Thursday, March 24, 2011

Concerns Surrounding Recent Events in Japan

Concerns Surrounding Recent Events in Japan

We at the SHI, including my wife, Susan and all of the staff, wish to extend
our most sincere prayers of health and healing to the Japanese people, the
land and the ocean that has been effected by the devastation of the
earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima power plants.

With regard to the effect of the tragedy on imported macrobiotic staples,
namely the quality of present and future Japanese miso, umeboshi, shoyu,
wakame and other seaweeds, here are my thoughts. As of the earthquake on
March 11th and the subsequent tsunami, nuclear meltdown and radiation
release in Northeastern Japan, the most recent shipment of Japanese
macrobiotic foods was already at sea before the earthquake hit, according to
the suppliers of the SHI.  The coming shipment is untainted but as far as
future supplies are concerned, seaweed will be most effected by radiation
fallout.  If you have further concerns, please speak to your favored
macrobiotic foods importer.

Shoyu is made in Sendai, as are some misos, such as Onozaki, and they take a
long time to make. It takes eighteen months to make shoyu and two years for
miso.  Hatcho miso comes from Okazaki, nine hours southwest from Fukushima.
Ryujin umeboshi plums come from Wakayama Prefecture in south-central Japan
and so should remain unaffected. In the end, a big part of the quality of
the product depends on the ingredients: wheat, soy beans, salt and waters,
as well as the environment in which they are made. We will have to wait and
see how the radiation settles, but for now, this might be a good time to
start exploring American macrobiotic products, e.g. South River Miso, Miso
Master Miso, Maine Coast Seaweed and California-made Umeboshi.

As for the plume of radiation headed for the west-coast of the United
States, the radiation levels are very low and most likely will have
dispersed to a non-threatening level, according to Scientific American on
March 16, 2011. Maintaining a diet that includes brown rice, miso soup,
moderate amounts of seaweed and adzuki beans are especially important for
keeping blood quality strong.  Seaweed also has the unique ability to bind
with heavy metals, such as cesium, one of pollutants found in radioactive
fallout. However, over-consumption of seaweed creates a mineral imbalance
and could lead to thyroid problems and extreme weight loss, due to the high
mineral content of sea vegetables.

I recommend an increase in sea vegetable consumption only in a case of heavy
exposure to radioactive metals, and not otherwise. The current levels of
radiation on the west-coast to not warrant increased seaweed.

In the case of heavy exposure to radioactive metals, foods to avoid include
sugar, soft drinks, fruit, juices, chocolate and highly processed foods. It
is also important to avoid extreme yang foods such as meat, chicken and
eggs. Someone in Sendai or someone who has been exposed to the meltdown in
or near Fukushima needs a simple diet of brown rice, adzuki beans, strong
miso soup and a bit more seaweed, well cooked vegetables, such as nishimi
and kinpira, and drink small amounts of kukicha tea as a beverage.  It would
also be imperative that all sugar, excess liquids and all extreme yin or
yang be avoided.

People living on the west-coast of the United States should maintain a
standard macrobiotic practice, making sure to include brown rice, miso soup,
adzuki beans and a normal amount of sea vegetables, no more than usual,
along with the usual variety of foods. I will keep you updated as more
information becomes available.

With continued prayers for Japan,


Monday, March 7, 2011

Potluck and Openhouse

With our open-house and potluck this past Saturday was quite exciting for us here at SHI. In the early afternoon we made delicious open-house snacks: popcorn, hummus with olives and veggies, bancha tea, hot apple cider, mixed nuts and rasins and a delicious grape kanten. We blew up balloons and decorated with beautiful flowers. We had 20 enthusiastic guests come to the open-house and enjoy our snacks and listen to Denny give a brief introduction to macrobiotics, which I will be posting on Youtube momentarily!
Our Saturday evening potluck was very exciting. We had over 30 people show up and bring delicious dishes for everyone to share! We raffled off a "Great Life Diet" book as well as an SHI goodie bag. Everyone enjoyed themselves and the delicious food and we are all looking forward to our next potluck on April 2nd at 5:30 p.m. We hope to see you there!