Peninsula Macrobiotic Network Newsletter

What To Do About Cravings!
April 16

Number 87             April / May 2001        Peninsula Macrobiotic Community

News and Announcements

  It all goes back to when a Stanford professor from Guatemala came down with cancer, prompting Eduardo Navas and his wife Anamaria to travel to San Francisco to learn about macrobiotics.  With no prior exposure to a strange, new way of cooking, Anamaria courageously did what she could.  She eventually connected with others in the area who had similar interests, and they started a weekly, Monday Dinner at St. Bede’s Church in Menlo Park.  Completely inexperienced and thrown into an unfamiliar situation, she found herself the cook and a driving force of the group.

     Unfortunately, Eduardo eventually succumbed to the cancer, Anamaria returned to Guatemala, and the Dinners stopped.  Several attempts to restart the Dinners sputtered--until the group connected with Gary Alinder, a cook putting on regular macrobiotic dinners in San Francisco.  On May 11, 1987, Gary cooked at St. Bede’s Church—the first in a continuous series of Monday Dinners which have extended unbroken, for an amazing fourteen years now.

     Loosely organized, but with some very dedicated and talented people, we have come a long way, over a time period which seems very short.  Today it is not unusual for a hundred people to come together on a Monday at the First Baptist Church in Palo Alto, collectively partaking in Earth’s organic bounty, expertly and lovingly prepared by Chefs Gary Alinder and Chuck Collison.

     Out of the initial tragedy of one person’s cancer, extraordinary things have bloomed.  For many of us, the Peninsula Macrobiotic Community has become a focal point for our lives, providing not just delicious food, but also social contacts, community support, health education, remarkable synergy with others, and a continuing experience of what macrobiotics is all about—the Great Life.  Join us on May 7 for our Fourteenth Anniversary Celebration of the Peninsula Macrobiotic Community!

     Monthly Vegetarian Potlucks!  Sunday, Apr 22, 6:30 PM, hosted by Don and Carolyn Bott in San Jose, call 408 244-6635 to let them know you’re coming and to get directions.  If you’d like to host a fun potluck, call Harold Stephenson, 650 856-1125.

     The 32nd Annual French Meadows Summer Camp, featuring macrobiotic classes, delicious meals, the pristine wilderness of the Tahoe National Forest, and unforgettable memories with macro-pals, takes place July 14-22. Call 800 232-2372.

Earth Day is Sunday, April 22, 2001.  For a schedule of events, see

VegNews, a monthly newspaper published in Santa Cruz, reports on vegetarian activities throughout North America, and includes interviews, articles, event listings, restaurant reviews, society pages, recipes, travel tales, dining & lifestyle guides, cookbook reviews, and the best in vegan products and services.  Sample copies are available at some local vegetarian restaurants, or subscribe by sending $20/year to VegNews, P.O. Box 2129, Santa Cruz, CA  95063,

Howard Lyman, Cattle Rancher turned Vegetarian, is scheduled to speak on April 22 in Marin (call 415 383-9143 for location) and on April 23 at Stanford (call 408 358-6478).  With current concerns over Foot and Mouth Disease and Mad Cow Disease, his message is particularly relevant.  Also see his website,

For an energizing Japanese Acupressure treatment, call Shiatsu Therapist Shigeyo Goto, based in Redwood City.  She impressed many of us at recent Monday Dinners with enthusiastic demonstrations of her art.  She also offers advice on eating and drinking for health, call 650 941-3281.

14 Years of Gourmet Vegetarian Dinners

Chef Gary Alinder
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, $12.
Call 650 599-3320 by Monday 9:30 AM. Reservations Required.

Coming Events

Mon Apr 16: Michelle Nemer speaks on Cravings!  Where They Come From And What To Do About Them.

Mon May 7: Fourteenth Anniversary Dinner!

Mon May 14: Patrick McCarty speaks on Losing Weight/Gaining Weight—Everything You Need To Know About Digestion.

Mon May 28: Memorial Day, No Dinner.


If you can dream it
you can do it.

-- Walt Disney

The most difficult thing
—but an essential one—
is to love life,
 to love it
even while
 one suffers,
Life is all,
Life is God,
and to love Life
 means to Love God.
Tolstoy, War And Peace

Fourteenth Anniversary Dinner

May 7, 2001

Cuminy Yellow Split Pea Soup
Basket of Breads with Creamy Garlic Spread
Spring Veggie and Jasmine Rice Pilaf
Braised Seitan with Gingery Portobello Sauce
Simmered Curried Carrots
Watercress Salad with Lemon-Soy Vinaigrette
Almond Cake with Chocolate Frosting and Strawberry SauceTea

Cooking Classes, Dinners

Chef Gary Alinder teaches a cooking class (“Cooking for Spring and Summer”) in San Francisco on Saturday, April 7, 11 AM at a home in San Francisco.  Contact Gary for info, 415 552-5449,

Patricia Becker offers Personal Nutri­tional Counseling and in-your-home cooking classes, for individuals or groups, with emphasis on delicious taste, new recipes, and good food combinations.  Call 650 857-1767.

James Holloway, frequent Guest Chef at the Monday Dinners, does personal home cooking tailored to individual needs.  He is experienced in macrobiotic and classical styles, call 650 941-7466.

Susanne Jensen offers vegetarian take- outs  ($12) on Wednesdays in San Francisco, SF delivery available, reserve by 9 PM Tue, 415 661-4764.

Macrobiotic Counselor Michelle Nemer teaches a monthly macrobiotic workshop in Los Altos.  It includes a cooking class, a group health consultation, and a different lecture theme each month.  She is available for private counseling on the Peninsula, on weekends when here, call 510 527-4367.

To celebrate this year’s Earth Day, which has the theme “Sustainable Communities”, Bay Area Action (BAA) + the Peninsula Conservation Center (PCCF) will put on a Sustainable Supper, the latest in their series of Decadent Dinners.  Chef Laura Stec will create high-vibe cuisine using the freshest organic produce from local farms, complemented by vintage selections from Eco Farm Organic Vineyards, as well as Pacific Northwest brewed beers.  The gourmet event takes place Friday, April 20, 7:30 PM – 10:30 PM, at a home in Atherton, RSVP by April 18, 650 962-9876 x302.  A sliding scale donation of $50-$100 benefits BAA + PCCF’s efforts.  Volunteer cooks needed.

After-Dinner Events

Speakers receive a gratuity collected from the audience; please show your support and appreciation with a donation ($5 suggested).

     On April 16, Macrobiotic Counselor Michelle Nemer speaks on Cravings! Where They Come From And What To Do About Them!  The need for food is basic to our survival, and is our strongest drive.  But it is not enough to eat just any food, even healthy, high quality food.  We need to consume from the different groups of food, in proportions appropriate to our body and condition.  If our consumption is unbalanced for our bodies’ needs, even in a subtle way, we can be left feeling unsatisfied and with cravings, such as for sweets, richness, and snacks.  The cravings can get the best of us, resulting in embarrassing, uncontrollable, and even harmful binges.  Cravings are our bodies telling us of an imbalance.  If the cravings are persistent, the imbalance may be fundamental, with our health suffering.  Michelle will help us to get to the root of any imbalance, and to correct it to satisfy cravings in healthy ways.

     Michelle Nemer is a health counselor with over 16 years experience in natural healing.  She was personally trained and certified by macrobiotic healthcare experts Michio Kushi, Shizuko Yamamoto and Denny Waxman.  She maintains a private practice in El Cerrito, CA and teaches natural healthcare and cooking classes throughout the United States.

     On May 14, Macrobiotic Counselor Patrick McCarty speaks on Losing Weight/Gaining Weight--Everything You Need To Know About Digestion.  What would you do if you discovered you could make your body weight whatever you desired?  When you understand the mechanics and energy of digestion, you can!  Are you yin or yang, excess or deficient?  Why can some people eat wheat, animal protein, eggs and many more foods while others can not?  Learn which foods are best suited for you and your body type.

     Patrick's background includes study at the Kushi Institute in Boston and the Shanghai College of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  He co-directed the East-West Center for Macro­biotics in Eureka for nearly 20 years.  He has lectured and taught at locations around the world, and readily shares the knowledge and experience he's gained from his very active counseling practice.  He is known for his always-fresh and enthusiastic approach to health, living, and macrobiotics.  Patrick now teaches and lectures at the Macrobiotic Foun­dation of Florida, where he now calls home.

Leeks with Mustard Sauce

Here’s a quick, easy and savory dish for spring.  It’s a vegetable side dish that can accompany grain, noodle, or fish dishes.  The sauce may be made in greater volume by doubling the recipe; leftovers can be saved for use as a salad dressing.  You may substitute asparagus or mustard greens for the leeks, though leeks have a rich, sweet taste that complements the sauce nicely.  Choose the freshest leeks for the biggest flavor.


1-2 leeks washed and sliced into thick (2 inch) diagonal rounds
1 cup spring water
1 Tablespoon tahini
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon mirin
parsley, chive or dill sprigs for garnish

1. Pour enough spring water to just cover the bottom of a pan.

2. Lay the leeks down on the bottom of the pan.

3. Cover the pan with a secure lid.

4. Bring to a boil over a medium high flame.

5. Steam the leeks for approximately 4 minutes or until tender but not soggy.

6. While the leeks are steaming - simmer the soy sauce and a few spoonfuls of water over a low flame for 3 minutes.

7. Mix together the tahini, soy sauce, mustard, mirin, and a little more water if needed to create the consistency of mayonnaise. (A serrated mortar and pestle - a suribachi - works well for this, or you may just do it with a spoon and bowl or a blender.)

8. Remove the leeks and place in a serving dish.

9. Pour the sauce over the leeks and garnish.

10. Serve hot or chilled.

                          by Michelle Nemer

From the Editor

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