MACROBIOTICS AND MACROVegan
The macrobiotic dietary principles have been developed over the past 60 years in America, Europe and Asia. They are based on the philosophy of Asian medicine as practiced in China and Japan. These concepts reflect physical, environmental and social observations for a period of over 5,000 years. On the surface the philosophy bears little relationship of Western nutritional science yet the conclusions are remarkably similar.
While the diet associated with macrobiotics is usually the Standard Macrobiotic Diet this way of eating is not a “diet” in the strict sense of the word. Macrobiotics is a way of understanding the effects of different foods and making choices according to individual needs. The modern macrobiotic way of eating is a dynamic and flexible approach to nutrition and general health that can be applied by anyone who is committed to increasing his or her personal health and vitality.
Michio Kushi developed the standard diet in the early 1980’s with assistance from Bill Tara, Ed Esko, William Spear and Murray Snyder. The standard diet was presented to offer a general model of macrobiotic eating. It was not a “diet” for anyone but a rather a set of guidelines. The model was helpful to the growing number of people seeking help with their health who were dealing with cancers, heart disease and a variety of serious illnesses. While thousands of people found assistance in recovering their health using variations of the standard diet, the association of macrobiotics and healing is often misunderstood.
While specific dietary patterns may be suggested to suit specific health issues, the application of macrobiotic principles to nutrition is not an attempt to therapeutically cure the illness. The macrobiotic approach to eating is focused on assisting the body to recover from nutritional stress, often the result of the modern diet, and return to a healthier state of biological balance. In the process of returning to a more balanced state the body is able to recover its own self-healing capacity. This process makes it possible for many people to experience a natural recovery of health and in some cases a complete remission of serious symptoms. Specific cooking techniques, home remedies and simple external treatments may be used to speed this process.
During the 1970’s and 1980’s macrobiotic practitioners were criticized by some nutritionists as being “unscientific” and mistaken in the view that there was a direct connection between diet and serious disease. The focus by conventional nutrition on nutritional deficiency ignored the fact that the degenerative diseases of modern society are diseases of excess. The macrobiotic view has been proven true.
The overwhelming evidence of contemporary science is that food is a major contributing cause of many cancers as well as stroke, diabetes, heart disease and a variety of major illnesses. The particular dietary factors most implicated in this relationship are over consumption of meat, dairy and simple sugars. Diets that are dominated by these foods are also usually devoid of whole cereal grains, vegetable protein, adequate fresh vegetables and fruits, seeds and nuts.
The world wide macrobiotic community has played an important role in advocating dietary reform, promoting organic farming, introducing Asian soy products and encouraging individuals and families to become more conscious of food choices and return to meals prepared in the home.
It is the unfortunate truth that even though governments and health agencies recommend plant based diets almost identical to a macrobiotic program their official recommendations are overly friendly to the food industry. Even where the relationship between food and disease is unmistakable the easy road is always taken. A perfect example of this is obesity.
Obesity is a symptom. The real problem is an increase in diabetes, cancers and heart disease. These are the result of the modern diet and reflect a major shift in eating patterns throughout the world. One of the most accurate signs of this change is world meat production. The 400% increase in production far out runs the rise in population. People who ate meat in 1961 are eating more and an increasing number of people world-wide are being introduced to meat (as well as dairy foods) as a sign of wealth and promised nutritional improvement. Promoting a high animal protein diet runs contrary to the overwhelming epidemiological evidence against it.
The macrobiotic approach to diet that we use at MACROVegan is focused on the use of whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to provide a diverse and healthy diet. Our program avoids meats, dairy and simply sugars that have been shown to have a direct relationship to non-communicable disease. An approach that improves disease prevention can also be helpful in times of illness if the diet provides complete nutritional needs.
Hundreds of international studies have shown that meat and dairy consumption dramatically increase the incidence of heart disease and many cancers. The old theories about the essential use of these foods is obsolete. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund, from their 1997 report on diet and cancer prevention:
“There is no essential lower limit of intake of any type of meat, and diets including no meat are not only compatible with good health and low cancer risk, but may be preferred in some settings, especially when plant foods are abundant, reliable and varied.”
The MACROvegan approach to diet acknowledges the overwhelming proof for dietary reform. It also recognizes the positive opportunity to change existing dietary patterns in line with a healthier and earth-friendly way of eating. It is the future of nutrition.
In good health