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The Theory and Practice of the Dietary
Component of Macrobiotics and
its Role in Cancer Therapy

By Michio Kushi

Asian Dietary Approaches to Cancer Prevention and Treatment
Speech Presentation at the Asian Therapies for Cancer Conference

Roosevelt Hotel, Madison Avenue & 45th Street, New York City
March 1, 2001, 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.


I am honored and pleased to be invited to give a speech presentation in this very worthwhile Asian Therapies for Cancer Conference.

I and my associates have been working for the healthcare field in America, Europe, and other areas of the world for the past 40 years, educating about a proper lifestyle and dietary approach. This education and approach have been known among intellectuals and the public in the name of "Macrobiotics."' The name of "Macrobiotics" was derived from the words "Macro Bios." It was used in Ancient Greece by many philosophers, including Hippocrates. The word appears in the Greek edition of the Old Testament. The concept of "Macro Bios" has been confirmed and reconfirmed by Naturalists, including medical leaders, such as Christolph W. Hufeland, in the 19th Century. The word of Macrobiotics is, however, the most appropriate word expressing the Traditional Oriental Way of philosophy and traditional and natural lifestyle.

This Oriental way of life, including dietary practice, has been expressed since several thousand years ago, in the lifestyle of the Jomon Period in Japan, in the I Ching (Book of Change), the Chou Dynasty, Confucianism, Taoism, and many other traditional ways of life. Comprehensively, it can be expressed as the Tao interpreted in Taoism; in the Do in many arts, including flower arrangement (Ka-Do), Tea Ceremony (Sa-Do), Calligraphy (Sho-Do); and Martial Arts like Ju-Do, Aiki-Do, Ken-Do,etc. Furthermore, it is pronounced also "Michi," such as in the Way of God (Kami no Michi, or Shin-To).

In this philosophy, commonly based on the human universal intelligence and traditional living experiences, Macrobiotics includes an understanding of the Order of the Universe, and the Laws of Change. This holds that every phenomenon is constantly changing between two antagonistic/complementary tendencies: Centrifugality and Centripetality, Expansion and Contraction, Upward Motion and Downward Motion, the Invisible Vibrational World and the Visible, Physicalized World; as well as the Heavenly Descending Force and the Earthly Ascending Force. All of these are comprehensively called "Yin" and "Yang." This thought, therefore, recognizes that every phenomenon has its cause, and there are certain orderly processes; and change from one phenomenon to another phenomenon is constant.

Applying this to the understanding of human life, life proceeds from the infinite, beginningless, endless movement which produced the phenomenal, vibrational world, a part of which is this Universe. From this vibrational, moving world, pre-atomic particles are formed in spirals, which further create, by spirallic gathering, the world of elements, which is so-called "Nature." Planetary nature further creates with various spirallic motion, and mainly with upward energy, all the botanical world; which further creates, mainly using the heavenly condensed force, animal life, and lately, human beings on this planet.

From this state, human life dissolves its form and proceeds further, returning to the vibrational domain, which has been often called the "World of Spirit" or "Life After Death."

All human behavior and physical, mental, and spiritual phenomena are caused by movement of environmental conditions, and by what we have been taking in from the environment. Among these absorbed environmental factors are cosmic forces, solar radiation, and galactic influences; atmosphere, water, and food; as well as various kinds of social influences, such as family, school, organizations, and community experiences. Only one factor is what we choose by entirely exercised free-will: the kind of quality, how much, and how and when we absorb it are left entirely up to our own judgement. This is our daily food and drink.

If this food intake is exercised properly, in harmony with the changing environment - including its quality, volume, and cooking - then human life is in accordance with the environment, and it not only maintains its health, vitality, and happiness; but also a peaceful mind, and higher spirit.

The cause of cancer is not excluded from this universal rule. As all other physical, mental, and spiritual human affairs, human sickness and health fundamentally depend on our daily dietary practice.

During the 20th Century, the human diet has been drastically changed: there has been higher consumption of animal protein and fat, refined sugar, mass-produced artificialized food; together with unnaturally chemicalized agriculture. These changes have produced the complex and diversified phenomena of human sickness in modem, civilized society. Sickness includes physical, mental, spiritual, and social sickness. Among them, cancer is one of the most representative of chronic conditions.

When we continuously consume food beyond our daily capacity to eliminate it in the form of physical and mental activities, the excessive dietary components accumulate, and eventually produce excessive, abnormal increase and division of the cells. This is what we call cancer.

While human beings are consuming food properly, of natural quality and eaten in traditional proportions, and with a proper way of cooking, such cancer phenomena do not happen. For this reason, and for the purpose of securing human health, psychological and spiritual well-being, we have been educating about dietary practice, along with the proper way of life, under the name of "Macrobiotics."' The average, or Standard Macrobiotic Diet, for temperate climactic regions, is described in a separate handout "Great Life Pyramid." By the practice of this diet, uncountable numbers of people have gained their health and wellbeing. Some cases could be reinforced by additional, supplemental Home Remedies, which are all made of combinations of daily food. This approach has contributed to the recovery of patients with all types of cancer conditions: some examples will be presented in the two afternoon Break-out Sessions #205 and #404: "The Potential Benefits of Macrobiotics as a Therapy for Cancer."

The dietary causes of major cancers are the following, which are, of course, only briefly summarized here:

  1. Colon Cancer - Over-consumption of meat and other heavy animal protein and fat
  2. Stomach Cancer - Consumption of excessive animal protein, oily/greasy food, refined sugar, and spices
  3. Esophagus Cancer| - Over-consumption of dairy fat, with refined sugar and spices
  4. Prostate Cancer - Excessive consumption of meat, eggs, and poultry, as well as cheese and other animal fat, with hard,baked flour products
  5. Pancreatic Cancer - Over-consumption of poultry and eggs, shellfish, and hard, baked flour products
  6. Lung Cancer - Over-consumption of animal protein and fat, including all sorts of meat, poultry, and eggs; as well as overconsumption of dairy fat, together with refined sugar, hot spices, and hard-baked flour
  7. Skin Cancer - Excessive consumption of oily/greasy food,, including dairy fat, refined sugar, and spices
  8. Malignant Melanoma - Over-consumption of poultry, eggs, cheese, and other fat, together with refined sugar products
  9. Brain Cancer - Either over-consumption of eggs, heavy meat, and other animal protein and fat; or, in other cases, over-consumption of dairy products and fat, and also excess of vegetable oil, such as in fried potatoes
  10. Thyroid Cancer - Over-consumption of poultry, eggs, and baked flour, with refined sugar products and hot spices; fried food
  11. Liver Cancer - Over-consumption of animal protein and fat, including meat, poultry, eggs, and fish & seafood; and dairy food high in fat. Excessive refined sugar and baked flour products, with greasy/oily cooking
  12. Bone Cancer - Excessive consumption of salty animal food; poultry, eggs, hard-baked flour, and especially deep-fried foods; too many minerals
  13. Lymphoma - Excessive dairy food and fat, with refined sugar products and refined flour products, for some cases. Excessive meat and other animal protein and fat, including poultry and eggs, combined with dairy fat and refined sugar products, for other cases
  14. Leukemia - Over-consumption of refined sugar products, such as sugar, cakes, chocolate, and fruits and fruit juices; combined with oily/greasy foods


For the case of Women's Cancers:

  1. Breast Cancer - Over-consumption of dairy fat, refined sugar, and refined flour products, along with oily/greasy foods. Excess of fruits will accelerate breast cancer, once it is caused by the previous foods
  2. Uterine Cancer - Heavy animal fat, including dairy products and their fat; over-consumption of vegetable oils, refined sugar products, and baked flour products
  3. Ovarian Cancer - Over-consumption of poultry, eggs, shellfish,, and baked flour products
  4. Cervical Cancer - Over-consumption of baked flour and salty foods; and oily/greasy fried foods, including animal and vegetable-quality foods

The Standard Macrobiotic Diet can prevent these cancers naturally, if it is properly prepared. But it can not only prevent, but it can also relieve these conditions. It may take 2 months to 2 years, depending upon how deeply undesirable foods have accumulated in the body. For some cases, it is helpful to supply for a few weeks to a few months some Home Remedies, prepared from grains, beans, vegetables, and sea vegetables, which are serving to neutralize and eliminate undesirable accumulations.

Furthermore, Way of Life Suggestions helpful for preventing and recovering from cancer include:

  • Scrubbing the body daily with a hot wet towel, to increase blood and energy circulation
  • Doing light exercise, like taking a walk for 1/2 hour a day
  • Meditation
  • Singing a happy song everyday, or chanting, along with proper breathing
  • Keeping green plants in the home, to emit nice oxygen
  • Wearing cotton undergarments and using cotton bedding
  • Minimizing the use of computers and television
  • Detaching electric gadgets from direct contact with the body, including battery-powered watches and cellular phones
  • Keeping water quality as near to natural as possible
  • Trying as much as possible to choose all food of organic or natural quality
  • Avoiding all emotional disruptions until your health is recovered
  • Sleeping early, about 10:00 or 10:30 p.m., and living a regulated, healthy life schedule
  • Not consuming food before sleeping for 2 to 3 hours
  • Chewing food very well, especially grains|

These dietary and way of life approaches have been demonstrated as effective ways to recover from cancer, with or without the application of any other methods, such as conventional medical treatments,, herbal treatments, the use of supplements, and acupuncture, moxibustion, special exercises, and other therapeutic approaches. These recoveries include terminal cases suffering from many kinds of cancers, medically classified as Stage 3 or 4.

The Macrobiotic approach does not negate any other useful approaches. However, diet and lifestyle are fundamental factors of human life. We trust this approach is essential for all cancers and other sicknesses, though other proper treatments can be added as supplements, according to the desire of the patient.

The relation and oneness of Body-Mind-Spirit, the relation of Chakras and Meridians, and the approach for some major cancers, including Home Remedies, will be explained in the afternoon breakout sessions today and tomorrow.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.


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