Macrobiotic Leadership Program: Level I-IV Student Testimonial
María José Colás Martínez, April to July 2015
I first heard about Macrobiotics through my aunt. My aunt started to go to a Macrobiotic doctor in Spain. He studied macrobiotics with George Ohsawa (founder of Macrobiotics) and western medicine. He helped my aunt to stay in shape and have a successful pregnancy. She maintained her weight and had a lovely child.
In University, I studied chemical engineering. I started working in this field but always remembered the natural path that my aunt introduced me to. I worked for a cosmetics company, petrochemical company and also trading import and export from China and Spain. My job gave me the opportunity to live in China for two years. While in China, I became sick and couldn’t breathe very well. I went to see a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor. This experience gave me great insight to more of what natural healing can do. After one week I was feeling perfectly fine.
Later on back in Spain, I was walking to my office one day and I felt that this was not the right job for me and realized I needed to change my life. I wasn’t happy and knew I should be. I always wanted to do something related with the natural health field, so I decided to open an organic shop. My shop, Purusha, has been running for almost a year now. While working with my customers I realized I had a lack of knowledge around food and nutrition. I made an appointment with the doctor that had treated my aunt a long time ago. I wanted to learn for myself more about his Macrobiotic education. In the short time of meeting with him, he amazed and inspired me. He made me think that this is what I want to do with my life. Right away I started doing a bit of research and I found out the Kushi Institute (KI) in Becket, MA is where to get first hand information on macrobiotics. I set my goal to go study at the KI. My plan is to help people to live a better and more complete life through diet and lifestyle by following Macrobiotic principles. Amazing! Here I am studying at the KI and will complete the Macrobiotic Leadership Program, Levels I through III, and two weeks of the Level IV program. I hope to become the best counselor, chef and teacher that I can possibly be when I get back to Valencia, Spain.
By Patricio Garcia de Paredes
I met Shizuko Yamamoto in the late 1970s in Spain. She had come to Barcelona to teach macrobiotics and shiatsu. My mother, Luisa Baranda, was one of the persons who organized her trip and she stayed at my house. In those days in Spain we still had not much contact with oriental culture and with people from Asia. So for her to stay in my house was both exiting and intriguing. Although I was just a kid at the time, her presence made a strong impression on me that I can still remember to this day. She was kind and considerate, yet strong and sharp. And in my view she embodied many of the qualities that I had created in my mind about what a person of wisdom and deep understanding of life from the far-east would be like. At the same time Shizuko was a very practical person and her unique down-to-earth style of teaching was very well received. She influenced many people’s lives and now in Spain and throughout Europe shiatsu has become very popular thanks to her pioneering work.
Among the most inspiring aspects about Shizuko was her own life story. She was a living example of how we can transform difficulties into possibilities and change suffering into happiness. Following World War II in Japan food was scarce and malnutrition widespread. To remedy the situation, the Allied occupation forces introduced milk and meat along with modern nutritional ideas about the importance of animal protein and calcium to develop strong, healthy bodies. It was believed at the time that the small size of the Japanese people was due to the nutritional inadequacy of the traditional Japanese diet, particularly lack of meat, milk and dairy products. Parents were encouraged to feed their children as much meat and milk as possible so that they would grow more big and strong. So while growing up Shizuko became an avid meat eater and she was even awarded as The Best Grown Child in her elementary school. However, that way of eating weakened her health and at the age of 21 she was diagnosed with leukemia. She also had vision and eye problems and went through 10 operations to correct her eyesight. She spent 3 years in and out of hospitals. After the hospital trauma, she stayed at home, almost hiding out from social activities for more than eight years. At one point she became determined to change her life and regain her health, so she began to look for alternatives.
While living with her parents in Tokyo, Shizuko was introduced to shiatsu (Japanese style of finger-pressure massage). There was an older woman, a shiatsu practitioner, who came to her home to give her parents shiatsu treatments. Originally she was not attracted to shiatsu and rejected the idea of other oriental healing arts. In those days in Japan people were educated to follow the western ways and shiatsu was looked upon as something backwards and unscientific. As a result many of the traditional cultural and healing arts were banned and just a few licensed practitioners were permitted to treat with shiatsu and only when they practiced within private homes. However, besides her eye problems, she also experienced pain on her neck and stiff shoulders, so she decided to receive shiatsu. And because it felt good and relived her pain, she began to study and practice various oriental ways of developing health and achieving well-being.
The first step began by reading a book on yoga and attending yoga classes which triggered other changes in her way of life. She also learned about macrobiotics and began to make dietary changes by centering her way of eating on brown rice, local vegetables, beans and bean products, sea vegetables and other plant foods and stopped eating meat and sugar. Every day she exercised a lot, went for walks and began to meditate. She would open the windows, let fresh air in and practice breathing exercises. Practically her whole life went through a whole transformation and within one month she already began feeling much better.
As time passed and her health recovered she felt drawn to begin helping other people. This sympathetic feeling towards helping others has been the foundation and driving force of what eventually would become her dream and life work. She first began to teach yoga and other corrective exercises at a training center. As she worked with people she realized that although the problems differed and the symptoms appeared to be different, they all shared the same origin. For example everyone followed unbalanced ways of eating and did not know how to move or breathe correctly. So everyone would get better by improving dietary habits and correcting breathing and movement exercises. This proved to her that if you make dietary changes and lifestyle adjustments you can get good results to strengthen and possibly recover health. For those students that would need extra help, she would she would give them shiatsu. She also started to try new techniques and began to use not just her hands and fingers to apply pressure but also her feet which later developed and evolved into a new style of barefoot shiatsu. In addition she also found out that yoga was very useful combined with shiatsu.
While helping people, she continued to study and integrate other natural and traditional healing and self-development arts including seitai (a system of guided self-corrective exercises), reiki (a form of palm healing), acupuncture, and aikido, many of which had been driven underground. Through her own experience and by integrating many different techniques and approaches, eventually she began to develop her own, original way of helping people. This included a well-balanced macrobiotic way of eating coupled with corrective exercises and shiatsu, which were to become the three main pillars of her unique approach to help individuals regain better health and alleviate their suffering. She then went on to develop a holistic beauty school where people could learn about macrobiotics, cooking, yoga and other corrective exercises, receive shiatsu and develop natural physical and mental beauty from within.
George and Lima Ohsawa
During those years, Shizuko had been studying macrobiotics with George and Lima Ohsawa, the founders and main proponents of modern macrobiotics. In 1965, after returning from a trip around the world, George Ohsawa called Shizuko and suggested to her to go to the United States to help spread macrobiotics in the west. At the beginning she hesitated because she had just started her holistic beauty school. But George continued to encourage her and after some consideration, she decided to take the challenge. She began to work on her visa with the help of Michio Kushi who was her sponsor in the United States and selling all her clothes and everything she owned to raise money. While Shizuko was making preparations of what would be an epic journey, in a curious twist of fate both her mother and her mentor George Ohsawa passed away. At Ohsawa’s funeral his friend Morihei Ueshiba, the creator of aikido as its known today, encouraged her in her journey to the West.
Arriving in America in 1966, Shizuko went to work initially as a private macrobiotic cook and guide to Hollywood movie star Gloria Swanson and her husband-to-be William Duffy. Swanson was the first actress to utilize her fame to campaign against crop spraying back in the 1920s. Both Swanson and Duffy were very influential promoting dietary changes in a more natural, healthy macrobiotic orientation. Duffy wrote Sugar Blues and Lady Sings the Blues, two controversial books that contributed to raise awareness about the harmfulness of sugar. Later she worked in a macrobiotic restaurant. While working at the restaurant some employees would complain about stiff neck and shoulders and she would work on them for a few minutes. Eventually by word of the mouth she began to make a living from giving shiatsu.
Little by little Shizuko was invited to give talks on Eastern traditional healing methods and demonstrate techniques. She also met with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who came to learn for years to learn about macrobiotics and also to receive treatments. Yoko and John introduced Shizuko to many influential people in New York, including John Cage, the dancer Merce Cunningham, actors Irma Paule and Mary Steenburg, Ted Danson and many senators. With a little help from her friends and clients along with some donations, she was able to establish the Macrobiotic Center of New York on a shoestring and was the president from 1970 to 1990. She would work seven days a week teaching, counseling and sometimes treating ten people a day. Since many Americans had large bodies with stiff muscles due to eating more meat and animal food, she began to use more her feet and elbows in addition to her hands. She would also teach at Michio and Aveline Kushi’s house in Boston and later at the Kushi Institute to many students.
(L to R) Shizuko Yamamoto, Aveline Kushi, Michio Kushi, William Duffy and Cecile Levin
Shizuko Yamamoto gave seminars and workshops throughout the United States, Europe, Cuba, and her native Japan. Her influential work has inspired countless individuals around the world. And she has personally counseled, treated and guided thousands of individuals towards better health and happiness, including many celebrities and influential people such as Dr. Benjamin Spock. She is recognized as one of the pioneer shiatsu teachers in the West and leading shiatsu practitioners in the world. She was the creator of Barefoot Shiatsu and Macrobiotic Shiatsu styles. To further world-wide communication in the natural healing field, she initiated the International Macrobiotic Shiatsu Society. She has authored several books including Barefoot Shiatsu, The Shiatsu Handbook, 20-Minute Shiatsu, and Whole Health Shiatsu. Her books have been translated into seven languages. In Shizuko’s words she concludes simply by saying that: “The essence of shiatsu is love, which is infinitely available.”
She was also an accomplished macrobiotic cooking instructor and has lectured and written widely on the importance of a natural, balanced way of eating for personal as well as for family health. Commenting on macrobiotics, she mentioned that “As long as you are determined to change your life, the practice of macrobiotics itself is easy and fun.”
Shizuko Yamamoto taught that to fundamentally change for the better we must learn from nature and develop a way of life in harmony with nature. She often would say that “We are one with nature,” based on the oriental concept of “shin-do-fuji.” Throughout her life she promoted organic foods and sustainable farming. She also realized through her own experience that in order to create a better world we need to begin by changing ourselves from within. By improving our health and looking at life in a positive way. This then would influence our family and reverberate in society. Now shiatsu and macrobiotics continues to grow and is sought after by many people around the world. Shizuko continued to teach, guide people and spread her message until late in her eighties even after losing most of her vision. She will be remembered by many as an outstanding teacher and a compassionate person who tirelessly dedicated her life toward helping other fellow human beings. May her life work be a source of inspiration to us all and her dream continue to influence humanity for many generations to come.
Patricio Garcia de Paredes
Patricio was introduced to macrobiotics at the age of five by his mother, Luisa Baranda, in his native Spain. After completing studies at the Kushi Institute, he began to give cooking classes and teach in Southeast Asia, South America, and Spain. In 1998 he moved to Japan and was executive chef at Kushi Garden and Chaya Macrobiotic Restaurant. Besides developing macrobiotic restaurants, he also maintained educational activities including giving cooking classes, presenting lectures, and publishing macrobiotic cookbooks. Presently he is the Education Director at the Kushi Institute of Japan. He currently resides in Japan with his wife, four daughters and one son.
I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2011. I was struggling, feeling very fatigued. I had insomnia for many months and then became depressed. My body was sore 24/7 and I usually woke up tired, experiencing a lot of headaches and anxiety during the night. Many people told me to start working out, but I already had a very active lifestyle. I went through 4 different anti-depressant treatments. I also took Xanax and Lyrica for the pain, but it didn’t help me. Experiencing Fibromyalgia caused me to stay in bed for about 4 to 6 months. This affected all of my relationships. At one point, I felt that cancer would be better than Fibromyalgia.
Two years after being on this medicine, I talked with one of my best friends, Salvatore Luccherino. At the time he had a Macrobiotic B&B in Portugal and currently is selling organic tempeh (http://www.salstempeh.com). Salvatore started talking to me about how the Macrobiotic diet could help with Fibromyalgia. I felt so inspired after talking with him that I booked a ticket to Portugal to learn from him in person. I stayed with Salvatore for 2 weeks while he cooked for me and showed me how to start eating a Macrobiotic diet.
While I was in Portugal, I had a macrobiotic consultation with Francisco Varatojo who owns a Macrobiotic center in Portugal, (http://www.institutomacrobiotico.com). Francisco saw that my consumption of animal products was very high and recommended that I adjust my diet. After only 2 weeks of eating a macrobiotic diet, my body started to react in a positive way. My energy returned. I finally started smiling again and felt like I was my healthy self again. I was happy, living without pain and sleeping perfectly. After 4 months, I stopped taking all of my medicine for Fibromyalgia . It has now been 2 ½ years since practicing Macrobiotics and after seeing all of the positive changes in my body, I decided to open a wellness center. I now help people and plan to continue to spread the incredible benefits of Macrobiotics.
I attended the Healthy Weight Loss Program in March 2014 to get introduced to the Kushi Institute. I have come back to take the Macrobiotic Leadership Program, Level 1. I will be graduating next Friday from the program and will return to finish Level 2, 3 and 4 to further develop my skills. My goal and dream is to open up a healing center in Miami, Florida.
I believe everything happens for a reason, I wasn’t expecting to be ill, but I know from my recovery experience that I can help others with Fibromyalgia and other conditions from all that I’ve learned.
Please feel to contact me directly to learn more about my story at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attended the Following Kushi Institute Programs:
Healthy Weight Loss 3/30/2014
Macrobiotic Leadership Program, Level 1 3/29 – 4/25, 2015
Macrobiotic Leadership Program
Spotlight: Gwen Burton, Current Level 3 Student
Gwen Burton is a champion of home-cooking, healthy food, and eco-friendly living. As the creator and publisher of Brown Rice Magazine, she has worked to make macrobiotic and plant-based cuisine appealing, relevant, and fun for the modern urban dweller. Gwen embodies and lives the values that she shares with her readers: synchronicity with the natural world, practicing devotion and concentration at every opportunity, and finding humor and beauty in all aspects of life. She draws on her five years of macrobiotic practice, as well as her education from the Kushi Institute and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in order to help clients feel their best, realize their dreams, and maximize their potential to see them through. Gwen tutors individuals to hone their healthy home cooking, coaches clients to achieve wellness and peace in all aspects of life, performs private chef services, and regularly offers group workshops on fermentation throughout NYC. www.gwenburton.com
Click here to check out Gwen Burton’s Harvest Romance Yoga Pose Tutorial and begin harvesting some love in your life!
Click the link for Michio’s One Peaceful World Prayer: MK prayer
Brown Rice Magazine Interview with K.I. Senior Faculty Edward Esko
By Gwen Burton
Brown Rice: When I think about the way that healthy eating has been adopted in our culture over the past few decades, I am struck by how macrobiotics seems to have been such a major player. I can see how it might be encouraging that healthy food options are proliferating and easily accessible, but also frustrating because people seem to believe they don’t have time to cook for themselves and many of these healthy food options employ the “fast food” model. What has it been like to participate in and witness the change in eating in the US over the decades? What is your opinion on where we are today?
EE: Many of the things macrobiotic teachers advocated in the 1960s and 1970s have now become mainstream. Let’s look at several core principles, starting with the concept of “fresh, local, and organic.” I first heard the idea of eating locally in Michio Kushi’s early lectures. Fresh, local, and seasonal foods were touted as the way to achieve sustainability, both in terms of personal health and our relationship to the environment. We went out of our way to support local organic growers and suppliers. We gave classes and published books such as “The Changing Seasons Macrobiotic Cookbook” that explained how to cook with the seasons.
Now, four star restaurants in Manhattan feature fresh, local, and organic produce. Seasonal cooking and shopping at farmer’s markets has become fashionable. Macrobiotics was way ahead of the curve on that.
Let’s take another core principle, the superiority of plant-based diets. When I first read George Ohsawa’s comment that the human body is perfectly equipped to process plant foods directly, without hiring middlemen such as cows or pigs, it made perfect sense. Also that a whole-grain- and vegetable-based diet has many advantages over an animal-based diet. A light bulb also went off when Ohsawa stated that cow’s milk was perfect food, for baby cows! I had been a big milk-drinker up to that time but hearing such common sense was a revelation. As with the other core macrobiotic principles, the notion that plant-based diets are superior has gained traction with leading-edge thinkers in nutrition and public health, including T. Colin Campbell, Neal Barnard, M.D., Dean Ornish, M.D., and the Harvard School of Public Health.
Another core principle that has become obvious today is the idea that whole foods are superior to refined and process foods. The term “whole foods” was actually invented by Michio’s inner circle in Cambridge around 1965. Now it has become part of the culture. Several years ago, the Harvard School of Public Health announced it would start promoting brown rice in place of white rice to stem the rise of diabetes in China. Brown rice is a whole food, white rice is a highly processed food.
Brown Rice: To what extent did the idea of “non-credo” shape the early macrobiotic movement, and do you think that this notion has been forgotten or passed over in the current era of health coaching and commercialized regimens? What is the role of non-credo in developing judgment?
EE: “Non-credo,” or “do not believe,” has always been at the center of macrobiotic philosophy. It always will. The only way to real self-knowledge is through your own practice and discovery. Macrobiotics is about freedom, pure and simple, not following someone else’s ideas.
Brown Rice: I’m curious about the tendencies of the long-term macrobiotic practitioner. Is it natural, in your experience, to want to self-experiment after having achieved a certain degree of mastery in the kitchen and with one’s own condition? It occurs to me that this tendency could either be a way of continuing one’s education in a way that could benefit others in the future, or might possibly be a manifestation of arrogance.
EE: The bottom line is that there is nothing other than self-experiment. It’s the nature of reality and not at all arrogance.
Brown Rice: What are your opinions on veganism? Macrobiotic diets include a small amount of white meat fish and some other seafood, but currently, attaining good-quality seafood is almost impossible. Now that I am vegan, I wonder about the ethical implications of causing the suffering and death of other beings, and I wonder why this might be acceptable according to macrobiotic philosophy, which otherwise seems concerned with facilitating peace on the entire planet through diet.
EE: Eating grains and vegetables means they have to die so that you live. The question is which types of foods make that sacrifice willingly and which resist. It seems to me animals are quite resistant to being killed and eaten as food for humans. Grains and vegetables seem quite willing to become human food. Similarly, billions of microscopic bacteria sacrifice themselves every time you enjoy miso soup, natto, or sauerkraut.
The Chinese character for peace, “Wa,” is made up of images for “cereal grain” and “mouth.” They apparently understood that eating grains and vegetables led to a peaceful mentality.
Brown Rice: There is an exciting project to grow rice in the Berkshires. Have these efforts been successful? I recently heard a rumor that at one point in time, macrobiotic founder George Ohsawa only ate rice immediately after it had been harvested. What does fresh rice taste like? Do you notice a big difference in taste and energy?
EE: Fresh harvest rice is for ceremonial purposes only, not for daily consumption. I’m sure Ohsawa enjoyed it on special occasions. We had the pleasure to enjoy freshly harvested rice from South River Miso on special occasions as well, such as Kushi Institute graduation ceremonies, my 60th birthday celebration, and others.
Check www.VermontRice.com for updates on rice growing in New England. Also look at www.SouthRiverMiso.com for rice growing and local production of miso in Western Mass.
Brown Rice: What is your diet like now? What kinds of foods are you attracted to after decades of macrobiotic practice?
EE: Onigiri (nori rice balls), soba (buckwheat noodles) in broth, natto (fermented soybean) rolls and melt-in-your-mouth salmon sashimi at Bizen, the Japanese macrobiotic restaurant in Great Barrington, Mass., vegan hummus sandwiches at Guido’s in Pittsfield, where I live, and water-sauteed green vegetables with brown rice vinegar or lemon.
Brown Rice: The Kushi Institute operates in MA. Are there any opportunities for NYC residents to learn more about the diet and the practice?
EE: My lectures in NYC offer an opportunity to experience Kushi Macrobiotic Education. Also, we would like to offer more extensive programs, such as Kushi Instititute (KI) Level One Certificate Programs in NYC beginning in the fall of 2014. Also, the Berkshires, where the KI is located, are not far from NYC. Just drive north up the lovely Taconic Parkway or the NY Throughway. We have a very special Summer Conference coming up in August that should be of interest to New Yorkers. Michio Kushi and more than twenty leading macrobiotic teachers will be presenting. The Conference will include vegan macrobiotic meals plus cultural events including the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Tanglewood Music Festival, the South River Miso rice field, and others. Go to KushiInstitute.org for ongoing updates.
The above interview was conducted by Gwen Burton and published in Brown Rice Magazine. Contact www.BrownRiceMagazine.com.
We would like to honor Michio Kushi, macrobiotic educator, natural food pioneer and founder of Kushi Institute. Michio passed away peacefully on December 28, surrounded by his loving wife Midori and sons Norio, Haruo, Phiya, and Hisao. He was 88 years old. On behalf of the students, staff, and faculty of the Kushi Institute, we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the Kushi family.
Michio was actively involved in K.I. planning and development until just prior to his passing. His vision for the institute was to teach, guide, and inspire individuals towards greater personal freedom, health, and happiness. The Kushi Institute plans to assure his teachings and mission will continue.
Click for a more complete list of Michio Kushi’s achievements
As a result of the hard work and dedication of the K.I. staff, the support of our students and participants, and the generosity of our donors, the Institute ended 2014 on a very positive note. We have been successful in reaching the Institute’s goal of establishing the first Annual Fund and have raised sufficient funds contributing to general operating expenses. The work of K.I. counselors and teachers helped contribute to numerous success stories for individuals and families in their quest for better health and well being.
The Institute’s core programs, the Macrobiotic Leadership Training Program and the Way to Health Program were well attended in 2014. The annual Kushi Institute Summer Conference, held for the first time in Becket MA, was a resounding success, and continues to bring in excitement as we plan for the upcoming 2015 event, July 26 thru August 9. The K.I. also launched several exciting new programs designed to help those with specific conditions, including The Macrobiotic Approach to Psoriasis, Controlling Crohn’s and Colitis thru Diet, and The Natural Approach to Breast Cancer. We are now planning to introduce a variety of new workshops and seminars in 2015 to continue in this work.
The K.I. also has ambitious plans for 2015 and beyond. In our last message, we introduced the Macrobiotic Breast Cancer Study. The Kushi Institute is now in discussion with medical researchers at Tufts University and Johns Hopkins University Medical School to begin the first ever randomized clinical trial on the effects of the macrobiotic diet on advanced cancer of the breast. Our hope is that the Macrobiotic Breast Cancer Study will revolutionize the treatment of this disease, so that a natural plant-based diet becomes a standard part of breast cancer treatment and recovery. The Institute has submitted a detailed proposal for a comprehensive macrobiotic care program for study participants. The K.I. hopes to complete the planning phase and move toward implementation this year. Please check kushiinstitute.org for ongoing developments.
To further Michio’s lifetime work of training a new generation of macrobiotic teachers, counselors, and chefs, the K.I. is planning to introduce the Macrobiotic Internship Program in 2015. Qualified participants will have the opportunity to assist K.I. counselors and teachers in personal counseling sessions, lectures, and cooking classes. More details will be announced on this program shortly.
We ask for your support in helping us continue Michio’s vision of health, peace, and sustainability through the macrobiotic way of life. You can support the K.I. by attending a program, recommending the K.I. to friends and family, purchasing high-quality foods and supplies from the Kushi Store, or making a tax-deductible donation the Kushi Institute Annual Fund. We’d like to thank those who have already contributed. It is with much appreciation and gratitude that we will continue the legacy and further the dream of one peaceful world.
On behalf of the staff, faculty, and students of the Kushi Institute, we wish you a healthy and happy New Year.
Let us honor his wonderful life. We invite you to share below.
The Winter holiday season brings potential hangover weather with it. To avoid the pitfalls of lethargy, depression, and nausea after those gatherings with family and loved ones, try a few macrobiotic tips!
1. Get out of the house and get some fresh air!
2. Exercise twenty-one minutes daily to alleviate the depression and raise the oxygen levels depleted by a lack of sleep and too much booze.
3. Bring on the carbohydrates! One half a sourdough whole wheat bagel with tofu cream cheese and chives can lift the blood sugar that has usually tanked from too much ethanol.
4. Have miso soup and a few seaweed nori rolls to help the liver flush out a toxic molecule that gets created when the alcohol is broken down.
5. For dinner, eat a bowl of pasta with lentils, a touch of roasted garlic, chopped parsley, olive oil, and salt and pepper. This will give the body the fuel it needs to push out all the toxic byproducts of alcohol metabolism.
6. To quell the nausea, eat 1/4 teaspoon of umeboshi paste.
7. Besides kukicha tea, the beverage of choice for people in usual good health under these circumstances would be green or black tea because they contain good-guy polyphenols, which enhance a quick recovery. By adding (preferably organic) fresh ginger – peeled, sliced, pounded, chopped, and put into the tea to be eaten after its been drunk – you will only increase the benefits.
Article courtesy of Elizabeth G. Karaman
Meet Jiyoon Kim
Graduate of our Macrobiotic Leadership Program, Levels 1,2, and 3
I discovered macrobiotics 2 years ago. Before I found macrobiotics, I quit my very stressful job. I had been struggling with poor blood circulation, hypoglycemia, and had gained over 10 lbs. I began to feel I could no longer control my condition. These changes in my health were causing me concern because my fathers’ mother had passed away from diabetes. Also, my mother’s father and mother passed away very early from liver cancer and kidney disease respectively. Furthermore, my uncle and aunt are struggling with diabetes presently.
With above concerns, I deeply wanted a new healthy lifestyle for my family and myself. I began doing a lot of Internet research specifically related to cooking, food, and their connection with our health. During my search I was intrigued by a new term I came across, “macrobiotics”. I found the teachings to be rational even though I was not a vegan. I felt that macrobiotic philosophy was very well-founded, and the concepts and principles resonated with me greatly. Searching for further information, Kushi Institute was listed as the first resource for macrobiotic. This is where I would be spending three months of my life bringing myself back to harmony, and opening new experiences.
When I registered for Kushi Institute’s Macrobiotic Leadership program, I expected that I would only be learning about macrobiotic cooking. I was very pleasantly surprised. The learning was much more comprehensive. It included philosophy (the principles of yin and yang), history, shiatsu, and visual diagnosis. Since arriving at the Kushi Institute back in September, I feel so much lighter. My first week here, I lost almost 9 lbs! Moreover, I felt changes happening in my body, and experienced a lot of discharging from all of the bad foods I had been eating. I sense my health has improved immensely.
During the last couple of months I have been learning to balance my diet. I used to be addicted to sweet things. I craved a lot of sugar. After I read some books and learned about macrobiotics, I tried to keep away from sugar. I have successfully replaced standard sweeteners with acceptable macrobiotic substitutes, and I do not miss them! Immersing myself at the Kushi Institute, I acquired a deeper understanding of all the diverse macrobiotic concepts, and felt passionately that this could benefit the entire world. I would love to take part in spreading this wisdom all over the world.
In Korea, macrobiotic instructors are few and far between, and their focus is primarily on cooking. When I took macrobiotic cooking classes in Korea, I felt as though it was not enough. I felt I needed to learn the whole concept. I believe that Kushi Institute provided this missing gap. When I took a quick visit to South Korea 2 weeks ago, my mother was so happy! She looked at me and said, “You look much brighter and healthier.” This confirmed what I have been feeling, and further fueled my determination and practice. Her comments made me realize I am on the right path.
Before coming to Kushi Institute, I was planning to further pursue nutrition, food, and health. Now I want to make a bridge connecting these interests and macrobiotics. I am confident that it could benefit young and old alike to be more aware of their diet and lifestyle choices. For my next step, I’ve made the decision to attend graduate school for Public Health and Nutrition. After, making this decision, I experienced a wonderful feeling of satisfaction. I think this moment is the biggest turning point in my life.
Ume-Sho-Kuzu is the principal medicinal drink for enhancing natural immunity, strengthening the blood, and preventing or relieving infectious conditions, including Ebola. It is made with umeboshi plums, natural soy sauce (shoyu), and kuzu root powder simmered in hot water.
1 tblsp of kuzu
1/4-1/2 an umeboshi plum
few drops of shoyu
Dissolve the kuzu in about 3 tblsps of cold water in a small sauce pan. Add another cup of water and the umeboshi plum and bring to a boil stirring constantly. Stirring prevents the kuzu from clumping. When it comes to a boil, simmer the flame and add a few drops of shoyu. Drink while hot.
The energies of nature and the infinite universe are absorbed through the foods we eat and are transmuted into the thoughts, feelings, words, and deeds that spring from them.
Article by Michio Kushi
with Alex Jack, Edward Esko, and Midori H. Kushi
and the Kushi Institute Research and Faculty Committee
As the 21st century unfolds, there is a growing sense of impending collapse. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, AIDS, and other degeneration and infectious diseases are multiplying, The spread of nuclear weapons and energy, regional conflicts, and terrorism have resulted in widespread fear and uncertainty. Global warming, climate change, and the destruction of the natural environment pose serious threats to the continued survival of many species, including our own. New technologies have given us marvelous computers, cells phones, and other devices that have transformed our lives. But artificial electromagnetic radiation, the mining of rare earth metals and conflict minerals, and the rise of biotechnology entail unrecognized social and environmental costs that imperil personal and planetary health, and in the long run are unsustainable.
Macrobiotics—the way of health and peace through biological and spiritual change and evolution—does not require special foods, supplements, drugs, vaccines, scans, or genetic engineering. Health and peace do not originate from any political party, religious movement, cultural tradition, or social platform. It begins in kitchens and pantries, gardens and backyards, where the primary physical source and vitality of our daily life—whole cereal grains, the staff of life, our daily bread—is produced and developed. From individual hearts and homes, peace radiates out to friends and neighbors, communities, nations, and eventually the world as a whole.
Whoever takes charge of the farming, cooking, and food production is our general, our pilot. We need no weapons, no shields, no offensive and defensive powers, just will and self-reflection. Brown rice, whole wheat, millet, and other whole grains; miso soup; vegetables from land and sea; beans and bean products; fruits, seeds and nuts; and other predominantly plant-based foods are our “weapons” to turn around the entire world. The energies of nature and the infinite universe are absorbed through the foods we eat and are transmuted into the thoughts, feelings, words, and deeds that spring from them. By becoming one with the infinite universe and nature and observing the universal laws of change and harmony—or what can be called the will of God—we are quite capable of restoring balance and order to our planet. Age old problems of war and peace, sickness and health, poverty and wealth, and all other polarities that divide people can be resolved through a balanced, natural way of eating; calm, peaceful mind; and grateful spirit.
Over the years, modern macrobiotics has spearheaded the organic, natural foods movement. It has pioneered dietary research with Harvard Medical School, the National Institutes of Health, and other health care institutions into the cause and prevention of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. We have also successfully worked with HIV/AIDS patients and medical workers in Africa, the United States, and Europe. Following the atomic bombing of Japan, Dr. Tatsuchiro Akizuki, medical director of St. Francis’s Hospital in Nagasaki, saved the lives of his entire staff and patients with a strict macrobiotic diet while throughout the city thousands perished of radiation sickness. In Chelyabinsk, site of Soviet nuclear weapons production, and Chernobyl, site of the nuclear reactor explosion, Russian physicians used macrobiotic quality foods donated by the Kushi Institute, including brown rice and other whole grains, miso soup, sea vegetables, and special condiments such as umeboshi plums, to successfully treat people with leukemia, lymphoma, thyroid cancer, and other malignancies that resulted from exposure to nuclear radiation.
Since the end of World War II, the planet has been beset with a series of grave crises, including the nuclear arms race, chronic and degenerative disease, and climate change. The macrobiotic approach has offered a healthy, peaceful way to resolve each of these challenges. The most recent crisis—the Ebola epidemic raging in West Africa—has now started to spread to the United States and Europe and threatens to become a global pandemic. At the present time, there is no effective medical treatment for Ebola, and no comprehensive dietary guidelines by WHO, CDC, governments, or other bodies.
We offer the following macrobiotic guidelines as a simple, practical, safe, and inexpensive way to treat people suffering from Ebola in Africa or at high risk for the disease in other parts of the world. Together with the medical profession, international relief agencies, and governments, we can join together and eventually stop Ebola from spreading, save many lives, and create a bright, healthy, peaceful future.
- Origin and Cause of Ebola
The primary cause of Ebola is the modern way of farming and eating, especially chemical agriculture and a diet high in sugar, dairy food, heavy animal protein, and other highly processed foods. These create both an external and an internal environment in which the potentially deadly virus thrives.
Both the soil and the blood became too acidic as a result of major agriculture and food consumption patterns that took place following World War II. The macrobiotic approach is to balance this over acidity through natural and organic farming methods and by a balanced natural foods diet that alkalinizes the bloodstream, strengthens the lymph and other bodily fluids, and increases natural immunity to disease.
In the 1980s, I visited Central Africa and made a presentation on the macrobiotic approach to HIV/AIDS to 200 medical doctors, including many traditional folk healers, at a conference convened by the World Health Organization (WHO). I stayed two and a half weeks in the Republic of the Congo and near Brazzaville visited a village for one week and observed what ordinary people ate. The macrobiotic dietary approach helped many people in Africa, the United States, and around the world prevent, relieve, or control HIV/AIDs. As a viral disease originating in Central Africa, Ebola follows a pattern akin to AIDS, but it is much more virulent, acute, and deadly.
3. Dietary Guidelines for Ebola in Africa and Elsewhere during the recovery period, 1-2 weeks, average 10 days.
For Ebola patients or those at high risk for this disease, the following guidelines are suggested:
- A. Basic food, including whole grains, miso soup, condiments, seasonings, and liquids. These may be given daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
1. Whole grain, especially brown rice, is to be consumed as principle food daily. It may be softly prepared, with porridge like consistency, especially if the person is weak and has trouble eating or digesting. The grain should be eaten together with one of the following condiments: umeboshi plum (1/2 to 1 plum), gomashio (1/2 to 1 teaspoon), shiso leaf powder (1/2 to 1 teaspoon), or sea vegetable powder (1/2 to 1 teaspoon).
2. Millet may be used instead of brown rice (if unavailable) or eaten in addition to brown rice. Other whole grains may be substituted if rice or millet is not available, but these two grains are the strongest for healing.
3. Miso soup, 1-2 cups daily, using miso that is at least 6 to 12 months aged and ideally aged 2-years or more. Barley miso is standard, though brown rice or all soybean (hatch) miso may also be used. If none of these misos are available, other misos (such as red, yellow, or white) or instant miso soup may be taken.
4. If the person can eat solid food, a small volume of beans, vegetables, and sea vegetables may also be eaten in addition to the above, especially a one-pot or one-skillet meal made with a variety of vegetables, a strip of kombu or other seaweed or riverweed, and other plant-quality ingredients such as bean products (e.g. tofu or tempeh), roots, and tubers.
5. Kombu powder or other sea vegetable powder also may be used as a condiment. Traditionally, Africans ate river moss and riverweed that gives strength and vitality. It was customarily dried, ground into a powder, and used as a condiment, garnish, or put in soups and other dishes.
6. Organic shoyu, or natural soy sauce, may be used in cooking as a seasoning for vegetable, bean, or sea vegetable dishes instead of sea salt. All soybean products such as shoyu should be organic, as many soy and soy products are genetically modified.
7. Sea Salt should be used in cooking. Rock salt is used in Africa, but there is acid in rock salt and it should be avoided or minimized. Plain white sea salt is best. Avoid grey, yellow, pink, and other sea salts that are high in minerals.
8. For a sweet taste, stewed apples or other cooked fruit may be taken. For an even more concentrated sweet taste, use 1 to 2 tablespoons of rice syrup or barley malt.
9. Spring, well, or filtered water should be used for cooking or drinking. To avoid dehydration, more liquid than usual may need to be taken. Kukicha (also known as bancha twig tea) may be taken as a regular beverage. Roasted barley tea, other grain tea, or non-aromatic, non-stimulant tea may be taken occasionally.
1. Meals in Central and West Africa are often prepared in a single pot or skillet and eaten at the table. They generally include vegetables, cassava, and other plant-quality ingredients, as well as frogs, fish, wild birds, or other animal food. The animal products often originate in muddy or swampy environments that are extremely acidic. All animal food should be strictly avoided temporarily until the crisis has passed.
2. Cassava (also know as tapioca and manioc) is a starchy root that was introduced to Africa several centuries ago from South America. It was traditionally an emergency crop eaten in times of poor grain harvests or famine. Today it has become the main staple in many parts of the region, even though rice, millet, sorghum, and other whole grains are available. A small amount of cassava is fine for people in usual good health as a complement to whole grains, but should be avoided or reduced in the case of Ebola.
3. Sugar, white flour, milk and other dairy, canned foods, chemically grown foods, soft drinks, and other highly processed foods imported from abroad or donated by relief agencies should be avoided.
4. Oil should be temporarily avoided, as it can spread the virus.
5. All strong herbs and spices, especially peppers, curries, and other hot spices, should be avoided. These stimulants can spread the virus.
The following medicinal drinks may be taken:
1. Ume-Sho-Bancha (made with 1/2 to 1 umeboshi plum and several drops to 1 teaspoon of shoyu added to 1 cup of bancha twig tea) or Ume-Sho-Kuzu (made with umeboshi plum and shoyu and dissolved in 1 cup of water with a heaping teaspoon of kudzu root thickener). These are traditional preparations to strengthen the blood, overcome fatigue, and prevent infection. Take 1 to 2 small cups of either drink every morning and evening for up to 10 days.
2. Other medicinal drinks and applications may also be used depending on the individual’s condition.
- D. Recovery Period, average 2 weeks
After the virus has left the body, the patient should continue to eat very simply for two to four weeks, mostly whole grains, miso soup, vegetables, beans, sea vegetables, and condiments. Other foods may gradually be added, including:
1. A small volume of sesame oil may be used in cooking, especially sautéed vegetables. If sesame is not available, other polyunsaturated or monosaturated oils such as corn or olive may be used. Avoid, even when healthy, palm oil and coconut oil, which are saturated and raise cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease.
2. A small volume of herbs or spices may be gradually introduced. But they should be mild and not too hot.
3. A small volume of white-meat fish may be taken during the recovery period and served with lemon or grated radish to aid in digestion. The fish may be steamed, boil, pouched, or cooked in the form of soup or stew with vegetables.
4. After full recovery, the person should follow the standard macrobiotic dietary guidelines for usual good health (Click here for Standard Macrobiotic Guidelines). The following charts illustrate the average type and proportion of food (by weight, not volume) for Central and West Africa:
© 2014 by Michio Kushi and Midori H. Kushi. Copyright and image right protected. This article may be reprinted by nonprofit educational, medical, or humanitarian organizations. For information on commercial reproduction, please contact Kushi Institute, 198 Leland Road, Becket MA 01223. Tel 413-623-5741. Fax 413-623-8827.
- AIDS, Macrobiotics, and Natural Immunity by Michio Kushi with Martha Cottrell, M.D., Japan Publications, 1990. Out of print but available used from Amazon.com.
- Aveline Kushi’s Complete Guide to Macrobiotic Cooking by Aveline Kushi with Alex Jack, Warner Books, 1985. The principal macrobiotic cookbook.
- The Book of Macrobiotics by Michio Kushi with Alex Jack, Square One Publications, 2013. Newly revised edition of the classic book on macrobiotic principles, including dietary guidelines for 10 regions of the world including Africa, summary of scientific-medical research on macrobiotics, and nutrient tables.
- The Cancer Prevention Diet by Michio Kushi with Alex Jack, St Martin’s Press, 2010. The macrobiotic approach to 25 major types of cancer, including menus, recipes, and home cares.
- Diet for a Strong Heart by Michio Kushi with Alex Jack, St. Martin’s Press, 1985. The macrobiotic approach to high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions, including menus, recipes, and home cares.
- Macrobiotic Home Remedies by Michio Kushi with Marc Van Cauwenberghe, M.D., Square One Publications, 2014. Newly revised edition of macrobiotic home cares, including special dishes, foods, and compresses that may be helpful for infectious conditions such as Ebola.
- The Macrobiotic Path to Total Health by Michio Kushi with Alex Jack, Ballantine Books, 2003. A comprehensive guide to preventing and relieving more than 200 chronic and infectious conditions, including menus, recipes, and home cares.
Kushi Institute –www.kushiinstiute.org. The K.I. is the world center for macrobiotic learning and offers year-round residential programs to the general public on macrobiotic principles and practices, including cooking classes; teacher, counselor, and chef training; and the Way to Health Program, a 7-day residential program for preventing and relieving cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and other chronic diseases. Personal macrobiotic dietary and way of life counseling, shiatsu massage, and other individual services are also available. Located on 600 acres in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, K.I. is convenient to many artistic and cultural attractions. For more information, please contact: Kushi Institute, 198 Leland Road, Becket MA 01223. Tel 413-623-5741 or 800-975-8744. Fax 413-623-8827. Email: email@example.com
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/
The CDC is the U.S. government agency coordinating the response to Ebola and other public health issues and emergencies. It presents daily updates and the latest medical advice on the Ebola outbreak in Africa, America, and around the world.