SUGAR, part two  SUGAR ABSTENTION AND MAKING THE TRANSITION TO THE MACRO DIET We notice from those who have written the macro discussion group (and from experience in our practice) that sugar abstention is among the most difficult obstacles to those who would like to give the macrobiotic diet a good try. In this issue we will try to give some insight into how to overcome this addiction and how to deal with some of the other cravings that occur when making the transition to Rosanna’s balanced, natural diet. Of course, these remarks do not apply to those who are seriously ill and have immediate need for the healing aspects of the macrobiotic regimen. Here, we recommend careful attention to detail and the advice of an experienced macrobiotic counselor. It is sometimes easier (especially with young children and teens) to come to a more gradual understanding of the macrobiotic approach. We do intend to keep our focus for this series on sugar, and it is important to keep sight of the fact that many of those who suffer from mental illness can find quick relief by giving up sugar and other dietary habits that adversely affect health and the chemical balance of their systems. In our experience, though, most imbalance has at its root the consumption of refined sugar and refined flour products which have a similar debilitating effect. Withdrawal from sugar is often easier if a temporary substitute is found. In our last issue, Lenny Ferro described the various sugars and how they affect the body. It is wise to move up the chain from refined sugar to those which actually nourish the body yet don’t give the rush and illusion of strength and well being that refined sugar produces. Rather, unrefined sugars will produce more lasting energy and will not affect the mood and thinking process like refined sugar (always include all sugar substitutes in this category!) does. Among these less refined substances we find honey, and in progressively less harmful order, maple syrup, barley malt and rice syrup. It is desirable to work down this chain and to finally sweeten most things with barley malt or rice syrup. Rosanna prefers the latter two because they are extracted from grains and they do not affect your blood sugar in the radical way that refined simple sugars do. Less stress is placed upon the pancreas and balance is more readily maintained. The important first step that is outlined above, if taken alone, will usually make the transition impossible to begin. Unless a corresponding reduction in the offsetting meat and other such products is achieved, there will be an overwhelming craving for sugar as the body seeks balance in the only way it knows. It is very difficult to balance meat on any regular basis in the diet, especially for the beginner. To make the transition on this side requires a conscious turning away from red meat toward substitution with poultry and fish at first and gradually using only fish occasionally. Failure to understand this relationship between sugar (yin) and meat and other yang items in the diet is at the heart of every failure to make the macrobiotic transition. Anyone making the transition should be aware that each step along the way might produce some uncomfortable periods as the body begins to discharge old fat and toxins that have built up over the years. Some emotional adjustments may also be required as the mood swings and other mental effects of refined sugar use are changed. Rosanna offers the following insight into various aspects of this process of elimination:


To help discharge sugar and fruit, substitutions must be made. Sugar is sweet and sticky so when those cravings hit, have some barley candy available to take the edge off the desire. It is never wise to fall into a habit and there are other ways to mix in. Sometimes sweet vegetable jams will hit the spot or even a spoonful of rice syrup. It should be a rule that we never eat dessert unless it has been preceded by a complete and balanced meal. In the discharge of the effect of previous sugar use, buckwheat is very helpful and can be used as grain or noodles. Buckwheat noodles (Soba) in a soup with Shoyu, Mirin and green onions is recommended. Rosanna also uses black soy beans with barley malt, ginger and Shoyu for this purpose. Carrots and burdock, Kimpira style with grated ginger is especially useful here. Hijiki and Shio Kombu are the best sea vegetables to use in the discharge of sugar effects. Here is a list of dietary items that will reduce sugar cravings:

  • Squash Butter (use hard, bright yellow winter squashes)
  • Squash Soup (Rosanna favors Butternut and Kabocha)
  • Mochi (not baked but cooked on the stove in a heavy cast iron pan)
  • Cooked Nut Butters
  • Sweet Kudzu
  • Puddings
  • Apple Sauce
  • Soft Rice
  • Ohagis

To discharge fruit use (sparingly) roasted Kombu powder as a condiment on your food. Rice balls and Kimpira style root vegetables are also highly useful.

REPARATION AND REGULARITY The transition will go smoother if attention is paid to these key areas. Preparation methods must be varied to produce variety and different effects in the food. In our earlier newsletter on this subject we gave some insight into the various preparation methods and their effects. It is useful to adjust our daily schedules to accommodate regularity in mealtime and preparation.  Time must be reserved (more at first, then gradually less as we learn) for preparation and enjoying the meals. Meals must be taken consciously, while seated and erect and careful attention must be paid to the chewing process. Digestion begins with chewing and we all have a tendency to pay too little attention to this art. Careful chewing not only prepares the food for digestion; it is also useful in building discipline and the sense of consciously consuming what we have carefully prepared for ourselves and our loved ones.




  • package Soba noodles
  • 1 tbsp. Mirin
  • 4 Scallions Shoyu (Soy) Sauce
  • 1 onion



While boiling spring water for noodles (at least two quarts as Soba noodles like a little more than regular or rice noodles), chop the onion and sauté in a little Toasted Sesame oil until golden. Set onions aside.  Put noodles in boiling water and cook al dente. When noodles are cooked, pour through colander and reserve water, leaving some of the cooking water in the pot with the noodles. Add enough of the reserved broth to suit your individual taste and preference as to how liquid it should be.  Add the Onions and Mirin and Soy sauce to taste. Chop scallions and garnish each bowl as it is served.  



  • 1½ Cups Black Soy Beans, soaked overnight in spring water
  • 2 inch piece of Kombu
  • 1 Tbsp. Barley Malt
  • Spring water as needed
  • Soy Sauce


Place Kombu in pressure cooker, add drained beans and add enough Spring Water to cover the beans. Bring to pressure, lower flame and cook for one hour. Release pressure, drain and reserve water (for soups and stews) return to heat and add Barley Malt and a little Soy Sauce, simmer (with cover off) for a few minutes and serve.



  • 1/2 pack dried Hijiki, soaked in enough spring water to cover
  • 1 grated Carrot
  • 1 tbsp. Kelp granules
  • 1/3 block of Tofu
  • 1 tbsp. Tahini (Sesame butter)
  • 1 cup Bean Sprouts
  • 3 tsp. Dark Barley Miso


In a sauce pan put Hijiki with remainder of soaking water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat immediately and simmer with a lid on the pot until water is mostly evaporated (about 30 minutes). While cooking Hijiki, prepare the sauce. Put Tahini, Kelp and Miso in 3/4 cup hot spring water and mix well.  Let stand for at least 10 minutes. Crumble the Tofu with your hands into small pieces.  Add to the cooking Hijiki when it is nearly dry.  Mix well and with the lid on the pot, cook for three or four minutes over low flame. Add grated Carrot and Bean Sprouts. Stir and simmer for 2 minutes, then add the sauce, mix well and cook 1 more minute.



  • 2 Carrots, cut julienne style
  • 1 Burdock root, cut into shavings
  • 1 or 2 tbsp. Toasted Sesame Oil


Heat oil in heavy iron skillet. Add Carrot, turning constantly with a wooden spoon over medium high flame. After a minute or two, add Burdock and keep turning. If the vegetables are tending to stick to the pan, add a little (2 tbsp.) water. Continue to stir for two more minutes, add Soy Sauce to taste. Mix well over heat and serve.



  • 3 cups finely grated carrots
  • ½ cup raisins (soaked in warm spring water for 20 minutes)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 ½ cups pastry flour 1½ cups white unbleached flour 1 Tbsp. or gluten free flour
  • 1 Tabl Baking Powder
  • 2 Tsp. Baking Soda
  • 2 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp. Ground Allspice
  • ¾ Tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 cup Maple Syrup
  • ¾ cup Sesame Oil
  • ½ cup Soy Milk
  • 2 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tsp. Umeboshi Vinegar


Preheat oven at 350°F. Oil a 10” tube pan and sprinkle it with flour. In a large bowl sift Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt and all the Spices. Add a sprinkle of grated carrots at a time and mix well into the mixture. Add raisins and repeat the mixing. In another bowl, put all the liquids and mix well. Stir liquid into dry ingredients. Pour into pan and bake for 60 minutes at 300°F. Let cool.

Buon Appetito!


Rosanna & James JOKE BOX

Three brothers had left home and their widowed mother at an early age to seek their fortunes.  After many years of separation they were united from around the world when they came to visit their aged mother.  As they waited in the parlor for their mother to be assisted into the room they began to tell of their exploits.The oldest, Paul, said he was glad to have made a huge success in business and it was his money that had bought the rather grand house that his mother now occupied.  He thanked heaven that he had been able to do this for his once penniless mom.Fred, next in line, was happy that he had been able to buy his mother a beautiful new car and had been thoughtful enough to recruit a chauffeur to drive it and assist with the shopping, etc.Jimmy had gone into scholarship rather than business and had put many years into training a parrot to recite many verses from Shakespeare and had taught him the entire script of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, his mother’s favorite. As the mother was wheeled into the room she scowled at Paul and reprimanded him for causing so much trouble and work in her life.  She said she could clean up her old, simpler home in about an hour.  This new palace always required some attention and she was hardly able to keep up with it, especially since her eyesight was failing steadily. Fred then received the lash of her tongue as she scolded him about the necessity to feed the chauffeur, buy gas and repairs and the fact that she used to have everything delivered anyway.Finally she turned to Jimmy and with a radiant smile said, “Jimmy you are the only one with any common sense.  That chicken was simply delicious.”




Mother Teresa of Calcutta

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, People may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you’ve got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.

“The macrobiotic way of life recommended by the ancient wise people and practiced widely for physical, mental and spiritual development consists of the following arts; the way of eating, the way of breathing, and the way of daily life. Because a human being is part of his environment, and has evolved through biological development covering more than three billion years on this planet, his physical, mental and spiritual conditions are based upon what he consumes from his natural environment and his food. The way of eating is the most essential factor for his development.”

Michio Kushi, THE BOOK OF DO-IN (ISBN 0-87040-382-6)

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