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Commentary on Macrobiotics



The principles of nutrition have always been reflected in the philosophies and medical practice of the peoples of the East. Among them is the original system of recovery, created in the first half of the 20th century by a Japanese doctor, George Osawa. Built on the relationship between spirit and matter, it is significantly different from European systems of recovery, based on the principles of natural hygiene.
The name "macrobiotics" comes from the Greek words "macro" - big and "bio" - to live, which means "long life technique." This medical and philosophical doctrine is based on the principles of Eastern philosophy and is aimed at mastering the laws of spiritual peace, freedom and justice. The foundation for it is one of the basic tenets of Eastern philosophy: everything that exists in the world is divided into Yin and Yang. Yin is a kind of centrifugal force, a source of peace and tranquility, cold and darkness, while Yang is a centripetal force producing sound, heat and light. However, in the world there is nothing in its pure form, and Yin and Yang exist in nature at the same time, passing one into another.
A person, knowing the peculiarities of such transformations, can use them in order to balance his life, make it calm, joyful and happy. Happy is only one who lives a long and healthy life, not having worries about money and knowing how to avoid tragic accidents, one who does not want to be in the first row so that later he doesn’t end up in the last, but he is not afraid to be the last to become first. George Osawa believes that the separation of the main and the secondary in accordance with the balance of Yin and Yang, which is one of the main principles of macrobiotics, is of great importance for achieving happiness in a long and healthy life. At the same time, each portion of food must be chewed at least 50 times, and to get the greatest benefit, 100 or 150 times.
Well, if there is a desire to accelerate the onset of the macrobiotic effect, then you need to drink less, so that you can urinate only 2 times a day - for women and 3 - for men.
As a supporter of Eastern culture and medicine, George Osawa believes that if all people understood and adopted the Eastern way of thinking and Eastern philosophy, wars would stop and a new happy life would begin for humanity.
In order to quickly achieve good health, you need to:
1) not to eat foods and drinks processed by the industrial method, which include: refined sugar, all canned food (including beverages), any food with chemical coloration and unfertilized eggs;
2) not to eat food from areas remote from the place of residence (although exceptions are, in principle, possible);
3) do not eat fruits and vegetables grown with the use of chemical fertilizers or treated with insecticides;
4) do not eat vegetables that do not correspond to the current season;
5) as much as possible, avoid most Yin vegetables - such as potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants.
How is it possible to avoid potatoes in Russia? Well, what do we have then, if the potatoes are impossible and if almost all the products of our table: butter, cheese, pasta, milk, cereals and bread, pork, beef, etc., are they processed in the process of their production by chemicals?
It is simply impossible to imagine such a life, as, however, and repeated from time to time situations where more than half of the time allotted for the lunch break will be spent only to deal with all Ini and Yani. And this, by the way, does not take into account the fact that chewing all this Yansko-Yin cooking is 10 times longer than its own. True, there are also positive moments, which can save time: first, we drink very little, and secondly, we eat very little, so we hardly write and do not cope with great need.
What Osawa writes about the Eastern understanding of nutrition, based on the philosophies and practices of the East (Ayurveda, Yoga, Tantra), is quite normal if only because he is Japanese. For them, the terms Yang, Yin, Ojas, Ama, Sattva, Agni, Kapha, Doshi, etc., are as simple as for us to cross or swear, remembering someone else’s mother.
In various nutritional studies, whether European or Eastern, the number of chewing movements per one swallowing is given great importance. And in this regard, there are serious differences in assessing their quantity: 15.20.30, 50.100.150. In all cases, the reader's attention is focused on the fact that the more chews per swallowing, the better the food is absorbed by the body, the fewer diseases of the digestive system organs, the stronger the health and longer the life. In this regard, macrobiotics, recommending the ratio of chewing movements to swallowing as 50: 1 and 100: 1 and even 150: 1, went the furthest. But let us, dear reader, try to go further. If 150 moves is very good, then you should assume that 200 will be even better, 300 is great and 500 is simply amazing. As you know, the best is the enemy of the good, but where is the border beyond which unjustified expenditures on achieving these best indicators result in self-destruction.
What happens when chewing? While the food is in the mouth, the following happens with it: first, its grinding and grinding and, second, the release of saliva that irrigates the food. As you know, food can be carbohydrate, protein and fat. Is the number of chewing movements equally necessary in the case of the predominance of one or another component? Which type of food needs more chewing movements for one swallowing and why?
Let me assume that with the normal acidity of the gastric juice more starchy (carbohydrate) food will require more jaw movements. Why? Because its cleavage requires the enzyme ptyalin, contained in saliva. And for proteinaceous food, ptyalin enzyme is not only unnecessary, since it does not participate in the digestion of proteins, but is also harmful, since a certain amount of hydrochloric acid will be spent on its neutralization in the stomach.
Foods that contain excess carbohydrates, and this is exactly what is offered as the main macrobiotic food, may be worth chewing from 50 to 100 times, but if you eat regular mixed food, then 15-20 chewing movements for one swallowing - quite enough.

When you suffer from low or no acidity, an increase in the number of chewing movements to 50 or more can be considered as a blessing. And that's why. Due to the absence of hydrochloric acid, hypocideosis does not occur in the stomach, so it is advisable that macrobiotic products, that is, for the most part, cereal products in the oral cavity be exposed to saliva enzymes as long as possible.
There is another advantage of long chewing with reduced secretion, which consists in the reflex effect of the cerebral cortex on the work of the lining cells of the gastric mucosa. In this case, the longer we chew, the more the digestive juices are released.
Consider the situation with increased secretion of the stomach. In this case, as soon as we begin to chew, then immediately along the reflex arc, through the cerebral cortex, the mechanism of production of gastric juice is activated. If we eat macrobiotic carbohydrate (cereal) food, designed for long chewing and low acidity, we are doubly, and maybe in the square, worsen the digestive process and the state of the gastric mucosa.
The fact is that vegetable food does not require such an amount of hydrochloric acid for processing, especially such an excess of it that occurs in the stomach of hyperacidics due to super-long chewing. Thus, excess hydrochloric acid, chemically destroying the gastric mucosa, leads to its inflammation.
If you are a stubborn person and firmly believed in the doctrine of longevity, developed by George Osawa, an acute attack of gastritis is inevitable. This condition will make itself felt in the process of digestion, when you will have discomfort or pain in the epigastric region, accompanied by sour belching and heartburn. All this can be removed without difficulty, reducing the number of chewing movements per swallowing from 50 to 15, and, even better, abandoning the Japanese model of longevity in favor of their own.
Now let's try to understand the desire of macrobiotics to reduce the amount of fluid consumed to such an extent that women write only twice a day, and men - no more than three.
George Osawa himself explains the requirement to reduce the average daily water consumption by the need to accelerate the onset of the macrobiotic effect, and finds the formula “drink as much as you like” that does not correspond to the true needs of the organism.
This is how much water an average Russian woman or an average Russian man should drink in order to urinate no more than two or three times a day?
As is known from human physiology, the volume of urination in women is 150-250 ml of urine, in men - 250-300 ml. Of course, these numbers with a long and forced retention of urine can be much higher, but J. Osawa does not say so. This means that there should be no forced delay, moreover, any urinary retention is not physiological and harmful to health, since it contributes to the occurrence of pyelocystitis and the development of nephrolithiasis. Considering that about 60% of the water taken up by the kidneys is excreted from the body, it is easy to calculate that the daily fluid intake according to J. Osawa should be 600–850 ml for women and 1.0–1.2 l for men. Such ultra-low fluid intake (and this fluid even includes the one that will be in boiled rice) is clearly not enough to remove nitrogenous slags and salts from the body, as well as to maintain water balance and acid-base balance in the body. Suffice it to say that dehydration of the body by 10% leads to serious violations of its main vital systems, and the loss of water more than 30% can cause death. The daily rate of water consumption for a European, calculated by physiologists and supported by repeated and reliable research by scientists, is 2.2-2.5 liters regardless of his gender, and if there are any changes in water consumption, they are primarily related to conditions labor, age, climate, the weight of a person, the nature of his diet, his acute or chronic diseases, etc.
But still, why J. Osawa offers the option of optimizing water consumption by taking into account the number of urination acts during the day ?!
For our understanding of the world is extremely difficult to find an explanation for this approach. Perhaps, for moral and ethical reasons, so as not to defile nature. In this regard, one circumstance is visible: Russians of either sex urinate more often and more than the Japanese, who have thin bone and leaner flesh. In addition, the islanders eat a lot of salty food: fish and all kinds of seafood, due to which their urine output is reduced. It should probably be noted that in the humid climate of the Japanese islands, resorptive absorption of moisture from the air by the skin is of great importance (for dry starvation, for example, water procedures cannot be taken, since we drink skin this way).
I have no doubt that the transition to more than twice reduced water consumption, nothing but misfortune and disease, our man can not bring.
And as far as it is convenient for us to divide products into Yin and Yang, there is nothing to say here!
I know only one person from the Russian hinterland, who, with a very serious air, tried to teach us all this crazy stuff and abracadabra for a long time, and he ran out of breath, found his teachings untenable, vowed to revise them, promising as a guru to show us new ones, now real , the path to self-improvement. But I do not believe him.
In my opinion, in all these Indian, Chinese, or Japanese teachings on perfect nutrition, there is one, but significant contraindication. As they would say in "stagnant" times, this is the fifth item - national identity, or rather, the Russian mentality combined with the mysterious Slavic soul. A Russian peasant from the Kaluga province cannot pray to the holy images before the meal and carry out a balanced analysis of their Yang and Yin wisdoms. Here one of two things is either you are Japanese, then macrobiotics may indeed become for you the mechanics of longevity, or you should very well imagine that the conditions of longevity in the country of the rising sun are not always the same as in the country of the setting socialism.
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