Friday, April 23, 2010

Back to my roots

It's funny, but I find as I get older, and am responsible for planning and making most of the family meals, I am craving the foods we ate growing up; the very foods I rebelled against eating as a child!

The foods we ate for the better part of my childhood were part of a diet called Macrobiotic cooking.

The idea is to basically to avoid meat and meat products (unless it has been organically and free-range farmed - and even then protein is mostly obtained through the eating of beans/bean products). The belief is that most commercially grown meat contains too much trans or saturated fats, and that animals raised in the stressful environment of commercial farms pass on that stressful enegy to whoever consumes it. Fish is more acceptable, yet it too is eaten sparingly. The main staples of macrobiotic eating are whole grains (brown rice, millet, barley,buckwheat, spelt etc.), green leafy vegetables, root and round vegetables (such as squash), beans, and additions such as tofu, tempeh, various prepared seaweed, miso, and my all time favourite; gomasio.

The essence of such eating was started by a Japanese army surgeon named Sagen Ishizuka, who attempted to create a balanced diet by combining oriental eating habits with eastern and western medical philosophies. In his theory, everything we consume has certain properties that either help or hinder different parts of the body, and thus he set out his macrobiotic guidelines to help create a healthy and balanced body. This diet is also purported to heal all types of ailments without the help of medication. I won't go any further into this way of cooking/living, but if your interested, this Website is a good place to start.

Though I am not sure I believe all the claims of macrobiotic cooking, (nor even like all of the food!) there are certain things that just make sense; such as eating whole grains (and staying away from refined, pre-processed foods), eating locally-grown vegetables and those in season, and avoidind foods and oils that are high in trans fats.

So what in the world is gomasio?

Gomasio is a condiment, designed to add a salty flavour to food without having too much sodium added. It is created by first toasting sea salt, then sesame seeds, and then combining them together in a suribachi (Japanese mortar and pestle) and grinding them until most of the seeds have popped open. The ratio of sesame seeds to salt is about 1/4 cup seeds to 1 tbs salt, and is absolutely delicious on grains.

Whenever I can (which is usually when Chris will not be there for mealtime - he decidedly does NOT like this way of cooking!) I will make myself a small meal of grains and beans, and I find now that I am breastfeeding, I crave whole foods more often. And with the first steps we've made at producing our own food, it's bringing us one step closer to only eating organic, locally grown food. I suppose this just proves that no matter how hard you try, you can never truly get away from your roots!

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