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Whole Foods and Macrobiotic Glossary of Terms

This is a list of commonly used whole foods and macrobiotic ingredients and terminology.

Adzuki/Aduki Beans
Adzuki/aduki are small red beans which are very strengthening for the kidneys.

Agar Agar
a sea vegetable sold in flakes. Agar is a vegan gelatin used in aspic and kanten.

Amasake is a drink made from fermented sweet rice. Amasake is like a macrobiotic smoothie.

Arrowroot is a calcium rich thickener for sauces and puddings.

Bancha Tea
Bancha is a common Japanese Green Tea.

Barley Malt
Barley malt is a sweetener made from barley and used in macrobiotic desserts, beverages and beans.

Bonito is air dried, shaved, flipjack mackerel flakes. Bonito flakes are used in Japanese and macrobiotic stocks.

Brown Rice Vinegar
Brown rice vinegar is a very mild vinegar made from fermented brown rice.

Burdock Root
Burdock is a tough, bark-covered root, which is used in macrobiotic soups, and stews. Burdock is a potent blood purifier and helps eliminate fat.

Carob is a pod which is powdered and used as a chocolate substitute and flavoring agent.

Daikon is a long, white radish eaten raw and cooked. Daikon is excellent for dissolving fat and mucus deposits in the body.

Dashi is a simple stock.

Forbidden Black Rice
Black rice is iron and fiber rich heirloom rice. It has a rich, nutty flavor and is strengthening for the kidneys.

Gomasio is sesame salt. It is made of toasted sesame seeds and sea salt, and is rich in calcium and iron.

Job's Tears
Job�s Tears are sometimes labeled pearl barley, and are eaten alone or in combination with other grains. Job�s Tears are considered an anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory food, and are good at removing old fats from the body.

Kombu is dried, cultivated kelp from Japan. It is used in Japanese and macrobiotic cooking.

Kukicha is a Japanese twig tea. Kukicha is very low in caffeine, and high in antioxidants.

Kuzu or Kudzu
Kuzu is a thickener similar to arrowroot.

Lotus Root
A thick, tuberous root with hollow chambers. Lotus is used in vegetable dishes, soba noodles, and medicinal remedies. It is healing for the lungs.

Millet is a small, seed-like grain. Millet is alkaline, rich in B-vitamins, and gluten-free.

Mirin is a Japanese sherry-like cooking wine made from brown rice.

Miso is a paste made of fermented soybeans and grains such as barley, or white or brown rice. Miso is used as a soup base and flavoring agent for stews, sauces, vegetable and grain dishes, dips and fish. It has a high salt content and should be used judiciously.

Mochi a sticky rice cake made from glutinous rice pounded into a paste. Mochi can be eaten steamed, roasted, or in soups.

Nightshade Vegetables
Nightshade vegetables, members of the solanaceae family of plants, include potatoes, peppers, eggplants and tomatoes. These plants contain alkaloids that have a potentially inflammatory effect on the body, and should probably be avoided by anyone suffering from arthritic or autoimmune conditions.

Pressure Cooker
The pressure cooker is a stainless steel pot with a rubber seal and valve on top. Pressure-cooking concentrates nutrients and reduces cooking time.

Quinoa is an ancient, protein and vitamin rich staple food. While strictly speaking it is a seed, quinoa is eaten as a grain. It has an exceptional amino acid profile and the highest protein content of all grains, along with amaranth.

Rice Syrup
Rice syrup is a sweetener made from fermented brown rice.

Sea Salt
Sea Salt is evaporated seawater. Sea salt contains no chemicals.

Sea Vegetables
Sea Vegetables: Arame, Dulse, Hijiki, Kombu, Kelp, Irish Moss, Nori, and Wakame. Every seaweed has its own profile, but they share certain characteristics. They are detoxifying, cleanse the lymphatic system, stimulate stagnant liver energy, alkalize the blood, and are beneficial to the thyroid. Seaweeds are rich in calcium, iron and minerals, and should be consumed in small quantities because of their concentrated nutrient profile.

Seitan is wheat gluten cooked in broth. Seitan is used as a high protein meat substitute and is exceptional in macrobiotic stews.

: The shiitake mushroom is most commonly used in macrobiotics in its dry form. It is used in soups, stews, and healing remedies. Shiitakes purportedly induce immune response against cancer, and viral diseases, and help discharge excess animal fats.

Two types of soy sauce. Shoyu is made with soybeans, wheat, and sea salt; tamari is made with soybeans alone and sea salt. Both are used as seasoning.

Soba are buckwheat noodles. Used in soups, salads, and with vegetables, soba are good cold or hot, and are relaxing for the liver. The are available in several varieties: plain buckwheat, or with lotus root, mugwort or wild yam.

Suribachi and Surikogi
This is a Japanese mortar and pestle, with the distinction that the bowl is ceramic with serrated interior.

Tahini is sesame paste, and is used for seasoning, sauces, dressings and baking. It has both Middle Eastern and East Asian roots. East Asian sesame paste is prepared with unhulled seeds and is more bitter than the Arabic variety.

Tekka is a slow cooked, intensely flavored macrobiotic condiment made from miso, burdock, lotus root, carrot and ginger. Usually purchased rather than made at home.

Tempeh is fermented soybean cake used as a protein. Tempeh can be stewed, marinated, broiled, fried and baked.

Tofu is soybean curd, and is used in soups, vegetable dishes, dressings, and sweets. It is made in several varieties, ranging from extra soft silken to extra firm tofu.

Udon are Japanese wheat noodles. Udon are commonly served in broth, or with vegetables.

Umeboshi are plums pickled with salt. Umeboshi alkalize the blood and both stimulate the appetite, and treat indigestion. Umeboshi vinegar is a by-product of pickling the plums. The vinegar is salty and sour and is used in dressings and vegetable dishes.

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