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Macro Mondays: Top 3 Macrobiotic Ingredients.

Hey guys.

I am so very thankful that the lovely Maggie over at Say Yes to Salad decided to start a Month of Macrobiotics this March. 

I'm thankful, because I have been in need of a little inspiration lately. Six months of snow on the ground, and what's now turned into slushy grey melty madness has felt a little overbearing this year. 

But there's no better way to say goodbye to the dreary winter blues and fire up the old inspiration station than by spending some quality time focusing on Macrobiotics. A Month of Macrobiotics sounds just GREAT!!! Yipee!

This was just the kick in the pants I needed to institute something I've been planning for awhile for the Dainty Pig:

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A guaranteed good start to your week.

Today is the first of many Macro Mondays! I will use Macro Mondays as a way to focus in on Macrobiotic tips, tricks, or information about specific ingredients & cooking styles. 

To collect all these posts & ideas in one place, I have made a new page on my site for this. Click here to check it out!

Each week as I do a Macro Mondays post, I'll put the link on the special Macro Mondays page, along with any other tips or tidbits, so it's all easy to find.

If you're interested in contributing/guest posting for a Macro Monday post, please send me an email. And I'm taking suggestions for any topics you'd like me to focus on here with our Macro Monday posts.

This very first MACRO MONDAY is devoted to...

The TOP 3 Macrobiotic Ingredients to ADD to your diet...or just try ;)

Macrobiotics can get a little overwhelming sometimes. So instead of worrying about what not to eat, perhaps try adding in a few Macrobiotic foods and see how you like them and how they make you feel.

Here are the ingredients that I am most happy to have discovered / embraced through Macrobiotics. 

  1. Seaweed 
  2. Umeboshi
  3. Miso
  • Seaweed:   Truthfully, I haven't met a seaweed that I didn't like. My top 2 favourites are wakame, and dulse. I sprinkle dulse flakes on whole grains or popcorn all the time. I use whole dulse pieces in wraps or sandwiches. They add a nice salty flavour. I'd say that Dulse is probably the gateway drug/seaweed to more hardcore things like arame & hijiki.  My second most favourite is Wakame. I use wakame when cooking brown rice, and in miso soup. If you've ever eaten miso soup at sushi, the seaweed floating in it is usually wakame. It is great for balancing lady hormones and tastes fairly mild on the sea-vegetable spectrum.

  • Umeboshi: Chances are you haven't heard of these Japanese Pickled Plums unless you've lived in Japan, or have looked into Macrobiotics. These little suckers pack a punch! They are tangy and salty, and aid in digestion (as do all naturally pickled things). Not only can you simply place a pickled plum on top of brown rice for a decorative & tasty treat, but you can also find/use umeboshi in many different forms, such as in Umeboshi Paste: a tiny bit goes a long way on sushi rolls! Umeboshi vinegar is a delicious and sour addition to steamed vegetables and tastes oddly AWE-mazing on lentil stews ---> this one in particular. Umeboshi extract looks like black tar in a teeny tiny bottle. But it is used like a medicine in Japan. It is insanely alkalizing, and great for stomach/digestion problems. When I say a little goes a long way, I mean little as in the end of a toothpick little. I love sour things---lemon is my lover---and umeboshi put lemons to shame. Pucker up, you won't regret it!

  • Miso: I know, I know, you've had miso at Sushi places and it was so-so. Probably super salty, and had lots of seaweed floating around in it. It probably wasn't the same stuff i'm going to tell you about. Proper miso (aged naturally, made with a combination of grains & soybeans) is a treat. It has tons of minerals and probiotics ---> a nutritional powerhouse. It adds a delicious salty rich taste, which can turn a pot of boiling vegetables into a delicious soup. Bonus: It comes in a tub and lasts a long time! Also, play around as there are many different types of miso: white miso made with white rice (great in desserts and for a lighter sweeter taste), barley miso---which is a great day to day miso, brown rice miso for a stronger flavour, and then pure soybean miso for the strongest flavour. You can use miso to make dressings and dips (tip: tahini + miso + lemon = all good things). And rumor has it that miso + cashews blended up tastes cheesy! One of my all time favourite desserts ever was a baked tofu cheesecake I had in Japan, and the chef leaned over and whispered to me: "shiro miso" (white miso). Ah ha! You can put it into cakes! Sold.

I'll expand further about each one of these lovely ingredients in the near future.

But for now, I highly encourage you to try at least one of these ingredients. A simple dash of ume vinegar to some steamed veggies might just taste good enough to spark your Macrobiotic interest. And if that doesn't suit you, then try mixing some miso paste with tahini and lemon and drizzling that onto some quinoa or brown rice. Top with a sprinkle of dulse flakes and BAM: a macrobiotic success story right there.

HAPPY HAPPY MACRO MONDAY to you all!