Eating in Balance the Macrobiotic Way
A path to wellness
A tradition of healing is what makes macrobiotics a deeply personal diet that requires you to tune in to your current well-being to decide what to eat. If you’re feeling terrific, for example, you can enjoy a broad range of food. But if you’re sick, it’s a different story. According to macrobiotic philosophy, when you’re ill, your blood pH is acidic; whole, unprocessed foods that are alkaline in nature (i.e., grains, beans and seasonal vegetables and fruit cooked and seasoned very simply) help balance your blood’s pH. Healing foods are also low in fat and protein. While macrobiotics is often touted as a way to heal (and cure) cancer, the mainstream medical jury is out on the effectiveness of the diet in treating any kind of illness. The studies that have been done on macrobiotics are considered too small and flawed to base recommendations, but the diet’s basic tenets are in line with the dietary guidelines of the World Health Organization, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association, all of which urge people to consume more whole grains, vegetables and legumes while eating less red meat and minimizing processed foods. However, the American Cancer Society cautions cancer patients against using macrobiotics in lieu of conventional treatment, noting that there’s little evidence to support that it increases survival rates for cancer patients. Although it does not substitute for medical treatment, it is certainly an important adjunct, says H. Robert Silverstein, M.D., FACC, author of Maximum Healing: Optimize Your Natural Ability to Heal (North Atlantic Books). He points to research from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York that found women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer who followed a low-fat, plant-based diet survived longer than patients who ate a highfat diet as evidence enough that a macrobiotic diet is a valid way of eating for health and healing. “A diet based on fresh, whole, unprocessed and organic foods is ideal for our human biology,” says Silverstein. But you don’t have to be sick to see benefits. With its emphasis on always choosing what you need in every moment, the macrobiotic diet is a path to self knowledge. Understand how to apply macrobiotics to your needs, and you’ll have attained a kind of mastery that can spill over into all aspects of your life.
Three-Hour Red Radish Pickles
PREP: 5 min.
8 red radishes sliced into thin rounds
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1. In a medium bowl, thoroughly
combine all the ingredients by hand.
Transfer mixture to a pickle press.
Press for 3 hours. (Note: If you don’t
have a pickle press, lay a plate over
the radish mixture and place a heavy
weight on top of the plate.)
2. Remove pickles, squeeze out
excess liquid and taste. If it’s too
salty, rinse pickles in a strainer under
running water. Squeeze again and
transfer to a serving dish.
Per serving: 2 calories, 0 g fat
(0 g saturated fat), 0 g protein, .5
g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 450 mg
Couscous Salad with Lentils
PREP: 5 min. COOK: 1 hour
For the lentils:
1/2 cup French lentils
11/2 cups purified water
1 1-inch piece of kombu
1∕4 onion, chopped
1-2 teaspoons soy sauce
For the salad:
11∕3 cups purified water, plus additional water for blanching
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
2 pinches sea salt
3 baby carrots, washed and diced
1 cup whole-wheat couscous
2 cups sugar snap peas, washed, halved, with ends trimmed off
To make the lentils:
1. Place the lentils in a fine mesh
colander, rinse under running water.
2. In a small saucepan, combine lentils,
purified water, kombu and onion.
3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Place a flame deflector over flame and
reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer
for 40 to 45 minutes.
4. Turn off the flame and allow pan to
sit, covered, for 2 minutes.
5. Stir in the soy sauce, cover and cook
for another 2 minutes and set aside.
To make the salad:
1. In a medium saucepan over high
heat, bring water to a boil. Blanch snap
peas for 45 seconds and drain. Transfer
snap peas to a bowl and set aside.
2. In the same pan over medium-high
heat, combine purified water, oil, sea salt
and carrots. Bring to a boil.
3. Add couscous, stir well and cover.
Turn off the flame and allow the pan to
sit for 10 minutes.
4. Using a wooden spoon moistened
with water, stir in the blanched snap
peas and cooked lentils.
Per serving: 300 calories, 1 g fat
(0 g saturated fat), 15 g protein,
60 g carbohydrate, 15 g fiber,
260 mg sodium.
Miso Soup with Baby Spring Vegetables & Wakame
PREP: 5 min. COOK: 10 min.
4-5 cups purified water
1-2 inches whole wakame (1/4- to 1/2-inch per cup of water)
2 baby carrots, julienned
2 baby turnips, cut into quarters, including some green tops
1 cup baby broccoli, cut into flowerets
4 teaspoons barley miso
1. In a large saucepan over mediumhigh
heat, combine water and wakame.
Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce flame
2. Add carrots and simmer 1 minute.
Add turnips and simmer for 1 to 2
minutes. Add broccoli and simmer for
3. Reduce heat to very low. Once the
liquid has stopped boiling, place a
few tablespoons of the broth in a cup
or small bowl. Add miso and stir with
a spoon or chopstick. Gently stir the
diluted miso into the pot of the soup.
4. Cover and simmer the liquid mixture
(do not let it boil) for a minute longer and
remove from heat.
5. Transfer the soup into individual
bowls with the vegetables decoratively
arranged and serve while hot.
Per serving: 43 calories, 0 g fat (0 g
saturated fat), 2 g protein, 8 g carbohydrate,
2 g fiber, 231 mg