Proposal for the Japanese-style Way to Health (2)
Diet and Nutrition
I wish to let professionals and researchers know about medicine and hygiene, but particularly I would like them to open their eyes to the mistaken ideas about diet and nutrition. Modern ideas about nutrition lean too far towards theory and are too far removed from reality. I can state so because after more than a decade of hard work and research I have amazingly learned that today’s ideas on nutrition have given birth to results contrary to expectations.
More than fifteen or sixteen years ago, I, myself, was a great consumer of meat and my evening meals were primarily Western, though at times, I mixed them with Chinese dishes. From the point of view of nutritional standards today, it could be said my diet was ideal, but in those days, in my thirties, I weighed only a pitiful one hundred and thirteen pounds and could not put on any more weight. In addition, it seemed that I was continually catching colds and that my stomach and intestines were always giving me trouble. There was not one month when I did not have to see a doctor. In that situation, with the hope of wanting to improve my health, I tried deep breathing exercises, cold water rubs, meditation techniques, all the popular remedies of the times that promised good health. They all had some effect, but none of them went as far as to substantially improve my physical constitution.
Surprisingly though, when I learned how bad meat was for human health and switched to a diet suitable for Japanese people, that is, a diet centered on fish and vegetables, my weight increased visibly in two to three years, hovering between one hundred thirty five and one hundred forty pounds, I gradually stopped catching colds, was able to forget about stomach and intestinal problems, and for the first time felt infused with the joy of good health. Since then, for some ten years, I have continued to be active with a very robust constitution.
Having encountered these results, I experimented on my six children and the other members of my household, altogether more than ten persons, and each one showed good results, with all enjoying good fortune without the shadow of the demon of ill health. Particularly interesting are my six children to whom I fed what is not considered to be nutritious food. That is, I ordered my wife and maid to give the children plain food. The rice was only seventy per cent polished with lots of vegetables; fish was such as dried sardines with occasionally only a common, ordinary variety of fish, pickles with tea in rice or salted pickles with rice balls; and home-made vinegared rice balls wrapped in dried seaweed, foods that are not considered to be nutritional at all on the basis of modern scientific standards. I tried to give them as much as possible food that is considered not to be nutritious. The results, though, were surprising. In both elementary and junior-high schools, their physiques were rated excellent and their nutritional intake, average or good. From my sixteen-year-old daughter to my four-year-old son, none have experienced any condition that could be said to be serious, not even once, and they all had perfect attendance records at school.
As a result of applying what I learned from these precious experiences on the several hundred patients that I have treated for illness in the past eight years, all have had good results. In particular, vegetarian diets for lung and pleurisy patients show results that are worthy of being widely reported to all the doctors of the world so they may study and research for themselves. The above report is very simple, but when the above facts are collected together, they show great progress. I am not afraid to declare that the fundamentals of the science of nutrition today are one great error. From the viewpoint of the nation’s health, this topic is a great issue to which I boldly sound the alarm not only to professionals and researchers but to members of the general public.
If the new method of nutrition that I advocate were to be implemented on a wide scale, it could be said to be a tremendous gospel from the point of view of the national economy as well. Japanese farmers have the endurance for heavy work because their meals are based on simple and basic foods, and I guarantee that if farmers started to consume a diet centered on meat, they would not be able to work as hard.
(Fundamental principles of a nutritious diet in the next issue)
Light from the East, Issue 6, June 1935
translated by cynndd
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“Nihonshiki Kenkôhô no Teishô (2)” (“Proposal for the Japanese-style Way to Health”) has previously appeared in translation. The title is given below for reference.“Food and Nutrition,” True Health, 1987, page 136.