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Newsletter December 2012..

Level II Completion Ceremony
What Does 2013 Hold In Store For YOU?
Agar-agar: Better Than Just An Alternative
Programs and Events Calendar
What People Are Saying ...
Recipe: Light Lemon Pudding
Recipe: Pear Tart with Pumpkin Seed Crust
Questioning Animal Gelatin
Book Review: Authentic Foods
Cognition and Leafy Greens
Making a Difference


Level 2 Nov 2012 dinner   

Level Students Preparing A
Completion Ceremony Dinner 


These photos are of some of our Level 2 students and dishes the class prepared for their completion ceremony on November 9, 2012.  


By the end of Level 2, students have completed two months of Kushi Institute's Macrobiotic Leadership Certificate Program, and they often tell us preparing the celebration dinner for their class plus faculty and guests is one of the highlights of their experience. Since that date many of these students continued on through Level 3, and received a graduation certificate at their ceremony on December 7th. Other Level 2 students have been taking the program on a part-time basis (some one or two weeks at a time, others a month at a time) and have plans to continue as their time permits until they complete the whole program. 


Macrobiotic cooking is one of the core subjects of the Levels, which features hands-on experience throughout the program. Preparing a festive dinner for over thirty people attending the Level 2 completion ceremony provides students with experience in larger scale production cooking, and tests their mastery in planning meals using macrobiotic principles, including adjustments for the season, creating balance in the meal, and artful presentation.  


Because students from around the globe are drawn to this program, these dinners often reflect diverse cuisines, and show how macrobiotic concepts can be applied to delicious cultural favorites. Spanish vegetarian paella, Vietnamese spring rolls, and Japanese maki rolls filled with shiso and watercress leaves plus pickled ginger slices were some of the notable highlights at this recent dinner, which also included a fish entree, soup, hummus with vegetable sticks, several vegetable side dishes, and two sumptuous desserts.          


Lebel 2 Nov 2012 cooking dinner

What does 2013 hold in store for you?

Kushi Institute's New Year's Retreat will carry on the tradition of "9 Star Ki" lectures that for many decades Michio Kushi presented at the end of each year at Kushi Institute. 

During the upcoming retreat, Edward Esko will present the general outlook for 2013 according to the 9 Star Ki template. According to this ancient Japanese astrological system, 2013 should be a year of growth, development, and increasing prosperity. However, it also contains the possibility of conflict, both personally and globally. 9 Star Ki shows you how you can stay more peaceful and functional in these situations.

During these lectures, Edward will offer a personal forecast for each participant based on their 9 Star Ki character, including the outlook for health, relationships, finances, and success, as well as general guidelines for passing harmoniously through personal and wider global challenges.

In preparation for the retreat, Edward has been working with Macrobiotics Japan in Tokyo to translate the latest 9 Star Ki forecasts contained in the annual Nine Star Ki Almanac. The up-to-date translation will be provided to each participant, together with a specially recorded CD containing predictions for 2013.

Edward Esko
 is the author, with Michio Kushi,
of the best-selling book, Nine Star Ki .
(One Peaceful World Press)

He serves on the faculty of Kushi Institute.

snowflakes The New Year's Retreat runs from
December 28, 2012 to January 1, 2013.
Along with 9 Star Ki, the retreat offers
other workshops to help you make 2013
your best year yet, including cooking and
movement workshops for improved health,
increased vitality, and having more
pleasure in your life.

        Participants also enjoy a New Year's Eve gourmet dinner, party,
        and midnight toast. See more information, the full schedule, and
        private sessions offered, click here
Agar-agar: better than just an alternative to commercial gelatin  

Agar persimmon

Agar-agar's name is derived from an Indonesian word, meaning "jelly." This vegetarian gelatin is extracted from 100% red algae seaweed, gelidium or tengusa.(1) 


Characteristically odorless, calorie-less, semi-transparent, and neutral tasting, agar-agar provides cooks with an alternative, healthier base for creating slippery, delicate, melt-in-your-mouth textures and visual delights without the use of common animal derived gelatin products which also use chemicals in their production (such as Knox and Jell-o.)

Healthy sweeteners in the form of rice malt, barley malt, apple juice, nut and seed milks, or amasake (a sweet fermented brown rice preparation), and toppings including mashed fruit or jam, readily adapt to agar-agar's properties but continue to reflect and amplify their individual tastes and textures.
(2) In some recipes, agar-agar is recommended instead of pectin or eggs as traditional thickeners.

Agar-agar is a versatile ingredient, regularly used in many  macrobiotic desserts. It is excellent for firming up puddings and custards, aspics, mousses, terrines, and pie fillings; however it may also be used in savories, soups, and other dishes requiring subtle gel-like thickening. (4)

Nutritional and Medicinal Benefits 
Nutritionally agar-agar is high in iodine, calcium, and potassium, with other important minerals and trace elements, and rich in soluble fiber which captures sugars, fats, and toxins and removes them from the body.(4)

Agar- agar is a key ingredient in traditional Japanese gelled dishes known as kanten. The Okinawan's of Japan are known to have the highest number of healthy centenarians, and this is commonly attributed to their nutrient rich diet, which includes sea vegetable products such as agar-agar.(5)

In Japan agar-agar is recommended as a remedy drink, with unsweetened organic apple juice, to relieve constipation as it has a mildly laxative effect.(6)  Additionally, its cooling properties benefit the lungs and reduces other heating conditions around the heart.(7) A Japanese study in 2005, with 75 obese, type 2 diabetes participants, concluded that daily kanten use in a 12 week period produced significant positive changes in body weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, and insulin.(8) 

Processing of agar-agar for consumption involves hand-harvesting, soaking, washing, purifying, extracting and cooking the liquid, gelling into bars, natural freeze-drying, and finally crushing into flakes or powder. The majority of traditional agar-agar manufacturing today is located in northern Japan, with South Korea, China, and Taiwan currently increasing their production. Some  agar-agar processing also occurs in the British Isles. (9)

When substituting for commercial gelatin one needs a little less agar to the same volume of liquid called for in any conventional gelatin recipes.

There are amazing Asian and macrobiotic recipes using agar-agar as a key ingredient that are well worth exploring. For example:

* Sanae Sukuzi, in her cookbook, Love Sanae, creates a topping for a millet cake using agar-agar, pureed kabocha squash and apricot jam. (10)

* Jessica Porter, writes in The Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics  "(I am) never tired of kantens ... certainly heavenly, delicious, relaxing, soothing, and good for regularity." Here she makes a strawberry layered parfait that includes a band of agar-agar mixed and flavored with vanilla and umeboshi juice. (11) 

* Sharon Rhoads proposes, in Cooking with Sea Vegetables, a number of cooling vegetable and tofu aspics as well as a traditional Chinese almond sweet (Annin Dofu), which combines almond milk, honey, and kanten with a touch of lemon juice (today we would use rice malt syrup instead of honey). (12)

* For use in a savory dish, among
Aveline Kushi's
recipes in A Complete Guide to Macrobiotic Cooking, is one for
cooked agar-agar topped with a sweet-and-sour miso sauce and grated gingerThere is also one with agar-agar jelled aduzi beans sweetened with raisins.  (13)

Most recently, agar-agar appears prominently in the molecular gastronomy movement, which emphases food as a fashionable and heightened sensorial experience.  Gelification, here, relies mainly on agar-agar as the base for fancy bite-sized cubes, pyramids, cones, or sheets, veils, and noodles created with the help of squeeze bottles, cookie cutters, pastry tips, syringes, and silicone molds. Adorned with delicate slivers of citrus zest, or brushed, sprinkled, or dusted with accompaniments running the gamut from fresh berries, crushed nuts, tiny flowers, or exotic, edible gold leaf, these creations are often garnishes themselves to shaped dishes that may only be a mouthful or two. (14)     

Tips on Ratios and Preparation: 

Flakes, Powder or Bars?
Agar-agar flakes and powder need to be used in different proportions, as they produce quite different densities per amount. Generally count on using:

1/2 teaspoon of powdered agar-agar or
1 1/2 teaspoons agar-agar flakes
per 1 cup of liquid for a light and firm like consistency.

A smaller proportion of agar-agar produces a softer, slippery gel (1/2 teaspoon flakes to 1 cup liquid)  and increased amounts produce a firmer, almost chewy and rubbery consistency (1 tablespoon flakes per 1 cup liquid).

You may find kanten bars instead of powder or flakes, though the bars are not as commonly available. Note that if you use the bars the preparation requires more time, as they must be initially broken up and soaked longer (generally at least 30 minutes to an hour and often more depending on the size used) until spongy, added to boiling water, and stirred constantly on low heat for some time until fully dissolved. The bars are good for dishes that expect more sturdy consistencies or if powder or flakes are unavailable. (16)  In Healing with Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford recommends 1 kanten bar = 1/4 t of powder or 3 T of transparent flakes.  One kanten bar will sufficiently gel 2 cups of liquid. (17)  

Preparation Tips 
Soak and stir to dissolve in liquids such as water or apple juice and bring to a simmer.

If using nut or seed milks, or amasake, add afterward as these products can impede dissolution.

Unlike other gelatin substances, agar-agar can be easily reconstituted after it has gelled. If you are hesitant about your recipe's particular setting consistency, test the mixture by placing a small amount of the cooked gel onto a cooled plate. This should set within half a minute. If you wish to alter the consistency, simply add more boiling water to the mixture to thin it, or increase the agar-agar amount to thicken, and you are ready to go.

The gelling ability of agar-agar is dependent on what additional ingredients are used. The more acidic, for example, citrus, chocolate, or other food containing oxalics, require additional agar-agar for better consistency; highly alkaline foods need much less to gel. Be sure to refrigerate all foods made with agar-agar
if not eaten within the meal.

(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agar;
(3) http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/3-uses-of-agar.html;
(6) Brown, Simon G., Modern-day Macrobiotics, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA, 2005, 156.
(7) Pitchford, Paul, Healing with Whole Foods, North Atlantic Books, Berkley, CA, 1993, 542
(8)Maeda, H., Yamamoto, R et. al "Effects of agar (kanten) diet on obsese patients .."Journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, 2005, Jan:7 (1) 40-6; http://www.livestrong.com/article/308558-kanten-diet;
(9) http://www.tokyofoundation.org/en/topics/japanese-traditional-foods/vol.-4-agar/?searchterm=agar%20agar; http://muso-intl.com/seavegetable/kanten.html;
(10) Suzuki, Sanae, Love Sanae, LoveEricInc, Hong Kong, 2009, 165; 
(11) Porter, Jessica, The Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics, Penguin, NY. 2004, 139;
(12) Rhoades, Sharon Ann, Cooking with Sea Vegetables, Autumn Press, Brookline, MA. 1978, 109
(13) Kushi, Aveline,  Complete Guide to Macrobiotic Cooking, Warner Books, NY, 1985, 297.
https://content.alinearestaurant.com/html/pages/gallery/gallery_cuis.html; http://www.moleculargastronomynetwork.com/45-recipes/Arugula-Spaghetti.html
(15)http://www.edenfoods.com; Bradford, Peter & Montse, Cooking with Sea Vegetables, Healing Arts Press, Vt, 1985, 114.
(16) http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Agar-Agar; http://www.bienmanger.com;
(17) Pitchford, Paul, 545.
(18) http://www.barryfarm.com/nutri_info/thickeners/agar.htm

Kushi Institute Thanksgiving 2012

Pictures from a memorable evening of harvest blessings

Fall holiday display

Dining Room

Glazed tofu rolls

Thanksgiving Plate 2012

Chef Denis

Macro Mashed Potatoeschocolatemousse

Pumpkin Pie Slice

Enjoying The Feast  
To see more pictures of the event and our chefs preparing dinner, visit us on Facebook and look at our Thanksgiving photo album.



Open House Image 3   

Programs and Events Calendar

Kushi Institute programs are a life-changing experience!


click on program name for
more information


Way to Health    7 days   

The best program for those facing
health challenges, or those that want to optimize their already good health. 


Offered every month!


Upcoming dates:

January 20 -26

February 17-23

March 17-23



Way to Health PLUS    7 days  

Our most hands-on cooking program. You can also combine with the Way to Health program for a 2-week stay.


Offered most months.


Upcoming dates: 

January 27-February 2 

February 24- March 2

March 24-March 30



MINI Way to Health    4 days 

Selected classes from Way to Health. A great introduction to macrobiotics, or for those who need a shorter program.


Offered most months!


Upcoming dates:

January 17-20

February 14-17

March 14-17



New Year's Retreat 

Start the New Year following Michio Kushi's tradition of Nine Star-Ki predictions, with like-minded people and enjoy festivities of the season with cooking classes for spiritual and physical well being and contemplative practices for the body and soul.   

December 28-Jan 1 

Release emotional eating patterns, gain tools and tips for remarkable health improvement, and melt those pounds away!


March 31 - April 7
September 1 - 8


Womens' Retreat

Designed by and for women, this is a week of extraordinary renewal and rejuvenation.  


April 7-13

August 25-31 



Macrobiotic Leadership
Program (Levels) 

The most in-depth and comprehensive macrobiotic program available!


Attend from one week to three months.


The next series of Levels starts January 6   


Click HERE to see all

program and event  

dates for 2013 



Kushi Institute 
198 Leland Road
Becket, MA 01223

Int'l 413-623-6457 

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Kushi Store
Offering high quality macrobiotic foods and supplies, and informative and inspirational books, delivered to your door!
Int'l 413-623-6679  

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Special discounts advertised only on our Facebook page!

What People are Saying ..
Start Quotation Mark

"Two days before I got here I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My first thought was 'I have to get to Kushi before I do anything.' In a matter of twenty-four hours, I was packed and on my way, nothing short of a miracle."  

        Deborah Lippi    



Start Quotation Mark  

"This has truly been a life-changing experience for me. Everyone goes out of their way to be helpful and are sensitive to the needs of the participants. The teachers are awesome. They guided us through the first week with patience and thoughtful organization. They are tremendous mentors."

 Pauline Curry  



To read inspiring stories from people who reached their health and healing goals after attending Kushi Institute programs click here

Delicious Agar-Agar Dessert Recipes

Light Lemon Pudding

lemon pudding













This recipe was used in one of our recent Way To Heath PLUS programs, a completely hands-on course in which participants develop more abilities and confidence in macrobiotic cooking and menu planning.


Ingredients: (2 or 3 servings) 


1 cup organic, unsweetened apple juice

1 1/2 tsp agar-agar flakes

1-2 Tbs rice malt syrup 

1-2 tsp kuzu diluted in 1/4 cup water 

1 tsp lemon juice  

 pinch of sea salt 

1/4-1/2 tsp lemon zest  

optional garnish: pumpkin seeds and mint  




1. Combine juice, flakes, rice malt syrup, and salt in saucepan, and bring to gentle boil.

2. Simmer and stir until agar-agar flakes are completely dissolved.

3. Slowly add kuzu (which has been diluted in the cold water) to the heated mixture and continue to stir.  

4. The mixture will begin to thicken -- test a small amount (less than a teaspoon) on cooling plate if necessary.

5. Add the lemon juice and zest, stir into mixture, and turn off heat.

6.  Pour into individual serving dishes.

7. Garnish if desired.

8. If you make the dessert far enough in advance you can leave at room temperature until it gels (according to the temperature in the room, it could take up to a couple of hours.) If you are short on time you can put the bowls in the refrigerator until they gel, typically not more then an hour.  

Pear Tart with
Pumpkin Seed Crust

pear kanten w/pumpkin seedcrust












This delicious dessert was served recently on a Friday dinner at Kushi Institute.  Staff as well as attendees from the Mini Way To Health and Macrobiotic Leadership Certificate Program gathered to enjoy the meal.    

Kushi Institute chef Yu-Minn Lin created the dessert (without a formalized recipe from a macrobiotic cookbook) from pumpkin seeds, pears, apple juice, agar-agar, salt and a small amount of apricots. We asked Yu-Minn to tell us how he made it, and with Misha Forrester, we recreated it to give you the recipe below.  




You will want to use a tart (also known as a flan) pan. Typically, circular, and only 1-2" high, these pans with their unconnected bottoms and sides allow for easier cutting into individual pieces and give the outside edge a finished, fluted appearance. Unlike regular pie plates, the sides of these pans are set at a right angle, rather than flare outward.   



  • 1/2 lb (8 oz) organic and unsulfured dried apricots --  we used the Turkish type, but the particular type is not critical to the dish; in fact if you can't find dried apricots you could substitute unsweetened apricot jam and skip the soaking of the apricots and steps 1 through 3
  • organic, unsweetened apple juice -- quality makes a difference.  You will need 1 quart (4 cups) per 10"-12"pie 
  • fresh pears --  5 will do nicely per pie, we used red Anjou for color and firmness but others will work  
  • pumpkin seeds -- 3/4 cup when soaked and roasted will   grind to a little over 1 cup  
  • agar-agar --  we used flakes, 2 tsp per 1 cup liquid (you will need 8 tsp for this tart, which is approximately 3 oz) 
  • salt, pinch - no more  
  • amasake sauce or topping such as a "cream" made from tofu, almonds or cashews (optional)



The day before you make the dish, or if you have pre-roasted seeds or a number of hours before actual assembly:


Soak the pumpkin seeds for 6 to 8 hours (or overnight) and then dry roast them. Yu-Minn did this the day before, but you could actually do this up to a month ahead of time. Some cooks will pan-roast the seeds, which takes limited time with attention (stirring or shaking the seeds) to prevent the seeds from burning at the bottom of pot; others spread the soaked seeds out one layer thick on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and oven roast at low heat. The lower the heat (170 F), the longer it takes (up to 5 hours), so this involves more time but not much attention; some cooks like the taste and texture better at lower heat but it is fine to raise the heat and check the roasting frequently. In either case, roast until the seeds become slightly golden.  

Note: You can change the seeds, and use nuts, such as a combination of ground pecans and walnuts (soak and roast beforehand) for a stronger gustatory response.   


The day you make the dish -- a few hours before actual preparation:


Soak apricots in hot apple juice to cover (approximately 1/2 cup).  It will take only a few of hours for the apricots to plump up and get soft.


Final preparation: 


1. Strain the apricots and reserve the apple-apricot liquid they were soaked in.  

2. Quickly heat the apricots in a saucepan on medium until mushy, stirring to not burn the apricots. This should take no more that 3-4 minutes at most.

3. Puree the softened apricots (without any extra liquid) using a food processor or blender to the consistency of thick jam.  This should yield approximately 1/3 cup.  It is unimportant if it is an exact 1/3 cup; it serves as the binder in the seed crust, and typically you will have more than you need to hold the seeds together.   

4. Grind the roasted pumpkin seeds or nuts  in a food processor to a fine texture, place in a mixing bowl, and  add in the apricot puree using a fork. 

Note: You want to avoid a sticky mass, but have one that keeps most of the seeds together. It is important to add the puree into the ground seeds or nuts by hand in order to keep check of the right consistency. Not too crumby, and definitely not wet.

5. Press the mixture by hand into the bottom and sides of a flan tin.  You can use a toothpick to gauge the thickness so that it stays even.  It can be very, very thin or it can be moderately thick if your preference is a thickener crust.    

Note: it is more typical that the mixture is too wet than dry, which is why it is important to mix the puree into the ground seeds or nuts by hand rather than in a food processor.   

6. Slice fresh red Anjou pears in half (keeping the skin on), pit and core them.  Next, slice each half lengthways into quarters, and trim to make them equally sized and shaped.   

7. Bring 2 cups of apple juice to a boil and quickly blanch (30 seconds to a minute, no more) the pear slices. Reserve the juice which will now be a deep maroon hue.     

8. Arrange the pear slices close together on top of the pumpkin seed crust (see picture below) in a circular manner, with the skin side showing. You can easily lay this out by initially placing a pear slice each in the four directions on the crust, and then filling in the remaining spaces.    

9. Mix agar-agar in 1/2 of cold water, stirring well.  Combine all the juices: the pear/apple blanching juice,  the leftover apricot/apple juice the apricots were soaked in, and the remaining unused cold apple juice.  This should yield about 3 1/2 c of liquid.  Add the dissolved agar-agar liquid to the  juice mixture. You should now have approximately 4 cups.  

10. Bring the liquid to a boil, stirring, then lower heat and simmer for only a few minutes to allow the agar-agar to thicken.  Add a pinch of salt as you turn off the heat. 

Note: You can test the mixture, using only 1/2 teaspoon spread onto a small plate. Mixture should gel but not be rubbery.  Add additional juice or water if too thick, or dilute another teaspoon of agar-agar in a small amount of water and add to the juice mixture, reheating for a few minutes.   


11. Pour the agar-agar/apple juice mixture into the flan tin, gently so not to disturb the resting pear slices.  Let sit at least two hours before slicing.  You can refrigerate the pie after it cools.  The pie also keeps very nicely for a day before serving.

Note: using a tart pan allows you to remove the outside ring from the bottom after the mixture has been set and before slicing. If you have leftover agar-agar mixture, pour this into small dessert dishes for an apple kanten that has just a hint of pear and apricot flavor.  


Yu-Minn made a sweet sauce from amasake (a fermented sweet rice drink) that was poured on each plate before placing the tart slices on the plates. You can use any sweet sauce of your choosing, or make a sweet tofu, almond, or cashew cream to top with. This tart is also excellent just by itself.  


  pear kanten pie


Questioning The Use Of Animal Gelatin


Americans have been quite familiar with commercial animal-derived gelatin desserts since the end of the nineteenth century when Jell-o became popularized through an advertising slogan of "There's always room for Jell-o," implying that it was a great snack, and not filling on the figure, "delicate, delightful, dainty."  Ads featuring a pert, four year old girl holding a teapot of boiling water and a packet of instant gelatin became a recognized icon. Many successful illustrators, including Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parish, and Angus MacDonald were hired in the 1920s to promote this home-warming vision that continued throughout the 1960s. (1)   
Gelatin, or hydrolyzed collagen, is the most common fibrous protein in animals. It is extracted in the slaughtering process as a by-product, through acidic (caustic lime) or alkaline (sodium carbonate) rendering agents with water.


Hides, skin, bones, horns, organs, corneas, and connective tissue can all be used; taken from cows, horses, pigs, chickens, and sometime fish.(3)


It is a quintessential animal food, "the yang core of the animal" Edward Esko, Kushi Institute Senior Macrobiotic Teacher and Counselor tells us, due to its condensed origin and extensive processing -- which can take up to 20 weeks. (4)    


In macrobiotic understanding, it takes a particularly long time for the body to rid itself from this substance. In eating meat and meat products such as animal gelatin for any increased period of time, an overall hardening effect and rigidity of our bones, blood vessels, and connective tissue occurs.  Continuous contractions in the body, Edward tells us, interferes with the smooth flow of energy through the chakras (energy centers) and meridians (energy streams), giving us diminished organ function, potential sickness, and a lack of physical and mental flexibility. Animal excesses that stay accumulated in the body can present in the form of arterial plaques, as well as cysts, stones, and tumors, and at the surface, with hard, dry skin and growths such as moles and warts.(5)


Furthermore, many commercially marketed animal gelatin products contain additives, sweeteners, and flavorings, in the form of artificial dye color, sugar (glucose syrup, Acesulfame-Potassium, Aspartame, or Splenda substitutes), and preservatives. This impacts our health. Many candies and confections (such as junior mints, candy corn, star bursts, gummy bears, peeps), as well as marshmallows, yogurts, rice crispy treats, pop tarts, cream cheese, puddings, baking fillings and icings, shampoos, and pill capsules contain animal gelatin; it is also used to clear wine and beer and sometimes apple juice.(6)   


In order to avoid animal protein gelatin with its unhealthy implications, check your food labels and consider agar-agar as more than just an alternative for luscious desserts and other foods.  It is nutritious and plant-based, easy to make, hydrating, adapts to a variety of dishes, works well with other foods, and is deeply satisfying throughout the digestive process. 


(1) http://www.jellogallery.org/jelloHistory2.html; http://www.things-and-other-stuff.com/magazines/norman-rockwell-ads.html 

(2)  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelatin;  





(5) Esko, Edward, "There's No Room for Jello" draft paper, November 2012. 

(6)answers.yahoo.com/question/; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelatin; http://www.3fatchicks.com/regular-or-sugar-free-jello/   


A Manual for Authentic Foods

For those of you who haven't visited Kushi Institute since this summer, or attended Summer Conference, you probably missed knowing about Senior Macrobiotic Teacher and Counselor, Bettina Zumdick's long-awaited book, Authentic Foods.  Full of passion, macrobiotic theory, recipes, nutritional advice, and personal anecdotes, this is a welcoming basic book on macrobiotic concepts and cooking approaches. Each chapter examines a particular food category, to include whole grains, beans, and vegetables (leafy green, root and round, and sea), subsequent chapters of recipe applications.

Thus under the chapter of whole grain recipes, one will find interesting dishes to include Noodle Salad with Ume-Tahini Dressing, Sauerkraut Sandwich, Tofu Cream and Carrot Sauces for Lasagne, Blueberry Tart with Cookie Crust, and Apple Strudel.

Bettina's entries on vegetables is rhapsodic. Consider greens: the green of the heart chakra, of spring time energy, of life-giving chlorophyll and oxygen. These concepts are intertwined in the healing role that leafy greens provide, plus sensible recommendations on cooking styles (steaming, blanching, quick sautee), and reasoning behind each technique.

There are shorter entries for root and round vegetables and their cooking styles; however, the representational analysis of two humble vegetables -- cabbage and burdock -- are significantly enlightening due to Bettina's clarification of their extensive health benefits that encourage you to eat more of them than you already do.
Pressed salads and pickles are well noted here, and include a summary and benefits of fermented foods in relationship to the digestive system. You will find some wonderful recipes including Bettina's version of Kim Chee, Umeboshi Pickles with snap peas and cauliflower, Shiitake-Onion pickles, and Broccoli Stem Shoyu pickles. The latter is a dish frequently served at Kushi Institute, and a favorite pickle for many guests and staff.

Macrobiotics considers sea vegetables of great importance, and Bettina devotes a chapter on their nutritional contribution and structural affect on the body. She writes" the minerals ... can help to give us a sense of individuality and boundaries when eaten in proper amounts ... simultaneously sea vegetables are flexible and pliable, {to} not being what is rigid or intolerant of other ways of being and doing." (1)  Here one will find Vegetable-Noodle Aspic made with agar-agar, Nori Cucumber Salad, Green Tea Kanten, and Wakame with Fu And Onions (another Kushi Institute favorite).

Those new to macrobiotics will find a wealth of information. Recent participants in Kushi Institute programs may be familiar with some of the recipes. but others experienced in macrobiotics, especially those who studied in the 1970s-80s, will discover these newer gems to add to their macrobiotic repertoire. The addition of the nutritional findings makes this particularly a unique and inspiring book. 
(1) Zumdick, Bettina  Authentic Foods, Charleston, S.C., 2012, 135.
kale image

A renaming of the USDA Food Pyramid to the FoodPlate in 2010, and a further re-organizing of dietary guidelines,  recommends half a food plate to contain vegetables and fruits, to rely on whole grains rather than processed, and to replace sugary drinks with water. (2)  Although this shows a change from previous paradigms, it still raises macrobiotic concerns of over-consumption of natural sugars found in fruit and consequently the overuse of the pancreas and spleen organs in our bodies.   


Michio Kushi, in The Cancer Prevention Diet recommends minimizing simple sugars, such monosaccharide and disaccharide sweeteners, known as fructose, glucose, maltose, and lactose, found in fruit, refined sugars, honey, and dairy products. He suggests replacing these with complex carbohydrates, known as polysaccharides, found in whole grains, vegetables, and beans. For those wishing additional sweetness, try using brown rice malt syrup as it is a soluble complex carbohydrate (ie. polysaccharide).  



At Kushi Institute, along with our selections of whole grains, beans and vegetables served daily we offer other foods in smaller quantities. These include seeds, nuts, fish, and fruit. We enjoy fruit in different ways including fruit slices in pressed or raw salads, bits of chopped dried fruit in some grain dishes, and fruit desserts such as the two featured in this newsletter. Fruit is an enjoyable part of a healthy diet, we simply need to consider the proportions we are using.    


Help Make A Real Difference
In Someone's Life
Mother and Daughter 


Each year Kushi Institute provides a significant number of people with scholarships for the Way to Health and Way To Health PLUS programs program, where they learn how to use the macrobiotic approach to health and healing to improve their health.


Most often, these individuals have had a drastic decline in income due to loss of health, and cannot attend these life-altering programs without Kushi Institute sponsorship with reduced-fee assistance.


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