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Rating: 2 votes, 4.50 average.

Another one bites the dust

Posted 12-08-2008 at 09:33 AM by shastastar
Updated 12-08-2008 at 03:02 PM by shastastar
Excuse my momentary short ( I promise this is short, well it turned out not that short sorry!!! ) diversion from the throws of my topic du jour. I came across this today and to be honest was kind of miffed about it on first read. This is a youtube video of Kushi ( yes macrobiotic kushi) hocking a SUPPLEMENT called fermina which I think is fermented whole grain / vegetable


Now for you non-macros this may be no big deal. But considering that Kushi repeatedly has condemned supplementation of any kind repeatedly this is kind of upsetting. At first.....

Then I realized that hey.... he is just one teacher and macrobiotics is all about finding our own inner teacher and deciding what our compass says is right for us.

So maybe his compass ( or maybe his bank account) is telling him to sell this supplement after telling people for years that there was no value in supplementation, that it was harmful and everything should be done through food. Yeah that's on his yin / yang zen karmic balance not mine

Or maybe his opinion of the situation has evolved. Maybe now there is hope that his opinion on menstruation will now evolve as well ( for those of you that follow me this will be very funny)

So right now I am actually cool with it. I realize further that whatever his opinion that is all it is his opinion. Not mine, not anything I need to follow. I just need to stay my course. I go back and forth on whether or not I need supplementation ( I am currently on the yes I do need it with Yellow Dock Root and Vitamin B 12 and others complex don't worry Asmay LOL). Don't get me wrong I am not going to take off to Mc Donalds this morning like a bat from hell or anything.

By contrast Jessica Porter author of Hip Chicks Guide to macrobiotics admitted to a coffee addiction today on her blog. Yes coffee and she admitted she is a different person with the caffeine. Not an every day occurence, but often enough that she felt she needed to mention it. She also discussed at length how bad it is for you and why.... which is a whole separate blog that I will not indulge myself with...

So there you go.... like Dirk says in Kamakaze Cowboy " The truth is there are very few books worth reading, songs worth listening to, paintings worth gazing upon, singers worth hearing, plays worth seeing, poems worth reading, films worth viewing, dancers worth watching. They are worthless! Junk entertainment. Distractions. They are not reaffirmations of a divine universal soul, but rather the emotional, intellectual, discharges of sick people inflicting their diseases on their fellow man" (pp150-151)

So then just Kushi's opinion, my opinion, Dirk's opinion just our personal sicknesses. Not to take anything away from Kushi. His work and writings have saved a good number of people. Not to take anything away from Dirk for getting the word out because I know that has also saved a great number of people.

But we need to think for ourselves and find our own opinions people. I know again preaching to the choir here, but I had to get this off my soul ( so I can discharge more of my emotional and intellectual disease upon you)

Yours in Cheers Hope Faith Love bancha tea and perhaps (or perhaps not) one gingerbread soy latte
Total Comments 20


  • Old Comment
    Again, no disrespect to Kushi or his accomplishments, but any time a philosophy turns into an industry - there's going to be corruptions. And if anyone's looked at the Kushi Institute's web page... But Kushi, while knowledgeable, shouldn't be looked on as the 'infallible' expert - that's how so many look at doctors, after all.

    I'm still of the opinion that if one is eating properly, there's no need for "supplements", but I also know that it takes time to figure out what "eating properly" is - in detail. You have to first figure out what the basics are, then start adding foods for variety, taste - and learn what's available in your area and at what times of the year. Then start "reading" your body to see what's missing - and find the foods that will fill that void... oy vey!

    But in the long run, it's all worth it. I mean, that's what life is - experimenting and experiencing.
    Posted 12-08-2008 at 09:51 AM by ostarella ostarella is offline
  • Old Comment
    Just a side note (sorta) but has anyone read any of George Ohsawa's books? Kushi was a student of his. There are a couple on eBay right now. I understand Zen Macrobiotics is for more "advanced students" of MB, but I'm thinking his writings have been overlooked, perhaps to our detriment.
    Posted 12-08-2008 at 04:26 PM by ostarella ostarella is offline
  • Old Comment
    This is so much "synchronicity" I read a review of that very book today well sort of a review


    Check it out here... this might prove enlightening on at least that book

    Posted 12-08-2008 at 04:35 PM by shastastar shastastar is offline
  • Old Comment
    Having only a basic knowledge of Zen, I can't speak to whether his "assessment" is accurate or not. The article was very interesting to read, however, as it had me both shaking my head and nodding.

    However, as with all things I read, I found one statement that decided my "prejudice" as to agreement or disagreement with the overall sentiments:

    "Further, it could probably be demonstrated in some cases that macrobiotic recommendations actually contributed to a further deterioration of a person’s health due to malnourishment originating from the radical and nutritionally restricted nature of the diet employed."

    Whoa! Nutritionally restricted? What the heck is that supposed to mean? And if one is following - truly following - a macrobiotic diet, there *is* no such thing. There are *food* restrictions, obviously, but nutrition?

    So, okay, he's another "expert". Studied this for eons. So he knows what he's talking about, right? Hmm. He has his opinions. And... his agenda in the form of The Community Health Foundation.

    I'm sorry I'm such a skeptic. But any time I read anything from "experts" - particularly when it pertains to diets, health or any of that vast area of popular "trends" - I follow the money. The expert's money. Which is why I pay more attention to someone like Dirk instead of someone who has an institution or a library of literature with which to augment their pockets.

    So now I go to ponder where cynicism fits into MB...
    Posted 12-08-2008 at 05:06 PM by ostarella ostarella is offline
  • Old Comment
    I just wanted you to get an idea of maybe what the book was about. The zen name I found particularly interesting. The rest perhaps is rubbish, but that part was good. I think his organization is trying to back off from the idea that Macro is a cure all, and promote rather that MB is a healthy lifestyle and diet rather than curative.

    I do agree with you on the money thing. But in another one of his blogs ( where I found him this morning) he is calling out Kushi on the supplement stuff so there you are... and he goes on to say that he doesn't think people should expect payment for macrobiotic counselling .... so is he about money or not? Is he playing devils advocate or not? Who knows... but his MB path has obviously led him to this place LOL

    Posted 12-08-2008 at 05:16 PM by shastastar shastastar is offline
  • Old Comment
    I'll have to read more of his stuff, I guess. Like everyone, he'll be saying things that we agree with, and other things that are WTF? This article, he seemed to be going one way and then switch and go another, so I think it bears re-reading.

    That Zen thing is kinda funny - I have a book (actually my brother's) from the late 60s called Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and there was another one called Zen in the Art of Archery. I think it was a "catch word" back then for any book that even touched on philosophy (or personal musings)
    Posted 12-08-2008 at 05:25 PM by ostarella ostarella is offline
  • Old Comment
    Yes Shastastar, maybe you are preaching to the choire! Never mind, just keep that 'discharge' going!

    Btw, re opinions: doesn't everyone have his or her own 'truth', so to speak, which will always be more or less flawed by the limited experience and perspective of said person (for example, a man does not know the inner working of the female body or mind and vice versa, just to begin with). So I agree, they are just opinions which may or may not be (partly) valuable, main thing is that they make you form your own opinion.

    And on the supplement thing (good for you, take those vitamins!), when saying that you don't need supplements if you eat the right food is IMHO a cheap shot. In this way no attention is paid to the fact that not all people have the same needs or even start with the same basic 'supply'. I have heard of newborns with a considerable deficiency on certain vitamins and minerals, just because the mother also suffered this deficiency. After all, we are no factory products which all start out the same way. One person may need (much) more on certain vitamins or minerals than another, especially when one might be born with a certain deficiency already or if one's body doesn't process them as efficiently as it should. This is something which I feel is conveniently ignored by many, and also by Kushi.

    So all I want to say on MB or otherwise is: don't live your life by following other people's opinions, form your own (with or without supplements).
    Posted 12-11-2008 at 02:37 AM by asmay asmay is offline
    Updated 12-11-2008 at 02:39 AM by asmay
  • Old Comment
    "And on the supplement thing (good for you, take those vitamins!), when saying that you don't need supplements if you eat the right food is IMHO a cheap shot."

    Not really - if you're eating the right foods for *your* system, then you shouldn't need supplements. On the way to finding those right foods, sure. But I don't think there's anything a body needs that can't be found, eventually, in foods themselves.
    Posted 12-11-2008 at 07:25 AM by ostarella ostarella is offline
    Updated 12-11-2008 at 07:31 AM by ostarella
  • Old Comment
    Star I have to respectfully disagree with you on this one. No offense, but my whole life I have been iron deficient. Yellow Dock Root is an herb that works for me to increase my hemocrit level. It is the one vegan source that directly does this.
    There is simply no way any combination of readily available food that is macrobiotic solves my iron deficiency problem. I have had this problem of iron deficiency since I was an infant. No amount of meat / liver / spinach ( all non MB foods) on their own cured this problem. No amount of broccoli with vitamin C cured this problem for me. No amount / combination of MB preferred food cures this problem either in my case. MB does not take a stand either way on yellow dock root as an edible herb. So I use it.

    As for vitamin B12, there are a number of studies that have shown that most of the "normal" western diet is deficient in this important vitamin. Macrobiotic diets are even more deficient ( Asmay can explain this WAY better than I can) and studies have shown / proven that kids that grow up completely macro without B12 supplementation can suffer problems because of their deficiency. There are food sources of B12 but they are for the most part outside the MB guidelines. So there are no "good" ways to really get enough B12 without some type of supplementation if you are completely macro.

    I think it is dangerous to tell people that you will never need supplementation and will always be able to find what you need completely in food. Life is always changing. Needs are always changing, whether it is ( in the case of women) the menstrual cycle, menopause, pregnancy, or peri-menopause the energies are always shifting. So the needs will always be changing, sometimes in a way that we can anticipate and adjust to easily and sometimes in a way that we can't. You can only spend so much energy / money / time to find the right resources. So rather than becoming ill or seriously deficient, I think it is a better choice to supplement. Zen / Macrobiotics is not a road to a destination, it is a journey. A continuous changing journey that allows us to adapt to our changing life conditions, and that also plays a large role in creating and changing our life condition.

    Many of us especially in the US are very far removed from the food / cultures of our ancestors yet still carry the genetic adaptations that worked with the diet our ancestors ate. Many Vegans in general need B12 supplementation (there is a great deal or research on this) and some of the consequences for vegan children who are raised without this supplement are very disheartening.

    It is a choice to supplement yes, just as it is a choice to eat macrobiotically and follow a whole grain diet, but it is my opinion that we have to use our brains, weigh the choices and make the sensible ones. We need to be our own teachers, find our own way listen to ourselves and not the experts.

    While we may be able to find something we need in a food, the consequences of eating that food ( as in the case of meat) may not be worth the benefit that is gained from the vitamin or mineral that is found there. That is a judgement call that each of us makes.

    In the end that is what it comes down to.... using your brain and embracing your own common sense.

    Peace Love Hope Faith Warmth and Bancha

    Posted 12-11-2008 at 01:01 PM by shastastar shastastar is offline
  • Old Comment
    No problem Again, it all comes down to opinions based on what's been read and experienced. I did do a quick check on the B12 question and it appears that the experts have the same divergent views on B12 and a vegan/MB diet as we have, with some accepting the results of the studies and others stating how those studies were flawed. Again, you have to follow your own path, and not blindly believe *any* of the experts, but your own body and what it tells you.
    Posted 12-11-2008 at 03:11 PM by ostarella ostarella is offline
  • Old Comment
    If I can just add a little comment on this particular vitamin: B12 is an essential vitamin, necessary a.o. for the manufacture and support of new (red) bloodcells, a good performance of the nervous system, benefitting DNA-synthesis, supporting the working of iron in the body cells and for processing of vitamin A.

    The problem with B12 is that our bodies cannot make it themselves, therefore it has to be part of the food we eat. Main sources for vitamin B12 are: meat, liver, kidneys, fish, milk, cheese, soy beans, yeast, kelp. Whether there are other vegetable foods containing enough B12 is still under debate with the large world health orginizations. Therefore, when on an MB or vegan diet you have to eat a lot of (for instance) soy beans to digest a sufficient amount of B12.

    B12 is processed in the large intestine. Btw for this process you also need enough vitamin B11 (follic acid) which fortunately can also be obtained from non-meat or non-dairy products (for instance, dark green leaf vegetables, cabbage, beets, legumes, rye and nuts etc.) Unfortunately, most people living on our 'western' diet have a considerable lack of B11, which also leads to insufficient processing of B12.

    If you suffer or have suffered from intestinal problems your large intestine may not manufacture B12 as efficiently as it used to. The same applies for old people, since their whole system tends to work slower and less efficient. When suffering from Crohn's disease (inflammation of large intestine ) you will even need monthly B12 shots. Also some medicine/prescribed drugs tend to decrease the manufacture of B12, for instance this is the case when you are on Metformine (Glucophage) for diabetes.

    Characteristics of lack of B12 only become visible after a long time. Lack of B12 might lead to anaemia, digestic problems, neurological disorders, problems with concentration, depression, fatigue, difficulty walking or speaking, decreased reflexes. Which I think is why especially with growing children and MB this requires extra attention.

    I am definitely not saying that everyone should take supplements, that's a personal choice. But IMHO it's too easy to just discard them, because firstly there is NOT always a sufficient amount of all vitamins (and minerals for that matter) in MB or vegan foodstuff and secondly not every person has the same starting position (healthwise, agewise, etc.) in life.

    Sorry, didn't mean to go on like this, but in view of getting a complete picture for everyone I just had to put in my bit.
    Posted 12-12-2008 at 06:04 AM by asmay asmay is offline
  • Old Comment
    I read a great article in Chemistry World, Aug 2008, about supplements and hadn't had time to blog it yet. As usual your timely comments have prompted me to fish it out!
    (Sadly it is only available on the net with restricted view, so I'll cut and paste a few pithy sentences here.)
    Many people just don't have time to monitor their daily portions of fruit and veg, so they take the quick option and buy supplements instead.

    Most of these supplements contain common antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E, and provide a shortcut to the five a day option. But in the past few years evidence has emerged suggesting that some of the high dose capsules could do more harm than good.

    There is no doubt that a diet rich in antioxidant-containing fruit and vegetables is good for us. Antioxidants are often said to 'mop up' free radicals, which form when inhaled oxygen is metabolised, producing oxygen free radicals and other reactive oxygen species. The body's antioxidants can dispose of most of these free radicals but some remain to cause damage, including to DNA. Over a lifetime, the damage can reach a level high enough to cause mutations that initiate and promote cancer.

    Robert Verkerk, executive and scientific director at the Alliance for Natural Health, a UK not-for-profit organisation that promotes natural healthcare products, argues that synthetic forms of vitamins are considerably different from natural vitamin complexes found in foods. Naturally occurring vitamin E, for example, is a mix of four tocopherols and four tocotrienols but vitamin E supplements used in trials generally contain only alpha-tocopherol. The average western diet contains more gamma-tocopherol than alpha-tocopherol, and Verkerk argues that high doses of the alpha form inhibit the uptake of gamma-tocopherol. 'It's not really surprising that the trials end up with negative results,' he says.

    Halliwell points to a similar story with beta-carotene. 'A lot of carotenoids are absorbed from fruits and vegetables but if you take big doses of beta-carotene, you actually block the uptake of some of the other carotenoids.'
    The last 2 paragraphs in particular I found shocking. The material that is being sold as 'supplements' is not the same as that found in foods and is not absorbed nor used by the body in the same way. They really are no substitute for a balanced healthy diet.

    I agree however that when one is ill or becomes aware of a deficiency, then it may be useful to take supplements 'temporarily', as one author said, 'Like using a crutch whilst you have a broken leg, but once the leg is mended, throw the crutch away!'

    Re: B11 and B12
    There are natural vegan sources of it, but some vegetarians/vegans aren't eating a balanced diet and ensuring they are getting enough of these.
    Posted 12-12-2008 at 07:09 AM by deebeelicious deebeelicious is offline
  • Old Comment
    And here's another article about this
    In order to maintain a healthy body, there is a tripod of health: body, mind, and spirit. Knock out one leg of that stool, and the stool topples over. Probiotics, diet, dietary supplements address only the "body" leg of the health tripod. So let's start there.

    ... For example, scientists study, let's say, Vitamin C. They isolate it out from its original state that it is found in, let's say, an orange. They identify it by its chemical composition and name it Vitamin C of a certain type. Then a nutritional company or a drug company will duplicate that chemical complex and manufacture it synthetically and patent it. Why? Because you cannot patent the Vitamin C in an orange, but if you create your own synthetic clone of it, you can patent that and then sell it as "a vitamin supplement". It's about money;

    One final note: we are dynamic beings, therefore constantly changing. The requirement to pay attention (be aware) and make conscious choices moment to moment is the essential job of spirituality and self-mastery, which a life long process. You never get it done.

    Applying your spirit, listening to the Innate Intelligence within, will always lead you to your good. Always.

    Posted 12-12-2008 at 07:15 AM by deebeelicious deebeelicious is offline
  • Old Comment
    I agree, we are changing all the time, body, mind and spirit. And whether one should supplement vitamins or not is all up to oneself. I merely wanted to point out that rigidly stating vitamin/mineral supplements are unnecessary when on an MB or vegan diet is too black and white. Sure that would apply if you're a healthy, not too old grown-up, but unfortunately that is not the case for most of us. Let's just keep an open mind and not be judgmental about this: some of us will definitely have to take supplements for some time or for the rest of their lives although or in spite of being on an MB or vegan diet.

    So that's to address whether or not to take supplements. Then there's the question of which ones one would use.

    I totally agree that most chemically manufactured supplements are not the preferred choice. And one should certainly not 'overdose' on them in view of their possible reverse effect. (Let's not forget that the same applies for natural dairy products: they also backfire and have a decalcifying effect in the end.) I myself prefer orthomolecular supplements as their production requirements resemble the 'normal' medicine quality standards, as opposed to the production of commercial, more chemical supplements (at least here in Europe), and they maintain a higher level of efficacy. So once you decide to use a supplement it's highly recommended to get as much info on the kind or brand you would like to use. Asking a orthomolecular specialist whether and what you would need, would probably be the best thing, I think.

    Whether or not to use supplements when on an MB or vegan diet will always depend on a person's own situation. And if you don't need them, all the better. But if you do, don't discard them just because the DIET says you shouldn't need them. Listen to your body and if necessary: just take your vitamins and minerals.
    Posted 12-13-2008 at 02:12 AM by asmay asmay is offline
  • Old Comment
    I don't think anyone here has been either rigid or judgmental re: supplements, but we all have our own opinions and obviously we believe in them or we wouldn't put them out here. It wouldn't be much of a discussion if we all agreed For me, going MB was not only to get away from harmful foods, but also to get away from "artificial health". Eating flaxseeds or certain roots because you need what's in them to me is not a "supplement" - taking Vitamin C pills instead of eating brussel sprouts is. This is what I mean by finding the right foods for your system. Creating a balanced diet for your needs.
    Posted 12-13-2008 at 06:05 AM by ostarella ostarella is offline
  • Old Comment
    Sorry Ostarella, I didn't mean on the board, but rather Kushi himself, as Shastastar mentioned in the blog: "But considering that Kushi repeatedly has condemned supplementation of any kind repeatedly ...." And she is right, he did so in his books (at least the ones I read). That's too rigid for my taste, without considering that not everyone is on the same page at the same time (and some people may even never get there, despite MB). But now at least he has opened his mind to some form of supplementation (see the YT link in the blog).

    And about eating Brussels sprouts instead of vitamin C tablets: as a diabetic I try to eat as much of the 'good stuff' as possible to counter the damaging effects of this disease on the body. And as I can only eat so many brussels sprouts and oranges a day, I just do both ....
    Posted 12-13-2008 at 06:41 AM by asmay asmay is offline
    Updated 12-13-2008 at 07:34 AM by asmay
  • Old Comment
    Ah - I misunderstood, Asmay - oops

    I looked again at that YT - and had to shake my head. No supplements! - until it's one his people have developed and are selling... okaaaaay...

    There I'm being the cynic again...
    Posted 12-13-2008 at 07:16 PM by ostarella ostarella is offline
  • Old Comment
    No cynic, just a realist, I'm afraid . Ah well, the man is only human ... and is not likely to pass up on a business opportunity.
    Posted 12-14-2008 at 06:00 AM by asmay asmay is offline
  • Old Comment
    The problem with current supplements is that they are inferior to (or absorption by the body is less effective) that that found in natural foods. (Please see my 2 posts above about supplements).

    Also, food science only talks about how much of a substance is in the food, not how much is available for absorption into the body. The iron filings fortification in cereals is one misleading thing - most of that iron will pass out through the body because it is in the inorganic form which does not pass across the gut membrane. Organic iron (in the form of plant iron) is most easily absorbed, and haem iron next after that.

    The same is true for 'calcium' foritification - usually it is just chalk (calcium carbonate) which means again most of it will pass out through the body.

    The general supplement industry is such a rip-off!
    Posted 12-15-2008 at 04:09 AM by deebeelicious deebeelicious is offline
  • Old Comment
    I absolutely agree! The Dutch consumer organisation recently tested a number of supplement brands which were among the ones most sold and the results were shocking. Several supplements just passed through the body without being absorped at all: people said they could hear the tablets fall in the toilet, still in one piece .....

    And I'm certainly not advocating for the supplement industry. It's not that easy (and mostly more expensive) to find the right kind of supplements. That's how I ended up in the 'orthomolecular aisle', which btw got the thumbs up from the above consumer org.

    It's just that IMHO everyone on a vegan or MB diet should at least know about and be aware of possible deficiencies in this area. Whether or not someone wants to solve such a deficiency, and if so, whether by eating more of certain foods, taking supplements or a combination of both is a matter of personal choice. Which I think is a good thing (don't give the power to decide for yourself away to anyone, not even Kushi ...).
    Posted 12-16-2008 at 01:57 AM by asmay asmay is offline
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