Why a macrobiotic cleanse?
First, I am familiar with the diet having eaten macro in childhood and having apprenticed with a macro chef.
Second, I already own any exotic ingredients so it will be cheap.
Third, I have a head start. This macro cleanse uses no eggs, dairy or meat (fish on one day but can be veggie protein, too). All of which I don't eat much of with the exception of butter and which I am happy to eliminate all together.
Most of all, I love the philosophy. More on this later.
Mayumi's cookbook is brilliant. Totally accesible for beginners, non-vegetarians and the meals take between 15-55 minutes from start to finish. I am going to walk us through some of the more exotic ingredients.
I woke up full of enthusiasm and began my cleanse. Daily step one is dry skin brushing my whole body before I shower. The skin is the largest organ of elimination. Brushing also supposedly aids lymphatic drainage. As well, skin brushing stimulates circulation and generally, when I am cleansing my circulation is worse. Whenever I detox from sugar I get the chills for a couple days. I googled it and this is a common side effect. Macrobiotically speaking, sugar is yin, yin is cold and so I guess the effect of it leaving the body could be chills.
Todays breakfast was miso soup with radish and onion and a green onion garnish; soft brown rice with an umeboshi plum on top and steamed radish greens with lemon and sesame seeds. Yes! don't throw out the greens on your red radishes. Wash very well and steam.
It was delicious. The lemon and sesame seeds on the greens and the umeboshi plum in the rice made what could have been a slightly bland meal a strong flavour experience. Which on day one is a good thing. With the exception of the rice, the meal took 10 minutes to prepare.
I decided to not read or otherwise distract myself because I wanted to chew really, really well. This is basically the underlying tenet of macrobiotics. Chew well, eat at the same times more or less every day and good health is yours. No matter what you eat if you do these two things you are basically half-way there. If you eat the best quality amazing food but don't chew enough and eat at random times. Well, you are not doing it right. When I was a kid I have a memory of adults sitting around me counting my bites. I was allowed to swallow at 50 bites. Now that is love. Unfortunately, cheffing in tree planting camps and film often means food is scarfed on the fly, standing up, bites here, bites there, haphazard hours. Even if you do sit, you are generally eating quickly because there is more work to be done.
So, I am retraining myself.
Lunch was so cool. I made a pasta dish with TVP in it. TVP, stands for textured vegetable protein and is a fancy product made from soy or even wheat flour. Anyone who was a vegetarian hippy kid has eaten this. Not a huge hit in my memory. I had not seen or eaten it since 1991 in Brazil. For some reason it was huge there. For those of you who have not seen it; it looks like dry dog food. You reconstitute in water for half an hour, or throw it in a soup or stew and it is ready to use. Wasn't too excited.
Mayumi had me reconstitute the TVP, then squeeze out the liquid, then soak it in a mix of soy and mirin, squeeze that out but reserve that liquid. Then I tossed the TVP in kudzu powder (a starch like cornstarch). I browned the seasoned, starched TVP in olive oil and then added the reserved liquid. The kuzu, just like cornstarch, cooked onto the TVP giving it a crispy exterior and then when I added the liquid it made a lovely, shiny thick sauce.
The dish was a revelation. The texture of the TVP and sauce was like a nice sweet and sour pork. This would be a good dish for anyone transitioning to eating less meat or if you are cooking for meat eaters. The mirin was a little sweet, mellowing out the soy. The TVP, tossed with olive oil coated rice pasta, sautéed veggies and served on a bed of Mache was rich, delicious and filling. Mayumi's was served on Arugula but I needed to eat the greens I had. I felt lots of energy and ready for the day.
The biggest revelation of the day though was not having a mid-afternoon slump. I did not drink my morning black tea. I did not eat any sweetener or have sugar other than what is naturally occuring in my food. My only caffeine came from kukicha twig tea which has the lowest caffeine content of any tea. You can have a cup before bed. And I had even, good energy all day. No caffeine headache. Maybe tomorrow.
Dinner did not happen. I made a judgement call. I prepped some ingredients then I went to a 5:45 yoga class thinking I would be home by 7:30 and eating by 8:00 pm. Which is later than I would like but I really wanted to take Suzanne's class. After class I was getting some stuff into my trunk when my key snapped off in the lock. So, I went out and had a salad roll which felt clean and healthy (but I know the sauce had sugar) then went on the two hour adventure of getting my car back to my house.