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5 Steps for Macrobiotic Beginners

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Updated August 15, 2013

Jessica Porter

Jessica Porter

1. Eat Whole Grains

When I say "whole", I mean it. These days, huge corporations (and even the USDA food Pyramid) are understanding that not all carbs are bad. So now your favorite breads and cereals include whole grain flour. But when you pulverize a grain into a powder, it's not actually whole anymore.

Think about your best friend: She's got great hair, a perky nose and a husky voice. These are some of her qualities. But there are lots of people out there with those qualities who are not your best firend. It's her essence, that "je ne sais quoi" that makes her special and gives her power in your life.

Now imagine pulverizing her into a powder--is she the same? Of course not; her essence would be lost. I know it's an alarming analogy, but it's apt. We live in a time where we believe that, as long as we include all the bits and pieces, a food's form doesn't matter. But it does. Imagine not caring how the bit and pieces of your car were put together! (Oh Jimmy, that's fine--just put the steering wheel in the trunk--it doesn't matter!)

Whole grains are cheap and easy to cook. To start, put a pot of brown rice (or barely or millet, or quinoa--variety is important) on the stove and let it cook while you take a shower and get ready for work. Easy peasy. Eat some with lunch and dinner for two days.

2. Chew Well

I know I sound like your mother here, but "CHEW YOUR FOOD!!: And not just because it will slow you down. Complex carbohydrates (whole grains, vegetables,) need a particular enzyme in your saliva in order to be absorbed completely. Without this enzyme, all the other enzymes in your stomach and small intestine are compromised.

By chewing well (50-100 times a mouthfull--gulp!), your body absorbs the food (and its essence) as a liquid, leaving you a calm, serene, and beautiful DYNAMO!

3. Give Up Dairy and Pick Up Sea Vegetables

Think about it. We wean ourselves off our mother's breast at a certain age. Even calves get off the udder and start eating grass after a while. So what the heck are we doing perched under a cow as human adults? It makes no sense to the mind, and even less to the body.

Neither China nor Japan have ever included dairy food in their daily diets, and they seem to be doing okay; much less breast cancer than in the West, very little osteoporosis and obesity a downright rarity. A huge percentage of Africans have lactose intolerance--their bodies literally reject the stuff!

The whole idea that milk is the Perfect Food for combatting bone loss is not only wrong, but some people would argue that dairy food is a major contributor to the problem. The truth is that we need good-quality minerals and they come from a variety of foods such as: sea vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and grains. And, the minerals in these foods are much more easily absorbed than the minerals found in dairy products.

Getting off dairy can take a little while and you might want to try some soy or rice substitutes while you make the transition. Once you let go of dairy (and its factory-produced imitators) you will feel a whole layer of sludge releasing from your body. You will feel energized and sensitive. As you eat sea vegetables (like the one in the recipe below) your brain will speed up and your intuition will become razor-sharp. Sea vegetables may take a little getting used to, but you'll know it's worth it when people begin to comment on how beautiful your skin is!

4. Try Natural Sweeteners

I have a sweet tooth, so I was unbelievably happy to discover that barley malt, rice syrup and amazake (a sweet rice drink) were all REGULAR ingredients on the macrobiotic diet. Even a little maple syrup passes muster! Unlike white sugar, which behaves much more like a drug than a food (and has as many deleterious consequences), natural sweeteners contain minerals which helps them to be abosorbed more gently by the body. They don't take your blood sugar for the roller coaster ride that white sugar does. So try the recipe below and really know that being healthy doesn't mean being boring. Life is SWEET!

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