Getting Started With Macrobiotics

Macrobiotics is very easy to start. All you have to do is introduce more whole grain-based meals into your daily diet. Gradually cut down on meat and foods containing refined sugar. Substitute beans and vegetable proteins like tofu and wheat gluten for meat. Prepare desserts with just the mild sweetness of cooked vegetables and fruits in season, as your area provides them.

For beverages, drink unsweetened twig tea ("kukicha") or herbal teas and herbal blends. Teas made from roasted cereal grains and chicory, burdock or dandelion make excellent coffee substitutes. And, of course, there is always pure, sweet water to provide liquid when needed.

Take your time. You do not need to throw out everything in your pantry. You have probably been eating a typical modern-style diet for many years. Remember to remain flexible. Eating non-macrobiotic foods or drinking non-macrobiotic beverages from time to time, or even for extended periods of time does not mean you are no longer macrobiotic, or that you cannot become Macrobiotic, or that you have failed.

Ultimately, you should be able to enjoy many kinds of food, if this is your desire, without getting sick. Or you may decide to stick to a simple daily regimen of brown rice, miso soup, beans and vegetables. It is up to you. That is the freedom of Macrobiotics -- you determine what your body can tolerate, and what it cannot. If eating more elaborately makes you sick, you can always return to simple meals based on whole grains and vegetables and restore balance and health to your body, mind and spirit.

Most people do not enjoy this understanding. When they get sick, they may not know how to restore health. If you are truly Macrobiotic, you instinctively know how to heal yourself with diet modification and simple natural methods, like massage, herbal preparations, teas, exercise, etc.

Welcome to The University of Life

Everything you eat and drink provides an opportunity to learn about food and drink, and what it does to you physically, mentally, emotionally, energetically and spiritually. Food does affect us in ways that many people are not aware of. They may have never been taught, or it has never been brought to their attention, that food does more than fill the belly and provide energy.

When this fact is brought to your attention, you cannot help but become more observant. As you observe, you learn more and more. Your daily life experience is the university in which you receive your education.

Everyone who is born into the world attends this university. Some get more out of this precious opportunity to study than others do. God provides the opportunity to study at this "universe-ity" to every person -- at no charge. I hope you will pay attention, and be an observant student. Try to get the most you can out of the opportunity to study in the University of Life while you can. Do not be in a hurry to graduate. I hope you will remain a life-long student. But I also hope you will share what you have learned with others.

Read, Read, Read

Read as much as you can about Macrobiotics. If possible, attend classes being held in your area. You may hear conflicting opinions and information about Macrobiotics -- what it is, what constitutes a Macrobiotic diet. Everyone -- even those involved for many years, have varying experiences and ideas about what constitutes Macrobiotics. Keep an open mind and eventually form your own opinions about this subject.

Think, Think, Think

You are not really Macrobiotic until you can think for yourself and form your own opinions. To do this, you must awaken your own intuition. Good intuition is usually based on eating well for an extended period of time. As your brain cells become healthier, you can think better and evolve your own understanding of what is appropriate diet for yourself.

At some point you should be able to take command of your own life, your health and the direction of your life. When this occurs, you will be on your way to creating the freedom that very few people today can enjoy. You will have restored the heritage as free agent we were all born with, but lost, due to incorrect dietary habits and concepts of nutrition.

If you come to conclusions about nutrition that differ from what others believe, such as the need for meat, dairy and refined sugar in a healthy diet, do not be dismayed. You are beginning to think for yourself. If you cannot think for yourself, you may still be a herd animal like the cow many people derive nourishment from, blindly trusting "authorities", following what they tell you is right or wrong, true or false, until you end up a microbial feast or someone else's lunch.

Study, Study, Study

You will eventually come to realize, if you do not recognize this already, that all theories change over time. Macrobiotics is based on something much more fundamental: the concept of The Order of the Universe. This is the dynamic, ever-changing principle of life itself. This principle, and its dynamics, must be studied carefully to comprehend life fully and deeply. If successful, healthful living depended on a deep comprehension of this principle, would it not be worthwhile to study it?

For some, the required period of study and practice may not take as long as for others. For those who realize much of what they have been raised to believe is incorrect, Macrobiotics may make immediate sense, like the missing piece that enables them to make sense of the puzzle of life.

For those who have led "an unexamined life", as Thoreau wrote, Macrobiotics may take longer to master. They may question its validity more than once. But eventually it should make sense as their blood, body and brain cells change quality over time. People who tried Macrobiotics many years ago tell me that reading articles and letters on this web site reminds them how well they used to feel when they practiced the diet. They have not forgotten, and want to get "on it" again.

Try, Try, Try

Your body does not forget. George Ohsawa urged everyone to eat brown rice for ten days and see what happens. During this short period of time the quality of your blood and body cells changes. This affects how you feel. You should notice a sense of well-being, balance and a diminishing of health problems, or aches and pains, you may have learned to live with over many years.

This alone should motivate you to continue. Positive, direct experience is a strong motivator and convincer. We are bombarded by information trying to convince us that if we buy this product, or try this program, we will enjoy health and happiness. Macrobiotics says, "Vivere Parvo" -- just live simply. Reduce your over-complicated life to its bare essentials to recover life's essential meaning, peace, serenity and health. Bare essentials are primarily cereal grains and a few vegetables, which many cultures traditionally recognized as dietary mainstays in temperate areas.

What Have You Got To Lose?

What have you got to lose? Your illness? Your dissatisfaction with life? Your unhappiness? A sense of desperation regarding the aimlessness of modern existence? Escape from an overly-materialistic emphasis that wants to turn everyone into addicted consumers?

If Macrobiotics does not seem to make any difference in your life, then you will be no worse than you were before. If it helps you, please let me know. I will post your experiences for others to read. One aspect of health is the desire to share what has helped you with others. As George Ohsawa, the founder of modern Macrobiotics used to say, "Until you do this, you are still unhealthy, exclusive, egocentric and arrogant."

Become Overflowing

We should all overflow with good will and gratitude for everything -- for the great gift of life itself, for things to do, people to share our life with, for the sun, air, water and Earth -- all the miraculous phenomena that allow us to go on living and enjoying existence. For these great gifts, we owe our lives, a debt we can never repay, because it is a debt we continue to incur every day of our lives. The only way we can begin to repay it is to share our good fortune with as many people as possible, so they can enjoy this "Great Life" (Macro-bios), too.

Even if your husband or wife leaves you, even if you lose your job, even if you must declare bankruptcy, even if your friends desert you, even if others think you are crazy, do not stop being grateful for all that happens to you. There is always a bright (positive) side to everything. Macrobiotics can help you see this positive side to life. Healthy people can always see the bright, positive side to whatever happens. Unhealthy people have a harder time doing this.

Forest fires appear to ravage what took years to build. Yet within a few years, life springs back with more vigor than existed before. Life and death, sickness and health, freedom and slavery define each other.

As Herman Melville wrote, Nothing exists except by contrast. This is called Yin and Yang by ancient Chinese philosophy. Deep study of Macrobiotics enables you to see the interplay of Yin and Yang everywhere. When you see this, you cannot help but marvel. You cannot help but marvel, because you are then face to face with the miracle, and mystery, of existence.

I hope this will be your experience. Let's get started...

Fred Pulver