Thursday, August 22, 2013

Vegan Macrobiotic Support Group

Getting a good night's sleep and dealing with cravings evolved as the topics of concern at the monthly Vegan Macrobiotic Support Group meeting at Seed Kitchen in Venice Wednesday, August 21.

Several people expressed concern about not being able to get to sleep easily and then waking up during the night and not being able to return to sleep easily.  It was determined that several factors affect this condition.  These include mental stimulation caused by stress from work, consuming stimulating food and liquids, eating too soon before going to bed, a busy mind that continually recirculates concerns for work or personal matters.

Macrobiotic counselor Sanae Suzuki discussed the five elements' understanding of energy cycles.  The sleep cycle is a water energy and the human body needs to be able to rest fully, as does the mind, to recharge.  Solutions to achieve a better sleep included: being able to disconnect from work and leave work issues behind as we move into personal activities. One person talked about how she practices yoga after work.  If she cannot get to the studio she will use You Tube to find yoga instruction appropriate to her need.

Additionally, stimulating foods eating too late in the day can prevent the body from being calm.  It's better to eat any stimulating food earlier in the day.  Also, after the evening meal, a walk will help the body and mind to release excess energy.  Sanae pointed out the importance of finishing the evening meal so that at least three hours passes before going to sleep or else the body will continue working to digest the food rather than resting and healing the body. The result can be an overworked kidney.

For the person who finds the mind preoccupied with lists to do and tasks to complete, one answer is to write a list of the activities, prioritize what to do for the next day, set it aside and let the mind rest.  Or, if a task is truly important, a person might pore his/herself into the task, take as long as needed to finish in order to have peace of mind.

Another concern focused on one person dealing with allergies as well as not sleeping well.  It was determined that the combination of the two factors indicated a possible contracted kidney condition.  Potential remedies included taking a sea-salt bath to relax the kidneys, or even using a ginger-compress over the kidneys which also will relax the kidneys and reduce any adrenal fatigue.

One attendee was concerned about cravings and how to deal with cravings.  That person usually had only salty food cravings and now was having cravings for sweet taste foods.  It was determined that this person had been taking some macrobiotic remedies to clean and detox the body, and that now that her body was having more balance, the body had a greater variety of craving.  So, while the subject of craving has a variety of concerns, in this case the experience was one of a body gaining balance.

Sanae also reminded that macrobiotics considers the energy of food and its impact on the body, mind and spirit.  Many food discussions focus on calories, raw versus cooked and other considerations.  However in macrobiotics, the focus is on how what we eat, how we cook and other facets of nutrition impact energy--either negatively or positively.

Additionally, it was noted that macrobiotics is not just about the food we eat, but about the quality of  life as reflected in the expression of our minds, hearts and spirits.

The Vegan Macrobiotic Support Group meets monthly at Seed Kitchen in Venice, California. Information on the group can be found at

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