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LIVING MACROBIOTICALLY IN THE TROPICS.

I have received a request to discuss how to live macrobiotically in the tropics. Many of the visitors to The Alchemycal Pages live in South and Central America, The Far East, Middle East and Africa and I live in Northern California and have spent my entire macrobiotic life of 25 years living either in the United Kingdom or North America.

Thus I have no experience of living macrobiotically in anything other than a northern temperate climate. However, I was born and raised in Kenya, East Africa, which is right on the equator.

It is a mistake to believe that Kenya has one type of climate. Within the confines of its borders are many different climates, ranging from alpine, to rolling grassland plains, to wooded hills, semi-desert, desert, tropical forests and upland meadows reminiscent of Dorset and Cornwall in England.

Thus one cannot give any kind of blanket recommendations about what and how to eat if you live in any particular climatic zone. The main adage of macrobiotic living is "eat cooked locally grown food in season".

So, the first task when we are living in any locality is to find out what the indigenous native dietary habits are. Of course, in this day and age where the western corporate materialistic scientific world view has metastazised as a social carcinoma into every region of the earth in the search for more "markets" for their products , it is not necessarily easy to find out what the local native indigenous dietary habits are, if they even exist anymore.

However, even in major cities with the corporate food chains sprouting up everywhere there are still farmer's markets and the like where the local natives living outside the cities bring their fruits, vegetables, grains and animal products for sale. These are the places to go and start doing your research to find out the local, traditional native culinary choices.

Then, having obtained this knowledge and learned about the native vegetables, grains and fruits that grow in the area of the world where you are living, about how the natives have traditionally cooked these foods and so forth, you then apply macrobiotic principles to what you have learned.

These include that our principle daily food is cooked Whole Grains, secondary foods are vegetables (roots, ground vegetables and leafy greens) and these two categories comprise 70-80% of our daily eating. Supplementary foods are fish, fruit, beans and seaweed. Foods for pleasure include ANY FOOD but these are eaten occasionally and eaten in moderation.

Then we have the principle that we EAT ACCORDING TO OUR CONDITION. This is a very important principle because it removes macrobiotic living from have anything to do with a "diet" or "dieting". This is one of the most significant mistakes people starting out on a macrobiotic way of life make. It is simply NOT POSSIBLE OR DESIRABLE to eat, all our macrobiotic lives, the narrow, circumscribed way of eating we generally start out with because our condition warrants it. As we continue with our macrobiotic practice we must get out of the "formulaic method" where we eat so much percentage of grains and so much of vegetables, beans etc. This way of approaching macrobiotic living will only be helpful for a short period, perhaps 3-4 years. The reason this principle is significant is that our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual condition changes as we continue our early narrow, circumscribed way of eating. IT IMPROVES, provided that we are, in addition to eating our narrow, circumscribed way of eating, doing the Ginger Compress Regimen. I make myself clear on this point - the Ginger Compress Regimen comprises 50% of what we need to do in order to facilitate the physical body's response to our adopting a macrobiotic way of eating.

The bodily functions change such that bowel movement improves, we lose weight, the toxins long stored in various and sundry organs and tissues of the body are gradually eliminated, our vitality increases, organs and tissues revitilize and regenerate, we experience deep and refreshing sleep, all the various aches and pains we have disappear. These changes will be gradual and will be non-linear (see "On Healing" for more detail), but as time goes on we will need to make adjustments to our daily eating habits including adding foods that we do not eat when we are eating a circumscribed, narrow way of eating.

Thus we have to begin to learn how to read our condition as well as spend a great deal of time learning and studying the principles of yin and yang. Then we apply our understanding of yin and yang to clarifying for ourselves what we need to change and what we need to add to our daily fare and how to cook it anywhere in the world we happen to be living.

We also need to understand the climate and weather patterns of the locality where we live in terms of yin and yang so we can make adjustments in cooking styles. Cooking styles from the perspective of yin and yang are as follows:

 MostYang

         

Most Yin

Baking

Deep Frying

Pressure Cooking

Sauteeing

Boiling

Steaming

Raw

So, living in the hot, humid climates will generally mean, depending on our condition, that we will refrain from pressure cooking and baking on a regular basis and do more boiling as the preferred method of cooking the grains and boiling and steaming our vegetables with the eating of more raw vegetables and fruits depending on the season and weather.

It has occurred to me what if in the locality where you live in the Tropics does not allow for the growing of grains. Then you will find that the main staple will be more yam and cassava type tubers. This is where it is important to learn about the local native wisom and experience of the traditional way of preparing these foods, always using the macrobiotic principles of yin and yang to make the final decision on how you might modify the methods to keep the preparation and cooking methods conform with the idea of balance.


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