Every evening be clear in your mind what you are going to have for breakfast lunch and dinner the following day; Every morning allow yourself just 30 mins extra to ensure you realise your goals.
The minute you get up, boil the kettle, using filtered water and fill a clean flask with the water once it has boiled. Let it go off the boil then pour out a mugful over your Bancha twig tea and leave it to infuse while you grab a handful of greens, wash them tear them and put them into a big saucepan with 2 pints of spring water and bring to the boil while you chop an onion into 4, a carrot into chunks and add any other bits of vegetables you fancy. You don't need loads, anything will enhance the water which we are going to use for our Miso and other dishes. If you need extra flavouring you can add some ginger or a garlic clove, but don't add any other seasoning at this stage, wait until you have reacquainted yourself with the delicate flavour of different fresh vegetable juices.
Read this procedure over a few times until you realise how simple this is. You are merely putting a large saucepan with fresh water on the stove and bringing it to the boil with whatever takes your fancy from the vegetable rack and that’s it, in a nutshell. As you progress and begin to understand what foods provide which nutrients you can customise your soup to meet your daily needs with the addition of dried *sea vegetables which take no time at all to sprinkle into the already healthy broth.
Now begin chopping the vegetables for your main course and/or lunch.
Into a large frying pan, put 1 tblsp of good quality oil such as sesame, olive, corn or sunflower and heat gently before adding your onions, carrots courgettes and sweet potato or butternut squash. Add some *Mirin and some *Shoyu, then put a lid on if you have one and then turn down the heat to low.
Into a heavy based saucepan put a teaspoon of one of the above oils and then add a cupful of *quinoa (keen-wah) and fry the grains gently for 1 min. Take 2 cupfuls of the green water which is still simmering and add it to the quinoa, let it bubble for a minute then put a lid on and turn the heat down as low as you possibly can and set a timer for 15 mins.
Now go and sit quietly with your cup of Kukicha or Bancha Twig tea and just enjoy 10 mins to yourself. Walk round the garden, read or just be. When your 15 min timer goes off, check everything on the stove to see whether it needs turning up, off or down - do the necessary and then go and get yourself ready for the day ahead, always remembering that you have things cooking on the stove! If you buy flame tamers you will do yourself a huge favour. They are not expensive and will ensure your stove is at the lowest possible temperature to avoid burning anything you are cooking whilst still allowing the food to cook gently and thoroughly.
Once you're showered and dressed turn your vegetable water down to a simmer, take out your
*Miso paste, using 1 flat tblsp per mugful, mix a little of the veggie water with the Miso paste to dilute it before adding it back to your veggie water. Alternatively place the Miso into a tea strainer and dip it into the vegetable water whilst stirring continuously until dissolved. Stir and leave to simmer for a couple of mins while you pack your cooked veg and quinoa (this is an example meal) or whatever else you've prepared into your lunch box or wide necked thermos flask to take to work. Pour yourself a small cup of the Miso and put the rest into the emptied pre warmed flask.
Now make your porridge with some fresh apple juice and sip your Miso while you do this. Lots of people enjoy eating the greens or other vegetables which have gone into the Miso pot, these can be sprinkled with *Gomashio or *Furikake but it’s not essential. Once you open your mind to different combinations of foods you will quickly find what suits your individual taste buds but please remember, this is a journey and you will change again and again as you detoxify, so even if you don’t like something in the beginning, give it another try a month or so later.
Take 5 mins again to really be in the moment while you eat your breakfast. Quality chewing, at least 30 times per mouthful, is essential to good digestion and this one simple factor could reduce your weight if you are carrying excess pounds that you wish to shed.
That's it! The rest of the morning/day is cooking free! Happy in the knowledge that you don't have to think about what you're going to eat that day or even consider whether you're going to have a "healthy" day because you DEFINITELY are!
I hope this is useful and you don't find it patronising. I'm guessing you're like me in that when you began you really wanted to succeed but just didn’t know where to start and you longed for someone to treat you like a complete novice and tell you step by step how to do it.
Read this, digest it and then just have a go. You’ll soon see what works for you and what doesn’t. There really aren’t that many hard and fast rules, just suggestions for what may work better and benefit you more. That’s the beauty of Macrobiotics – a way of life FOR LIFE. Nothing is taboo, but the best food choices will bring about the best results, but the knowledge is there for you to experiment with and I am here to help you unlock your potential and bring balance into your life which in turn will stop food cravings and binge eating.
Here's some food for thought. Consider deeply your relationship with food. What were your thoughts just prior to a particular craving for food Ask yourself, did I actually feel hungry or am I using food to fill in the gaps in my life; boredom, worry, anxiety, comfort. I think you'll find it's actually very little to do with hunger most of the time. Eat to live - don't live to eat. Within a few months of eating well, in this very balanced way, you will realise that food is a powerful tool which plays a large part in helping to control your emotions and feed your mind and body so that you function well on all levels. In a nutshell, good food will bring about total balance and harmony to every cell in your body.
When you open the door to the room in your house where food is prepared don’t think of it so much as a kitchen but instead as a gateway to a very exclusive health farm. Let this room be your medicine chest. Afterall, you wouldn’t put diesel into your petrol or unleaded tank and you know that the water needs topping up and the oil needs checking occasionally to make your car run well, so think of yourselves as finely tuned engines and then hopefully you’ll never need to go to the garage for a full service or have to pay out hundreds of pounds for bodywork repairs because you’ll be so in tune with your body that you’ll know how to recognise why it’s feeling a certain way and what you can do to counteract the different effects foods have on it, to the point where you will know exactly what to eat to bring about the changes you want and the demands you need to put on yourself. As incredible as it may sound to some, we are all very much in control of our lives, our thoughts and our actions, if only we realised how big a part our daily food is playing in the way we think, act, function and respond to the world around us. Things don’t just “happen” – everything we do today has an effect tomorrow, including the food we eat, so be responsible and that doesn’t necessarily mean never eating something you really enjoy again, it means recognising what makes you function better and what doesn’t and balancing everything so that you don’t suffer ill effects from the food you eat. NOTHING is taboo unless you decide it is. But the moment you feel the effects of a sensible lifestyle I bet wild horses wont drag you back to bad habits very often and if it does, then you’ll know exactly how to counteract the effects.
We can intellectualise this subject as much or as little as we want to, or we can simply put it into practice and get on with our lives and wait to see the amazing effects that good eating can bring about.
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* Miso / Mirin / Shoyu / Gomashio / Furikake / Sea Vegetables / Quinoa - Healthy cooking ingredients – Find out more with a personal Shopping Buddy trip.