I have been on a mission for the past year to make macrobiotics my main style of eating. Aside from the times the Cute Gardener and I eat out, I have been successful in transitioning over to this lifestyle, which in simple terms looks like this daily:
Whole Grains 20-30% of diet
Protein, including animal protein, tempeh and beans 20-30% of diet
Fresh seasonal vegetables (mostly lightly cooked) 30% of diet
Dairy, eggs and fruits 5-10%
Fats and oils including olive, sesame and ghee 2 %
Sticking with these ratios tends to be very easy when one cooks for one’s self and doesn’t rely on grocery store packages to fulfill one’s food goals. Sticking to the periphery of markets where the fresh stuff resides keep temptation to a minimum.
With macrobiotics, meals tend to center around a base of lentils, beans or rice mixed with vegetables, greens and spices. This foundation is then accented by sauces, dips and fermented condiments like kimchee and sauerkraut.
Although at first the possibilities seem endless, it can be intimidating to procure, prep and make fresh meals every time I am hungry. So I take some time on the weekends or the beginning of the week to prepare certain things for seven days ahead including:
- sprouting beans like mung in jars for snacking and salad toppings
- making large pots of rice, lentils or beans to keep in the refrigerator that can be used to make a variety of fun, hot lunch bowls or cold breakfast porridges
- soaking peppers in vinegars for spicy sauces or vegetables in pickling liquids
- cleaning and chopping hearty greens like kale and collards and then massaging with sea salt and olive oil to soften in the fridge for use in salads, sautés and side dishes
Then during the week I stick to a simple recipe that works for any meal I am attempting whether breakfast or lunch:
- Pick a cup’s worth of a bean or grain.
- Pick some fresh, seasonal greens and vegetables to chop up.
- Saute that all together with olive, sesame or coconut oil, spices and/or herbs of your choice.
- Throw in a sweet, savory or spicy vinegar, dressing or sauce.
- Sprinkle in some creative and nutritional additives like dried fruits, nuts or seeds.
- Voila, you have a meal.
I am currently at work on a collection of recipes that encompass the most successful results of my experimentation in this vein. The first one marries my love of exotic spice with my addiction to coconut. It also incorporates vegetables gathered from my very own garden, which the Cute Gardener cultivates with an amazingly green thumb. The surprising marriage of raisin and eggplant turns into a warm, buttery texture in the mouth similar to creamy Thanksgiving stuffing.
Sanam-Spiced Coconut Rice Veggie Medley
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 Japanese eggplant cut into small cubes
6 green beans chopped up into quarter inch pieces
1 small Anaheim pepper, minced
One cup cooked organic brown rice
1 tablespoon dark raisins
1-1/2 tablespoon of sanam chili vinegar (recipe below)
Salt and pepper to taste
Over medium high heat, melt the coconut oil. Saute the eggplant, green beans and red pepper until fork tender about five minutes. Add the brown rice untill warm. Toss in the raisins and sprinkle in the Sanam vinegar. Pour into a bowl and enjoy!
Take 1 ounce of dried East Indian Sanam peppers and chop up. Place chopped up peppers and seeds into 8 ounces of your choice of vinegar in a jar with a lid. I used red wine vinegar for this recipe. Let the jar sit in on your kitchen counter for one week. Then strain and put the liquid into a container in your fridge to use at will.