Traditionally, the American diet has been defined by meat, potatoes, and white bread. As of late, Americans are gaining awareness about the importance of a diet that is more nutritious than meat and potatoes. This is partly due to highly publicized information on foods that claim to be beneficial to our overall health. Articles and news reports let us know about the most current study on diet and how it relates to athletic ability, mental acuity and general well-being. Another area that has received much attention is how diet is connected to disease prevention.
Many medical reports are recommending diets that are low in fat and high in fiber. And more health care practitioners than ever are recommending that their clients eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and soy products. Vegetarianism, eating very few or no animal products, has become very accepted in a country that is made up of mostly meat-eaters.
Most changes in eating habits have occurred over the last twenty years. This is due, largely, to the increasing rates of degenerative diseases. Several years ago it was estimated that one out of two people would develop cancer by the year 2020. (Macrobiotic, 9) Unfortunately, this percentage is now a reality for the male population. Women are close behind with a one in three chance of developing cancer at some point in their lives. (ACS Web Page)
We are in dire need of a solution to the "modern health crisis". Some feel that doctors and scientists will not be able to solve our current health problem alone.
In order to improve our overall state of health, we need to be willing to claim responsibility for our current situation and work together to find a resolution. (Macrobiotic, 9) The macrobiotic lifestyle is a holistic approach to life that follows Eastern philosophies of simplicity and mindfulness. The adoption of some or all of the macrobiotic principles is one way that each individual can counteract the negative trend of health and disease. Before we can begin the journey of disease prevention, we must ask, "How did we get to this point?"
Dietary History in America
To get an idea about how the cancer rates in America correlate with eating patterns, I will give a little history of dietary habits. Traditionally, food was an integral part of life. Life revolved around food because life revolved around survival. (Cancer, 7) Before the Industrial Revolution, local resources had to be relied upon for sustenance. There were no major highways for transporting food and other goods. This meant that most homesteads were self-sustainable. Farming was done to provide food for the members of the family and the farm animals. Most meals were prepared on a daily basis from scratch because there were very few food storage options. (Cancer, 11)
The types of food that were eaten during the 1800's were rather simple. Vegetables and grains were the basis for each meal because they could easily be grown by each...