Cereal Grains – Part 2
Principal food for human beings. By Dean Cooling
Continued from Part 1…
Some present day nutritionists claim that cereal grains are not suitable for regular consumption and are acidic to the body. And some recommend the avoidance of grains altogether. In the laboratory grains show up as having an acidic ash and are therefore considered to be acid forming in the body. But modern science in a laboratory does not necessarily accurately represent real life. As humanity has done for thousands of years, if we soak our grains and then cook them with a pinch of salt, and we chew them well, mixing the grains with our saliva (a major part of the digestive process for complex carbohydrates), they have a slightly alkalising effect in our body and are most suitable for daily consumption.
Problems arise when grains are consumed after being hulled, a process that removes essential nutrient and fibre. This, combined with the consumption of the myriad of other extreme foods in our diet (sugar, nightshade vegetables, processed foods, excessive meat and dairy, artificial additives, drugs, chemicals, etc, etc.) creates poor blood quality, weakens digestion and leads to a host of illnesses and maladies of various sorts. The solution is to leave the outer layers on the grain and appropriately re-introduce them into the diet while at the same time restoring healthy digestion by chewing well and avoiding inappropriate and artificial foods.
The world we live in – (the macrocosm: including planets, stars, galaxies, and space; and the microcosm: including the atoms and their particles; and everything in between) – is a world of relativity. That is, everything is made of opposite tenancies, or energies, that define, limit, and complement them.
In traditional oriental understanding the terms given to these opposing tendencies are yin and yang. Yang energy begins with contraction and produces heat, movement, sound and many other qualities. Yin energy begins with expansion and produces coolness, stillness, and silence. All phenomena come from and include these two primary forces.
Like everything else, the food we eat is created by these two forces and when we consume these foods, the energy they contain creates a similar energy in our body and mind. The ideal way to achieve health is to take food and drink that are neither too yang, nor too yin. That is, we should eat centrally balanced food and avoid extremes (or at least substantially reduce consumption of them).
(Of course, our personal relationships, weather, our constitution, thoughts, activities, emotions etc., all effect our health and well-being. However, the energy we derive from our daily consumption of food and drink can be seen as the foundation for these other things).
Below is a scale diagram listing food categories from yang to yin.
The most balanced foods that should compromise the greater portion of our diet are whole-grains (brown rice, millet, oats, barley, etc.), with vegetables and legumes. Fruits, nuts, seeds, sea vegetables, condiments etc. can make up the remainder. A balanced, varied diet will ensure all the nutrients necessary for health.
Looking at the scale, if we consume an excess of food from one end of the scale, we automatically require food from the opposite extreme to balance ourselves. For example, salty cheese needs wine or fruit juice to balance. Bacon and eggs creates a desire for coffee or a jam croissant, while a steak dinner makes you think of dessert, or alcohol. If this continues in a see-sawing fashion, disharmony, or illness in body and mid will result. If we eat whole-grains as our principal food, it is easier to maintain well-being and balance.
After eating only grains and pulses for ten days, Daniel and his friends were healthier, and better in appearance than the youths who ate the King’s rich food. And God was well pleased and ‘bestowed upon them the gift of prophecy and the ability to interpret dreams’.
Book of Daniel (Holy Bible)
Plants grow from a very small, contracted beginning – a seed. When plants reach their most expanded stage, flowers and fruits are formed. Then from there, compact seeds develop, then fall to the ground and begin to grow. Contraction leads to expansion and expansion leads to contraction. On and on this cycle is endlessly repeated. Cereal grains are a unique plant in that their fruit and seed are combined. Ordinary fruits have a clear distinction between the seeds and the fruit but with grains they are both combined into one edible form. The beginning, the seed, and the end, the fruit, have been made into one, representing the most recent adaptation of plant-life on earth. Fruits are quite watery and decompose fairly quickly whereas grains have such vitality that they can be kept for two or two thousand years and still grow when planted.
Electro-magnetic energy is constantly spiralling in toward the earth from billions and trillions of star systems outside our own. Energy is also spiralling outward from the centre of the spinning earth as well. These two invisible energies permeate and animate all things. We can see that this is so when we study the spiral motion of galaxies and solar systems; when we observe the movement of weather patterns; the currents of the oceans; the growth of plants; the formation of sea shells; the whorls on our fingertips; our hair spiral and the helical structure of DNA. We will see a visible example of this stream of energy if we suspend a pendulum over the hair spiral on top of a man’s head. It will rotate in a clockwise direction – indicating a predominance of energy spiralling downwards from the heaven’s above, or outside the earth. If the pendulum is placed above the head of a woman it will rotate in an anti-clockwise direction – indicating a predominance of upward rising energy, from the earth which passes through a woman’s body. All living things conduct both these energies with one being more predominant than the other.
Another unique facet of grains is that they receive energy more from heaven. Fruits are formed by the interaction of energy coming from heaven and earth. An apple is formed by receiving earth’s energy at its navel at the bottom, and heaven’s energy at the indentation at the top. These two energies mingle together and produce the apple – the seed being the last formation of the fruit. Many vegetables such as pumpkins are formed like this. Most vegetables receive more of earth’s force.
Cereal grains are unique in this respect. Their fruit does not hang down as most fruits do, but extends upwards. Their physical food comes from the stem, whereas their hair-like ‘tassels’ reach upward to receive more of heaven’s incoming energy. This fact is very significant for human beings. Macrobiotic educator Michio Kushi has expressed the following – “If you wish to acquire a more definite physical feeling for what’s meant by ‘spirit’, just walk through a field of grain – such as rice, wheat or corn. That sudden sweep of energy which you feel rising up on all sides is the vertical polarisation of the growing grain. This earth/heaven orientation of energy is not destroyed by the chemical process of cooking or digestion and goes to form our very cells, including, of course, our central nervous system”.
By feeding on these uniquely formed grains for millions of years our ancestors assumed an upright posture. Our forebears received more of heaven’s electro-magnetic energy, just as the highly charged grains do. And with this we ultimately developed greater intelligence, sensitivity and spirituality – we developed our humanity. By departing from grains as our staple food we lose these traits – we lose our clear vision, our sense of wholeness, our natural quality, our place in the order of the universe. We lose our native health and our spirituality.
If we return to eating naturally grown whole-grains as our main food, with vegetables, beans and other plant foods comprising most of the remainder, we can regain our physical health and mental and spiritual well-being for ourselves. We can create peace and happiness in our lives which can then radiate outwards to our family, the community and beyond. This is the promise of respecting our place in the order of life, of respecting the gifts of nature, our origin. And returning to cereal grains as the principal food for human beings.
Rice is Buddha’s heart.
This article is a compilation of the written and spoken teachings of various macrobiotic educators I have had the privilege of being exposed to over the last 20 years or so. Particularly the inspiring works of Michio Kushi, Alex Jack and George Ohsawa. And closer to home, the ongoing work of Ken McLean. – Dean Cooling.
The Book of Macrobiotics – Michio Kushi
The Macrobiotic Path to Total Health – Michio Kushi and Alex Jack
Amber waves of Grain – Alex and Gale Jack