When I first started macrobiotics, I kept a food diary for several months. I tracked meals, sleep, mood and several body functions related to health. This gave me so much information about my body. It also helped me see when I was getting in a food rut, when I was eating more sugar or eating out more often than I thought. It’s a great tool.

But, really? Who has the time and motivation to write every meal down, in all its specifics, plus all the other health related information in a day? So, I stopped and I have been trying to get back into the habit ever since.

Last night in those moments right before falling asleep, I decided to look one more time for an app that could help me track my meals. So, I rolled over, grabbed my phone, did a search and found Two Grand.

I was going to wait for a few weeks to see if I still like this app and am able to stay motivated to input information every day. However, I was too excited to wait. I wanted to share it with you right away.

I think Two Grand is brilliant. Instead of writing down or searching for every single ingredient or meal, I just take a photo. I am not interested in how many calories or portion sizes in my meal. I just want to be able to remember what I ate, and the time that I ate, so I can track patterns and hold myself accountable.

The app also has a lot of other fun options. Using the app, you can also choose some goals for yourself, like not eating after 7 pm or going on a 30 minute walk, and it gives you daily reminders. I am going to add a 7 day Body Rub Challenge because I have slacked off on that in the past few weeks. There’s a way to track exercise, but I’m not ready to explore that, yet.

I can also follow people with similar food interests, see what their meals are like, share recipes and get inspired. I can buddy up with a friend so we can inspire each other.

So, if you are interested, check it out. You can follow me at Tess11 to see what my meals look like. I might just follow you back.

I hosted another Dyne meal a few days ago. All my guests had a lovely time sharing a meal and inspired conversation. The food was delicious.

It helped that my friend Jim was there, with his amazing ability to get everyone talking and laughing, in his really sweet and unassuming way. Thank you, Jim!

I was very pleased with the meal I prepared, especially the cauliflower soup. I developed the recipe especially for the event. 20150313_173804

My usual cauliflower soup is puréed. I was craving a chunkier soup, with texture and a lighter spring flavor.

This soup has only a handful of ingredients, so it is important to get the most flavor out of them. One way to do do this is to lightly sauté the onions for a very long time, without letting them brown. I let these cook for over an hour. Patience is a characteristic of a balanced liver, and it’s spring, liver/gall bladder season, a time when liver imbalances tend to show up more readily.

Feel free to use your own vegetable broth, but make sure it’s a very neutral flavored one so it doesn’t overpower the light cauliflower flavor. I would recommend a homemade broth with only onion, carrot and celery. Leave the salt out of your broth as well and just salt at each stage of making the soup.

I used a store-bought broth when making this soup because I knew it would save me some time and give me the flavor I wanted. The only store-bought broth I use is Imagine Vegetarian Low Sodium No-Chicken Broth. It has a good clean flavor and no tomatoes.

I made deep-fried croutons and parsley oil for a garnish. The instructions will come another day. I just wanted to get this soup to you.


Cauliflower Soup

1 medium onion, diced small
2-3 tsp olive oil
a few pinches good quality sea salt
4 cups (1 box) Imagine Vegetarian Low Sodium No-Chicken Broth
1 medium head cauliflower
2-3 tsp chickpea miso (or sweet white miso), I like South River Brand

1.  Place a large soup pot, with a heavy bottom, on low-medium heat. When the pot is warm, add the oil. Then add the onion. You want the onions to sizzle slightly, but you don’t want them to brown, so watch them carefully. Stir frequently, especially at the beginning. As soon as the onions start becoming translucent add a pinch or two of sea salt. Sauté the onions at least 30 minutes, longer if you wish. If the onions start sticking or browning, you can add a little more oil or a few tablespoons of the broth.

2.  While the onions are cooking, prepare the cauliflower. Cut the head of the cauliflower into small, bite-size florets. Cut the tender parts of the stems into small chunks. Set aside.

3.  When the onions have sautéed for 30-60 minutes, add the broth and water. Increase the temperature to bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to simmer.

4.  Add the cauliflower. If you are using your own salt-free broth,  you can add a few more pinches of sea salt at this time. You can also add a little more water if it looks like the soup is going to be too thick. Simmer until the florets are almost soft.

5.  Spoon the miso into a small bowl. Add a little of the soup broth and mix well before adding back to the soup. Take care to only simmer the soup gently after the miso is added.

6.  Remove from heat. Use an immersion blender to partially puree the soup, leaving it fairly chunky.

7.  Taste and adjust for salt, adding a little more miso if necessary.

Garnish Ideas: deep-fried croutons, parsley oil, fresh herbs, lemon, gremolata, good quality olive oil.


If you are in the Seattle area, you are welcome to join us for my next meal. I host a gluten-free, vegan meal two to three times each month. Check it out over at the Dyne website.


Here is a simple pudding. It is basically a kanten made with apple juice and amasake, then pureed to make a creamy pudding.

This dessert is appropriate for many people who are on a more restricted diet due to health concerns. Amasake lends a sweet creaminess that can address cravings in a more balanced way than most refined sweeteners.

I originally made this recipe using freshly made apple juice and the leftover pulp. If you have a juicer, you can do the same. I included the pulp when measuring the liquid. Use about 1 heaping tablespoon of agar per cup of liquid to get the right gelling consistency.

This recipe serves 2-3 people. You can easily increase the liquid proportionate to the agar if you would like to make a larger amount.20150220_153415[1]

Apple Amasake Pudding
serves 2-3

1 1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
3/4 cup almond or pecan flavored amasake (Grainassance brand)
2 1/2 heaping tablespoons agar (kanten) flakes
1 pinch sea salt
1/2 apple cut into small pieces
1/2 non-alcoholic vanilla (opt)

1.  In a medium size saucepan, stir the juice, amasake, agar and salt. Let sit for 10 minutes to dissolve the agar.

2.  Bring to a low boil on medium heat. Whisk frequently to help the agar dissolve. The amasake will probably curdle in the juice, but that’s okay because it will get pureed at the end.

3.  As soon as the liquid comes to a boil, add the chopped apple. Let simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

4.  Add the optional vanilla. Pour into a glass dish. Set aside to chill until firm.

5  When the kanten is firm, puree in a blender until smooth. You can add a tsp of maple syrup while pureeing if desired.

Warren Kramer will be in Portland, OR, providing lectures, cooking class and consultations the last weekend of March. More information about Warren, including his travel schedule, can be found over at Macrobiotics of New England.

I attend all of Warren’s events in Portland and can often be found assisting in the kitchen. I also organize his workshops when he travels to Seattle. I find his teaching to be informative and inspirational, with very practical applications. He is a gifted teacher and macrobiotic counselor. Plus, he is one of the best macrobiotic cooks I know. His meals are delicious.IMG_20130219_141131

A discount is available for prepaying and for attending all events.


Thursday, March 26th, 7pm:  Lecture with tea & dessert  at Tabor Space, Portland, OR

Myths & Misconceptions about Macrobiotics and Nutrition   Helpful for anyone seeking reliable information about health and macrobiotics, Warren’s first lecture will demystify macrobiotics and clarify some current nutritional beliefs such as: “You need dairy products to prevent osteoporosis.” “Drink 8-10 glasses of water each day.” “Cooking destroys nutrition.” “Animal products are the best source of protein” and “Macrobiotics is only a diet for cancer.”  An inspiring and informative lecture – bring your questions! $20 prepaid by March 15 ($30 if paid later)

Friday March 27th, 6:30pm:  Dinner and lecture, Oregon City, OR 

Aging Gracefully: The Keys to Youthfulness   Enjoy a delicious vegan, gluten-free dinner and learn about the real fountain of youth! Our modern diet and lifestyles are causing people to age quickly and prematurely.  We’ve become obsessed with our appearance and staying young.  There is truly a way to keep our freshness, brightness and youthful appearance throughout our life.  People living a more natural lifestyle and eating grains and vegetables appear 5-7 years younger than their age. Warren will explain how to use food, exercise and lifestyle to age gracefully and retain youthfulness.  Relevant to all ages!  $45 prepaid by March 15 ($55)

Saturday March 28th, 9:30am – 3pm:  Cooking class, lunch & lecture, Oregon City, OR

Cooking Class:  Quick Healthy Cooking & Creative Use of Leftovers

One of the biggest challenges that people face day to day while trying to improve their health is simply not having enough time to cook.  In this class you will learn techniques for cooking quickly and efficiently in the kitchen without compromising your health or the taste of the food.  Warren will demonstrate some delicious dishes using common leftovers. A full vegan, gluten-free meal will be served and recipes provided.

Lecture following lunch:  Understanding and Applying Yin and Yang in Daily Life
Yin and yang are the complementary and antagonistic forces or qualities found in all objects and processes in the universe. The application of this fundamental principle can make balancing our daily lives and meals much easier and more rewarding. Warren will lead a fun, thought provoking, interactive lecture and discussion looking into the many ways yin and yang can be seen and applied in cooking and in our daily lives. $85 prepaid by March 15 ($100)

All meals are vegan and gluten-free.IMG_20121028_114849

Warren Kramer is also available for personal macrobiotic health consultations.  A consultation includes a completing a detailed health questionnaire, a 90-minute one-on-one counseling session with Warren, individualized recommendations for strengthening or regaining your health, a recipe booklet and access to him post consultation for questions and support.

To register or for more information about the cooking class, lectures or consultations, please contact either me or Patty Bauer at macro4u2@gmail.com.

I hope to see you there!

I have been bouldering a lot lately. Simplified, it’s basically climbing without being roped. The things I like most about it is that I can go up or sideways and I don’t have to fuss with a rope and harness. I have been doing it at an indoor climbing gym and love the simple way I can use my whole body and my mind together. Both bouldering and climbing have a very satisfying puzzle aspect, as well, which I really love.

Bouldering is also a great way to play with fear.

I never thought I had a fear of heights until I started climbing. But, it often happens that as soon as I climb to a certain height, suddenly I am afraid to go any higher. The fear is both rational and irrational. I really might fall, but I would be falling on super cushy mats.IMG_20140607_115349

The reality is that I am completely safe. Bouldering creates a perfect contradiction for feelings to come up and be examined.

Here is how I utilize bouldering to tackle fear:  When I get to that spot where I am afraid to go any higher, the first thing I do is feel it in my body and just sit with it. I let my body know that I am aware it’s afraid. We stop and take stock of the situation. Together, my mind and my body work together, letting the fear guide but not control my actions. Sometimes I make a decision to keep going higher, sometimes I climb back down. I let myself feel everything during the whole process and sometimes even start shaking.

This is not about pushing ruthlessly past the fear, but about sitting with it and gaining information about what it tells me. The real value goes way beyond the gym, because it creates a relationship between my body and mind that can transfer to other situations where fear comes up. I’m not as likely to let fear stop me from doing things that push my edge. In a way, fear has become my friend. When I get scared, I am able to notice the fear, feel it and still think clearly and respond appropriately.

My friend Ian.

My friend Ian. Yes, he really is climbing sideways.

I think most fears are irrational and have nothing to do with the present moment. Fear encourages us to live small, comfortable lives. I have never been happy with giving fear control over my life.

Do you have a place in your life where you can play with fear? I have a friend who is in a memoir writing class and she plays with fear whenever she shares her writing with the group. I know not everyone is as excited about being afraid as I am, but try something and use my suggestions. You might be surprised at how it can create big shifts in your life.




During college, I was in the midst of an incredible depression. It started when I was very young. Digging my way out is one of the most powerful things I have ever done. I look back and can see my tenacity and courage.

However, one of the casualties of coming out of that depression was that I stopped caring as deeply about some of the things that are the most important to me. You see, I was terrified I would go back into the despair. When I started feeling better, I also started protecting myself and shut myself off from knowledge of what was going on in the world around me. I stopped listening to the news, stopped talking with friends about anything that made me feel sad and I refused to watch any movies that made me cry.

I allowed this terror of getting sucked back into the depression to disconnect me from relationships and a vital aspect of my true nature. I lost some of my fight. I numbed myself.

photo courtesy of dan at freedigitalphotos.net

photo courtesy of dan at freedigitalphotos.net

I have two brothers-in-law targeted by racism on a regular basis. I have friends and family who either live in or have relatives in Lebanon, Egypt, Japan, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. I have friends who are Jews. I have friends whose parents immigrated from other countries.

How can I truly connect with members of my family if I don’t ever ask and then listen to their experience with racism or their experience living in the US? How am I going to be able to really think about them unless I work on my own racism?

How are my Jewish friends going to know how much I care about them if I don’t have a clue about what is happening in Israel right now? How will they ever feel safe with me I’m not actively working on eliminating my own anti-semitism? How can I really know their experience if I haven’t heard their stories about what their grandparents went through in Germany or what their childhood was like being raised by terrified parents?

This is not easy work. I am going to start learning more about current events and sometimes it is heartbreaking. I am not looking forward to opening my heart in this way again. But, it feels like my next step in reclaiming a part of me that I lost in my fight against depression. I am not on anti-depressants, but somehow I managed to drug myself nonetheless, by pulling the covers over my head.

I want to live in a world free from all oppression. This means prioritizing being willing to look at the hard stuff. Looking at the ways we collude with oppression is hard and one of the ways we collude is by pretending that everything is okay and by pretending that oppression doesn’t exist. So what can we do about this?

I think the first step toward liberation for us all is through our direct connections with other people. Gentiles reaching out to Jews. Jews reaching out to Arabs. Catholics reaching for Protestants. Working Class people reaching out to the Owning Class. All of us reaching out to each other and finding deep, authentic connection in whatever ways we can.

As we take a stand to connect no matter how hard it might seem, we also take a stand for ourselves. we take a stand to end all forms of disconnection and, ultimately, this is what will change our world.

What is your next step? What do you need to look at inside yourself to allow your heart to open more fully? Who could you reach out to in your life with the intention of deepening your connection and learning more about their experience? Where in your life do you collude with oppression, staying silent instead of speaking up?

We are all on this journey together. I would love to hear your story. I am with you all the way.

One common misconception about Macrobiotics is that it is a diet. I think in its truest application, Macrobiotics is a philosophy of living that incorporates so much more than just the food we eat. This is why you will often hear it referred to as Macrobiotic Philosophy or people will say “I am practicing Macrobiotics.”

Unlike an actual diet, the practice of Macrobiotics will look different from person to person. We are either moving into or out of balance. Macrobiotics could be called the art of creating balance.

courtesy of arztsamui at freedigitalphotos.net

Photo courtesy of arztsamui at freedigitalphotos.net.

One of the things I love about Macrobiotic Philosophy is that it is full of principles and sayings to guide our thinking and our lives.

One principle I am fascinated by is Quantity Changes Quality. Let’s look at it from a few different angles and then you can play with it in your own life.

Some teachers take this principle to mean too much of a good thing is still too much. One piece of chocolate cake might leave you feeling satisfied, three pieces might give you a stomach ache.

I think too much or too little can affect quality. A crumb of chocolate cake won’t be very satisfying, either.

Salt is a good example. We need good quality sea salt in our diets. Too little will not give the kidneys enough of a charge, too much can harm the kidneys. The appropriate amount of salt is also important for our cardiovascular and nervous systems. Quantity affects quality, whether the quantity is too little or too much. Not enough cinnamon in a cinnamon roll and you won’t even taste it. Too much and it becomes unpalatable.

I like interpersonal examples, too. Remember when you were little and you went over to your best friend’s house to play? It took a little while to get into the groove and settle into being together. Once you warmed up, you then had a finite amount of really connected, magical play. Then, at some point the play-date lasted too long and you were suddenly sick of each other.

Look at that plant in your window sill. Too much water? Not enough? What happens?

courtesy of koko-tewan at freedigitalphotos.net

courtesy of koko-tewan at freedigitalphotos.net

When would opening up instead of closing down increase the quality of a relationship?

Quantity affects Quality. Play with this principle. Notice in your life when you are taking a good thing past the point of quality. Or when you aren’t even allowing yourself enough of something to benefit.

I’m not Miss Balance Girl. I love having fun with extremes. Yet, it sure is nice to have some insight to draw from when I am ready to find center again.





When I have guests in my home, I provide them with an assortment of easy breakfast items, including bread. I don’t often eat bread, so if it becomes more than a few days old, it’s nice to be able to just toss it into an easy dessert.20150122_122811[1]

I like a hearty, dense wholewheat naturally leavened sourdough bread, but go ahead and use your favorite or whatever you have on hand. Often, I will cube leftover bread and freeze it until I am ready to make either deep fried bread cubes for soup, or this bread pudding.

Traditional bread pudding recipes call for eggs and milk. Mine is super easy and completely vegan. I am not sure it’s even technically a bread pudding, but it’s delicious all the same.

If your bread is fairly soft, you may need to use up to 1/2 cup less liquid than the recipe calls for. Use your best judgement. If the bread pudding hasn’t thickened by 30 minutes of baking, leave it in the oven for a little longer until the liquids becomes thicker.

I like making this in my small 2 quart Le Creuset pot. Leave the lid on for part of the baking and off for the latter half.

Simple Vegan Bread Pudding

4 cups hearty bread, cubed
2 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (I use either Pacific Hemp Milk or Oat Milk these days, unless I have homemade milk available)
2 Tbsp grade B maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon (or whatever cinnamon you have)
1/2 baking apple, chopped small (I like Braeburn, Gala or Cameo)
2 Tbsp raisins, separated so they mix in well (opt)

1.  Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Let sit for up to a few hours or until the bread is very saturated. This will take less time for light, soft breads and more time for dense, hearty breads.

2.  Heat oven to 350°.

3.  Pour bread mixture into medium size baking dish with lid. Press the mixture down so it’s even and the bread is mostly covered. Bake for about 30 minutes. Leave the lid on for the first 15 minutes. Then remove lid and bake until the bread pudding is thick and starting to brown a bit on top.20150122_122922[1]

One of my main time-saving strategies in the kitchen is to make enough grain for three meals. We eat it freshly cooked for dinner on day 1, in something new for lunch or dinner on day 2 and then as a morning porridge the third morning. I try not to eat grain that’s more than three days old because it loses vitality over time. The same goes for legumes.

This same concept of cooking enough grain for three meals works for other grains as well, particularly millet and polenta.

Brown rice cooked with a little sea salt is considered to be one of the most balanced (and balancing) dishes, so it often shows up in a meal once a day or at least five times a week. Energetically it is a bit gathering and helps guide us and set direction in our lives.

carrot pudding

All of these ideas will work for pressure cooked brown rice. Many will work for boiled brown rice, but some, like nori rolls and rice balls, need the dense sticky quality you get from pressure cooking. Many of the recipes will work for pressure cooked rice/bean combinations as well.

Ideas for Leftover Pressure Cooked Brown Rice

1.  Nori Rolls and Hand Rolls

2.  Rice Balls:  covered with nori, with pumpkin seedsrice balls

3.  Fried Rice:  First, saute some vegetables in a skillet. When the vegetables are almost done cooking, add rice on top and sprinkle on a little shoyu/tamari mixed with a few tablespoons of water. Put a lid on it, heat through and stir. Remove from heat and mix in some toasted seeds or nuts and a little brown rice vinegar. This one over at PPK looks great.

4.  Rice Pudding:  Simple Rice Pudding with CinnamonCarrot and Currant Rice Pudding

5.  Rice and Bean Patties: Try the Brown Rice and Pinto Bean Patties.

6.  Add to Soup:  You can substitute the rice for millet in Millet with Sweet Vegetable Soup. Or add to almost any soup. You can also use it to thicken a creamy pureed soup.

7.  Morning Porridge, Sweet or Savory:  Check out Breakfast Porridge – 4 Ways.

8.  Rice Kayu Bread from Wholly Macro.IMG_20130318_124815

9.  Collard Green Burrito: Add some of that rice in there along with a bean spread and avocado or salad mix. Add a little drizzle of dressing or salsa. Yum.

10. Stuffed Acorn Squash:  Cut the squash in half, remove seeds and lay cut side down in a dish with 1/2″ water. Bake at 350° until almost soft. Remove from oven and fill with a spontaneous rice filling. Try rice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon, sea salt, shredded brussel sprouts, fruit sweetened cranberries and pumpkin seeds. After filling, drizzle with a little more olive oil. Cover and put back in oven until heated through, about 20 minutes.

What are your favorite ways to use leftover brown rice?

The second week of December I started another round of eliminating sugar from my diet. Ideally, I would get off sugar and stay off for the rest of my life. However, the best I can seem to do right now is continue to set my compass in that direction. Less days with sugar. More days without.

Sugar can mean different things for different people at different times. To clarify, I am talking about refined sweeteners. I did not take fruit out of my diet. I still drank some hot apple cider and warmed up carrot juice. But I didn’t even consume brown rice syrup and maple syrup.

What I want to talk about today is my experience. From the moment I made the decision to quit sugar, it felt very different from other times in the past. So different, actually, that it scared me.

Photo courtesy of  Serge Bertasius Photography at freedigitalphotos.net.

Photo courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at freedigitalphotos.net.

One of the things I have been doing in the past few years is healing my drug history. From antibiotics and anesthesia as a child, to alcohol, marijuana and antidepressants as an adult, with sugar and chocolate woven throughout.

As part of this healing, I realized that one of the biggest problems with marijuana is that it makes our brain think that nothing is a big deal. Sound familiar? It’s part of the way that particular drug affects our brain.

This December, the moment I stopped eating sugar, I actually had a really hard time even remembering why I was doing it. I had none of my earlier convictions at all. This is what scared me. Always in the past when I stopped eating sugar I knew that it was important and that was what drove me to keep going. Not this time. I am so glad I had two friends to help hold me accountable with hourly texts (yes, it’s this hard for me sometimes) and the memory that at some point in the past it had been really important to me. Even if I couldn’t remember why.

This got me thinking. If marijuana causes our brains to think that nothing is a big deal, then what is sugar doing to our brains? And I finally made the connection. It makes us forget.

There has been a lot of significant research about sugar and memory. I just hadn’t linked this forgetting with why sugar is such a powerful way for people to numb emotions. We forget the past. We forget the pain. We forget our frustrations. We forget our hopelessness. It doesn’t just numb us. The numbing is a result of the effect on our memory.

Viewed in this way, my act of eliminating sugar becomes an act of reclaiming my past and reclaiming my ability to remember what I want for my future.

I still haven’t grasped the full importance of this. But it’s life-changing for me. I am sure I will have more to write about in later posts.

Any thoughts or comments?