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Creamy Fennel Soup

Creamy Fennel Soup
Creamy Fennel Soup
Recipe developed by Chef Simone Parris. For more information on Chef Simone, please view her website Simone's Kitchen* – Simone creates natural gourmet cuisine for health, happiness and success. *
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For soup
  1. 2 cups yellow onions, thin-sliced half moons
  2. 2-4 good size fennel heads, cut into 1/2 in. cubes
  3. green fennel sprigs, finely chopped
  4. 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  5. 2 in. piece kombu
  6. 2 cups unsweetened soy milk
  7. sea salt, to taste
  8. 1-2 Tbsp umeboshi vinegar
  9. one lemon zested and juiced
  10. 1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced (for garnish)
  11. 6 pieces lemon slices (for garnish)
  12. freshly ground black pepper (for garnish)
For garlic croutons (for garnish) - optional
  1. 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 1 garlic clove, minced
  3. 3 thick slices whole wheat sourdough bread, cut into cubes
For soup
  1. Sauté the onions in the extra virgin olive oil in the pan you intend to use for the soup.
  2. Add a pinch of sea salt and sauté onions until translucent.
  3. Add the fennel to the onions and sauté another few minutes.
  4. Add another pinch of sea salt, the Kombu and 2 cups of water.
  5. Bring to a boil then cover and turn down to simmer on low for 10 minutes
  6. Remove Kombu and use an immersion blender to blend the soup
  7. Return to low flame; add the chopped fennel sprigs, the milk (enough to acquire desired consistency) and the umeboshi vinegar to taste.
  8. Simmer for a few more minutes. Do not boil again as the milk may curdle.
  9. Remove pan from heat and stir in lemon juice and the lemon zest, both to taste.
  10. Garnish with black pepper, lemon slices, scallions, and croutons, serve hot and enjoy!
For garlic croutons
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Add olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium heat.
  3. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute - watch carefully as it burns easily.
  4. Add breadcrumbs and toss to coat.
  5. Spread on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until crisp. Check regularly to prevent burning. Cool.
  1. For a richer tastier soup you can first roast the fennel – preheat oven to 350 F. Toss the cut fennel with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 10-15 minutes before adding to onions. No need to sauté fennel if you are roasting it.
  2. Trimming the fennel: Take off the tough outside layer and trim the top stalks as they can be tough. Cut off the little green sprigs if there are any, to flavor soup at the end.
  3. The lemon slices on top are a pretty garnish and add flavor. The lemon juice and zest are a nice addition too.
Kushi Institute

Tempeh Bacon

Tempeh Bacon
Tempeh Bacon
Recipe developed by Chef Simone Parris. For more information on Chef Simone, please view her website Simone's Kitchen* – Simone creates natural gourmet cuisine for health, happiness and success. *
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  1. 1 lb Tempeh
  2. ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  3. ¼ cup maple syrup
  4. ¼ cup olive oil
  5. 3 Tbsp shoyu
  6. 1 tsp liquid smoke (optional but very tasty)
  7. 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
  8. ½ tsp yellow mustard powder
  9. Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  10. Smoked sea salt
  1. Cut the tempeh in thin strips about 1/3 inch thick.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients except the smoked sea salt in a bowl and whisk.
  3. Arrange the tempeh in a baking dish and pour the marinade over the tempeh.
  4. Allow tempeh to marinate for ½ hour or more, turning once or twice to get both sides saturated.
  5. Sprinkle with a little smoked sea salt right before baking.
  6. Bake in pre-heated oven at 375F for about 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and tempeh is nicely browned.
Kushi Institute

Hijiki Strudel

Hijiki Strudel
Hijiki Strudel
Recipe developed by Chef Simone Parris. For more information on Chef Simone, please view her website Simone's Kitchen* – Simone creates natural gourmet cuisine for health, happiness and success. *
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Strudel Crust
  1. 1½ cups organic unbleached white or spelt flour
  2. 1 tsp baking powder
  3. ½ tsp fine sea salt
  4. ½ cup chlled organic corn oil, room temperature coconut oil or chilled deodorized sunflower oil
  5. 1/4 - 1/2 cup chilled apple juice
  6. 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Strudel filling
  1. 1 cup hijiki – soaked in cold water to cover
  2. 3 onions – cut in thin half moons
  3. 2 carrots – cut in matchsticks
  4. 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  5. 2 Tbsp shoyu
  6. ½ cup chopped scallions or parsley
  7. 2 Tbsp white tahini
Strudel Crust
  1. Sift flours, baking powder and sea salt; rub in oil until pebbles appear.
  2. Mix apple cider vinegar with apple juice then press with a fork until dough forms.
  3. For a super flaky crust touch and handle the dough as little as possible.
  4. Cover with a cold wet cloth and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
Studel filling
  1. Heat oil to medium heavy saute pan. Saute onions with a pinch of sea salt for several minutes.
  2. Add hijiki and continue to sautee for several more minutes.
  3. Add 1/2 cup water, cover. When steam builds up, turn to low and simmer 20 minutes.
  4. Layer carrots on top. Cover and continue to simmer 10 minutes.
  5. Remove lid. Add shoyu and cook down excess liquid.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in scallions or parsley and tahini.
Cooking the strudel
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Roll out the strudel dough between two sheets baking paper in a large rectangular shape.
  3. Spoon a thick, three inch wide layer of the seaweed onto the pastry about 2 inches from the edge closest to you.
  4. Next fold that 2 inch edge onto the seaweed and fold the strudel and seal the edge and the ends.
  5. Still working with the strudel on the baking paper, lift the baking paper to move the strudel onto a baking tray.
  6. Bake at 375 °F until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool slightly before cutting.
  1. Crust recipe makes about three strudel crusts.
Kushi Institute

Millet with Rice

Millet with Rice
Millet with Rice*
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  1. 1 1/2 cups organic millet
  2. 3/4 cup organic short grain brown rice
  3. 4 cups water
  4. Pinch of sea salt
  1. Wash millet in water. Strain and soak in 2 1/2 cups water overnight or at least 2 hours.
  2. Wash rice in water. Strain and soak in 1 1/2 cups water overnight.
  3. Strain millet and rice and add both to a pot.
  4. Add 4 cups water. Soaking water may be used.
  5. Add salt to taste.
  6. Bring to a boil, reduce to low heat and place flame deflector under pot.
  7. Simmer covered for 1 hour or until cooked through.
  8. Remove from flame and place in a serving dish.
  1. *Recipe from Kushi Institute Macrobiotic Leadership Program - Level 1
Kushi Institute

Pinto Beans & Carrots

Pinto Beans & Carrots
Pinto Beans & Carrots*
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  1. 2 cups pinto beans, washed & soaked overnight
  2. 1 piece kombu (1-2"), soaked & sliced
  3. 1/2 cup celery, diced
  4. 1 cup onion, diced
  5. 1/2 cup carrot, diced
  6. 2 tsp barley miso, pureed in 1/4 cup water
  1. Discard soaking water from beans and rinse beans.
  2. Place kombu on bottom of heavy pot & add soaked pinto beans on top of kombu.
  3. Add enough water to just cover beans. Bring them to a boil and skim off any foam that rises. Reduce flame and simmer about 20 min.
  4. Cover pot with heavy lid and reduce flame to medium-low & simmer until 70-80% done (about 1 1/2-2 hrs), adding water occasionally as needed while the beans are cooking. This is the "shocking method" of cooking beans.
  5. When beans are 70-80% done, add celery, onion, carrot. Cover and continue to cook for another 30 min. or until tender.
  6. Add dissolved miso into the beans. Continue to cook another 10 min.
  7. Remove and place in serving bowl.
  1. *Recipe from Kushi Institute Macrobiotic Leadership Program - Level 1
Kushi Institute

Tempeh Reuben

Tempeh Reuben
Tempeh Reuben
Serves 4
Pickles and all, this is a wonderfully satisfying sandwich! A real winner!
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  1. ¼ cup Apple cider vinegar
  2. ¼ tsp sea salt
  3. ¼ cup rice syrup
  4. 2 Tbsp shoyu
  5. 1 tsp Dijon style mustard
  6. ¼ cup olive oil for marinade plus 1 Tbsp for sautéing onions
  7. 2 lbs tempeh
  8. 3 large onions – cut in thin half moons
  9. 1 tsp caraway seeds
  10. 2 cups sauerkraut – drained
  11. course-grain mustard to taste
  12. extra virgin olive oil to taste - for mustard sauce
  13. rice syrup to taste
  14. dill pickles
  15. whole grain sourdough sliced bread
  1. Combine and whisk marinade ingredients in a bowl: vinegar, salt, rice syrup, shoyu, Dijon mustard, olive oil
  2. Cut the tempeh in bread-size pieces and again in half-widths.
  3. Pour marinade over tempeh and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Bake tempeh in pre-heated oven at 350F for about 30 minutes, turning 1-2 times during the cooking.
  5. Sauté the onions with olive oil until sweet and translucent.
  6. Add the caraway seeds and sauerkraut and a little water.
  7. Cover and simmer on medium low heat for about an hour.
  8. Remove the lid and cook away any excess liquid.
  9. Prepare the mustard sauce: whisk good quality course-grain mustard with a little extra virgin olive oil and rice syrup to taste
  10. Slice dill pickles so that they will lay flat on sandwiches
  11. Steam sliced sourdough bread until heated through
  1. For a tasty delight, layer your sandwich as follows: bread followed by sliced pickles followed by tempeh then sautéed onions & kraut and drizzled with mustard sauce.
Kushi Institute

Berry Cobbler

Berry Cobbler
Berry Cobbler
A great way to enjoy melon when the weather is turning cold and cold raw fruit is no longer appealing.
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  1. 1 cantaloupe melon – cut in medium small cubes
  2. 1 cup of fresh or frozen organic berries – I chose raspberries and cherries
  3. 1 cup apple or other sugar free juice
  4. Pinch sea salt
  5. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 1 Tbsp kuzu root starch – diluted in ¼ cup cold juice
  7. Ingredients – topping
  8. ½ cup rolled oats – ground in food processor
  9. ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour or unbleached white
  10. ½ cup almonds – ground in food processor
  11. ½ cup pecans – ground in food processor
  12. ¼ cup neutral oil
  13. ½ - ¾ cup rice syrup
  14. Pinch sea salt
  15. 1 tsp non-aluminum baking powder
  1. 1 cup whole raw almonds – blanched and skins removed
  2. About 2 cups water
  3. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  4. Pinch sea salt
  5. Rice syrup to taste
  1. 1. Simmer the melon with the juice and sea salt for about 15 minutes
  2. 2. Stir in the diluted kuzu and vanilla
  3. 3. Take off the stove and add the berries
  4. 4. Combine all topping ingredients and with a rubber spatula.
  5. 5. Pour fruit mixture into a baking dish and cover with the topping. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375F for about 25 minutes or until topping is lightly browned and the juices from the fruits starts bubbling through.
  6. 6. In a good blender (preferably a Vitamix), blend almonds with enough water to achieve a smooth consistency. Don’t worry if it seems watery - when you cook it, the almond cream will thicken up.
  7. 7. Once the almond cream is smooth, bring to a simmer over medium heat in a thick bottomed sauce pan. Careful not to burn.
  8. 8. Add the salt and vanilla simmer for about 10 minutes.
  9. 9. Remove from heat and sweeten with rice syrup according to your taste.
  10. Serve cobbler warm or at room temperature with almond cream…. Enjoy!
  1. Recipe developed by Chef Simone Parris. For more information on Chef Simone, please view her website Simone’s Kitchen* – Simone creates natural gourmet cuisine for health, happiness and success.
  2. *
Kushi Institute

Kimchi Pressed Salad / Kimchi Pickle

Kimchi Pressed Salad / Kimchi Pickle
Kimchi Pressed Salad / Kimchi Pickle
Recipe developed by Chef Simone Parris. For more information on Chef Simone, please view her website Simone's Kitchen* – Simone creates natural gourmet cuisine for health, happiness and success. *
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  1. • 1 medium size head Chinese cabbage (2lbs) – remove any wilted out leaves, rinse and then cut the cabbage in half from top to bottom, remove the core and slice both halves of the cabbage ½ inch thick pieces
  2. • 1 medium size ½ lb daikon – cut in matchsticks
  3. • 1-2 ribs celery – cut in half lengthwise and slice in thin diagonals
  4. • 1-2 carrots – cut in fine matchsticks
  5. • 1/3 cup scallions – cut in half lengthwise and then in 1 inch pieces
  6. • 1 tsp ginger – peeled and finely grated
  7. • 1- 2 tsp garlic – peeled and finely grated (Optional)
  8. • ¼ cup course or fine sea salt
  9. • 1 tsp – 1 Tbsp Korean chili flakes
  10. • 2 tsp rice syrup
  11. • Few turns fresh black pepper
  1. • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  2. • 2 tsp rice syrup
  3. • 1 tsp shoyu
  1. 1. Combine all the vegetables
  2. 2. Add the seasonings and work well into vegetables
  3. 3. Taste and adjust seasoning, the mixture should taste lightly salty and have a good flavor
  4. 4. Place in a salad press or use a plate and a weight press your salad
  5. 5. Leave for 1-2 hours, take out desired amount, gently squeeze, whisk dressing ingredients and serve with dressing or as is, enjoy!
  1. If you continue to press the kimchi make sure when you check it that your hands are clean and dry.
  2. A porcelain ginger grater works great, if you don’t have one peel the ginger and cut in thin slices, then into fine match sticks and then finely mince.
  3. When you are ready to eat your salad or kimchi pickle if it is too salty rinse briefly in a strainer and squeeze out excess water.
  4. Korean chili powder can be purchased in an Asian Market, it is an essential ingredient in Korean cuisine, gochugaru (or kochukaru) is a coarsely ground red pepper with a texture between flakes and powder. Traditionally, gochugaru is made from sun-dried chile peppers, and versions that are prepared in this manner are still considered the best tasting. The flavor is hot, sweet, and slightly smoky. You can use chili flakes or cayenne powder but the taste just isn’t the same!
  5. If you don’t have a salad press and you are pressing your salad in a bowl with a plate and a weight on top then be sure to cover with a clean kitchen towel.
  1. The leftover salad can be eaten as is or turned into a kimchi pickle, simply continue to press the salad on your counter top for 1-5 days, taste daily and when you want the fermentation process to stop simply refrigerate
Kushi Institute

Sesame Amazake Blueberry Tart

Sesame Amazake Blueberry Tart
Recipe developed by Chef Simone Parris. For more information on Chef Simone, please view her website Simone's Kitchen* – Simone creates natural gourmet cuisine for health, happiness and success. *
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  1. • ½ cup white sesame seeds – washed and dry toasted in a skillet, set aside
  2. • ½ cup rolled outs – lightly ground in food processor
  3. • Pinch sea salt
  4. • 1-2 Tbsp untoasted sesame oil
  5. • 2-3 Tbsp rice syrup
  6. • 1 tsp zest of organic orange
  1. • 2 cups amazake
  2. • 1 heaping Tbsp agar flakes
  3. • 2 tsp kuzu root starch – diluted in ¼ cup cold water
  4. • 1 tsp zest of organic lemon
  5. • Pinch sea salt
  1. • 2 cup apple juice
  2. • 3 Tbsp agar
  3. • 2 cups fresh or frozen organic blueberries
  4. • 2 tsp kuzu root starch diluted in ¼ cup apple juice
  5. • Pinch of sea salt
  6. • 1 tsp lemon juice
  7. • 1-2 Tbsp rice syrup
  1. 1. Pre-heat oven to 350F
  2. 2. Combine BASE ingredients, cut a circle of baking paper to fit the bottom of your 8 or 9 inch spring form cake pan
  3. 3. Press the mixture evenly over the bottom of the cake pan
  4. 4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool
  5. 5. In a thick bottomed sauce pan heat the amazake with the agar and sea salt, turn down to simmer and simmer gently until agar is completely dissolved
  6. 6. Whisk the amazake while you stir in the diluted kudzu
  7. 7. Stir in the lemon zest, simmer another minute and set aside
  8. 8. In a thick bottomed sauce pan heat the 2 cups apple juice with the agar and sea salt
  9. 9. Allow to simmer until the agar has completely dissolved
  10. 10. Whisk the juice while you stir in the diluted kudzu
  11. 11. Add the blueberries and lemon juice and sweeten with rice syrup to taste
  12. 12. Once the sesame layer of your tart is cooled pour in the amazake and spread evenly, refrigerate until cool and firm.
  13. 13. Once the amazake layer is firm, layer with the blueberry juice mixture, refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
  14. Tip: the sesame layer is a little sticky, so it is better to remove the tart completely from the spring form pan to a cutting board where you can cut it properly and remove it from the baking paper.
Kushi Institute

Understanding Diabetes by Edward Esko

According to estimates, diabetes is positioned to become the leading public health epidemic of the 21st century. Worldwide, the incidence of diabetes has increased dramatically. Diabetes is expected to affect 350 million people by 2030, doubling from the 2000 level of 170 million. The greatest increase is expected to occur in the developing countries of Asia, Africa, and the Persian Gulf.

In the United States, the number of people with diabetes jumped from 5.6 million in 1980 to 20.9 million in 2010. Close to 27% of persons over age 65 now have diabetes. One in three Americans are predicted to develop diabetes by mid-century. The cost of treating diabetes in the U.S. will soon approach $200 billion per year. Diabetes threatens to overwhelm health care systems in this country and around the world. Diabetes is a major factor in the ongoing financial crisis caused by skyrocketing health care costs.

Modern medicine remains powerless in the face of this planet-wide surge. In a special 200th anniversary article in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM 2012; 367-1332/October 4, 2012) entitled “The Past 200 Years in Diabetes,” Dr. Kenneth Polonsky states: “…The pathway to cure has remained elusive. In fact, if one views diabetes from a public health and overall societal standpoint, little progress has been made toward conquering the disease during the past 200 years, and we are arguably worse off now than we were in 1812.”

Could it be that after billions in research and decades of effort, we are worse off now than we were two centuries years ago? Perhaps it is time to take stock and reassess. Perhaps a fresh approach is called for. Let us now examine diabetes from the macrobiotic perspective, beginning with the role of the pancreas.

The Role of the Pancreas
The pancreas is a flat shaped organ located on the left side of the body below the stomach. In its structure, function, and energy it is complementary to the liver, the large organ located opposite it on the right side. The pancreas, being lower in position and more flat than the liver, is classified as yang. The liver, being larger and more expanded, is comparatively yin. (Yang is the term used to describe smaller or more compact forms; yin is the term used to describe larger, more expanded forms.)

The pancreas is animated primarily by celestial force flowing down toward earth. This more yang force is stronger on the left side of the body. The descending colon is evidence of its influence. The liver, on the other hand, receives stronger upward energy. This more yin force originates with the rotation of the earth and is stronger on the right side of the body. Hence the ascending colon is located on the right. The primary forces of yin and yang create the organs and animate their respective functions.

This classification is essential and relevant to our understanding of the cause of diabetes as well as to the prevention and recovery from this disease.

Looking at the way in which these organs interact to regulate the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood will help illustrate this further. The metabolic sugar cycle is divided into stages:

1. Eating food
2. Digesting, or breaking carbohydrate down into glucose (simple sugar)
3. Glucose entering the blood
4. Pancreas releasing insulin
5. Glucose exiting blood and entering body cells.

The processes of eating, digestion, and the absorption of glucose by the bloodstream represent the yin or expansive phase of the cycle. Chewing and digestion are processes of breakdown and decomposition, in this case, breaking down more complex carbohydrates into simple sugar known as glucose. The release of insulin by the pancreas and the entrance of glucose into the cells are the yang or contractive phases in the cycle. The net result of the yin phase is a rise in blood glucose (sugar), while the result of the yang phase is a decrease in blood glucose. High blood sugar is yin, while low blood sugar is yang.

The pancreas performs a dual function. The acini cells secrete digestive enzymes, similar to saliva. On the whole, pancreatic digestive juice is alkaline and yang. It especially aids in the digestion of fats, which are yin. Scattered throughout the pancreas are about a million cell clusters known as the “islets of Langerhans.” The islets are a compact collection of endocrine cells that secrete the hormones that regulate the conversion of sugar into energy and hence the level of sugar in the blood.

The two primary endocrine cells are known as alpha cells and beta cells. The smaller and denser beta cells secrete the yang hormone insulin, which lowers blood sugar. Alpha cells, which are larger and more expanded, secrete the yin hormone glucagon, which has the effect of raising the level of sugar in the blood. As we saw above, on the whole the pancreas is a yang organ. The pancreas contains far more beta cells than alpha cells. The ratio of beta cells to alpha cells is approximately 85% to 15%, or about seven parts beta to one part alpha.

Insulin and Glucagon
Insulin and glucagon offer a perfect example of complementary balance. When blood sugar becomes elevated, the beta cells secrete insulin. Insulin causes glucose to enter the body’s cells, thus lowering the blood sugar level. It also signals the liver to bind glucose molecules for storage in the form of glycogen. The net result is a decrease in blood glucose.

Conversely, when the glucose level becomes low, the alpha cells secrete glucagon. This yin hormone signals the liver to break stored glycogen (yang) down into free glucose (yin), thus raising blood sugar levels.
Insulin (yang) bonds with receptors on the cell membrane (yin).

The mechanism by which insulin facilitates the entry of glucose into the body’s cells can also be understood in terms of yin and yang. Cells consist of an outer cell membrane (yin) and an inner cell nucleus (yang.) Free glucose circulating in the blood is yin, while insulin, as we saw, is yang. Glucose is naturally repelled by the yin cell membrane; it needs a yang agent to facilitate transfer through the membrane and into the interior of the cell. This is accomplished by insulin. Insulin readily bonds with receptors on the cell membrane and passes through the membrane into the interior. The presence of insulin below the surface membrane changes the quality of the membrane. It now becomes yang and attracts and admits glucose.

What is Diabetes?
Diabetes occurs when the pancreas either does not produce enough insulin or when the body’s cells resist or reject the insulin that is produced. The result is high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, which produces a number of symptoms and side effects, both immediate and long term. In his article Dr. Polonsky describes the disease as follows:

“Over the past two centuries, we have learned that diabetes is a complex, heterogeneous disorder. Type 1 diabetes occurs predominantly in young people and is due to selective autoimmune destruction of the pancreatic beta cell, leading to insulin deficiency. Type 2 diabetes is much more common, and the vast majority of people with this disorder are overweight. The increase in body weight in the general population, a result of high-fat, high-calorie diets and a sedentary lifestyle, is the most important factor associated with the increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes. Older adults are most likely to have type 2 diabetes, although the age at onset has been falling in recent years. Type 2 diabetes is now common among teenagers and young adults.

“We now know that insulin resistance is essential in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes, and that the disease results from both insulin resistance and impaired beta cell function.”

Both insulin resistance and impaired beta cell function are yin conditions, as are obesity and overweight. A primary cause of these conditions is the intake of strongly yin simple sugars, such as refined sugar, as well as refined carbohydrates like white rice and white flour. The continual intake of these extremes exhausts and depletes the beta cells. The result is either not enough insulin or insulin that is too weak to facilitate the transfer of glucose across the cell membrane. If insulin lacks strong yang power, it will not be able to bond with the cell membrane and enter the interior of the cell. Without insulin as a facilitator, glucose does not enter the cell but remains circulating in the blood, hence the high level of blood glucose characteristic of diabetes. This mechanism explains the onset of type 2 diabetes.

The mechanism of type 1 diabetes is a little different, albeit also extremely yin. T. Colin Campbell, PhD in The China Study, best describes the process:

“This devastating, incurable disease strikes children, creating a painful and difficult experience for young families. What most people don’t know, though, is that there is strong evidence that this disease is linked to diet and, more specifically to dairy products. The ability of cow’s milk protein to initiate type 1 diabetes is well documented.”

As Dr. Campbell explains, in some infants, cow milk proteins are not fully digested and small amino acid chains or protein fragments are absorbed by the small intestine. In the bloodstream the immune system identifies these fragments as antigens, or foreign proteins, and codes antibodies to destroy them. Some of these protein fragments are identical in form to insulin-producing beta cells. Antibodies produced by the immune system thus destroy both the cow proteins and the beta cells, taking away the child’s ability to produce insulin. The result is type 1 diabetes, an incurable lifetime condition.

Once again, we can understand this process in terms of yin and yang. Milk, a product of the yang animal body, is a powerfully yin secretion designed for growth. This is especially true for the milk of large mammals such as a cows. The intake of this strongly yin substance (often together with refined sugar) is largely responsible for the onset of type 1 diabetes.

Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs
Carbohydrates come in two types: “simple” or “complex.” Simple carbohydrates contain just one sugar molecule (monosaccharide) or two sugar molecules (disaccharide.) Simple sugars demonstrate strong expansive force. These yin molecules enter the bloodstream very quickly. They cause a rapid spike in blood sugar. In contrast, complex carbohydrates consist of a chain of sugar molecules linked together. Their strong bonding force is yang. The body has to work harder to break down the links in the chain; hence they enter the bloodstream more slowly than simple sugars. The level of sugar in the blood remains more constant and steady. This distinction is crucial in understanding the effect of diet on diabetes.

Examples of simple carbohydrates include table sugar, honey, fruit, fruit juice, jam, and chocolate. They are often labeled “bad” because they are high in calories compared to their nutritional content and because of their effect on blood sugar. Complex carbohydrates are lower in net calories and are sometimes touted as “healthy carbs.” They include foods like whole grains, beans, whole grain bread and pasta, vegetables, especially sweet-tasting ones, and sea vegetables.

Brown vs. White Rice
Brown rice contains beneficial fiber, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals like beta-carotene. Milling and polishing brown rice removes most of its vitamins and minerals. It also strips away most of the fiber in brown rice. The fiber in brown rice and other whole grains slows the absorption of glucose and helps prevent diabetes. That is because the carbohydrate in whole grain fibers is yang and cohesive. The body has to work harder to break the links that bind the carbohydrate chains together.

Although the starch in white rice, white flour, and a baked potato is in the form of complex carbohydrate, the body converts this starch into blood sugar almost as quickly as it processes pure glucose. These foods cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and are classified as having a high glycemic index. The glycemic index classifies foods on how quickly and how high they raise the level of sugar in the blood in comparison to pure glucose.

As we have seen, a food like brown rice is digested more slowly. It doesn’t cause a rapid spike in blood sugar and is classified as having a low glycemic index. When brown rice is milled and refined by removing its bran and germ, its glycemic index rises. The same is true of whole wheat and other grains. Finely ground grain (yin or expansive) is more rapidly digested than coarsely ground grain (more contractive or yang), and has a higher glycemic index. The type of starch is also a factor in determining a food’s glycemic index. More yin starches, like those in potatoes, are rapidly digested and absorbed. Potatoes have a high glycemic index. More yang starches, like those in brown rice, are processed more slowly and have a low glycemic index.

Because of these factors, brown rice is being touted as a possible solution to the diabetes epidemic, especially in China and other rapidly developing countries. A January 2012 article from the Harvard School of Public Health entitled, “Can Brown Rice Slow the Spread of Type 2 Diabetes?” states:

“The worldwide spike in type 2 diabetes in recent decades has paralleled a shift in diets away from staple foods rich in whole grains to highly refined carbohydrates, such as white rice and refined flours. Now a group of researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) aims to stem the tide by changing the color of the world’s rice bowl from white to more-nutritious brown.”

The announcement of a collaborative initiative to prevent the global diabetes epidemic by improving the quality of carbohydrate consumed follows an earlier study published on June 14, 2010 on the website of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine. In the study, HSPH researchers found that eating five or more servings of white rice per week was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, while a diet that includes two or more servings of brown rice was associated with a lower risk. The investigators estimated that the risk of type 2 diabetes could be lowered by 16% by replacing 50 grams of white rice (1/3rd of a typical daily serving) with the same amount of brown rice. Interestingly, replacing the same amount of white rice with whole wheat or barley was associated with a 36% lower risk.

“From a public health point of view, whole grains, rather than refined carbohydrates, such as white rice should be recommended as the primary source of carbohydrates for the U.S. population,” said senior researcher Frank Hu. “These findings could have even greater implications for Asian and other populations in which rice is a staple food.”

The Potential of Macrobiotics
Macrobiotic educators have for decades advocated an approach similar to the approach advocated by the Harvard School of Public Health. The macrobiotic diet may offer the most effective approach to the prevention of diabetes. Macrobiotics advocates avoiding milk and dairy products associated with type 1 diabetes. Human breast-milk is preferred for infants. Refined sugar and artificial sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup are not recommended. Macrobiotics recommends avoiding or reducing foods such as potatoes, white flour, white rice, and others with a high glycemic index. Instead, foods rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber like whole grains, beans, fresh vegetables, and sea vegetables are the foundation of the macrobiotic diet. These foods are associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Moreover, the macrobiotic diet may prove an effective tool in the management of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, successful management and recovery have been noted in persons adopting a macrobiotic way of eating. Persons with type 2 diabetes have experienced a marked reduction in the need for medication; some after only one or two weeks after beginning the diet. Some patients have eliminated the need for medication entirely while noting marked improvements in overall health. At the very least, macrobiotics is acknowledged as an effective tool in weight loss and weight management. Patients with type 1 diabetes have noted reductions in the need for insulin and a lessening of complications after adopting a plant-based macrobiotic way of eating. Macrobiotics can help these patients better manage their condition.

With the mounting evidence linking diet with the cause, prevention, management, and potential recovery from diabetes, the time has come for clinical trials of the macrobiotic approach. Macrobiotics could very well offer a solution to this 21st century epidemic.

The article is from Rice Field Essays by Edward Esko, Amberwaves Press, 2014.


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