The Macrobiotic Guide
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Questions answered by Melanie Waxman



I think many people are in your position. I suggest that you begin by setting yourself a direction and move towards a goal that you feel is possible to reach. Write it down on a piece of paper and add the steps you need to take to get there. It could go something like; By March 2007, I will have a sugar, dairy and animal food free home (or whatever it is you desire).

Step 1: check out the local supermarket and natural food shop for healthy alternatives.
Step 2: Start to buy organic produce and foods.
Step 3: Add a vegetable dish every day.
Step 4: Take a cooking class.
Step 5: Connect with people who are also eating a healthy diet.

Complete all the steps up until your goal. You can add a time limit for each step such as 2 weeks to check out Stores and another few weeks to start buying organic produce and so on. This process re-enforces your desire and gets it down on paper. Following a series of steps is much easier than trying to tackle all the different aspects at once.

It is not always possible to make a drastic change especially when loved ones are involved who might have differing views. You can move slowly towards your goal by introducing new foods rather than throwing away the processed and sugared ones. When shopping, start buying organic produce and sugar free jams, biscuits and juices. Slowly begin to replace the processed items with those of better quality such as sea salt, brown rice vinegar, sesame and olive oils and sourdough whole wheat bread . If your husband still wants meat and potatoes then choose organic varieties.

When it comes to cooking the meals, begin to include more vegetables and whole grains. Again don't stop the other foods but include some new dishes and try to have vegetables and a whole grain on a daily basis. Maybe a few times a week you can try a new recipe that would appeal to your husband such as fried noodles or fried rice. Soups are always a popular choice.

You can add miso to almost any bean, vegetable or fish soup.If your husband is at work, you can make a really healthy lunch or tea for yourself and your children. You will be surprised how a small shift in direction will start to have great results. If your husband is willing to try the new foods, he will also begin to change his diet naturally without it being forced upon him.

Change often seems more difficult than it actually is and the constant thinking about it is what gets us stuck. Once you create action by starting to put things into practice, life becomes much easier. There is no correct way to change your diet and lifestyle. It is what suits you and your family. Maybe you can gently suggest to your husband that he research the effect of food on our health. It is a very hot topic right now and is widely viewed that we need to make more effort to provide a healthy diet for our kids. Sometimes advice from an expert is more readily accepted than hearing it from a loved one.

This article gives you some ways to change your children's diet. I hope this helps.

Q: I wonder whether you have any suggestions about the macrobiotic
view of autism ?
-- top^

A: I have known and heard of autistic children who have greatly benefited from the macrobiotic lifestyle. Autism covers a wide spectrum of symptoms and varies from one child to the next. Generally, foods that clog the digestive system create more problems. These include dairy foods of all types, tropical fruits especially bananas and wheat gluten in the form of cookies and bread.

To strengthen the system, avoid extremes of salty foods and excessive sugary foods and stick to a wide, middle of the road diet. Mild sweets such as long cooked carrots, squash and parsnips are very helpful. Make sure to offer a good variety of foods, different tastes and dishes. Many autistic children are very fussy about foods, liking to smell, touch and taste a little before actually eating. Patience is needed to offer a selection and to keep trying new things.

It is also very important to establish a routine within the family. Of course a chaotic lifetsyle makes it difficult for anyone to feel secure and stable but especially for an autistic child. Activities such as bath, bed and exercise should be carried out at the same time each day. Make sure that meals are also eaten at the same time each day and that the child sits to eat with you and the family.

Macrobiotic lifestyle suggestions such as walking in nature, keeping green plants in the home and wearing cotton next to the skin would also be beneficial.



Q: Should Kids off Dairy Consider Calcium Supplement? -- top^

There are many excellent sources of calcium for those following a vegetarian or macrobiotic diet.

Use dark green leafy vegetables such as watercress, kale or collards. Toast sesame seeds and sprinkle a teaspoon over vegetable orgrain dishes.Other seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin can also be used.

Sea vegetables contain ten to twenty times the minerals of the land vegetables. For small children, toasted nori is a good way to introduce sea vegetables. Arame can be used once a week for children who are 3 and older.

Vegetable quality protein such as beans also contain calcium.

Watch out for excessive amounts of animal protein which causes calcium to be leeched from the bones and teeth. Too much sugar, chocolate and sodas will also interfere with healthy bone and teeth development.

For a stronger hit of calcium, usesardines with their bones. A special condiment made from finely ground Chirimen Iriko (dried sardines), toasted sesame seeds and kombu can be given to children suffering with teeth problems.

Make sure your children have lots of outdoor activity too. Nature and sunshine go a long way to helping children have healthy appetites and active, well balanced systems.


Q: Is soya foods e.g. soymilk, safe to give to children?.
-- top^

A: It ok as a transition away from dairy but too much will weaken the digestive system.

Probaby no more than twice a week on a regular basis.

Miso is good for children - those under the age of two should have a very diluted version. Tofu is fine but again not everyday. The same goes for tempeh and natto.

My children don't eat enough? -- top^

A: Remember they will not starve!
Often it is a way of controlling the parent especially if they see it bothers them!

To encourage children to eat more - a wide variety of foods should be offered but the amount of each dish can be small.

This will help them to open up a bit. Watch the salt and too much grain. If they go for grain and sweets, it means they are too tight inside.

The parents may need to relax their diet too and not worry too much.

Q: What about the vitamin B12. -- top^

A: From my experience I have seen many macrobiotic children grow up from birth to adulthood. I have yet to see one child with B12 deficiency.

I heard about the cases in the Netherlands. The parents were eating very strictly and not appropriately for the damp, cold climate. There were also a few cases in Connecticut in the US.

The parents in those circumstances were not using salt in their diet.One baby in question wasn't given any solid food for at least one year.

The B12 problems occured in the early 80's. I think we have all learned a great deal since then. There are two differing situations with B12. One is the body's ability to absorb B12 and the other is the liver's ability to store it.

Both have to be dealt with in adifferent way because one is a yin cause and the other yang.
I do believe that it is possible for a child to recover from B12 deficiency although injections
of the vitamin would be necessary at the beginning. If a parent is concerned about the condition of her baby, it is important that he or she contact an experienced counsellor or have the B12 levels checked by a doctor.


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