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FOOD AND YOU
This Page will be on specific foods and the questions they raise from a macrobiotic and anthroposophical perspective.


Vitamin Supplements et. al. / Blue Green Algae /
Page 2 - Spiritual Considerations-Leafy Greens- Seasalt
Seven Planetary Grains

PROTEIN.

The problem of protein intake is one of both quality and quantity. In respect to quality the highest quality is from vegetable sources, specifically grains and vegetables. It used to be thought we could not eat whole grains and vegetables alone without incurring the possibility of developing deficiencies of so-called essential amino acids. However, it is now known we can obtain all the essential amino acids eating vegetables alone. The problem of quantity comes from errors made in the early days of research done in the 1930's into finding out what is the suitable nutrient intake for proper growth and development of the human organism. In the case of protein, these studies were done on rats, and when it had been determined what the ideal amount of protein was for them in terms of mg/kg., the calculations were made to convert this figure into what would be the appropriate amount for human beings. These calculations took into account the differences in body weight/surface area ratios etc., but, significantly, what was not taken into account is the fact that it takes the human being 21 years to reach maturity, whereas it only takes the rat three months; thus the recommended amount of protein for human beings exceeded the actual amount needed by a factor of over eighty!
Thus it turns out the average active adult human being only needs approximately one ounce (25-30 grms) per day of protein. This amount can easily be met by eating cooked whole grains and vegetables.
Here I am going to summarise the problems which have arisen as a result of the significant error of telling people we need to eat relatively vast quantities of protein, and that these have to come from animal sources-beef, pork, chicken and fish. The source is a book I highly recommend called "The Essentials of Nutrition" by Dr. Gerhardt Schmidt, MD (Bio-Dynamic Literature, 1987, pp.100-101).

1. The increased consumption of protein, preferred and recommended today, has more and more been shown to produce or facilitate critical diseases.
2. The unrestrained consumption of protein-at least of animal protein- brings forth an increasingly distinct animalization and brutalization of humanity.
3. With regard to the world economy, the high level of protein consumption is an irresponsible luxury for a small minority of the world's population.
4. This presents a considerable social problem, an enormous source of danger for the entire world-situation today.
5. People are hindered from coming to the the real facts of the protein question, which is of the greatest significance for the continued existence of human culture.
6. The protein question is thus a problem of medical, social, and economic significance for the whole world.

These statements of Dr Schmidt's point to the profound gravity of the question of protein intake and source. It is actually impossible to overestimate the devastation caused to the human population and the world ecology and economy which has been the consequence of the modern obsession with animal protein. And this obsession seems to be growing with even more force as the years go by, rather than receding as it should have done by now.
This brings me to the problem of tofu. I have repeatedly stated in these pages that people refrain from eating tofu if we wish to experience good health.
Tofu is a product of soybeans. The whole basis of the growth in popularity of tofu, its main selling point, is that if we wish to avoid eating meat products, then we need to replace that with another source rich in protein,(and I have shown this idea to be bogus) which is tofu.
A crude description of the making of tofu is whole soybeans are cooked for a long time with a large volume of water. After sufficient cooking the soybeans are a mush and they are left to cool before they are placed in cheesecloth type sacks and then squeezed to force out the creamy tofu, leaving the husk and skin of the soybeans in the sack. The tofu is poured into moulds and a hardening agent, traditionally a liquid called nigari made from pouring water through large bags of seasalt, is poured over the tofu to harden them into the moulds purchased in the stores.
Thus tofu is a refined product and is therefore, from the perspective of yin and yang, very yin compared to grains, vegetables and even fruit. The consumption of tofu is akin to eating refined white flour. Its very yin quality means it causes overly yin effects in the human organism, primarily in the intestines, leading to digestive/assimilation conditions. Its high protein content means it leads to all the problems associated with high protein intake, including, of course, cancer.
From a spiritual perspective, soybeans and soy products(other than miso, tamari, and soy sauce,which, due to the way they are made, using high quantities of seasalt as well as long cooking time and the long periods of fermentation needed to make them, means the essential character of the soybean has undergone a radical transformation) and beans generally have the effect of making our thought processes relatively sluggish and "earthbound". In essence, beans and bean products tend to act as a counterforce to spiritual development. Interestingly enough, in the Platonic Academy of Ancient Greece, students were only admitted to the rigorous spiritual training and learning they received they if they agreed to refrain from eating of beans during the time they spent at the Academy.
In summary, it is healthier, in terms of human, ecological, social and economic health, to keep animal protein intake to a minimum, and it must be avoided entirely if we wish to heal ourselves of any degenerative condition, for most people most of the time.

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VITAMIN AND MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS

The issue of vitamin and mineral etc., supplements is of great concern to people who are beginning macrobiotic practice. In conventional dietary advice it is unquestioned that people are in need of vitamin and mineral supplements, with millions of Americans regularly consuming vast quantities of these pills and powders, making the industry a billion-dollar enterprise. Of course, the reason it is unquestioned is because people generally are satisfied with the delusion the human body is a machine, and if it is a machine it is perfectly logical to think it needs fuel, lubricants and additives like any other machine, so it is commonplace to hear it said that if we want to be healthy we need to eat a "balanced diet, get regular exercise and take plenty of vitamins etc." Whereas with macrobiotic practice one is counseled that not only are vitamin and mineral supplements unnecessary, they are actually counter-productive if one wishes to live a healthy, vital life.

The question is why.

There are many facets to answering this question and I will begin my explanation with primary considerations. The essential process to understand in respect of ingesting any substance is digestion.

The digestive process is a complex one and here I will concentrate on the focal point which is what occurs in the small intestine. The mucus epithelial lining of the small intestine may be likened to a selective lens; when the digested food in the form of broken down food substances approaches the lining, within the wall of the intestine the formative "life (also called etheric) body" of the intestine is imprinted with the image of the form and configuration of the digested food. The mucous epithelial lining then takes takes up the food substances, and for an instant they are transformed into their purely spiritual formative state, and in that moment the etheric "formative body" of the small intestine 'fashions' the etheric food substances after the image with which it was imprinted originally. It thus forms the physical basic substances for tissues and cells and the various hormones, enzymes and so forth. The 'selective' aspect means the etheric body of the small intestine takes up what it needs according to its needs at any given moment.

We can illustrate the end-point of the digestive process as analagous to information processing. The information provided to the body is the food, the processing medium is the mucous epithelial lining and the selective receiver of the information is the etheric "formative life body" of the small intestine.

There are four broad types of information which can be classified as:

1. Information itself, which is distinguished from the other types in that it actually informs.
2. Misinformation, which is information that is ambiguous, nebulous and meaningless.
3. Disinformation, which is information used to mislead and deceive.
4. Data, which is lifeless information, that which is old and out-moded, and mere noise.

What is pertinent to this discussion is the quality of information we are giving to the body in respect of vitamin and mineral supplements. Here quality is a measure of what is discerned by WHOLENESS (HOLINESS), which is to say that when information is provided to the body in the form of food, its quality or lack of quality is dependent on the context in which the food is presented to the body.

If the context is fragmented, dissipated, isolated, artificial or obliterated, then the quality of information is poor and amounts to misinformation, and in extreme instances, disinformation. If the context is whole, natural and vital, then the quality of information is harmoniously and vitally informing.

In speaking of wholeness in respect of context of the food we eat, I mean that account is made of the entire history of the biological co-dependency of the physical body of the human being and the plant world. On reflection it is obvious that the development of our physical organism has occurred contemporaneously with the development of the plant kingdom. The latter has provided the etheric, formative body with the physical matter with which it forms the physical body (whence it gets its designation 'formative'), even if we have eaten the material once removed from the plant kingdom by eating animal food. Over the millenia, therefore, we have received the material information of vitamins and minerals in the context of the plant or animal in which the vitamin or mineral is found.

The singular problem with vitamin and mineral supplements is that they are information presented to the body in fragmentary, isolated, artificial, dissipated form, completely removed from the context in which they are naturally found. It thus follows that when they are consumed the body is misinformed, and this misinformation leads to the body becoming physically diseased if they are consumed regularly for a long time.

Further considerations about the concept of 'context' with regard to food substances of any kind. In the case of mineral, vitamin and trace element substances present in natural, whole foods, these are found embedded in what I will call their 'natural matrix'. Thus in the broccoli, brown rice, kale, onions etc., the vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium or whatever substance may be in question is naturally found surrounded by a 'matrix' in which it is held. The significance of this is what I will call the 'accurate biological activity' with respect to the healthy, normal functions of cellular activity is not only a function of the form of the substance in question but is also of the matrix in which it is embedded. Thus, if the substance in question is either extracted, processed or synthesised, it does not have its accurate biological activity in the cells and tissues. The 'discontextual food substance' thus puts a strain on the immune functions of the body, gradually leading to weakness of the immune system.

The foods recommended in the macrobiotic way of eating contains more than adequate amounts of vitamins, trace elements, minerals etc.; moreover, these are presented to the body in a vital, natural, whole and therefore contextually appropriate form. Thus the body is provided with whole and harmonious information as suitable material for the energetic formative body to construct cells, hormones, enzymes etc.

Of course there is more to living harmoniously than providing the body with healthy material for its functioning. The main consideration here is assisting the etheric body in its functioning, which brings into focus the role of the emotions, patterns of living and mental attitudes. I will address these on other pages.

When anyone begins the practice of macrobiotics we can confidently assume one's physical organism is ill-informed, devitalised, unwholesome and dissipated. The significant process that occurs during the early years of macrobiotic practice is the regeneration and revitalisation of the body; it is obviously counter-productive to continue presenting the body with ill-informing pills and powders (and it doesn't take much imagination to recognise therapeutic drugs as being even more perniciously ill-informing agents than vitamin and mineral supplements) when one is trying to help the body become revitalised.

On the other hand, a word of caution. If anyone reading this has been consuming any of these agents of mis- and dis-information it is advisable to gradually wean oneself off them over a period of weeks, months and even years, depending on the particular agent of mis-information one has been consuming. If one suddenly stops taking these while beginning macrobiotic practice one is likely to experience potent withdrawal symptoms which indicates the body is undergoing severe stresses likely to be harmful to the regenerative process begun by macrobiotic practice.

Earlier this month (May 1996) a very interesting report was published in some newspapers (not in the papers I get in The Bay Area, incidentally) of a study done on 9000 people who had been exposed to asbestos and are or were smokers. These people were divided into two groups; one of them were given daily doses of vitamin A and beta-carotene and the other group was not given any supplements. After four years of following these two groups it was concluded the people being given the supplements were dying faster than the ones who were not, and the study was terminated.

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BLUE GREEN ALGAE.


It has become apparent over the past few years the macrobiotic community as a whole has been deluding itself into thinking this supplement is some kind of 'super food'. And furthermore, this delusion has reached such proportions that people think if you are eating macrobiotically, this food is necessarily part of your daily dietary intake.

It began in 1985 when John Mann, who at that time was a macrobiotic teacher and counselor, and also publisher of a macrobiotic magazine called 'Solstice', took it upon himself to extol the virtues of this wonder food. Here on the west coast we have what is called The Pacific Macrobiotic Conference, held twice a year at the Spring and Fall Equinoxes since 1980, and around 1985 he participated in one we held in San Diego, debating the pros and cons of this substance with Cecile Levin, a long time macrobiotic counselor and teacher who lives in Los Angeles. This debate was very interesting but one point which did not come up during it is the fact the blue-green algae John Mann was discussing is harvested by a company called Cell-Tech, and sold under a multi-level marketing scheme.

The multi-level marketing scheme works as follows: a distributor approaches someone and does the usual snowjob selling tactics that american business has so well perfected; you know what I mean, take this stuff and your sex life will never be the same, you will have so much vitality you won't have to sleep more than three hours a night, we have all these case histories of miraculous cures of every disease under the sun etc., etc. Then the kicker comes in, which is you can become a distributor too and it it is explained what becoming a distributor means. It means that if you sign on as a distributor, every time you sell any of the stuff, you get a cut. Now, if you can persuade six people to become distributors, then every time they sell some of the stuff, you also get a cut. If in turn those six people sign on six people each to become distributors, every time each of those 36 people sell the stuff, you get a cut. It is not hard to see that this can be a very lucrative business if you can do a good enough snowjob on people. I have heard that people who have become distributors of the stuff and are good at snowjobs are making $5000+ a month and those who got in early in the game are making $15-$20,000 a month.

Well, fine, if that is what you want to do. After all, drug dealing has always been a very lucrative profession, from the pharmaceutical companies and their pushers, called doctors, all the way through the vitamin industry to the crack cocaine dealer on a street corner near you. However, as a macrobiotic counselor you can not recommend your clients to take this stuff and then turn around and be the one who sells it to them. This is a conflict of interest and even the medical profession has, at least until recently, got that straight, by having the doctors push the drugs, and the pharmacist sell it to you.

Now, I know several alleged macrobiotic counselors who are distributors of the stuff and are screamingly loud proponents of its miraculous properties. These people include Steve Gagne, Richard France, Kerry Loeb, Patrick McCarty and I call them alleged macrobiotic counselors because any consideration of blue-green algae from the perspective of basic macrobiotic principles shows this substance to be not what they claim it to be and calls into question their understanding of macrobiotic principles and practices.

The claim blue-green algae is a natural wild food is totally ridiculous. It is originally, while growing in Klamath Lake in Oregon, but from there it is channelled to a factory built near the shores of the lake where it is processed and then freeze-dried into a powder which is then placed in gelatin capsules or in bottles for distribution. Thus, during this manufacturing process all the wildness is effectively removed and replaced with the 'chi' of the machinery used to make it. It is essentially then a dead substance, is not natural, is not whole and is not a food.

It is claimed it has all these health giving properties and all kinds of scientific studies are cited to show what a marvellous substance it is. However, as I showed in the Introduction page of The Alchemycal Pages, any scientific studies which are done on tissues or substances outside the internal physiological environment of the human physical organism have no basis in fact, because chemistry and physics as we know it does not take place inside the physical body. Any and all claims made on such a basis are therefore bogus.

Then it is claimed if you take the stuff you are no longer going to suffer from fatigue. This begs the question of why people are so fatigued in the first place that they need to take any stimulant at all. Another claim is that it is very good for the kidneys which is very interesting because about two winters ago, I am not exactly sure when, I read a story in a macrobiotic journal about Steve Gagne developing kidney stones, and he has been a loud proponent of the stuff for years.

My experience of counseling people who have been taking it is limited to one instance, because in my counseling I strongly advise people not to take it at all, as I feel that it is a supplement and has all the problems associated with vitamin and mineral supplements which I discussed earlier. The person who had been taking it was someone I had counseled several years ago and last year she called me to ask for a session. The problem she had developed was glaucoma and after much questioning it turned out she had started taking the blue-green algae two years ago, and soon after the symptoms of glaucoma began to appear. The glaucoma had steadily gotten worse over the years and at the last test she had done her eye doctor told her she would be going blind soon. When she asked him how long, he said a few months to a year, which is when she called me. I suggested strongly she stop taking the blue-green algae, made adjustments to her diet, suggested a couple of home remedies and within six weeks her ocular pressure was normal. The people who I have seen around who I know are taking the stuff have dark circles around their eyes, which means they have kidney stagnation, and their eyes tend to bulge out slightly, which is a yin symptom.

I feel blue-green algae is extremely yin relative to the human organism. Of course, every phenomenon has both yin and yang qualities and the question is which one is dominant at the time it is, in the case of food or any substance, being ingested, relative to the yin and yang of the human organism and the yin and yang of the condition of the person who is ingesting the food or substance. The blue-green algae grows in a fresh water lake which is a relatively yin environment compared to a food growing out of the ground in the air and sunlight; this would tend to make the blue-green algae more yang. It grows extremely rapidly, which is a very yin phenomenon. Then, in the processing it is freeze dried, which is a yin process having the yang effect of drying, and, during this process the blue-green algae are fragmented into a powder, which is a yin process. So, overall you would have to think the blue-green algae is a very yin substance.

Now, if people taking it report a substantial increase in their level of vitality one would have to conclude that the overly yin effect of blue-green algae is stimulating and that it also will tend to have a liberating effect on anyone who is overly tense, stressed, or too yang. I also think it is a drug, a 'natural amphetamine', and I have heard accounts of people in the anthroposophical community who have been taking it for over a year and decided to stop taking it because it was getting too expensive and they reported symptoms similar to drug withdrawal symptoms when they stopped taking it. And of course, as you will know from reading the Introduction page of The Alchemycal Pages, there is no cure for any disease, so when I hear talk of a miracle food I immediately see red flags all over the place.

It is clear to me blue-green algae is a substance you take at your own risk. And it does not belong on the plate or in the diet of anyone who is eating macrobiotically (which, as will become clear over the coming months, is not the same thing as eating a macrobiotic diet, for there is no such thing). The also serious problem of macrobiotic teachers and counselors becoming distributors of the stuff, and making $5000-$20,000 a month, is that it is also obvious no-one who is making that kind of money can possibly be someone who would have anything objective to say about the substance they are so zealously promoting. The practice of selling the stuff to the people you recommend to take the stuff also means one's counseling is compromised and the integrity of the counselor and the soundness of their advice is in question. As for the idea making this kind of money making anyone free merely means one's ideas of freedom also include zealously enslaving yourself to having to promote the stuff, because if you do not, your lucrative source of income soon dries up.

Also, in the book "Healing with Whole Foods" by Paul Pitchford, he mentions two very interesting notes about blue-green algae. One is the Indians who used to live around the shores of Lake Klamath would not eat the blue-green algae because they thought it was toxic. Also, the harvesting rights to the lake were purchased by the owner of Cell-Tech and his brother in the Fifties. A dispute arose between them and in settling the dispute, they split the lake into two for the purpose of harvesting the blue-green algae. The other brother harvests the same blue-green algae from the same lake and you can readily purchase it in any vitamin and supplement store for a fifth of the price Cell-Tech charges!

This sad episode begs several questions; why are some macrobiotic counselors and teachers degenerating to the level of doctors where at least the doctors have the excuse that they do not know any better than that the human body is a machine? Furthermore, why are macrobiotic counselors and teachers, who should know better, citing scientific evidence to bolster their claims for the alleged wonderful properties of blue-green algae (or anything else, for that matter)? And why would anyone eating macrobiotically find the need to take the stuff anyway? These are serious questions and if you persevere in reading the Alchemycal Pages over the coming months and years you will find out the answers to these questions for yourself.

I had been trolling the Net before my computer went down and did a search on blue-green algae; the search brought up tens of thousands of pages indexed to blue-green algae and most of them were the usual solicititations to participate in its wealth enhancing aspects and also many testimonials to its miraculous powers. One interesting item to me was a page saying some scientists had found some elements in it that were similar in chemical structure to cocaine, which explains a great deal.

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