Great Construction

Proposal for a Way to Health
According to the Japanese Healing Art (3)

     The nutritious diet that I am going to discuss here is one that takes as its basis the Japanese people. The human diet at present can roughly be divided into two groups, the vegetable-centered diet and the meat-centered diet. I will start my discussion from the vegetable-centered diet.
     The nutritious elements that become the blood and flesh of the human being is a diet composed chiefly of plants, in other words the consumption of cereals and vegetables. From the viewpoint of merely maintaining the flesh, a vegetable-centered diet is adequate. But human beings, for life in society, apart from just living, are determined to improve their mental faculties and health, and most have ambition and desires of various types. The power that gives rise to these types of volition and thought is the function of a meat-centered diet. Therefore, this energy is necessary for urban dwellers, so they should try to consume more of a meat-centered diet, thus indeed is nature well fashioned. In addition, when one becomes ill, it is logical to consume more of a vegetable diet. When afflicted, the exercise of one’s wits or the use of ordinary energy and desire is not necessary, and rather, the essential elements for the physical body are weakened and consumed through the fever and pain of the sickness or disease, and a vegetable-centered diet can be said to supply the physical body’s requirements.
     Fish is yang and vegetables, yin. The meat of birds is yang, and that of fish is yin. When these relationships are carefully thought out, it is no mistake to apply these principles to the lives of human beings. Men leave the house to use their knowledge and vitality, so a diet of half animal matter and half vegetable matter is appropriate. Wives remain in the home, with much physical exertion, so a diet of seven parts animal matter and three parts vegetable matter is the best. The great number of cases of hysteria among women of the upper classes recently is because they have come to consume more animal matter than is necessary.
     Thus, when taken ill, increasing the intake of meat over normal consumption is greatly mistaken because the increase acts as a spur to consumption activity within human body during illness.
     Throughout heaven and earth, all in creation is created and grows without deviating from the principle of yin and yang. There is day and night, summer and winter, heaven and earth, fire and water, male and female, as well as a distinction between yin and yang in foods.
     As far as the cereals are concerned, rice is yang and wheat is yin. In the matter of the races, the Japanese are yang and Westerners are yin, which is the reason Japanese eat rice and Westerners, wheat. As it is only natural that Japanese eat chiefly rice, in times when it cannot be avoided, it is permissible to consume wheat rather than rice but in lesser amounts. To ordinarily consume wheat in large quantities is not preferred. To classify diets centered on the plant world, cereals are yin and vegetables are yang. The yin-yang distinction applies within the vegetable world as well. Vegetables such as roots and fruits, and those colored white, red, or black are yang while leafy varieties, those colored green, are yin. Daikon, the white root is yang and green, leafy vegetables are yin. So, ideally speaking, the best diet is one that accords with time and place eaten in a balance of that which is yin and that which is yang.

    Light from the East, Issue 7, August 16, 1935
translated by cynndd