet. After 10 days of eating this way, Daniel was the strongest of them all, and the King would only ask Daniel for advice. That supports the idea that traditional cultures ate macrobiotically, and that changing one's diet can change one's life. This is just another way to look at the topic.

Dr. Shintani will be offering a program for those who would like to alter their diets. For a relatively small fee, they will come to eat for 10 days (like Daniel) and go through a series of blood work to make sure that all is well with medications. His goal is to get people off their meds and on the path to recovery with a natural whole foods diet.

I hope to cook with him. Perhaps I should say that I pray to cook with him on this project? I was very grateful to be there and be a part of everything, even though as I mentioned before, I am not Christian. A well balanced diet is so important for our health and well being.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Since I have been back here, I have been trying to generate interest in macrobiotics. This led me to make a business card, some flyers, and has me driving all around the island and on the web with outer islands trying to either give cooking lessons or offer services as a private cook. Hey, this is NOT EASY. Any suggestions out there? I have been to yoga studios, massage schools, culinary schools..... My teachers say, "Right action, or living for God, brings everything you need. Dont worry, students are coming, money is coming. Get one student and then more will come." This is a macrobiotic principle (works with money, lovers, etc so it should apply to work/business). Where are you my first cooking student??? I am waiting for you and trying to find you!

Rain and Diana Krall

The other night, I went to the Waikiki Shell to see Diana Krall with one of my good friends. The day had been so warm and beautiful, and I was so excited to go sit on the green grass, view the sunset, and listen to jazz with my friend. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the clouds blew in and the rain started gushing down on us. We were totally unprepared by this wet outburst, and cringed, huddling under our light jackets. As it came down harder and harder, and as the entire crowd groaned, I started laughing. Here again, I had a conscious choice what to feel. Here I was, with water not just raining from above, but also running down the hill toward me, no umbrella handy, so I was getting soaked. But I was with my friend who I didnt see regularly while I lived in Japan, I was back in Hawaii, and I was listening to great jazz music, and those things felt great. The water was warm and my feet were bare. I was wet, but so what? It would dry. It was more fun to enjoy the sensation of the moment.


Hello everyone,
There is a new magazine on the market called green*light that seems geared toward people who are interested in health and natural living. If you go to their website, you can order 4 free copies.
Aloha, Leslie

Friday, April 29, 2005

Always two ways to see the world

The other day I was out looking for an apartment. I was driving my car around and noticed the thermostat was suddenly all the way up to H for HOT! Hmmmm..... That had never happened to me before, and when my friend had this same car, it had never done that -- as far as I knew. I wondered to myself what it meant, and how to fix it, and decided to turn off the AC even though it was a really hot day. Well, my question got answered in short order when the car started smoking. I was in shock and panic. Seems to be a theme with this panic lately. What is going on with my kidneys I wonder? Anyway, I was a total damsel in distress not knowing what to do or who to call. (Note to self: Get AAA right away.) By the grace of the Universe, I had the number for a mechanic, because I had been planning on getting my car tuned up anyway. He suggested getting the car towed so that I didnt cause any further damage, and as I hung up, I wanted to cry. Why me? Why me? Why me? What does this mean? Oh, existential pain! Then I caught myself, and tried to see things in a different way. We always have a choice to see things in a different way. Instead of thinking how horrible it all was, I decided to think how great that this mechanic was helping me. Instead of worrying what others were thinking with my car parked in this awkward place, I thought, "Now I have more time to read my book" Instead of thinking how I was missing out on viewing all those apartments I had scehduled viewings for, I trusted that I would get the right one anyway, and maybe it was time to stop looking. The universe was sending me a message to stop looking, and that came through pretty loud and clear. The mechanic coming to tow me was going out of his way to borrow his friends tow truck, and he was putting aside everything on his que to come and help me, just because he is a nice person. Instead of being embarrassed for being towed, I instead thought, "How fun. I have never been towed before. I get to ride up in this big hefty truck and watch him shift those gears." Life is play, and I decided to make that moment into play too. I am so very thankful that he was able to help me. He didnt have to do that. Mahalo Tony!

Thank heavens for nature and loving teachers

For the past month, I have been working hard to try and find a place to live in Honolulu. My spirits have stayed positive for the majority of this time, though searching for a place to live here was really a full time job, and I am happy to report that I got a really cute little cottage with a beautiful lanai to enjoy nights and weekends with my family and friends. May is the move in date. Suddenly, the reality of rent hit me. I spent the last two days in a complete panic. HOW do I start my own business???? How can I make money doing this????? Will I need to go back to teaching English?

I went for a walk with Kai, the Siberian Husky, our nightly ritual as the sun goes down and the weather cools off. He leaps through tall grass, sprints up the hill, and smells the flowers. When we get into a walking rhythm, and I can look at the stunning scenery around me, and I can smell the fresh air, and see the vibrant colors, things seem to be more positive.

I called my teachers who keep the "red line" open all the time. I am so grateful for their guidance and help as I make my way through uncharted territory, flung out into deep water. My teacher says, "Forget teaching English. That is the easy way. If you do or think this way, you will get stuck in karma and see the world in only one way. Trust and believe. Students are coming. Money is coming. Devote everything to trying to get students." I got off the phone with them feeling a lot better.

Thank heavens for nature and loving teachers. Oh, and great sisters too! I love talking by IM and hotmail with you Allison.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Had a GREAT night in the organic garden. This
shangri la is directly behind the Chinese Cemetary, in the back of Manoa Valley.
Interesting feng shui, but the garden and the people seem to be thriving.
They felt the Chinese chose the cemetary for the auspicious site about
100+ years ago and for that reason, it doesnt stagnate the chi in the area or
threaten the occupants nearby. There are about 3 guys who live in this
converted building and it is a cozy, and shall I say, very earthy place.
Very interesting people who live there and garden there too. Acupuncturists,
artists, one other macrobiotic person.... Every Thursday people join as
volunteers, share dinner together, and are generally free to take
fruits and veges from the garden. I just weeded, which was what I wanted to
do. It felt therapuetic to me. Afterwards, we sat down together and had a
lovely meal. Tonight it was cooked vegan, but people added cheese to the
pasta and sauce. They made kabocha (baked) fresh from their garden, sauteed
greens, also from the garden, pasta with tomato sauce, brown rice, garlic
bread (yes, I ate some), and baked tofu with a tahini sauce. Yummy! I was
sent home with bananas (not for me) and fresh cut tropical flowers that are
simply stunning and breathtaking. So much fun!

We had been talking about organic pesticides,
because the proprieter had just given a lecture on it the previous
day. He told the audience that the best possible thing one could do
is have excellent soil and then one would not really have to worry
about pests. This sounded so much like macrobiotics to me. If we
have strong blood and are not eating lots of sugar or fruit then
mosquitos, viruses, and other illnesses should not be bugging us. (the mosquitoes in the garden chomped on me.... what had I been eating I wonder???? But I did try to just shoo them off instead of smooshing them.)

the jainists in india went so far as
to brush the path in front of them while they walked so as not to
kill bugs (ahmisa, for yoga lovers). i sometimes still think about
that...... for some reason, it really struck me.

i got a job cooking for this macro woman. she is catering a party,
so that was great for her to ask me. she also runs the cooking
demos at the KI summer conference, and she invited me to help her as
a volunteer, so I came home flying after receiving these
opportunities. It was so much fun to be there tonight.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Macrobiotic Meetup in Manoa

Today we had our first Vegan/Macrobiotic Meetup Group activity in Manoa at Kathy Maddux's Great Life Bento place. At first I thought it would be just Kathy and myself, but I was so happy to see 3 more people come, all of whom are vegan. It was a lot of fun for me to talk with everyone and get to know some people around Honolulu, and to hear more about Kathy's experience when she went to the Kushi Institute. She is, so far, the only macrobiotic person that I have met here, and it really recharges my macro battery to interact with like-minded individuals. It will be important to generate a strong community. Our next event is going to be a potluck, and I am sure we can get more people to attend. That will be a lot of fun to have a social event and to meet some people.

In the past, I used to be really shy, but after becoming macrobiotic and learning yoga, I have been able to open myself up to new experiences and new people. This is why arranging this meeting and getting to know others was super exciting for me. Changing my diet and lifestyle has made such an enormous difference in my well-being, spirituality, peace of mind, and life destiny.

After the meeting, I was just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Manoa Yoga studio, so I went over there for a class with Ray Madigan. It felt really good to stretch my body, and as a result, I became very relaxed, and my spirits were really lifted even more. While doing forward bends, there was a huge rainbow arching across the valley, embracing us.

I am so grateful to be in such a beautiful place and to challenge myself with this new life opportunity. Thank you to the Universe.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Fish Pond

Originally uploaded by macro808.
Here is a sacred fish pond from the Place of Refuge on the Big Island. The Hawaiians raised fish in ponds like this one, a significant part of their culture. However, today, there are very few active fish ponds left. On Oahu, the most significant one is now Pearl Harbor.


Originally uploaded by macro808.
This was a tiki overlooking the ocean from The Place of Refuge. In ancient times, if a Hawaiian person broke a law or did something bad, they could be killed. However, if they made it to the sacred refuge before their enemies found them, they would be blessed by a Hawaiian priest and absolved of all wrongdoing, free to go.

Monday, April 11, 2005

The world is a beautiful place

Today was such a busy day full of running errands. I went into Manoa in search of a place called Great Life Bentos that sells macrobiotic lunch boxes, but she was closed today unexpectedly. Despite being disappointed at the closure, I was so happy to know that she is there and that I have more options for lunch, especially considering the only other macro bento place here in Honolulu doesn't really seem macrobiotic anymore. (Yin and yang -- everything that has a front, has a back.)

As I made my way around the post office, drug store, and various other places, I was so surprised at the gloomy faces and lack of smiles. Maybe it was because I have no tan yet and so people thought I was a tourist, but they sure weren't friendly. But today was so gorgeous, and rainbows were popping out all over the place. I wanted to tell them all that "Life is GREAT" and how the world is a beautiful place. Play, have fun! Enjoy yourself!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Tofu and frolicking

This past week I have been on the Big Island of Hawaii enjoying the Kona side of the island. It was a shock, but I didnt find a single place to eat brown rice. What a relief that I took some precooked things with me for breakfast so that I could enjoy it still at least once a day.

I did get to see some really cool things, such as the Place of Refuge, a very sacred Hawaiian site. At the Place of Refuge, we met a local Hawaiian man who carved the tikis for this national park. Later, we also took an airplane ride over the volcano, and it was completely insane. We could see inside the crater with all the lava sloshing around. My mother and I gasped out loud in awe. Another great thing was Queen's Bath, a fresh water pool underground that was right next to the ocean. You climb down inside and peer up into the palm trees. I put my hands above me onto the rocks, and they were buzzing with energy. Mother Earth held me inside of her, and I felt very refreshed and renewed. For the first time, I also got to paddle in an outrigger canoe. My very athletic mom met them and found out anyone could go. We took an hour out of our morning to experience this. It was great fun.

My father went snorkeling and forgot to put on sunscreen. For 4 hours he was like a turtle without a shell, so needless to say, his back was very burnt. I thought maybe they were maybe 3rd degree, but my sister who is a nurse corrected me and suggested that they were 2nd degree burns. Nevertheless, after we spotted the blisters popping out all over his back, I went to the local grocery store to buy some tofu. We cut it up and placed it on certain areas that were the worst. It was very uncomfortable for him, but he was a great sport. The tofu actually cooked on his back. We were so surprised to see this. I hope that it helped reduce the pain he felt. After a couple of days taking it easy, he was feeling better.

Thanks Mom and Dad for a great time. It was great to be there with you. I am happy George could come too.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Now that I am back in the US I am surrounded by my American culture. It is a relief to be able to speak my own language whenever I want! It was hard not being able to express myself fully. Before when I would come back to Hawaii for vacations and visits, I wanted to gorge myself on all the American culture I could, so I would watch TV for about 3 days until I was too full and sick with it. Now though, I notice how I dont want to be around it at all. It seems like poison for my mind. Hope this means my condition has improved!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I have arrived!

To my lovely friends,
I just wanted to let you all know that I am here in Hawaii, and I made it safely, sort of. I overstayed my VISA accidentally by one day, and they kind of freaked in Immigration. I got sent over to this scary side room where I thought I would be interrogated or jailed unable to return to Hawaii. In the end, I paid 4,000 yen and sweated bullets that I would miss my flight. I was one of the last people on the plane, but as I ran down through the terminal was practically in tears that I might have to stay on the airport floor and not return as planned. They gave me a special one day permit so that everything is kosher with my paperwork. Oops. Glad to be back here. Didnt sleep at all on the airplane, and am still going after a short nap today. Being macrobiotic is magnificent. Any other person might be devastated by jet lag.

Be well! Love to you, Leslie

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Sayonara Macrobi Garden

Originally uploaded by macro808.
On Saturday night, I went to Macrobi Garden for the last time (until who knows when). I was so happy to see Anri and Eiko. Eiko just got back from America where she was living and cooking for Michio for 3 months. It was fun to eat dinner with everyone (and Anri's mochi awa with kabocha was soooooo oishi!) I will miss you all and thank you for everything and all the great memories. Take care!

Beautiful cake, beautiful friends

Originally uploaded by macro808.
Look at this gorgeous cake that my friends surprised me with! I couldn't believe my eyes, and it was so delicious. It really touched my heart. Thank you.

Thank you friends!

Originally uploaded by macro808.
Sunday night all the girls went to dinner at ModernArk Pharm, an atmospheric cafe in Kobe that serves a delicious vegan dinner set. We had such a fun time together, and I will really miss my friends. Thank you all for the delicious dinner, your friendship, your understanding, love, help and patience. I will see you all again soon.

Inner Quality Tip

I couldn't believe when I read this in my email! Here I am, getting ready to leave Japan, and emptying my home and life of everything I don't need, and suddenly this appears, which seemed to say exactly what I have been going through. I am giving up teaching English to do macrobiotics, and already my decision has brought work into my life. The same thing happened with George. He quit working a restaurant job, and suddenly, he was offered a chance at his dream job in the surf industry. Good job George!

Spring Cleaning

Have you ever noticed that when you let go of some of the unnecessary 'stuff' in your life new, exciting, and wished for things start to show up? Consider your drawers and closets at home. When they're full, there's no room for new stuff. Not to mention that you've probably lost track of what's even in them! But as soon as you clean them out and get rid of what you no longer need or want - new things start to show up.

It's the same with ideas, beliefs, or emotional attachments. Whatever your threshold (how big is your closet?) is for holding onto old notions or behaviors, once you reach that threshold, there's no room for new stuff until you discard some of the old.

Why not take the time this spring to pick an area in your life-- work, family, social, hobby, whatever-- where you want some new vitality, where you want to attract something new or where you want to actualize a desired behavior. Use the Quick Coherence® tool* to quiet the "yeah buts," "what ifs" and "just in cases." From a coherent perspective, ask your heart what to let go.

Be patient and stay neutral until you get an answer. Don't be surprised or afraid of what comes back to you. Then empower yourself to let it go, knowing that there is now room in your life for new, fun and exciting things.
Take care, Kim Allen

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Sexy Tofu Dish for Clair

My lovely friend Clair wanted this recipe. I originally got it off of but I can't locate it quickly enough, so I am going to recreate it. (On Yogen's site, it is called Tofu Gado, but I like sexy tofu better!)

1 package firm tofu
1 to 2 carrots
1 to 2 onions
2 T tahini or peanut butter
1 to 2 T miso (barley is nice)
1 to 2 T lemon juice
water (or juice from cooking vegetables)
pinch of sea salt

1. Cut the onions into crescents and the carrots into rounds or half moons.
2. Saute the onions until they smell sweet, and then add carrots on top with a pinch of sea salt. Pour about 1/2 cup water into the pan and cover. Cook until vegetables smell very sweet.
3. Meanwhile, drain the water off the tofu and press between cutting boards to squeeze out excess water (mizu kiri in Japanese).
4. Make the sauce. Put the rest of the ingredients into a suribachi and mix to make a nice sauce.
5. When the vegetables are finished cooking, place them into an oven pan. Cover with tofu slices and top with sauce.
6. Bake at 180 C for about 20 minutes.
7. Serve and enjoy your sexy tofu dish.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


My dad just sent me this message through email. I thought it was very interesting and wanted to share it with you all.

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, "My son, the battle is between 2 wolves. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Relationship thoughts

Sometimes I think that for women, their lives revolve around their relationships. Is this just a gender stereotype? I don't know! Observing my female friends, knowing myself, and noticing how often we all talk about relationships, it seems like we all place very high value on our relationships. I just finished reading “Kaleidoscope” by Herman Aihara, and he discusses some interesting points about marriage and relationships in general. I can't resist the opportunity to reflect more on the irresistable topic of personal relationships!

In his article, Aihara compares relationships to eating brown rice. He says,

“[Marriage] is like the brown rice taste – it’s not a hot dog taste or a Chinese restaurant taste (very spicy and oily). If you take that every day, you get tired of it. If I go to a French restaurant every day, I get tired quickly. But brown rice, if cooked well, chewed well, becomes more sweet. You barely need to chew gourmet food – it’s already tasty. So your marriage should be like brown rice – you have to chew very well. If you are very flashy, pretending to be like prince and princess, it doesn't last long. Better to work hard to just make a nice home; then it lasts longer.”

I loved this idea as much as I love brown rice, a lot! It shows a lot of commitment and love.

Other important factors that he mentioned were:

--Choosing a healthy mate. Having a sick partner causes the healthy partner to carry all the burden of cooking, cleaning, childrearing and bringing income into the household. (See more in other postings for ideas of what health means.)
--Having decent income or adequate financial support.
--Having similar interests and hobbies. Aihara says, “If you are interested in macrobiotics, you had better have a partner who is interested in macrobiotics. Romance may not last long, but caring lasts long. Try to find interest in your partner’s hobbies and activities. Give up some of your own pleasure for your mate.” That means if your husband/boyfriend loves to watch loads of TV, including something like football, you should sit down with him and watch it together, even if you don't really enjoy football yourself. The important thing is to try and share the same interests. It could end up being a fun, enjoyable experience to share together.
--Having respect and humbleness towards each other. Without respect, all is lost. To respect each other, act in a respectable manner. Honor and maintain your commitment to each other (e.g., loyalty, fidelity, honesty), your good character and behavior. Work on raising your own level of consciousness.
--Attending to one’s diet. Share at least one meal together every day. Eat together peacefully. Follow a good macrobiotic diet.
--Accepting each other and being happy with what you have instead of thinking “There is something else better out there.” If you simply leave your partner, you could end up in another difficult relationship.
--Communicating and having an open and listening mind, as well as keeping no secrets from each other.
--Avoiding complaining, and instead talk things over sincerely. Speak with your whole heart, for another’s benefit.

My parents have been married for over 35 years, and though no relationship is perfect, nor without its ups and down, they continue to live happily together, with their love growing all of the time. They are not following a macrobiotic diet, but it seems they naturally do many of the things on this list.

Anyway, for me, these are wonderful ideas to think about. I hope you will leave comments if anything inspires you.

How healthy are you?

In American culture, so much emphasis is placed on body image. There seems to be a common belief that if a person is thin, then they must be healthy. It is true that obesity is becoming an epidemic in the States, causing many debilitating health effects. For a long long time, I also held this belief. As a woman, I thought that if I was thin, my problems would disappear and all would be well. Being thin seemed the key to me. Recently, in my own self growth, in addition to interactions and observations of other people, I have been thinking more deeply about the concept of health. I agree that maintaining one’s physique is an important factor, but also, health seems to go much deeper than this. A person could have a gorgeous body, but not a healthy mind and/or spirit.

George Ohsawa outlined 7 conditions for health. I wonder how many of us are able to reach the 7th??

Physical conditions
1. Never tired, never catches cold. Always ready to work.
2. Good appetite, and happy with simplest foods.
3. Good deep sleep, and falls asleep within 3 minutes after going to bed, and wakes up after 4 to 5 hours. No dreams, no movement during sleep.

Psychological conditions
4. Good memory, never forgets, can memorize fifty thousand personal names.
5. Good humor. Freedom from anger. Always cheerful and pleasant under any circumstance. Without fear and suffering. Deep gratitude and thankfulness to others.
6. Good judgment. Smartness in thinking and doing. Correct thinking, judging, and doing with promptness and smartness.

Understanding of faith and justice
7. Absolute faith in justice, thinking and doing things with the following mentality:

-Never angry
-Never afraid
-Never says ‘I am tired’ or ‘I am lost’
-Appreciates any foods, even distasteful cooking
-Sleeps deeply, without dreams
-Never forgets, especially debts and kindness received
-Does not lie in order to protect himself/herself
-Accurate and punctual
-Likes everyone
-Never doubts what others say
-Lives to find the highest eternal value of life
-Happiest when finding the order of the universe in daily life and in unnoticeable small things
-Spends life only for what he/she really wants to do instead of just for earning money
-Spends whole life teaching the miracle of life – the order of the universe

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Why I don't eat ...

Since I am leaving Japan soon, many people have been inviting me for lunch or dinner to enjoy being together before I leave. Recently, a teacher from the English Department invited me over to her home, a rare treat in Japan. Several people from my department know that I have a diet different from their own, but they don't really know what this is exactly. She kindly and conscientiously asked me several times about the foods that I could eat and couldn't eat to find a suitable menu plan for everyone (including her seminar students). Her cousin, a dietician, was also very interested in my being macrobiotic and she decided to come to lunch too!

I decided to take some daifuku dessert (strawberry covered with sweet azuki bean paste and mochi rice). The teacher’s 91-year-old mother with a very frail appetite really loved them and wanted to eat more.

My colleague made very delicious chirashi zushi with homemade lotus and ginger pickles, as well as kiriboshi daikon, and her cousin made a clear broth soup with sea bass. They put eel and egg on the side for the students. That was really kind of them to do for me.

I wondered if perhaps I might end up in the hot seat, answering questions about why I don't eat meat, fish, egg, sugar, etc., so I prepared the night before. Fortunately, I wasn't grilled! This is what I would have told them, if they had asked.

1.) Why don’t you eat meat, fish, or poultry?

Eating meat in the polar regions gives a lot of energy and warmth to endure the extreme cold. However, for those of us in temperate climates, eating meat is too difficult for us to digest, taking twice as long as for vegetables and grains. While the meat travels though our intestines, it begins to putrefy, creating harmful bacteria in our intestines. The toxins begin to accumulate in our liver, large intestine, and kidneys, and destroy the villi in our small intestines. Fat begins to accumulate around these organs, our arteries harden, and we develop cysts, tumor, fibroids, and high cholesterol. We can eventually develop cancer.

With more oxygen needed to digest the meat, we have a lot of oxygen traveling through our blood and into our brains. This makes it hard for us to keep a calm mind, and can lead to aggressive behavior. We become fixed and rigid in our mentality.

2.) Where do you get your protein?

There is ample protein in the grains, nuts, seeds, seitan, tempeh, tofu, natto, and other beans, in addition to the occasional fish that I eat. These foods are very easy to digest compared to meat and dairy. Too much protein, such as in the standard American diet, can lead to osteoporosis, cancer, and heart disease.

The standard American diet, with meat and dairy, is very high in fat. A high fat diet leads to heart attacks, stroke, an overstressed liver and other main organs, and can eventually lead to cancer.

3.) Why don't you eat sugar?

Sugar, too much fruit, honey, and milk all leach minerals from the body. Our bones become brittle as the sugar leaches minerals away, and we develop osteoperosis. These sugary foods clog our intestines, cause weight gain, and lethargy. Simple sugars make our insulin levels (blood sugar) unstable, first soaring and then crashing, leading to hypoglycemia, diabetes, and even drug addictions. Our pancreas and liver are unable to cope with the overwork and stress, and they become fatty, leading to cancer. Furthermore, sugar causes an acid condition in the body, making us susceptible to viral and bacterial infections. We are also susceptible to nervousness, worry, passivity, introversion, spaced-out behavior, lack of concentration, lack of memory, and slow decision-making.

On the other hand, complex carbohydrates (in grains, grain malts, and amazake) burn slow and steady keeping our insulin levels, thoughts, concentration, decision-making, and emotions balanced and harmonized.

4.) Why don't you eat cheese and eggs, or drink milk?

In addition to meat, dairy products are very difficult for our bodies to digest. The toxins get stuck in our upper intestine, leading to more putrefaction, which weakens our organs. Dairy causes mucus to develop in our bodies, especially in the reproductive organs. We develop sinus problems, kidney stones, fat, tumors, cancer, hay fever, and infertility. Because dairy takes a long time to digest, it also leads to a dulled mind. Other problems such as allergies develop, in addition to antisocial and dependent behaviors.

I am so happy to be macrobiotic. I am so thankful that coming to Japan led me to such a wonderful way to see the world and to live my life. Thank you Japan! Thank you Kobe Women's University!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Thoughts on Kaleidoscope and Sugar Blues

I have only been macrobiotic for two years now, so there is a lot for me to read and learn. I go through phases of reading voraciously whatever I can get my hands on and then setting things aside for a while to let it all percolate. Right now, I am just through the beginning of Kaleidoscope by Herman Aihara and was struck by one of his essays entitled, Yin Syndrome, written in 1979.

It starts out by discussing the fear of nuclear radiation. At the time this article was written, many people feared the effects of nuclear radiation, especially with what happened at Three Mile Island. Aihara calls this fear a yin syndrome. Some studies suggest that an increase in cancer is caused by very low levels of radiation the come from wristwatches, microwave ovens, nuclear mining, and power generating operations.

However, he suggests that we have no reason to fear the effects of radiation if we follow a balanced macrobiotic lifestyle. The main cause of the fear (kidney imbalance) AND the physical effects of radiation are caused by our diet.

He says the main causes of both the fear and illness come from (p.30):

--sugar and sugared foods
--refined foods, especially grains
--chemical additives, colorings
--animal foods (especially grown with hormone feeds)
--vinegar, spices, coffee
--soft drinks, beer, wine, all other alcoholic drinks.

He wrote that when we eliminate these foods from our diet, we eliminate the mental and emotional plague of nervousness, worry, passivity, introversion, spaced-out behavior, lack of concentration, lack of memory, and slow decision-making. We also prevent modern illnesses.

While still on the topic of sugar and refined foods, I recently read Sugar Blues by William Dufty. In his book, he suggests that throughout history, the use of sugar has been the cause of civilization’s decline. To give a few examples, nations who ate sugar were eradicated, slavery started, the black plague killed thousands, and the Salem witch trials occurred. He suggests that sugar is a powerful drug like any other and questioned why people tend not to see the substance in this way? In America, people are up in arms about drugs. Drug use conjures an image of some dirty and dangerous American street with some weird adult peddling heroin, speed, or marijuana. Or perhaps it conjures an image of a dangerous man breeching the safety and comfort of the suburbs…? But people just don’t seem to mind if they themselves, or if their kids, get their hit from the vending machine. The vending machine is Dufty’s idea of a modern drug pusher. And the candy, chip, and soda machines are ubiquitous. Even cigarettes, he says, have sugar in them.

But like Aihara wrote, eating sugar can make you passive, docile, and perhaps unwilling to question authority. Hegemonic corporations thus keep us firmly addicted and rake in lots of profit.

When I read this book, I felt that being macrobiotic is more than just for my health. Not eating sugar is also a political statement that I oppose the current power structure of my country. It would be interesting to know if people ate less sugar in the ‘60’s around the time of the sexual revolution? At that time, people were questioning the powers that be, protesting the Vietnam war, and working actively for a more peaceful world. On a certain level that is still happening today, but progress seems stalled. Perhaps if more people ate less sugar, George Bush could have been defeated, and we would not experience such apathy as we have now? We can change the world just by changing ourselves.

Healing Your Kidneys

Speaking of kidneys, my great friend and incredible cook, Reni, who is in Switzerland at the moment is going to cook for a shiatsu workshop. The theme of the shiatsu workshop is “Healing Your Kidneys.”

On that note, foods that heal your kidneys are:

Miso or tamari soup
Azuki or black beans
Buckwheat, barley, and oats
Pressure cooked rice or millet
Buckwheat soba noodles
Kombu, sea palm, or hijiki
Winter squash/pumpkin
Greens and roots
Pickles and lightly salty condiments
Low fat baked desserts

Sample kidney menu ideas are:

Fu and broccoli soup
Pressure cooked hatomugi and barley (or rye) with sautéed vegetables
Sweet and sour seitan
Chestnut or squash twists
Sweet rice with chestnuts
Brown rice with lotus seeds
Brown rice with buckwheat
Kasuziru (Miso with sake lees)
Baked tofu sandwich
Boiled salad
Azuki beans with chestnuts and raisins
Pan fried soba noodles
Deep fried rice balls
Millet croquettes with vegetables
Soba noodle soup
Dried tofu nishime
Azuki bean and vegetable soup
Baked beans
Deep fried fu
Stew with fu
Black soybean stew
Kinpira gobo
Azuki bean brownies

Let’s remember the daikon hip bath for healing kidneys too.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

A matter of perspective

People are disturbed not by things, but the view they take of them.


Macrobiotic Movies

Could These be Considered Macrobiotic Movies?

Can anyone think of more?

Star Wars

“The Force” bifurcates into Darth Vader’s “Dark Side” while Jedi Knights use the other (unnamed?) aspect. Though seen in terms of “good” and “bad” the two energetic concepts originate from the same source. Jedi Knights trust their feelings and intuition to do the seemingly impossible.


An overly yang village is balanced by the sensual aspects of chocolate. The town mayor with an extreme yang condition binges out of control!

Like Water for Chocolate

The guests absorb the emotions and thoughts the cook stirs into her delicious and sensual food. The cook creates her family’s health.

Field of Dreams

The main characters believe in and manifest their true dream, and they do so by tuning into the invisible or energetic world.

The Matrix

In the third and final movie, Neo philosophizes about the interdependence between the seemingly dichotomous machine and human worlds. To defeat the rouge program, Mr. Smith, the yin (human world) and yang (machine world) blend into one, not able to live, survive, and function without the other.

After Neo is phsyically blinded, he begins to see the world only in terms of energy.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

What is macrobiotics?

Someone left a comment asking, "What is macrobiotics, anyway?" It is good practice for me to try and answer this question. To me, "macrobiotic" means several things. From my experience, it is a diet, a philosophy, and a lifestyle. (For another point of view, go to

Regarding one's diet, macrobiotics is a whole foods diet. A whole foods diet leaves out refined and processed foods and focuses on foods in their whole form. For example, instead of eating wheat bread which has been broken down and refined into its smallest form, flour, macrobiotic people would rather eat the whole cooked wheat berry grain. Emphasis is placed on eating whole grains such as brown rice in particular, in addition to millet, barley, buckwheat, wheat, oats, etc. They also eat fresh seasonal vegetables, soup, seaweed and beans. In a macrobiotic diet, some people eat fish, while others choose to be vegan. There is ample food within this diet to create an endless variety of tasty, beautiful, and nutritious dishes.

The emphasis for the whole foods is "local, seasonal, and organic." The local and seasonal aspects are connected. This means eat foods that are grown in your region and eat them in season. For example, when it is summer, eat fresh fruits, corn, and lightly cooked vegetables that keep your body cool, but when it is winter focus on longer cooking times, root vegetables, slightly saltier and heartier dishes that keep your body warm. Eating with the seasons is a way to stay connected to mother nature and her cycles and rhythms. It also keeps our health strong.

On the other hand, if you live in a cold northern region, but you often eat bananas, papayas, mangoes, and other tropical fruits, your body will get very cold! If you live in a hot tropical area, do you want to eat foods that make your body warmer? No! Of course not! You want to naturally eat cooling things. When you consistenly eat foods that are not grown in your local region, and you eat them out of season, your health can deteriorate.

Eating organically is another point to pay attention to. When we eat foods that are fresh and without pesticides and chemicals, not only are we retaining vitamins and minerals, but we are putting the freshest and cleanest foods into our systems, thereby supporting our health, giving us energy and happiness for life.

Macrobiotics departs from the idea of vetarianism or veganism that we commonly know about in the western world. It draws on Asian ideas of health and wellness. People who are macrobiotic believe that food carries energy, or what we know as "yin and yang." Different foods have different energies which are important to balance. When we are balanced, our emotions stay balanced, and we forget our worries, fears, stresses, and we can live a happy, joyful, and free life. Depending on how we want to be, we can choose our foods. Foods are chosen from the categories mentioned above (local, seasonal, and organic) in addition to their energy (balance of yin and yang), always avoiding extreme foods that are difficult to balance over a long period of time (such as meat and sugar, or meat and alcohol). Eating too much raw fruit and vegetables, sugar, chocolate, nightshade vegetables, and oil for example, can leave us feeling depressed, spaced out, and overly emotional. Eating too much meat, salt, baked flour, and eggs can make you feel tense, heavy, and lethargic. These imbalances can lead to illness over time.

With lifestyle, there are a variety of things that macrobiotic people do. These might include (but are not limited to) do-in, yoga, shiatsu, body scrubs, and home remedies for illnesses. Macrobiotic people believe that when you stop eating extreme foods that upset one's natural balance, and treat all illnesses or imbalances with nature's medicine (food), you are free to play and enjoy life at its fullest. Life is beautiful! It is meant to be enjoyed! All possibilities are open to us. In my own experience, macrobiotics has led to a much more peaceful existence. If you dont believe me, that is OK. I would just ask you to try it for yourself to be sure.


You are the entire universe.
You are in all, and all is in you.
Sun, moon, and stars revolve within you.

Swami Muktananda

Miso Soup for Allison

For one person (from Cooking the Whole Foods Way, by Christina Pirello)

1 cup spring or filtered water
1 1-inch piece of wakame, soaked and diced
Several pieces each of a few vegetables
(onion, daikon, carrot, cabbage, squash, etc)
1 tsp barley or brown rice miso
Green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish

Bring water and wakame to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer about 3 minutes. Add vegetables and simmer, covered, over low heat 3 to 4 minutes, until just tender.

Remove a small bit of broth, add miso and stir until dissolved. Stir miso mixture back into the soup and simmer, uncovered, without boiling, 3 to 4 minutes more. Garnish with green onions, and serve hot.

NOTES: It is very important that you don't boil the miso. The beneficial enzymes present need warmth to activate, but boiling will destroy their benefits, leaving you only with the flavor.

Garnishing isn't arbitrary or done simply becuase it makes soup look beautiful. Garnishing adds a final touch of fresh, light energy to a soup that has cooked over fire for several minutes. All soups need that kind of freshness. You can use anything raw and fresh, such as green onions, parsley, sprouts, grated carrot, daikon, or gingerroot, to name just a few options.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Carl Jung says...

As to the ultimate things, we can know nothing, and only when we admit this do we return to equilibrium.

Carl Jung

Monday, February 07, 2005

A Macrobiotic View of Karma and Fate

On another day of macrobiotic class, we took up the topic of karma and fate. Our teacher asked us, “What is karma?” Like many Western people, I had the view that karma was somewhat like the Christian “do unto others as they do unto you.” If I do a very good deed for someone, then it is a natural law that someone else would return a good deed to me. If I treat people without kindness and respect, I could expect the same behaviors or results from others to manifest in my own life. I was surprised to learn of a new way to think of karma, from a perspective of yin and yang, or the balance of opposing forces in the universe.

Most of us are living our daily lives eating McDonalds, drinking Coke or Pepsi, snacking on Doritos and watching TV. This type of diet, along with the usual stresses of modern life, fills our bodies with toxins. These toxins get stuck in our bodies, like pieces of paper that get jammed into Xerox machines, and develop into cysts, tumors, or behavioral ticks and even pathologies. We tend to see the world with dualist thinking, or separating things into “good” and “bad” or black and white.

According to my teacher, the way to Tao, the path to totality, wholeness, oneness, or infinity has been impeded by our diet and modern way of life. Our bodies and minds have become stiff, and for this reason our judgment has also been impaired. We are unable to see our paths clearly. When our judgment becomes impaired, we are unable to avoid accidents. Our intuition is not operating at 100% capacity, and we are unable to see ourselves, others, and events objectively.

The way I think of this comes from a thought experiment I read on Yogen Kushi’s World Macrobiotic site. Imagine you are unable to see with your eyes, and you don't know what an elephant is. Now, imagine trying to figure out what it is, We could walk up to one and touch its nose. We might think, “Aha! So this is an elephant.” Or perhaps we might walk up to it and touch its foot and leg, and think, “Oh! Now I know what an elephant is.” In fact, our perspective only allows us partial vision, rather than 100% understanding.

How does this play itself out in terms of yin and yang? As we navigate ourselves through life, we may have incredibly happy or wonderful events occur. However, the law of opposites states that to achieve balance, it is only natural that an equally “bad” event will occur. This fluctuation from “good” to “bad” continues to bounce back and forth, and thus we are trapped in a cycle of karma.

Recently, there was a young Japanese man traveling around the world. As he was traveling, others had been telling him how great Baghdad was. He spent some time in Australia, which apparently was very enjoyable for him, and then set off for Baghdad. He ran out of money, and no hotels would allow him to stay because he was a foreigner, and they did not want to risk being attacked by a suicide bomber or someone seeking retribution. He thus was murdered in the streets.

This was all over the news for days, and there were varied reactions. Many people thought, what a stupid young man to go to such a dangerous place! What was he thinking?

His judgment clearly led him wrong. But which was his mistake? Was his mistake to have gone to Baghdad? Or was his mistake to have gone to Australia? According to our teacher, it was having gone to Australia. Perhaps this time for him was the best of his life. He had a very “good” experience there, and the opposite for him was to suffer this tragic accident.

On the other hand, if our bodies and minds are clean, we no longer see the world in terms of “good” and “bad”. Our third eyes and intuition are operating efficiently, and we are able to avoid accidents. We are able to “see” that whole elephant. Someone who is seeing from their third eye would know not to go someplace, or would know when to leave someplace instinctually.

How do we get our bodies and minds “clean”? One efficient way is to eat a nutritious and balanced macrobiotic whole foods diet. When we eat well, our lives become more peaceful, and we remain on our true paths. Those toxins that are “jamming” our bodies and minds are released. Our health is premium, and we notice how naturally and happily life can flow. Being aligned with the universe, nothing “bad” happens to us.