Must We Eat Japanese Food?
Jane from London saw an ad saying; “We have over 250 macrobiotic products from Japan,” and she asked:
Do we need to eat Japanese foods in order to eat a macrobiotic diet?
Can people over-do Japanese products on macrobiotics?
Isn't macrobiotics about living from local foods and resources?
Is this a case of profits over people's real needs?
TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2005
In order to answer your questions about the use of Japanese products in macrobiotic practice, let's understand the essence of macrobiotics. Macrobiotics is the art and science of living life according to principles of balance, labeled as yin and yang. We use this energetic understanding as a tool to deliberately create the life we want. Once we decide our direction, we naturally choose the best quality products we can find in order to realize our dream.
The more yin a food product is, the more necessary it be local and seasonal. Air, for example, is the main substance that we take in every moment of our lives, and it is obviously part of our immediate environment. Living in London, clean air presents a challenge for you!
Water should also be local as much as possible. For this reason, I prefer a water filter to water bottled and transported from a distant source. Next, fruit must be local and seasonal, especially in climates with cold winters like yours. More yin vegetables also must not be imported - it's clear by their short shelf lives just how delicate they are. When we consider harder, drier, more yang foods, then we can be broader in their point of origin. It is important to select foods from a similar climate to your own, thus importing East to West rather than North to South.
Each country has its special foods and dishes that contribute to our health. Japan guarded this knowledge as a cultural treasure while many other countries gradually lost or forgot this understanding. So we take advantage of umeboshi plums, rice wine and miso as important ingredients for our own health.
Here in Israel, some Japanese products can be difficult to get. On one hand, this limits us in our food preparation; on the other, we become more self reliant, making our own mochi, seitan, natto, dried tofu and other products. Gradually, as healthy eating is more broadly accepted, industrious people will once again produce good quality products for our wellbeing and enjoyment. Meanwhile, let's benefit from Japanese goods with appreciation!
All the best,