Saturday, January 1

A Declaration of Macrobiotics

To understand the universe
I will first start with this bowl of brown rice
And my two chopsticks

About a month ago here, I let it be known that we would be starting to change our diet in the new year. We've been considering it for such a while that this final resolution to switch was simply the next natural step. I know that there is a lot of confusion around what it means to be macrobiotic so I thought I would take a moment in the beginning to state what it is we are up to, so as not to alarm the grandparents in the audience.

As every introduction to every macrobiotics book will tell you, the word macrobiotics means "great life". Perhaps this will seem strange considering that many people, including people who long ago declared themselves to be macrobiotic, often see the diet as restrictive and even penalizing. Obviously the word "diet" is too loaded for most; as a teacher, I find it similar to the word "method". So instead of adding more layers of assumption and confusion to our intent, let me instead say that we are going to follow macrobiotic principles in making daily life decisions such as eating, consumption, and human interactions. This approach to living is a pragmatic way to help us actualize our philosophies within our strained schedules. It is not an extreme way of life: it is a move away from extremities towards a balanced middle path. And living in Japan, it is quite easy in many ways to make the switch since washoku principles, the traditional Japanese diet, are akin to those promoted through macrobiotics. The main difference is the focus on whole grains and the dedicated ambition of achieving balance and harmony.

Now, all this sounds good, I can hear you saying. Who wouldn't want a great life? Well, there are some "catches" if you will but it isn't a matter of absolute black and white polarity as is so commonly the means for many failed good intentions. The idea is to avoid extreme foods because they lead to extreme physical, mental, and emotional states. So sugar, for one, is essentially out. Caffenine, coffee, salty foods, processed foods, large animal meats, dairy, and eggs are all essentially out. I say essentially because if you do indulge in such foods, you aren't going to have to walk the plank of the Great Life cruise liner. Macrobiotics is a continent. If you wander out to sea a bit, you just swim back to shore where a hot bowl of miso soup will be waiting for you.

In regards to the kids, they'll be fine. School lunch is fine, occasional treats are just that. We will make and serve food that we consider is the best for their well-being. And they may not like it. And that's okay. But we have the advantage, like I said, of living in Japan. They already love sea vegetables and burdock root. None of it is foreign for them. So please don't worry that we are depriving them in any way. I hope in the long run will be helping them to discover their own great lives.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment or email me. Thanks for reading!

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