Friday, July 25, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
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
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!!
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
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
Miso soup with root vegetables
Organic steamed collard greens
Brown rice with hato mugi
Azuki beans with squash, kombu, and ginger
Brown rice with hato mugi
Sea palm with tahini sauce
Arame cooked in black cherry juice
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.