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Macrobiotic Lifestyle Essay

Everyday people are influenced on what they should eat. They are bombarded by radio and TV commercials, billboards, newspaper and magazine ads, nutrition labels, doctor’s influences and nutritionists’ suggestions. A commercial says to eat the newest burger because it’s 99 cents; drink the newest beverage because it will give energy without sugar; eat pretzels because they are fat-free; eat frozen diners because there is no preparation required. Who is to say that one should buy a hamburger, or anything else for that matter, based solely on the price?

What if the substance replacing the sugar has more adverse affects? Pretzels maybe fat-free, but they are also free of nutrients. Who said that all fat is bad? Why should one eat something that is bad for the body yet requires no preparation? These are all questions that arise from influences by the media, corporate businesses, the scientific community and various nutritionist groups. A doctor, who is respected because he went to school for a long time, prescribes a medication to lower blood pressure. And a nutritionist tells a client to eat many bananas to lower blood pressure.

An individual, therefore, does not know which is the correct path to follow. Nevertheless, most Americans today eat food that is fast and easy to prepare, or requires no preparation, that tastes good and saves them money. As a result, obesity, heart disease, cancer and overall sickness plague society. They never eat food for life to sustain well-being and vitality. Most Americans view eating as a chore and usually finish their meals in five or ten minutes. This is just one of many unhealthy habits that are ever prevalent today which can be understood and corrected by establishing a macrobiotic lifestyle.

Hippocrates was the first to introduce the term makrobios which in Greek means “long life. ” In One Peaceful World Hippocrates’ philosophy on living was “Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine food” (qtd. in Kushi and Jack 32). Since then, macrobiotics has come down through Western history to mean a natural way of life, including a simple, balanced, natural way of eating, leading to health, happiness and longevity. Macrobiotics approaches living and eating the same way the earth handles the ecosystem – in complete balance. For example, what if a chemical by-product somehow disables all eucalyptus trees from producing leaves.

This could render koala bears extinct because eucalyptus leaves are their only source of food. All organisms in the area would be severely affected indirectly from the by-products due to the balanced life-cycle being broken. The ecosystem over time would adapt only after the environment suffered deleterious changes. The macrobiotic philosophy is based upon yin and yang – the balance of the opposites. Without one, the other cannot exist to counter balance it. Male can only exist if there is a female. Something is hot only if it is compared to something cold.

The more something is yin the more it is attracted to something yang. Likewise yin foods will balance or neutralize yang foods. The macrobiotic diet is different for everyone. Think of the pH scale to understand what foods are yin and yang and to understand how the macrobiotic diet can be applied to different people in different situations. Lemon juice, for example, is an acid because it does not have a balanced number of hydrogen and hydroxide ions like water, which is neutral. Lemon juice, however, is more alkaline than vinegar because it is even more acidic than lemon juice.

All foods and all traits of objects can be classified into yin and yang. A few examples of yin and yang respectively are: feminine and masculine, winter and summer, softer and harder, lighter and heavier, night and day, expansion and contraction, etc. Very yin foods such as candies, desserts, sugary drinks, dairy products, spices and fruits create acidity in the blood. Whereas very yang foods such as salts, eggs, meat, fish, breads and most other baked goods create alkalinity. A diet consisting of one or both extremes is very unhealthy. Only an imbecile would expect a pleasing result by mixing ammonia with bleach.

A truly macrobiotic diet is a balanced diet consisting of a variety of whole foods that are not processed or highly industrialized and do not contain artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. For example, bee honey and pure maple syrup provide more natural energy and nutrients than refined white sugar. Any food in its natural form will have more benefit on the body than its extract. According to Macrobiotics: An Invitation To Health And Happiness, the ideal diet is one that makes the blood the most neutral (Ohsawa 14). So what is the ideal diet?

The best diet can be achieved by eating foods that are relatively neutral and compliment the person’s physical condition, the current season, occupation, level of activity and place of residence (Bursell). Foods that create neutrality are whole grains, vegetables, beans, sea vegetables and soups. Ideally these foods should be organic, in season and locally grown (Bursell). According to macrobiotic principles, certain situations allow one to eat very yin or yang foods. For instance, occasionally eating eggs and meat in the wintertime can be beneficial because it opposes the yin environment.

Likewise, occasionally eating spicy foods and fruits are beneficial in the summer time for the same reason. A perfect example of how people are unknowingly abusing yang foods to lose weight is the Protein Power Plant diet. Since obesity is a yin trait, the body is essentially dying by eating only yang meats and animal proteins which cause the body to lose weight. Now, the question is raised; why should I, a seemingly healthy person, adopt a macrobiotic lifestyle? The answer is simple; it is needed by everyone. Even so-called healthy people suffer aches and pains, are sometimes fatigued, battle a cold or occasionally get a headache.

A strict macrobiotic person is strong with vigor, is rested within four to six hours of sleep and never “catches” a cold. It is not uncommon for a person infected with the flu virus to infect many people. However, that person cannot infect everyone even if he or she tried. Those that get infected have a weak constitution or have an unbalanced, unhealthy diet. I am not as strict of a macrobiotic as I should be, but I cannot even remember the last time I had the flu or had fever symptoms. When the flu is “going around,” it goes around the macrobiotic person and on to Joe Blow.

In order to achieve optimal mental awareness along with physical health, one must become in balance with his or her body by adopting a macrobiotic state-of-mind. It is a fact that if one plans on spending his or her later years lying helpless in the hospital, undergoing various surgeries, he or she should continue eating the processed food, ready-made, burger and fries diet. Let us analyze the consistencies of the all too familiar Extra Value Meal from McDonald’s. We have a cold, high fructose corn syrup, carbonated beverage that is usually colored artificially.

It displays all the properties of an extreme yin being cold, sweet and carbonated which creates expansion along with being completely artificial. The fries are also very yin because they are fried, but also have yang qualities because they are very salty. Anything that is fried at high temperatures also raises the fat content while killing most nutrients present. The burger, with a meat product between two pieces of a white airy substance often called buns, is an extreme yang. The buns are made of bleached, white floor filled with preservatives while devoid of nutrients.

The meat product is processed with beef scraps from the slaughterhouse, soy fillers and husks, artificial preservatives and flavors. Protein can be gained from the meat product at a cost of high-cholesterol and saturated-fat levels. The low levels of saturated-fat and cholesterol found in vegetables is also much more digestible than that of animals. What is even worse than the entire meal being full of empty calories is the fact that the person eating it may become infected with mad-cow disease or hoof and mouth disease as a result! Could someone please tell me where the value is in the Extra Value Meal?

A macrobiotic diet keeps the human body healthy and protects it from sickness and disease by allowing it to function correctly. Whenever someone gets a headache or flu or diarrhea, the body is notifying the person through the symptoms that something is wrong and that it is trying to heal itself (Bursell). Instead of letting the body heal itself, most people would take a drug that will suppress the symptoms which would, in turn, stop the natural healing process. Macrobiotics creates the ideal fuel for the body to use at the most efficient level.

Just as the “hole” in the o-zone layer began to shrink after the Environmental Protection Agency began regulating carbon monoxide emissions and the release of chloroflorulcarbons into the atmosphere, macrobiotics keeps the body free of toxins while at a balanced state. This aids in preventing disease because it cannot “live” in an environment that remains in equilibrium with the natural world. According to The Cancer Prevention Diet in 1962 one in six people developed a form of cancer in their lives (Kushi and Jack 3). In 1992 the number of people that developed cancer soared to one in three (3).

This is in direct relation to American society becoming accustomed to eating more ready-made foods. The simplest way of becoming more healthy and preventing disease is done by cutting down on certain foods that Americans abuse daily. If one’s condition were healthy, it would be best to slowly get adjusted to a macrobiotic lifestyle over a period of one year. However, if someone is diseased or chronically ill, a strict macrobiotic diet must be implemented immediately to bring his or her body back into balance. Since each illness is different, a macrobiotic counselor should be consulted to tailor a specific diet for the person.

Generally speaking, a diet only consisting of whole grains, vegetables, some beans, sea weed and miso soup with only a tablespoon of organic vegetable oil allowed for cooking per day should be followed. If the ill person follows this diet and refrains from eating any animal products, processed foods or sugars, his or her condition will improve one hundred fold in forty-five to sixty days. On the other hand, a relatively healthy person should first cut out processed foods and replace them with whole, organic foods. The next step is to eat less of all types of animal products on a daily and weekly basis.

One should limit eating animal foods to four times a week for the first three months. Then limit it to twice a week for three months, then once a week for three months, then once a month for three months. The ultimate goal is to eliminate all animal products by the end of the year. It would, however, be acceptable to eat fish on occasions. In terms of meat, fish is the most digestible, then poultry, then pork and beef. As one cuts down on animal products he or she must eat more beans, tofu and other soy products to replace the lost protein.

All types of sweets should only be eaten occasionally. Fruits would be ideal. Refined sugars should be replaced with organic honey, rice syrup and maple syrup. Cow milk can be replaced by soy and rice milk. Macrobiotic people are not calcium deficient because leafy, green vegetables are rich in calcium and iron. Also, dairy cheese can replaced by soy “cheese. ” Following these guidelines along with a diet rich in whole grains and vegetables will lead to the true fountain of youth accompanied by happiness.

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