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Vegetables I Eat

Posted Oct 25 2008 4:48pm

I'm picking up where I left off in explaining what I eat on a macrobiotic diet, starting with VEGETABLES. Tomorrow, I'll add this post to the right sidebar of this blog, under "Macrobiotics" as a quick reference for anyone who wants to know more about this diet and my experience with it.

Below is a list of the vegetables commonly eaten on a macrobiotic diet. I've taken these lists from The Macrobiotic Way by Michio Kushi and this is the blueprint that I (more or less) followed over the course of my nearly 10 years eating this way. When I began, there were many vegetables on this list that I'd NEVER tasted. I only had a preconceived notion of what they tasted like (sound familiar?). So when I started eating the macrobiotic way, it became an adventure in color and variety.

Getting sugar, dairy and chemically processed foods out of my diet made a noticeable difference in the taste of food, especially vegetables. Unbelievable. Try it for yourself! I was able to appreciate the different flavors of these wonderful life-giving roots, round, and leafy green vegetables. I was experiencing vegetables in a whole new way. It was like being in love (no kidding!) ... the world was new and exciting.

The list of commonly eaten (for regular everyday use) stem or root vegetables are: carrots, burdock, daikon, parsnips, radishes, rutabagas, salsify, turnips, lotus root, dandelion root. Round or ground vegetables: acorn squash, buttercup squash, butternut squash, cabbage, cauliflower, Hubbard squash, Hokkaido pumpkin, pumpkin Leafy vegetable s: bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrot tops, Chinese cabbage, chives, collard greens, daikon greens, dandelion greens, green cabbage, kale, leeks, mustard greens, parsley, radish greens, scallions, turnip greens, watercress

For occasional use: Stem or root vegetables: Romaine lettuce, dried shitake mushrooms, snow peas, string beans, summer squash, swiss chard, water chestnuts, yellow wax beans. Ground or round vegetables: green peas, iceberg lettuce, Jerusalem artichokes, jinenjo (mountain potatoes), kohlrabi and greens, mushrooms, patty pan squash, red cabbage. Leafy greens: alfalfa sprouts, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, beets, celery, corn on the cob, cucumbers, endive, escarole

To be avoided: (This is what gets some people crazy ... but don't let this be a show-stopper!) The avoid list includes ... for leafy: asparagus, avocado, curly dock, eggplant, fennel, ferns, green peppers. Ground vegetables: plaintain, pototoes, purslane, red chard, red peppers, Shepard's purse, sorrel. Root vegetables: spinach, sweet potatoes, taro, tomatoes, yams, zucchini

When I first started with the healing diet for advanced cancer I pretty much stayed to the lists. As time went on ... five or so years into it ... did start eating a few of the "avoid" foods every now and then, and still do (occasionally), but the bulk of the vegetables I eat on a daily basis are the regular-use vegetables.

Here's the reasoning behind the "avoid" vegetables ... some contain irritants and mildly toxic alkaloid (alkaline substances). Almost all have their origin in the tropics (which may be OK if you live in the tropics). Tomatoes, asparagus, red chard, beet greens, spinach and rhubarb are also high in oxalic acid, which inhibits the absorption of calcium in the body. Zucchini, avocado, eggplant, potato and various edible weeds are best avoided as they have an unhealthful acidifying effect on the blood if consumed on a regular basis, especially living in a temperate zone (I live in Maine, USA).

Let's move on from here, as many people get stuck arguing that they could never give up tomatoes or potatoes, and never get past this point. OK! – if that's going to keep you from doing the diet, please just eat your tomatoes and potatoes. But don't let this keep you from trying the abundance of all the other vegetables or you'll be missing out on a wonderful variety that nature has to offer (and which are recommended on a macrobiotic diet). Trying the vegetables on this list will open up a whole new world of foods you can eat (a lot of!) that are full of fiber, nutrients and life force.

Personally, I believe that for most of us, it isn't an occasional tomato, avocado or asparagus that gets us in this unhealthy state of affairs. I believe that the biggies are 1.) the large amounts of addictive white sugar products and the sugar in all our processed American foods that throw off our bodies' ecology and take our taste away for vegetables and other nutritious foods, 2.) chemicalized and processed foods themselves, which are lower in nutrients and life force, and 3.) the way in which we consume them (on the go, without chewing and not relaxed and sitting down).

FAQ: How often is occasional? From my personal experience, it could be once every other week in smaller amounts. Maybe cyclical or seasonal. But not everyday regular use, like eating steamed greens once or twice a day, which would be recommended and healthful.

Does anyone have any other questions about this? I'm always open to questions!

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