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GERD a Macrobiotic Approach

In April 2012: She attended the Way To Health program at the Kushi Institute;

“Over the year that I was on the Macrobiotic diet, I had phenomenal success and was almost off all my medication – my gut was better, my joints were better, the inflammation left, the neck pain left, the ringing in my ears left – I mean it was JUST AMAZING !!”

Due to multiple reasons she was not able to keep up with the Macrobiotic diet & included more animals foods, dairy, sugar . . . and all her symptoms came back !! She says she is a living testimony of how a plant-based diet got her off medications and getting back to an animal based diet got her back to all her disease conditions . . .

In July 2016: After over 2 years of suffering, she returned to the Kushi Institute;

“When I got back this Sunday, the most amazing thing was that within 3 days of being here I started eliminating better, my joint & muscular pain dissipated, my blood pressure dropped really low just all by it itself !! I haven’t had any gut pain since. This morning I got up and for the first time it was OK to get out of bed !!”

Macrobiotic Approach to GERD / Acid Reflux Disease
by Edward Esko

GERD or acid reflux disease occurs most often when the esophageal sphincter becomes loose and over expanded. The stomach acid which normally is held in the stomach leaks up into the esophagus, causing burning and discomfort.

This widespread condition is caused chiefly by the over intake of strong yin or expansive foods and beverages. (Yin is the term we use to describe expansive energy. Yang is the term we use to describe contractive energy.)

To alleviate this condition it is important to reduce or eliminate the intake of strongly yin items such as refined sugar, spices, chocolate, tropical fruits, coffee, caffeinated beverages, alcohol, and adopt a plant based diet based on whole grains and vegetables. Chewing is especially important as it diminishes the acidic affect of food and it helps prevent over-eating. Together with a balanced diet, ume-sho-kuzu is an effective remedy for this condition. This traditional home remedy coats and soothes the lining of the stomach while reducing over acidity. It is best taken on an empty stomach everyday for up to several weeks. Umeboshi plum can also be taken in hot water or tea with or without several drops of shoyu to ease over acidity.


Ume-Sho Kuzu is a standard macrobiotic drink used to strengthen digestion, restore energy, reduce inflammation, and help the body discharge acidity.

1. Dissolve one heaping teaspoon of kuzu in two-three teaspoons of cold water.

2. Add one cup of cold water to the dissolved kuzu.

3. Bring to a boil over a medium flame, stirring constantly to avoid lumping, until the liquid becomes translucent. Reduce the flame to low.

4. Add the pulp of one-half to one umeboshi plum.

5. Add several drops to one teaspoon of shoyu/soy sauce and stir gently.

6. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Drink hot.


Macrobiotic Diet & Prostate Cancer


Meet Ken Walles who recovered from Prostate Cancer

One man’s triumph over cancer, and his mission to get as many people as possible to start eating organically, locally grown whole foods and adopt a healthier Macrobiotic lifestyle. Ken is a graduate of the Way to Health Program.


For patients with metastatic prostate cancer, a case control study demonstrated that those who ate a Macrobiotic diet lived longer (177 months compared to 91 months) and enjoyed an improved quality of life. The researchers concluded that the macrobiotic approach may be an effective adjunct treatment to conventional treatment or in primary management of cancers with a nutritional association. “This exploratory analysis suggests that a strict macrobiotic diet is more likely to be effective in the long-term management of cancer than are diets that provide a variety of other foods,” the study concluded.



Source: James P. Carter et al., “Hypothesis: Dietary Management May Improve Survival from Nutritionally Linked Cancers Based on Analysis of Representative Cases,” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 12:209-226, 1993.




Edward Esko

Modern medicine has identified at least 108 types of arthritis. Needless to say, figuring out the cause of each of these varieties and how to remedy each type is complex and detailed. In order to simplify our understanding, in macrobiotics, we use the traditional classification of sickness into two categories, known as yin and yang. Yin denotes expansive energy and yang represents contracting energy. Both forces create and animate all things, such as man and woman, day and night, summer and winter, etc. Yin and yang clarify our understanding of the cause and possible cure of this disease.

Arthritis that involves inflammation, swelling, heat and autoimmune response tends to be more yin or expansive. Arthritis that does not involve these factors but involves erosion and fusion of joints tends to be more yang or contractive. For example, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and the arthritis of lupus involve inflammation and autoimmune reactions, and thus are more yin than osteoarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis (AS), which involve the erosion of cartilage and the fusion of joints without inflammation. The classification of arthritis into yin and yang aids our understanding of the cause of this condition.

Generally speaking, autoimmune and inflammatory arthritis is accelerated by the intake of foods such as milk and other dairy, potatoes and nightshade vegetables, chicken, bananas and other tropical fruits. More yang forms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and AS, tend to be aggravated by over consumption of meat, eggs, and salt and a lack of fresh vegetables and seasonal fruit.

The macrobiotic diet generally avoids these extremes and thus can be helpful in preventing and relieving these conditions. 

Kushi Institute programs and services as well as all information on Kushi Institute web pages are educational in nature, not medical advice, and not intended to take the place of medical counseling, diagnosis, and treatment.


Ode to Dandelion

Ode to Dandelion

By Edward Esko


The cancer-research arm of the World Health Organization last week announced that glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide, is probably carcinogenic to humans. But the assessment, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France, has been followed by an immediate backlash from industry groups. —Scientific American

The time: The mid-1960s. The place: the Philadelphia suburbs. The action: Edward Esko Sr., my father, assigns my brother Jeffrey and me to pull dandelions from his lawn. It is spring and prompted by the warm mid-Atlantic sun, bright yellow dandelions dot the perfectly manicured green lawn. (The word “dandelion” is from Old French and means “lion’s tooth.”)

Each spring, after moving to the suburbs, Ed Sr. put great effort into his lawn, planting grass seed, trees, including Japanese maple and dogwood, and evergreen shrubs. A well-manicured lawn was a status symbol in those days. Like millions of other post war suburban dwellers, Ed Sr. probably saw dandelions as unwanted intruders that interfered with the aesthetics of his lawn.

Our first dandelion campaign was decidedly low-tech. Ed Sr. had bought a tool, a metal rod, the length of a screwdriver, with a two- pronged fork at the end. In alternating shifts, we would kneel in front of the dandelions and thrust the prong down into the soil. Upon pushing down on the other end, the plant was forced up and out from its firm place in the soil. It required muscular strength to overcome the dandelion’s tenacious hold on the earth. Once dislodged, the entire plant, including root and soil, leaves and stems, and bright yellow flowers was unceremoniously tossed into a plastic trash bag.

The following year, we escalated our campaign. Not satisfied with a labor intensive approach, Ed Sr. opted for a more convenient chemical solution. He procured from the local hardware store a long plastic tube filled with liquid herbicide.

At the lower end of the tube was a nozzle, something like a needle, that allowed the toxic brew to spray into the earth. At the upper end was handle, like the handle of a garden hose that applied enough pressure to force the spray into the ground.

Tasked with such a questionable mission, Jeffrey and I begrudgingly interrupted guitar practice and took our positions outside on the lawn. We proceeded from dandelion to dandelion, inserting and spraying as instructed. We had an intuitive sense that something was wrong. The dandelions, which were compact, natural, and beautiful, didn’t stand a chance. Once zapped with herbicide, they shriveled into nonexistence. No need to pull them up. Simply spray and go away.

I started macrobiotics at the beginning of the 1970s and grew to appreciate the value of dandelion, burdock, kuzu, sea vegetables, and other wild plants used as food and as medicine. I apologize to the dandelions we sacrificed in the 1960s. Due to the influence of macrobiotics, over the decades, Ed. Sr. became more accepting of a natural way. He began to see the importance of macrobiotics for the future of the world, and supported our macrobiotic activities, including books and lecture tours, until his passing in 2014 at age ninety.



Sauteed Dandelion Greens ( fresh greens also pictured)

Over the years, I learned to prepare and enjoy dandelion greens. They are especially good in the spring. One fine spring morning, a number of years ago, I pulled dandelions from our property in the Berkshires. After a thorough cleaning, I sautéed them in olive oil with a little garlic and shoyu (organic soy sauce) as seasoning. They were nourishing and delicious. Dandelion greens have incredibly concentrated flavor and energy. From time to time I buy organic dandelion greens at the natural supermarket and prepare and enjoy them in the same way.


Dandelion Roots

For centuries, dandelion roots and greens have been considered a spring tonic. Dandelions are chock full of vitamins including vitamins A, C, E, K, niacin, and riboflavin as well as the minerals calcium, potassium, iron, and manganese. They are a rich source of beta-carotene. The golden flower contains lecithin that helps detoxify the liver.

The milky white liquid that comes out from the stem was traditionally used to ease the pain of bee stings and sores. The roots are used to make tea that strengthens the liver and gall bladder. Dandelion tea can be used as a general detox tea. The benefits of dandelion are too numerous to mention here. Suffice it to say that in overlooking such a natural treasure, modern society obviously has blinders on.



Fast forward to the present. The dandelion has become a symbol of organic resistance to society’s war on nature. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Monsanto’s ad campaign for Roundup (glyphosate) herbicide. Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide on the planet. Genetically modified crops such as soybeans, cotton, and corn were invented to increase sales of this product, which is being increasingly linked to a variety of health and environmental concerns.

In the famous Monsanto dandelion commercial, sometimes referred to as Sharp Shooter, a lone dandelion sprouts up through the crack in a cement driveway in suburbia. The homeowner appears holding a large jug of Roundup. The jug has the new “sharp shooting wand” attached to it by a small hose. The homeowner appears irate at the “weed” growing in his driveway. As he declares that the “only good weed is a weed that’s dead,” he points the wand at the dandelion, and “points and shoots,” spraying the toxic herbicide into the plant. Bam! The dandelion shrivels and dies. All the while cowboy style electric guitar plays in the background.

Paradoxically, just as evidence is coming in linking Monsanto’s glyphosate as a possible cause of cancer, evidence is mounting that reveals the anti-cancer properties of dandelion. Studies on dandelion root extract are currently underway at the Windsor Cancer Centre in Windsor, Ontario. In the study, thirty patients with lymphoma and leukemia are incorporating a special dandelion root extract as part of their cancer treatment. (Go to: for information about the dandelion study.)

I propose that people around the world who oppose Monsanto adopt the dandelion as their official symbol. In fact, I propose naming this movement Dandelion Resistance.


Readers who wish to obtain benefit from dandelion can prepare dandelion greens on a regular basis. Organic dandelion greens are available at most natural food groceries. Also, organic dandelion root tea is available in tea bag form. Bring a cup of water to a boil and steep one tea bag (covered) for about ten minutes. Drink the tea hot on a daily basis.



Understanding Thyroid Conditions

Understanding Thyroid Conditions

By Edward Esko

 Thyroid problems are classified into two categories corresponding to yin and yang. In hyper, or overactive thyroid (yang), the gland produces too much hormone. Conversely, in hypo, or under active thyroid (yin), the gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone.

Some of the more yang symptoms typical of hyperthyroid include: weight loss (contraction), increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, frequent bowel movements (over contraction of the colon), nervousness, and difficulty sleeping, bulging eyes (contraction of skin around the eyes often accompanied by yang Sanpaku, or white above the iris), and sensitivity to heat. More yin symptoms typical of hypothyroid include: lethargy, weight gain (expansion), slow heart rate, tingling or numbness in hands, slowness of mental processes, fatigue, depression, puffy face, constipation (lack of contraction in the colon), droopy eyelids (often accompanied by yin Sanpaku, or white below the iris), and sensitivity to cold. Goiter, or enlarged thyroid, can be present in either condition.

The most common reason for hyperthyroidism in those without prior thyroid disease is Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to stimulate the thyroid to overproduce thyroid hormone. Opposite to Grave’s disease is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a condition in which the body’s immune system reacts with thyroid tissue in an attempt to destroy it. The gland may at first be overactive but as the thyroid is damaged becomes under active, producing too little thyroid hormone.



To understand the cause of these conditions, we need to understand the mutability of yin and yang. These opposite forces attract one another. They are not static but constantly changing. Yin will eventually become yang, and yang will eventually turn into yin. Many individuals with Grave’s disease start out with more yin constitutions. They tend to have longer, narrower, vertical faces. Those with Hashimoto’s often begin with a more yang constitution. They often have a stronger, fuller bone structure and a broad, wide, and more horizontal face. (Refer to the faces shown above.)

However, as we know, opposites attract. Yin people are attracted to strong yang, and yang people desire strong yin. The common denominator in these opposite types of thyroid conditions is confusion and malfunction of the immune system. In the case of Grave’s, the immune system becomes overactive and stimulates the thyroid to produce too much hormone. In Hashimoto’s the immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid tissue. In both cases, the cause of immune overreaction is too much animal food. In the case of Grave’s, over intake of chicken (yang) is a prime contributor. In the case of Hashimoto’s, milk (yin) is a major culprit, together with other soft dairy like butter, yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese, and ice cream.

So, in the case of Grave’s disease, someone with a more yin constitution makes himself extremely yang–tight and contracted–by consuming too much chicken, together with eggs, cheese, and other strong animal food. Someone with Hashimoto’s starts with a more yang constitution and makes herself extremely yin–swollen and loose–by drinking milk, eating ice cream or yogurt, and by consuming other yin extremes like sugar, white potatoes, chocolate, and high fructose corn syrup.

The transposition of opposites appears across the spectrum of disorders. Often, people who are overweight or obese (yin) have strong constitutions (yang), while those who are thin or underweight (yang) have more frail or delicate constitutions (yin.) Someone with anorexia (yang) often starts out with a more frail or delicate constitution (yin), while a person with bulimia (yin) usually has a more sturdy constitution (yang.) As we can see, when dealing with the extremes, constitution and condition are often opposite to one another.

Cow’s milk is implicated in other autoimmune diseases. Colin Campbell cites compelling evidence linking milk drinking and Type I diabetes in his book, The China Study. The mechanism he describes makes perfect sense. Cow milk proteins don’t match our digestive abilities. Partially digested fragments of cow milk protein are absorbed into the bloodstream through the small intestine. The immune system identifies these foreign proteins as antigens and produces antibodies that match and neutralize them. The problem is that the insulin-secreting cells of the pancreas, the beta cells, have a structure that resembles the milk protein fragments. The antibodies coded for the milk fragments attack the beta cells, destroying them. The person no longer produces insulin, a condition known as Type I diabetes.


The Macrobiotic Approach

The macrobiotic diet can help stabilize abnormal thyroid conditions. Avoiding the problem foods, especially chicken in the case of hyperthyroid, and milk in the case of hypothyroid, improves thyroid function. Sea vegetables are a primary source of iodine, the element essential for proper thyroid function. Within a healing diet of whole grains, beans, fresh vegetables, and other whole natural foods, establishing a regular and appropriate intake of sea vegetables is of prime importance. The classification of common sea vegetables into yin and yang can help us understand how to make the appropriate adjustments.

The yin/yang classification perfectly matches the table showing the iodine content of common sea vegetables. So we see that nori, the most yin of the sea vegetables, has the least iodine, while wakame, dulse, arame, hijiki, sea palm, and kombu have respectively more. Kombu contains the most iodine and is classified as the most yang of the sea vegetables.

This follows logically from our understanding that opposites attract. Iodine is a strongly yin element. It vaporizes into a purple color at relatively low temperatures. It balances the yang sodium in ocean salt. Sodium vaporizes into a brilliant yellow similar to the color of the sun. When you visit the ocean, the smell of salt combines with that of iodine to create a powerful yang and yin balance. As we can see, that as sea plants become more yang, from nori through to kombu, they attract and store increasing amounts of iodine.


Prepared Sea Vegetable Condiments (from Maine Coast) 

Sea vegetable condiments, such as those from Maine Coast Sea Vegetables, are a convenient way to help the body receive proper amounts of iodine and essential minerals and manage thyroid health. Iodine levels have decreased in recent years, dropping by as much as 50% due to depleted soils and the presence of elements such as bromine, fluorine, and chlorine that compete for iodine receptor sites. The iodine in iodized salt is not fully bio-available and sea salt contains almost no iodine, thus sea vegetables are becoming increasing necessary for proper thyroid balance. Persons with under active thyroid can use sea vegetable condiments more frequently, while those with overactive thyroid may see benefits from their moderate use.


Thyroid Protection

Besides being useful in the overall management of the thyroid, it is well known that sea vegetables convey protection from radioactivity. They contain substances that bind with radioactive particles (and other toxic metals) and cause them to be discharged from the body. Sea vegetables are especially beneficial in protecting the thyroid from the harmful effects of radioactive iodine, an unnatural product of the splitting of uranium in nuclear reactors. Larch Hanson, founder of Maine Seaweed Company, describes this process as follows:

“All went well until some nearsighted nuclear scientist started splitting uranium atoms and creating radioactive iodine-131 which concentrates through the food chain from grass to cows to milk to humans, and can end up in the thyroid, burning it out, leaving people unable to self-regulate their lives. Iodine-131 has a very short half-life of eight days. That means that within a period of two months, it emits most of its radiation. And if that iodine-131 happens to be situated in the thyroid while it is emitting its radiation, it will do great damage to the thyroid gland.

“The best long-term strategy is to integrate seaweed into one’s daily diet. Then your thyroid will always have adequate levels of stable iodine-127 and will not take in radioactive iodine-131. Digitata kelp has the highest iodine content, followed by kelp. Alaria has moderate levels of iodine. All are good sources of iodine provided you don’t roast them, releasing the iodine to the air. Nori and dulse don’t contain much iodine, compared to kelp and alaria.” Source: Protect Your Thyroid by Alex Jack, Planetary Health, 2011.

The power of sea vegetables to block absorption of radioactive iodine was driven home to me a number of years back. A young man with thyroid trouble came to see me for consultation. He had read about the beneficial effects of eating sea vegetables on the thyroid and began consuming them in amounts beyond those normally recommended. He went for a thyroid scan about a month later. He was given a pill that contained radioactive iodine, and then asked to wait as the iodine collected in the thyroid. The scan was scheduled for about six hours after he took the iodine pill. Several times during the waiting period, he felt the urge to urinate. Then, when it came time for the scan, he was asked to lie on his back with his neck and chest under the scanner. The scanner is supposed to detect the location and intensity of the rays given off by the radioactive material.

Normally, a computer displays images of the thyroid gland. In his case however, no image appeared on the screen! The doctors were puzzled. Apparently, his intake of sea vegetables had saturated his thyroid with stable iodine-127 that blocked further iodine absorption. He had made himself immune to the effects of radioactive iodine and was able to discharge the radioactive iodine through the normal discharge pathway of the kidneys and bladder.

Resources (Available from


  1. Maine Coast Sea Vegetables:
  2. Maine Seaweed Company:







Crohn’s and Colitis

Crohn’s and Colitis

By Edward Esko

To understand Crohn’s, colitis, and other inflammatory bowel diseases, let us first see the digestive system in terms of yin and yang. The first thing we do is to classify the digestive system into upper and lower. The upper portion includes the mouth, the esophagus, and the upper stomach. The lower portion includes the lower stomach, the duodenum, the small and large intestine.

Not only do we have up and down, we also have left and right. That is especially relevant when we look at the colon. The colon extends across both sides of the body. On the right side we have the ascending colon, on the left, the descending colon. Which side is more yin and which side is more yang? In which direction is energy moving on the right side? Up. Here we have the ascending colon. On the left we have the yang-descending colon. The rectum is the most yang; muscular and contracting.

Helpful and Harmful Foods

What foods support digestive health? Which foods are good and which are harmful? Let’s look at the teeth. We have twenty molars and premolars. The word “molar” means “millstone.” Millstones are used for crushing wheat or other grains and fibers. These teeth are ideal for crushing grains, beans, and seeds, not tearing flesh. We have eight incisors. These are cutting teeth. These are the teeth of deer or rabbits that come into your garden and eat your vegetables. That means twenty-eight grain and vegetable teeth versus four canine teeth. What is the ratio here? The ratio is seven parts plant food to one part animal food, on average.

Another big reason for a plant-based diet is the structure of the digestive system as a whole. Carnivores have short digestive tracts. Ours is much longer. Which part is shorter in the carnivore? The colon. Why is that? When prey is killed, the minute the gazelle is taken down by the lion, what happens in the body of the lion? The meat immediately starts to break down. It decomposes into toxic bacteria and protein compounds like ammonia. It’s very important for that decomposing flesh to be rapidly discharged. Our digestive system is much longer. So when we eat meat, especially in the hot summer, there is plenty of opportunity for decomposition and trouble to begin. That is why in modern America, which is still a meat-eating culture, we see so many problems caused by meat and animal food and a lack of plant fiber.

Effects of Meat

Where does a heavy meat and animal food diet cause trouble in the digestive system? Does trouble arise in the yin upper part or the yang, lower part? It tends to arise in the lower digestive tract. On the other hand, when we eat extreme yin food, such as refined sugar, tropical fruit, and strong spice, trouble tends to arise in the upper digestive tract. Moreover, these extremes tend to exacerbate inflammation in the digestive system as a whole.

Normally the bowel movement is more bulky because of fiber. When fiber is lacking and plenty of animal food is consumed, the stool becomes hard and compact. Blockage or constipation easily occurs. Constipation caused by contraction, or yang animal food, is widespread. Eating meat is the direct cause.

When a person with this condition needs to go to the toilet, they often are forced to strain. The pressure caused by straining causes a variety of problems. A very common problem is that the veins in the rectum and anus begin to bulge out. That condition is known as hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are a very common result of blockage in the lower colon. They burn and are painful. They sometimes bleed. In order to cure hemorrhoids, it is necessary to stop eating animal food and adopt a vegan macrobiotic diet. When the hemorrhoids recede, then some white meat or other fish can be eaten.

Another problem occurs when straining causes pockets to blow out in the lower colon. That condition is called “diverticulitis.” These pockets often become infected and inflamed. I recently saw a client with this condition. He didn’t know that he had it. He was forced to go to the emergency room due to high fever caused by infection. He needed antibiotics to relieve his infection. Then they discovered diverticulitis. People eating a high fiber diet don’t develop this condition. Plant foods don’t cause this. Meat causes this.

Crohn’s and Colitis

Too much animal food also leads to far more serious conditions. Examples are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. We can see in the illustration how these conditions differ. Although these distinctions are not absolute, ulcerative colitis tends to begin in the lower colon. Crohn’s, although it can begin anywhere in the digestive tract, often begins in the ascending colon and small intestine. Which tendency is yin and which is yang? Ulcerative colitis tends to have a more yang cause, while Crohn’s tends to have a more yin, or less yang cause.

Keep in mind that when we say “more yin,” we actually are referring to degrees of animal food, and not necessarily yin extremes like sugar or chocolate, although those can contribute to inflammation.

From what we’ve seen so far, what type of animal food do you think would be associated with colitis that begins in the lower colon? Heavy meat and animal food are often the cause. What foods do you think are linked with Crohn’s? Foods like chicken and cheese, which are less strongly yang, are often the trigger. Hard cheese, including that in pizza, would definitely contribute. Hard cheese also contributes to the development of tumors or polyps in the upper or ascending colon. Once again, as with colitis, extreme yin foods such as chocolate, spices, and sugar exacerbate inflammation, as does milk and other dairy food.

Case Studies

Let me illustrate this with two cases I saw recently. One was a forty-year-old man from Houston Texas. When you hear Houston Texas, what red flag goes off? Barbecue. He grew up eating barbecue plus plenty of hot sauce. What a bad combination, because hot sauce will contribute to the inflammation caused by the grilled meat. He developed ulcerative colitis in the lower colon. He went for treatment but didn’t change his diet or lifestyle. He kept eating barbecue and hot sauce. Eventually the entire colon became affected. By that time he was having about forty diarrhea episodes per day with blood. (Some patients have up to seventy episodes per day.) What an unhappy situation. Since nothing worked, the doctors told him the only thing they could do was to remove the entire colon.

I saw him over Skype. Unfortunately, he had already had the colon removed. As a result, he showed signs of over-consuming fluid, such as puffiness under the eyes. Why was he consuming too much fluid? Because the large intestine’s function is to absorb water, so now he had to compensate by taking lots of fluid. The average time between the beginning of ulcerative colitis and its spread to the entire intestine is about ten years. That gives us an opportunity to intervene with macrobiotics to stop the progression of the colitis and reverse it through diet.

The other case was a man in his mid-forties from New Jersey with Crohn’s disease. His symptoms were like that of colitis: frequent diarrhea with blood and abdominal pain. His favorite foods were not necessarily beef or barbecue, but chicken and cheese, which are somewhat less yang, and which he ate practically every day for many years.




Crohn’s disease often begins in the ascending colon and small intestine. Colitis often begins in the lower or descending colon.


Macrobiotic Remedies

Together with avoiding the foods that cause trouble in the digestive tract and adopting a plant-based macrobiotic diet, there are several remedies that can help in the recovery from Crohn’s, colitis, and other inflammatory bowel disorders. They include:


  1. Roasted Salt Pack

When someone is having forty diarrhea episodes per day, is this over- or under-active energy? This is super active energy. So we need a remedy with the opposite energy: calming, soothing, and contracting. In macrobiotics we have a very effective remedy called the Roasted Salt Pack. To prepare it, roast a cup of sea salt in a dry skillet until it becomes hot. Roasted salt can become very hot, so test it after several minutes to ensure it doesn’t become too hot. Roast it in the skillet with a wooden spoon as if you were roasting nuts or seeds, waving the spoon back and forth to ensure even roasting. Pour the hot salt into a medium-sized towel and tie the ends to form a tight bag. Apply directly to the abdomen as you would a hot water bottle. Remove when it cools off. You can reuse the salt four or five times before replacing it with fresh salt. This remedy is very helpful in reducing the frequent diarrhea episodes associated with Crohn’s, colitis, or other inflammatory bowel syndromes.


Kuzu root.

  1. Ume-Sho-Kuzu

The next remedy for active diarrhea is a big deep root known as kuzu (kudzu.)  The long thick kuzu root resembles the colon. What properties does this deep root have? It has warming and condensing properties that cause the colon to become firm and tight. It causes loose stools to become firm. It calms overactive energy and reduces inflammation. When combined with natural—not artificial—ume plum or paste, which help alkalize the digestive tract, it is a very effective remedy. Umeboshi also has antibacterial effects. It can be used for Crohn’s, colitis, constipation caused by swollen intestines, and disorders such as acid reflex, H. pylori, or stomach ulcer. Ume-Sho-Kuzu is a thick hot tea that can be seasoned with organic shoyu, or soy sauce. Once again, it has soothing, calming, and gently alkalizing effects (See Macrobiotic Home Remedies by Michio Kushi for recipes and information.)


Promising Results

Over the years my associates and I have counseled many of people toward recovery from these conditions. One case especially comes to mind. She was a twenty-year-old college student in the Boston area. She had been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Her condition was so severe that her Boston doctors were insisting on removal of her colon. Naturally she and her family were in a state of panic. She and her mother came to see me at the Kushi Institute. They were sobbing. They were in despair. I did my best to calm them down and reassure them that there was a way to escape that bleak future.

The way was actually quite simple. She would have to completely change her diet. She would have to stop the foods that were causing her ulcers and inflammation and eat foods that would heal her colon. I recommended a simple macrobiotic diet plus the home remedies noted above (the Roasted Salt Pack and Ume-Sho-Kuzu tea.)

She committed herself to healing and embarked on the macrobiotic recommendations. Six weeks later she visited her doctor for a checkup. The doctor told her that he didn’t know how to explain it, but that her condition had improved. In fact it had improved to the point that the operation was not necessary. He told her to keep doing what she had been doing and to come back in several months. This continued for the next year until at one point, the doctor told her she was in total remission and could go on with her life.

Another well known example is that of Virginia Harper.  Ginny was diagnosed at age 23 with Crohn’s and given a bleak prognosis. She searched for alternatives and found macrobiotics. Through diligent study and practice she was able to recover and was eventually pronounced “Crohn’s free” by her doctors. She wrote a book about her experience, Controlling Crohn’s Disease: The Natural Way, now in its fifth edition. She has guided thousands of clients both at her center outside of Nashville and around the world.


Kushi Institute Guest Faculty Virginia Harper

Recently, the Kushi Institute invited her to lead special one-week residential seminars on Controlling Crohn’s and Colitis at its campus in the Berkshires. Normally about a dozen students attend. They live, eat, and study together for the week. Many of their stories are sad and heartbreaking, since these conditions have such a negative impact on a person’s quality of life. However, their experiences with macrobiotics are equally hopeful. At the seminar held in August, I asked Ginny whether or not the participants had improved during the week. She broke out into a big smile and said that all the men and women who attended had experienced dramatic improvements. Many were confident they could completely recover. Through these simple examples, we see that macrobiotics can offer hope to the millions of people around the world suffering from these debilitating afflictions.


  1. Kushi Institute Controlling Crohn’s and Colitis Residential Seminar, (413) 623-5741.
  2. Virginia Harper Counseling and Seminars, (615) 646-2841.




Brown Rice Basics

Brown Rice Basics

by Edward Esko

When we cook brown rice, we are utilizing the most fundamental elements that make humanity possible. The first element to consider is the rice itself. For our temperate or four-season climate, we suggest using short grain organic brown rice as your primary grain. Other organic rice can be used for variety or to adapt to seasonal variation. The rice we use mostly is from Lundberg Farms in the Sacramento Valley of northern California. The Sacramento Valley has a unique climate and environment ideally suited for growing rice.

The Sacramento Valley lies between the majestic Sierra Nevada to the east, and the Pacific Coastal Range to the west. Beyond the Coastal Range lies the Pacific Ocean. During the winter, the snow pack builds up along the peaks of the Sierra Nevada. In the spring, the snow and ice melt, sending highly charged pure mountain water cascading down toward the Valley. This water collects high above the Valley in an artificial lake know as Lake Oroville. Lake Oroville is the product of the man made Oroville Dam, the largest earthen dam in the world. From Lake Oroville, pure mountain water streams down into the floor of the Valley through numerous irrigation channels dug by the Lundbergs and other rice farmers. It is this highly charged mountain water that nourishes the rice fields of Lundberg Farms. That is one reason why Lundberg rice is so exceptional.

brownrice (2)

In cooking brown rice we manage the elements essential to human life. Illustration by Naomi Ichikawa

The second vital element is pure clean water. Water quality has become a huge headache in the modern world. Municipal water is chemically treated and often fluoridated and is not suitable for daily use. Lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams used to be perfect for drinking. Now they are highly polluted. As a result, we recommend using natural spring or well water. When we started macrobiotics decades ago, we would visit a local spring in the countryside and would fill large five-gallon glass bottles with pure clean water. That water was used for cooking brown rice and other foods at the student house where I was living. Later, during the twenty-five years I lived in Becket, near the Kushi Institute, we would visit the spring in nearby Chester, Mass. and fill bottles with its clear natural water. Unfortunately, by that time, the large glass bottles we used in the ‘70s were no longer available, so we were compelled to use plastic bottles. Certainly this was less than ideal, but the quality of the water was so superior that we accepted this compromise.

Incidentally, the Chester spring is part of a network of aquifers that lie under the Berkshire Hills along Mass. Route 8. The water in these natural aquifers is of exceptional quality. There is a spring on the Kushi property behind the Kushi Institute that is part of that network, once again with water of exceptional purity.

When the Kushi Institute moved to Becket in 1983, a gravity fed pipe ran down the side of the mountain to the dormitory and Main House. Water from the spring ran up to the third floor of the Main House where the Franciscans, who occupied the property prior to the K.I., used it for taking showers. The old pipe degraded about twenty years ago, but the K.I. installed a new pipe in the late 1990s. However, the new pipe was sealed off and never used. The K.I. hopes to reconnect the pipe to the dormitory and Main House and to make this pure healing water available to staff and participants. In any case, try to secure the best quality water for cooking your brown rice. Filtered water can be used if natural spring or well water are not available.

Salt is the next essential element for life. Try to locate the highest quality natural sea salt. Grey salt is not recommended as it has too high a content of magnesium. After experimenting with a variety of natural sea salts, we selected Si Salt, processed from the clean Pacific waters off Baja, California as ideal for daily use. Keep in mind that when adding salt to your brown rice, only a tiny pinch is needed.

The fourth element essential for human life is fire. As with water, the quality of fire is often problematic for people in the modern world. Cooking with fire has been replaced with artificial electric ranges and microwave ovens, both of which impart unnatural and potentially harmful radiation and both of which take away the delicate control necessary for healthful cooking. For this reason we recommend cooking over a gas flame. (Note that most gourmet chefs reject electric cooking in favor of gas cooking.)

Keep in mind that our ancestors kept in contact with fire on a daily basis. Fire is essential not only in cooking but also for warmth and shelter. We are the only species that has tamed fire (both for creative and for destructive purposes.) Taming fire was the first step in gaining mastery over our natural environment. I feel sorry for those who are cut off from regular contact with fire because of electric stoves and microwave ovens. The long thread of human tradition, based on the use of fire, has been severed. They are like orphans cut off from their moorings and who are adrift in nature.

I advise all students of macrobiotics to master the preparation of brown rice as a first step toward health and freedom. Please be able to make perfect brown rice on a consistent basis. From there, the rest of your cooking will fall into place in a grand symphony of harmony and balance.


Food is Information

Food is Information

by Edward Esko

All food is information. When you put food in your mouth, the mouth is the information-detecting unit. Normally, when most people process information from food, what is the main thing being received, what is the main information? Taste. The information is highly sensorial. Overwhelming pleasure. Because they are taking food with such hyper enhanced taste, sensory pleasure is the limit of their information. Most people like Hagen Daz. Because the information they get from Hagen Daz is overwhelmingly pleasurable. Something like absolute pleasure. And of course people become addicted to that.

At MacDonald’s they perform all kinds of tricks to make their food very satisfying and very addictive. They have entire divisions of people working to make the food have a certain taste, texture, or feel in the mouth. The majority of people are overwhelmed by sensory information when they eat.

How about macrobiotic people? You start to take information beyond the sensory level. All kinds of new information comes in. When you eat brown rice, what kind of information are you getting, besides wonderful taste and wonderful chew ability? If you visit the rice field at South River Miso, Lundberg Farms, or see any whole grain growing in the field, you see they have tiny hairs coming up from each grain. These tiny hairs are called “awns.” They are beautifully delicate hairs. When the grains are growing they function like tiny antenna pointing to the cosmos.
The antennas conduct signals, energy, and information from the cosmos. When you eat brown rice and other whole grains you are receiving cosmic force from the whole universe. Naturally that conditions your thinking, your view. Your view becomes very whole. You see the whole universe. You are able to see the whole picture. Your thinking is not fragmented or partial but holistic and universal.


Like all grains, barley projects antenna-like awns

What happens when you eat a food such as turkey? I have eaten poultry only a half-dozen or so times in the past forty years. On Thanksgiving of last year I went to my son and daughter-in-law’s house for dinner. They are macrobiotic for the most part. My daughter-in-law’s parents came to dinner. They are very nice people. They brought a turkey, probably because they felt sorry for their grandchildren who were being served a largely vegetarian meal. To be polite and sociable and to join in, I decided to try a small piece. I tried to take the smallest piece possible; meanwhile my in-laws were watching and smiling.

As soon as the turkey entered my mouth, information came instantly. Once again the mouth is our information receiver or information-decoding unit. The information I received was one level above the sensory level. The first bit of data, received in nanoseconds, processed beyond the speed of the highest speed computer, was on the emotional level, above that of sensory input. It was an unbelievable feeling of sadness and misery. Why misery? The sensation of misery arose because that creature endured a very miserable life and suffered a very miserable death. (You can confirm that by viewing YouTube videos documenting the conditions in factory farms.) Modern livestock animals are so sick that it requires antibiotics to keep them alive. They are fed hormones to speed growth and are confined in small dark spaces; never seeing the sun.

How does a sick and miserable factory-farmed turkey compare to a wild turkey that roams freely in the wild including on the Kushi Institute property in the Berkshires? The wild turkey is free, vital, and healthy. Even if hunted, the wild turkey is free up until the moment of death, unlike the confined, sick, factory-farmed turkey.

The second bit of information was the sense of the antiseptic conditions that exist in a hospital or an operating room. That sense arose because of the antibiotics being feed to turkey and other livestock as well as the highly toxic chemicals used daily to clean and disinfect the filthy pathological environment of the slaughterhouse.

The third bit of information that came was the knowledge that, when eaten on a regular basis, the hard tough protein and fatty gristle comprising the turkey would lead to the formation of cysts and tumors in the body. These unnatural growths are largely formed by protein and fat. By that time I wanted to spit the turkey out but my in-laws were watching approvingly so I was compelled to finish it. I learned much from that small piece of turkey. Unlike the positive information received from brown rice and other whole grains, the information received from the turkey was completely negative.

What kind of information are many people channeling today? People are receiving this very unhappy, unhealthy, and often violent information. Modern livestock suffer a very violent death. The word “carnivore’ shares the same root as the word “carnage.” This information is very low grade compared to the information received from whole grains and vegetables. What do we see in our world? We see constant war and violence, even in the age of the Internet and technology, which are capable of unifying our world.


Japanese Character “WA”

When we eat grains we channel information from the cosmos. What type of society does grain-eating produce? Far Eastern people gave us a clue with their character for the word “peace.” The character for peace is pronounced “Wa.” It is a combination of characters that represent “cereal grain” and “mouth.” They were telling us that not only do we gain physical, mental, and spiritual health when we eat grain our entire culture becomes peaceful. That is where Michio Kushi’s idea of One Peaceful World originates. Eating grain equals channeling energy and information from the cosmos. As we saw in the essay The Next Twenty Years, as we approach the spiral arm of the galaxy, every day we are receiving stronger and stronger energy. We have the most incredible opportunity to create an amazing spiritual civilization if  we can pass through our current crisis and convince enough people to abandon the current unsustainable diet and way of life and adopt a more sustainable diet and lifestyle.

The most important issue facing us now is to develop the next generation leaders who can guide society into a possible Golden Age. The Golden Age actually means the age of grain. It means grain growing in the fields, or amber waves of grain. The important thing is for all of us to eat grain as our main food and begin channeling the energy and information coming from the galaxy and from the whole universe. That means you can see beyond the immediate world, which is by and large governed by the low-grade unhappy and unhealthy energy and information coming from animal foods. You see beyond into the future and can imagine to where we’re going in the future.

Training the next generation is the primary mission of the Kushi Institute. Our core-training program is known as the Macrobiotic Leadership Program. What does macrobiotic leadership mean? It means people who are eating grains as their main foods and who establish their health and a peaceful mind. Because they are channeling energy from the cosmos, they see the whole view, perceive the peaceful universe as it is, and are able to guide humanity toward the establishment of that peaceful reality on planet earth.



9 Star Ki and the Candidates

High Energy, Low Energy;
Nine Star Ki and the 2016 Presidential Candidates
By Alex Jack

Donald Trump’s jabs at Jeb Bush for being “low energy” and Ben Carson for being “super low energy” in contrast to his own “high energy” during the 2016 presidential campaign mirror their Nine Star Ki or Oriental astrology signs.

Born in 1946, Trump is a 9 Fire, the most dynamic, volcanic, and charismatic of the nine personality types. Like Bill Clinton, another 9 Fire, he is spontaneous, uninhibited, and dramatic—all qualities associated with intense, fire-like energy. The nine energies, including 1 Water, 3 and 4 Tree, 9 Fire, 2, 5, and 8 Soil, and 6 and 7 Metal, represent character types corresponding with stages of change and transformation in the natural world. 9 Fire accords with the intensity of noon or midday in the daily round and with the blazing heat of summer in the annual cycle—two periods of peak activity. 2 Soil corresponds with early afternoon and Indian summer, the siesta times of the day and year. 4 Tree manifests late morning and late spring—bright but slow, gentle time frames.

Born in 1953, Jeb is a 2 Soil, the more thoughtful, quiet, and methodical of the three Soil types. Marco Rubio, another 2 Soil (but of 1971 vintage) is also reserved and caring. He too has also been blasted by Trump for being lackluster. Chris Christie, also a 2 Soil (class of 1962), is the exception that proves the rule. He is loud, bombastic, and bullying. Ben Carson, born in 1951, is a 4 Tree and has a soft, mild-mannered demeanor. He is also a vegetarian, which contributes to his calm persona. The output of all these candidates pales in comparison to Trump’s fiery wattage.

Ted Cruz, born in 1970, is a 3 Tree, corresponding with early morning and early spring. He is very idealistic, but like many of this sign he is zealous, self-righteous, and pushy to the point of being obnoxious.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton, born in 1947, is an 8 Soil, a character type mirroring darkest night and coldest winter. Hers is the most interior, secretive, and penetrating of the nine personality types. She sees into the core, or mystery, of things and often comes up with brilliant solutions akin to the enlightening rays of the dawn or spring equinox.

Curiously, Hillary’s 8 Soil is a more yang, or masculine, energy, while the 2, 4, and 9 energies of most of her male Republican opponents are more yin or primarily feminine. Compared to the leading Republicans, Hillary is more organized, disciplined, and decisive. Her chief Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders, born in 1941, is a 5 Soil, who occupies the center of the Ki or energy flow. 5 Soils are natural born leaders that have the ability to connect with all the other energies. This talent has already enabled him to mount a much stronger campaign than expected. As the central energy, 5 Soils are balanced, combining a mixture of male and female strengths and weaknesses.

The nine energies rotate every year, so that one is in the forefront. 2015 found 3 Tree (early morning and early spring) on center stage, and as a whole last year was one of fresh, bright energy. (President Obama is an archetypical 3 Tree personality, embodying change and innovation.) But 3 Tree is governed by the liver, and 2015 also witnessed more anger, frustration, impatience, and violence than usual on the local, national, and global stages. Think the Paris and San Bernardino terrorist attacks and the influx of Syrian, Afghani, and other refugees into Europe.

As a 9 Fire, Trump was in the 2 Soil house for 2015, a position of steady progress, while Bush, Rubio, and Christie were in 4 Tree, the place of rapid growth and development. Carson was in 6 Metal, the house of authority and prosperity, and for a virtual unknown did remarkably well in relating to GOP primary voters. Cruz was in 5 Soil in the center of the Ki flow, experiencing an up and down year as he gradually assumed stage center.

In the 1 Water spot for the past year, corresponding with night and winter, Hillary could do almost nothing right. Overall, she should have taken a sabbatical in 2015, resting, recuperating, and planning for more active times ahead. The Water position is a period of difficulties and hardships, and Hillary had more than her share last year, especially with the scandal over her emails—a river of hidden data. Bernie was in 7 Metal, corresponding with autumn, and he reaped a rich harvest.

On February 4, 2016, the new Nine Star Ki New Year begins. The Iowa Caucus falls on February 1, so the dynamic of 3 Tree could still play a major influence. Hillary’s sharp decline and Bernie’s rapid advance in January 2016—a double 3 Tree month and year—point to a major upset in Iowa in favor of the Vermont challenger. After February 4, Hillary moves into 2 Soil, the place of slow, steady progress, and should fare better. Bernie moves into 8 Soil for the coming year, the wildcard in the deck. Either he could seize a sudden opportunity and win the nomination, or be derailed by an unexpected illness, accident, scandal, or other crisis.

On the GOP front, Trump moves into 3 Tree in 2016, new beginnings, and is ideally situated to win the nomination. Jeb, Marco, and Chris spiral into the center of the Ki flow in 5 Soil, a very challenging position. They will be sorely tested and either hold the middle ground and consolidate their positions or lose their balance and collapse. Ben moves up to 7 Metal, another practical house, where he will be more social, accessible, and communicative. Ted moves into 6 Metal, a position of strength, power, and one ideally situated to override Trump in 3 Tree.

The New Hampshire primary falls on February 9. Curiously, it is also a double date with 2 Soil moving into the center of the Ki flow for the month and year. Hillary should fare better than before. However, given that New Hampshire borders Bernie’s neighboring Vermont and he has been leading consistently, a decisive primary victory could catapult him into the forntrunners position.

Nine Star Ki reflects tendencies, not certainties. In principle, all of the main candidates still have a chance to shine and realize their dream by harmonizing with the energy flow. By observing their characters, their interrelationships, and the change of the seasons, we can anticipate the course the presidential campaign will take and the eventual nominees.

How To: The NSK year begins on February 4 and ends the following February 3. To find your Nine Star Ki, add up the four digits of your birth year, reduce to a single digit, and subtract from 11. For example, if you were born August 21, 1985, add 1+9+8+5 = 23. 2+3 = 5. 11-5 = 6. You are a 6 Metal. If you were born on January 21, 1985, you are part of the 1984 group and a 7 Metal.

Alex Jack is executive director of Kushi Institute. He teaches planetary medicine and offers personal dietary, health, and way of life guidance, including Nine Star Ki counseling.

Remembering Michio



Book Review by Phiya Kushi

Now available and published by the Kushi Institute is this commemorative book, Remembering Michio with 70 family, friends, and students offering their fondest memories of Michio Kushi resulting in an unparalleled look and insight into the man who changed dietary history, our understanding of food and health, and our relationship with our environment and the cosmos.

Towards the end of his life, I strongly suggested to my father that he write his own autobiography to avoid any future confusion about the details of his life and legacy but he refused to do so.  His own modesty would not allow himself to indulge in such a blatant form of self-promotion.  Instead he suggested to me to write my own version of his life from my own point of view and to let others also write theirs. With this book, his prophetic wisdom proved correct and I cannot imagine any better way to understand his influence and legacy than through the diverse and combined voices of those he so profoundly touched in so many ways. Any biography by a single author could never include the broad range of narratives offered in this collection.

For those who knew Michio well, this is a warm and emotional book that reads like one is sitting around a cozy fire with old friends reminiscing together about the unique and influential person that he was.  For those who never met Michio this book offers eyewitness accounts of an amazing and dedicated man whose knowledge, insight, and abilities seem beyond the scope of any one person.

The book is available now for purchase through the Kushi Store and Amazon. Proceeds will benefit the Kushi Institute tasked with the mission to preserve the legacy and forward the dream and vision of my parents toward creating One Peaceful World through macrobiotics.


Couscous Cake with Dried Fruit Topping

Couscous Cake with Dried Fruit Topping
Jessica indicates in the headnote to her recipe: "Because it is not baked, it is an appropriate dessert for any season and is quite relaxing. The topping on its own makes it a really delicious treat.
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For the cake
  1. 2 cups apple juice
  2. 2 T rice syrup
  3. 1 t vanilla
  4. 1/2 t umeboshi vinegar
  5. 1 cup whole wheat couscous
For the topping
  1. 1 cup dried fruit (prunes, apples, apricots, raisins)
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 2 T rice syrup
  4. 1/2 t vanilla
  5. 1/2 t umeboshi vinegar
  6. 2 strips lemon zest
  7. 1 T kuzu
  8. 1/4 cup water
For couscous cake
  1. Bring apple juice, rice syrup, vanilla, and vinegar to a boil.
  2. Add couscous and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let sit for 20 minutes.
  4. Place the couscous in a 9 in. x 9 in. dish and tamp it down to make the "cake."
For the topping
  1. Soak dried fruit in apple juice for 30 minutes.
  2. Chop soaked fruit into bite-size pieces.
  3. Bring soaked fruit, soaking juice, and water to a boil.
  4. Add rice syrup, umeboshi vinegar, lemon zest and vanilla.
  5. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Dilute kuzu in cold water, mixing well to smooth out any lumps.
  7. Add diluted kuzu into fruit mixture, stirring constantly.
  8. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 minute more.
  9. Remove from heat.
  10. Remove lemon zest from topping.
  11. Spread topping on couscous cake.
  12. Cool and serve.
Adapted from Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics
Adapted from Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics
Kushi Institute

Seed Brittle

Seed Brittle
Serves 15
By using whole grain sweeteners barley malt and rice syrup, this energy snack is much gentler on the body than the usual seed brittle made with corn syrup.
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  1. 1/4 cup raisins
  2. 1/2 cup sunflower seeds - roasted
  3. 1/2 cup silvered almonds - roasted
  4. 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds - roasted
  5. 1/4 cup peanuts - roasted
  6. 1 in. piece of kombu - roasted
  7. 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
  8. 1/4 cup barley malt
  9. 1 T all-fruit preserves
  10. 2 t tahini
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roast seeds and nuts on sheet tray until golden - check frequently and be careful not to burn.
  2. Place kombu in an unoiled skillet over medium heat. Stir the kombu until it becomes very crisp.. Transfer the roasted kombu into a bowl or a suribachi (Japanese grinding bowl), and grind the kombu into a fine powder.
  3. Add rice syrup and barley malt to a saucepan over high heat. When mixture starts to bubble, turn down heat to a gentle simmer stirring constantly. When mixture starts to thicken, add fruit preserves and continue stirring until fruit puree completely blended in. Lastly, add tahini and wisk it in quickly until blended and quickly remove saucepan from heat.
  4. Add roasted seeds and nuts to saucepan and stir in.
  5. Place parchment paper on a sheet tray and with an oiled spatula (do not over-oil), spread mixture onto the parchment and smooth out with spatula.
  6. Cool 30 minutes and then break into serving size pieces.
Kushi Institute

Miso Soup w/ Daikon, Shiitake & Greens

Miso Soup w/ Daikon, Shiitake & Greens
Miso Soup with Diakon, Shiitake & Greens
Extremely beneficial to our health, this savory soup is recommended to be incorporated daily in our diet and made fresh every day.
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  1. 2 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked for 10 minutes and thinly sliced
  2. 1/2 cup daikon, thinly sliced
  3. 1/2 to 1 inch piece of dried wakame, soaked for 5 minutes and cut into small pieces
  4. 2 cups water (includes the shiitake soaking water)
  5. 1-2 t miso
  6. chopped scallions, parsley or watercress for garnish
  1. Add shiitake and wakame to a pot of fresh cold water together with shiitake soaking water. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add daikon to the boiling broth, reduce flame to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes until soft.
  3. In a bowl, dilute miso with a little broth. Add to pot and simmer 3-4 minutes on a low flame. Once miso is added, do not boil the soup; just let it simmer.
  4. Serve in bowls and garnish with freshly chopped scallions, parsley or watercress.
  1. For daily cooking, barley miso that has aged for at least 18 months and preferably for 2-3 years is most suitable. A lighter brown rice miso is good for occasional use. Mellow, white, or light colored miso is recommended for every day use since they are usually aged only for a short time and the salt is too raw.
  2. The seasoning should be mild and flavorful, not too salty. Use 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of miso per cup of liquid.
  3. Vary the type of vegetables you use every day. Regularly add fresh greens (such as daikon tops, kale, collards, and Chinese cabbage.)
Kushi Institute

Pinto Bean Stew

Pinto Bean Stew
Pinto Bean Stew
Serves 4
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  1. 1 cup dry pinto beans – soaked overnight in 4 cups of water, rinse and add 3 cups of water to the soaked beans
  2. 1 inch piece kombu
  3. 2 bay leaves
  4. 2 onions – cut in medium small dice
  5. 2 cups sweet winter squash or carrots – cut in medium dice
  6. ½ cup celery – cut in small dice, reserve any fresh looking leaves from the celery to use as a garnish
  7. ¼ cup fresh cilantro – wash, dry and roughly chopped
  8. 2-3 cloves garlic – crushed
  9. 1 T fresh ginger – peeled and minced
  10. ½ - 1 t Chipotle powder
  11. ½ t dried Oregano
  12. ½ t Cumin seed powder
  13. 1 t Coriander seed powder
  14. ¼ tsp sea salt
  15. Extra virgin olive oil
  16. Shoyu natural soy sauce - to taste
  1. Bring the pinto beans to boil in a pressure cooker with the kombu and the bay leaves, simmer for 10 minutes with the lid off, skimming off any foam that appears. Then put the lid on and pressure cook for 30 minutes. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, use a heavy pan with lid and cook until tender but not mushy.
  2. While the beans are cooking, heat 1 T olive oil in a sauté pan and sauté the onions for a few minutes. Add in the garlic, ginger and spices and continue sautéing.
  3. Add the winter squash or carrots, a pinch of salt to the sauté pan and sauté a little more.
  4. Once the vegetables are nicely sautéed, turn off the heat until the beans are ready.
  5. When the beans are ready, add them to the veggies and let the mixture cook together for another 10-15 minutes with about ¼ t sea salt.
  6. During the last few minutes, add the celery and a dash of shoyu.
  7. Garnish each serving with celery leaves and fresh cilantro. Enjoy!
Kushi Institute

Savory Barley Mushroom Soup

This rich and hearty soup is a recipe we use in our Macrobiotic Leadership Program. “Hulled” barley provides a more delicious, hearty taste and greater nutrition than “pearled” barley. With pearled barley, like white rice, the outer layers of the grain which contain the most nutrients plus fiber are polished off.  Unlike pearled barley, hulled barley is a considered a whole grain meaning that all parts of the grain are intact.  



  • 1/2 cup hulled barley, rinsed and soaked 7 hours or overnight
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 5 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked for 10-15 min., stems removed, sliced thin
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 5-6 cups water (include soaking water)
  • 1/4-1/2 t sea salt
  • 1-1 1/2 T sweet white miso
  • parsley, chopped for garnish


  • Place soaked barley and water in a pot.  Bring to boil, reduce flame to low, and simmer covered for 25 minutes.
  • Taste to see if barley is tender.  Simmer long if necessary.  Note:  barley will remain more chewy in texture than brown rice.
  • When barley is cooked, add celery and diluted miso.  Simmer another 5 min.
  • Garnish and serve.
  • ENJOY!

Dandelion Condiment

Dandelion Condiment
Dandelion Condiment
This condiment is a tasty accompaniment to whole grains. Dandelions are nourishing to the liver. This condiment is beneficial in the spring when the liver is most active.
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  1. 1 yellow onion, small dice
  2. 1 bunch dandelion greens, trimmed and finely chopped
  3. 1-2 t light sesame oil
  4. 2 T tahini
  5. 1 T chickpea or white miso
  1. Heat sesame oil in small saute pan to medium high.
  2. Saute the onion until softened and translucent. Add the dandelion greens and saute for a few more minutes.
  3. Add 1/3 cup water to pan. Cover and simmer until greens are tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add tahini and miso to pan and stir until well blended.
  5. Simmer for another minute. Remove from heat and enjoy!
  1. Kushi Executive Chef Simone Parris [@simoneskitchen8] contributed this recipe. Simone has been cooking for twenty years in many different capacities. Her passion is to create balanced, wholesome cuisine using the freshest organic ingredients, emphasizing grains, beans, sea and land vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Simone’s culinary experience includes catering, retreats, special events, and personal chefing for clients who want to experience a healthy way of eating and living.
Kushi Institute

Sweet Corn Tamales

Sweet Corn Tamales
Sweet Corn Tamales
Kushi Executive Chef Simone Parris [@simoneskitchen8] contributed this recipe. Simone has been cooking for twenty years in many different capacities. Her passion is to create balanced, wholesome cuisine using the freshest organic ingredients, emphasizing grains, beans, sea and land vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Simone’s culinary experience includes catering, retreats, special events, and personal chefing for clients who want to experience a healthy way of eating and living.
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For the tamales
  1. 24 corn husks
For the tamale dough
  1. 3 1/2 cups organic masa harina
  2. 2 cups fresh or frozen organic sweet corn
  3. 1 t sea salt
  4. 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  5. water, enough for consistent doughy feel
For the filling
  1. 2 yellow onions, small dice
  2. 1 cup burdock, small dice
  3. 2 cups carrots, small dice
  4. 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  5. 1 T Shoyu (natural soy sauce)
For the tamales
  1. Soak tamales in tepid water overnight.
For the tamale dough
  1. Combine all tamale dough ingredients and set aside.
For the tamale filling
  1. Add olive oil to a sauté pan, heat to medium and sauté first the burdock followed by onions. Saute a few minutes until onions translucent. Add a pinch of salt, a little water, cover pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Add shoyu and remove pan from heat.
For assembly
  1. Take a 1/3 cup of tamale dough and roll into a smooth ball. Place in one palm and gently flatten into a rectangular shape. Spoon about 1-2 T tamale filling into the center of your dough and close dough around it.
  2. Wrap each of your tamale dough shapes with two corn husks and tie with cotton string to hold together.
To cook tamales
  1. Place assembled tamales in a steamer and steam for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Check to see if done. Enjoy with your favorite toppings or condiments!
  1. You will need two corn husks per tamale and depending on the size of your tamale, you should be able to make about 12 from this recipe. You can purchase corn husks from a Hispanic market.
Kushi Institute

Delicious Sesame Seed Dressing!

This recipe results in a rich, slightly salty dressing.  It’s delicious on cooked vegetables and raw salads and pretty much anything else!

toasted sesame seed dressing 2


  • 1 1/2 cups raw hulled white sesame seeds
  • 2 bunches scallions, sliced in rings
  • 1/2 cup umeboshi vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water


  • Toast sesame seeds in a skillet on medium to high heat.  Seeds are toasted when they begin to pop.  Watch skillet carefully and move seeds with a wooden spoon so they don’t burn.  
  • Add all ingredients to blender and blend until liquified.
  • Taste for flavor and add scallions and vinegar, to taste.  Add more water if necessary for a creamy consistency.

Note:  It’s helpful to have toasted sesame seeds on hand.  You can store them in a glass container.  They can be used in a variety of dishes or for garnish.  The umeboshi vinegar gives this dish a salty flavor.  Its has a distinct flavor, so add moderately and taste as you go.  



Macro Deviled “Eggs” Appetizer

Impress your in-laws at the next family gathering with this amazing recipe!  Contributed by Mirea Ellis.

  • Serves 16 (or more)macro deviled eggs


  • 1/2 lb. lotus seeds (about 65 seeds)
  • 4t Eden brand yellow mustard
  • 2T dill pickle juice (organic and unpasteurized)
  • 2T rice syrup
  • 2T rice vinegar
  • 8 small to medium yellow onions
  • 2T yellow onion, minced
  • 1t paprika


  • For lotus seeds:
    • Soak lotus seeds for 6 hours (minimum).  
    • Place lotus seeds along with their soaking water to a pressure cooker.  Water level should be 1 in. higher than seeds.  Add water if necessary.  Bring to pressure and cook for 1/2 hour.  [Alternatively, you can simmer seeds for 1 hour, adding water if necessary to keep seeds covered.  Tilt lid slightly to release steam so liquid does not foam over.]
    • Strain seeds with a strainer or colander and place in a bowl to cool.  
    • Place seeds in food processor with yellow mustard, pickle juice, rice syrup, and rice vinegar.  4t Eden brand yellow mustard.
  • For egg whites:
    • Add water to pot and insert steamer basket [water level should not rise above basket], cover and bring to a boil.
    • Cut onions in half lengthwise.  Remove skins while trying to keep root intact [this will keep the onion intact.]
    • Make a hollow in each onion half:  make a small horizontal line on both top and bottom of onion [flat side], do not cut all the way through – outside layers should remain intact.  Scoop out with a paring knife.  
    • Place onions halves flat side down in the steamer basket.  Steam for 15 min.  You may have to batch them unless you have a really big steamer basket!!
    • Remove onions when cooked to a plate, flat side down.
  • For assembling both:
    • Turn onions until flat side up.  Spoon lotus seeds into each onion half, being careful to keep filling in the hollow for a neat look.
    • Sprinkle each onion half with minced onion and paprika.  




Visiting South River Miso

We are fortunate to be close enough to take Kushi Institute Level students for a visit to South River Miso to see how miso is made. Below Kushi Associate Director Ed Esko writes about a recent trip. 

– – – – – – – –

south river miso

In May, a group of students from the Level I Leadership Program and I took a tour of the South River Miso Company located nearby in Conway, Mass. South River has been producing high quality handcrafted organic miso for over twenty years.

Founder, Christian Elwell guided our group on a tour of the facility. Aside from traditional barley and brown rice miso, Christian introduced the students to several new varieties developed uniquely at South River, including chickpea and azuki bean. He explained the process of making miso from beginning to end, and how miso is a living food and an essential part of a healthful diet.

Growing Rice in Massachusetts!

A high point of the tour was when Christian told the group about his success in growing rice on the property. Beginning with rice seeds from Ukraine, Christian has succeeded in planting and harvesting a small plot of organic rice. I had the opportunity to taste the South River rice on a previous visit and can vouch for the fact that it was quite delicious.

Christian explained how the rice paddy is a complete eco-system, home to a myriad of life forms, from dragon flies to tiny frogs. Everyone was inspired by the creativity, commitment to the health of our planet, and harmony with nature exemplified by South River Miso.

Originally published on our site – 6/12/13 – Kushi Library & Resources-Articles.  Republished 11/13/15.




This delicious way of preparing cabbage is believed to have originated in Mongolia and spread to the West. Like numa pickles, sauerkraut may be prepared in large quantities in a wooden keg or ceramic crock.
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  1. 5 lbs. cabbage, very thinly shredded
  2. 1/3 cup sea salt
  1. Put the shredded cabbage in bowl. Add the sea salt and massage well until water is released.
  2. Transfer to a wooden keg or ceramic crock.
  3. Place a wooden disk or plate on top of the cabbage.
  4. Place one or several clean rocks or another heavy weight on top of the plate or disk to supply pressure on the cabbage.
  5. The water level in the crock should rise up to or above the plate or disk within 10-20 hours. If the fluid level exceeds the disk, reduce some of the pressure. If not enough water comes out, add a little more salt or increase the weight on top.
  6. Keep in a cool dark place for 1 1/2 to 2 weeks.
  7. Check the sauerkraut every day.
  8. If mold starts to form on top, remove and discard it at once before it spreads and spoils the whole batch.
  9. Before eating, rinse the kraut with cold water.
  10. It will keep stored in a container with its juice for a week or more in the refrigerator.
Kushi Institute

Cucumber Dill Pickles

Cucumber Dill Pickles
Cucumber Dill Pickles
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  1. 5 pickling cucumbers (Kirby)
  2. 3 bay leaves
  3. 4 cups water
  4. 1/2 stalk fresh dill
  5. 1/3 cup sea salt
  6. 1-3 raw cabbage leaves
  1. Bring water and salt to boil in a pot. Simmer until salt is fully dissolved. Cool.
  2. Cut cucumbers in quarter length pieces and let them dry for a few hours in a bamboo strainer or collander.
  3. Place cucumbers, dill, and bay leaves in a jar.
  4. Add salt water and cover with a cheesecloth or raw cabbage leaves.
  5. Keep in a cool place for a few days and then place in refrigerator.
  6. Pickles will be ready in about a week.
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Sachi’s French Lentil Pate

Sachi’s French Lentil Pate
Sachi's French Lentil Pate
A recipe typical of foods enjoyed in France post World War II. Featured in Amberwaves & Macrobiotic Path, Autumn 2015.
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  1. 1 cup dry French lentils
  2. 1 cup walnuts
  3. 1 T olive oil
  4. 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  5. 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1/4 t sea salt
  7. 6 medium shitake mushrooms, sliced
  8. 1-2 t white miso
  9. 1 t ume paste
  10. 1 t dried basil
  11. 3 T fresh parsley, minced for garnish
  1. 1. Sort and wash lentils. Place them in a saucepan and cover them with water - up to 1/2 in.
  2. 2. Bring to a boil, skim off white foam that forms on surface.
  3. 3. Cover the pot and simmer until lentils are cooked, about 35-45 min.
  4. 4. Drain lentils and set aside.
  5. 5. Saute onion and garlic in oil and sea salt until onions are translucent.
  6. 6. Add shitake mushrooms and sautee another 5 min. Set aside to cool.
  7. 7. In a small skillet, toast walnuts until they become crispy and light golden in color. Be careful not to burn. Set aside to cool.
  8. 8. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
  9. 9. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  10. 10. Garnish with fresh parsley.
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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.
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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
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

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.


Bettina’s Blueberry Tart

Blueberry Tart with Cashew Cream
Serves 6
Bettina Zumdick, Kushi Institute teacher and counselor, has been involved in Macrobiotics for over twenty-five years. A native of the Baltic Sea area in Germany, she studied food science at the University of Muenster. Bettina has taught Macrobiotics and other mind-body-spirit related topics such as meditation, Tao Yin Yoga and chanting throughout Europe and the United States. Enjoy this refreshing dessert courtesy of Bettina. Learn more about Bettina at
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  1. 1 ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  2. 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  3. ¼ cup sunflower seed oil
  4. ½ cup maple syrup
  5. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  6. ½ teaspoon almond extract
  7. ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. 2 cups organic apple juice
  2. pinch of salt
  3. 1 tablespoon agar flakes
  4. 1 tablespoon kuzu, diluted in 2 tablespoons of water
  5. ¼ cup rice syrup or maple syrup
  6. ½ pint fresh blueberries (or other seasonal berries like strawberries, raspberries or pitted cherries)
  7. fresh mint leaves for garnish
For the Crust
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.
  2. Lightly oil a tart pan or line with parchment paper.
  3. In separate bowls, mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients. Next, gently whisk the wet ingredients into the dry mixture until the dough forms a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to approximately 1/8 inch thickness. Transfer the dough into the tart pan, cutting off excess dough around the edges. Bake for 5 to 12 minutes or until the dough is golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
For the Filling
  1. Place apple juice, salt, agar flakes and rice syrup in a saucepan. Turn on heat and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally and boil until agar flakes are dissolved. Add diluted kuzu, stirring constantly to prevent lumping. Simmer until thickened. Stir in blueberries. Remove from heat and pour over pre-baked crust. Refrigerate to set filling. Garnish with mint leaves.
Find more dessert recipes in Bettina's book
  1. 10 Delicious Desserts for All Occasions
Adapted from 10 Delicious Desserts for All Occasions
Kushi Institute

María José Colás Martínez Testimonial

IMG-20150407-WA0008Macrobiotic Leadership Program: Level I-IV Student Testimonial

María José Colás Martínez, April to July 2015

I first heard about Macrobiotics through my aunt. My aunt started to go to a Macrobiotic doctor in Spain. He studied macrobiotics with George Ohsawa (founder of Macrobiotics) and western medicine. He helped my aunt to stay in shape and have a successful pregnancy. She maintained her weight and had a lovely child.

In University, I studied chemical engineering. I started working in this field but always remembered the natural path that my aunt introduced me to. I worked for a cosmetics company, petrochemical company and also trading import and export from China and Spain. My job gave me the opportunity to live in China for two years. While in China, I became sick and couldn’t breathe very well. I went to see a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor. This experience gave me great insight to more of what natural healing can do. After one week I was feeling perfectly fine.

Later on back in Spain, I was walking to my office one day and I felt that this was not theIMAG0260 right job for me and realized I needed to change my life. I wasn’t happy and knew I should be. I always wanted to do something related with the natural health field, so I decided to open an organic shop. My shop, Purusha, has been running for almost a year now. While working with my customers I realized I had a lack of knowledge around food and nutrition. I made an appointment with the doctor that had treated my aunt a long time ago. I wanted to learn for myself more about his Macrobiotic education. In the short time of meeting with him, he amazed and inspired me. He made me think that this is what I want to do with my life. Right away I started doing a bit of research and I found out the Kushi Institute (KI) in Becket, MA is where to get first hand information on macrobiotics. I set my goal to go study at the KI. My plan is to help people to live a better and more complete life through diet and lifestyle by following Macrobiotic principles. Amazing! Here I am studying at the KI and will complete the Macrobiotic Leadership Program, Levels I through III, and two weeks of the Level IV program. I hope to become the best counselor, chef and teacher that I can possibly be when I get back to Valencia, Spain.




Tribute to Shizuko Yamamoto

By Patricio Garcia de Paredes


I met Shizuko Yamamoto in the late 1970s in Spain. She had come to Barcelona to teach macrobiotics and shiatsu. My mother, Luisa Baranda, was one of the persons who organized her trip and she stayed at my house. In those days in Spain we still had not much contact with oriental culture and with people from Asia. So for her to stay in my house was both exiting and intriguing. Although I was just a kid at the time, her presence made a strong impression on me that I can still remember to this day. She was kind and considerate, yet strong and sharp. And in my view she embodied many of the qualities that I had created in my mind about what a person of wisdom and deep understanding of life from the far-east would be like. At the same time Shizuko was a very practical person and her unique down-to-earth style of teaching was very well received. She influenced many people’s lives and now in Spain and throughout Europe shiatsu has become very popular thanks to her pioneering work.

Among the most inspiring aspects about Shizuko was her own life story. She was a living example of how we can transform difficulties into possibilities and change suffering into happiness. Following World War II in Japan food was scarce and malnutrition widespread. To remedy the situation, the Allied occupation forces introduced milk and meat along with modern nutritional ideas about the importance of animal protein and calcium to develop strong, healthy bodies. It was believed at the time that the small size of the Japanese people was due to the nutritional inadequacy of the traditional Japanese diet, particularly lack of meat, milk and dairy products. Parents were encouraged to feed their children as much meat and milk as possible so that they would grow more big and strong. So while growing up Shizuko became an avid meat eater and she was even awarded as The Best Grown Child in her elementary school. However, that way of eating weakened her health and at the age of 21 she was diagnosed with leukemia. She also had vision and eye problems and went through 10 operations to correct her eyesight. She spent 3 years in and out of hospitals. After the hospital trauma, she stayed at home, almost hiding out from social activities for more than eight years. At one point she became determined to change her life and regain her health, so she began to look for alternatives.

While living with her parents in Tokyo, Shizuko was introduced to shiatsu (Japanese style of finger-pressure massage). There was an older woman, a shiatsu practitioner, who came to her home to give her parents shiatsu treatments. Originally she was not attracted to shiatsu and rejected the idea of other oriental healing arts. In those days in Japan people were educated to follow the western ways and shiatsu was looked upon as something backwards and unscientific. As a result many of the traditional cultural and healing arts were banned and just a few licensed practitioners were permitted to treat with shiatsu and only when they practiced within private homes. However, besides her eye problems, she also experienced pain on her neck and stiff shoulders, so she decided to receive shiatsu. And because it felt good and relived her pain, she began to study and practice various oriental ways of developing health and achieving well-being.

The first step began by reading a book on yoga and attending yoga classes which triggered other changes in her way of life. She also learned about macrobiotics and began to make dietary changes by centering her way of eating on brown rice, local vegetables, beans and bean products, sea vegetables and other plant foods and stopped eating meat and sugar. Every day she exercised a lot, went for walks and began to meditate. She would open the windows, let fresh air in and practice breathing exercises. Practically her whole life went through a whole transformation and within one month she already began feeling much better.

As time passed and her health recovered she felt drawn to begin helping other people. This sympathetic feeling towards helping others has been the foundation and driving force of what eventually would become her dream and life work. She first began to teach yoga and other corrective exercises at a training center. As she worked with people she realized that although the problems differed and the symptoms appeared to be different, they all shared the same origin. For example everyone followed unbalanced ways of eating and did not know how to move or breathe correctly. So everyone would get better by improving dietary habits and correcting breathing and movement exercises. This proved to her that if you make dietary changes and lifestyle adjustments you can get good results to strengthen and possibly recover health. For those students that would need extra help, she would she would give them shiatsu. She also started to try new techniques and began to use not just her hands and fingers to apply pressure but also her feet which later developed and evolved into a new style of barefoot shiatsu. In addition she also found out that yoga was very useful combined with shiatsu.

While helping people, she continued to study and integrate other natural and traditional healing and self-development arts including seitai (a system of guided self-corrective exercises), reiki (a form of palm healing), acupuncture, and aikido, many of which had been driven underground. Through her own experience and by integrating many different techniques and approaches, eventually she began to develop her own, original way of helping people. This included a well-balanced macrobiotic way of eating coupled with corrective exercises and shiatsu, which were to become the three main pillars of her unique approach to help individuals regain better health and alleviate their suffering. She then went on to develop a holistic beauty school where people could learn about macrobiotics, cooking, yoga and other corrective exercises, receive shiatsu and develop natural physical and mental beauty from within.

George and Lima Ohsawa

George and Lima Ohsawa

During those years, Shizuko had been studying macrobiotics with George and Lima Ohsawa, the founders and main proponents of modern macrobiotics. In 1965, after returning from a trip around the world, George Ohsawa called Shizuko and suggested to her to go to the United States to help spread macrobiotics in the west. At the beginning she hesitated because she had just started her holistic beauty school. But George continued to encourage her and after some consideration, she decided to take the challenge. She began to work on her visa with the help of Michio Kushi who was her sponsor in the United States and selling all her clothes and everything she owned to raise money. While Shizuko was making preparations of what would be an epic journey, in a curious twist of fate both her mother and her mentor George Ohsawa passed away. At Ohsawa’s funeral his friend Morihei Ueshiba, the creator of aikido as its known today, encouraged her in her journey to the West.


Morihei Ueshiba

Arriving in America in 1966, Shizuko went to work initially as a private macrobiotic cook and guide to Hollywood movie star Gloria Swanson and her husband-to-be William Duffy. Swanson was the first actress to utilize her fame to campaign against crop spraying back in the 1920s. Both Swanson and Duffy were very influential promoting dietary changes in a more natural, healthy macrobiotic orientation. Duffy wrote Sugar Blues and Lady Sings the Blues, two controversial books that contributed to raise awareness about the harmfulness of sugar. Later she worked in a macrobiotic restaurant. While working at the restaurant some employees would complain about stiff neck and shoulders and she would work on them for a few minutes. Eventually by word of the mouth she began to make a living from giving shiatsu.

 eu a aprender com Shizuko Yamamoto 1986 Kiental Sui--at_shizuko_6_329Little by little Shizuko was invited to give talks on Eastern traditional healing methods and demonstrate techniques. She also met with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who came to learn for years to learn about macrobiotics and also to receive treatments. Yoko and John introduced Shizuko to many influential people in New York, including John Cage, the dancer Merce Cunningham, actors Irma Paule and Mary Steenburg, Ted Danson and many senators. With a little help from her friends and clients along with some donations, she was able to establish the Macrobiotic Center of New York on a shoestring and was the president from 1970 to 1990. She would work seven days a week teaching, counseling and sometimes treating ten people a day. Since many Americans had large bodies with stiff muscles due to eating more meat and animal food, she began to use more her feet and elbows in addition to her hands. She would also teach at Michio and Aveline Kushi’s house in Boston and later at the Kushi Institute to many students.


(L to R) Shizuko Yamamoto, Aveline Kushi, Michio Kushi, William Duffy and Cecile Levin

Shizuko Yamamoto gave seminars and workshops throughout the United States, Europe, Cuba, and her native Japan. Her influential work has inspired countless individuals around the world. And she has personally counseled, treated and guided thousands of individuals towards better health and happiness, including many celebrities and influential people such as Dr. Benjamin Spock. She is recognized as one of the pioneer shiatsu teachers in the West and leading shiatsu practitioners in the world. She was the creator of Barefoot Shiatsu and Macrobiotic Shiatsu styles. To further world-wide communication in the natural healing field, she initiated the International Macrobiotic Shiatsu Society. She has authored several books including Barefoot Shiatsu, The Shiatsu Handbook, 20-Minute Shiatsu, and Whole Health Shiatsu. Her books have been translated into seven languages. In Shizuko’s words she concludes simply by saying that: “The essence of shiatsu is love, which is infinitely available.”








She was also an accomplished macrobiotic cooking instructor and has lectured and written widely on the importance of a natural, balanced way of eating for personal as well as for family health. Commenting on macrobiotics, she mentioned that “As long as you are determined to change your life, the practice of macrobiotics itself is easy and fun.”

Shizuko Yamamoto taught that to fundamentally change for the better we must learn from nature and develop a way of life in harmony with nature. She often would say that “We are one with nature,” based on the oriental concept of “shin-do-fuji.” Throughout her life she promoted organic foods and sustainable farming. She also realized through her own experience that in order to create a better world we need to begin by changing ourselves from within. By improving our health and looking at life in a positive way. This then would influence our family and reverberate in society. Now shiatsu and macrobiotics continues to grow and is sought after by many people around the world. Shizuko continued to teach, guide people and spread her message until late in her eighties even after losing most of her vision. She will be remembered by many as an outstanding teacher and a compassionate person who tirelessly dedicated her life toward helping other fellow human beings. May her life work be a source of inspiration to us all and her dream continue to influence humanity for many generations to come.


 0089Patricio Garcia de Paredes

Patricio was introduced to macrobiotics at the age of five by his mother, Luisa Baranda, in his native Spain. After completing studies at the Kushi Institute, he began to give cooking classes and teach in Southeast Asia, South America, and Spain. In 1998 he moved to Japan and was executive chef at Kushi Garden and Chaya Macrobiotic Restaurant. Besides developing macrobiotic restaurants, he also maintained educational activities including giving cooking classes, presenting lectures, and publishing macrobiotic cookbooks. Presently he is the Education Director at the Kushi Institute of Japan. He currently resides in Japan with his wife, four daughters and one son.




Christina Pirello’s Italian Nut Cookies

FullSizeRenderWe were so thrilled to have Christina and Robert Pirello join us at the Kushi Institute this Spring. Christina was a wonderful faculty addition to our Macrobiotic Leadership Program (we are looking forward to having her as guest faculty for a few days in September for Level 1). She also kicked off our 1st Saturday Seasonal Cooking with some very delicious recipes!


Christina Pirello’s Italian Nut Cookies with Chocolate Glaze
Makes about 24 cookies

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup semolina flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch sea salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick Earth Balance baking sticks
½ cup brown rice syrup
3 tablespoons coconut sugar granules
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts

chocolate glaze
¼ cup unsweetened almond or oat milk
3 tablespoons brown rice syrup
1 cup non-dairy, dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350o and line a baking sheet with parchment.
Whisk together flour, semolina, cinnamon, salt, cocoa powder and baking powder and soda. Whip Earth Balance, syrup, coconut sugar and vanilla. Fold into flour mixture to form a soft, formable dough. Fold in nuts. Using moist hands, form dough into 1-inch spheres and arrange on baking sheet.

Bake until cookies are just firm, but still slightly soft, 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Make the glaze by placing almond milk and rice syrup in a small saucepan and bringing to a high boil. Pour over chocolate and whisk to form a smooth, satin-like glaze.

Slip a piece of parchment paper under the rack of cookies. Spoon glaze over each one, letting the glaze run over the sides. Allow to stand, undisturbed, until glaze begins to set. Transfer to a serving platter.  

Cook’s Tip: These cookies will keep, in a sealed container for several days.


Yesenia Saad’s Fibromyalgia Recovery

photoI was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2011. I was struggling, feeling very fatigued. I had insomnia for many months and then became depressed. My body was sore 24/7 and I usually woke up tired, experiencing a lot of headaches and anxiety during the night.  Many people told me to start working out, but I already had a very active lifestyle. I went through 4 different anti-depressant treatments. I also took Xanax and Lyrica for the pain, but it didn’t help me. Experiencing Fibromyalgia caused me to stay in bed for about 4 to 6 months. This affected all of my relationships. At one point, I felt that cancer would be better than Fibromyalgia.
Two years after being on this medicine, I talked with one of my best friends, Salvatore Luccherino. At the time he had a Macrobiotic B&B in Portugal and currently is selling organic tempeh ( Salvatore started talking to me about how the Macrobiotic diet could help with Fibromyalgia. I felt so inspired after talking with him that I booked a ticket to Portugal to learn from him in person. I stayed with Salvatore for 2 weeks while he cooked for me and showed me how to start eating a Macrobiotic diet.
While I was in Portugal, I had a macrobiotic consultation with Francisco Varatojo who owns a Macrobiotic center in Portugal, ( Francisco saw that my consumption of animal products was very high and recommended that I adjust my diet. After only 2 weeks of eating a macrobiotic diet, my body started to react in a positive way. My energy returned. I finally started smiling again and felt like I was my healthy self again. I was happy, living without pain and sleeping perfectly. After 4 months, I stopped taking all of my medicine for Fibromyalgia . It has now been 2 ½ years since practicing Macrobiotics and after seeing all of the positive changes in my body, I decided to open a wellness center. I now help people and plan to continue to spread the incredible benefits of Macrobiotics.

I attended the Healthy Weight Loss Program in March 2014 to get introduced to the Kushi Institute. I have come back to take the Macrobiotic Leadership Program, Level 1. I will be graduating next Friday from the program and will return to finish Level 2, 3 and 4 to further develop my skills. My goal and dream is to open up a healing center in Miami, Florida.

I believe everything happens for a reason, I wasn’t expecting to be ill, but I know from my recovery experience that I can help others with Fibromyalgia and other conditions from all that I’ve learned.

Please feel to contact me directly to learn more about my story at

Attended the Following Kushi Institute Programs:
Healthy Weight Loss 3/30/2014
Macrobiotic Leadership Program, Level 1 3/29 – 4/25, 2015


Gwen Burton’s Harvest Romance…

Macrobiotic Leadership Program

Spotlight: Gwen Burton, Current Level 3 Student

Gwen Burton is a champion of home-cooking, healthy food, and eco-friendly living. As the creator and publisher of Brown Rice Magazine, she has worked to make macrobiotic and plant-based cuisine appealing, relevant, and fun for the modern urban dweller. Gwen embodies and lives the values that she shares with her readers: synchronicity with the natural world, practicing devotion and concentration at every opportunity, and finding humor and beauty in all aspects of life. She draws on her five years of macrobiotic practice, as well as her education from the Kushi Institute and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in order to help clients feel their best, realize their dreams, and maximize their potential to see them through. Gwen tutors individuals to hone their healthy home cooking, coaches clients to achieve wellness and peace in all aspects of life, performs private chef services, and regularly offers group workshops on fermentation throughout NYC.

Click here to check out Gwen Burton’s Harvest Romance Yoga Pose Tutorial and begin harvesting some love in your life!