FOOD AS MEDICINE: Heal Yourself With Natural Foods

Copyright Gabriele Kushi

CHOOSING TO EXPERIENCE A natural foods lifestyle for just one month will provide you with an unforgettable experience that could change your life. This experience can tell you that the food you eat and the lifestyle you choose affects your health. If a month seems too long, I have a home-remedy that will give you a profound experience by trying it once.

Choosing a natural food lifestyle is much easier now than when I started my journey in 1971. At that time society was just becoming aware of natural foods, sparked by the macrobiotic movement.

Today, my meals provide family, clients, and students with healthy whole foods nutrition. I use organic and seasonal foods, farmed and produced in a sustainable manner. One can expect the highest healing from such a quality harvest.

I choose my complete protein from bean and tofu dishes, fish, an occasional egg, or buffalo stew after ceremony. Every day I cook complex carbohydrate in the form of whole grains like brown rice, millet, buckwheat noodles, or I eat natural fermented whole grain bread.

Fresh vegetables like collard greens, broccoli, parsley, and carrots are a must. Wakame and dulse sea vegetables find their use in salads and miso soups. Apples and blueberries are my snack and fast foods.

Omega-3 rich oils from flax, sesame, or olive oil moisturize my inner and outer complexion. Almonds and walnuts, and sesame, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, I choose over refined and chemically treated, hydrogenated oil-enriched items.

Enzymatic supplements and foods like umeboshi plum, sauerkraut, soy sauce, and miso are my constant companions--making sure I digest all the good food I am eating.

One can reduce the risk of diabetes, colon cancer, leukemia, breast cancer, heart disease, dementia, osteoporosis and other illnesses. Therefore read labels and don’t buy foods that contain sodium nitrite (in meats), monosodium glutamate (in soups), aspartame (in diet soda), yeast extract (in snacks), hydrogenated oils, or high-fructose corn syrup.

If you are not convinced of the healing effect food has on the body, please try one of my favorite home-remedies “Ume-Sho-Kudzu.” This traditional Asian medicinal drink is used to strengthen and promote good digestion and restore energy. Ume-Sho-Kudzu gets the most use at my house during cold season. In combination with improving one’s diet, it works wonder.

To prepare a kudzu drink you need spring water, kudzu, umeboshi, soy sauce, and ginger juice. Each of these items has strong healing properties. All can be found at your neighborhood natural food store or online.

Kudzu, a white starch made from a prolific wild vine can also be used in thickening soups, gravies, sauces, and in desserts.

Umeboshi, a pickled plum, aged for several years, is my number one “first aid” food. Umeboshi has many health benefits. It can ease the felling of nausea and may take away headaches, and it has an alkalizing effect on the blood. I always have it with me. It also comes in a small compact pill form, which is easier to carry around.

Soy sauce is a natural product made from soybeans. It is distinguished from refined, chemically processed soy sauce. Some of its health benefits are improved digestion and acid neutralization. It is my all-time favorite seasoning.

The spicy, pungent golden-colored ginger root is often used in cooking and for medicinal purposes. Spring water, I hope, you drink daily. Now you have everything you need to make the Ume-Sho Kudzu drink. Let me know if it works.

Ume-Sho Kudzu Drink
Preparation: Dissolve one heaping teaspoon of kudzu in two to three teaspoons of cold water. In a saucepan add one cup of cold water to the dissolved kudzu. Bring to a boil over a medium flame. Stir constantly to avoid lumping, until the liquid becomes translucent. Reduce the flame as low as possible. Add to this mixture the pulp of ? to 1 umeboshi plum that has been chopped or ground to a paste. Add several drops to one teaspoon of soy sauce and stir gently. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add one-eighth teaspoon fresh grated ginger-juice toward the end and stir gently. Simmer for another ? minute. Drink while hot.
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