Macrobiotics at the Natural Gourmet Institute

Remember when I went to Ithaca and dicovered Macrobiotics? When I got home, I emailed the Natural Gourmet Institute and asked if they would let me take upcoming Macrobiotcs Demonstraton for free if I promised to write up a post. The school agreed!

While I watched and listened to the instructor Jill, I felt like I was at a live taping from the Food Network. Jill and her five assistants preformed a smooth dance of sliding dishes in and out, into the pot, onto a plate, then straight back to the sink to clean. Jill weaved stories and tips and food philosophy as she effortlesly prepared 9 recipes. As I sat there, I wondered for moment why I wasn't just watching a cooking video. And then! The food started to steam up. I could smell all the vegetables, vinagers, and flavors in the air and I knew I was exsperiencing something completely different than the TV offers. I could hear everything simmering, and finally, got to taste the food! So satisfying. My favorite recipe she made was the Quick and Easy Pickles. The flavor was light and the vegetables had a great crunch. The secret ingredients? The Umeboshi Vinegar and Sweet Brown Rice Vinegar! Pictured below.

So the Macrobiotic Diet.  It has a lot a large list of approved foods. Even it's own Food Pyramid. And while Jill touched about all those things, she also was adamant about making sure that we didn't become too dogmatic about our food philosphy. Whether claiming to be Vegan, SouthBeach or Macrobiotic, or (insert whatever I call myself--I'll eat whatever), she wanted us to eat in a way that made sense.  She stressed that it's important to hear everyone's point of view because there's many pros and cons to every approved eating styles. Her approach to food was forgiving and unjudgmental. I was worried about that before going into this class about Macrobiotics.  I was surprised that rather than feeling weighted down with the feeling that everything I feed my kids is killing them, I came out of the class feeling uplifted and motivated.

The most practical advice Jill gave was about soup. She makes them all year long because soup helps slow everyone down. Basically, she says, it's hard to eat hot soups quickly. I like that. Since taking the class, I've tried to incorporate more soups in my family's diet. Even if it's from a can. It has actually helped to slow us down a bit.

I completely recommend this class if you want to learn how to add a few Macrobiotic recipes to your diet.  This hands-on class looks great too. Or this seasoning class. And doesn't this Artisanal Bread Workshop look tempting? Mmmm. Thank you Natural Gourmet Institute for letting me take a class! I hope to go back again!


  1. This looks amazing. Soups! I was actually just thinking about making my beef stew for my daughter and freezing a whole batch (again)--I do this quite regularly because she loves it and it helps me spend more time with her throughout the day because I don't spend an hour then making supper... :D My lazy days. But it's also so healthy! Win win win. I love soup recipes... they are so fresh and full of veggies.

    Thanks so much for the post!

    I Can Be Many Things

  2. I've always wanted to learn how to make a great soup! great post, I'm sure that was quite the experience!


  3. I love that they kept it positive and non-judgemental. Looks like it was a fun class!

  4. Sounds like a great class! I'm glad you felt inspired...sometimes there is a "my way or the highway" mentality when it comes to food, but it's nice to hear that it wasn't like that.

  5. Sharon, you're awesome. I love that you emailed them and they let you attend the class! Great pictures!

  6. Denise Straiges, Coordinator of Program Development at The Natural Gourmet InstituteSeptember 6, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    Thanks for your post! We are glad that you enjoyed the class and hope to see you here at the Natural Gourmet again soon.

  7. Chef Jill Gusman was one of my favorite instructors when I attended the Natural Gourmet Institute.

    Chef Jill has a massive amount of knowledge, about a number of topics, you should check out a sea vegetable class.

  8. Hi Sharon, really enjoyed re-reading this post and the comments! Jill is still an instructor at the Natural Gourmet Institute! Her next class is "A Holistic Approach to Reversing Inflammation" on June 24 (the June 8 class is sold-out)- http://publicclasses.naturalgourmetinstitute.com/class.html?id=1174.

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