It’s my website and I’ll yell if I want to….

February 18th, 2010

you can yell too if it happens to you! – dada dadaDA! And it does to all of us.

Pills, pills, pills, pills, pills…….endless TV commercials promoting the Big Pharma compressed concoctions. Enough already! And blasting our audio and ocular senses every few minutes or less for 10 different afflictions that they helped contribute to with lab engineered foods and ‘remedies’. And what about the one where the actors are followed around by a hospital gurney over hills and dales and through sliding steel/glass doors just waiting for your arteries to clog and congeal enough for you to keel over backward…(can you keel over backwards or is it, fall…) into the ‘cozy’ steel arms of the patiently waiting gurney – instead of a more normal crumple and cracking your skull, God forbid. Wait a minute, you’d need another pill or an additive to that one that instantly senses the fall and turns that part of your skull into a cushiony protective sponge! So if your fall don’t getcha your arteries will. BUT ward off that fall and gurney with a pill!! Here it comes to save your day….save your life….a pill. And what about the pill for depression that causes suicidal thoughts?!?!? Dahhh! “I can do that on my own!” say those same depressed individuals. “Why do I need to pay for a pill?”

And the partner closeness pill that causes us to seek separate bath tubs….that one I can’t figure out at all. First it’s togetherness then it’s separateness. Make up your minds. Are the tubs replacing the quintessential aftermath cigarettes? What’s the point? I know, the other person in the other tub may not be the original partner since we don’t see faces? Hmmm. Pills promoting open relationships? If they’re selling tubs too, by the way, then give us a brand name. I happen to like those old claw foot cast iron relics.

And on and on and on….what’s the old adage? “If it don’t kill you, it’ll cure you.” Or something like that. Don’t believe it! Way too many to go into here. But I do sense a book or a more in-depth blog coming to me. I’ve been planning to take notes re all those assaulting horrors, and now I will…maybe Killer Pills…with all the double meanings.

Obesity, autism, hi & lo BP, ADD-ADHD, ED…..get this, for most every affliction there is a food or foods and combinations for you and your pets with lifestyle changes to suit. So simple. Slow the pills. Shop the natural food stores and farmers’ markets. Start eating real whole grains. Sniff out real herbs. Seek out local and organic farmers and their friends. Single out real reading material on and off the web to suit your realigning health goals. Venture into the world of responsible personal healthcare. Take advantage of the bottomless well of support available to you. While weaning away from the pharmaceuticals, dive into a world of intuitive judgment that served and saved our ancestors…as recently as our grandparents and great grandparents for us baby boomers. So shout it out….I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore! And don’t.


October 22nd, 2009

It doesn’t work anymore really…the name, Macrobiotics. “The times they are a changin’,,.” And it’s time for a name change. For too many years I’ve heard how people are put off by the name equating it with an unforgiving lifestyle geared only for those who seek it from sickness. Something more in tune with the times sounding less like an affliction itself, especially with all the meds and maladies that “…you should ask your doctor about…” Something more provocative, inviting curiosity for making a change, inspiring a creative quest for a tasty, culinary exploration into a healthier lifestyle. This baby has to expand and enjoy life.

Macro-fusion maybe? Sorry George (Ohsawa) and Michio (Kushi), but the time has come to rename this Rose called Macrobiotics. It is a Rose but the name still strikes unpleasant associations in the minds of many and doubts in their hearts. Like what is it really? It’s time for IT to get with it. It’s not Japanese anymore. It should be an intimate awareness of who we are, where we come from genealogically, environmentally, our DNA from however far back we can go including all the food textures and tastes that went into our makeup from way back there to here.

Macrobiotics sounds like a disease itself, like there has to be something wrong with you. Having come across so many who are hesitant to even try the lifestyle without being sick, and with managers of cooking schools impressing on me not to use this ‘M’ word in my classes, that it scares people away, and having taught it and cheffed it for at least half my life, I’ve come to the conclusion that it needs a name change with more pizzaz and panache. The content doesn’t need changing but does need expanding…infinitely. Michio used to say that if you are healthy, happy, and can transmute anything, then anything is good. Back in the early ‘70’s we didn’t have so many chemical additives and laboratory teched food ingredients, just major sugar, so I think he would amend that statement now. The point being that if you’re healthy, go for ‘it’. A few parameters are necessary and some guidelines to follow for when you’re paying for your playing. Only fair. Isn’t that what you’re doing by taking Western meds?

Macro: all-inclusive. Biotics: in-body. By virtue of it being called ‘Macro’, it is all-inclusive – something that seems to be misinterpreted pretty much by all to be the exact opposite – micro, tiny and inhibiting. Macro speaks to all foods of all peoples of all cultures of all biological make-ups and all should be included when adopting it as a lifestyle. We are Fusing our cultural food diversity. We are not all the same with the same sized shoe. We come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors ancestrally birthed from many different cultural and ethnic origins. That is Macro. When I lived in the Boston Macro birthplace back in the day, learning from Michio and Aveline in the early ‘70’s, it always bothered me that that the food preparations were pretty much geared to the Japanese palette. Delicious though they were/are what about my Jewish/ Russian/Spanish roots? Within each culture there are handed down cures and potions that in themselves are pure and ‘Macro-biotic’. Nothing wrong with them. Case in point: Chicken soup is not Japanese. Did I become healthy by embracing ‘pure’ Macrobiotics in the first place? You betcha! But as with all maladies, when you are well, you stop the ‘medication’. MacroFusion, as a ‘medication’, is whole food that can morph into a lifestyle which will be all inclusive and preventative. It will no longer be only a curing regimen but will be a way of life that intrigues you, a life of delicious culinary delights that doesn’t exclude friends and family but includes them and invites them into the MacroFusion world.

All other name change suggestions will be considered, so please tell me what you think.

A Farewell Year to Remember…my dear!

October 2nd, 2009

It was a gift from her to us and our final gift from us to her, a bonus year, although she wouldn’t have agreed. “Put me on an ice float with one day’s food ration like the Eskimos when it’s my time!” said she when still young and spicy enough to approach the inevitable closure with levity and panache, her signature approach still at the end of her almost 95 year run on this stage. My mother-in-law was a pip! One of the very last of the big time spenders and red hot mamas telling it like it was from her point of view which was, of course, the only point of view. A radio, TV, and stage actress ‘back in the day’, gravelly voiced and a fashionably card carrying Communist who was acting during the Black List (and she knew many) McCarthy era. She was that ‘never say die’, all is possible and ‘damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead’ generation, which we refer to as dinosaurs. There used to be many more, and sad to say they, too, are becoming extinct.

Yes, she was a hoot. We called her several nick names, Diamond Jim Brady was one, picking up the tab whenever possible not only just for the bravado of it regardless of affordability, but also to make it easy on everyone. Money should never be an issue. Her take was like Scarlet O’Hara’s, “… after all, tomorrow is another day”. Smoothing the way to ensure everyone should be HAVING FUN — money was, after all, just…….money. Don’t spoil the fun. No waves. She was ‘a sport’. A classy gal. Never cast a shadow on a good time because of money! It comes, it goes…but the memories, ahhh those last forever and should be happy. Let’s live!

Another name? Auntie Mame, of course, to everyone — Hariet by birth. She came by all honestly with her uncle being Sam the Horse Thief who owned the Hudson Burlesque in New Jersey and married Nell a stripper. Sound somewhat familiar? Sky Masterson, Nathan Detroit, Adelaide? The story is that Damon Runyan’s blue print for his unforgettable characters in “Guys and Dolls” was Hariet’s Uncle Sam. Larger than life, just as colorful, and cut from the same cloth. Wish I’d known him also.

No more tomorrows for Hariet now, but she did have a bonus year of unexpected tomorrows, unexpected by all doctors after several strokes and debilitating health issues at almost 95 years on her largest and most challenging stage — her life. To the end at home she was an unsinkable Molly Brown. No looking back at yesterday’s news, it was yesterday’s news after all. But as with all of us, the inescapability of the final curtain can be made easier with the best food. She herself was a gourmet chef, so there was no fooling her, no schnibbling, as she used to put it, with the ingredients: taste and quality were utmost. “And that, my dear….” is a significant reason why she was so strong to the last.

I always go on the premise that where there’s life and good food, there’s not only hope but also replenishing. What Hariet wanted, regardless of doctors or caregivers or even us, Hariet got. And I’m so happy to say that this past year, though very difficult, was one of the most loving, rewarding, instructive, pleasing, and educationally eye-opening of my life. The doctors credited her last eleven months of survival to the natural food that was prepared for her daily, and that she devoured with relish even though the choices became somewhat narrow throughout the year. Fresh and organic fare with herbs and spices that varied the taste and venue while simplicity was the standard, and basic ingredients were very often the same for several days during the week, every week. It was amazing to see what good food can do even under these trying circumstances. We had seen this before with her as she advanced in years and didn’t feel like cooking, resorting to the previously abhorrent use of frozen dinners and liquid nutrition among others or nothing at all. In a matter of a few days with organic and fresh meals, her pallor would change from ashen gray to rosy pink, as the pixie twinkle returned to her violet eyes.

Her doctor who had been so amazed with her throughout the years and loved her, as did all who came to know her, made consistent house calls, really!, always expected the worst but found her rallying, always cheerful and healthy for her condition. He applauded the food and said that that’s what probably made so much difference adding to her longevity and mental cognizance helping her to approach her destiny with dignity. Clearly, outwardly, coping with any cold reality was never part of her character (the stage, my dear, was everything), but neither did she ever want to be away from the action. We believe that being in her home, the care and love in preparation and the purity of her food helped her cope with her final reality as we witnessed her coming to terms with her deepest secrets. At the very end we all bid her “good night” and were present as she quietly drifted out of this dimension but probably bolted into the next impatiently champing at the bit for her new curtain rise. Never a moment’s rest — “roll with the punches” and “when life deals you lemons….” That was Hariet. How can you take a cruise without your own hairdresser and his lover to stage your nightly, elegant shipboard appearances so every curl, every wave, every hair, and every makeup dab enhanced those beautiful evening gown changes. Never. That was Hariet, “my dear”!

She had always relished great food and was known for demanding that chefs from around the world make their appearance at her various ports of call, after divinely devouring one of their dinners, for her unreserved appreciation when they deserved it, and their recipes — which they actually gave her. Her praises were unrestrained and genuine — as were her criticisms which were gently respectful. But either way, you basked in her glow. Eating was not just ‘eating’, she celebrated all food. Her joy was ours. We helped her celebrate to the end still glowing from her grateful appreciation of our efforts to the last.

It’s an honor to toast you Hariet, a bona fide diva, coifed, begowned, bejeweled, and utterly beguiling taking one more well deserved curtain call to our standing ‘O’! Brava!

ABOUT: Wellness Chef Helen Sandler
Lecturer, personal chef, teacher, wellness coach, & speaker, Helen promotes a healthier lifestyle through common sense, organic / natural approach to a happier, positive life.

Helen Sandler is used to being an innovator and at the cutting edge of whole foods whole grains awareness. After graduating from SUNY, New York with a teaching degree, she began to follow her real passion for healthy cooking which took her from Los Angeles to Boston to attend the cooking school of the late and great master Japanese natural chef, Aveline Kushi. Later that passion took her to Kyoto, Japan to continue her studies, where she spent four more years learning the art of healthy Japanese cooking (Seishoku).

As Wellnes Chef Helen she is the featured authority at CTNgreen /wellness with articles in the library there and the virtual paperless magazine at CTNGreen Magazine