Macrobiotics #1: Thoughts on feeding body and soul.

Macrobiotic = Long Life.

From the Greek “macro” (large, long) and “bios” (life)

“Doing something over and over the same way and expecting a different result is considered a sign of insanity.”

I’ve never had what you might call the average American diet. Junk food has been minimal in my life. My father was a dentist. I never tasted candy until I was 5 years old. We were part of a study. I remember the white boxes, and thought it was weird, because shouldn’t singing raisins be on this box? I had a brief affair with Twinkies, back in the day, and I love baking unusual cookies. Chocolate, good chocolate was my friend.

But I wasn’t more than 10 when my mother started cooking Weight Watchers’ style -– back when there were no points, just sound principles of eating. The family lost some weight, and did not gain more. I decided I hated diet drinks and switched to water.

I experimented with cooking “lighter” (chicken was my god) and I gave up alcohol because it was fattening and I never liked the effect anyway. I tried vegetarian, but TVP and I only connected with my killer veggie lasagna, which has fooled more than a few meat eaters. Without meat, I was exhausted. When you’re training for a physical profession, fatigue is bad.

I started “losing” foods. I would fall asleep after eating them. I literally could not control it; only the grace of heaven kept me from driving off the road or falling down a staircase. It’s weird, your system shutting down to process sugar – even white bread reminded me of its high glycemic load. I gave up white potatoes. I gave up pasta. I gave up all those cookies and birthday cakes that show up in the office. I dumped dairy for a long time, marveling that I could not hear my body grumbling in stereo, now that there was no longer hot chocolate every morning. I gave up wheat and corn.

I discovered the blood type diet, Atkins, Protein Power, Neanderthin, the Zone, the fat resistance diet – as the intolerances got worse, I got worried. I ate a lot of Indian food, which confirmed that not everyone makes things the same way. Indian yogurt was no problem for me – cow and even goat yogurt was a problem. Lots of supplements in there, to try and make up for lost foods. Finally it was doctors, diagnoses and meds for way too long. I knew the exact problem connected to several major foods…so I lost interest in eating.

You give your body years of meds, and it will take revenge. Your GI system turns on you, and you start to bloat. Eventually anything you eat upsets the system. I had the highest inflammation levels my specialist had ever seen. I could eat breakfast and swell from looking like a three-month pregnancy to a six month – or worse. Then I always looked six months pregnant…when I didn’t look ten months pregnant. I could eat almost nothing, yet I lost no weight. I looked at my thin wrists and waist length hair (a first – it never made it past my shoulder blades back in high school) and wondered if I was healthy except for drug side effects, or if I was anorexic beneath the gas in the abdominal cavity.

Then – a family member was diagnosed with cancer, and a blast from the past popped up in my mind. “Macrobiotic,” I said. “Gloria Swanson and Dirk Benedict cured themselves of cancer by eating macrobiotically.” So a macro chef was found, to make some tasty side dishes to keep the patient eating. The food was there, so I ate it, too.

And I found out that Macrobiotic was not just a diet choice – it was a lifestyle. The Macro diet was created for cancer patients.

The theory can be reduced to a nutshell. Modern human body chemistry leans slightly acid, when it normally should be slightly alkaline. You know how the hot tub constantly needs to be watched, because acid perspiration will lower the ph? The average American diet is massively tilted toward acidic and acidic-effect foods. Macrobiotic helps you tilt more alkaline. It starves the cancer cells of the excess sugar and other things those new, abnormal cells need.

Macrobiotic practitioners eat the freshest food they can lay their hands on, prepared in a manner that allows the enzymes to be fully absorbed into the body.They eat what is in season for where they live.Groats are better for you than pin oats (rolled oats being for making a fruit crisp only) because you rinse and then spread out those groats to toast in a large skillet.Only after they’re toasted do you add water for it to soak up.

Toasting and soaking release the enzymes you need to process whole grains and beans or lentils. While eating milled flour is just an exercise in another form of sugar, whole grains bring you minerals and vitamins – instead of draining your enzymes, minerals and vitamins, whole grains actually nourish your body. You don’t end up depleted of the nutrients you need to survive.

They eat “live” food, the original probiotics – pickled vegetables and miso, for starters.

You can have meat – organic venison, pheasant, quail, bison – things that haven’t been over-processed to the point where they do nothing to nourish your body – they only strip out nutrients to process all that acidic stuff.

Suddenly Macrobiotic wasn’t just the “cancer” diet. It was the preventative diet, giving you a lovely flood of needed nutrients that can benefit anyone – but especially those who are ill.

In desperation, I asked the chef if she thought going 100% macro might help. LH told me that a famous Macro nutritionist had treated someone with my condition, last time he came to lecture. And he was coming again soon. She’s a chef, not a nutritionist. While LH can make it, she wanted input from the trained folk.

I had 10 days to wait to talk with this guy. I went to his web site and read things, so I would be semi-literate to what he suggested. In the meantime, I started drinking the special miso the chef had brought us. We’re talking two-three times a day, one of two types, and then a third cup with leftover beans or veggies tossed in.

And after a few days…I realized my gut wasn’t screaming at me anymore. Something was happening. I didn’t know if I could or would want to eat this way my entire life, but suddenly its ability to heal me seemed possible. It will take time. But maybe six months from now…I will stop hurting and ballooning in torso and joints?

Macrobiotics:

* Stresses the freshest, least processed food available, preferably local and in season.

* Is not just brown rice, although brown rice is a valuable tool in the box of foods that can heal.

* Was designed for cancer patients, but anyone can gain from utilizing its guidelines.

* Is meant to help the body be alkaline, thus starving dangerous microbes to death. You cease to have toeholds for disease.

This is enough for now, except for one thing: the gold standard of miso in the USA comes from South River Miso. This stuff is made in the old Japanese way – one vat at a time. You can find it at places like Whole Foods. If you have a bad gut, start with the 3-year Barley, the one most used in healing. I also love the chickpea.

Does your food leave you with more energy than it took to break down the food?What do you take away from the transaction?Is it time for you to nourish body and soul?

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About Katharine Eliska Kimbriel

Cat Kimbriel is working on a a contemporary fantasy about curses, ecological change, and very different ways of looking at the twilight worlds. She's still working on a short Nuala piece and mulling over a new Alfreda novel. You can find her fantasy & science fiction, including free samples, at her Book View Café bookshelf. These books can also be found at major online booksellers. Her personal blog is here, and you will find her on whatever social media currently interests her. Cat builds worlds that contain compassion and justice -- come join the journey.

Comments

Macrobiotics #1: Thoughts on feeding body and soul. — 2 Comments

  1. I love miso and am very impressed with the South River Miso site. I got the sampler no. 2 and am looking forward not only to the miso, but the recipe book. Thanks for the great lead.

  2. Pingback: Testing the Waters (Let the Gluten Go#1) | Book View Cafe Blog