Michio Kushi: May 17, 1926 - December 28, 2014

The modern leader of the macrobiotic health movement, Michio Kushi, has passed away at 88 due to complications from pancreatic cancer. In Japan, Michio witnessed the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. He set his mind on creating world peace. He later became a student of George Ohsawa (Yukikazu Sakurazawa), known as the "father of macrobiotics" and then relocated to Boston, in 1949.

He decided that his first task was to observe people in their everyday lives. From this study, Michio deepened his understanding of physiognomy or, more appropriately, the art of diagnosis through observation. If the illness, the imbalance, can be determined then the individual can be returned to a state of balance. Balance being achieved by applying the Unique Principle, as taught by Ohsawa. The "Principle", itself, employs the traditional oriental practice of Yin and Yang study, to determine the quality of the materials in our universe. Though all aspects of the environment are important in the macrobiotic way of thinking, there is a special emphasis on food. This is because the food we eat becomes our bodies. Food turns into us. Therefore, special attention is paid to the quality of that portion of the environment which we consume.

All things, including food, can be classified into a "more yin" or a "more yang" category. Generally speaking, yin foods tend to be more sweet and/or watery and/or raw and/or tropical in origin. Yang foods tend to be more meaty and/or dry and/or cooked and/or salty and/or of polar origin.

Attention is also given to the immediate environment. For example, our clothes and furnishing should be from nature. There are many books on this subject and this is a brief explanation.

Mr. Kushi is often considered to be the originator of the natural food movement.

But this isn't what he was to me. That's a bit more personal. To me, Michio Kushi was an answer to a prayer that I had not prayed. How can one imagine to attain something if he doesn't know that it exists? In 1985, I was thirty-two, overweight and, in hindsight, I was miserable. I chain smoked, ate huge portions of poultry and beef and balanced my diet with vodka and wine. I had noticed that when I dieted for several days by eating canned greens I felt better, but then huge cravings for animal food set in.

In early summer, a friend loaned me one of Michio's earliest books and I decided to try the diet for two weeks, in order to lose weight. That was thirty years ago. I never stopped. I can't say that I'm the poster child for a balanced lifestyle but I can tell you that Michio Kushi changed my life. I started, a young man who doubted that he would live to be forty, and have since lived and worked in so many places in the world that I once dreamt I would only read about. More importantly, I am witness to the wonderful changes this macrobiotic lifestyle has produced in my family, my emotions and spiritual development.

Michio opened a door into a beautiful world that I never knew existed. I have seen what it has done for others and, yes, I've met people who have used his methods to heal themselves of cancer and blindness. Eighteen years ago, I had the opportunity to thank Michio in person. Today, it seems especially important that I did.

Kushi Institute

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