February 2008 Newsletter 
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2008 Volume 2, Issue 2

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Natural Import Company Newsletter

Letter From the Top...

Dear Friends,

This month so far has been very special for me. It just so happened that this year's auspicious Chinese New Year fell this month on February 5th, the same day as my birthday. February is also the perfect month to nourish the kidneys as we are in a winter or water month in the five element cycle and kidneys are the main water oriented organ. I am delighted to feature our Hokkaido Azuki Beans from Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido.

They literally saved my life back in 1963 when I was diagnosed with a life threatening kidney infection. I tell this story because these are absolutely remarkable little red beans. After going thru all the antibiotics my doctor could prescribe to no avail, a friend of mine introduced me to Macrobiotics. She said, "if you just eat Japanese Azuki beans everyday, your disease will go away." For almost a year, I ate a strict diet of kasha and drank the liquid of slow cooked-down azuki beans. As you can probably imagine I am incredibly grateful for azuki beans as they worked like magic on my kidneys and set my life on a new path. Over the years I have felt honored to be able to import and offer people many medicinal-quality foods from Japan, but of all the wonderful foods, these miracle beans will always hold a special place in my heart.

Happy Belated Valentine's Day!

Bruce S. Macdonald



Hokkaido Island Azuki Beans - Japanese Small Red Beans
Japanese Azuki are a small, dried, oval-shaped bean with a distinctive deep red color and character. Azuki beans have a light nutty, semisweet flavor and are one of the few beans that contain low fat and high protein. They have been grown in the Far East for centuries and were introduced to Japan around 1000 A.D. Today, azuki are one of the largest crops grown in Japan with an annual production of over 120,000 metric tons. After the soybean, azuki are the second most popular bean in Japan. This beloved versatile bean is a key ingredient in a wide array of Japanese dishes and desserts. Azuki have been used since ancient times as an effective medicinal tea in Japanese "kampo" (Japanese traditional medicine) and are also employed externally as a beauty aid.

Azuki beans contain lower fats and oil than any other bean and possess noteworthy health benefits for the kidneys, bladder, and reproductive system. They are also known as the most "yang" (or warming) bean. The special Azuki that comes from Hokkaido, Japan are uniquely medicinal due to their vine structure and because they are grown in the rich and fertile volcanic soil of the island. Japanese Hokkaido Azuki beans are now highly regarded all over world and have come to be known as the "Mercedes" of beans. The Japanese particuarly are fond of Hokkaido Azuki and have chosen them for their important holidays. The beautiful red color imparts a pink hue to the famous dish called Sekihan or "Red Rice" which is served during their biggest holiday, the New Year celebration.
Health Benefits of Japanese Hokkaido Azuki: ...Hokkaido Azuki bean are high in mineral components, such as vitamin B1 and poly phenols and contain more potassium than other azuki beans grown outside of Japan.
The Japanese have used Hokkaido Azuki Beans for centuries to strengthen the heart, regulate blood circulation, help with fatigue, and improve the functions of the bladder and kidneys. Hokkaido Azuki are also used to keep the digestive system healthy and on track. Azuki beans from Hokkaido island are packed with magnesium, calcium, and iron and therefore are ideal for women's general health. The Japanese have long...Read More
Crystal's Corner
Azuki Facial Scrub - Azuki Bean Powder has been used by Japanese women for over 1,200 years and remains popular today. This delicate yet effective scrub deep cleans...Read More
Hokkaido Azuki Tea (Hokkaido azukicha) - This soothing, yet revitalizing tea made from Japanese Azuki beans is good for regulating the kidneys and urinary functions, puffy bags and dark circles under the eyes, dissolving kidney stones, and relieving bowel constipation. This tea is also used in Japan to...Read More

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Young, tender pods of Azuki Beans dangle prior to being harvested in Hokkaido, Japan

The interior view of an azuki pod

This Month's Feature:

Hokkaido Aduki Beans

Seasonal Recipes

Bruce's "Tune-up" Azuki Soup

This nourishing and hearty soup is the ultimate "tune-up" for the kidneys. It is a tonic that will make them smile! A very...read more

Ultra Low-Fat Azuki Dip

A delicious dip that is a healthy choice your family and friends will love. Perfect as an attractive appetizer. I just served mine at the last Super Bowl Sunday. I got creative and...read more

Hokkaido Azuki Bean Brownies

This scrumptious recipe was given to me while I visited the "Yuki Matsuri" Snow Festival in Hokkaido, Japan. I brought a batch to work this past Valentine's Day and everyone...read more

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