Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Macrobiotic Bowl

The first time I heard about the macrobiotic diet, I was watching some stupid show on E! that was all about Madonna. I remember them saying how she follows a strict macrobiotic diet that was supposedly one of the reasons why she's essentially ageless (of course, another reason has to do with plastic surgery, but we all know that). I was probably in early high school and at that time, my fascination with food and nutrition was just beginning. The show prompted me to research the macrobiotic diet and I remember marveling about how healthy it seemed. I knew that I would never strictly follow the macrobiotic lifestyle (it seemed a bit restrictive), but adopting certain aspects of the diet seemed like a healthy thing to do. Macrobiotics resurfaced for me a few more times since that Madonna episode while I was taking an alternative healing class in college and while reading one of my favorite nutrition books, Healing with Whole Foods. Since the macrobiotic way of life is primarily rooted in Asian culutre, namely Japanese, that may explain my deep love for Japanese food culture.
I'm not going to try to explain all of the ins and outs of the macrobiotic way of life here. Firstly, because I'm no expert on the subject, and secondly, because if I did, this blog post would be way too long. In a nutshell, the diet embraces whole foods prepared in traditional ways. Whole grains (primarily brown rice), vegetables (including sea vegetables), beans, fermented soy, and soup (such as miso) form the bulk of the diet. Fish, nuts, seeds, and fruit also make up the diet, but in smaller amounts. The diet is great for times of healing or cleansing, but strictly following the macrobiotic diet for long periods of time may lead to nutritional deficiencies if not carefully planned. I was in the mood for a simple meal the other night, one that also happened to showcase my gorgeous fresh black beans. This macrobiotic-inspired bowl came to mind and within minutes, I had a satisfying dinner.

Macrobiotic Bowl (serves 2)

2 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup cooked black beans
1 large clove of garlic
1 small piece (about 1 inch) fresh ginger
2 carrots
small bunch of kale
avocado
kimchi (see my recipe for amazing kimchi here...but this kimchi pictured is from here) or pickled ginger
black sesame seeds for garnish
splash of brown rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, tamari or soy sauce
one sheet of nori seaweed, cut or torn into small strips

1. Distribute cooked rice and beans between two bowls. Set aside.

2. Chop the garlic. Peel and chop the fresh ginger. Set aside. Julienne the carrots (or shred/grate them). De-stem the kale and chop into thin ribbons. Set aside.

3. In a large frying pan, add some sesame oil (or any oil of your choice), chopped garlic, and ginger. On medium low heat, warm the garlic and ginger until it just begins to be fragrant. Add the carrots and kale and a pinch of salt. Stir continuously just until the kale begins to wilt. Remove from the heat.

4. Add a splash of brown rice vinegar, more salt, and a touch of toasted sesame oil, or even some tamari, to the greens. Season to taste. Arrange the greens in the bowls with the rice and beans. Top with kimchi or pickled ginger, nori, avocado. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Enjoy with Japanese green tea, if you have some.



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