As a way of introduction to Our Kitchens As Wellness Centers, may I repeat an old cliché and what I consider to be a simple truth, “we are what we eat!” What I found over thirty (30) years ago is that the food we choose to eat creates us and ALL that we are. It always has and always will. Whether we are in great or in poor physical and/or mental condition, we have created this condition through the biological and psychological “food” that we have taken into our bodies, whether it be actual physical food, mental thoughts, or whatever exists in the visible and invisible environment surrounding us. Developing the knowledge of what to take and allow into our bodies is one of life’s important practices.
The knowledge and practice of eating optimal food gives us the biological foundation and the confidence to live in this world without the fear of getting sick! One’s selection, preparation and eating of wholesome and nourishing foods is of vital importance for one’s optimal health and long-term survival on this planet.
Where does this begin? Right in one’s own kitchen! The kitchen is our wellness center! It is the heart of the home! The hearth from which we nourish our families, our communities, ourselves! This is wonderful news as it empowers us to take our own health into our own hands.
How do we transform our kitchens into wellness centers, thereby creating the health, happiness, and peace we all seek?
1. We equip our kitchens with the right tools and supplies: A gas stove, quality cast iron pots, pans, pressure cookers made with stainless steel, a sharp vegetable cutting knife, wooden cutting boards, and quality cooking utensils.
2. In clean glass jars, we store healthy condiments such as high quality sea salt, shoyu soy sauce, umeboshi plum, miso, and bulk foods such as grains, whole-wheat pastry flour, beans, seeds, and nuts in all their abundant variety.
3. We store in our kitchen and/or refrigerator organic plant-based seasonal foods, vegetables, fruits, and plant-based protein, such as tofu, tempeh, seitan and dry beans in their abundant variety.
4. We come to the “service” of cooking in our kitchens with a dedicated, committed and loving attitude. Cooking is an art, a form of meditation in motion, and a service to humanity.
5. We develop an understanding of how to select and prepare in our kitchens nourishing wholesome foods that will optimize one’s health.
Because “we are what we eat”, and because food provides the biological foundation for our health and well-being, the knowledge and understanding of the cook who selects and prepares our food is paramount to the quality of our health. In essence, the cook must become a “food doctor.” As stated by Hippocrates, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine thy food.”
The way I came to this understanding was through the study of Macrobiotics since 1977 and following the laws of nature, which, based on the Macrobiotic Philosophy, is known as “The Order of the Universe.” After three years of formal study of the philosophy and practical application of macrobiotics at the Kushi Institute in Brookline, MA, I came away with what I thought was a brilliant simple realization: If I Eat Well, Everything will be Okay! This was reinforced by my ongoing study, practice and reading of over 100 books by authors that all concluded that eating a whole foods, plant-based diet is the best food to eat! A few of these books include:
IN DEFENSE OF FOOD, by Michael Pollan, who says “Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not Too Much.”
THE CURE IS IN THE KITCHEN, by Sherry Rodgers M.D., who says it best in her title.
THE SOIL AND HEALTH, by Sir Albert Howard, who shocked me! After thirty (30) years of practicing Macrobiotics, I came across the most interesting scientific study of health in which the author makes the claim: If one eats food from fertile and organic soil, one CAN’T get sick!
THE CHINA STUDY, The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted, by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell II. This book provides comprehensive scientific studies from a nutritional point of view, and reinforces the knowledge that a plant-based diet is best for our health.
The WORLD PEACE DIET,by Will Tuttle, Ph.D. This is a great book that addresses ethical eating, and conveys that the way we treat animals mirrors the way we treat each other and ourselves!
The best foods to prepare in our kitchens and eat are organic whole grains, beans, land and sea vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.
Here’s why from a macrobiotic perspective. Very simply, it begins with understanding energy and how it works! In Macrobiotics, everything is explained by how yin (upward, expansive energy) changes into yang (downward and contractive energy), and how yang changes back into yin, everywhere…in everything, no exceptions! It’s the dance of the universe or infinity in motion! From the spiralic formation of galaxies to the formation of DNA, yin and yang energy patterns are everywhere! From the daisy or sunflower to the Milky Way Galaxy, day changing into night and night into day, summer changing into winter and back again, the rise and fall of civilizations, the evolutionary process of over 3.2 billion years in which one-celled ameba changed/evolved to seaweeds to ancient land plants to modern plants, nuts, seeds, beans, and finally to grain!
This phenomenon of yin and yang can be applied to food. More yang foods include: sea salt, sea weeds, miso and umeboshi plum along with cooked warming root vegetables like carrots, burdock and onions. More yin foods include beverages, cooling greens, salads, pickles and fruits. Extreme yang foods include poor quality salt, meats, eggs and hard cheeses. Extreme yin foods include alcohol, coffee, white sugar, even drugs, medications, vaccinations, immunizations, our food industry’s genetically modified foods, and processed foods---all of which create severe imbalances that lead to our sicknesses and degeneration! As we learn to balance our foods by understanding their energy, applying heat and/or sea salt to contract foods and water and oil to expand foods, and eating consciously in harmony with the seasons, (more warming food in the winter and more cooling food in the summer), we create more balance and greater health within.
Eating organic grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, and some high quality sea salt, in harmony with the seasons, is what has kept me healthy and well and what gave me the confidence of never again getting sick. Understanding “The Order of the Universe”, originally taught by George Oshawa and Michio Kushi, was my core philosophical guide to understanding food on a universal as well as practical level. The thumbnail understanding goes like this. The order, listed backwards, is: humans/animals eat plants, plants grow or come from the soil, the soil is made up of elements, these elements consist of sub-atomic particles, sub-atomic particles are made up of endless energy patterns of yin and yang, which comes from infinity! Basically we come from infinity, exist in infinity, and return to infinity! The food we need to eat as humans for our survival on this planet is the energy that comes from infinity and is available most effectively in plants! As animals, we eat directly or indirectly from the visible world of plants, a manifestation of the four elements: water, soil, air, and fire, (fire in the form of sun rays through the process of photosynthesis.) The quality of these elements affects the quality of our food, which, in turn, affects the quality of our health.
The ideal food for human consumption is organic plant-based whole foods grown in fertile organic soil, fed by quality water and air, and filled with quality chlorophyll made by sunlight. The following summarizes compelling reasons for such a diet. I call them my BIG “E” reasons!
· Especially Healthy:
"So, what is my prescription for good health? In short, it is about the multiple health benefits of consuming plant-based foods, and the largely unappreciated health dangers of consuming animal-based foods, including all types of meat, dairy and eggs.” THE CHINA STUDY, The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted, by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell II
“Foods with a low carbon cost tend to be healthier.” - Brian Walsh, EAT YOUR GREENS, TIME magazine, February 12, 2009.
“A cultural shift toward a plant-based whole foods diet would have enormous benefits. For the vast majority of people, it would not only mean less heart disease, fewer cancers and far less obesity: it would also mean far more vibrant, thriving, energetic creative people.”- John Robbins from The Food Revolution
· Evidentially Verifiable:
“People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease.” “The findings are consistent. The science is clear. The results are unmistakable. Change your diet and dramatically reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.” - THE CHINA STUDY, The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted, by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell II.
“Eating a plant-based diet all year long is the best way to help lower your risk of cancer.” – Dana-Farber, MetroBoston, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008.
· Ecologically sustainable:
The seeds from plant-based foods can perpetuate our survival for future generations (vs. the unsustainable practices of industrial animal farming and producing “infertile” processed and genetically modified food products.)
· Environmentally Friendly:
Growing local organic whole foods can save the soil and save deforestation by reducing land use and packaging needs, reduce air and water pollution by decreasing CO2 emissions caused by transportation and deforestation, and reduce other hazardous waste caused by industrialized agribusiness.
“If we wish to curb global warming over the coming half century, we must look at strategies to address non-CO2 emissions. The strategy with the most impact is vegetarianism.” - Noam Mohr, author of EarthSave’s report A New Global Warming Strategy: How Environmentalists are Overlooking Vegetarianism as The Most Effective Tool Against Climate Change In Our Lifetime.
“The lower your diet is on the food chain, the more earth-friendly it is.”John Robbins, Diet For A New America.
Costs for locally grown foods are relatively inexpensive (vs. the high
environmental and distribution costs associated with producing industrialized animal products and processed food.)
The health benefit of eating plant-based whole foods reduces health care costs.
We reap what we sow! Eating plant-based foods instills peace and harmony, vs. eating animals and animal-based products, which negatively affects other creatures and perpetuates violence. For more, see: THE WORLD PEACE DIET, by Will Tuttle, PhD.
· Evolutionarily Correct:
We are biologically designed to eat mainly plants. Our teeth have more molars for
grinding grain than canine teeth for eating animal food; our intestines are long for
digesting plant food, rather than short for digesting the flesh of animals!
Plants, throughout our 3.2 billion year evolution have always been present for animals to eat. Throughout this evolution, the evolution of animals has paralleled the evolution of plants. Also, plants transform themselves into our bodies through the following process. When green plants, which have a magnesium (Mg) centered cell, called chlorophyll, are eaten by animals and become oxygenated through exercise, they change into red blood cells with an iron (Fe) centered cell, called hemoglobin. - From one of the lectures of Michio Kushi circa 1980.
Mostly, just boil water. To make a really simple miso soup, boil 1-2 cups of water, add one sliced carrot, one flower of a cut up broccoli, a piece of nori, and then a teaspoon of miso. You are done in less than 5 minutes!
Eating a plant-based diet is at least ten (10) times more efficient than eating meat! When we eat grain directly, rather than indirectly by feeding it to an animal and then eating the animal, we are making our flesh first hand from the plant rather than through another animal.
Delicious foods in all their abundant variety nourish the palate and soul. Everyone LOVES to eat. Just as the love between humans can be expressed through sex, the love between humans and the vegetable world is expressed through eating.
· Encourages Entrainment:
Another important benefit of a wellness kitchen is a wholesome nourishing meal around which a family and/or community gathers. Not only does gathering together help to strengthen our family and social fabric, eating together harmonizes our energies! I strongly believe that those who eat together stay together!
Examples of wholesome nourishing meals from our upcoming book: WHOOO COOKS FOR YOU? follow:
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
Quinoa and Almonds
Lotus Root and Carrots simmered in Shoyu
Vegetable Medley in Sesame Sauce
Onion Wakame Miso Soup
Millet and Cauliflower
Pinto Bean Stew with Cornmeal Dumplings
Braised Leeks with Mushrooms
Steamed Broccoli and Cabbage
Fresh Salad with a Tahini Dressing
Carrot Cake with Tofu Cream Sauce and Almond Sprinkle
OWL: “Now for the ‘Piece de resistance’!”
ABIGAIL: “Dad and I make these all the time.”
RASPBERRY-ALMOND TORT COOKIES
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1-cup ground almonds
1 cup ground up oatmeal
1-teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
1-cup corn oil
1-cup rice syrup
1-cup rice milk
12 teaspoons of 100% fruit juice sweetened raspberry jam
In a bowl,
Add 2 cups of whole-wheat pastry flour,
1 cup of ground almonds and
1 cup of ground up oatmeal.
Then add a teaspoon of baking powder and some sea salt.
Mix the dry.
To the dry
Add 1 cup of corn oil,
1 cup of rice syrup and
1 cup of rice syrup.
Mix to make dough.
Roll into balls and place onto a tray.
After all the dough is used up, press your thumb into each
And add ½ teaspoon of raspberry jam.
Cook in the oven for 15 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown. Allow to cool. Serve.
In conclusion, EDUCATION and EXPERIENCE are essential for optimizing our health and well-being and the continuation of our species. That is to say: when one understands that the food we eat becomes us, and that we can affect our health right in our own kitchens, then we have gained a valuable insight into life!
Once everyone everywhere transforms their kitchen into wellness centers based on a wholesome plant-based diet, and practices their own inexpensive “health food treatment”, this will create loving people who care for their health and are on the path of peace and happiness. It will also lead to a reformed health care system! True HealthCare reform will come about when we take our health into our own hands, beginning in our own kitchens. As we take responsibility for and ownership of our health, we will reduce the need for doctors, hospitals and medications! To make this new consciousness shift, we will need education on how to select, prepare and eat wholesome nourishing foods. And we will need each other for guidance and support.
As a macrobiotic counselor and chef for over thirty (30) years, please feel free to seek me out for such support. My passion and commitment is that we optimize our health and well-being and evolve into a more peaceful, harmonious world citizen on a planet that will sustain us all.
Edited by Margaret Arndt