Sketching Out Blog: Sketches of art, watercolor, photos, recipes, books, interviews, Jewish topics, and Highland Park, New Jersey

Pick N Choose Macrobiotics

Some snippets from Klara’s macrobiotics group:

Newbie asks: What to do about challah on a Friday night (or the lack thereof)?
Some responses:

As for challlah Friday night. I have two thoughts. First is the difference between the letter of the law vs. the spirit of the law. I think the blessing say thanks for the bread etc. So, I have no problem saying the blessing over a piece of whole grain, or sprouted bread. Extending even further, why not substitute one grain for another. Why just wheat, why not rice. I have said the “ chamotzie” over rice, quinoa, hato mugi etc. many times. The other thought, is that even though challah isn’t remotely macrobiotic, if it makes you feel good, spiritually, physically, or in any other way. Have some. I’ve done that many times too. Macrobiotics is supposed to fit into your life, not the other way around

Klara’s response:

my compromise is I buy a very small unyeasted roll – and even then won’t eat it all – I have a friend who used to make rice kayu bread – which is half flour and half rice – and she would steam it. Steamed bread I was taught was easier to digest.

I was quite surprised by Michael Rossoff’s suggestion that it’s ok for me to have 1 – 2 slices of bread a day – so you see, I wouldn’t have known that if I didn’t go for counseling. As I said, each person had different needs.

Links from Klara’s macrobiotics group:

A recipe from Klara’s macrobiotics group:

Fresh Tekka

1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup minced carrot
1/2 cup minced burdock
1/2 cup minced lotus root
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon barley miso diluted in a little water
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon orange rind
1 cup spring water

Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the vegetables in the following order, onion, carrot, lotus root and burdock.
Add enough water to cover the vegetables.
Cover with a lid and simmer on a low flame for at least 1 hour or until soft.
Add the diluted miso and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the ginger and orange rind and stir gently.
Remove from heat and serve over hot brown rice.

Comment from the recipe writer: You could use any of these veggies instead – parsnip, turnip, cabbage or squash – failing that use carrots and onions on their own. The relish changes every time we make it and even more so with different veggies – how splendid and wonderful a few simple adjustments can be!

(Comment from me: I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but I’ll print it and put it in my recipe book to try soon).

•   •   •

Note: I only follow a bit of the macrobiotic diet myself, in that I try to eat many vegetables, brown rice and beans. Thus my title of “pick n choose”: perhaps you can find a part of the diet to adopt?

Another Note: if you just pick and choose a little of the diet, you aren’t going to experience its healing effects. However, many of us like to put a toe into a pool before diving in…

Batya says

We ate at neighbors this Shabbat who are on a very extreme raw food diet. Besides the whole wheat challah, for guests, they had a heavy grain "thing" made in a dryer/dehydrator out of all sorts of non-wheat grains and seads and herbs.

There's no added mitzvah from classic Ashkenaz challah; any sort of bread, pitta etc is permitted for hamotzi.

Ilana-Davita says

I had to check what burdock was but I don't think I have ever seen any in a shop.
I would change some of the ingredients but the whole thing looks tasty and would indeed be fine on rice.

Jew Wishes says

I also "eat many vegetables, brown rice and beans".

The recipe looks delicious...especially with the barley miso and the ginger.

Klara Le Vine says

I was very fortunate as someone had sent me the fresh burdock and fresh lotus (we don't YET have in Israel) and the dish was AMAZING. So delicious. Later I found the same recipe in an old classic mb recipe book, but with small changes, changes which I'm sure make huge differences in the end result. (in the older version, was much heavier, cooked longer, more miso, no ginger or orange).

Ilana-Davita, I would already classify you as macro, as you understand about flexibility!!! Yes, the person who sent this recipe told me the same thing, absolutely change it so it fits for you.

Leora, when I took my first few mb cooking classes, I'd asked the teacher if she thought it valuable to cook my chicken soup with sesame oil - she answered, every little thing helps. So I'm not certain what (now after almost 14 years of "practising) really has an effect or doesn't - each person is so very different - sometimes changing something little in the diet can indeed make big differences, and sometimes they lead to more changes. All the teachers I know encourage their students to play with it and find out for themselves how they feel. I don't follow mb as you say, the full ten yards (is that the expression?), but I'm amazed at how long it's been since I've taken any kind of pain pills or had any small physical upsets, not to speak of big ones. I am not saying everyone will be the same - while others lose weight, I haven't - but realize it's a reflection of how I need to still improve my practice.

What amazes me is how some people are so set against making any changes in the way they eat - even suffering serious diseases and taking loads of chemicalized medicine, they just don't see the connection. That saddens me.

Leora says

Klara, thanks, for your comment and for helping with this post! One comment about macrobiotics and weight gain: I've read studies that women have a hard time losing weight on the macrobiotic diet, because of the emphasis on grains. If someone were to substitute more animal protein (like chicken, fish, a little red meat) for some of the grains, that would probably help with weight loss. But I don't know what the current thinking on this topic is, just something I read a while back (ten years ago?).

I'll have to inquire about burdock and lotus locally. We do have some Asian markets.

Leora says

I bought the barley miso and sesame oil today. Asked at the health food store; he said he could order the burdock for $26/lb. I said never mind. He said he couldn't get the lotus. I said parsnips and turnips sound like a good way to go. I'll be at the supermarket tomorrow, so I'll have the ingredients to make the tekka.

Klara Le Vine says

WOW, at those prices might be worth seeing if you can grow them.

About eating grains, Michael Rossoff, the counselor who was just here in Israel, feels there is too much emphasis on pressure cooking, and also feels mb has changed since the earlier times - today it is lighter, the proportions encourage more vegetables and less grains. For myself personally, he suggested I'd do better with other kinds of grains than just brown rice. He also told me to have beans with every meal, so as to feel fuller and not have the need to eat at night or to eat foods not as good for me, just because they're around. Again, we all need to tweak the foods that fit best for us, problem is sometimes we don't know what that might be.

Hope you enjoy the tekka. I found when I put it in the food (to warm up together) I didn't like it as much - better on top.

Leora says

Klara, I looked up burdock root, and I can grow them like carrots. Only $2.95 for a pack of seeds from one of my seed catalogs. But I have to get rid of my ground hog (we need a "love" trap, so we can take him elsewhere) and I have to treat my soil with sand so I can grow root vegetables. Too much clay.

I'm glad mb has emphasized more vegetables than grains now.

I'm going to aim to make the tekka tomorrow or Friday with parsnip, carrot and onion.


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