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“The Pioneer Diet” – A 1967 news article from an Iowa newspaper

December 24, 2009

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I found a scan of the following news article which I liked so much that I had to share it here. – Phiya

The Pioneer Diet

Eat The Food Of Your Founding Fathers, A Japanese Scholar Tells Quad-Citians, And Prolong Your Life

By Julie Jensen

February 12, 1967

Macrobiotics, defined as the art of prolonging life, is a matter of food and philosophy in the opinion of Michio Kushi, Japanese scholar and lecturer who recently presented his views in the Quad-Cities.

“About 10,000 people in the United States are living by macrobiotics including Gloria Swanson, Red Buttons, and Frances Nuyen.” Kushi says, adding “and there may be many more we don’t know about.”

“Macrobiotics is a universal way of life in the Orient. It’s not complicated, but very simple and practical.  We live according to the order of the universe, which is constant movement and change.”

Kushi came to the United States 17 years ago.  At the age of 32, he was vice-president of Takashimaya, the famous Japanese department store in New York City, but he has surrendered his interests in the store to devote his time to study and lecturing on Oriental philosophy and macrobiotics.

At Tokyo University he studied law, political science, and philosophy. He came to the United States under World Federalists sponsorship and pursued the same studies at Columbia University.  After a period in Europe, he returned to Columbia to complete his graduate study.

“For a time, my days were devoted to business and my nights to lecturing,” he says, “but now all my time is devoted to explaining the way of life that is so important.”

Kushi lives with his wife and five American-born children ranging from two to 12 in Brookline, Mass., a Boston suburb.

“I grew up during wartime in Japan,” he says, “and I desperately wanted peace throughout the world.  When I first heard of a biological method of changing the world, I denounced it because I couldn’t understand it.  After I studied the theories, I began to recognize the importance of daily food and living.  Without the development of human quality, we can’t expect much in the way of world peace and prosperity.”

Human development depends a great deal on the food we eat, according to Kushi, and he says, “We should eat what grows in our living area, not in Cuba or Afghanistan.  We should eat within a 500 mile radius of the place where we live.

“Our main food should be the cereals like rice, wheat, barley, and oats.  The second most important category is vegetables and the third is fish, fruits, dairy products and meat.

“We are primarily interested in the development of our judgment through biological change of quality, which is achieved by proper eating.

“Our thoughts, ideas, and judgment depend on the quality of our body.  Great men like Pythagoras, Plato, Moses, Buddha, Confucius, and Zoroaster all emphasized the importance of food and believed that the mainstay should be cereal.

“Man CAN eat anything – snakes, snails – but he should eat in an orderly manner, taking into account the change of seasons and the change of environment,  Out-of-season foods are not good for you, but it’s all right to eat something exotic once or twice a year.

“Modern civilization has brought chaos to the eating order.  Improved transportation has brought everything from everywhere.

“It is best to eat like the founding fathers of this country.  They didn’t have cola and vitamin tablets, but they were strong, and they built this country.  They were forced to eat the food of their own environment in its proper season and were better off for it.”

The philosophy that goes along with Kushi’s “Pioneer Diet” consists of a few simple points:

  1. Do not accuse or attack other people..
  2. When others accuse or attack you, accept it.
  3. Try to change yourself to adapt to difficulties and hardships, which offer opportunities for growth and strength,
  4. Respect your enemies.
  5. Work in harmony in every relationship

Kushi calls his theories “Common sense that needs pointing out.  I do not claim to be a healer.  If a person is sick, I tell him to see a medical doctor, but if he is interested in life and how to make himself happy and sound, then I am very interested in talking to him.”

Kushi’s motto would seem to be “Eat Right and Don’t Fight”, and he’s much more interested in spreading this gospel than in “studying gift items for Takashimaya.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Nicole Rozen permalink
    January 2, 2010 1:38 pm

    Thank-you for posting this Phiya. What wealth there always is in your contributions, what texture, feeling and colour! History in the making – even to my ignorant mind there is a wonderful nostalgia here and – as always – the very base and hearty flavour of truth on which we all could chew more fervently:)

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