In a slightly playful and childish way (as when we allow ourselves be carried away by the pure enjoyment of “now”, without any pretensions), I have come up with a combination of words: “macrobioethics“.
And I know what I´m saying, because I believe that our great power as consumers cannot allow us neglect our responsibility in this world and our relationship with it.
Understanding of nature, which supports our life, allows us immediately understand that we must, without further delay, stop acting as parasites sucking the life out of the living organism which is our vital support: earth, nature. If not a symbiotic relationship with it, we should at least establish a “commensal” relationship. “Commensal” comes from Latin “Com (=with) Mesa (=table)”, that is, sharing our table. This biological interaction between two living organisms describes that situation where the benefit that obtains one of the two is not to the detriment of the other.
Macrobiotics reflects Unity, manifested in two opposing but complementary tendencies, which always seek to unite because they are Union in essence. Separating, classifying, analysing, isolating, leads to destruction and disease. That is why macrobiotics is not a diet, because it includes several aspects that go well beyond the pure energetic understanding of food. Macrobiotics is what allows us to have a Great Life, as opposed to what Aristotle called “micros-bios”. When do microbes proliferate? When we have an acid environment in which they can thrive, when we make lifestyle choices that are far from what provides health and happiness.
Macrobiotics does not mean following a strict diet, full of “forbidden foods”, but it entails understanding the effects that what we eat has on us, it is based on observation and responsibility. Macrobiotics is not a “fad” because it is not about starting a diet you will give up sooner or later but, rather, embracing a lifestyle change that will last forever.
Why macrobiotics and ethics? I think they are two inseparable concepts. What is the use of eating brown rice if I do not take into account how it has been grown, by whom and under what working conditions? If my only “filter” is “I am not going to eat meat”, that is good, it is a step in the right direction (you only need to see the environmental consequences of the consumption of animal products). However, what if that is the only “rule” I apply to my eating habits, without further considerations other than ideology? Consider the following:
- What I am choosing to eat, has it been cultivated with pesticides?
- Is it whole or refined?
- Is it “enriched” or “processed”?
- Does it contain additives, preservatives, colourants or flavour enhancers?
- Has it been made following Fair Trade criteria?
- Is it locally grown?
- Is it seasonal?
- Is it appropriate to my constitution?
- Is it convenient for my lifestyle (sedentary, active …)?
- How has it been preserved? Has it been irradiated, frozen, pickled, dehydrated?
- How much water was used to produce it?
- How much does it contribute to climate change?
- What is its environmental impact?
Let´s stop and think about the bullet points above and become aware of the positive impact that “conscious options” can have on the planet where we live, the one we depend on. To what extent do you agree that coherence and consciousness need to go hand in hand?
Ethics plays a major role in macrobiotics. They simply cannot be separated. This is something which differentiates macrobiotics from other “diets”. It goes way beyond. It deals with our role in the world from a wholistic perspective, which takes into account many aspects of health, not just what we eat but also how we eat it, when and why.
If macrobiotics is simply regarded as “one more diet” and we just remain at the surface, taking it as a series of recipes for curing cancer or different other diseases, then macrobiotics will have failed. Its name means BIG, “macro”, it invites us to a life of wholeness, totality, beyond dogmas, masters, recipes or cooking classes. It encompasses much more and it calls for a change at all levels: physical, mental, spiritual, but starting from the very basic thing: our plasma and our blood and the patient, calm and meditative chewing of whole grains.