Blog

June 27, 2013

Macrobiotics means the big life in Latin and it’s all about using food to heal your body and combining wellbeing, happiness, good humor, and harmony with nature.

Macrobiotics officially became a movement in Japan in the late 19th century when doctors and patients alike were yearning for a more traditional diet that avoids processed food, refined sugars, milk and dairy products, and high levels of meat—all recent imports from the United States and Europe. The macrobiotic movement quickly took root in Japan and its proponents fanned out throughout the world and taught tens of thousands of people about the benefits of eating whole foods that spent their life in the soil, not a tin can. By the 1920s, macrobiotics was firmly established in Paris and by the 1960s anyone who really cared about healthy eating was likely well-versed in the fundamentals of macrobiotics.

Some of you may have even heard of luminaries like George Ohsawa, one of the earliest prophets of modern macrobiotics. George and Lima Ohsawa traveled the world spreading the Taoist message of balancing yin and yang. Michio Kushi, one of Erewhon’s founders, also wrote a book, The Macrobiotic Way that is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the macrobiotic lifestyle. In recent years, macrobiotics became quite popular in Hollywood with proponents like Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Boy George, and Julia Roberts espousing a healthier way of being. Jessica Porter is another macrobiotic teacher, chef, and all-round health guru based in Santa Monica. Mirroring the movement’s growing popularity, a number of macrobiotics-based restaurants have opened in Los Angeles, including M Café. And besides the plethora of websites and books on macrobiotics, almost every country in the world has a macrobiotic learning center, complete with lecture series and cooking classes.

Back in the late sixties, Erewhon began as a tiny macrobiotic store in Boston. Then, macrobiotics was the healthy lifestyle to follow and Erewhon opened its doors to provide the community with the best macrobiotic produce and Japanese foods. It seems hard to imagine in 2013 that, back when Erewhon got its start, you couldn’t buy brown rice in the United States! Erewhon’s founders, Michio and Aveline Kushi, changed all of that by going directly to farmers and growers around the country and establishing steady sources of organically-grown produce and grains. And all those health foods like tofu, miso, and seaweed that seem so mainstream now were only made available when Paul Hawken and Evan Root, members of the original Erewhon staff, sourced them directly from Japan.

The key principle of macrobiotics is the emphasis on eating locally-grown foods that are in season. Foods should be unrefined, whole, natural. Macrobiotics also stresses the need for balancing acidic and alkaline foods. If you stick to these three easy principles, so essential to the basic chemistry of our bodies, macrobiotics will most certainly change your life!

Forming the basis of a macrobiotic diet are fresh, local, in-season, organically-grown fruits and vegetables. And for those of you who want to go all-out, why not try dried daikon radish sautéed with fresh vegetables and mirin over a bed of buckwheat soba? And making miso soup is a piece of cake with nori seaweed, bonito, spring onion, and little cubes of tofu. A great dish for summer is sliced cucumber marinated in umeboshi (pickled plum). Or how about try a snack of steamed brown rice sprinkled with gomasio and a dash of tamari sauce?

With all these delicious and wholesome building blocks, you can be eating and living the macrobiotic way in no time! Forty-five years after opening its doors in Los Angeles, Erewhon still has an excellent selection of macrobiotic foods. Come in to our store and discover why macrobiotics is called the big life.