Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ionia Macrobiotic Community Youth Conference in Alaska

Ionia Youth Conference is happening from July 26 – August 7 this year. It’s free, and aimed at young people ages 15-25 or so (though there are a few people coming who are all ages….) The conference is youth directed, and participants help out with the cooking, cleaning, gardening, building, as well as take cooking, philosophy and do-in/shiatsu classes by several renowned macro teachers (Warren Kramer, Mayumi Nishimura and Marc Van Cauwenberghe). Then there’s other fun stuff like mountain hikes, dessert making, yoga, lots of volleyball, live music, picnics, dance parties, etc. The conference is relaxed and informal, Ionia style.

Check out Ionia's website. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the photo of them harvesting and drying their own seaweed. It looks like it could be kombu.

What does your environment say about you?

When I lived in Japan, I initially felt very lonely and isolated in such a foreign place so different from any other place I had ever lived. My mood for a while was very dismal, dark, and grey. It seemed intensely difficult to negotiate my surroundings.

I had a lot of free time on my hands and had already started macrobiotics. One weekend during the afternoon, I was doing yoga, cleaning, cooking, reading, and just hanging out in my little apartment.

When I was in my hallway, I suddenly noticed how dark it was. The other thing I noticed, from a whole new point of view, was that there were two very interesting pictures up. These were the very first things I saw each and every time I came home.

What were they? The first was an oil painting that a dear friend made for me that was very well done, framed, and given to me for my birthday. The color scheme was black, grey, and white. I was looking down in the painting, feeling very sad. The second was a famous Japanese print of workers carrying heavy loads on their backs during a tumultuous and torrential rain storm over a bridge. Is it any wonder why I felt the way I did; alone, sad, and burdened? I was shocked by this realization, and changed them out immediately. I also added more light to the hallway.

The inner and the outer worlds are mirrors of one another.

Look around your home. Look at the pictures you have on your wall. Do they represent the life you want to lead of health, happiness, healing (if you are unwell), and vibrance? Or are they instead like mine were; dark, dismal, and dreary?

Please also look at your plants and garden. When you look around, is your garden healthy or is it dying? When you look at the plants and flowers you have in all the areas of your living space, are they thriving, or are they shriveled and dried up, sickly with virus? If you find plants that are unhealthy, they represent something going on in your own life. Cleaning them up, pruning, and replanting can bring better health and well-being.

Finally, scan your home. Do you have areas of clutter? These cluttered areas represent stagnation in your body and areas of your life including items such as family, health, education, travel, love, and career.

Take a fresh look at everything around you and change what doesn't help you reach your goals!!

Accolades for Jun 19 Community Dinner

Thank you for working so hard to make the dinner tonight. I enjoyed this meal that was so efficiently put together! The tempeh was great---not too salty, but tasty. The arame salad was refreshing and the quinoa was light and pretty at the same time! I sense and feel the good energy in the soup and food that I ate. I look forward as usual to the next dinner that you and Kathy present at the Church of the Crossroads!
With much appreciation---Alice

It was so wonderful to see you and thank you so much for sharing your delicious and nutritious dinner available for us.The corn soup was so soothing, so natural taste. The red quinoa pilaf, seaweed salad were both all flavourful, the quality of ingredients you've chosen was so fresh, your Collard tempeh wrap had perfect harmony with Tahini garlic sauce with subtle smokiness in tempeh. *Amazing dipping sauce! I'd love to learn how to prepare.My husband refused to eat Tofu cheesecake at first, I insisted to have one bite, then as you said, should I warned, he ate it all by himself so I lost my dessert! Thank you again for keeping real Macrobiotic cuisine exists in Hawaii, look forward to seeing you soon. Kaori

Never thought that food like this would interest me, but it is seriously  Ľono! Malia

It is great that you have these community dinners. You provide an alternative to the few places that vegans can eat. George

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hands Turned to the Soil

Hands Turned to the Soil
Originally uploaded by macro808
This past Saturday, I drove to Kahana State Park to attend the Hands Turned to the Soil conference put on by Ma'o Organic Farms and Whole Foods. It was amazing and inspiring to be around all the presenters and participants alike who all shared the same passion for revolutionizing organic farming and food security in Hawaii.

The first panel had Eric Enos of Ka’ala Farms, Kukui Maunakea-Forth of MA’O Farms, William Aila Jr. of the Wai’anae Boat Harbor, and Kaiulani Odem. Their messages grounded and carried us through the day.

The main themes they spoke of focused on the importance of patience in making changes, the concept of kuleana (a Native Hawaiian word that means right, privilege, concern, responsibility), the politics of water on the island, and that for any change to happen, we have to start with ourselves and families first.

From here, I moved on to hear many great things about changes at UH during "College Campuses – Revolutionizing Food & Farming at the University of Hawai‘i by Ashley Lukens, Dept. of Political Science; Brooke Monroe, SOFT Garden; and Kalei Kawa‘a, Ka Papa Lo‘i o Kanewai". UH now has it's own organic garden in the back near the UH Federal Credit Union and Sustainable Saunders with veggies for sale to students and faculty and they need help too. To learn all about the varieties of taro/kalo, Ka Papa Lo‘i o Kanewai teaches and provides opportunities to work in the taro patch. Ashley teaches a course in the Poly Sci Dept about Food Security!

From there, I learned about healing foods from the Hawaiian point of view during La‘au Lapa‘au from Mary Correa, Instructor of La‘au Lapa‘au and HWST 107 at Kapi‘olani Community College. I'll post some stuff she said in the next blog.

Finally, I learned some cool stuff about local limu (seaweed) from Uncle Henry Chang Wo and Wally Ito of the Ewa Limu Beach Project. I'm going to post about them in a separate blog as well!

7 steps to health from Mary Correa, Instructor of La‘au Lapa‘au and HWST 107 – Kapi‘olani Community College

Mary had so many informative things to share with the Hands Turned to the Soil conference participants. I was so excited to hear how she's teaching about the healing properties of foods from the Hawaiian point of view, and perhaps not surprisingly, macrobiotic philosophy aligns with what she was saying as well.

Towards the end of the session, we got to try some "edible weeds" and they were really tasty!! I've got my eye out for them now so I can find them growing around here and there.

One aspect of what she was presenting really caught my attention since Denny Waxman has his 7 Steps to Strengthening Health.

To maintain good health she said we should do these 7 things:

1. Pray and/or meditate daily
2. Make healthy lifestyle choices
3. Be mindful of the foods we eat
4. Exercise regularly (gently)
5. Drink water (instead of processed beverages)
6. Fast/cleanse during the change of seasons
7. Breathe

I'm so happy to know that more people are teaching about the connections between food, lifestyle changes, and health.

* Limu * Seaweed *

When I first got back from Japan and started teaching macrobiotics in Hawaii, I went to the library and checked out a local cookbook about "limu" or seaweed. The cookbook showed all the types that grow around the islands, but said they were mostly all extinct which made me feel so sad.

Henry and Wally of Ewa Beach Limu Project taught us about how they are doing aqua culture on the Leeward side of the island. It sounds like they find species of limu that grow in the ocean, and then bring them back to their farm to cultivate them. They didn't feel we could sustain ourselves on what's available in the ocean because development and environmental changes have diminished the supply.

They told us how certain varieties that were previously thought extinct, they have actually been finding and regrowing. That's so fantastic! They taught about the nutritious qualities of sea veggies, and also that they can be used in home remedies, such as a poultice on wounds.

This reminded me of how when my friend Dan cut himself while working at the farm last week, we made our own "bandaid". To do this, we took kombu, soaked it until it was soft, and taped it over the cut underneath a piece of gauze. The students at the farm were amazed to see how quickly his wound healed. Kombu power!

Honolulu Advertiser "Natural Appeal" Story

Read the full article about the Haleiwa Farmer's Market at the Honolulu Advertiser

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

It's a Party! Cooking Class

During the course of teaching over the past several years, many people who hear the words “health food” think they are doomed to eating brown rice, tofu, and salads for breakfast lunch and dinner. However, there are are so many simple, elegant, and delicious dishes that we can make and share with friends, family, and colleagues.

In this class, Leslie will teach a variety of “party foods” that are great for potlucks, dinner events, and other celebrations.

Come relax, have fun, and learn new and delicious ways to support your health and well-being.

Toho no Hikari, 3510 Nuuanu Pali Drive, $38