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in a name?
Raed A. Tolaymat
Imagine being able
to live for years without once getting a cold or missing one day of
work. Imagine being able to spend your pregnancy and nursing months
without getting tired and without the fear of having diabetes or
varicose veins and without taking a single pill. Imagine being able to
stay slim and active without having to count calories. Macrobiotics
teaches you how.
Macrobiotics is deeply founded on the principle of
oriental medicine. It teaches the laws of nature and how to live
harmoniously within them. It is not just a diet, but a holistic approach
to living that takes into account all aspects of life. It stresses the
importance of a balanced diet because diet is the foundation for a
healthy, hence happy, and harmonious life. It calls for living a
balanced life based on the two complementary, but opposite, natural
forces of contraction and expansion. These forces are often referred to
by their well-known and convenient oriental names of yin and yang.
Sometimes they are called male and female or positive and negative, and
you can call them what you like so long as you understand them. It is
mentioned in some of the ancient literature: The truth is one. The sages speak of it by many
The philosophy of
yin-yang in macrobiotics shows in simple terms how the universe works.
Many phenomena that are ambiguous become crystal clear.
Yin is the force
of expansion and yang is the force of contraction. These two
complementary forces rule everything in this world. Think of a beating
heart. Heart beats are actually nothing more that an oscillation between
the two forces of contraction (yang) and expansion (yin). So are our
breathing lungs. Even when we walk, our movement is due to the
synchronized contraction and expansion of our varied muscles.
Why do some foods
propagate an infection and others stop it?
Sodium and calcium
are yang while potassium and magnesium are yin. Yang elements, being
contractive, prevent and constrain bacteria from multiplying, while yin
elements, being expansive, promote and enhance bacterial multiplication.
Therefore, yang foods, kill bacteria and stop an infection while
yin foods, increase an infection.
This is a simple scientific example of macrobiotics. My experience with
my own diet and with thousands of patients who have visited my
consultation office over the last few years from 32 different countries
has shown me time and time again that yang foods are the best antibiotics in the world. They are better that
any antibiotic chemicals man has ever invented. They also have several
advantages over chemical antibiotics:
Bacteria can not
develop resistance to these foods like they do to chemical antibiotics
They have no
They are always
effective unlike some chemical antibiotics that fail o eliminate an
infection even after repeated doses.
Many patients with
diseases that were difficult to cure like tuberculosis, gangrene,
Chlamydia and countless forms of infections have been cured using the
proper selection of foods.
movement has become increasingly popular during the past decade due to
the many shortfalls in traditional western medicine and due also to
various astonishing recoveries of terminally ill patients who used a
carefully designed diet.
2500 years ago, the Greek Hippocrates, the father
of modern western medicine, admonished his students in one of his
precise aphorisms Thy
food shall be thy remedy. Modern
medicine and macrobiotics do agree.
Food is your best
medicine. No matter what the illness and no matter what you call this
approach. Let us listen to what the world renowned Dr.
Henry G. Bieler, M.D
has to say about
this: I began
to suspect the close relationship between health and proper eating
habits when, early in my career as an overworked young doctor, my own
health broke down. I have always been a man of great curiosity and as I
investigated deeply the chemistry of food along new lines, I came to the
conclusion that I, personally must give up the use of drugs and
henceforth rely solely on food as medicine. It was not long until, after
repeated verified results, I discarded drugs in treating my patients. My
colleagues, at the time, thought I had lost my mind. But time has only
strengthened my belief.
As a person's
understanding of the macrobiotics principles deepens, it will eventually
become clear that all diseases are the result of a long term disturbance
of these two forces at work in the human body. Let us take for example
two GI tract disturbances, constipation and
diarrhea. Constipation is
the result of consuming too much yang foods (contractive) like red meat.
Therefore, constipation is a yang illness and can be cured by yin foods. Diarrhea is the result of consuming too
much yin foods (expansive) like sugars and fruit.
If we start
thinking in these terms, everything becomes crystal clear and the road
to health will no longer be a mystery. And if you know which foods to
select for patients with these illnesses, there will be no need for
chemical medicine and there will be no incurable diseases. Food really
is your best medicine.
macrobiotic diet developed over the years is general and not for
everyone. Your own health condition, especially if it is a serious
condition, might require you to do more research into what foods are
currently right for you, which means digging deep into the macrobiotic
concepts of yin and yang and balance. It would also mean experimenting
for a long time with foods to see how each affects your body.
philosophy originated in the orient and the main teachers who carried
macrobiotics from the far-east to the west and other places were
Japanese. So it was natural for them to teach people eating balanced
Japanese macrobiotic foods. However, we must not forget that in a broad
sense macrobiotics calls for understanding the world around us and
applying its principles of balance in our daily lives including our
eating habits. One of the fundamentals of macrobiotics is that one
should eat locally grown food. This means that applying macrobiotics
principles in south-Africa, one has to select south-African balanced
foods, and applying macrobiotic principles in south-America, one has to
eat balanced south-American foods, and so on.
Where is the calcium in macrobiotics
One of the
questions I get asked the most by patients is: "No Dairy products! Where
is the calcium in my diet?"
misconception is that the macrobiotic diet does not provide enough
calcium because it does not include milk and dairy foods.
This diet is
actually very rich in calcium as it includes: sesame seeds, seaweeds,
leafy greens and root vegetables and green tea which are all rich
sources of calcium. The body can assimilate calcium in these foods more
readily than milk calcium. Plus, these foods do not create problems
normally associated with milk and dairy foods such as bloating, mucous
and ovarian cysts among women and respiratory problems like asthma and