Tuck in: (L to R) a raw apple pie, raw snack bars, macrobiotic lunch, raw lettuce, macrobiotic lunch. Photograph supplied
Kimi Kirk beams down the camera lens: a saccharine, glow-in-the dark grin, creamy blonde mane and bright, flawless skin.
Mimi professes she feels like a 20-year-old, dresses likes a thirty something, looks about 40 and is a staggering 73.
Inside the macrobiotic lunchbox
It's the first day of two days testing the macrobiotic lunchbox: I half suck on, half chew the Spanish omelette with cucumber and tomato salad.
I imagine how this somewhat delicious and healthy tasting omelette dissolves into macromolecules on my tongue. I believe these particles are big – as big as particles can be – and sharp-edged and will give me an internal body scrub once I swallow them and flush out the many nasty toxins I am ingesting. I already feel a lot healthier.
“Eating macrobiotic food is a universal approach to a happy life.
“Macro” means big or long and “bio” means life.” Maki, 30, from Japan, tells me. She prepares macrobiotic lunchboxes and delivers them all over Phnom Penh. The special lunch for people that want to live conscious and healthy – or lose weight –looks very appetizing and at $4 per delivery it is very affordable too.
To Japanese George Ohsawa who developed the theory, our diet should almost entirely rely on whole grains form a local environment, which sounds questionable, because grains cannot deliver all necessary nutrients like proteins and fats – but the guidelines are not compulsory.
Maki lives vegan, eats no diary or other animal products and 50 to 60 percent of her diet are made up of slow-cooked brown rice. “But I am small and Japanese. Maybe it is different for others like athletes that do hard physical work”.
Conveniently, macrobiotics does not explicitly forbid any food, drinks or tobacco. Finding the physiological balance is to some parts left to the individual and is an intuitive business.
On day two of my lunchbox test I open the box and find a lentil and vegetables hamburger with rosemary potatoes with fresh French rosemary and marinated vegetables with French thyme. The burgers have a consistency that is denser real hamburgers. They seem to somehow contain the concentrated power of lentils. The potatoes are mildly salted and just tasty – simple and delicious.
Whether you agree with the macrobiotic diet concept or not this lunchbox is a real everyday alternative or even better than other lunch options: the food was filling but I didn’t feel stuffed. After a meal I could keep on working with full concentration and fresh energy – and have a cigarette. A good way to live.
Maki delivers lunch boxes from Monday to Friday that have to be ordered one day in advance because everything is cooked fresh in the morning.
All relevant information can be found on the macrobiotic lunchbox page on facebook.
- Julius Thiemann
She’s the lauded, celebrity goddess of raw-foodists and vegans around the world, eschewing anything cooked or processed in favour of a plethora of vegetable shakes, ‘superfood’ crackers, nuts, salads and kale.
I’m watching a Youtube clip of Mimi perfecting a raw Thanksgiving dinner- a ‘raw turkey’of marinated, dehydrated portobello mushrooms glazed with a cranberry and orange relish- because Phnom Penh raw food nut Emma Fountain - owner of popular, Street 240-and-a-half organic café, ARTillery - has advised me my three coffee a day habit, along with the rice soups and sandwiches I consume, are contributing to my lethargy.
I’ve agreed to road-test ARTillery’s raw food cleanse, albeit in a shorter form - for three days rather than five - due to the Water Festival, of course.
Fountain, meat and caffeine-free, says her daily diet is now 80 per cent raw - the practice of only eating food cooked under 40 degrees.
Fountain started eating raw food not long after she arrived in Cambodia, feeling sluggish after rice, beer and street food.
My regular motodop stops out of habit outside Java café but I tell him to move on. Excitement builds as I pass the Post’s front desk: a big package arrived for me today, the receptionist enthuses, the biggest she’s ever seen delivered here.
What will be inside my raw food delivery? Avocado? Fruit salads? Sashimi? Steak Tartare? We rip the box apart. There’s juice. A lot of juice. All are cold-press extracted so as not to not heat the enzymes, meaning more nutrients are retained. Everything is numbered, to be consumed in order, at an exact hour - to create a more alkaline environment in the body, apparently.
I’m instructed to “brush my teeth and tongue thoroughly.”
My enthusiasm for this detox begins to wane a little.
I start with a ‘booster’ of organic Chlorophyll to help rebuild my blood cells and provide an energy hit. It tastes like grass.
Emma says to “knock it back, like a shot,” and also do so with my breakfast, a carrot, apple, cumin and ginger juice. It’s no pork and rice.
An hour passes. It’s 11.30am and the Door to Door has surfaced. Colleagues begin placing orders- Dosa Corner, The Living Room, Mama’s New York Deli. I sigh and crack open my ‘Green Goodness’: a pasty, thick cucumber, spinach and celery juice. I pine for something sweet. Lunch resembles cardboard sprinkled with tomato salsa. It’s actually a ‘raw pizza’ and the taste belies its appearance. It’s pretty good.
A dehydrated cashew, almond and flaxseed base is spread with a basil and tomato raw sauce and topped with the salsa. A dollop of cashew ‘cream’, whizzed through a blender, is spooned on top.
Dessert is even better. My raw apple pie has a soft base of walnuts, dates and almonds and is filled with a dense, rich mixture of banana, apple, raisins, apple cider, nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon and coconut oil.
Soon it’s 3pm. Deadline is looming. I crave a coffee and cigarette, but refrain. Copy has been filed by 7pm and I peer into my box. It’s a small salad, full of organic beetroot and with a few crackers. It’s all I’m allowed to eat for the rest of the night.
I wake up feeling drowsy and drained. Emma reassures these are coffee withdrawals. Nonetheless, I had a deep, uninterrupted sleep, the first for weeks. I neck my booster of Spirulina and alkaline water, which doesn’t have much flavor at all, and follow it with a goji berry and raw honey juice. By 10am I’m starving and the Green Goddess shake is staring at me. I struggle my way through it. Then I cave. I have a smoke. It works, and suppresses my appetite. Lunch is a raw falafel salad with cumin parsley, sesame seeds, tahini and loads of other nuts and spices. It’s good. And the ‘energy bliss balls’ kind of compensate for the lack of chocolate. Dinner looked promising - a seaweed nori roll stuffed with avocado - yet the avocado was sparse and a surplus of bean sprouts made the meal bland. Almond butter helped. I leave the office after a long day at work feeling exhausted. Increased energy? Mental clarity? Emotional stability? I feel teary. My friend coerces me into watching her eat a burger at a nearby leafy restaurant. She says it was the best burger she’s ever had. I succumb to tobacco once more and chain smoke my way through the evening.
I wake up at 7am, earlier than I have in months. Mid morning I cannot look at, let alone stomach another pulpy, peppery juice. I wince my way through half of the Green Goodness and tip the rest down the sink. Shame. Lunch looks unappealing - a green mash, “raw hummus” apparently. I don’t finish it. Crackers resemble some sort of bird seed. The saviour is the coconut pie with a creamy, vanilla and coconut filling - texture achieved by soaking cashews in mineral water and whizzing through a blender with dates and almond oil - it’s light, fluffy and delicious. Dinner - a Moroccan salad - is very pleasant but by now I am aching for carbohydrates and meat. The dressing is particularly good- a fermented apple cider vinegar-which is good for my liver, as is the absence of alcohol. By the eve I actually feel lighter and healthier than I’ve felt in a while.
I wake on the fourth day feeling particularly good, energy levels have certainly increased. I head straight to Java for a coffee, but I feel bloated after a fruit salad and yoghurt. Not being able to choose what, and when I could eat had a huge impact on my emotions. I felt excluded from social activities. On the other hand, I realise I need to eat more raw vegetables and feel I’ll cut down on carbohydrate-based dishes.
Fountain says her palette has been completely transformed through only eating “clean” food and that salt and processed foods leave a metallic taste in her mouth.
Artillery’s cleanse and products are not within everybody’s price range, but Fountain recommends buying fresh vegetables from local markets, and seasonal, local produce. “There are some great farms doing pesticide free fruit and veg here. If you’re not keen on eating raw local fruit and veg here you can just blanch them rather than cooking through so that nutrients aren’t all taken out,” she says.
The ARTillery food cleanse starts on December 3. Sixteen of the 20 participants in November’s cleanse have signed up again. Contact Emma on 078985530 or [email protected]
To contact the reporter on this story: Claire Knox at [email protected]