THE LIFE OF A METAL:
Food is the foundation and the origin of life. Thanks to food, man was able to live and raise the offsprings, create and think. Nature gives birth to food of different origins and sources: plant and animal based foods, water, air and sunlight. The relative primary food are plants and they nourish both animal and human kingdom, directly or indirectly through the form of grains and vegetables. Grains and vegetables carry the energy that impels humans and animals to movement.
The animal world is born from the kingdom of plants, and the plant world is begotten by earth. Earth consists of soil and water, and soil is rich with the variety of minerals. The process of formation of earth requires the presence of the atmosphere (sky/heaven) which surrounds it. Sunlight is another essential energy which is the father of the sky, the earth, the plant world, the animal kingdom and human existence. These four elements that maintain the world of plants and animals – soil, water, air (atmosphere), and fire. Ancient Greek and Inidan philosophers were more than familiar with these energy forms.
We are currently experiencing the energy of Fall; a season of the falling leaves; the time when energy and colors are changing. During this time we are entering the cycle of the most concentrated energy – the metal energy. This energy supports condensation and accumulation and it is manifested in nature in different forms. The most condensed, decreasing phase of energy is represented by the color white. Sharp bitter taste, which is found in ginger and daikon, baking, frying and cooking under pressure are the best supporters of metal energy. Specific organs that feed with this metal energy are lungs and colon. These are also the centers of our strength and and their purpose is to refresh our body.
Balanced metal energy is reflected in self-discipline and optimism. With this balance we become positive, organized and able to overcome any challenges that arise. According to the theory of five elements, our lungs and colon are related to assimilation and elimination of not only food, but also our old habits. As our lungs and colon acquire and release what is needed from the environment, the same happens to our inner sensations. The ability to free ourselves from distructful emotions, thoughts, memories and experiences from the past will reflect in the health condition of our lungs and colon.
The lack of metal energy will create a closed and undecisive personality, which can further lead to depression and lethargy. Inside of this energetic condition, we are unable to deal even with the easiest challenges of everyday life, and overcoming problems or obstacles becomes impossible. Physical conditions created by the imbalance of metal energy are seen in the absence of body movement and activities. Hand movement is minimal, and we are unable to lift. With relaxed shoulders and bent head, we feel like carrying the weight of the entire world on our back. Our complexion becomes pale and the skin gets loosen. Our voice becomes monotonous and we sound as if we can't inhale enough air – like someone is pressing on our chest. Individuals that have a tendency to control every situation suffer from the imbalanced metal energy. We ignore pain and deny pleasure to ourselves; we don't enjoy food, we fast and become stressful. Emotionally, we experience life through extremes: black and white, good and bad. We resist the change, become bitter and resentful, while constantly turning to the past.
In order to balance out the strong, contracted metal energy, we should choose food that is driven by this energy. The variety of grains, beans, fruits and vegetables is essential for this period. Lotus root is an ideal companion for this season as it heals and protects our lungs.
SUGGESTIONS FOR AUTUMN DIET:
Note: After the initial boiling, simmer on low heat! [this applies to all cooking recipes]
Kinpira is a Macrobiotic dish that provides us with great strength. To prepare, you will need the following ingredients:
•1 cup (250 gr) carrots
•1 cup (250 gr) burdock
•1 tbsp sesame oil
Cut carrots and burdock into matchsticks (kinpira style). Fry burdock lightly on preheated sesame oil until it releases its flavor. Add the carrots on top and do not stir. Add water just enoguh to completely cover the burdock. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes, add a dash of soy sauce, and then simmer for another 10 minutes (until water evaporates). Add toasted sesame seeds, grated ginger, or scallions as a final touch.
BROWN RICE – cooked
Brown rice represents the food of life because it has extraoridinary reproducative ability – a highly potent, productive plant sprouts from only one seed. Since its every seed represents the beggining and the end of a plant's life, brown rice posseses the power and energy of the entire plant. This is why brown rice is considered to have the ability to raise the human potential on all levels. It also positively affects our nervous system and all organ systems by raising their funcionality to the level of a perfect machine.
You will need:
1 cup brown rice
1 ½ cup water
1 pinch of sea salt (per cup of rice)
Clean the rice by washing it in cold water and leave it overnight in a pressure cooker that you will be using for cooking the next day. Place the cooker on the stove (do not seal the cooker yet, just cover it), and turn the flame on. When the water boils, add a pinch of sea salt and seal the pressure cooker. Leave it until the steam starts shaking the pressure regulatior, and then place a deflector underneath the pot. Put the flame on low and cook for 50 minutes. When the rice is cooked, remove the pot from the flame and let it seat sealed for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle gomasio on top when serving.
Note: During this season you can cook brown rice with chestnuts
HOW TO MAKE GOMASIO
You will need:
•Sea salt and sesame seeds in a 1 : 18 ratio (respectively)
Wash sesame. Quickly roast sea salt in the pan (roasting is done when salt stops to cracle). Then, lightly roast seasme seeds in the pan by constantly stirring with a wooden spatula, until their color turns brown/orange and pleasant aroma of sesame is released (be careful not to burn the sesame seeds). You will know that the sesame is done when you can crush the seed easily between the thumb and the index finger. The reason behind this is that raw sesame seeds contain high ammounts of oxalic acid and heat processing helps to get rid of it.
In a surbiachi, add sea salt first and then add sesame seeds. Grind the content inside the suribachi clockwise until salt and sesame is blended 80%. Store in a glass jar.
You will need:
•1 cup red beans
•1 inch of Kombu seaweed
•½ tsp sea salt
•3 ½ or 4 cups of water
Wash the beans first and then soak them overnight. Discard the water before cooking it the next day and add fresh water. Place kombu on the bottom of the pot and add diced onions on top. Turn the heat on and wait until it boils. After boiling decrease the flame to low. Cook for another 30 minutes or so, depending on the freshness of beans (try the beans to check). Untill beans are cooked 70%-80 % add salt. This is really important, to cook the salt for 20 minutes so that it becomes digestible. Serve with parsley or scallions.
[Note: It is really important to soak grains and beans. Soaking enables the cooking process to eliminate the toxins and non-digestable components from grains and beans (trypsin inhibitors, olygosaccharides, phytohaemagglutinin, phytic acid, etc..).
SHORT-COOKED COLLARD GREENS
You will need:
•1 bunch of collard greens
•1 tsp soy sauce
•1 tsp lemon juice
•1 tsp olive oil or sesame oil
Wash and clean collard greens, cut the leaf by meridians (lines) and remove the large stem in the middle. Boil the water first and then add chopped collard greens. Cook for 2-3 minutes, strain and run cold water over them so that collards keep their fresh green color. Pour the prepeared dressing over the cooked leaves and enjoy.
PICKLES (with umeboshi vinegar)
The ammount of water and umeboshi vinegar depends on the quantity that you are prepearing. Boil and cool water beforehand. Umeboshi vinegar should fill ¼ of the jar and ¾ should be water. Cut the daikon in pieces, just enough to fill the jar. Pour the mixture of umeboshi vinegar and water till it completely fills the jar. Cover the jar with a gauze (do not put the lid yet) and leave it outside the refrigerator for 1-2 days. Close the jar with a lid after this period and store it in a fridge.
You will need:
•2 cups apple juice
•2 tbsp agar agar
Pour apple juice over agar agar and leave it sitting for a short time. Cook this mixture for 10 minutes on a low/medium flame and then add apples with a pinch of salt. Cook for another 5 minutes after adding the apples. When the cooking is done add blueberries to the pot. Pour in glass or ceramic bowls and let it cool. Garnish with sliced roasted almonds. Serve cool.
RECCOMENDATIONS FOR A HEALTHY LIFE:
•Acquire and incorporate new healthy habits and leave out the old ones
•Chew every mouthful as much as you can (50 – 300 times)
•Whenever possible, wake up at the same time every day, ideally with the sunrise
•Have 5 meals throughout the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks
•Last meal should be around 6pm and at least three hours before going to sleep.
•Scrubbing your body with a rough towel every morning will maintain your skin fresh and healthy