by Shihan Mary Bolz
Master of Science Oriental Medicine
Master Martial Arts Instructor
The greatest contribution you can make to change the world and leave it a better place is to improve your own health. Doing what it takes to improve your own health improves the health of the earth itself and the health of many other people. It even improves the economy. All great change begins within. You cannot change the world without changing yourself first. You cannot help the world without helping yourself first. You cannot improve the world without improving yourself first. You cannot invest in others without investing in yourself first. We have no right to complain about who and what needs to change without changing ourselves first. This country needs change, this world needs change. How do you do it? Change you!
One of the most significant, if not the very most significant of all, is to be happy and healthy, truly healthy, truly happy. One cannot be happy without good health. It does not matter how much money you have, how wonderful a house or vehicle you have, or how many admiring friends and acquaintances you have, if you are not healthy. Healthy means not only robust, energetic, and free of illness; but healthy in the spirit. Oppositely it does not mean only healthy in spirit; if the body is not healthy, the spirit is lacking. So, we need to be whole. How do you create wholeness? Start with what you put in your mouth. The mouth is a very important part of the human anatomy. We must be careful what goes in and we must be careful what comes out! That means living a clean life. What goes in affects our entire physical and mental makeup. â€œYou are what you eatâ€ adage is true. What comes out is also very important. Words are reflections of thought and both thought and words are very powerful in creating or destroying ourselves or others.
Today we are going to talk about how to create health through eating and the philosophy behind it. Traditional cultures ate very little meat. One hundred years ago, people ate meat only once or twice a week. They ate mostly grains and vegetables. Because they did not have refrigeration, they ate mostly what was in season and what could be stored in root cellars and through pickling, salting, and drying. Sugar was too expensive for most people to afford more than a tiny bit per year. Likewise, oils and fats were relatively precious commodities and were not eaten in large quantities. Those oils which were available were pressed from flax, hemp, sesame seeds, or were derived from fish oil, lard and butter. They were not the heavily hydrogenated tropical oils which are so frequently used in commercial food preparation today.
If is also well-known that 100 years ago, the rich people who are too well fed and exercised too little were more prone to chronic health problems than those who lived a more Spartan and rigorous life. If one looks at the cartoons of the 18th and 19th centuries, one frequently sees the overweight gentleman with the enlarged and gouty great toe. Also, the Chinese medical classics contain numerous theories of doctors treating rich patients by getting them to do some physical work and to eat simpler, less rich food. Gerontologists today have noted that the ethnic groups who tend to produce the most centenarians. Such as the Georgians, the Hunzakuts, and certain peoples in the Peruvian Andes, all eat a low protein, low fat, and high fiber diet. That means little animal food, as most protein is from vegetarian sources with low fat and all whole grains and vegetables contain ample fiber.
The modern Western diet is mostly a product of post World War II advances in technology and transportation. Until after World War II, the lack of mass refrigeration and interstate transportation did not allow for everyone to buy a half gallon of fresh orange juice anytime of the year at an affordable price, nor to keep a half gallon of ice cream or frozen yogurt in their home freezer. Special interest advertising has fostered erroneous ideas about the healthfulness of these â€œnewâ€ foods. Our society has been so bombarded by TV and other commercials extolling the healthful benefits of orange juice that we donâ€™t remember that these are partisan propaganda bought and paid for by commercial growers who depend upon the sale of their product to turn a profit. The same is true of the dairy and meat industry. Most people let themselves get â€œeducatedâ€ through advertising and propaganda. This is not education, but a brainwashing.
People swallow it without thinking it through for themselves. Do you see boxes with the label â€œall naturalâ€ printed on them growing on trees, bushes, or plants? How natural are all those denatured and assaulted things in those plastic containers? What is inside is little different than the container. Now days there is talk in the scientific community of being able to make everything we need in the laboratory. This is the road to even worse health and self-destruction. The modern Western diet is an experiment which has largely run its course as more and more people as well as governmental agencies come to the realization that so much of what we take for granted as a normal diet is really not healthy. Just as we now know as a society that smoking is bad for the health, we are also now coming to realize that too much sugar, fats, oils and animal protein are also not good for the health nor conducive to longevity.
The pesticides, preservatives and chemicals in the food supply are poisons in small and gradual doses that accumulate inside human and animal bodies. Organic produce, truly organic, not just labeled as such because it sounds good, are essential. We have far too many poisons which we take in through our mouth, our skin and our lungs constantly. There are many companies that are lobbying the federal government to get a national organic standards act with a nationally defined â€œorganicâ€â€œterm, and they want the standards lowered to allow more and more pesticides and chemical, unnatural fertilizers in growing the so-called organic. This is because the wholesalers and retailers, such as Walmart and other discount chains still want cheap, cheap costs so they can keep and expand their market share. Face it, really good quality produce and grains cannot be dirt cheap at this point. Buyers beware! Buyer be astute and make your voice heard so as not to let this happen. Big business is poisoning you not only in this way, but in also not labeling GMO (genetically modified organisms) produce and meat products. They would lead you to believe this is natural. If it was, nature would have already done it. How big of a fool do they take the public for? Pretty big. Practice self defense and take care of your health by investigating and educating yourself and learning how and where your purchased foods are grown. You can actually help the farmers by putting your money in quality, organic, locally grown food. This helps the economy and it changes an overly commercialized, big business, heartless world. Be aware as the trend for everything to â€œgo greenâ€ will bring a lot of false green with it in the business world. Old adage, â€œBuyer bewares.â€
Food that we take into our mouths and bodies should be freshly made and eaten within 24 hours. This means obtaining whole, fresh produce, grains and beans, not canned nor frozen, and cooking them yourself. This is also avoiding contamination. Most cases of what people call 24- hour flu are not the flu, but is food poisoning. As food becomes stale, it loses its aroma and its ability to supplement â€œqiâ€ (the life force energy). Food which is stale or altered is termed as â€œwreckedâ€ food in Chinese. We have a lot of wrecked food on the market. Make sure you get whole, â€œunwreckedâ€, fresh food.
â€œUnwreckedâ€ means it cannot be in a box or can or prepackaged. These foods almost always have a lot of unwanted chemicals and even when they donâ€™t have additives, they have no life force and thus cannot give the person eating them any life force. It does not matter what a scientific test shows as far as how many vitamins and minerals are in the food, there is more than vitamins and minerals; there is the life force and unless the food is fresh, it does not have much. In our society the most basic aspects of life have been forgotten–how to eat, how to be healthy, how to be happy. Hundreds, if not thousands of books have been written on how to eat healthily, how to enjoy sex, how to reduce stress and how to find happiness. The human being is the only animal on earth who has forgotten these basics of living. A crocodile, a sparrow, an elephant] and all animals in the wild, all know what to eat and how to behave. How have we forgotten what all other creatures instinctively know?
Not only can you help the earth, other people, other animals, and help bring peace to a war-laden world if you go back to the basics of eating, but you can avoid the harmful side-effects of prescription drugs, GMOs, radiation, preservatives in the food, and surgery. Any artificial treatment has damaging effects on a personâ€™s overall health, and the more unnatural or artificial it is, the greater the harm. By making changes in oneâ€™s daily eating and lifestyle, health is restored using the bodyâ€™s own natural healing powers and those of food, air, sun, and appropriate activities. While modern artificial treatments are sometimes essential to save life, in most cases of sickness more natural methods truly successfully restore health. When we eat balanced foods, not only does our body become more balanced, but our thinking becomes more balanced. A healthy diet in a temperate climate such as we have in California would be: 40-60% whole grains, 5% soup, 25-40% vegetables, 3-4% sea vegetables, 5-10% beans, and 5 % seeds, nuts, fish, seasonings and condiments. One can live best without eating flesh and blood-based foods such as beef, pork, chicken, turkey, ostrich, etc.
Here are twelve steps you can take to recover from the â€œjunk food junkyâ€ generation and to begin eating a traditional, healthy diet based on real food.
1. Eat whole grains every day. This means cooking the grains, such as brown rice, whole corn, polenta, quinoa, teff, and whole wheat berries, whole or steel-cut oats, barley, etc. These must be cooked with a pinch of real sea salt, not commercial salt. This brings out the flavor and makes them easier to digest and brings out their nutrients.
2. Stop eating meat and poultry. These are extreme yang foods heavy in salt, fat, and poisons which stay in the flesh. Try replacing these with lighter animal foods such as whitefish and seafood. Learn to cook them in a variety of ways.
3. Replace sugar with healthier sweets. Learn to make your own desserts using better quality sweeteners such as brown rice syrup, barley malt and fruit juice in recipes.
4. Learn to make soups with vegetarian and fish-based stock. Homemade soups are incredibly delicious!
5. Replace dairy foods with beans and bean-products. We are the only mammals that steal milk from other mammals to feed not only our children but the adults. This is against nature. Cutting out dairy foods is a difficult step for some people, but it is well worth the trouble. When they finally go, many people experience all kinds of benefits such as having clear sinuses for the first time in years, fewer colds and coughs, less ear problems, less gastrointestinal problems. Replace dairy with tofu products of all kinds, including tofu cheese, seeds and nut butters,
6. Stop using stimulants such as coffee, aromatic teas, wine, spirits, soft drinks, especially colas and sodas. We have enough stimulants and stress in everyday living.
7. Use mostly foods produced in a temperate climate, avoid eating too many tropical fruits.
8. Learn to plan balanced meals. This takes study and practice.
9. Reorganize your kitchen. Clean out your kitchen and get rid of all the old food and unnatural food and boxes and cans. Stock your kitchen with whole grains and fresh vegetables. If you have an extra freezer, sell it or give it away. The freezer that comes with a modern refrigerator is more than adequate for a back-up supply for occasional use in times of a real â€œpinch.â€ You donâ€™t need it, you are going to buy fresh vegetables and cook them as you use them.
10. Learn more variety; there is so much more in a vegetarian-based diet than in a meat-based diet.
11. Deal with cravings. Once you start eating well, you will naturally have less and less cravings. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can help you with this during your transition.
12. Clarify your purpose. We unconsciously use foods to create different mental and emotional states in ourselves. Eating this new way creates a lot of difficulties and challenges because it is difficult for people to get rid of old habits. But it can be done. A clear purpose can give you the motivations to keep on going. Be very clear of your purpose. How badly do you want health and happiness? You deserve it, go for it.
If you need help doing this and/or have any medical conditions you are concerned about,
Traditional Oriental Medicine can help you go through this, in a large way, a positive and lasting way. Peace.