IN recent months, with the election of the first African American President, the word CHANGE has never been more pregnant with significance. It has come to mean the dawn of a new era of hope, of home-and-hearth values, of ‘right-ness’. Going back to basics and fundamentals underline this movement of CHANGE.
For people who are embarking on a macrobiotic journey, I speak of change as well. For when we begin to eat macrobiotically, and practice the macrobiotic lifestyle, we begin see positive change emerging in our lives. We feel lighter, more full of energy and vitality. Old aches, pains and sniffles we had come to take for granted suddenly just aren’t there anymore. Our skin takes an a firmness and a glow. And the well-being spreads, from feeling good in our bodies, to feeling good about ourselves and our lives and our relationships.
Why do people seek change? Mostly because they realise that the current practice simply does not work anymore. Whatever brought on this realisation – illness, fatigue, or just an inner prompting – they come to macrobiotics because they are at a watershed and want change for the better. Or because they have been diagnosed with a dread disease. The reasons are varied and many, and they are all valid.
Quite a few do not stay the course. Some eat macrobiotically, then fall off the bandwagon. Some do come back to macrobiotics because they recognise its benefits. But – as with most changes – macrobiotics does require a commitment of time and effort. We must give the diet a chance to work on the body. We must commit to eating well, and within the framework of the diet. Constantly eating outside the diet dilutes and even undermines the goodness of macrobiotics. So, if you are eating macrobiotically only 50% of the time, I would say that it is better than nothing in terms of overall health. But I would also say that you are not getting any of the benefits of the diet, if at all, because your body is not being given the chance take the goodness from the food and heal itself before the onslaught from the next ‘questionable’ meal.
What you don’t eat is as powerful as what you do
Many people then say – yes I ate in a restaurant but I made good food choices. I only ate the vegetables and brought my own brown rice.
People sometimes forget it is the unseen factor in the food that can cause as much damage – the Teflon coated non-stick pans, the salts and other seasonings used. In Chinese restaurants, even simple stirfried vegtetables are laced with monosodium glutamate and the special XO sauce.
In macrobiotics, one has to remember that it is as much about what you don’t put into your mouth as it is about what you do. Sometimes it is better to eat sparingly, rather than to eat everything at the table.If you have just begun eating macrobiotics, I would advise strict adherence to the tenets of the practice for the first 6 months to begin the process of re-educating your body and boost your immunity. After this period, some eating is possible but also within the tenets of the diet.
There is a story told about George Ohsawa,the grandfather of modern macrobiotics. He healed himself of tuberculosis by eating scraps of vegetables from restuarants because he was destitute at the end of the Second World War, having spent much of it imprisoned in Japan for being a pacifist. This would be unthinkable for most of us. And most of us think that to be in good health, we have to eat lots of food and in the absence of macrobiotic food, we eat whatever is there because we have feed our bodies. But macrobiotics also tells us that the body is better off having simple plain food – even vegetable scraps – because it is able to utilise almost all the scraps. But if we ate well cooked but (what our body might consider) poor quality food – fois gras, cream sauces, rare Wagyu beef, fpor example – the body would probably be able to use only a fraction of the intake and the rest has to be processed out of the body. This taxes the digestive system and eventually the heavy duty elimination required takes its toll.
As a PR practitioner, I am obliged to eat out alot. But I have devised some coping mechanisms. For example, I make sure I have eaten a bowl of brown rice before going out so that I am comfortably full and will not leap at the food the minute it arrives at the table. I try to bring my own brown rice and eat only at Chinese restaurants where I can trust the quality of the vegetarian fare. I eat stir fried vegetables, steamed fish, and vegetable soups – in other words, the plainest food I can find on the menu. And I drink copious amounts of hot tea!
How badly do you want it?
CHANGE also asks for a commitment from all of us. Barack Obama asked for a vote and time for him to make the change work. This is also what we need to give our bodies when we make the change and switch to macrobiotics.
When people tell me that macrobiotics is hard, is anti-social, and time-consuming, I ask them – how badly do you want the change? How much do you want to give yourself a chance at better health? Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. If you really want it, you can and will make it work. HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT IT?
The commitment from Lusher Than Life is that we will work with you to help you make it work. Together, so many good things are possible. But that first step – well, that courageous undertaking is yours alone to make.