is the art-science of health and longevity through awareness of the
interactions between ourselves and the foods we eat, the lifestyles we
choose to lead, and the environments in which we live.
The word Macrobiotic comes from a Greek word meaning “big life” or “great life”.
Macrobiotics uses wholesome, unrefined foods, processed by traditional
methods. The standard macrobiotic diet consists of whole grains and
whole grain products: locally grown (ideally, organically grown)
vegetables, beans and sea vegetables, tofu, tempeh, seitan, fu, soups and condiments, and supplementary foods
including beverages, fish, and desserts. Macrobiotic cooking is an art
in itself. It takes your mood, as well as your personal lifestyle, into consideration, and much emphasis is placed on
aesthetics of presentation as well as the combination of all flavors
Autumn is the season of gathering of
energy; trees are changing color from bright green to golden, yellow,
red and brown. Nature is preparing for winter. During this season we
nourish the lungs and large intestine (Metal energy). We gather and
store the last of our harvest, to prepare for winter. The atmospheric
energy is moving downward, receding into the earth, and our bodies
start to contract. Autumn is the season of retrospection and
self-reflection, for letting go of what is not essential just like the
trees shedding their leaves to start a new life cycle. It also helps us
to connect with Heaven on a spiritual level and with our health on a
physical level – elimination through our lungs and large intestine, now
is the time to strengthen our immune system. The emotion associated
with autumn is loss, grief and letting go, expression is weeping. The
taste during this season is pungent, found in ginger, garlic,
horseradish, mustard and watercress. When living in a balanced way the
emotions associated with autumn are a positive attitude and brightness.
Our cooking styles now need to be a bit stronger to warm us – nishime
style boiling, longer sauteing, pressure cooking, baking, and roasting.
To balance ourselves we need to emphasize short grain brown rice, sweet
brown rice, mochi, millet, soybean, tempeh, tofu and white beans, great
northern beans, baby limas, navy beans, bok choy, carrots, cauliflower,
celery, chinese cabbage, cucumber, daikon, leek, lotus root, onion,
green onions, turnip, watercress, apricots, peaches, pears and walnuts.
We begin to serve heartier and richer foods like thick soups, bean
stews and vegetables are cut in chunks for longer cooking. A little
more sea salt, sesame sea – salt (Gomashio) and oil, which warms the
body, is used, along with fewer raw foods, salads are blanched and marinated and served at room temperature. These foods
nourish and strengthen the lungs and large intestine keeping us strong
and focused on our path in life.
Millet and Squash Soup
- 1/2 cup millet, washed
- 4 to 5 cups water
- 1 square inch kombu, soaked and diced
- 1 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1 cup buttercup or butternut squash, cubed or diced
- 1/4 cup celery, diced
- 1 1/4 cup carrot, diced
- 1/2 cup leek, sliced thin
- 1 1/4 to 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped, for garnish
- Place the kombu, onion, celery, squash, and carrot in a pot.
- Add the millet and water.
- Cover and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the flame to medium-low and simmer for 25-30 min.
- Add the sea salt and cook another 10 min.
- Add the leek and simmer another 2-3 min.
- Place in serving bowls and garnish.
Nishime cooking uses a combination of root and round veggies steamed
with Kombu seaweed in a small amount of water. Vegetables are cooked in
a pot with a heavy, tight lid. Remaining liquid can be used as a sauce.
1. Use a heavy pot and lid for nishime.
2. Soak a 5-7 piece Kombu until soft, and then cut into 1 inch pieces.
3. Place Kombu in bottom of pot with water just to cover it add thickly-sliced vegetables.
4. Sprinkle a small amount of sea salt or Tamari over veggies.
5. Cover and set flame on high until strong steam is generated, and then reduce flame to low.
6. When each vegetable has become soft and edible, add a few drops of Tamari and mix the veggies together.
7. Replace the cover and cook over a low flame for two to five more minutes.
8. Remove the cover, turn off the flame and let the veggies sit for
about 2 min. Serve the remaining juice along with the veggies for a
Suggested veggie combinations:
- Carrot, cabbage, burdock, onion
- Carrot, lotus, burdock, leeks
- Daikon, Shiitake mushroom
- Turnip, Shiitake mushroom
- Onion, cabbage, pumpkin
- Daikon, Lotus root
Article by Leah Zinn.
Photos by Joel Isaacson.