4th Post for the Vegan Marathon: Macrobiotics can help you stay healthy as you age and help get you through a medical crisis: Using your medical provider, Free Counseling Service for the Elderly, Recovery after Hand Surgery Therapy, Macrobiotics in Detail, Millet Recipe

In my interactions with my age cohorts, they point at me, and say, “You’re pro-active.” I’d call it trying to keep my head above water with maintenance doctor appointments. Whenever, a neat idea comes to me via an e-mail, I scrutinize it from a senior’s  point of view and if valid it’s promoted. Today, I’ll be writing about healing in the most simplest way, by staying on the Macrobiotic path or close to it. Yesterday, I was sent the following from AACI, (I am a lifelime member): INFO: Free Counseling Service for the Elderly

Zachary Rothbart, is the Director of the Shira Pransky project at AACI, the Association for Americans and Canadians in Israel. He offered Chizuk (encouragement) regarding obtaining approval for a medication that my husband was prescribed. Through many specialist physician’s letters to our Chupah, the medication was finally approved.

1) The National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi) operates a Counseling
Service for the Elderly which is designed to assist the elderly and their
families in resolving problems they may be facing. The service is available
to any elderly person in Israel who requires assistance, is offered in all
Bituach Leumi branches throughout the country, and even has an English call
center!To read more about what the service offers, check out:
http://shirapranskyproject.org/counseling-service-for-the-elderly/. I don’t know anyone who has used the service. I would like to know if the Service was helpful.

It also helps to get a doctor on your side when dealing with Israel’s medical bureaucracy. If you have medical concerns,  there is an up-coming series at AACI which you should consider attending. The series is called, “Understanding the Health System in Israel”, which will be offered:

Wednesday, October 1st at 16:30 – Overview and Options by Dr. Rafael Cayam, Director of Medicine of Leumit Health Fund, Jerusalem District

Wednesday, October 22nd at 16:30-Health Care Rights by Gabe Pransky, Founder of AACI’s Shira Pransky Project.

What I mean by getting a doctor on your side is to be regular with appointments and blood tests. Most important, if one undergoes surgery, as I have recently, don’t refuse  your surgeon’s post operative recommendation.  Everyone of my cohorts at the post-operative examination received an occupational therapy referral.

Everyone in the room, except me looked at the referral, and said,  “What do I need this for? I need to go back to work. I have better things to do”.

In the past, I have asked for therapy (occupational, physical, Feldenkrais, acupuncture, you name it.  This was the first time that a doctor gave me a referral for occupational therapy. There are always new developments. It’s always great to have a 4 star doctor. However, If you don’t follow his suggestions for post-operation care, you stand a chance of inflicting pain on your-self down the road. I talked to about a dozen people, including doctors, who have under-gone carpal tunnel surgery, and none were treated with Scar Tissue Mobilization, the specific treatment indicated by my surgeon.

On July 30th I underwent Carpal Tunnel Surgery. My hand feels much better as a result of the surgery, and with Scar Tissue Mobilization, I will feel even better. Please examine the  photo taken on September 13th. As of today,  I am a spokesperson for Scar Tissue Mobilization Awareness. The following information was taken from: http://physicaltherapy.about.com/od/typesofphysicaltherapy/a/Scar-Tissue-Massage-And-Management.htm and summarized herein.

My occupational therapist Yael, at Meuhedet in Givat Shaul, is trained in massage. Massage is a common method used to help remodel scar tissue that has developed in injured tissue. It is a treatment used in physical therapy after surgery, fracture, or soft tissue injury like sprains and strains. Scar massage is also known as scar mobilization.

In Israel, scar mobilization is performed by an occupational therapist who teaches the patient it’s principles. True to macrobiotic principles, it means the patient is involved and not passive.



What is Scar Tissue?

There are many instances in the body where scar tissue will develop. After surgery, scar tissue will develop where the surgical incision is in the skin. If muscles and tendons were cut or repaired, scar tissue will develop there. After injury like a hamstring tear or rotator cuff tear, scar tissue will develop in the muscle as it heals. Bony scar tissue, called a callus, will form on bone after a fracture. Scar tissue is the body’s normal method for healing body parts that are injured.

Is Scar Tissue Permanent?

Scar tissue is not a permanent fixture in the body. After scar tissue forms and healing has taken place, the scar needs to be remodeled so that it can tolerate the stress and forces that the body may encounter throughout each day. The remodeling process is essential to ensure that normal range of motion, strength, and mobility are restored to the injured tissue.

Scar Management Techniques

If one develops scar tissue after injury or surgery, your occupational therapist may perform scar massage on the injured tissue in order to help with the remodeling process. He or she may also instruct you or a family member in the proper scar massage technique.

Be sure to check with your doctor or physical therapist to ensure that proper healing has taken place and that scar tissue massage is appropriate. Massaging a scar that is not fully healed can cause damage to the developing scar tissue and this can delay healing. In general, the scar must be fully closed and no scabbing present to begin scar massage. Again, your doctor and physical therapist should assess your scar before beginning scar massage.


Usually a small amount of lubrication is used during scar massage. This can be baby oil, lotion, or vitamin E oil. This is used to keep the scar and skin pliable and soft.

Cross Friction Massage

One effective method of scar massage is called cross friction or transverse friction massage. This involves using one or two fingers to massage your scar in a direction that is perpendicular to the line of the scar. This technique helps to remodel the scar and ensures that the collagen fibers of the scar are aligned properly. Cross friction massage is commonly used in the treatment of tendonitis and muscle strains or ligament sprains. The technique is performed for five to ten minutes. If instructed to do so, you may be able to perform scar massage on yourself two to three times per day. The photo of my wrist shows that the scar is barely visible after a few days of the massage regimen.


Another common method to help remodel scar tissue is stretching and flexibility exercises. This can help elongate the injured tissues and improve their overall mobility. If you have had an injury or surgery, your occupational therapist is likely to incorporate both scar massage and stretching into your rehabilitation program.

Daily food has the power to heal or make us sick; to keep us healthy or accelerate our decline. The importance of food in health and healing cannot be overemphasize.However, unlike modern nutrition, in which foods are analyzed according to their biochemical effects, the macrobiotic view is based on an understanding of food as energy. Rather than being analytical and partial, the macrobiotic approach is dynamic and whole.

In macrobiotics, we approach food on two levels. In the first, more fundamental level, we apply the principle of yin and yang to balance our daily diet as a whole. Yin and yang help us understand food in terms of energy. Balancing the expanding and contracting energies in our diet is the basis of health and healing. In the second, or symptomatic level, we use food to offset or balance a particular condition or symptom.

A key to health and healing lies in our ability to understand food in terms of yin and yang and energy, and to apply that understanding to the structure and function of the human body. For that purpose, we need to view the body in terms of yin and yang. The inner regions of the body, including the bones, blood, and internal organs, are more yang or contracted, while the peripheral regions, including the skin and hair, are more yin or expanded. The front of the body is generally softer and more expanded (yin), while the back is hard and compact (yang). The upper body is generally more yin, while the lower body has stronger yang energy.

I will be writing more about these concepts as I am asking permission to reprint from various sources.

The staples of a macrobiotic diet are whole grains, locally grown fresh vegetables, sea vegetables, and beans. In addition, seasonal fruits, nuts, seeds, and white fish are allowed two to three times per week. This diet excludes meat, dairy, and most other animal products, certain fruits and vegetables, and most commonly consumed beverages.

The macrobiotic diet became popular in the 1970s. The term “macrobiotics” refers to a holistic lifestyle that emphasizes eating and living in harmony with nature in order to promote health and longevity.

How Is This Diet Supposed to Work?
The premise of this diet is that the modern, western diet is the cause of many illnesses, including cancer. Proponents of the macrobiotic diet believe that eating a mainly vegetarian diet with unprocessed, whole foods, which are also native to a person’s environment, will lead to improved health and greater happiness.

What’s Involved?

The main foods allowed on this diet are whole grains and grain products, vegetables, sea vegetables, and beans. Supplementary foods include fish and seafood, fruits, beverages, and snack foods. The standard breakdown of the macrobiotic diet is:

50%-60% whole grains
25%-30% vegetables
5%-10% soups
5%-10% beans and sea vegetables
Foods Recommended on the Macrobiotic Diet

Here are examples of foods that are recommended for regular use and occasional use, as well as foods that should be avoided. For more complete lists of the foods that are allowed on this diet, including oils, seasonings, and condiments, refer to the book The Macrobiotic Way.

Regular Us: Acorn squash, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, chives, dandelion roots and greens, green and Chinese cabbage, kale, leeks, parsley, parsnips, pumpkin, radishes, rutabagas, scallions, turnips, watercress

Occassional Use: Alfalfa sprouts, beets, celery, corn-on-the-cob, cucumber, iceberg lettuce, mushrooms, romaine lettuce, shiitake mushrooms, snow peas, string beans, summer squash, Swiss chard, water chestnuts

To Be Avoided:  Asparagus, avocado, eggplant, fennel, green peppers, plantains, potatoes, red peppers, spinach, tomatos, etc.

The article continues to the end:
Copyright © 2014 EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.

  Balancing the energy of food provides the foundation for achieving good health. Without the foundation of daily diet, our approach is symptomatic and limited. Understanding food as energy lies at the heart of macrobiotic healing.© Edward Esko, http://www.eskoterra.com/ all rights reserved.

(From Wikepedia) Macrobiotics vs. vegetarianism

A macrobiotic diet includes many of the same foods as vegetarian diets, but in macrobiotics some types of fish and other animal foods are included according to individual needs. The two dietary styles share enough similarities that a vegetarian and even vegan version of macrobiotics is not uncommon.

Cancer-Many caveats

Macrobiotic diets are among those that are frequently mentioned as useful for people with cancer. Research however shows that the diet is of no benefit, and can have harmful effects.[1] The American Cancer Society recommends a varied diet and strongly urges people with cancer not to use a dietary program as an exclusive or primary means of treatment,[2] and Cancer Research UK states “we don’t support the use of macrobiotic diets for people with cancer”, cautioning that it can cause serious harm.[3]


Detailed information on the nutrients provided by a large range of foodstuffs is available in the USDA National Nutrient Database.[15]

The following nutrients should be monitored especially in children, because of their importance in facilitating growth and function: calcium, protein, iron, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin B12, riboflavin, vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids.[16]

Fish provides vitamin B12 in a macrobiotic diet,[17] as bioavailable B12 analogues have not been established in any natural plant food, including sea vegetables, soya, fermented products, and algae.[18] Although plant-derived foods do not naturally contain B12, some are fortified during processing with added B12 and other nutrients.[19] Vitamin A, in the form of beta-carotene, is available from plants such as carrots and spinach.[20] Adequate protein is available from grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and bean products. Sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are discussed in the relevant article, and include soy products, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and fatty fish. Riboflavin along with most other B vitamins are abundant in whole grains. Iron in the form of non-heme iron in beans, sea vegetables and leafy greens is sufficient for good health; detailed information is in the USDA database.[21]



One of the earlier versions of the macrobiotic diet that involved eating only brown rice and water has been linked to severe nutritional deficiencies and even death. Strict macrobiotic diets that include no animal products may result in nutritional deficiencies unless they are carefully planned. The danger may be worse for people with cancer, who may have to contend with unwanted weight loss and often have increased nutritional and caloric requirements. Relying on this type of treatment alone and avoiding or delaying conventional medical care for cancer may have serious health consequences.[22]


Children may also be particularly prone to nutritional deficiencies resulting from a macrobiotic diet.[22]


Macrobiotic diets have not been tested in women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, and the most extreme versions may not include enough of certain nutrients for normal fetal growth.[22]


In 1971, the AMA Council on Foods and Nutrition said that followers of the macrobiotic diet, particularly the strictest, stood in “great danger” of malnutrition.[23] On the other hand, in 1987, the AMA stated in their Family Medical Guide: “In general, the macrobiotic diet is a healthful way of eating.”[24]


Michio Kushi and George Ohsawa smoked cigarettes. Kushi states that lung cancer can arise from dairy food in the diet: “In combination with tobacco, dairy food can trap tars and other ingredients of tobacco smoke in the lungs, leading often to lung cancer.”[25] This is contrary to medical and scientific understanding of the connection between lung cancer and smoking.[26)


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b Hübner J, Marienfeld S, Abbenhardt C, Ulrich CM, Löser C (November 2012). “[How useful are diets against cancer?]”. Dtsch. Med. Wochenschr. (Review) (in German) 137 (47): 2417–22. doi:10.1055/s-0032-1327276. PMID 23152069.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b “Macrobiotic Diet”. American Cancer Society. November 2008. Retrieved February 2014.
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b “Macrobiotic diet”. Cancer Research UK. Retrieved April 2013.
  4. Jump up^ Brown, Simon (2009). Macrobiotics for Life: A Practical Guide to Healing for Body, Mind, and Heart. North Atlantic Books. p. xi.ISBN 978-1-55643-786-1.
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b Kushi and Jack
  6. Jump up^ Porter, pp. 22–25
  7. Jump up^ Porter, pp. 44–49
  8. Jump up^ Porter, pp. 71–78
  9. Jump up^ Kushi and Jack, p. 119.
  10. Jump up^ Stanchich, Lino. “All About Nightshades”. New Life Journal: Carolina Edition, Apr/May 2003, vol. 4, no. 5, p. 17, 3 pp.
  11. Jump up^ Porter
  12. Jump up^ Kushi, Michio; Blauer, Stephen; Esko, Wendy (2004). The Macrobiotic Way: The Complete Macrobiotic Lifestyle Book. Avery.ISBN 1-58333-180-8.
  13. Jump up^ Make Mine Macrobiotic | Lifestyle | Trends in Japan. Web Japan. Retrieved on 2012-04-27.
  14. Jump up^ Panel 11: Globalisation, Hybridity and Continuity in Traditional Japanese Health Practices. iastam.org
  15. Jump up^ USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
  16. Jump up^ American Dietetic, Association; Dietitians Of, Canada (2003). “Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: Vegetarian diets”. J Am Dietetic Assn 103 (6): 748–765. doi:10.1053/jada.2003.50142. OCLC 1083209.PMID 12778049. “Vegetarian diets, like all diets, need to be planned appropriately to be nutritionally adequate.”
  17. Jump up^ National Institutes of Health. “Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
  18. Jump up^ USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20: Vitamin B-12 (μg) Content of Selected Foods per Common Measure, sorted by nutrient content.
  19. Jump up^ Reed Mangels, Ph.D., R.D. “Vitamin B12 in the Vegan Diet”. Vegetarian Resource Group. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
  20. Jump up^ National Institutes of Health. “Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin A and Carotenoids (Table 2: Selected plant sources of vitamin A from beta-carotene)”. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  21. Jump up^ USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20: Iron, Fe (mg) Content of Selected Foods per Common Measure, sorted by nutrient content.
  22. ^ Jump up to:a b c [old info]“Macrobiotic Diet”. American Cancer Society. November 2008.
  23. Jump up^ “Zen Macrobiotic Diets”. JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association 218 (3): 397. 1971.doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190160047009.
  24. Jump up^ Kunz, Jeffrey R. M., and Finkel, Asher J., ed. (1987). American Medical Association Family Medical Guide. Random House. p. 27. ISBN 0-394-55582-1.
  25. Jump up^ Kushi and Jack, p. 112
  26. Jump up^ WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2008. (PDF) . Retrieved on 2012-04-27.

Further reading



Back to Practicalities: How to Cook Millet for Breakfast

from Livestrong | By Shelley Frost for Ruth Sager who asked for a “short” recipe with few ingredients.

Oatmeal reigns as the most common cooked breakfast grain, but millet is another grain option in the morning. Millet is a small, round grain that you can find in many health markets and some grocery stores. It comes with the hulls removed for convenience. The same flavorings you use for your oatmeal also work with millet. Try various fruits, nuts and sweet spices to create your millet breakfast dish. For convenience, make a double batch and save the leftovers so you can reheat it the next day.

Step 1

Heat the skillet on medium. Add the oil and allow it to heat. Add the millet to the pan and stir it as it cooks for about 3 minutes until it is browned. Be patient. You may also tgoast the nuts at this point.

Step 2

Pour the water into the pan with the millet. You can use vegetable broth. Heat until the water begins boiling; then reduce the heat and simmer the grains for 30 minutes. Watch the millet as it cooks to make sure it doesn’t run out of water before the grains are soft and cooked through. Add more water if necessary. I used a reflector under the pot to keep the temperature under boiling and I kept moving the grains around.  Preparing millet requires monitoring.

Step 3

Stir in the cinnamon, sugar, raisins and nuts at the end of the cooking time. Place the lid back on the pan and allow the grains to stand for an additional five minutes with the heat turned off. I omitted the sugar and added

Serve the millet cereal in individual bowls. Top the millet with a splash of milk and additional sweetener if desired. Add in fresh fruit for additional nutrients and flavor.




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