I want to talk a little about the power of food. It’s been recognised for 1000s of years that food is a very powerful healer. And it’s very powerful in keeping ourselves well. If we look around the world and ancient systems like ancient Greek medicine, Egyptian medicine etc they really understood that food was an essential part of health. And if people became ill, the main approach was to fast. If we look around the world, Vedic medicine, Chinese medicine, many parts of the world have an evolved system of medicine, understanding how food can both create illness, if we’re eating unhealthy foods, or there’s an unhealthy balance in our food, or can create wellness, and also can be very powerful in healing illness.
Strangely, in recent times in the in the West, we lost this understanding up until maybe just the last 20 or 30 years. So, 40 years ago, when I first got into studying macrobiotics, and the more alternative approaches to health, it was it was thought that food had nothing to do with health, whatever health problem you had, you could just eat whatever you like that food was not a part of causing illness or a part of healing illness. Then in the late 70s and in the 1980s, some studies started showing that eating a diet rich in animal fats was the primary cause of coronary heart disease. It was understood that the build up of fats in the heart was a cause of coronary heart disease, often leading to strokes as well. Being the main the biggest cause of illness and dying in Western culture at the time, this was a big revelation.
Then it took until the 1990s and the 2000s to start realising that cancer, which has greatly increased over the last 100 years, also, is primarily a diet and lifestyle cause illness. And first of all, looking at strong correlation between the large intestine, colon cancer, colorectal cancer and the amount of meat that people eat. There has also been a strong correlation between breast cancer and the amount of animal fats that women eat, for example. Now it’s being understood that certain dietary factors can really promote cancers and it’s becoming more widely known and accepted that food also has a big effect on other health problems. It is becoming more and more evident that eating a balanced plant based diet is the way to go.
Diabetes was thought to be just something that happened to people, now it’s being recognised as being primarily diet and lifestyle caused. Back in the 1980s macrobiotics, which was just so far ahead of its time, Michio Kushi, a leading teacher of macrobiotics wrote his book in the 1980s on the cancer prevention diet. He was already looking at how different foods contribute to different kinds of cancer, and how we can use food to prevent cancer, and in some cases also help with the healing of cancer. It was the same with diabetes. Macrobiotics understood how food was a primary cause and how eating a plant based diet could also can be used to help heal some cases of type two diabetes.
It is amazing that this has now come into the mainstream just in the last few years and even doctors and Western medicine are recognising more and more the impact that our diet can have on our health. It is really coming to the fore now that food is really probably the biggest thing that determines whether we’re healthy or whether we become sick, and there’s an increase in evidence that suggests that eating a plant based diet is what will keep us healthy.