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Macrobiotics and The 2020 Pandemic

April 22, 2021

The following is a response to a question about the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 posted on Facebook on April 15, 2021.

Q: In your estimation, what is the underlying cause/ effect of this Covid ‘viral pandemic’, and are these vaccines along with masks and distancing appropriate, enough and/ or what is the optimal way forward?

Thank you for your question and patience for a reply.

I think it should be clear that the damage this viral pandemic has done and the deaths it has caused have been made exponentially greater by the chronic consumption of highly processed foods, especially concentrated and refined sugars, and other excessive dietary choices. So any way forward in dealing with future pandemics should necessarily address diet and lifestyle choices as doing so will drastically reduce future morbidity rates. But this probably won’t happen until the majority of the world finally understands this and actually stops eating and producing such foods. Still, this does not take away the influence of viruses and the question of why they arise and how to best deal with them as your question is asking.

I appreciate your question as it is broadly about this pandemic and, by association, all pandemics and viruses and how we should go about addressing them and what we can do better in the future when this happens again. Previous questions to me on this subject were mostly concerned about the taking of COVID vaccines, which are important to consider on a personal level of choice, but are much better understood in the context of broader questions such as the one you asked.

I did write an unpublished paper on this subject a year ago that explores these larger points. However, until it is released, which is uncertain if it ever will, I will share with you some thoughts here.

First of all, I would like address some “macrobiotic myths” about viruses:

Myth #1: Viruses don’t cause diseases

Technically, refined sugar doesn’t cause diseases either. But once it gets into your body things do happen.

We generally accept the fact that there are, for example, poisonous mushrooms that, if eaten can be lethal. Why, then, do some deny the entire world of bacteria and viruses, which are greatly more diverse and abundant on earth and naturally must include entities that may be lethal to us but are fine to accept the existence of, say, deadly mushrooms and other potentially harmful substances that we are careful to avoid all the time. That makes no sense to me.

Myth #2: Terrain Theory is true (and “macrobiotic”) while Germ Theory is not

This myth maybe the cause of why some think that viruses, germs and parasites don’t cause diseases. While Terrain Theory was encouraged by Ohsawa there is nothing to show why both theories aren’t true at the same time. Certainly, depending on the host environment, like in the case of COVID-19, viruses can be much more much lethal or not but, as mentioned above, that fact does not take away the role that the viruses do play.

I believe the problem happens when two competing theories are viewed as a choice between one versus another when both can be true at the same time. If you only accept one theory and deny the other then you are missing half the picture. Mistakes made about viruses in the medical community stem from the denial of Terrain Theory while mistakes made in the macrobiotic community stem from the denial of Germ Theory.

I think Ohsawa’s emphasis on the importance of Terrain Theory was due to the fact that it was dismissed by those who denied it and exclusively believed in Germ Theory (like Schweitzer). It did not help that Ohsawa was very dramatic in his expressions and characterizations like branding Pasteur as a dangerous person. However, those who believe in Germ Theory today are accepting of the impact of environmental factors such as diet, lifestyle and other environmental influences on the world of bacteria and viruses. This is similar to those who only used to believe in genetics but are now discovering epigenetics and the even greater impact it has on us.

Myth #3: Vaccines are more harmful than the viruses themselves

This is obviously not true. Vaccines, given their widespread application, may certainly cause adverse reactions, even death, in rare cases and situations but this is true for anything and everything we do. If someone is willing to expose themselves to harmful viruses then there is no logical reason to avoid exposing one’s self to something that is designed to cause a similar reaction but in a milder and more manageable form. Opponents to vaccines will point to a list of harmful and questionable substances included in the vaccines which is important to note and improve yet seem to forget that we are constantly exposed to many toxic and questionable substances, often by choice, in far greater amounts on a daily basis and yet have no serious problem in discharging these from our systems.

Myth #4: There are alternative and “natural” ways to prevent exposure to viruses

No, there aren’t. There may be less invasive ways to suppress our bodies reaction to viruses, in other words, to better treat and prevent the diseases caused by them but there is no natural way to avoid exposure to them which is why masks and social distancing are an effective preventive measure for airborne viruses. The most natural way to approach new viruses is to be exposed to them, but preferably in amounts that are not lethal where the body can learn how to easily discharge them, which is the rationale behind vaccines. One can also eat better and strengthen one’s self to better handle viral infections and reduce their impact but that won’t prevent exposure to them.

There may be other myths that need addressing but these are the ones I can think at the moment.

So what are viruses?

Viruses are bits of genetic material surrounded by proteins. They are vital to the continued evolution and development of all life and we rely on them just as we rely on bacteria and archaea.

Viruses are not alive and can only reproduce themselves inside a living host. Viruses mainly come from diseased and/or dying cells of all types from bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes, like us. The more different the origin of the cell of the virus to us, the less likely they are to be harmful to us and, in most cases, are beneficial to us. Indeed among the trillions of viruses that exist there are very few that are actually harmful to us. For example, all plant viruses do not harm us at all and are even helpful to us in accessing the nutrients stored in plants. Viruses that are more of a threat to us are those that come from mammals as opposed to those that come from less evolved species. However, viruses that come from our own cells are no threat to us either as our own body knows how to recognize and get rid of them. So, in order for a virus to do harm to us it has to be different yet similar enough for our body to absorb without being discharged from us.

What is the immune system?

Our body essentially has two functions: to consume and absorb what it needs and to discharge what it doesn’t need in order to grow and live. What it discharges includes all the dead and dying cell material as well as all the things we take in and process every day. The immune system is simply an integral part of this discharge process. If we over-consume in general or consume any one thing in excess then we compromise our ability to discharge effectively. One particular food item that greatly compromises our immune system is the over consumption of concentrated and refined sweets and sugars, specifically, monosaccharides.

In addition, we rely on a variety of bacteria, archaea and fungi to assist us in the process of digestion and elimination otherwise known as the microbiome which, in turn, are assisted by the tremendous amount of viruses in us, known as the virome, which is even greater than the microbiome. If the microbiome is impacted in any way we can also compromise the immune system.

What are pandemics?

Bacteria and viruses are geographic and climate dependent. Since viruses come from life forms then they are subjected to geographic and climatic differences. Every distinct geographic area has its own unique bacterial and viral makeup just as, for example, kangaroos and koalas are only found in Australia, penguins in Antarctica, and polar bears in the arctic and so on, not to mention all the diverse plant material and microbes in the ground, air and water.

Thus pandemics in humans arise when humans, bacteria and viruses from different areas come together for the first time. In other words, they are the natural result of the globalization of the human world. On an individual level it is common for persons first visiting, for example, Alaska from the lower 48 States to become ill during the first few days of their visit. This generally happens whenever one travels for the first time to any new and vastly different environment that their body is not used to. It is the body (and microbiome) naturally adjusting itself to a new environment teeming with different bacteria and viruses. But this adjustment only happens once. The next time they visit the same place it does not happen again because the body has already made the adjustment. This adjustment phase can also happen, to a lesser extent, when seasons and climates change. But these changes aren’t necessarily the result of exposure to new bacterial environments but rather the body and the microbiome simply reacting to changes in the season and weather, which is why many experience seasonal colds and flus. This can also happen when a person newly encounters the microbiome of a different person or animal and any other similar situation.

What do viruses do?

There are many kinds of viruses and they can be classified by the type of genetic material they carry, otherwise known as their “Baltimore Classification”. They can also be organized by how they infect their host (e.g. blood borne, airborne, etc.) as well their shape, origin and other factors. Depending on all these varying attributes different viruses infect different areas in the body. But what they all generally do is exploit the weaknesses and excesses of their host and cause their host to try and discharge those excesses. The amount of excesses in our system will determine the severity and duration of the infection. In addition to over eating, these excesses can come in the form of excess animal and dairy food consumption, excess oil, excess sugars and sweets, refined flour products and so on.

In the case of COVID-19 the body goes into overdrive and seeks to discharge these excesses as fast as possible. If there is plenty of excess to discharge then the resulting cytokine storm can become lethal by overwhelming the host. In any event, with COVID-19, the body goes through an accelerated process of discharge which is why people temporarily lose their sense of taste and smell and why some may get tinnitus and other issues related to discharge. These symptoms will generally go away when the body eventually recovers its normal intake and discharge processes.

SARS-CoV2 Characteristics

What is clear about the corona virus (SARS-CoV2) is that it did originate in bats. Whether it was modified in a lab from the first SARS virus and then was released by error or came in the way of wet markets is still unclear. Personally, I think the accidental lab outbreak is a more plausible scenario as the people most interested in bat viruses are researchers of the previous SARS virus which actually did come from bats.

That it came from bats is significant from a yinyang perspective and why doing things in the opposite of what bats do seem to have beneficial effects against the impact of virus. For example, being out in the sun more as bats are nocturnal, hence why people with increased amounts of vitamin D seem to do better with COVID-19.

Bats also consume plenty of fruits. The best way to prevent severe COVID-19 effects is to cut out the consumption of all concentrated and refined sugar and fruit, or mono- and disaccharides. They not only cause inflammation and weaken us the ACE2 receptor, which is the entry point for the coronavirus, is coated with these. Cutting these out from one’s diet will naturally reduce infection and inflammation.


Theoretically, vaccines should work very well in creating herd immunity. If we are talking about a confined and limited population being vaccinated quickly and completely then that is the ideal scenario. However, the idea to vaccinate the world is unwieldy and, for all intents and purposes, practically impossible. This is due to several reasons. First, we don’t live in isolated communities but in a global economic world of high speed transportation. It’s one thing to vaccinate a small village of people who do not travel much as opposed to trying to vaccinate an entire bustling city like New York where people and things are constantly coming and going from around the world. So naturally, a small island country like New Zealand with a population of only 5 million can better control the virus far more effectively than the USA or Japan. Another reason is that it is a logistical nightmare and the potential for errors and problems increase exponentially both in the making of an effective and safe vaccine on such a large scale and having an efficient and timely delivery system. Timely delivery is crucial because of the third and, perhaps most important factor and that is that the virus mutates overtime as it is passed on between hosts rendering a specific vaccine ineffective for these new mutations. Fortunately though, mutations occurring among humans generally evolve toward safer and less harmful viruses and serve to strengthen our ability to deal with future similar viruses.

Masks and Social Distancing

As temporary measures to slow a viral spread, masks and social distancing can be very effective. Masks work extremely well in the operating rooms of hospitals so there is no reason to believe that they won’t be effective in other enclosed environments.

Indeed, proof that these measures work is in the considerable worldwide drop in the occurrence of all other more common viral diseases once these measures were put into place. You can read an article about this here:

A sharp drop in flu cases during COVID-19 pandemic

Diet and Lifestyle

It should be noted that the aim of all these measures including vaccines is not to stop the spread of the virus but to delay its spread to a more manageable (less lethal) state and to ultimately move toward achieving herd immunity with the least number of casualties. However, what is missing in this scenario is the understanding of how diet and lifestyle can also reduce the mortality rates of viral infections.

It should be obvious to anyone familiar with macrobiotics that preventive dietary measures can help reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms and, therefore, mortality rates. For maximum efficacy against pandemics, people should ideally implement these changes before they occur. Regardless, making dietary changes are beneficial at any time. There might be some rare instances where COVID patients may be better served with gentler dietary changes. These changes include simply eating less and reducing consumption of meat, dairy, all refined concentrated sugar products while also increasing fermented foods and fresh vegetables.

Returning Back To “Normal”

Of course, many feel and felt constrained and even oppressed by the shutdowns and social distancing measures and look forward to returning to life pre-COVID-19. Many lost their livelihoods on top of the health risks brought on by the virus. Efforts are being made by governments and organizations to correct these issues as well as looking at what systems need to be in place in order to prevent whatever economic and social damage may arise from future pandemics such as in the Great Reset

However, what’s missing here from a macrobiotic perspective is a deeper reflection about ourselves that is normally done when we encounter an illness on a personal level. That deeper reflection involves looking at who we are, what have we been doing and that we probably need to change our entire orientation in life. In other words, the pandemic should give all of us pause to reflect on the entire direction of humanity.

With that in mind then there are some things to consider about the occurrence of viral pandemics and what we consider as a “normal” life. If you notice, all pandemics of the past are associated with catastrophic war and aggressive conquest and subjugation of others – the Spanish Flu arose out of World War I, the Bubonic Plague out of the wars between Europe and the Middle East, the devastation of Native Americans out of their exploitation and subjugation by European conquerors.

Since the industrial revolution, humanity has been on a war footing that has only accelerated since both World Wars and the Cold War. What we call our “normal” pre-COVID way of life is an extremely accelerated way of life designed to fund global wars and aggressive economic competitiveness against each other. To me, this way of life is actually not normal at all. Indeed, the pandemic shutdown of our war-inspired economy, is a step toward a reduced economy of self-reliance, cooperation and peace which also happens to, not coincidently, benefit the natural environment as well. In other words, there is no one to blame for this virus, the pandemic and subsequent shutdowns but ourselves and our xenophobic, competitive attitudes as we race against each other to deplete the earth of every last remaining natural resource. The more reckless we are to beat each other at this game of global economic dominance the more we risk creating new pandemics to interfere in exactly what we shouldn’t be doing. There is nothing “normal” about our modern way of life and we can be grateful to this pandemic for giving us a glimpse into this insight.

The other way to look at it is that if we wish to consider our global accelerated way of life as “normal” then we should also expect global catastrophes (pandemics, climate change, economic and political struggles) as “normal” as well. One goes along with the other. It’s really a matter of what we wish and choose to do for ourselves and our planet.

So what is the way forward?

Since you are asking me, I personally think we should be striving for herd immunity against certainty, arrogance, blame and the unquestioned acceptance of our values including what we consider as normal. Hopefully then, in our new found wisdom, we will be able to easily solve these problems before they arise.

There is obviously a lot more to discuss here but I think the above gives you a broad understanding of my thoughts on this subject.

Thanks for asking

6 Comments leave one →
  1. jozef deville permalink
    April 22, 2021 8:51 am

    We are utterly surprised by the weakness and the acceptance of mainstream information in macrobiotic circles . From day 1 we were not afraid ( being in to macrobiotics ) and very soon saw the misleading information by experts all over the world . The basic explanations about life and health by Oshawa were enough for us to understand the situation and eventually do things but much more “not do” . To our great surprise holistic attitudes about health and medecine
    seem not to have reach the bigger part of the populations since macrobiotics was introduced in the west ; by this covid 19 ,formerly known as the flue ( the flue totally dissapeared worldwide !) the level of understanding about health and sickness of the average citizen came to the surface , so apparently nothing really changed in that domain !
    Since we are not specialists we can not judge about the article , our common sense about Health in general influenced by Oshawa is for us sufficient : for us it’s still the old medical paradigm trying to impose his power .

  2. Barbara Gale Jack permalink
    April 22, 2021 12:10 pm

    Well researched, well written and greatly appreciated.

  3. Bob De Pourque permalink
    April 22, 2021 2:14 pm

    Dear Phiya

    I am very interested in your newsletter and insights. Do you have any information about Dr Marc Van Cauwenberghe? He is a good friend and I miss some contact.

    Kind regards

    Bob De Pourque


    Op do 22 apr. 2021 om 15:13 schreef Phiya Kushi :

    > Phiya Kushi posted: ” The following is a response to question about the > coronavirus pandemic of 2020 posted on Facebook on April 15, 2021. Q: In > your estimation, what is the underlying cause/ effect of this Covid ‘viral > pandemic’, and are these vaccines along with masks an” >

  4. H. Augevita permalink
    May 6, 2021 9:09 am

    Thanks for posting again! I have been hoping you were away due to writing a book (or books)

  5. Brit permalink
    June 26, 2021 7:16 am

    best info I have read anywhere! I hope enough people read this and take your advice!

  6. Mark Jennings permalink
    October 14, 2021 5:24 am

    Josef, I agree with you. I’m perplexed by current macrobiotic thinking on this.

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