The subject of nutrition is a bewildering landscape of cultural myth and vested interest. There is an urgent need for a new approach to the human diet; one that cuts through the commercial PR, the political caution and the nutritional confusion. There is a way of eating that addresses these concerns by incorporating two key principles.
The first involves ecological insights of ancient Asian healthcare, looking at the benefits of seasonal, regional and environmentally sustainable nutrition. It is based on the habits and practices of long-standing world civilizations that continue to live without chronic disease. This lifestyle not only emphasises a plant-based vegan diet, but includes rituals such as scheduled eating, a daily walk and sitting down to enjoy meals. To be completely healthy, you need to feel vibrant and balanced mentally, physically, and spiritually. This is called macrobiotics.
The second set of standards incorporates the ethics of a modern vegan approach to eating. It is based on nutritional science proven by medical studies and extensive research into the cause of disease. It addresses a diverse and responsible way of eating that combines the enjoyment of food with optimum health.
A macrobiotic approach
Macrobiotic dietary principles have been developed over the past 50 years in America, Europe and Asia. In the seventies, my husband Bill Tara, along with his teacher Michio Kushi and some colleagues, defined what a standard macrobiotic diet entailed; wholegrains, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and naturally pickled and fermented foods. All animal, dairy, processed foods and refined sugar are off limits.
So when a celebrity eats a piece of tofu and claims to be macrobiotic, it begs the question; is it the latest fad diet, or is there a reason why we hear about this healthy approach so often?
The macrobiotic diet, as it stands, is one of the few that conforms to the latest nutritional theories and recommendations of institutions such as the World Health Organization.
The overwhelming (and worrying) evidence of contemporary science is that food is a major contributing cause of many cancers, a stroke, diabetes, heart disease and a variety of major illnesses. Over-consumption of meat, dairy and simple sugars are a significant issue. Diets that are dominated by these foods are usually devoid of the wholefoods that form the foundations of macrobiotic eating.
Carbohydrates play an important part
On the contrary, people with the greatest longevity live on a complex (unrefined) carbohydrate diet. Japan, the country with the highest life span and lowest rate of chronic disease, incorporates grains in every meal. These healthy carbohydrates travel through the entire digestive process, allowing each nutrient and mineral to be absorbed in the large intestine. A strong large intestine leads to healthy lungs, a robust immune system and clear thinking.
It makes sense in every way
The macrobiotic diet is gaining popularity simply because it works, not only as a detoxifying programme or a healing diet, but as excellent health maintenance. One of the main reasons people are drawn to macrobiotics is that the food is delicious and filling. It often involves a fusion of European, Mediterranean and Asian cooking.
And as for the celebrity following, experiencing a more youthful appearance, greater vitality and increased physical flexibility are all part of the appeal.
While specific diet plans may be suggested for certain health issues, the macrobiotic approach does not attempt to cure illness. It focusses on assisting the body to recover from nutritional stress (often caused by the modern Western diet) and naturally realigns balance by encouraging its own self-healing capacity.
So as the processed diet continues to destroy our health, and our planet, there is an urgent need for change. This change will restore our connection with nature and promote a long, happy and healthy life.
Have your say
Do you suffer from ill health? Are you becoming conscious of where you food comes from? Is it your time to start the self-healing process? Learn more about Marlene’s Path to better health plan and make that change today.