I have a friend Sylvia Ruth Gray who eats a vegan diet and is going healthy and strong at age 79. She has traditional influence in the Japanese macrobiotics discipline. Recently, she and I were corresponding via email and she was able to provide some tips that cleared up some trouble I was having with sodium. Omnivorous diets are naturally a lot higher in sodium, and if you are vegan, you may need more sodium than you realize. Along with your healthy lifestyle, you may want to consider experimenting with traditional macrobiotics and seeing how it works for you. Veganism (including the religion ;)) haha is quite new. It is an urban creation, and as far as study and research goes, the diet doesn’t have a lot of time behind it.
Sylvia’s knowledge and study is extensive. She has written a book, many articles, and has also signed her books at my annual ecomarkets. After all, as I mentioned in The Wellness Diaries there were no primitive vegan populations-except one in Japan as I learned from Sylvia’s insightful book. Humans have evolved with certain dietary requirements, and it stands to reason that an individual of the modern world may do well to find answers in the combination of disciplines such as traditional macrobiotics and vegan diets while striving for optimal health.
In our emails Sylvia reminded me of several healthy populations including The Tarahumara Indians of Mexico (who as she indicated used to run 100 miles a day just for fun) and some peoples of the Middle East with a tea ceremony who drink little liquid and are still very healthy.
She made some excellent points in the discussion such as plant-based diets being the correct diet for humans in developed countries; whereas sometimes in developing countries, a bit of fish, poultry, or even a prairie dog can mean the difference between survival and starvation for them and their families. But if industry has killed off most other wild animals, overfished the oceans, and climate change is threatening agricultural plants due to rising seas, (you know how most plants can’t grow in salt water).
It is a very good point and fitting for this very long, ongoing discussion of humanity practicing and learning to live more sustainably on the earth.
If you experience specific problems such as salt sensitivity, water retention, or g.i. problems, you may find the macrobiotics discipline a helpful partner to an already healthy plant-based beginning. As with the practice of any worthwhile discipline (martial arts, dance, yoga, meditation, study) entering the room of that philosophy is only the beginning. Trying it for yourself, observing its effects on you and interacting with and building upon the contents of that room is the next fundamental step. There is a lot in the macrobiotics room, so be patient with yourself, take your time and learn as much as you can.
In reference to my e book Eyes On The Prize, I call macrobiotics plant-based blackbelt techniques.
For any plant-based questions as it pertains to macrobiotics, you can email Sylvia at:
Enjoy the learning by trial, error IN joy of the journey.