Macro meal


POSTED: Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Leslie Ashburn and Kathy Maddux may spend most of their time in the kitchen, but they've got their eyes on changing the world. The macrobiotic chefs see a connection between healthy diets and a healthy world, and they say that eating whole foods creates happier people who make better choices for themselves, their families and the planet.




Dinner is served

        Vegan macrobiotic community dinner is available dine-in or takeout:

» Dates: 6 p.m. next Wednesday and Feb. 27


» Place: Church of the Crossroads, 1212 University Ave.


» Cost: $13; $3.50 for dessert and tea


» RSVP: Call 398-2695; deadline is two days before meal




“;We're interested in green living,”; says Ashburn. “;We want to sustain our ties with the Earth.”;

To put their beliefs to practical use, the two hold vegan macrobiotic community dinners twice monthly at Church of the Crossroads in Moiliili. Through their volunteer efforts they present diverse menus to introduce others to macrobiotic dining.

Because macrobiotics emphasizes whole, plant-based foods using ingredients available locally, it also promotes sustainability, and Maddux says they use organic local ingredients from her own Mohala Farms on the North Shore and Mao Farms in Waianae.

“;Our vegetables were picked fresh today, and we supported the local economy,”; Ashburn adds at a recent dinner. “;And (because the food is local) there was less fuel used to get them to us. When we eat whole foods, there's minimal processing, and that means the energy used in producing them is less.”;

Maddux and Ashburn run their own businesses—Ashburn's Macrobiotic Hawaii and Maddux's Great Life Cuisine—offering personal chef services and cooking classes.

The women say when they moved to Hawaii, there was nowhere to get a macrobiotic meal, so three years ago they made the decision to team up. These days, they serve an average of 50 to 60 patrons at each community dinner.

“;It takes about 13 hours to present the dinners,”; Ashburn says. “;We meet about three weeks before to set the menu, send out flyers and e-mails. We arrived at 1 p.m. today and will leave at about 9:30. We cook from 1 to 5:30, serve and talk to people from about 5:30 to 8, then the last hour is for cleanup.”;

Their menu at this dinner: Emerald Pea Soup; Garbanzo Beans with Sweet Vegetables; Greens with Sunflower Seed Dressing; a Corn, Onion and Dulse Salad; and Double Chocolate Chip Cookies.

On this particular evening, the weather permits outdoor dining, and tables are set simply, with folding chairs, colorful tablecloths and small candles that create an inviting atmosphere.

“;This is excellent. It's palatable and tasty,”; says Gladys Keniston of Moanalua, who attended with a friend as part of a class taught by Dr. Terry Shintani, an advocate of improving health through diet. “;This kind of food makes it easier to switch from eating meat every day.”;

Return diners Mavis Gushiken of Kaneohe and Kent Billings of Nanakuli attended a cooking class by Ashburn. “;This type of cooking is very different, and it's all so delicious,”; Gushiken says. “;We get together every weekend and have been trying out a lot of stuff at home.”;

“;We come back every chance we can,”; says Billings. “;It's eye-opening how good healthy eating can be.”;

Maddux and Ashburn say this social aspect is crucial to successfully transitioning lifestyles. “;Food is so social, if there's no community, there's no support,”; Ashburn says.

Their dinners bring home that point: Some core attendees have completely transformed their eating.

So the duo continue forth with an unwavering, passionate focus on their goal of changing the planet. Maddux characterizes it this way: “;It's a revolution.”;