LETTERS

Dear Fred,

I am from Venezuela, and I have long been looking for information about Macrobiotic books. We do not have many books about, so I would be glad to hear from you and let me know, which cook book should I begin with. I would like the recipes with menus included, because I always have problems with my breakfast, I eat tropical fruits with yogurt, nuts and seeds, but I do not know why I always have problems with my stomach and bowels.

Thanks very much in advance,

Matilda

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Hi Matilda,

Even though you live in a tropical climate, I would still recommend soft-cooked brown rice for breakfast instead of what you have been eating. This will help tone up your stomach and bowels. Yogurt, even though it contains acidophilus, is acidic and creates lactic acid when it is digested. It is better to avoid acidic foods, especially when you have trouble with stomach or bowels. Miso soup, on the other hand, with its beneficial enzymes and ferments, is much better, and actually alkalizes the system.

Regarding a good beginner's cookbook, I recommend "Basic Macrobiotic Cooking" by Julia Ferre, which you can reference at health5.html.

Best regards,

Fred

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Sent: Friday, February 04, 2000 11:24 AM
Subject: Surgery?

Hello! I wonder about the (total?) lack of surgery in macrobiotics. I mean, why not remove, say a tumor, along with the diet, or is that considered too violent. Where d'you draw the line - if you break a leg, I guess surgery is good; but what about for example ginger compresses - isn't that too a sort of, although VERY soft, surgery.

Tell me please: what is the macrobiotic idea?

Sincerely,

Arvid
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Hi Arvid,

Thanks for your letter.

I think Macrobiotics is very flexible on this issue. Some feel they would prefer to get rid of a tumor by surgery, then eat properly. Others would rather try to preserve their body's integrity by assisting the body to break down and absorb a tumor over time. This approach takes patience. It also takes a lot of faith -- to be able to live with a tumor and not panic. If you can't hack this approach, then you should get rid of it as soon as possible, hope it does not return, and eat properly to minimize the possibility of a relapse.

In short, you draw the line wherever you want to, and wherever you feel it is best for your return to health. Macrobiotics above all, recognizes life is an exercise of judgment. If you make a mistake, you learn from your mistakes. The original teaching of George Ohsawa stated simply, that besides eating macrobiotically, there are only two other admonishments: (1) no inactivity and (2) no surgery. He believed the body can heal itself of any condition, regardless of how advanced or serious it might be, by dietary adjustment alone. In practice, this ideal may be hard for some people to realize. In that case, a compromise of some kind must be worked out. I would advise to follow the most non-invasive way possible, and hope for the best.

-Fred
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RE: A Case of Disequilibrium

Hello Laurence,

Without being able to see you in person, I would say you should look at non-salt methods of enhancing your Yang essence. This should help you overcome the symptoms of disequilibrium, etc. Kinpira, made with carrots and burdock root, slivered and sauteed, with just a touch of soy sauce in your case, should help. Eat this as a condiment with pressure-cooked short-grain, organically-grown brown rice. Pressure-cooking, to enhance the Yang quality of brown rice, is important. I am hoping by eating naturally-Yang foods, you may be able to Yangize your system sufficiently to overcome your condition without triggering the problems you are encountering with salt.

Also, how about some white-meat fish from time to time, like haddock, sole, flounder, etc.? You should eat salad greens when you eat fish to get fresh enzyme activity, and balance Yang fish with Yin fresh green salad.

Let me know what you think of this approach, and these suggestions.

Regards,

Fred


Fred,

Just read the letter about most people taking Macrobiotics too seriously, and I couldn't agree more.

I've been following the standard (yang) macrobiotic diet for about 8 years now, and I've recently decided to loosen up A LOT. I eat alot LESS than I used to of MORE things. Even some standard American diet things. I feel MUCH better, not tense and fatigued all the time as I had become accoustomed to feeling. I'll never forget the first time I had CHOCOLATE since 1988. WOW! I was FLYING the friendly skys!

Macrobiotics has been a wonderful journey. I now know the way. I've been through it all: allergies, chronic fatigue, cancer. There was a time when I was super strict: I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. All stainless kitchen, all cotton wardrobe, etc.

But sometimes you have to LIVE and HAVE SOME FUN in MODERATION. It took me years to discover exactly what FUN is and how to have it. And what TOO YANG is and how to avoid it. When you loosen up a little, and become more YIN, in a healthy way, you may even FALL IN LOVE. I did. With a DAIRY FARMER, of all people. (I still draw the line at dairy products, though.) I'm now learning first hand what the dairy industry looks like from the inside, and can't say I like it much, but I sure like my girlfried! And I've learned a heck of alot about COWS!

By the way, she is VERY healthy, strong as an ox, very skinny, and works hard all day starting at 4:00 am and ending at 8:00 PM. She eats, enjoys coffee and dairy, and in spite of my preaching about food, she just doesn't get it. She simply can't understand why someone would deprive themselves of the pleasures of meat and dairy. On a subconscious level, she KNOWS instinctively what MACROBIOTICS tries to TEACH. It's so wonderfully ironic how life instructs us!

Keep in mind, that before you reach this point, you SHOULD be strict, even very strict, for a year or two, just so you know what it's like and what effect on your body foods have,especially if you are trying to regain yor health. THEN lighten up slowly, in a healthy way. Eat GREENS and even RAW SALADS with good soy dressings, and maybe even some herbs!

Remember: Macrobiotics is a MEANS to and END. That END is good health and good LIFE. That implies good relationships and having fun! Don't become a slave to food. Don't become a slave to anything, for that matter. Just eat healthily in moderation, and HAVE some FUN in this GREAT LIFE.

--JJM


Hi Bill,

I helped a man with bone cancer on his leg.

Last I heard, he had recovered.

I showed him and his wife how to cook Macrobiotic foods, plus understand some of the basic concepts of macrobiotics.

They both were the ones responsible for curing his condition.

The basic idea is if you eat properly, you give your body materials it needs to heal itself and restore normal functioning.

Regards,

Fred


Mr. Pulver,

I was reading some of your articles on Macrobiotics and I was concerned, to say the least. Although claiming not to be religious or philosophical in orientation, you *are* proclaiming a religion. I just want to point out one thing. Below are two quotes from your Web pages.

Believing wholeheartedly in the ancient admonition, "Seek the Truth, and the Truth will set you Free", CCMS is dedicated to the pursuit of Truth. It is especially concerned with the danger of accepting dogma as Truth, and, for that reason, encourages a spirit of free discussion and exchange of information on all topics that relate to health and happiness.

A useful exercise for learning to surrender is to relax and let go, relax every muscle and nerve, and let go, breathing in and out, calmly and deeply. After repeating this exercise several times, one should eventually arrive at a state of deep relaxation which feels like floating. One is no longer concerned about the vexations of life, the things one has to do, or has forgotten to do. One is simply floating on an ocean of energy. This ocean of energy is omnipotent, and can cure all our illnesses, if we do not oppose it, if we let it bathe and invigorate us, and have let go of even our apprehension about time passing, or whether our heart and breathing will stop (which they won't). We are then plugged into God, the Supreme and Sublime, the Source Itself. "Go drink at the Spring, and get well at the Well."

Consider the contradiction here. On the one hand you quote the Bible, yet you advise that we use meditation and trances to contact God. If you *really* believed what Jesus said, you would be seeking the Truth that He was pointing to. And what is that truth? He tells us that Himself. "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me." (John 14:6) Nowhere does He say to use this Eastern mysticism that you seem to hold so dear. Nor does He speak of the Unique Principle or of the yin/yang concept.

[flame on] How dare you quote the Lord Jesus in this way! Rather than listening to the wisdom of this "ancient admonition", you have perverted His words to serve your own ideas and views. At the very least, be honest. Do not claim to be following the Lord's command while seeking after your own way. [flame off]

I am *not* opposed to good nutrition or health. Nor am I opposed to planning one's diet to keep oneself healthy. But I am opposed to seeking salvation and spiritual healing through the food we eat. There is only one way to God and it is not through good nutrition. The Bible says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." (Proverbs 14:12) Beware, lest your Macrobiotic philosophy lead you down the road to destruction. And do you think that all the grain in the world will save you?

Sincerely,

Seth

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Greetings Seth!

Thank you for your candid and impassioned comments.

Rather than get caught up in seeming contradictions, let me just tell you I agree with everything you say and believe, and I have for some time. I consider myself Christian.

The back of contradiction is harmony. They are two sides of oneness. Until I understood that, I too, was caught up in contradictions, and took issue with many things.

Now I see the harmony of seemingly disparate ideas -- how they complement one another.

Ideological Judgment (ideology) is the last level in Macrobiotic thinking before Supreme.

Until one breaks through, life still seems oppositional and contradictory.

I see no problem with recognizing Christ as "The Way, the Truth and the Life", and also recognizing the absolute Truth of His statement, "No man comes unto the Father but by Me," while at the same time holding concepts such as you oppose.

Macrobiotics teaches we will all eventually achieve an "all-embracing" attitude, that sees everything as complementary rather than as just contradictory or conflicting.

Did you know more wars have been fought because of ideological differences and militant opposition to seemingly "opposing" ideas than from any other cause?

Which of the Christian churches holds the "true" interpretation of Christ's teachings? Are all the others false? Is this not dogma?

What about the other churches that do not profess the "true" teachings of Christianity? Are they worthy of flames too?

Such contradictions may not seem apparent to those of ideological judgment, but ideological judgment retains a contradictory nature that Christ referred to: "The left hand does not know what the right hand doeth."

That is, ideological judgment retains a degree of schizophrenia (split mind or consciousness).

Jesus even realized this when He said, "I have come to bring a sword that will divide the nations. Brother against brother, fathers against sons, sons against fathers." Such is the power of ideas over the lives of humanity. We must realize the power of ideas to unify as well as disunite. Ideas can bring peace, but they can also bring war and much suffering. Until we reach Supreme, all-embracing Judgment, we will be caught up in ideological conflicts that can cause family dissension and heartbreak. We must rely on the healing power of love to re-unite families and people torn apart by differing ideological persuasions. Love does not judge or discriminate. It embraces all things. As Jesus said, we must "Love one another, even as I have loved you."

We must all strive to achieve such Supreme, all-embracing judgment.

That is the end of conflict and opposition.

Macrobiotics says one must chew very well to reach the Kingdom of Heaven, because recognition of Supreme Truth requires healthy brain cells created by good food, properly digested.

You may not believe such things can be true.

Have you read the "Gospel According to Thomas" (the sayings of Jesus)?

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

Regards,

Fred


Name: Lynda

Comments: Nice site. Your articles are well-written and informative, and seem appropriate for any level of student of macrobiotics. Thanks.

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Hello Lynda,

Thank you for taking the time to view my site and register your comments.

Comments like yours make what I am doing seem worthwhile.

Again, thank you for taking the time to let me know.


Dear Dolly,

Thanks for your letter.

I'll insert my comments within your text to save time:

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Dear Fred:

I have just finished reading these very interesting letters with questions and answers. I do not practice MB but have read a lot about it, including Dr. Tony Satillaro's fascinating book about his recovery from cancer (is he still alive? My attempts to find out have been unsuccessful?)

My family (myself, husband, son, and daughter) are all vegetarian - my daughter is a vegan. She and I have done research togehter to make sure her diet is nutritionally sound, and it is. The rest of us eat more vegan foods because of her, but we still like cheese and occasionally eggs (though I must admit eggs are becoming distasteful to me). I have a problem with fish. It's the one kind of meat I really miss - I have tried to rationalize that fish are different from, say cows or pigs, but basically a person who eats fish is not really a vegetarian, so I don't eat it, because I want to continue calling myself a vegetarian. I see that the macrobiotic diet is not entirely vegetarian, though it does not include eggs or milk/cheese.

I am somewhat concerned about my 11-year old son. He is serious about being a vegetarian, but his favorite foods are pizza and bagels with cheese. He will eat vegetables at dinner because they are there, but he does not like rice, brown or white, or oatmeal. He will eat a little barley, and I have thought of trying some millet or buckwheat groats with him, but I think he would be resistant. (My husband will eat almost anything I cook, so that's easy). I do not want to use scare tactics on Chris (my son) by telling him these foods may not be so good for him. I have tried serving him larger portions of vegetables, and sometimes that works - he is a big eater and in fact is a little bit overweight. I am not sure I would want to follow a completely macrobiotic diet (although if I developed a serious disease I would, because I have read enough to convince me that it works), but I would like to move more in that direction. I wonder if you have any suggestions as to how to bring Chris around to a little healthier eating habits. He is growing fast at this age, and probably needs a lot of calories and energy, so I can understand his attraction to bagels and pizza..

>>>Best might be to consider your son a challenge to your culinary ingenuity. Macrobiotic cookbooks are full of ingenious recipes that attempt to duplicate foods enjoyed by many kids who are not Macrobiotic, with the hope that they will be satisfied with the healthier fare and not want the junk versions. The household cook or cooks must juggle such tastes and come up with creative solutions. Family life, after all, is everyone compromising and making concessions for others, as you know. We try to get our kids to realize this, and accept it as a fact of life. By the way, I offer some cookbooks on my website, and you can order them from there, if you like.

Incidentally, what is your opinion of tofu? As you probably know, a lot of vegetarians and vegans use it. My daughter and I eat a little, but not a lot. I read another macrobiotic site in which the author was disparaging toward tofu because it is refined (which it is). My daughter also drinks a lot of soy milk, and I notice that soybeans get no special mention in the MB diet. They are supposed to be real nutritional powerhouses. Do you have an opinion?

>>>Tofu in moderation is fine, since only the fiber is missing, and you can make up for that with the other fibrous foods of the diet. Soy milk, though, can cause the same mucous-building effects as dairy products in some people. If there are sinus problems, stuffy noses, etc., I would suggest you try to get your kids to cut back on its consumption. We try to get our kids not to use soy milk straight, but to dilute it with tea or water first. They don't always follow what we advise, however. But we consider this to be part of their educational process anyway, so its no big deal either way.

By the way, this is a wonderful service you offer. It must be very time consuming, but I'm sure it is appreciated. I am not in a hurry, but if you can answer this at your convenience, I would appreciate it.

Thank you.

>>>Thank you for your kind comments. Yes, its purely a "labor of love".

Fred


Hi Fred!

So...I've been reading info about MB via your web page. Maybe you can help me out. Caution here though ... no doctor has been able to help, no chiropractor, no vegetarian diet, no brewer's yeast, no bran...not even a psychic. So, here I am.

The fact is, I'm not sick. Actually, I'm obviously one of the healthiest people to ever show face on planet Earth. My cholesterol is 125, blood samples are good, etc., etc. What is wrong is my weight. I've steadily been gaining approximately 2-3 pounds a month for the past 24 months. Count 'em - that's 2 years Fred.

Originally, the doctors said it was because I was on the depro provera birth control pill and that it would take approximately 12 months for the weight to go away (taken into account that I eat sensibly). OK fine, only it didn't happen.

I eat healthy - though sometimes I wonder why. Even my thyroid has been checked and I'm OK. And as far as eating portions go, I eat like the French - very small portions. When I go out to eat with my friends, they mock me about how little I eat and tease me that it's only because we're "out". My husband can verify the fact though - I eat hardly anything.

I was vegetarian for a long time, but one doctor suggested that my "difficulty in weight loss was the fact that my body was starving for proteins" and he put me back on meat. (Ugh - how horrible. I've taken to eating white meats - not an easy task. But I will by no means eat red meat!!!)

So...here I am. I am 5' 9" tall and currently weigh 182 pounds. None of my clothes fit; I hardly ever leave home now because of my weight. Besides - I've nothing to wear! I am really fat!

According to the MD's, I'm really healthy. In case you've wondered, each doctor has told me the same thing. "Eat less calories than you consume, drinks lots of water and exercise". It's like their not even listening to me and then I pay them a $200 bill. Sure, they have more things on their minds than an overweight woman, but when I'm in the doctor's office, I want him (or her) to give me 100% of their attention. They don't and I can't seem to lose weight.

I was diagnosed as bulimic in college and am pretrified that I may take up that habit again (I work [emotionally] every day to NOT vomit). My weight used to stay between 135 and 145. It's skyrocketed. I am ashamed and ugly. I've tried every diet on the market (or so it seems) and tell myself every day that if I can't be thin again, at least I can be healthy. But if the truth be know, even that is getting difficult.

If you have any insight, please let me know. If you have any ideas as to to whom or to where I can turn, please let me know.

You know...private hells burn hot too.

Thanks,

Catherine

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Greetings Catherine,

A woman I knew had tried everything she knew, like you, to lose weight. She began the macrobiotic diet, and struggled with it for a few years, with little outward success. She was still overweight.

But things were changing inside. Her internal organs began to rebuild. She got a lot of energy back, and just kept busy all the time. Eventually she began to lose weight, and ended up looking very beautiful and slender.

Her secret was she did not give up. Even though she did not stick to the diet all the time, she always returned to it, and eventually did not have to struggle to stay on it and eat only slimming, healthful things, like brown rice and vegetables.

So my advice would be just start on it, and see what happens.

Fred


I have a question, I have wanted to do macrobiotics more and more, but I have been diagnosed with diverticulitis in the last year, probably all the more reason to pursue this, my question, the rice gets stuck in those pockets if it is not completly cooked with something else. Is there a way to add rice without getting sick and making this condition worse?

Thanks for your input.

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Kuzu Root Starch gruel, combined with soft-cooked brown rice and vegetables, should help this condition. Miso soup with wakame seaweed taken daily is also important. Avoid acidic foods, potatos, tomatoes and eggplant. Drink kukicha (twig tea from the green tea plant). Chew food thoroughly.

If hulls of rice or fibrous matter in vegetables get stuck in the diverticuli, strain your food through a Foley food mill or strainer after cooking.


Comments: Please send any info on Macrobiotic Diet! Thanks.

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Have you checked out the "Book List" pages on my site (health5.html?

I think that is the best place to start, because the books will give you an organized introduction to Macrobiotics, and thus a better foundation. Anything else will only give you bits and pieces.


Dear Fred-- I don't want to beat any dead horses--but I would appreciate very much hearing your opinion on this topic. I know there's this big controversy about Cell Tech's blue-green algae, which I've been using for a couple of years (just before finding macrobiotics, in fact). Is it not more or less just a form of seaweed?--lakeweed, really, I guess. Where would it be on a yin/yang scale? I take it for its B-vite boost primarily, since I am a bit insecure about sources of this vitamin. But it's also very good for trace minerals. What do you know and/or think about it as an acceptable macrobiotic food?

Thanks for your reply! and all best for the holidays,

Rosanne

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Hi Rosanne,

Thanks for your letter.

Most Macrobiotic people classify algae as Yin, since it is delicate, grows rapidly and lives in water.

Sea algae (kelp) is considered more Yang because sea water is salty. It structure is also sturdier, an indicator of a more Yang plant form.

Yet, like you, many people seem to get much benefit from it. It also clearly contains an abundance of minerals. Most minerals are considered Yang, since they are all that is left after Yang fire consumes the Yin aspects, leaving behind basically the minerals.

The exception is Potassium, which is dilative and causes plants to grow and expand.

Humans should balance Sodium and Potassium in an ideal proportion of 1 Sodium to 5-7 parts Potassium, according to studies of the average ratios found in a healthy human body.

As I understand it, fresh-water algae, and even salt-water algae, for that matter, contain much more Potassium than Sodium, often 100's of times as much. This would indicate it is correct to classify it as Yin, but this does not mean one should avoid it. Used in the small quantities which it is normally consumed, I think it could supply trace minerals which are often lacking from land-based plants.

However, I would prefer the use of the salt-water algaes, since they are more Yang in a class of plants that as a whole is more Yin than land-based plants, which, as a class, are more Yang, due to their sturdier and more complicated structures. Simpler forms of life are generally more Yin.

I thin the argument has been overblown, and rather dogmatic. If it helps, use it. I think more Yang types of people would generally benefit more from fresh-water algaes than Yin types. Yang types are generally hardier, more robust, warm-blooded, stronger, more active and even aggressive. Yin types of people would be weaker, paler, thinner, chill easily, less active, even passive in extreme. If algaes are Yin, then they would just make Yin people become more Yin, which might not be good for them.

Such people should instead supplement their diet with burdock root, carrot and lotus root and other Yang vegetables, brown rice and miso soup, etc., and avoid the more Yin foods, to bring their condition toward balanced health.

I hope this clarifies the issue a little.


Comments: Need help getting children to eat macrobiotic food.

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Not easy when they are not used to or craving the food!

You must try to make or purchase healthy alternatives to what they are used to eating, substituting malt syrup sweetener for sugar, carrot or beet for tomato, organic corn chips for adulterated ones, etc. You must also leave room for occasional "bingeing" -- eating bad stuff, patiently awaiting the day when they say, "I don't really like stuff that is bad for me anymore, Mom" -- sweet music to tired ears!

There are recipes for healthy snacks and treats in the macro cookbooks featured on my webpages.

Good luck!


Dear Fred,

Well, so far this is the most informative website I've found on macrobiotics. I am trying so hard to understand and adjust my diet and living habits accordingly, but I really don't know what I'm doing! I fear that I am depriving my body more than I am helping it because of my ignorance. If you have any helpful hints or a direction to point me in, would you please fill me in?!

Thank you,

Kasey

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Hi Kasey,

Thank you for the kind comments.

I would suggest not trying to follow Macrobiotics too strictly if you feel you might be harming yourself more than helping. Too strict application can make you swing from one extreme to the other, and that is not good for your body or mind. Be careful of salt intake -- not too much -- or you'll get uncontrollable cravings for sweets. I would suggest "Zen Macrobiotics" and "The First Macrobiotic Cookbook" as good places to start. You can obtain them on my website at health5.html.

Let me know if I can help you in any way.

Regards,


My family and I have just begun our research on the Macrobiotic diet. The reason being, my father has been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. This forum has been helpful to us, Thank You.

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Thank you for your kind comments.

Macrobiotics recommends your father stay away from fatty foods (meats, dairy, eggs) and sweets, and emphasize whole grain brown rice, steamed vegetables, miso soup with wakame seaweed, and use sea salt or salty condiments like tamari soy sauce sparingly. Beverage of choice is twig tea (kukicha).

Best way to get started is to read books like "Macrobiotics: An Invitation to Health and Happiness" and "First Macrobiotic Cookbook" available on my website.


I am trying to discover what symptoms a chemical imbalance would cause. I have a 19 year old that has suffered severe headaches, and I swear she has a dual personality. This has become a great concern. If there is any advice or assistance you could offer I would appreciate it.

Thank you.

Kelli

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Greetings Kelli,

Split or dual personality is supposed to come from eating extremes of Yin and Yang foods -- sugar and meat, respectively, over a long period, especially by people with a weak consititution.

Best thing to do is get your child to avoid sweets and meat-based meals, and eat brown rice and vegetable-based meals instead, because these foods are more balanced and centered , and they will make her re-integrate mentally over time.

One type of headache is due to rapid expansion and contraction of brain cells. Sugar especially makes the brain cells expand rapidly and then contract later on. This is why some people get a "hang-over" effect the day after eating sugar. Sweetened soft drinks, fruit juices and anything sweet can trigger off these symptoms, so she would be better off drinking tea, like green or twig tea, with no sweetener.

Getting your child to change, especially at her age, may not be easy, but it should make a world of difference in how she feels and behaves. Knowing and experiencing the positive results obtained may get her to stick to it for a long time.

You might get some help from "Zen Macrobiotics" and "The First Macrobiotic Cookbook", available on my website.

Let me know how you and she are getting along, won't you?


I am seeking help for a brain tumor. Was told about this diet. Thought I would check it out on the Internet. Thank You for being here. Never heard of this diet before, sounds very interesting. Thank You again!

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Good nutrition can't hurt anybody, and it could help, too. There is nothing really magical about Macrobiotics. It helps because it enables the body to combat illnesses more effectively, since you are supplying raw materials with which it can mount an appropriate response. -- Fred


Out of all the info I have found on macrobiotics, your web site has been the most helpful. I am so grateful to find a more relaxed approach to lifestyle change.


I have heard quite a bit about macrobiotics and I am not sure exactly what it is. Could you possibly send me some information regarding macrobiotics. My husband suffers from Menier's Disease and I am searching for anything that would be of benefit to help us in dealing with this disease. -- Connie

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Hi Connie,

Macrobiotics is just sensible eating for health. By supplying your body with balanced, natural foods, you help the body restore balance and heal itself. This is the real magic: what the body can do when given the right nourishment. It can perform acts which may seem like miracles of healing when we remove factors which cause it to malfunction.


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