Zen Microbiotics

Zen Microbiotics
Sagen Ishizuka

Macrobiotics is based on the writings of a Japanese physician, Sagen Ishizuka (1850-1910). He cured himself of cancer by abandoning the refined diet of affluent Japan and reverting back to the unpurified Japanese diet of brown rice, soybeans, fish, miso soup, sea vegetables, and other traditional Oriental foods – the ancestral diet.


“The macrobiotic diet is a mainly vegetarian diet consisting of 50% whole cereal grains, 20 to 30% locally grown vegetables, small amounts of soups, beans and sea vegetables, white meat, fish and fruit in limited amounts. ”


“Potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, asparagus, spinach, beets, zucchini, avocados, mayonnaise, tea, coffee, and red meat are to be avoided.”

Some proposed reasons why the macrobiotic diet helps some cancer patients:

¤ Low in fat
¤ High in fiber
¤ High vegetable intake
¤ Improved sodium to potassium ratio
¤ Ability to change an acid (cancer) environment back toward alkaline (healthy)
¤ Potent anti-cancer agents found in soybeans, sea vegetables and other fresh produce
¤ Thyroid stimulating substances found in sea vegetables.

Macrobiotic Diet

Michio Kushi established a macrobiotic center in Boston in 1978 and has gained a noteworthy following. Kushi has publicly encouraged cancer patients to continue with conventional care. This program includes cotton clothes, fresh air, and exercise.

Earlier in this century, Are Waerland became famous for a successful diet that consisted of sour milk and similar products, whole grains raw or only partly cooked as well as fruits and vegetables. There are still many active Waerland groups in Germany and Scandinavia.

Bircher-Benner advocated a similar lacto-vegetarian raw-food diet. He invented the by now famous but greatly deteriorated muesli. The macrobiotic diet based on cooked brown rice and only a minimum of raw food is very
different from all the other anti-cancer diets

“Although a relatively recent creation, the macrobiotic diet is based in large part on the yin-yang principle of balance, a fundamental component of ancient Chinese medicine. Yin and Yang are opposite forces believed to describe all components of life and the universe. Here the world view of balance is embodied in diet including the selection, preparation, and consumption of foods.”

“For treating and preventing cancers, diets are to be varied according to the “Yin” and “Yang” nature of the tumors.”

Anthony J. Sattilaro, MD, an anaesthesiologist at Methodist Hospital in Philadelphia has become a vocal proponent. He “attributes this diet as the reason he recovered from metastatic prostrate cancer.”

“According to Kushi, cancer is the result of a person’s behavior, largely due to improper diet but also to his or her thinking and lifestyle. Improper diet produces a “chronically toxic blood condition.” He considers cancer to be a natural mechanism that localizes the toxic condition and detoxifies the body. Kushi writes, “Of primary importance in dealing with cancer, then, is not to disturb this natural mechanism by taking out or destroying the cancer.’

The standard macrobiotic diet in cancer treatment is varied depending on the type of cancer. Kushi calls the conventional treatments of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery ‘violent or artificial’ and ‘toxic and unnatural’. He says the recovery of cancer patients treated macrobiotically is hindered if they have undergone conventional treatments.

He states that compared with cancer patients treated only macrobiotically, conventionally treated patients who are then treated macrobiotically ‘often take longer to recover… and their recovery is often more complicated and difficult.’” (CA 1984)

To proponents, cancer is seen as a result of an unbalanced condition, by which the body attempts to localize toxins and thereby produce balance. Therefore, after “macrobiotic diagnosis,” specific dietary recommendations are made and implemented. The implication is that appropriate dietary treatment will resolve the cancerous state.

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