Early in my career (around 1980), I did a lot of study of, and practice with, the macrobiotic principles of diet. While ultimately, I found the system to be too restrictive and not the right approach for many of my clients, I did gain some important knowledge from macrobiotic teachers such as Michio Kushi, and some artifacts of macrobiotics remain within the structure of the Natural Health Science System approach to therapeutic nutrition.
Of course, one of my primary takeaways was the value of brown rice, both nutritionally and as a medicine. I will provide a detailed discussion of brown rice in a future article. Today, I will just mention a few things. First, it is a non-gluten grain. I have found gluten to be an issue for virtually everyone I have worked with. It is a sticky protein that interferes with nutrient absorption in the duodenum and commonly elicits food sensitivity (antigen/antibody) responses. Food sensitivities freeze all progress in a case. So long as a person continues to react to foods in one’s daily diet, resolution of symptoms remains elusive and the directional process toward healing is put on pause. Remember, the idea that someone is in stable condition is an illusion. If that person is not moving forward, she or he is gradually, perhaps imperceptibly at first, sliding backward. There is no stable point, where one can safely hang out.
In those early years of my practice, I worked with a lot of children. Grains should not be given to children younger than 14 months of age as the pancreas does not begin producing starch-digesting enzymes until around that time. The premature introduction of starches to babies is one of the most common dietary errors in childhood feeding and is a key factor in lifelong digestive, and food sensitivity, issues.
However for children and babies older than 14 months of age, I often suggested soft-cooked brown rice as a dietary staple. The proportions for soft-cooked brown rice are 5 cups water : 1 cup brown rice. The rice is slow-cooked for about 2 hours and some liquid remains in the pot. This type of rice preparation is more soothing to the gut and easier to digest, as the starch is more completely broken down and amenable to enzymatic action.
Now that I am in my older years and my stomach isn’t the valiant engine it used to be, I always prepare my rice this way. I find it much easier to digest than the conventional 2 cups of water : 1 cup of rice formula, and far more soothing to the entire g.i. tract.
Always use organic brown rice. Non-organic brown rice is a heavily sprayed crop. I prefer short-grain brown rice. An excellent, trustworthy brand of brown rice is Lundberg. All their rice is grown in the U.S. and is either organically grown or grown using ecologically sensitive, non-toxic methods.
Asparagus: Asparagus is a rich source of certain B-vitamins, vitamins A, C, E and K, calcium, copper, iron, potassium and phosphorus. Asparagus supports the kidneys, urinary tract and reproductive tract, and is good for gut health. It has also been found to elevate mood.
Tahini: Raw sesame seed butter is a nutritionally-rich food and a very versatile culinary item regarding sauces and dressings. It contains alpha-linoleic acid, omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats (all healthy fats), a significant amount of protein, B-vitamins, calcium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, zinc and other minerals. Always use raw tahini, never toasted tahini. The toasting process oxidizes some of these healthy fats, introducing harmful free-radicals into the body. Always refrigerate an opened jar of tahini.