I'd like to relate my experience with the healing power of macrobiotics. Throughout childhood and adolescence, I suffered from allergies. Practically every day of my life I would sneeze repeatedly and my nose would run. Nasal congestion was a year round problem, and became worse with the coming of late summer and hay fever season, when I would experience swelling in my nose and around my eyes.
From time to time this chronic condition erupted into a full-scale infection that included fever, mucus in the chest, and general bodily weakness, for which penicillin and other antibiotics were prescribed. Once, when I was eight years old, infection appeared in my throat and was diagnosed as tonsillitis, after which my tonsils were removed. That was the worst experience of my childhood, without a close second.
In the meantime, as the allergic condition continued, I usually traveled with a pack of tissues in my pocket and went to sleep with a box of tissues next to the bed. It was difficult to concentrate on schoolwork or fully participate in and enjoy life. From time to time my parents became concerned and would try to discover what it was that I was allergic to. The new carpet, the mattress, feathers in the pillow, and of course, the mysterious and unseen pollen all became suspect. At one point I went to an allergy specialist who injected my arm with a variety of substances in an attempt to identify the culprit. Small lumps, like mosquito bites, appeared where the needles had been inserted. However, according to the doctor, the results were inconclusive. The mystery continued.
Occasionally I would have strong reactions to animals, especially cats. At times, if I came in contact with an ordinary house cat, I would sneeze repeatedly and my eyes would water. If I touched the cat, itchy red spots would appear on my skin.
In the fall of 1970, at the age of nineteen, 1 discovered macrobiotics. Friends introduced me to a person who had spent time with George Ohsawa in the early 1960s in New York. Macrobiotics made perfect and absolute sense. Yin and yang were compelling and irresistible. According to the philosophy of macrobiotics, I was the cause of the allergies, not some external factor. Macrobiotic philosophy suggested that the condition was the result of poor blood quality resulting from an unbalanced diet, especially the repeated intake of foods such as milk, cheese, sugar, tropical fruits, ice cream, and too much fluid.
Dairy food was especially problematic. Like many others, I had assumed that milk products were a fact of life. Fortunately, macrobiotics liberated me from a lifetime of dependence on cows. I realized that my health, happiness, and even my spiritual development depended on whether or not I could wean myself from dairy products.
Although I began macrobiotics more for spiritual than for health reasons, when I began to eat whole grains, beans, cooked local vegetables, sea vegetables, miso, and other wholesome foods, and eliminated ice cream, candy, milk, butter, and cheese from my diet, the symptoms I had experienced all my life disappeared one by one. I was even able to be in the same room with a cat without experiencing discomfort. Rather than rejecting them as before, I now considered them as friends. Instead of being suspicious of the natural environment, I began to embrace it.
Source: This essay is based on an article entitled, Allergies, published in Case History, East West Foundation, Boston, Mass., Summer, 1975.
From Contemporary Macrobiotics
By Edward Esko
© 2000 Edward Esko