Happy Summer from
We've had outstanding summer weather this year - an abundance of sunny, warm days and cooler nights, which make the beautiful Berkshire mountains of western Massachusetts famous!
There are lots of exciting things going on in our region this time of the year. Come enjoy the local activities and visit us for a delicious meal, R & R stay, or attend one of our fantastic programs. And continue reading to learn about guest author (and renowned macrobiotic counselor) Warren Kramer's take on summer cooking and it's connection to the 5 Transformation Theory. Warren's even included a personal favorite warm-weather recipe to chill you out and keep you light on your feet. Enjoy!
Having Fun and Staying Cool During the Summer
By Warren Kramer
I hope everyone is enjoying the summer and getting to spend time outdoors, especially near or in the water!
In macrobiotic practice, we often use the Five Transformation Theory
(known as the Five Elements Theory
in Chinese Medicine) to understand how to make balance with the environment. This model helps us decide which food choices, cooking styles, seasonings, and activities support us the most as the seasons change throughout the year.
Unlike the four seasons approach to the year, the Five Transformations Theory has five seasons: spring, summer, late summer, autumn and winter.
Each season has an energetic quality that is also defined by a representational name: Tree, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.Summer is considered "Fire" energy.
The weather is hot and naturally we are trying to stay cool and comfortable. Our way of making balance is through cooling or lighter foods. Some of my favorites this time of the year include grain salads like rice and quinoa, o
r noodles. I love a delicious bean salad or a tempeh or tofu salad. Any grain or bean can be cooked and cooled, then add very quickly blanched vegetables mixed through the dish. Chopped green beans, diced carrot, quartered summer squash and diced red onion blanched and added to the grain or bean is wonderful. A splash or two of rice vinegar with a squeeze of lemon or orange juice make the salad quite refreshing. Health permitting, mix a little olive oil through the dish and finely chopped fresh herbs like dill, cilantro, or basil.
Vegetarian nori rolls make the perfect picnic or beach food
along with some crunchy coleslaw (pressed salad) and a yummy lemon tahini dressing. A sweet ear of corn with a little umeboshi paste spread on it rounds out the meal. Don't forget a slice or two of watermelon for dessert!
Polenta and barley are also both appealing during the summer as they are light and cooling. Job's tears - a grain also known as hato mugi, or pearl (not pearled) barley - is delicious when cooked with rice. I favor brown basmati rice and long grain rice as the weather gets warmer, and I certainly minimize pressure cooking this time of year,
as it creates more heat in the body (as do oven cooked foods). Thus, corn tortillas are a better choice than heavy sourdough bread for hot summer days.
At home with my wife and son, we tend to emphasize quick blanched salads, pressed salads, fresh raw salads, quick saute dishes, and lightly steamed greens during the summer season. Brothy soups instead of thick, heavy soups help to lighten us up now. Sweet white miso and chickpea miso are wonderful during this time of year,
and can also be mixed with darker misos. Additionally, quick pickles keep us from wilting during the summer heat.
For a sweet treat, berry kanten dessert (my favorite) made with grapes is very refreshing and light. To sip, I especially like chilled barley or kukicha tea with a touch of apple juice and some lemon slices. Don't forget to drink more fluids now!
Overall, the goal during summer is to stay light, fresh and maintain our energy. If we eat too much fruit now, it will make us fatigued. Lightness in the body needs to come from plenty of vegetables.
As we move into August and approach fall, we need to slowly introduce more warming dishes like macrobiotic favorites "nishime" (vegetable chunks cooked until they are succulent in a little water) and "kinpira" (thin matchstick-style cut root vegetables, sauteed and cooked in their own juices). We can have these dishes now, but cook them for a shorter time period.
In September, I will be teaching a wonderful program at Kushi Institute with Melanie Waxman called "Achieving Abundant Energy and Vitality"
. I hope many of you can join us for this event. Did you know that fatigue is the number one health complaint in the world?
This special workshop will give you the tools to maximize your energy, vitality, and daily joy. Moreover, autumn is the perfect time of the year to focus on building inner strength as we move towards winter.
The following recipe is a summertime favorite of mine.
Enjoy the rest of your summer!
In health and peace,
Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas
2 cups quinoa
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
1/3 cup very small diced carrot
1/4 cup red onion, chopped and marinated in a small amount of umeboshi vinegar
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and small diced
1 tomato, small diced (optional depending on your health)
1/4-1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup toasted and chopped almonds
1 dill pickle, small diced
1 ripe avocado diced (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 lemons juiced
umeboshi vinegar to taste Directions:
1. Measure 1.5 cups water per cup of quinoa.
2. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil, add 2 pinches of sea salt. Add quinoa (rinsed well).
3. Cover, bring to boil, lower flame and simmer for 30 minutes (placing heat diffuser beneath pot to prevent burning).
4. Fluff up quinoa in a large bowl.
5. In a separate pot, quickly blanch the carrots.
6. In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients with olive oil, lemon juice and umeboshi vinegar. Adjust to taste and ENJOY!
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A note from the Executive Director
This month I'm completing my 10th year as director of this incredible organization. I'm surprised how quickly the time has passed. It seems only yesterday that I took over the helm of Kushi Institute at the invitation of Michio Kushi and friends. It has been a wonderful time full of exciting challenges, rewarding adventures, and gratitude.
Gratitude for being part of an organization whose mission for 35 years has been caring for and healing others, and in the process, healing the world. Gratitude for being part of an organization that cares more about the people it helps than the "bottom line". Gratitude for being part of an organization which supports people's growth, including my own, and teaches them to look at life in a different and new way.
I have never worked for an organization that cares so much about people as does Kushi Institute. Our mission is simply to help. Whatever the financial situation, we will accommodate someone's needs. We pride ourselves on the fact that we never turn away a person who needs our services, giving away over $35,000 a year in tuition assistance and scholarships. Perhaps you or a loved one were one of those who benefited from this policy.
It's not easy to run a non-profit. Funds are always running short. There are times when I must decide whether to "pay Peter or Paul" and question how to handle the stress. Not long ago I received a call from a woman who visited the Institute eight months ago. Her doctors had stated that her cancer had spread throughout her body and they could no longer help, saying she had about eight months to live. The woman then came to the Institute on tuition assistance, completed our week long "Way to Health" program, and completely recovered. Eight months ago she received a death sentence and eight months later she was free of cancer because of what she learned at Kushi Institute. She was so grateful, calling us "miracle workers" and a gift to her 3 small children and
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In Peace and Health,
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