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Getting Started with Whole Foods and Macrobiotic Cooking

Everything you need to know to get started in whole foods and macrobiotic cooking: basic concepts, ingredients, and a glossary of commonly used foods and terms.

The Dirty Dozen and The Fresh Fifteen
To be, or not to be? Organic, or not organic? Some fruits and vegetables are traditionally very low in pesticides and can be purchased from a "conventionally grown" source. Others, like berries and apples and greens, are particularly vulnerable to poisons. What should you buy organic? What is safe from a conventional grower?

The Foods of Fall: Local, Seasonal Whole Foods Recipes
Autumn means apples, pears, squash, pumpkins, mushrooms, brussels sprouts, root veggies and what we call "earth colors": yellows, oranges, reds and browns are abundant in the plant kingdom this time of year. The following are recipes for this wonderfully earthy time of year. Happy cooking!

Seasonal Cleansing: Preparing Our Bodies for Transition
As each season shifts into the next, we can support our bodies by gently cleansing our energetic pathways. Blood, digestion, elimination all need attention, much in the same way we tune up our cars, change the oil, and ensure that all the fluids are adequate.

Genetically Modified Organisms: What is GMO Food Doing to Us?
As a holistic nutritionist I have been struck by the radical increase in immune, gastrointestinal, and fertility issues that seemingly healthy people are presenting in my office. Over and over again I have educated clients that “convenience” in food has a very high price tag attached to it, and that ultimately the cost of local and organic food...

Navigating the Holiday Food Circuit:
The average American consumes an extra 600 calories per day between Thanksgiving and New Year's, which can translate into pounds and inches. By the time 5 weeks pass, we have effectively created new -and unhealthy- eating habits, and are faced with an uphill climb to undo the damage. So what might happen if we decided to "pick our poison"?

The GMO Maelstrom of 2011
In the maelstrom of activity surrounding the Organic Consumer Alliance’s (OCA) incendiary accusation that the CEOs of Whole Foods (WF), Stonyfield Farm and Organic Valley (OV) collectively caved in to Monsanto, I received communications from both Organic Valley and Stonyfield Farms asking for fair airtime on their side of the story.

The Evolving Paleo Diet
The paleo diet is nothing new. In some form or another, it's been around for about 200,000 years as humans existed in a nomadic, hunter-gatherer manner. Pre-agricultural humans ate animal food, roots, wild plants, nuts and seeds. Fruits were an occasional food; present in the diet, they occupied a minority space based on seasonal gathering and drying.

The Five Elements: The Water or Kidney Element
Winter governs the water element, or Zhi. It is the dormant season, when all life force burrows deep in the bosom of the earth. It is a gestational time of replenishing the wellspring of life so that when spring comes, the gathering energy will burst forth with new growth.

Vegan Egg Substitutes and Replacers
Many of my clients have asked for alternatives to egg and dairy for baking projects, and egg substitutions top the list. Different recipes require various approaches; not all substitutes work interchangeably. Some replacements work for cookies and bars, others are good for the lighter batters of cakes and quick breads. Still others can also...

Staying Healthy in Unhealthy Times; A Survival Guide to the Cold and F
A big buzz in health care these days is the H1N1 swine flu. How can we be proactive about caring for ourselves and our families during what may be a volatile flu season. This guide gives suggestions for herbal and dietary protocols that can help us stay healthy during the cold and flu season. for colds and fly

A Whole Foods Diet: The Why and The How
Moving towards a whole foods diet, and learning about whole foods cooking are two crucial steps towards creating -and maintaining- our long term health.

The 5 Elements: The Wood or Liver Element
Spring marks a miraculous bursting of energy and carries with it the energy of wood. Sap, which is nature’s lifeblood, courses through the trees; new life pushes its way up from the depths of the earth, and we are surrounded by a bright sense of renewal and creativity.

Whole Foods Cooking, Recipes, and Tips
This section is made up of "new macrobiotic" and whole foods recipes that do not fall under strict macrobiotic guidelines. Recipes may include animal foods such as fish, organic poultry or lamb; dairy products; eggs; and a few special occasion desserts involving chocolate! It is geared for those people who would like a more "flexitarian" approach to their food while still striving for a h…

More On Cheap Eats: Stretching Your Whole Foods Dollar
I’ve done quite a bit of writing on eating a whole foods diet economically. Will we spend more than we would in a standard supermarket? Perhaps yes, because in theory the cost of producing many sustainably grown ingredients is higher. Yet if we look at the carbon footprint of shipping food half way around the world, the story begins to shift.

Macrobiotic and Whole Foods Cooking: What’s the Difference?
All macrobiotic cooking can be considered whole food, but not all whole food is macrobiotic. What are the differences? How are macrobiotic and whole foods cooking similar? How can we adapt a standard Western diet to one -or both- of these lifestyles?

The Basics
This section is geared for beginners who have little or no experience with macrobiotics and who would like to explore how it can be adapted to their current lifestyle. We'll cover basic guidelines, a glossary, recommended cooking tools, and explore ingredients.

The Five Elements: The Fire or Heart Element
During the summer months, nature is at its most expansive, abundant manifestation. The sun is at its highest, food is plentiful, and all plant life is full of vital life force. Taoist five element theory teaches us that the element of summer is fire.

Back to School and Back to Work Lunches: The Macro Bowl
This mean, clean and green macro bowl is a vegan, gluten free, dairy free meal and perfect for a macrobiotic diet or for someone who wants a simple and effective style of eating. The simplicity of this protocol is excellent for a gentle cleanse, and gives the body the opportunity to rest and heal.

Stanford University Study: Organic vs Conventional
This week the NY Times, along with a number of other newspapers, published an article referencing a Stanford University Department of Medicine study which states that organic food has “no obvious health benefits” over conventional produce and meats. By presenting conventional produce as a safe and equal brother to organic, Stanford is...

Whole Foods, Big Organic and Big Business
The question of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) is reaching a fevered pitch, as Election Day –and a vote on Prop 37- approach. While large corporations invest millions to keep GMOs in our food supply, citizens and organic foods advocates push back, demanding our right to know what is in our food. As I wrote last year in my editorial...

The “New” Macrobiotics
Amongst people who have explored macrobiotic lifestyle there is a growing movement away from the traditional Japanese model. Some have tried the model and not thrived on it. Many others have expressed a desire for food that is more adapted to an ethnically diverse palate, and which includes the bounties of native agriculture.

About Water
Macrobiotic theory has a very clear stance concerning water, whether it is used for drinking, bathing, or cooking. When we are helping our bodies to heal, or when we are focused on preventive care, the quality of the water we consume is critical.

Glorious Grains
Major consumption of whole grains is the bedrock of a macrobiotic diet. Brown rice is a primary traditional macrobiotic food, but when we look at the spectrum of grains available to us we find a kaleidoscope of flavors, textures and colors.

The Food Hangover
One of the challenges of cleaning up your diet is the increased sensitivity you experience when you eat the “wrong” thing. The more oriented towards a whole foods diet we become, the more we will notice a reaction when we eat commercial, chemically altered food.

Whole Foods and Macrobiotic Glossary of Terms
Whole foods and macrobiotic glossary of ingredients, equipment and common terms

Helping Your Kids Transition to Whole or Macrobiotic Foods
As a mother of two, I fully understand the challenge of helping your kids stay on track with their food when they are surrounded by unhealthy options as soon as they walk out your door. From the moment kids start school, it can feel like a losing battle. No matter how well you are feeding them at home, the allure of cookies, chips, fast food and...

The Macrobiotic Path: Basics of the Macrobiotic Lifestyle
The word macrobiotic comes from the Greek macro, meaning large or long, and bios, or life. Macrobiotics is a lifestyle and dietary philosophy that promotes health, longevity and healing, through a largely plant-based diet.

Yin and Yang: An Introduction
You'll find an introduction to the concept of yin and yang as it applies to food in general, and to macrobiotic cooking.

Stocking Your Pantry: Whole Foods and Macrobiotic Dry Goods
You can venture into whole foods and macrobiotic cooking as rapidly or gradually as you feel comfortable with. The basic concepts outlined in The Macrobiotic Path are essential first steps. The following foods are part of the transition. Choose a few supplies from each category, and add others in as your comfort level grows.

Basic Cookware and Utensils
You’ve eaten out at local whole foods and macrobiotic restaurants, learned some background of whole foods cooking, and decided you’re ready to give it a go. Now what? There are some essential tools, pantry items, and groceries, which will help get you started on transitioning into this new lifestyle.

Travel Tips for the Whole Foods Human:
Unless you land on one of the coasts, or in a country with wholesome culinary traditions, eating whole foods while traveling can be a daunting undertaking. A business trip or vacation can take us into many environments where the food supply is limited and/or downright unhealthy. So what to do?

The Mobile Guide to Healthy Eats
We live in a mobile world, and eating well in our travel-oriented universe can be really hard unless you plan ahead. For all of you who struggle to maintain balance on the road, we've got some great suggestions. And no, you don't have to pack an extra suitcase full of food!

Kidney Strengthening Recipes
According to 5-element theory, our kidneys govern our vital life force energy. They regulate water metabolism, our sex organs and fertility, bones, teeth, hair and hearing. In other words, kidney energy is incredibly important to our health. We have some wonderful recipes that can nourish and strengthen our kidney 'essence' any time of year.

Liver Loving Recipes
The following recipes are nourishing to the wood element, or liver, in five element cooking. The liver is a remarkable organ with tremendous regenerative properties. It stores and nourishes our blood, assists digestion, and carries qi into our muscles and joints. The liver, along with our kidneys, is a major filtration system for toxins. Liver...

To Supplement or Not to Supplement: Navigating A Trillion Dollar Industry
Clients often ask what I recommend in terms of vitamins and supplements, and there is no quick and easy answer to that question. Most of us can really benefit from a boost now and again, and some of us need extra support if we are dealing with particular health challenges, exceptional stress levels or an inadequate food supply.

BPA: Bisphenol A, The Plastic Poison
BPA is a toxic chemical contained in plastics used to line aluminum cans and in hard clear polycarbonate plastic containers. Polycarbonate plastics and most cans leach BPA into food and water, and as such represent potential serious health threats to humans. Plastic containers marked on the bottom with PC and/or #7 should be avoided if at all...

The Weight of the Nation: The Obesity Crisis in America
On May 14th, 15th, and 16th, HBO is hosting The Weight of the Nation, a dramatic and compelling documentary series on the obesity epidemic in America. HBO created an unparalleled partnership with the National Institutes of Health, the CDC, the Institute of Medicine, Kaiser and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation to bring this health campaign...

Favorite Tomato Recipes for Harvest's Bounty
Like any good gardening Italian woman, my mother has always planted tomatoes in her vegetable plot. And in high summer they would appear on her table in all forms imaginable: as soups, sauces, salads, pizzas, or very simply in a beautiful bowl on her long trestle table. She would preserve them, bottling them naked with a few sprigs of basil or...

The Five Elements: Earth or Yi
The Earth Element or Yi falls in late summer, and lasts from August 21 until the fall equinox of September 21. It is the shortest season, and is a moment of suspension between the high energies of the Fire Season and the descending energies of autumn, when light inevitably recedes, and life pulls back towards the earth. Earth time is a brief...

In the Aftermath of Prop 37: How to Avoid GMO Foods?
Prop 37, California’s initiative requiring labeling of genetically modified foods, was cast down in an almost split vote on Election Day. What happened and how can we protect ourselves?

A New Year's Message
The days surrounding the winter solstice and going towards the New Year are a time of sadness and hope, death and rebirth for me. The veil between worlds is gossamer thin, and a reminder of how precious and sacred life is.

Almost Famous Chef Competition 2013: A Dream Come True for Kristen Thibeault
Chef Kristen Thibeault, owner of Kombu Kitchen in Boston, won the Napa Valley finals of the Almost Famous Chef Competition on March 10. The competition, now in its 11th year, wrapped up at the Greystone CIA in St Helena, California.

Autumn Harvest: Celebrating Community and the Fall Equinox
For a brief moment in late September, the Earth spins upright relative to the sun before beginning its tilt away for the fall and winter months. This is the moment of the equinox, and it closely follows the Harvest Moon (the full moon of September). As we do each year, my town in Southern California celebrated the harvest with a beautiful gathering.

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