By Shihan Mary Bolz
Master of Science Oriental Medicine
Doctoral Fellow, FBU
Master Martial Arts Instructor
If there is one thing that never changes about our world and the entire universe we are in, it is that change is the constant. Cyclical change, in actuality. The ancient peoples of Asia looked at the universe as a continuous circle. No beginning, no end. It just is. Where the circle begins, it ends and where the beginning is and where the end is cannot be known. Why should anyone care? To understand how to flow with the cycle was more important than trying to change the cycle. It cannot be changed, anyway. At least, not by any of the simple forms of life on this planet, including humans. Go with nature, you are happy. Go against nature and you will pay the consequences. This is still the basic understanding of the people of Asia and the same understanding that is at the root of Traditional Oriental Medicine. While the concepts of acupuncture and Oriental medicine are very ancient, the principles are solid, they are unchanging. This is because the way of the universe does not change. Its setup and cycles are unchanging. However, the appearance or manifestation changes. To think otherwise, people are deceiving themselves. Since the principles are based on truths of the way of the universe and on simple physics, it is very adaptable to each era in time. Oriental medicine is based on solid principles that do not change and that is what keeps it so applicable to modern times. That is why it works so well. Many people are so amazed and impressed with the results they get from acupuncture and Oriental medicine in this country. However, to us Oriental medicine practitioners, that is the way it should be.
The human body, all other bodies, and the earth itself have their own innate healing and balancing mechanisms. It is only when the species become too out of touch with that mechanism that they cannot heal. Humans are the best at becoming out of touch with the power of nature. Too much ego, too much greed get in the way and thus history repeats itself with the fallacies of the humans; wars, sickness, prejudice, pride, unhappiness. Yet those of the human species who have managed to be at peace with themselves and others and who live and eat according to the cycles of the universe, manage to live a satisfied, healthy, happy life while on this planet earth. What may seem like a new view of health that is being presented here, is actually an ancient view of health. Health is the foundation of life for each of us humans. If we have health, we can enjoy all the wonderful experiences that life offers. Without health, our lives become limited and unhappy. To find health, the first step is to learn how to prevent ourselves from becoming sick. Unfortunately, the conventional and modern understanding of health fails at this very first principle-how to prevent sickness. What we need is a wider view of health. Instead of trying to divide the world into small parts, and to study these parts in greater and greater detail, we need to see the big picture of life. The microscopic way of thinking has created a wealth of knowledge about the detailed workings of atoms, cells, plants, animals and other parts of nature, but misses the wider view of how all these details are related to each other and work together as a whole. Our modern knowledge is made up of fragments rather like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, without having any idea of how they can all be fitted together. Thus, you have fads in science, fads in the medical community, fads in diets, fads in clothing, fads in thinking. What is needed is a good, basic, solid understanding and then people will not be “yo-yoing” in all they do and going crazy seeking truth and balance.
In the conventional field of health, this microscopic approach has created blood specialists, bone specialists, eye specialists, psychiatrists, psychologist, nutritionists and a myriad of other health professionals. While this detailed understanding can be very useful, it does not take into account how all these individual aspects fit together to form a whole person. The person’s relationship with his or her food, activities, natural environment, emotions, and social relations, and other influences affect the person’s health. The Oriental medicine view of health takes the broadest view possible, with a macroscopic way of looking at nature and ourselves. This provides the whole pictures so that the pieces of the puzzle can be easily fitted together. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine doctors treat all diseases and pain because it is wholistic. A great advantage of the Oriental medicine approach is that it helps us to understand the fundamental causes of illness, which lie in the way we have chosen what to take into our bodies and give back to our environment. By changing to a more balanced way of eating and other more healthy ways of living, we can usually avoid having to use various symptomatic treatments of the conventional type such as medication, drugs, surgery and radiation. All artificial treatment has damaging effects on a person’s overall health and the more unnatural or artificial it is, the greater the harm. You can start on the road to good health right now, by making changes in your daily eating and lifestyle. Your health will be restored using the body’s own natural healing powers; food, sun and appropriate activities. For those that need more than merely this, there is the wonderful option to you of acupuncture and traditional Oriental herbology. Based on solid, ancient, unchanging principles, it will help make your body, mind, and soul adapt to this modern world.
Let us talk about what you, yourself can do to start on the road to health today. Clean out your cupboard and refrigerator. Get rid of all, yes all that is packaged or has artificial ingredients, refined ingredients, sugar, and preservatives. For many people, this may mean getting rid of everything. Get rid of any canned food and frozen food. Start stocking your refrigerator with fresh, organic vegetables and some fruits. Learn how to cook! Do not give your money and your health away to the big business of fast food. (Is that still called food?) Well, if I do this, you think, what can I eat? Let us look at what food is more likely fit for humans than what is pervading the market today.
Start by looking inside your mouth. Humans have two incisors, one canine, two premolars, and three molars, I2 C1 P2 M3, in each quadrant of their upper jaws. The numbers for each quadrant of the lower jaw are the same, and the general formula is written I2/2 C1/1 P2/2 M3/3. To arrive at the total number of teeth in the animal’s mouth, sum these numbers (2+2+1+1+2+2+3+3) and multiply by two (=32). Premolars are usually, but not always, slightly smaller and simpler than the molars that follow them. They are distinguished from molars because premolars are deciduous; that is, there is a milk set that is later replaced by an adult set Canines are most often used for stabbing and holding prey in animals, and it is in herbivorous species that they are often reduced in size , such as in horses. Interestingly, they are very much reduced in size in humans. What does this set of teeth tell you? Well, it is very much an indication of what we need to survive as a species. The basics for survival are air, water, and food. Teeth obviously are so we can consume food, not just for cosmetic purposes. What are the functions of these types of teeth? Molars are used for grinding. Incisors are more used for tearing. and humans’ canines are also used for tearing. Stabbing and holding prey for consumption does not sound too appealing to most humans. Seeing our teeth and understanding their function, it appears that we were meant to consume more grain and vegetables; molars are for grinding and incisors for tearing. Look at the horses’ mouth. Quite similar. What do horses eat? If we look at how nature is set up in its natural state, as in the wild before humans have domesticated the animals, we can get a good understanding of what we are intended to act as a species.
Another clue is to open an anatomy book of humans and that of the various animals. The humans intestinal tract, especially the small intestine is very long, as well as that of the herbivorous animals. Look at the intestinal tract of the carnivorous animals. It is short. the reason it is short is so that the flesh of other animals they eat will not be stuck in the intestines and rot there. In species with long intestinal tracts, undigested meat will be stuck in the intestines and remain there for years, even life. That is a breeding ground for bacteria and excess growths, like cancer. All of the older societies and cultures of our earth used grains as their staple. In Europe, wheat was more often used, whereas in Asia it was rice and still is for the most part. The problem with these modern Asian societies is that they have changed to eating refined rice (i.e. white rice). Rice, in its natural state is loaded with nutrition, but when the bran and germ are taken off in the refining process, almost all of the nutrition is gone. What you have left is calories with little nutrition. To add insult to injury, almost all commercially grown rice that is refined is then bleached. That is because the manufacturers believe that people like to see it white and beautiful. In addition, talc is added as a preservative. Then, you have one of those horrible “carbs” that is criticized so often in the news and advertising today.
The fact is, carbohydrates are the most important and the basis of our energy source. It is only the refined carbohydrates that are unhealthy, refined means simple sugar. Unrefined grains are classified as complex carbohydrates in the modern nutrition realm. They take a long time for the body to break down into glucose that is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles and used as the energy is needed. Refined grains, i.e. simple sugars do not take long to break down and if not used immediately, their excess energy supply is stored as fat in the human body. Grain should be taken in its whole form, not in the form of bread, for the greatest benefit. Bread tends to produce phlegm in the body and stays in the digestive tract because it is sticky. Cook whole-wheat berries and eat them. That is whole food, not whole wheat bread. Modern yeast used in the making of bread is also unhealthy and creates bloating and digestive problems. Consider cooking one of the most popular staple grains on this earth: rice. Use only unrefined, whole, organically grown brown rice. (Brown rice means original rice, white means refined; they are the exact same species.) One of the best ways to cook brown rice is in a pressure cooker. It takes a little over one hour to cook in the pressure cooker. This rice tastes the richest, softest, and is the most flavorful. Here is a recipe for cooking perfect brown rice every time in a pressure cooker:
Delicious pressure-cooked Brown Rice
For every cup of brown rice, use 1 1/4 cup of water. Depends on rice, though, could be 1 1/8 cup of water or 1 1/2 cup of water. Short grain brown rice recommended. Wash rice. Put the water and rice in the pressure cooker Leave lid open. Put flame on medium to low. Let it sit on this heat for 20 minutes. Add good quality, real sea salt and 1 pinch per cup of rice. Put lid on pressure cooker. Bring to pressure. Cook on a very low flame or low, low electric heat, as low as you can get it without the pressure going down, to avoid burning the bottom. You may need a flame deflector under the rice cooker, especially if you have an electric stove.
Cook under pressure for 45 minutes
Shut off heat and let the pressure come down naturally. After pressure comes down, it is ready!
**Note: For extra delicious rice and sure never to burn, use a clay pot with a lid inside of the pressure cooker. Follow the same recipe as above, put inside of clay pot and cover with lid. Then you need about 4 cups of water in the pressure cooker itself and follow all of above directions. Sure to please!
If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can boil it on the stove or in an automatic rice cooker. You will need more water per cup of rice, though, probably 1:2. For perfectly tasty steamed brown rice, you can invest in the Zojirushi Neurofuzzy rice cooker with neurologic to cook your brown rice, or any rice. Completely a “no-brainer.” It has a line on the inside of the container showing where to fill the water for the number of cups of rice and the type of rice. It will play a musical tone when it is done, it will never burn, and you can keep it warm all day long. It is also extremely easy to clean. Be sure you use good quality, true sea salt. There is a lot of so-called sea salt on the market that is not. Happy eating and have a happy life!