Sugar is the topic of the month as you will see below from all of our upcoming events! well, anyway, it should be the topic of the millennium!….
The consumption of sugar has hit the roof, and so have diabetes and cancers of all kinds. You find sugar in everything and everywhere, not just desserts, just look around. A friend of mine, said recently that he was asking a cook at one of our health food stores recently : “why do you put sugar in everything?” The response was: “we just put a little bit”; “what is a little bit, I don’t want a little cancer or a little diabetes!!!”;
The bottom line is that there is a lack of awareness about sugar. We are more aware of problems leading to consumptions of meat and dairy than we are of sugar.
The truth is that we are sugar addicts!!! when we think of addictions, we think of cigarettes or alcohol, but those are also versions of sugar… Actually, the tobacco industry has added sugar to cigarettes to make sure people get hooked.
Sooo, what is one to do?
The first thing is to become informed; Lucky for you, the AMA (Asheville Macrobiotic Alliance) is tackling the subject head on. It started last week with the book club presentation of the wonderful book by William Dufty ” SUGAR BLUES”, first printed in 1976. It has never been more timely… and important in our sugar crazed society!!!! There used to be illustrations of our sugar consumption with one teaspoon. If we keep the same parameters, now the illustration has become a wheelbarrow!
Lino Stanchich, renowned macrobiotic teacher will give a lecture Tuesday september 20 at jubilee on sugar Addictions . Another important step!!
His wife Jane, will demonstrate some simple ways to substitute for sugar at our AMA Monthly potluck the last Sunday of this month, September 25.
My wife, Doctor Liliane Papin wrote a very detailed study last summer (info below) on her newsletter about sweeteners and their uses. You can log in to Kwan Yin Medicine from my blog. Her article is archived there in the section “archived articles”.
Here are a couple easy recipes to get you started on the right track: ( GLUTEN FREE- DAIRY FREE-SUGAR FREE…my wife sometimes says they are illusions of desserts!)
We got that idea from our good friend Evelyn Harboun who told us that she was replacing the rich “creme pâtissière” used for French fruit pies and pastries with a millet version. I have played with it and it is just wonderful, a favorite of many of my customers who want something both light, satisfying and naturally sweet!
• 2 cups rice or almond milk (look carefully at the containers since many of them have a little bit of sugar added). Make your own or buy a sugar-free one!
• ½ TBS of agar agar ( comes in flakes or tablets, get the flakes it is easier to use)
• ½ cup of rice syrup or malt (¼ cup maple syrup or coconut nectar) as they are generally sweeter. Of course you can adjust to your taste, remember all those products are still processed and have to be used sparingly!!!
• ½ TSP of coconut oil or tahini. Bring to simmer 1½ cup of the milk with the agar and stir for a couple mn to let the agar dissolve.
• Stir the millet flour with the remaining cold milk and add to the hot mix while stirring
• Keep on low heat till it thickens 2 to 5 mn , stir often so it does not burn.
• You can add the vanilla while cooking because if it is alcohol based it will have time to evaporate.
• Off the heat source, add the remaining ingredients, stir well, adjust sweetener if needed.
• Now I have those little ceramic individual serving cups that I use and I generally cover the millet with a berry sauce.
• Make sure to let it set before serving.
• You can use a large dish if you like, you can change the flavorings. Try coconut or lemon or orange flavor, raw cocoa or carob. Try it as a cream filler in a pie shell, an icing for a cake ( just pulse in food processor after it sets) I am sure you will find plenty of use and variations. Make sure to share with us on the blog!!!!
PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE NIBS COOKIES
You all know my love for cookies!!! this is one of my favorite…
• 1 cup millet flour
• 2 cups almond meal2 cups gluten free oats (floured, use the food processor!)
• ¾ cup chocolate nibs
IN A SEPARATE BOWL: ( mix energetically with a whisk)
• 2 TBS of apple sauce
• ½ cup of safflower oil
• 1cup of unsalted, organic peanut butter
• 1 cup of rice syrup
• 2 tsp vanilla
• With a fork add wet ingredients to dry ingredients , then with your hands make a pliable dough that is soft and moist but does not stick to your fingers. (I often have to adjust and add a little more flour to get it right if too wet. If too dry I add a few drop of water or apple juice.
• Warm your oven to 375.
• Roll each cookie into a ball the size of a walnut, then flatten on a cookie sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 Mn. Take out of the oven, wait a few mn before placing on a cooling rack. I like to keep them in the refrigerator, as this will make about 3 dozen cookies. (I do not kid around when I make cookies!!!)… You can easily cut the recipe in half or double it, substitute any flour that you like. Meal your own almond if you want or sub with other nuts and seeds. If you do not like peanuts, sub with tahini or other nut butter. Variations are endless, have fun and….
Bon Appetit!! Didier
*The home pharmacy with Liliane
All right…where I pick up is the ending from the cookies and all kinds of good stuff is in case you have eaten too much! (kidding but even good stuff in excess can make you sick…a lesson we all learn at some point!)
In my Kwan Yin Chinese medicine practice I created an “emergency remedy” list for home or travel.
What to do for the headache or stomach ache, the constipation or diarrhea? What to do with the food poisoning after eating at a restaurant? how to treat or prevent the “tourista” symptoms that too often spoil a trip to Mexico or India?
The key as usual is preparation. So often, people tell me that they went to the pharmacy to get an over the counter medicine. Then, they might get a stomach ache from the aspirin or pain remedy or the rebound effect from sinus medication (“rebound” means the symptoms come back with a vengeance when you stop the remedy.) In a panic, they might go and get antibiotics and have to deal with their digestive and candida side effects.
Western medicine and medications have their place. However, there is so much we could avoid with some good old remedies kept at home or some herbal remedies taken in our suitcase when we travel. So much money we could save with good food, good rest, herbs and some patience. I mentioned in our last blog the Yunnan Bai Yao for trauma…well, together with Yunnan Bai Yao, I always take my little case of herbal remedies with me when I travel and many times, family members who made fun of my stash were the first ones to use them. A sore throat can ruin a trip…friends or family members made irritable by constipation can be a challenge! (no joke).
At home, there are certain foods you should have at all times because they are wonderful home remedies for a host of ailments.
1. Ginger (fresh and in powder): so useful for the beginnings of a cold, for upset stomach and for diarrhea.
2. Miso: great to renew intestinal flora. Great remedy for the beginnings of a cold (with some ginger and scallions)
3. Umeboshi plums: the Japanese food version of alka seltzer and much healthier and more gentle to your body. They come in many sizes and forms. I like the big juicy ones for mixing with liquids. I also like the little tablets you can suck on. Their salty taste comes as a surprise to many who think they are candies and typically make a strange face when they taste them. However, they are unsurpassed as remedies for stomach ache and burns, digestive headaches and to balance excess sugar. Very alkaline and full of enzymes, they balance any excess acidity. They may be taken as is or mixed with water
4. Kudzu: great for light fevers, for headaches, for beginnings of flu and colds, as an energy pick up and to balance sugar cravings (they are used as part of recovery programs from drugs and alcohol for their ability to balance sugar). A kudzu drink mixed with an umeboshi can save the day in case of a headache or in case of diarrhea. It will also help lessen the symptoms of colds and flu. Mixed with half apple juice and water, it is a nice remedy to stop a light fever in children.
5. Good quality sea salt: a must for detox, for gargling in case of a sore throat or as a compress.
6. Peppermint tea and essential oil: great help for clogged sinuses and for upset stomach.
By making sure you have these foods handy, you can solve quite a few problems quickly and easily without the desperate run to the pharmacy for the over the counter remedies and their harsh chemicals.
The food remedies are not as easy to use when you travel by plane or travel to foreign countries where the unknown is part of the fun. This is where Chinese Medicine with its herbal component is superb! I cannot tell you the number of times herbal remedies have helped me, friends, family members or strangers. It has been found during the epidemics of bird’s flu in China for example that traditional herbal remedies and formulas were more effective than antibiotics and Western medicine remedies. For dysentery, there is huge research into Wormwood, an age-old remedy. However, Western medicine wants to make extracts of Wormwood and, therefore, much of the original balance and harmlessness are lost.
One of my clients recently went to Guatemala to work and was very worried because she was already suffering from diarrhea and digestive problems before leaving. She knew from experience that the stay over there had been hard on her digestive system before. She came for a few treatments and we managed to get her well before her departure. I gave her an herbal kit to take along both in prevention and treatment. When she came back, some 3 months later, she was happy to share that not only had she not gotten sick but that her herbal remedies had come in handy for several of her co-workers…She was proud that she had been able to help other people with her tiny pharmacy. I was proud too…r. From the tradition of China and the Orient…to the US…to South America…one ailing body and soul at a time…rings of love and care
Stop by or call if you would like a list of those herbal remedies. They come in pill and capsule form and are easy to take along. One of my favorite “good for all” remedies is Coptis…it has helped me many times as well as many others. A tiny little pill of it…bitter like hell if you let it linger too long on the tongue, so you have to learn to swallow quickly. What a beautiful powerful little remedy for bacterial and fungal infections, for high fever and those nasty “tourista” episodes that can ruin your trip and make you feel delirious. George Ohsawa, the founder of macrobiotics, experimented with that type of illness in Africa and made himself sick deliberately. However, he had his sweet wife, Lima, to care for him and prepare remedies for him. Lima was very knowledgeable and helped him. However, some speculated (Lima Ohsawa among them) that the remnants of that disease might have killed George Ohsawa in the end, re-awakened by his efforts to find a macrobiotic version of a “coke” drink. I sometimes wonder what might have happened if he had known or let himself have access to local African herbs or some traditional Chinese Medicine remedies. Chinese Medicine offers over two thousand years of recorded formulas, with careful case analysis, evaluation, generation after generation of doctors…compared to that history, Western medicine is quite young…a mere hundred years…less than that actually if you consider that Western medicine completely changed after WWII, coming into its own industrialized age of expert medicine…tests with machines, evaluations with machines…imaging, technology…ankle doctors and heart doctors…the body cut up into so many pieces, each one sent to a different specialist. Some incredible knowledge came out of that, such incredible precision and beauty into the understanding of the functioning of the body, its muscles, hormones, enzymes, blood cells. When it comes to treatment, though, so much trial and error, so much ignorance about health and what makes a body healthy.
I discovered that before WWII, actually, Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine shared more than I knew. Tongue and pulse diagnosis were part of the country doctor’s tools. Aconite, a long time favorite herb of Chinese Medicine, also belonged to the family doctor’s arsenal.
All right, I will stop here for tonight. I think you get my gist: be prepared…you know that Didier and I believe that Food is Medicine and Medicine is food. Herbs however, depending on their taste, belong to a kind of in-between world, some of them foods (dandelion), some of them a bit further. They used to be food. As we have gravitated toward sweeter and sweeter foods, somehow the strong herbs of long ago became relegated to a different category. Bitter taste might not be so pleasant especially to modern people used to sweet foods. Yet, there is no better taste to beat a fever and bring down excess heat!
Did I say I was stopping here for tonight? OK…
You know where to find us? 828-258-1413 (Kwan Yin Medicine), 828-301-2178 (Changing Seasons)…34 East Chestnut, Asheville (both if you are lucky)
Our websites are linked to this blog. Go visit them. Call or share this blog for questions, comments and your own insights!