DIETARY GUIDELINES FOR HEALING OPTIMIZING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Way of eating is one of many important factors in optimizing the immune system and fighting off any viral infections and dis-ease. Stress in all forms results in an acidic condition, which allows the virus to easily enter and begin to proliferate. The main acid-forming nutritional factors are concentrated protein (mainly animal protein), simple sugar, and refined carbohydrates. In my opinion, they are the #1 factors in viral infections and epidemics. Over 50 years ago, George Ohsawa, the modern-day father of macrobiotics, wrote that animal protein and refined sugar are the main causes of human illness and suffering. I believe his words still hold true today, and humanity of the future will recognize the simple truth he taught. The following guidelines will support those feeling rundown, weak, or the desire to protect your body from becoming ill.
Soft brown rice or genuine brown rice cream, if digestion is weak or no appetite, serve the porridge with umeboshi plum daily. Another condiment for grain is gomashio (sesame seed and sea salt), shiso condiment, or sea vegetable condiment may be substituted or alternated.
If whole foods can be tolerated, rice balls may be given several times per week with umeboshi and nori. Millet may be substituted or alternated with rice. Other grains such as barley, whole wheat, oats, or rye may also be used.
Miso soup daily eaten daily with moderate to strong salty taste using 2-year aged barley miso or other aged miso (South River Miso and Master Miso are my favorites.) Add wakame or kombu seaweed, and seasonal vegetables; other vegetable or beans soups may be taken occasionally and seasoned with shoyu/tamari or sea salt.
Eat a modest amount of vegetables, including leafy green, round, and root vegetables. They should be steamed, boiled, sautéed, or cooked with other lighter cooking methods. Avoid the use of oil temporarily.
A small volume of beans may be taken daily if appetite and digestion allow, especially lentils, chickpeas, azuki beans, and black soybeans (1/2 cup or less per meal.) Use only organic or non-GMO soy and soy products; other beans may be substituted for these.
Small amounts of nori, wakame, and kombu daily; hiziki or arame daily.
Gomashio or roasted and ground sesame seed salt in a proportion of 16:1 may be taken. Other condiments may be used on rice, grain, or other dishes for strengthening the condition and preventing or relieving infection. These include umeboshi plums, tekka, sea vegetable powders, shiso leaf powder, and others. Only about 1 teaspoon of condiment should be taken at the meal. A touch of lemon may be used to help decongest the liver, especially if animal food has been previously eaten. But avoid too much is acidic for healing.
Eat 1 tablespoon daily of home-made pickles made with shoyu, miso, sea salt, rice bran, or other traditional medium (not sugary, spicy, or chemically treated). Sauerkraut may be taken instead.
Kukicha and occasionally roasted barley tea or other traditional non-stimulant, non-aromatic tea may be taken daily. Drink when thirsty, but when dehydrated drink continuously or as necessary. Spring, well, or filtered water may be used in cooking or for drinking. Avoid mineral water and distilled water. Ideal temperature is hot/warm or room temperate but never cold.
Use white sea salt in cooking and avoid sea salts that are grey, pink, yellow, or clumpy, as they generally have excessively high mineral content. Also avoid all commercial table salt. Use shoyu/tamari (natural soy sauce) in cooking; use miso and umeboshi as a seasoning in moderation; avoid strong herbs and hot spices.
Avoid temporarily, though a small amount of sesame oil may be brushed on skillet if the person is too malnourished and wasting away; olive or other plant oil may be substituted for sesame (either light or dark). Avoid coconut and palm oil as they are saturated and may contribute to heart disease.
Avoid all animal food temporarily as it can concentrate the virus. In extreme cases when the person is malnourished or wasting away, a small volume of white meat fish soup may be given for energy. Serve with a little lemon or grated raw daikon, turnip, or radish to aid in digestion.
Fruit and fruit juice
Avoid or reduce temporarily, but a little stewed fruit, especially that with a sour as opposed to a sweet taste, may be taken in cases of tightness or during the recovery period after the virus has been eliminated.
Nuts and Seeds
Avoid nuts temporarily except chestnuts; no nut butters. A small volume of pumpkin or sesame (1/2 to 1 cup per week) may be taken, ideally blanched or dry roasted, and eaten on grains or vegetables. Avoid tahini and other seed butters temporarily if you have any symptoms.
Snacks, Sweets, and Desserts
As a rule, avoid or reduce during the illness, including natural sweeteners. However, if cravings or too contracted a condition arises, up to 1 tablespoon of brown rice syrup or barley malt may be taken. A small volume of cooked fruits may also be taken, if necessary, ideally thickened with kuzu. The less sweets you eat, the better.
Medicinal Drinks and Dishes
Amount and frequency will depend on each individual.
• Ume-sho-kuzu: 1-2 small cups daily until recovered to help strengthen blood and lymph, resist infection, and reduce vomiting. Ume-sho-bancha may be taken if kuzu is not available. Ume refers to umeboshi plum; sho to shoyu or natural soy sauce, and kuzu to kuzu (kudzu) root thickener. If kuzu is not available, use kukicha (bancha twig tea). If this is not available, just use water. For the full recipe, check the last blog post.
• Shio kombu: 1/2 to 1-inch square daily for up to 10 days to strengthen the blood and restore flexibility to the heart and blood vessels and prevent hemorrhaging. This is salty kombu.
One or more of the following may also be given depending on symptoms
• Azuki Bean Tea to strengthen kidney discharge: 1 small cup daily
• Barley or Pearl Barley Tea to soften skin and facilitate discharge: 1 small cup 2-3 times per week.
• Sweet Veggie Drink: 1 small cup daily to reduce sweet cravings. (Made with 4 sweet vegetables: squash, onions, carrot, and cabbage cooked in water and no seasoning). Have blog post for the recipe as well.
• Kombu Tea: 1 small cup daily or every other day to strengthen blood.
• Dried Daikon and Shiitake Tea: 1-2 times per week or more for acute cases to facilitate discharge of excess animal protein, relieve blockages, and relax.
• Kanten (made from agar agar)to cool down the body and prevent overheating from within.
• Lotus Root: Use fresh or dried lotus root in cooking (e.g., miso soup or side dish) to help relieve internal bleeding and strengthen the lungs.
• Tofu-chlorophyl plaster on head, as much as needed, if necessary, to break a high fever. A cold cabbage leaf compress will provide relief as well.
• Roasted salt pack on the kidneys, abdomen, or other region to relieve muscle aches or pain.
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Basic Home Remedies by Alex Jack, Bettina Zumdick, and Edward Esko. Macrobiotic home cares, including special dishes, foods, and compresses that may be helpful.
Aveline Kushi’s Complete Guide to Macrobiotic Cooking by Aveline Kushi with Alex Jack, Warner Books, 1985. The principal macrobiotic cookbook.
The Macrobiotic Path to Total Health by Michio Kushi with Alex Jack, Ballantine Books, 2003. A comprehensive guide to preventing and relieving more than 200 chronic and infectious conditions, including menus, recipes, and home cares.