Saturday, August 23, 2008
Summer Conference of the Kushi Institute of Europe
A very long time has passed since the last post, I know, I was very busy (in a creative way of course!).
I'd like to write a little bit about a subject which keeps to fascinate me - macrobiotics. My first contact with it was ages ago. My husband, after heavy antibiotic treatment against boreliosis, suffered from acute sinusitis. The doctors proposed another antibiotic therapy, which he - already soaked with medicines - rejected. Finally he recovered using only the macrobiotic remedies and diet. He received the valuable advice and recipies from people running the macrobiotic center in Wroclaw (Poland), very active at that time.
I started to learn macrobiotics seriously when Max showed symptoms of a food allergy (skin irritations, mucus in poo). He was refusing to try the solid foods and I was very frustrated with that. No jars and other ready to use baby food, I couldn't understand it.
We visited a very wise doctor when he was eight and a half months old. She concentrated on me (I was breastfeeding) and advised dairy free (except eggs and butter) and low gluten diet (no wheat), without processed food and artificial ingredients (E-numbers), with some supplements and probiotics. It was like a revolution for me but it worked! I felt a lot of energy and creativity. Max's allergy symptoms were gradually disappearing.
I took part in the macrobiotic cooking classes and finally I came up with ideas how to prepare nutrious (and delicious!) meals. Max has got used to them. Frankly speaking it was a long process but really worth doing...
Macrobiotic dishes are simple, made from scratch, using only the best ingredients. It is known as a wholefood diet, with a brown rice, miso soup. Grains consist 50% of the meal, 20-30% vegetables, 5-10% beans, beans products and sea vegetables, 5-10% soups and for occasional use: fish and seafood, nuts, seeds, fruits and other natural snacks. I learnt how to use miso, soy sauce, tofu and tempeh, seaweed (kombu, wakame, hiziki, arame...), umeboshi plums, kuzu... Max who is now three years old knows all of those.
Of course I had to adapt it and create gluten free version. It wasn't too difficult, I just eliminated wheat, rye, barley and oats (and I'm very careful with soy products). I found so many new ingredients intriguing by names, taste, smell. Variety was the key. And we aren't straight (in macrobiotics), call us flexible and open minded.
As an example the Max's breakfast: millet with broccoli and gomasio
- 1 cup millet
- 4 cups water
- 2 spoons amaranth
- 1 broccoli
- flaxseed oil
- lemon juice
- a pinch of salt
- 1 spoon ghee
I always soak millet overnight in some acid solution (usually sauerkraut juice), it helps to remove phytic acid. Then it needs to be washed and boiled together with amaranth and a pinch of salt (it takes only 30 min). I like to cook it in bigger quantity so I have it for two, three days (stored in a fridge), it's handy.
Broccoli is steamed and sprinkled with lemon juice, flaxseed oil and gomasio.
Before serving I put a spoon of ghee into millet , it makes it more nutritious and tasty (we love the flavour!). Simple and always a very satisfying meal.
Since when I've started learning macrobiotics I dreamt about going to the Kushi Institute of Europe, to meet the pioneers in this subject, to feel the spirit of this movement... It was possible this year (thanks Dad!) and together with my two Polish friends we attended the Summer Conference in a pine forest in Holland.
A lot of inspiration, new possibilities. It was a very nice holiday for me, I needed it so much (you know, being without a child for the second time since he was born). No animal food during this time and meals so delicious (yummy desserts!). An example of lunch (photo below): Lebanese rice with vermicelli and pinoli, falafel with tahini sauce, mixed fresh salads with olives,dessert - melon mousse.
There was a controversial lecture given by the director of the Institute, Adelbert Nelissen, "Cause and Cure of Gluten Allergy" but more about it next time...