Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Book Wish List

When I find some extra time, this is my current list of books I'd love to read:

1. In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
2. Manifestos of Food and Seed
3. Omnivore's Dilemma
4. End of Food
5. Fast Food Nation
6. Slow Food Nation
7. Food to Live By
8. From the Earth to the Table

And, something else for people to check out: Food Matters at www.foodmatters.com

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ma'o Organic Farm Cooking Class

Fairly recently, I was invited to Ma'o Organic Farm to do a cooking class.

We made:

Colorful Pressed Salad
Poppy Seed Dressing
Green Rolls
Happosai (Lucky Chinese Vegetable Stir Fry)
Greens with Marinated Onions

There were 18 students all who learned more information about the types of foods they grow and how to use them. We had a blast.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tonight's dinner menu

Lentil Soup
Collard Greens with Creamy Tofu Dill Sauce
Pressed Salad
Baked Black Eyed Peas
Brown Rice with Wheat Berries
Blueberry Kanten


Nov 5 Macrobiotic Dinner

Vegan Macrobiotic Community Dinner
Nov 5, 2008
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Dine in or take out, $13


French Onion Soup with Mochi Croutons
Holiday Rice
Baked Squash
Black Beans
Fresh Arame Salad

Lemon Tofu Cheesecake will be served for dessert with Japanese Tea for an additional $3.50

Please contact Leslie for location and any other details.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oct 10 Windward Macrobiotic Dinner Menu

Carrot Coconut Bisque
Brown Rice with Wild Rice
Summery Arame Salad
Broccoli and Mushroom Tofu Quiche
Green Rolls (Vegetable Sushi)
Blueberry Crisp

Friday, October 03, 2008

Recipe for humble pie from Melanie Waxman

First you need to -

Wash out your ego every once in a while, as cleanliness is next to godliness not just in body but in humility as well. ~Abbe Yeux-verdi

Then you have to make sure you -

Swallow your pride occasionally, it's non-fattening! ~Author Unknown

Having done that you remember -

Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. It means freedom from thinking about yourself at all. ~William Temple

Then you realise -

A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle. ~Benjamin Franklin

And you don't need to -

talk about yourself; it will be done when you leave. ~Wilson Mizner

When it comes to eating macro and playing sports -

Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple. ~Barry Switzer

Maybe stick with science coz -

When science discovers the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to find they are not it. ~Bernard Baily

If all else fails try this -

Modesty is the gentle art of enhancing your charm by pretending not to be aware of it. ~Oliver Herford

And in the end

It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others. ~Andrew J. Holmes, Wisdom in Small Doses


If every fool wore a crown, we should all be kings. ~Welsh Proverb

Enjoy and tell me how it tastes
Love Melanie!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Meal for Thursday's Healing Seminar

One thing that is important to me as a chef is to have food that is beautiful to look at, in addition to being tasty. If something is supposedly "healthy" but is brown and unidentifiable, I don't believe that someone will feel good when they eat it. For example, sometimes, if I'm in a hurry, I will go into one of our local health food stores to see what they have in their deli. At times, what they have appears overcooked and definitely not fresh. I just know that if I eat that, even though it's from the health food store, I'm going to feel tired and sluggish. Here in Hawaii, they teach people to "Eat A Rainbow" and I believe in this philosophy. So, here is the menu for the "Happy Meal" we had last night for Dr. Terry Shintani's Healing Seminar:

Brown Rice with Wild Rice
Spring Green Salad with Tomatoes and Yellow Peppers
Poppyseed Dressing
Marinated Garbanzo Bean Salad (packed with healthy fresh vegetables)
Sweet Vegetable Soup (with corn, kabocha, carrots, and onions)

We actually had all the colors of the rainbow included in this meal.

For the soup, it wasn't necessary to use any type of pre-purchased or packaged seasoning. I looked in the refrigerator to see what was left over and needed to be used up. I found cabbage, onion, and carrot and cooked these until they were soft, along with some kombu sea vegetable to create a tasty broth. I strained out the vegetables, reserved the liquid, and created this as the base. Then, to create the soup, I used chopped carrots, corn, onion, kabocha, bayleaf, and more kombu, along with fresh water. At the end, I added salt to taste so that the naturally sweet flavor of the vegetables was enhanced.

Menu for Wednesday's client

Everything on this menu was vegan, and the sister and boyfriend who were uncertain of the idea of VEGAN and MACRO food were very pleasantly surprised! We said it was "Real food for real people."

Greek Salad with Tofu Feta
Spanikopita (spinach pie with tofu instead of cheese)
Falafel with Pita Bread
Tahini Sauce
Grape Leaves stuffed with Brown Rice, Currants, and Pinenuts
Strawberry Mousse

It was the mousse for dessert that had our male friend there going for second and third helpings. They couldn't believe it was so yummy.

Menu for a recent party

One of my clients had a very serious health condition that kept her in the hospital for weeks. After getting out of the hospital, she firmly committed herself even more to her health by doing yoga and pranayama, ending toxic relationships, playing golf to keep active, and keeping up a very healthy whole foods macrobiotic diet. She just made 1 year of strong health, which is getting better all the time, and she had a party to celebrate this. The menu was:

Chinese Cabbage and Celery Soup
Watercress Salad with Figs and Artichoke Hearts
Balsamic Vinaigrette
Oven-Baked Acorn Squash
Holiday Brown Rice, Wild Rice, and Vegetable Pilaf
Lentil Pate
Arame Sea Vegetable Salad
Carrot Cardamom Cake with Coconut Cream Sauce

10-day Healing Seminar

Every couple of months, Dr. Terry Shintani (author of The Good Carb Revolution and Eat More, Weight Less) does a Healing Seminar for people in Honolulu, Hawaii. Approximately 30 people typically register for each program. They show up on a Saturday, the first day of their program, for a 12-hour long day of cooking demonstrations, lectures, chi gong, and whole foods meals. Since they have medical conditions, they are all medically monitored. The next 9 days of the program are not quite as intense, but they do have more lectures and we consistently prepare meals for them. For the most part, these people have been eating a standard American diet for their entire lives, and in many cases, it shows. Seminar after seminar, the participants are dealing with obesity, auto-immune disorders, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, and diabetes, including other lifestyle related diseases. They somewhat go into shock with everything they are being taught, and despite this, they are courageous and persevere, but not without some humor (where's the pizza? where's the salt, sugar, pork, shrimp, beef?!!). They were all very curious about what quinoa was. Why did it have those snake-like tails in it? What was it? HOW DO YOU SAY THAT AGAIN? HOW IS IT SPELLED!!!! Last night when I cooked for them, they were on day 5 of their program, and some of them had already lost 10 pounds, their blood sugar levels dropped by half. They were starting to come around, and their taste buds actually coming back to life after years of being bombarded with overdoses of sugar, salt, and other additives. By the end of the 10 days, for many of them, their lives have been altered forever, equipped with the knowledge of how to prevent many common illnesses and to maintain strong health with the power of food.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

zodi shower

zodi shower
Originally uploaded by macro808
When I was growing up, we had a very rustic cabin, with a woodburning cast iron stove to cook in and heat hot water for doing dishes, no electricity, a root cellar to store fruits and vegetables in, and we got spring water from a fresh water spring nearby. We chopped wood, carried water, and bathed in the lake. This lifestyle is no longer possible in the area we had our cabin, due to different factors, but we still are able to go there and enjoy the incredible natural landscape and natural living lifestyle. Here's a photo of our outdoor shower that looks up into the treetops. It's a revelation to have warm showers instead of dunking in the icy cold lake.

Check out

to see how cool and handy these are!

northern idaho

northern idaho
Originally uploaded by macro808
Wednesday night I returned from about 9 glorious days cut off from the world in the wild and wooly mountains of Northern Idaho where I saw moose, deer, hawks, chipmunks, and other wildlife, plus the very colorful human inhabitants! Luckily there were no bear or cougars to be seen, though they are an accepted part of the landscape. I woke to see this gorgeous view each morning, though the photo hardly does the area any justice! The water was super refreshing.

Amazing type of orchid

Amazing type of orchid
Originally uploaded by macro808
At the beginning of the month, I went to the Hawaii State Farm Fair on the Bishop Museum grounds, where they had an open air farmer's market, games and rides for kids, animals like pigs, ponies, sheep, and chickens for the young people's 4-H projects, and a huge tent filled with exotic tropical plants for sale. There were several I had never seen before, such as this wonderful example in the photo. I can't recall the name, but there were several similar to this one in pink, white, and yellow. Amazing!!

For whatever reason, Monsanto was there at the event, after just purchasing thousands of acres of land on the North Shore, and it was frustrating to see them there. I had to walk away from their tent before I started spouting angry words. My friend spoke to them, however, and they had well-scripted BS answers to his questions about organic farming.

The 4-H projects reminded me of how I grew up in a rural part of the mainland US. The smells of hay and sounds of animals were comforting. Watching the newborn baby chicks popping out of their shells and the older ones scurrying around was very sweet.

Friday, July 25, 2008

"Sultry Subcontinental Night"

This is one of those very specific nights when I feel so lucky to live in diverse, multicultural, and colorful Honolulu. On the last Friday of every month, The Academy of Arts puts on an event called ARTafterDARK where they open up the galleries and magically transform the entire museum, including all the courtyards and gardens, according to that month's theme. Tonight was "So Sari" (Indian). There were rose petals and marigolds all over the entire museum including floating in enourmous Asian style ceramic pots, flickering candles to light the city night, breezy gauzy tapestries that fluttered gently in the tropical breeze to partition off gardens and create a romantic atmosphere. They had an "open air street market" with henna artists, Indian snacks, jewelry, clothing and even some absolutely hilarious Indian God action figures like Hanuman all beefed up and ready to rumble. In another courtyard they offered Indian food (too much eggplant for me though), and the definite highlight was a Bhangra DJ from New York. People from all walks of life were getting in on the dancing, from infants to senior citizens, and I mean really getting into the groove!! Everyone was completely friendly, dressed to the nines, glowing, smiling and happy tonight. Yep, LUCKY I LIVE HAWAII.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Backyard Gardening Again

Each weekend over the last few weeks, I've gotten to play in the dirt with a pick, shovel, and rake. It feels fantastic to work hard and sweat this way, working the earth.

I have to say, it was amazing to take the compost that I made (complete with all my cute wiggly earthworms) and pour it into the ground, and to then see the land come back to life. After adding the compost, the soil had a richer smell, was softer, moister, fluffier, and had a more vibrant color.

In went the lettuce and cilantro last week, and after just a few days, their little tender heads appeared.

Meanwhile, the beans, radish, kabocha, marigolds and daikon are all growing like crazy!! The carrots are on their own slower time schedule, but they are definitely healthy and vibrant. It's wonderful to eat breakfast, gaze outside, and see all the green life popping up. Great way to start the day.

In different parts of the garden, my expert gardener friend built "frog doors" so that the frogs could hop right in to eat up all the slugs. There's even a "frog house" so some happy and lucky frogs can take up residence around the lettuce. It's a ceramic pot turned on its side and placed in a cozy corner.... Once the lettuce grows in, I'm sure we'll get a resident or two.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Potluck gang

potluck gang
Originally uploaded by macro808

Building community around a healthy diet and lifestyle is something I feel is paramount to enjoying life. When I lived in Japan, I initially felt very isolated, but when I met all of the fellow students at Macrobi Garden, I felt so much more at home in a foreign country. We may have spoken two different native languages, but we certainly shared the language of macrobiotics.

My goal has been to bring that camaraderie back to Honolulu.

We often have potlucks, thanks to Ruth, who opens up her home to all of us. This photo was from one of the various evenings that we enjoyed together.

To my right was a visitor from Japan who happened to be in town at that time, so I invited her along. If anyone is coming into town, get ahold of me to see if there are any events going on! We love to get groups of people together and enjoy the food everyone prepares.

I also encourage other people to start similar communities. It can take time to build one, but it's worth it. Even in one's own country, it can be isolating to be the only person who babbles on about "yin and yang". People who don't get it think that's kinda freaky. So if you have friends to share it with, the world doesn't seem so unfriendly!!

Teaching at massage school

teaching at massage school
Originally uploaded by macro808
Every three months or so I head to Kailua to teach at the American Institute of Massage Therapy, Hawaii. I spend the day cooking a typical vegan macrobiotic seasonal organic meal for the students, and then talk to them about what macrobiotics is all about. This was one of the groups - there are a few other people scattered about the room or on the floor who are not visible. It's always fun to go there! Thanks to Elizabeth Reveley who invited me to be a part of their faculty.

Brief History of Sugar

I picked up the book Sugar Blues again recently by William Dufty as I was preparing for teaching a dessert class. The points in the book were a good reminder for me to consider not only the health implications, but also the political implications of sugar. The following information below outlines some of the points I felt were very noteworthy in the history of sugar refining, marketing, and consumption. One of the overall health effects of sugar is that while it can relax you, it makes you feel weak.


Pre-sugar humans enjoyed chestnuts, almonds, pistachios, apples, figs, grapes, olives, mulberries, barley, wheat, rye, millet, cucumbers, melon, carob, mint, onion, anise (fennel), garlic, leeks, lentils, mustard, milk, honey, and a wide variety of other whole foods that were grown locally, in season, and had a natural sweetness to them.

No ancient texts mention having sugar. When it does finally show up in historical documents, it’s in the form of sugar cane. It is most likely from India rare, imported, and expensive and traditionally used as medicine.

Around 325 BC, Greek and Roman soldiers are first reported to have chewed sugar cane. Persia is the first known country to process it around 600 AD. The Persians started trading it and then Islam overran Persia. It’s thought that the Arab armies started indulging in its sedative and tranquilizing properties and that this consumption may have contributed to their downfall. Soldiers chew the sugar cane, are reported to have “soldier’s disease” and become gluttonous and less courageous. They experience bleeding gums, hemorrhagic skin spots, and swollen legs.

Arabia falls to the European Crusaders. From this time, the 7 deadly sins flourish across the 7 seas. Slavery, genocide, and organized crime are directly related to sugar processing, trade, and sales. Illnesses such as the plague, beri beri, cancer, scurvy, and other unusual diseases parallel sugar consumption. As sugar consumption goes up, fatal diseases increase.

In the 1500’s, the Dutch and other Europeans finance palaces and sugar fuels politics. The British control the islands where molasses and rum are first made. White people make fortunes in taxes and tariffs.

In 1812, Napoleon’s army takes sugar rations. The French army who had never seen sugar before defeat Napoleon.

In 1905, Japan fights Russia. The Japanese carry salted fish, dried seaweed, pickled and umeboshi plums. Russia falls to the Japanese. The Japanese adopt habits of the western world and fall prey to new diseases.

The sugar business was the model for other agribusiness conglomerates that were to follow decades later. It has a low cost, everyone can use it, it’s supported by the government, and it’s mainly marketed towards children.

The processing of sugar follows the same trail as the opium poppy. It has habit forming sensory pleasures just as heroin, opium, and alcohol.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

sunrise in waianae with tractor in foreground


Everyone deserves great abundance, energy, health, happiness, and well-being, and one of the easiest ways to bring more of this into your life is through the healing power of whole foods.

Leslie Ashburn has been a passionately dedicated vegan macrobiotic personal chef and cooking teacher for the past 5 years and in the food service business for over 20 years. She cooks for weddings; busy professionals such as artists, lawyers, and doctors; tourists; people dealing with significant illnesses such as cancer; surfers; small groups of people; dinner parties and special events; massage students; families; on boats; the Honolulu community at large through her bi-monthly dinners; healing seminars with the local living treasure Dr. Terry Shintani; and more.

Leslie's style of cooking, along with her customers, is colorful, diverse, dynamic, creative, and sophisticated.

She can help you eat right in the comfort of your own home, and if you want to be a better cook, she can teach you how. She'll help you create menu plans, unclutter your kitchen and your life, navigate the health food store, and trouble shoot anything you're facing as an obstacle to achieving greater health and happiness. You'll enjoy a variety of foods you probably always wondered how to cook, vibrant local organic produce straight from the farm to your kitchen, as well as the benefits of eating a whole foods diet, including better sleep, stable moods, more energy, improved concentration and mental focus, less PMS, fewer cravings, and the alleviation of many other troublesome physical symptoms.


“Leslie is an amazing person and an amazing chef. Everything she prepares is infused with her passion and her heart, and because of that, her food is created at a level beyond the ordinary, making it truly extraordinary.

In learning from her through classes, as well as eating her delicious food consistently over the years, I have embraced a new consciousness about macrobiotic food. I feel nourished, alive and balanced after one of Leslie's meals. She is always working with a smile on her face and in her heart and her food takes on that very same quality. I smile after each meal that she prepares for me, as I know it is such a treat for my body, mind and spirit.

In addition, Leslie is conscious, connected, inspiring and confident in who she is which brings forth that very same energy into my life through her food. Anytime I know I can partake of a macrobiotic meal that is prepared by Leslie, I will never miss that opportunity. She is that awesome.” Alice Inoue, Astrologer and Feng Shui Expert

“Four years ago, I made the time for macrobiotics to achieve a better state of health for myself and went on this journey where I met Leslie. I took a few classes from her and learned how the macrobiotic diet can be more than the basic foods that I was exposed to in the '80s. The food was very tasty and varied. The kabocha salad is one of my all time favorites!! I appreciate Leslie’s variety of recipes as well as her expertise in cooking. She has such a positive energy and always is reliable and dependable in helping me to be healthy eating the macro way. I have had her cook for me at least a couple of times a month and have participated in her twice a month dinners. If you are looking for a healthier lifestyle, then macrobiotics is the way to go and Leslie can help you get there through her cooking. Happy Eating!!!!” AS

“I wanted to let you know I planned a little dinner party for my husband’s birthday celebration last night and all the dishes were very very yummy. The sweet corn soup was very refreshing, the lentil / barley salad (served cold) went very well with the walnut pesto pasta. And, I made the prune cake! Turned out delicious. Thank you so much. I felt like you were right there with me in the kitchen and I was able to take my time and enjoy the shopping, cooking, preparing and dining process. I'll look forward to your next class. Thank YOU!” AM

see http://www.macrobiotichawaii.bravehost.com/ for more information

Today's meals


Miso soup with root vegetables
Organic steamed collard greens
Brown rice with hato mugi


Fuji apple


Azuki beans with squash, kombu, and ginger
Brown rice with hato mugi
Pressed salad
Sea palm with tahini sauce


Kabocha salad
Bulghur wheat
Arame cooked in black cherry juice


Backyard Gardening

The other fun thing I did besides pounding poi this weekend (see post just below) was to get all sweaty digging up the yard outside my house. My landlords had a bed of chives that were just suffering with aphids no matter what they did to get rid of them. My friend and I helped them tear everything up. We did what we could to first tear the chives up with picks, and then we got on our hands and knees to pull up all the roots. We took shovels and dug down a few inches to break up the soil which was like compacted clay, finding cute earth worms along the way.

It was very satisfying to pour my compost that I've been working on for the past 6 months into this pile of dirt and mix it all up. The pile of dirt went from looking sort of grey and dead to brown and vibrant.

Earlier during the weekend, while I was standing in a drug store in Wai'anae looking for a graduation card with my friend, I suddenly, out of the blue, blurted out "I HAVE WORMS" referring to the worms in my compost bin. The lady standing next to us jumped a mile back and ran away.... Oops.... I guess it was sort of out of context, but I couldn't help feeling so excited about it!

We have all kinds of plans to plant organic vegetables in there, like daikon, carrots, lacinato kale, lettuce, green onions, radishes and more.

DR pounding poi

DR pounding poi
Originally uploaded by macro808
This weekend I went out to Wai'anae for a graduation party and had the opportunity to pound taro (kalo) into poi for the first time in my life. You can see my friend Dan here pounding the boiled root in a wooden container with a hand carved lava rock. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes to pound it until it's fully ready to eat. During this time, you get into a rhythm of breathing. Listening to the sound of the pounder hitting the kalo and the wood is very meditative. When it's ready to eat, the root is a purpleish brown color, somewhat sticky, and is so sweet and delicious. This was a great way to enjoy a locally grown, seasonal, organic food that was prepared according to traditional methods and a wonderful experience of Hawaiian culture.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Look at this lettuce

romaine lettuce
Originally uploaded by macro808
I'm so in love with this photo. Look how colorful that lettuce is. The people out at Ma'o Organic Farms sure are doing a fantastic job growing the most wonderful organic veges.

Rock Star Breakfast Again

Originally uploaded by macro808
Today was another luscious and lifegiving bowl of amaranth and quinoa topped with flax oil and juice sweetened dried cranberries. On the side was some blanched locally grown organic collard greens, carrots, and sauerkraut. My body is singing in thanks and ready for the day.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Challenge Yourself

My teachers in Japan constantly were telling all of us, including the students and their staff, to challenge ourselves to grow. I saw them do this with me.... They were initially afraid to teach me in English, but decided to just go for it, even though they felt afraid.

Well, this weekend, I decided to challenge myself in a new way..... I've always been afraid of motorcycles, but recently, I've had the opportunity to ride on one with a very skilled driver. Despite my initial fear, I loved it!! I loved it so much that I took the nationally certified Basic Motorcyle Training Course.

Before the skills test, I was terrified.... and the only woman in our group.... What if I fell down? What if I couldn't find the right gear? Etc... etc.. I just told myself that my goal was to learn a new skill and challenge myself in a new way, so if I didn't pass the test, I still achieved my goal. I passed the test with a 95% score (hooray!), so now I can go to the DMV and get my license, and in the meantime, search for my own motorcycle.

I encourage other people to try to challenge themselves in new ways too. It's a huge feeling of accomplishment!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Warning label on the macrobiotic package

I'm lucky enough to come into contact with a wide variety of very interesting people by being a macrobiotic personal chef and cooking teacher. I very happily listen to people's personal stories while I'm in their homes working on menus for their personal conditions (or their family members), and enjoy being a part of their lives at this point in time.

One thing in particular that I'm noticing, and something that I love to see, is how people blossom and grow into themselves including with more physical beauty and this is what I believe comes from a deep inner confidence and self love. People become more radiant and happier and begin glowing from the inside out.

The other thing that people should know is that once that path of health is embarked upon, any bad relationship(s) will die, while any good relationship(s) will flourish. I'm currently witnessing several examples of metamorphosis and wish to cheer these people on.

For anyone reading out there, have you experienced or witnessed this too? Comments are always welcome.

Have a beautiful day!

A day's worth of meals... (100% organic, hooray!)

Breakfast = quinoa and amaranth with walnuts, and locally grown lacinato kale from Ma'o Organic Farm (www.maoorganicfarms.com),

Lunch = brown rice with azuki beans, arame with broccoli, kiriboshi daikon with onion, carrots, and shiitake, and organic natto

Snack = a juicy organic Valencia orange and a fleshy sweet organic aprium (part apricot, part plum!)

Dinner = cous cous with dried apricots (obviously needing some vitamin c today), ginger, and pinenuts, steamed golden beets, and organic asparagus. I meant to enjoy with lentils, but they were not ready in time...so they are part of today's lunch instead!

Questions for Self Study

In February, I did a seminar called "Ignite Your Life" with Susan Marque from LA. Here is one small part of the 3-day seminar. I have these questions printed out and up on my refrigerator to keep me self reflective and tuned into what's going on in my inner world. I hope someone else may also get something out of them.


What personal change could you make that would spill over into other areas of your life?

How would you tackle your horizons if you finally tackled your fear of XXXXXX?

What positive changes would you experience if you stopped XXXXXX for good?

If you decided to follow your soul (vs. your head) to build a better life starting now, what would you do?

What change does your inner voice keep advocating?

Sometimes, what we stop doing has the most dramatic impact on our emotions and physical health. What are you ready to give up or stop doing? What can you finally let go of?

What are the challenges you may face?

What are the strategies to overcome these challenges?

What is your desired outcome and by what date?

What is the immediate action you could take in the next 48 hours?

What values will this help you accomplish?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The World According to Monsanto

The World According to Monsanto

On March 11 a new documentary was aired on French television. It is a documentary most Americans will never see, explaining how the gigantic biotech corporation Monsanto is threatening to destroy the agricultural biodiversity which has served mankind for thousands of years.

For millennia, farmers have saved seeds from season to season. But when Monsanto developed GM seeds that would resist its own herbicide, Roundup, Monsanto patented the seeds. For nearly all of its history the United States Patent and Trademark Office refused to grant patents on seeds, viewing them as life-forms with too many variables to be patented. But in 1980 the U.S. Supreme Court allowed for seed patents in a five-to-four decision, laying the groundwork for a handful of corporations to begin taking control of the world's food supply.

Since the 1980s, Monsanto has become the world leader in genetic modification of seeds and has won 674 biotechnology patents, more than any other company. Farmers who buy Monsanto's Roundup Ready seeds are required to sign an agreement promising not to save the seed produced after each harvest for re-planting, or to sell the seed to other farmers. This means that farmers must buy new seed every year.

Monsanto puts pressure on farmers, farmers' co-ops, seed dealers, and anyone else it suspects may have infringed its patents of genetically modified seeds. To do this, Monsanto relies on a shadowy army of private investigators and agents. They secretly videotape and photograph farmers, store owners, and co-ops. They infiltrate community meetings. They gather information from informants about farming activities.

Some Monsanto agents pretend to be surveyors. Others confront farmers on their land and try to pressure them to sign papers giving Monsanto access to their private records. Farmers call them the "seed police" and use words such as "Gestapo" and "Mafia" to describe their tactics.

The World According to MonsantoWatch the documentary http://www.archive.org/details/tawtmonsanto

Download the Videohttp://100777.com/node/1805
The DVD Torrent fileWorld According to Monsanto - DVDRip Englishhttp://www.mininova.org/tor/1270297

Le Monde Selon Monsanto, the French DVDhttp://www.amazon.fr/monde-selon-Monsanto-Marie-Monique-Robin/dp/B001684BP0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1209614392&sr=1-1

Monsanto Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto

How your diet affects global climate change


Food accounts for 13% of all Greenhouse Gas emissions.

Red meat and dairy are responsible for nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions from food for an average U.S. household.

Replacing red meat and dairy with chicken, fish, or eggs in your diet for one day per week reduces emissions equal to 760 miles per year of driving.

Switching to vegetables one day per week cuts the equivalent of driving 1160 miles per year.

Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_11662.cfm

Rip Out Your Lawn

SUSTAINABILITY TIP & QUOTE OF THE WEEK:RIP OUT YOUR LAWN..."But the act I want to talk about is growing some, even just a little, of your own food. Rip out your lawn, if you have one, and if you don't, look into getting a plot in a community garden. Measured against the problem we face, planting a garden sounds pretty benign, I know, but in fact it's one of the most powerful things an individual can do to reduce your carbon footprint, sure, but more important, to reduce your sense of dependence and dividedness: to change the cheap-energy mind."

An excerpt from author Michael Pollan's editorial in the New York Times this week on dealing with Climate Change in your everyday life.


A few words from Phiya Kushi

"It has become clear to me that many macrobiotic promoters have unintentionally turned macrobiotics into a religion. It is subtle but it is done the moment when someone suggests that certain behaviors dictate or define whether or not someone "is" macrobiotic or not. This includes if a person chooses to eat meat, dairy or junk food. Religion, as Karen Armstrong so brilliantly pointed is not about belief systems but is about behaviors. When macrobiotic teachers start dictating that certain behaviors determine whether someone is macrobiotic they are passing judgment on people and preaching a new religion. I was guilty of this as well. But macrobiotics is not a religion. People are free to to do and behave as they please including what food choices they make. Macrobiotics is, instead, a field of study, of exploration and self-discovery. Macrobiotic is experiential and is about learning and growing. The true aim of macrobiotics is to set people free, not to limit and enslave them into a rigid structure and set of rules of conduct and behavior. I make food suggestions to people only because they ask me, not because I believe that they should behave in a certain way. People are free to do as they please as long they are not harming themselves or others. I hope that macrobiotic promoters can take a hard look at themselves and see if they are inadvertently promoting a religion or not." Phiya Kushi Apr 30 2008

Monday, March 31, 2008

Brown Rice Cream Power

A friend and I were in the hospital this weekend visiting someone who is quite ill. As a result of his illness, he's having difficulties eating and he's lost a significant amount of weight. In order to give him an alternative to the "food" the hospital provides (namely Ensure and unidentifiable pureed stuff that made us both gag upon looking at it), I made some brown rice cream that we brought in for him.

Brown rice cream is rice that is cooked for a long time with significantly more water than normal, and then the cream is squeezed from the pulp through cheesecloth to leave a very nourshing and comforting result. It's beneficial for people who are having trouble swallowing, digesting, or who are very sick and weak.

Because our friend was so weak, we had to feed him spoonfuls of the brown rice cream. The change was amazing! He became more coherent in speech, more active and aware, and then slept more soundly when he fell asleep. The nurse's aid came in to take his blood pressure, and this had normalized since the previous measurements which had been too low.

It was truly remarkable to see!

Friday, March 28, 2008

can't imagine life without whole foods

Originally uploaded by macro808
Whoever said that eating healthy was boring? I absolutely LOVE being macrobiotic!! It's so much fun to prepare artful meals and share them with others. The best part is to see how happy people feel after a macrobiotic quality meal.

What's for breakfast?

Originally uploaded by macro808
The wedding I catered was a brunch set on the beach in Hawaii Kai. One of the dishes was Tofu Florentine that had a tofu hollandaise sauce on top.

Blessed to live in Hawaii

Originally uploaded by macro808
We enjoyed 100% vegan chocolate, coconut date, and carrot walnut cupcakes at a wedding I recently catered. See my website for more photos at www.macrobiotichawaii.bravehost.com/photos.htm.

Hijiki Tartlet

Originally uploaded by macro808
When I got home last night, I was inspired to try some new dishes, and stopped to get some little tart pans at a great store called Executive Chef on my way. I made a delcious oat, walnut, brown rice and whole wheat pastry flour crust and sprayed some olive oil into the tart pans before filling them with the dough. After this, I made hijiki with corn, scallions, apple juice, onions, carrot and ginger, and on top, piped some carrot tofu sauce. They are really hard to keep from popping into your mouth!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Private Chef

I'd love to cook for the esteemed founder of E-Bay, Pierre Omidyar.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Frankenfish in the ocean

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FISH ESCAPE INTO THE WILD"The result of these weaknesses is that the extent of research under way in Canada and any accidental release of (genetically engineered) fish may not be fully known." Statement in a Canadian Government Audit released this week that reveals lax regulations have allowed untold numbers of experimental frankenfish to escape unreported into natural waterways. http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_10823.cfm

Toxic Plastic Soup


The University of Hawaii is set to launch an expedition with the goal of confirming a new trash "continent" in the Pacific Ocean. A vast expanse of floating trash has been collecting in the Pacific Ocean into a mass that scientists are now referring to as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The thick mass of plastic soup, located approximately 500 miles east of California, is now reported to be twice the size of the Unites States. The collection of debris comes as no surprise to experts in this area. According to a recent report from the UN Environment Programme, on a global level, each square mile of ocean water contains an average of 46,000 pieces of floating garbage. Learn more: http://alerts.organicconsumers.org/trk/click?ref=zqtbkk3um_1-118x3236x3355345&

And a reply came in after posting the message above:

Hey Naturally,
Saw your site had previously posted about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch out in the middle of the oceanic desert so I wanted to send this along.

At VBS.tv we had read all the articles about this environmental problem but didn't see much in the way of video. So curiosity and the challenge compelled us west to the middle of the Pacific Ocean to show what other people had only been writing about. We go all the way out ( 2 straight days on a sail boat) expecting to see a floating dump, looking for our money shot that will make us famous.

Here's the bad news, there is no money shot. What people don't get is that it's not really a patch and it's not really an island, both of which you might be able to contain and control. No, what we found is much worse. It's like a gigantic toxic stew and it's a big big problem that we need to pay attention to now.

The series starts on April 7th on VBS. We decided to go against the conventional wisdom that internet video is for those with short attention spans, and are rolling out 12 episodes.
You can go here to view the trailer for Toxic: Garbage Island and follow the series - http://www.vbs.tv/shows/toxic/garbage-island/

The host, Thomas Morton, will be on CNN Headline News to discuss Toxic: Garbage Island: April 12th & 13th @ 7:30pm, 9:30pm and 12:30am if you find your self flipping through the channels.

If you have any questions, let me know.

Rory Ahearn

All 12 Parts of Garbage Island + Special Bonus Episode on Bisphenol A on VBS.tv

Hey Earth Lovers,

Pardon the mass email. Well, it's been a long journey out into the Great Northwest Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean but our environmental oceanic Odyssey is complete. Now the hard part starts.

With Earth Day still recent but fading fast I just wanted to email you all and let you know that all 12 parts of Toxic: Garbage Island, plus a special bonus episode are up now on VBS. Education and awareness are the first steps we need to make if we are going to right this situation, people should not be able to claim ignorance anymore.

It's our mess and now we have to clean it up. The series has been a huge success thanks to all of you who talked about it or posted. Heck, we even got on CNN and ABC News.

You can watch all 12 episodes by going here: Toxic: Garbage Island on VBS.tv - http://www.vbs.tv/shows/toxic/garbage-island/

We also did a special bonus episode. An interview with Frederick Vom Saal, Ph.D on Bishpenol A which has been all over the news as of late with plastic drinking containers. Super disturbing.
Interview on Bisphenol A with Dr. Frederick Vom Saal - http://www.vbs.tv/video.php?id=1519713792

Want to see Thomas on CNN? - http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2008/04/14/ntm.garbage.island.cnn

Any recap post or just telling your friends to check out it would be awesome.

Thanks for watching. Don't forget to recycle,

Rory Ahearn

Consumer Alerts: Kind of shocking


A newly released study commissioned by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) and overseen by environmental health consumer advocate David Steinman (author of The Safe Shopper's Bible), revealed the presence of the undisclosed carcinogenic contaminant 1,4-Dioxane in leading shampoos, body washes, lotions and other personal care and household cleaning products claiming to be "natural" or "organic". The study results, to be released this weekend at the Natural Products Expo in California, are already sending shockwaves through the "organic" and "natural" body care industry. Laboratory tests showed that products certified under the USDA National Organic Program DID NOT contain this toxin, but most of the best selling personal care products claiming to be "organic" (but not USDA certified) contained the cancer-causing ingredient. All leading self-proclaimed "organic" brands have at least a few individual "certified organic" ingredients, but for most of these top-selling brands, the product, as a whole, is not USDA organic certified, thereby allowing the presence of synthetic toxins. Similar studies have revealed the presence of this toxin in conventional personal care products, but this is the first study indicating the presence in misleadingly labeled "organic" and "natural" products. Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/comingclean.cfm


Some of the products found to contain 1,4-Dioxane: JASON Pure Natural & Organic, Giovanni Organic Cosmetics, Kiss My Face, Nature’s Gate Organics (see a full list of OCA's study results here)

Remember that just because a personal care product labels itself with the words "organic" or "certified organic" doesn't mean it meets any specified organic standards.

Look for products that are certified under the USDA National Organic Program (or a similar German program) and products that bear the "USDA Organic" seal.

Search product labels for ingredients with the following in their names to avoid products containing 1,4-Dioxane: myreth, oleth, laureth, ceteareth, any other eth, PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, or oxynol.

In general, avoid products with unpronounceable ingredients to be sure to avoid synthetic toxins and carcinogens.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A day with breakfast at the local organic farm

On Wednesday the 27th, I went up to the incredibly breathtaking Ma'o Organic Farm (www.maoorganicfarms.org) to cook breakfast for the crew of about 12 people. I woke up at 4:15 a.m. (thank goodness I'm macrobiotic) and took a great drive with my beloved farmer friend. We were fueled by a small snack of organic bluberries, brown rice, blanched lacinato kale, and kukicha tea to get us started.

Upon arriving, I got a tour of the various fields and was amazed to see that the workers were out harvesting the salad greens with scissors. All of the harvesting (pounds upon pounds of greens) are hand-harvested very gently and lovingly, rather than with machinery. My friend and I picked some red russian kale, lacinato kale, scallions, red radishes, hakurai (white round) radishes, daikon, carrots, and oranges as ingredients in our meal.

At 7:00 a.m. each day, the group gathers at the main building, and while holding hands in a circle, they do a skin tingling Hawaiian chant before going back out into the fields for more planting and/or harvesting. After working in the field, everyone comes back to the packing shed and they begin delicately washing, drying, and bagging all these amazing greens.

In the meantime, I was in the kitchen making breakfast. My kitchen consisted of a big industrial size frig, a sink, and 3-burner propane gas camping stove, and was open on 3 sides to the farm, so while I was cooking, I was thoroughly enjoying the view of the stunning mountain ranges surrounding me, listening to the birds singing, and smelling the food as it pressure cooked, simmered, boiled, and sauteed.

By about 9:30 a.m, breakfast was ready. We had a pressed salad with pumpkin seed dressing, shiitake and daikon miso soup, carrot muffins, pressure cooked brown rice, apple and raisin compote, and a very satisying sauteed tempeh and onion dish that my friend made.

One of the student interns who was enjoying the meal said, "I usually eat a lot more, but I didn't go back for more food. I'm so full with just one plate! Why?" and I just thought it had to do with the food having more life and energy than he was used to (i.e. spam musubi or loco moco).

From there, we cleaned up, talked story for a while, and then I headed into the packing shed to help everyone. All in all, it was a great day.

Friday, February 22, 2008

David Beckham and Macrobiotics

What do these two things have to do with each other?! Maybe nothing. In fact, interrupting the regularly scheduled programing to announce that he's been here in Honolulu. We've barely just gotten over seeing Sting, and now we have David?! Life is rough in paradise. (If anyone can relate DB to macrobiotics, please comment!) Don't know who he is? Get up to speed at:

Local Seasonal Fruit

Originally uploaded by macro808
These tangerines have been growing here in Hawaii lately and are wonderful as a snack, dessert, or juiced. There is nothing wrong with eating fruit. Just make sure that you stay in touch with how much you're eating and how you feel when you eat it. If you 're cold, spaced out, confused, or can't focus, you may be eating too much.

Eat More Collard Greens!

Originally uploaded by macro808

Eat More Kale

Originally uploaded by macro808
Wouldn't the world be a better place if only we enjoyed such delicious life giving lacinato kale as this?!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Local Organic Farm 2

Local Organic Farm
Originally uploaded by macro808
Here's another photo on a different day. It just blows my mind how beautiful it is, and believe me, you can feel this energy when you eat it picked fresh that day. This is a field of lacinato kale. Yummy! Eat more kale!

Local Organic Farm

Local Organic Farm
Originally uploaded by macro808
For our Vegan Macro Community Dinner, we serve greens from this local farm. Look how it's vibrating with energy! You take in that energy when you eat these luscious greens.