Peninsula Macrobiotic Network Newsletter  
Number 114 October / November 2005 Peninsula Macrobiotic Community

to the
of the
Peninsula Macrobiotic Community
in Palo Alto,

For information on our organization, click on About Us.

green onions
     Randy, Adrienne, and Katherine Jones with Dinner Manager Ilona Pollak
Welcome to the Monday Dinners! Randy, Adrienne, and Katherine Jones arrive to an effervescent reception from Ilona Pollak, who is stepping down as Dinner Manager after 10 years.
How do I attend the Gourmet Vegetarian Dinners?
Chef Gary Alinder, since 1987
Every Monday, 6:30 PM
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto
305 North California Avenue
at Bryant
1/4 mile East of Alma
Sit Down or Take-out, $13
Reservations Required:
Call 650 599-3320 by
Monday 9:30 AM.
Open to everyone. Communal seating--new people easily integrate into our friendly group, which includes many singles. Make new friends on Mondays!

Coming Events
Monday, October 3
First Dinner in October; Dinners in October begin at 6:15 PM.
Monday, November 14
Judy Pruzinsky, L.Ac. speaks on Classical Five Element Acupuncture.
Monday, November 21
Thanksgiving Theme Dinner. Early reservations advised!
The approximate amount of breast cancer cases preventable by diet are 33% to 50%.
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,
Breast cancer is related to increased levels of female hormones in the blood, which are determined by the food we eat.
T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., author of The China Study, Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health, and Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry, Cornell University
You can't compromise on a healing diet when it comes to cancer, nor can you cancel out harmful dietary habits with supplements.
Dr. Keith Block, Nutritional Oncologist
News and Announcements
Help publicize the Monday Dinners! An easy way to spread the word about our weekly community gathering is to click on the Tell-A-Friend link in the upper left of this page. Just fill out the form with the email addresses of up to two friends, along with any personal comments you'd like to add, click Submit, and a pre-written email with the details of the Dinners and a link to this website will be sent instantly. Make a date with someone you haven't seen in a while! All it takes is a few seconds, and you, your friends and the Monday Dinners will benefit--everyone wins!

When the Monday Dinners come to mind, we naturally think of marvelous food, but there is so much more--especially an enthusiastic greeting from Ilona Pollak, our Hospitality Specialist. But change happens, and Ilona is stepping down from the Dinner Manager position that she has held since 1995. Increased family responsibilities (her father Leslie passed away this year) conflict with her providing the TLC that the Dinners deserve. Ilona will remain part of our group, enjoying Dinner with us whenever she can.

Trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Ilona often showcased her many talents including dramatic renditions of next Monday's menu, tap-dancing, and karaoke singing. She made many of our special occasion Dinners memorable.

Our new Dinner Manager will be Miklane Janner assisted by Bob Griffin; they have volunteered for many years. Miklane is a co-founder and co-owner of Says Who?, a widely-known business in Oakland which makes and sells women's fashions in hard-to-find large sizes--easy-care, natural fiber clothing with personality at affordable prices. Lately Miklane has expanded her creative activities to designing other types of clothes, and designing fabrics, taking her to Bali. We look forward to moving on with Miklane!

During October, the First Baptist Church will take its turn as Hotel de Zinc to host the homeless, as part of the Urban Ministry Program. Our Monday Dinner group must be completely cleaned up and out of Fellowship Hall by 9:00 PM. Dinner will start earlier than usual at 6:15 PM, and no After-Dinner Events will take place. We will revert to our normal schedule and operation in November.

Monthly Vegan Potlucks! Sunday, October 23, 6:30 PM (changed from October 16 in the print edition of the newsletter), hosted by Brett Garrett in Redwood City, call 650 599-9678 to let him know you're coming and to get directions. Also on Sunday, November 20, 6:30 PM, hosted by Brian Bershader in Mountain View, call 650 964-0515. Visit the potluck website, To host a fun potluck in your home, call Harold Stephenson at 650 856-1125, Diane Wohler at 650 853-0636, or Brett Garrett at 650 599-9678.

A Taste of Health presents Holistic Holiday at Sea III, February 26 - March 5, 2006. Cruise the Western Caribbean on the Italian luxury liner Costa Magica, and dine on organic, natural, macrobiotic foods. Includes lectures and workshops by Michio Kushi, Patrick McCarty, Denny Waxman, and many others. From $1145 per person. Visit or call 828 749-9537.
Thanksgiving Celebration
November 21, 2005
Sparkling Punch

Bread Basket

Golden Squash Soup with Herbed Croutons

Caramelized, Roasted Seitan and Root Veggies Au Jus

Cornbread Stuffing

Cranberry Sauce

Creamy Mushroom - Green Bean Casserole

Mixed Green Salad with Pomegranate Dressing

Apple Pie a la Mode

Green and Herbal Teas, Grain Coffee

$20 ($18 Take-out)

More Dinner Menus...

Cooking and Classes
Chuck Collison, Assistant Chef of the Monday Dinners, is a personal chef and runs a meal service in Marin. Call 415 258-0528.

James Holloway, frequent Guest Chef at the Monday Dinners, does personal home cooking in Palo Alto, in macrobiotic and classical styles, call 650 852-9182.

Anne Mark teaches Sunday cooking classes on October 16 (Fall cooking) and November 13 (Thanksgiving Holiday meal), 4:30 PM. She also does takeouts and life style recommendations, Palo Alto, 650 843-0255.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As a fundraiser for the Empona Foundation, a nonprofit which brings breast healthcare to women in Marin County through education and free screenings for women who can't afford them, Holistic Nutritionist Meredith McCarty will teach a series of three cooking classes titled Healing Cuisine for the Prevention and Recovery from Breast Cancer. Whole Foods Market is graciously providing the food. Dates: Oct 1, 8, and 15, 10 AM-12:30 PM including lunch, at the Acqua Hotel, 555 Redwood Highway, Mill Valley. $75/class, sliding scale upon request, call 415 925-3690. Also, Meredith has a 20 page research report on Diet and Breast Cancer; call her at 415 381-1735 or visit

Carolyn Peters is a private chef and caterer for creative healthy cuisine in San Francisco. Call 415 810-3496.

After-Dinner Events
Speakers receive a gratuity from the audience; please show your support and appreciation with a donation ($5-10 suggested).

Acupuncture works for physical pain... did you know it is also fundamental in helping to create emotional and spiritual well being? On November 14, Licensed Acupuncturist and Qi Gong Teacher Judy Pruzinsky will speak on Classical Five Element Acupuncture, which carries forth the original Taoist principles. Rather than chasing a series of symptoms, this form of acupuncture goes deep to the root of imbalance. Watching external nature and applying it to the inner landscape of our body, mind, and spirit, we can experience a deep sense of calm and ease in life.

Judy has a Masters Degree in Chinese Medicine from Five Branches Institute in Santa Cruz. She has spent many additional years studying Five Element Acupuncture, with JR and JB Worsley and Khosrow Khalighi. She has a Masters degree in the related area of Medical Qi Gong, and has studied extensively with several masters. Judy has offices in Half Moon Bay and Aptos, where she practices acupuncture and teaches Qi Gong.
Book Review: Emotions and Food
When Food Is Love: Exploring the Relationship Between Food and Intimacy by Geneen Roth (Hardcover edition, E.P. Dutton, 1991) is a book about emotions and food. Most Americans can gain up to five pounds during the holidays (Prevention magazine, 2005). Upon gaining weight, you might feel besieged by the usual befuddlement (how did this happen?!) and embarrassment (maybe it won't SHOW) and genuine desire for this not to happen again. Birthdays, weddings, office celebrations, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's take their toll. How does this happen?

Roth writes about emotional dynamics that take place in family situations or the workplace, with friends or strangers that can provide reasons why we feel pressure to eat, especially during the holidays. And everyone will experience this pressure to eat differently, so that if you have any kind of "food panic" or anxiety about an upcoming get together, some people might not understand your concerns, and you might feel isolated and tempted to dismiss your discomfort.

If you would like to explore for yourself what food means to you and how the people you know and love (including you!) might use food to create emotional connections, this book is for you. For example, there's a common social norm that silently says that if you and I are eating the same thing, we must like each other. This is very common during the holidays with people preparing recipes that were handed down from generations. People want to feel closeness. So we eat together. And if we are not feeling hungry, maybe we eat and not chew very well and somehow try to get the experience over with as soon as possible. If you've noticed this in your own behavior, you can appreciate the difference between eating a meal as a joint experience, and eating meals you are not hungry for as a joining experience. To be able to get through the holidays, making such a distinction can help you respectfully refuse that food you are just not hungry for, at the office or family gathering.

Roth's book is mainly an autobiographical account of her difficult childhood and trouble with intimacy due to growing up with an abusive mother. The writing is lovely, emotional, vulnerable and open. Through her writing and sharing of her very personal stories, Roth demonstrates real compassion towards people who have real problems to deal with.
  Book Review by Josie Weaver
Lentil Salad with Cumin Lime Vinaigrette
Lentil Salad Ingredients:
  • 2 cups lentils, washed
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup minced carrot
  • 1/2 cup minced celery
  • 1 roasted red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato (optional)
  • sea salt to taste
Cumin Lime Vinaigrette:
  • 2 cloves mashed-minced garlic
  • zest of one lime, minced
  • juice of 2-3 limes (1/4 cup)
  • 4 minced scallions
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)
  • 1 T fresh cumin
  • 1 T fresh coriander
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Lentil Salad: cook lentils with onion, carrot, and celery with enough water to cover. Cook 25-30 minutes until lentils are tender, you may have to add water to keep lentils covered. Drain excess cooking water. Place in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, mix well. Salt to taste.
  2. Cumin Lime Vinaigrette: mix all ingredients except olive oil in a bowl, then add and whisk in the oil. Add to salad.
  recipe by James Holloway
Ken Becker
My approach to macrobiotics is that everything in the universe should be used at the appropriate time and place to help achieve balance and create health.
Community Connection
 Ken Becker
on Macrobiotics
  Part Two
Ken Becker, a founder and the President of the Peninsula Macrobiotic Community, has studied and practiced macrobiotics since the 1970s. For more biographical information on Ken, please see Part One in the August/September issue.

Denise Huajardo Springer (DHS): What would you tell someone who has a serious illness and is just starting macrobiotics?

Ken Becker (KB): Well, I would start out by explaining that macrobiotics is a way to allow the body to heal itself. Food doesn't heal people. Magic doesn't heal people. The body is an amazing healing machine that heals itself; we just have to help it. The way you help it is by trying to get it to operate as optimally as possible, and the way you do that is by trying to get it as balanced as possible with as many factors as there are in life. It's more than just food. Macrobiotics teaches ways to help people achieve balance.
DHS: What are some of the parameters to balance?

KB: There is no such thing as perfect balance, as everything is constantly changing. Oriental yin and yang is just one way to describe it. The constantly changing interplay of these forces infuse all matter and life. Nobody can define yin and yang but you can point to tendencies: contractive and expansive, positive and negative, male and female, hot and cold, and so forth. They interplay according to universal laws. For instance, negative electrical charges always attract positive charges and always repel negative charges. We try to use our understanding of these forces to create balance. For instance, if you're in a hot climate, cooling foods would balance the hot weather. But when you're looking for a relatively balanced place for each of us, you have to take into account everything about the person: their genes, job, activity, emotional life and so forth. Dietary application of macrobiotics is just one component.

DHS: What's an example of applying macrobiotics to something other than diet?

KB: Take activity: if you're a marathon runner and running a lot (yang), you need to drink water (yin) to replenish lost fluids, so that's a balance right there. Lifting weights or mowing the lawn after you run a marathon would not be balanced. A better balance would be to meditate, relax or sleep.

DHS: So someone who doesn't have a lot of energy might be balanced by doing something more active?

KB: Yes, assuming they're not tired because they are ill. If you're tired because you have an illness, getting up and running around may not be the best thing. But if you're relatively healthy and feeling sluggish and lethargic, going out for a brisk walk will wake you right up. That's creating balance.

We can use the body as a model; the body is a miraculous balancing machine. Its entire purpose is to maintain homeostasis. It does it all the time. When we are hot, our body creates sweat to cool us off. When we are cold, the body contracts to maintain warmth. When we eat or do something imbalanced, the body tries to create balance automatically.
Let's use a tumor as an example. A tumor is created by the body because there's too much toxic material in the body. Instead of allowing it to harm the whole body, it localizes it. It puts the toxic material in a little place to keep it away from the rest of the body. If you do that for twenty or thirty years then you get a bigger tumor and it might turn cancerous. Then it turns into a "disease", but the body's attempt is to maintain balance. The macrobiotic approach to remedying that tumor is to reduce the toxic material in the body so the body can naturally reduce the tumor. The Western medical approach is to take it out by surgery.

DHS: What do you think about combining macrobiotics with traditional Western medicine?

KB: My approach to macrobiotics is that everything in the universe should be used at the appropriate time and place to help achieve balance and create health. Sometimes that means not using Western drugs and medicine, and sometimes it means using them. It really depends upon the circumstances and what's appropriate at that particular time.

Western medicine is very good at attacking symptoms and fixing structural problems. Western techniques can be used to fix a broken leg or do a heart bypass or other mechanical things very well. But they really don't have a clue about prevention and the causation of disease. In traditional Chinese medicine, which is what macrobiotics is based upon, the goal is to look at the causes of disease and create balance to address those causes.

Another difference between the two systems is that natural healing takes time. It takes time to create disease, so it also takes time for the body to go through its healing process, whereas Western medicine can do things very quickly. They can do an organ transplant in three days. There are times you need that kind of speed - when there's not enough time for natural healing to occur. There are appropriate times for using both systems.

DHS: How does a person who has a disease take enough responsibility for their condition to make changes but not blame themselves for their illness?
KB: The way I like to view it, is that we're not necessarily responsible for our disease, but we're responsible for our actions. When we take actions that are detrimental to our bodies, we are responsible for those actions. But we can also take actions that are healthy and our body can get sick anyway. There are factors we can't control such as genetics and environmental toxins. The way I advise people on that subject is do the best you can and there are no guarantees. Go very slowly and easily because it takes a lot for the body to change.

DHS: And improvement happens?

KB: I've seen people with cancer who've done macrobiotics and passed away, but I've never seen anybody who didn't get better. Eating healthy food, even if you're not dealing with any of the other components, is better than eating bad food. On the other hand, if you clean up emotional and psychic baggage, from a macrobiotic viewpoint, you can still be creating balance that might contribute to your health even if you don't change your diet. In my own life, I try to optimize the potential from all those areas.

DHS: Would you say more about macrobiotic food choices?

KB: A lot of people think of macrobiotic food choices as strict or limiting. It really depends on your viewpoint. To me, a macrobiotic diet contains all foods, but you have to make your choice about what you're trying to achieve. If people ask me what I eat, I say, "It's a grain-based diet with vegetables, beans, seeds, nuts and a little bit of animal products, however sometimes I eat eggs or Parmesan cheese on pasta."

If you think you have to be on the diet or else you're off it, then it can be limiting. I look at it as, "Well, here is the center of where I usually eat, because that's what I think will create the best balance and health for me. So I'm going to focus my energies in this general direction." If you want to eat based only on sensory tastes, it's a choice you make. I can't say there's anything wrong with that, but it is not going to help regain or maintain as balanced a condition or life as possible. If you are interested in trying to maintain balance, then you put the focus on those types of foods and activities that are 60% to 80% of what you do. The 20% to 40% that you do outside of that is called enjoyment of life. It's really a matter of what your focus and interest is. If your interest is to become healthy and balanced, then you focus most of your attention on that and enjoyment becomes secondary.

DHS: All the while, keeping in mind that macrobiotics is not a diet.

KB: I really dislike the term "macrobiotic diet". Macrobiotics is not a diet. It's a unique way to make informed choices to create and maintain optimal health, happiness and freedom.

Denise Huajardo Springer is a freelance writer who attends the Monday Dinners with her husband Kim and young son Nathan.
From The Editor
Email Notification of Newsletter: To receive an email notification each time the Newsletter and Dinner Menus are published on this site (every two months), .
Mailing List Policy: To get a printed copy of the Newsletter and Dinner Menus delivered by postal mail, or call the phone number below. To offset the expense of producing the Newsletter and Menus, we suggest a contribution of $10/year or more. The date and amount of your last newsletter contribution appears on your mailing label. Write checks to "Peninsula Macrobiotic Community", and mail to Gerard Lum, 101 E. Middlefield Road #9, Mountain View, CA 94043, 650 903-0447.

We periodically review our mailing list. Those who have not made a recent contribution are subject to removal.

Tax-Deductible Contributions: We welcome and can use additional contributions to the Peninsula Macrobiotic Community, as income from the Dinners does not pay all of our expenses. We are a nonprofit organization, so additional contributions are fully tax-deductible. Send contributions to the address in Mailing List Policy above.

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