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Hebbie

The Kushi Institute

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OK...I'm sure I'll get a healthy amount of teasing for this post, but here it goes:

Has anyone ever attended The Kushi Institute's "Way To Health" Macrobiotic course?

I'm seriously considering it, but looking for opinions from anyone who may have gone or knows someone who went.

In case anyone is wondering about it, here is a link:

http://www.kushiinstitute.org/waytoheal ... /index.htm

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Well, I'm dissapointed that I didn't have any responses (I guess I am alone in my macrobiotic quest? :oops: )

In any event -- I AM SO EXCITED because I booked my "Way To Health" week long seminar at The Kushi Institute for May 1 - 7 and I can't wait!!! Not only will I receive teaching instruction on Macrobiotic cooking, I will also attend daily gentle exercise programs (yoga/tai chi, etc.), go on nature hikes and receive a private consultation that will specifically go over "healing" foods that are lung cancer specific.

I haven't been this excited in a very long time!!!

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Hebbie,

YOU GO GIRL! I would never tease you about something like this. You've been a proponent of supplementation and nutrition and macrobiotic cooking since I've 'known' you, and why shouldn't you expand your interests?

Could there be a connection to your highly successful recovery and the way you take care of your lifestyle??????

Tell us all about it when you get back.

Cindy

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No teasing from us.........just gratitude for your happiness and wishes for wonderful learning!

We admire you.........

Keep us posted on how you like the course and how you rate the benefits.

Love

Pat and Bri

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I'm anxious to hear about your week. I've have made a complete turnaround in my life as a result of my diagnosis. I took everything "white" out of my life: sugar, white flour, bread (except for sprouted wheat) and alcohol (except for red wine in moderation). I was always very active in the past, and used to rationalize my bad eating habits by thinking it was OK because I exercised hard. Little did I know I had this tumor growing inside of me. I am hard core now about eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies and have kept it up for almost a year. I'm not sure I could go completely "macrobiotic" in my diet, I enjoy cheese and other dairy products too much. Nonetheless, I'm anxious to learn what you discover during your week at the institute, particularly which foods are good for preventing lung cancer. Please share with us upon your return. I always enjoy your posts.

Kevin

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Hi Everyone,

I'm back from my weeklong stay at The Kushi Institute!! (Ry -- I don't think Andrea would want these recipes :wink: )

I had an amazing experience and met 8 wonderful people with an array of illnesses ranging from benign brain tumors, Stage IV Ovarian Cancer, Chrone's Disease, Lupus, Kidney failure, Hodkins Disease, etc. All there for their own particular reasons, but all of us bonding together with one goal -- to regain our health!

The settings are very simple -- no television, no radio, no phone (except for one in the living room) and very simple bedroom furnishings. By the end of the week, I loved the simplicity of it all!

Our day started each morning with a 7 a.m. gentle exercise class (yoga, tai chi, etc.) followed by 8 a.m. breakfast (which consisted of a soft grain porriage, boiled greens and miso soup!) and then a day filled with informative classes on the reasons WHY to live Macrobiotically and hands on cooking classes that put that knowledge to practical use.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner were provided for us and consisted solely of very basic macrobiotic foods -- whole grains, vegetables, beans and sea vegetables. Switching your body to eating this way causes some initial "detox" symptoms in your body as it rids itself of the processed foods/animal fats/sugars that are floating around in there. Each night we would share our personal detox symptoms and some of them were rather fascinating! I personally had a headache for the first two days, followed by a constantly itchy right arm, then by Thursday a big red welt showed up on my cheek -- I was estatic because we had learned that parts of your face correspond with various organs -- and the cheek relates to your lung -- that welt was an indication that my lungs were "cleaning house" :wink:

We each had a personal counseling session with a certified Macrobiotic instructor -- my session lasted over 2 hours and was quite fascinating!

In my PARTICULAR case (I am sure this doesn't apply to everyone, so don't beat me up here...) my lung problems may relate back to my love of CHEEEEEEESE and dairy products. They are very mucous forming -- when you get too much mucus accumulating in your intestines, the next place it goes is to the lungs. The mucus can get stuck in the lungs and cause various environmental toxins to get stuck in the mucus, which can eventually cause a tumor (or so the theory goes...) I was instructed to eliminate ALL dairy. I also learned that oatmeal and soymilk (my usual breakfast foods) are also mucus producing, so they are on my "no-no" list as well. I cannot have any animal protiens (i.e. no meat), except for white meat fish once a week. (Protiens come from beans and fish) No refined grains at all, including wheat flour -- my grains will all be WHOLE grains (brown rice, millet, barley, etc.) I will do what is called the "healing diet" for 3 to 4 months, at which time we will see how things are going and possibly branch out to a few more foods.

It's not just a "diet" -- it's so much more than that. We learned that our bodies always send of "signs" when something is going on (like the "cheese cough" I had for 10 years prior to diagnoses -- every time I ate cheese, I coughed up mucus....) We also learned that doing certain gentle exercises each morning can help stimulate our circulation and immune system and give us more energy to start the day. Walking outside in the fresh air and appreciating nature will not only expand our lungs, but give us the relaxation we all need daily (how can you be stressed when looking at a beautiful blue sky and listening to birds chirp?)

They also prescribe various natural "remedy drinks" for different conditions, and it seems that LOTUS ROOT is great for lung conditions -- I make a drink from fresh lotus root (grating the root, and squeezing out the juices, mixing w/ equal parts water and heating on stove, drinking warm) -- 8 oz glass every other day for two weeks. The first time I drank it I coughed up some mucus a little while later, so I guess it is doing SOMETHING in there! :lol:

(Fresh lotus root is hard to find this time of year because it is going out of season, but I managed to score some at an Asian market)

Well, I'll stop rambling here, but as you can tell, I had a life changing week, that not only changed my diet, but changed my way of looking at and living life!

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Heather,

This does sound very exciting and makes a lot of sense. I like the idea of starting the day with

gentle exercises. I wish you the best of luck in your change in lifestyle and I hope that it will give your body the strength to heal.

By the way, my Mom was also told to stay away from dairy products especially cheese, she drinks rice milk and occasionally rice cheese.

Rana

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Wow,

I will have to reread this post a couple of times. It is packed w/ info and I am sure I missed some.

I love your appreciation for adventure and learning and openess to new ways of thinking.

You rock!

P

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Please keep us posted on how things go, and if you notice a difference in your energy level etc

I can actually say that I have noticed an energy level increase already! I stopped taking all vitamin supplements the day I arrived at the Institute (which they didn't recommend -- they actually said I should have weaned off of them, not stopped cold turkey :oops: )

Anyway -- they said I may be tired for the next week or so from the vitamin withdrawl, but I didn't really notice that. I have been consistently going to bed each night at 10:00 and waking at 6:00 without an alarm! I get up and do some gentle exercise/stretching and I am good to go! :wink:

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Please keep us posted on how things go, and if you notice a difference in your energy level etc

I can actually say that I have noticed an energy level increase already! I stopped taking all vitamin supplements the day I arrived at the Institute (which they didn't recommend -- they actually said I should have weaned off of them, not stopped cold turkey :oops: )

Anyway -- they said I may be tired for the next week or so from the vitamin withdrawl, but I didn't really notice that. I have been consistently going to bed each night at 10:00 and waking at 6:00 without an alarm! I get up and do some gentle exercise/stretching and I am good to go! :wink:

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Hi! We haven't talked before, but I am really inerested in finding out how your experiment has gone. Give us an update when you can. You mentioned that soy milk causes mucus. I have that (lite soy) every morning on my Kashi cereal with blue-berries. What's the problem with soy?

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Hi Leslie ~

To answer your question about soymilk, I can only pass along the info given to me by my macrobiotic counselor. She told me that soymilk is mucous-forming,and for "optimum healing" the goal was to eliminate all moucous-forming foods. Other mucous culprits are oatmeal and dairy. The reason behind this is to clear the lungs of excess mucous and give them a chance to detox and heal.

I figure this is a good time to pass along some of the SPECIFIC recommendations my counselor gave me about foods to avoid. Of course, I have been given a specific list of foods that I SHOULD eat, so don't think I am starving over here! :lol: (the list is quite extensive!)

Foods to avoid: ALL meat (beef, pork, poultry, eggs) Dairy (milk, butter, cheese, ice-cream) ALL refined sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, soft drinks, artificial sweeteners, tropical fruits, nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, spinach), baked flour products (hard and soft: bread, cookies, bagels, pies, cakes, pretzels, chips, etc), stimulants (coffee, decaf, black tea, herbal teas, alcohol, strong herbs and spices )

WHEW! :roll:

I was told to avoid all of these foods for 3-4 months to detox my system. So far so good!!!

What I AM eating is lots of whole grains (short grain brown rice, barley, millet, rye), lots of beans (azuki, black soybean, lentil, chickpea), a daily cup of fresh miso soup, tons of vegetables, daily "sea vegetables" (a/k/a seaweeds) and occasional whitemeat fish (like cod, flounder or sole).

I did mention to the counselor that studies have recently indicated a link between soy and lung cancer (much like the relationship between soy and breast cancer) and I was concerned about eating too much soy on this program (like tofu, soybeans, miso, etc.) and she assured me that macros don't use a lot of regular soy and for lung/breast conditions they limit soy useage, which was good. That was my biggest concern, but I really don't eat much at all and get my protien instead from other beans, occasional fish, and fresh roasted almonds/peanuts.

I must say that I have more energy than I have had in YEARS (even before my diagnoses)!

I've read lots of books on Macrobiotics since my visit to Massachusetts, and I think the most user friendly ones I have found for the "novice" would be "The Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics" and "The Macrobiotic Way".

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Thanks for all the info. Very interesting. I'm glad you are feeling great. That's good news.

Please keep us posted with updates. Maybe if I see how the diet works with someone else I might be able to muster the willpower to try it myself for three months. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge!

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Leslie,

I can appreciate the fact that you want to wait and see how it goes for someone else before making the committment yourself, I just wanted to share with you the motivation behind my taking the leap!

This article ran in Alternative Medicine Magazine in September 2004. It's pretty amazing.

A Triumph Over Cancer

Facing a terminal diagnosis, one woman beat the odds with a deceptively simple eating plan.

By Portland Helmich

"She's healthier than anybody I've seen in my office in the last 12 months," says Dennis Grossman, an internist in Cleveland, Ohio. Out of context, this isn't a remarkable statement. Meeting his patient, though, one realizes Grossman's assertion is nothing less than astonishing.

Sitting in the afternoon sunlight on an early spring day, Janet Vitt looks like a normal 54-year-old woman. Thin, but not sickly. And yet nine years ago, this divorced mother of two then-teenage sons was worse than sickly--she was terminal.

Stage IV lung cancer was the diagnosis. A dull pain in the center of her chest had led to a CAT scan, revealing three tumors in her left lung and seven in her right--and the disease had spread. Her liver housed three tumors, she had another in her pancreas, and yet another was causing her abdomen to swell. A registered nurse since 1971, the soft-spoken Midwesterner understood the gravity of her diagnosis. "When cancer is above and below the dia-phragm," she explains, "we say people aren't going to make it."

Though her mother had died of lung cancer at 42, Vitt had thought her fate would be different. She worked out three times a week and had what she assumed was a fairly healthy lifestyle. Okay, so she held two part-time teaching jobs in addition to working full-time as a nurse manager at a local hospital. ("I foolishly thought being stressed-out was exciting," she admits.) But so what? Unlike her mother, she never smoked.

She didn't have time, though, to rethink her lifestyle in the beginning. When her abdominal tumor was removed eight days after her diagnosis, it had ballooned from the size of a nickel to an 8- by 11-centimeter mass. One oncologist gave her three to six weeks to live; another suggested three to six months. She grabbed onto the more promising prognosis and agreed to participate in an experimental chemotherapy trial, hoping to extend her life by a month.

But just three weeks after receiving the first dose, she dropped 46 pounds from her already slender 118-pound frame. "During those three weeks," she recalls, "if I had even a sip of tea, I'd puke for a half hour."

Realizing that a second dose would kill her, Grossman suggested something that sounded outlandish: alternative healing. "I thought that was for hippies," Vitt says. "But I asked him what he thought I should try and he said,'macrobiotics.'"

Through a chance meeting with a macrobiotic counselor, Grossman had begun reading about and taking classes in this highly specialized diet. "I knew there was no harm in it," he says. "The oncologists had nothing for her, and I thought it might help to change her immune system and enhance her quality of life."

Macrobiotics (meaning "great" or "large life" in Greek) is much more than just a diet; it's a way of living in balance. Exercise and rest, socializing and solitude, sensible sleep habits, even keeping a tidy home, are all part of a macrobiotic life. But most people associate macrobiotics with the nutritional regimen developed by Japanese writer-philosopher George Ohsawa in the early 20th century. Popularized in America by Michio Kushi in the sixties and seventies, the macrobiotic diet is a far cry from its trendy, contemporary counterparts, like the low-carb, antiaging, or raw-food diets.

There's nothing flashy about it. Emphasizing whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and beans, and largely restricting intake of meat (fish is an occasional staple), dairy products, refined sugars, and processed foods, macrobiotics aims to provide the body with essential nutrients while limiting the accumulation of toxins.

It's based on the Eastern concepts of yin and yang, two contrasting universal energies believed to be present in all things, including food. By consuming foods with the least pronounced yin and yang qualities (like whole grains and vegetables), one can supposedly achieve a more balanced condition and initiate a healing process. It's thought that the standard American diet, with its emphasis on red meat (overly yang) and sugary foods (overly yin), can throw the body out of balance and lead to disease.

"I would have done anything at this point to live," Vitt says, so her sister proceeded to search the Cleveland phone book for macrobiotic counselors. The one she found arrived to meet a 72-pound fragment of a woman gasping for air. "I was on oxygen," she recalls. "I was bald, my nails were blue, and my color was gray." By that point, she was relying on hospice workers and had signed her do-not-resuscitate papers.

Observing her face and hands, Vitt's macrobiotic counselor uttered a statement no doctor had ever made: "You could be healed," he said.

"That was the first positive thing anybody had said to me," she recalls. Too weak to cook for herself, she enlisted the help of friends and her ex-husband. After learning the principles of macrobiotic cooking, they signed up for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or overnight shifts. "Basically," she says, "they gave up an entire year of their lives to save me."

Gasping for air made swallowing difficult, so Vitt eased her way into the diet with very small portions. After two days of meals consisting of just two tablespoons of pressure-cooked brown rice, a half cup of miso soup, and some steamed kale and bok choy, her vomiting stopped. After only one week on the diet, she got rid of her medications, which included painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs. "I decided if I wanted to clean out my body," she says, "I couldn't be putting drugs into it."

To address her pain, a massage therapist came three times a week. After a few weeks on the regimen, Vitt began emitting a horrible odor from her skin and was convinced she was dying, but her macrobiotic counselor assured her she was just detoxing.

Months passed and she began to feel better. No longer in need of oxygen around the clock, and able to get to the supermarket with help, Vitt had become cautiously optimistic. "I thought I might have some quality of life before I died," she says.

Although she was relying on an alternative therapy, she continued seeing her internist. "I told him, 'No more scans; no more Western medicine.' Our agreement was that he would support me as long as I came to see him once a week," she explains. "Mostly he listened to my lungs, and we talked about sadness and death."

But one year after her diagnosis, and ten months after she began the macrobiotic diet, Vitt turned the corner. "I was still weak, but I could feel that I was getting better." And soon she got proof. The CAT scan that had delivered a deadly diagnosis one year earlier now brought miraculous news: The tumors were gone.

Usually that's where stories like this end. The patient walks away, mainstream docs scratch their heads in wonder and disbelief, and life goes on. But this one is different.

In 2002, the Kushi Institute, the world's leading macrobiotic educational center, in Becket, Massachusetts, presented Vitt's case and five others like it to the Cancer Advisory Panel for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAPCAM) at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. A panel of 15 physicians and scientists reviewed all the evidence and unanimously recommended that the Kushi Institute receive government funding for a clinical study on macrobiotics and cancer.

The study is not yet under way, but George Yu, clinical professor of urology at George Washington University Medical Center and the person who presented the cases on behalf of the Kushi Institute, offers one explanation of why macrobiotics might help: the diet's reliance on fermented foods like miso. "They have good bacteria, which produce many enzymes," he explains. "Those enzymes may have some way of keeping the body in balance, breaking food down, preventing inflammation, and decreasing toxic accumulation." The simplicity of the diet also improves elimination, Yu adds, which contributes to its detoxing effect.

Yu says approximately one-third of people who adopt a macrobiotic way of life recover from their illness after three to six months on the diet. "Why it doesn't work for the other two-thirds, I don't know," he admits.

Vitt is just happy she was one of the lucky ones. Nearly a decade after her life came dangerously close to ending, she's still cancer-free. Now a certified macrobiotic counselor herself, she still follows the diet; these days, food is her medicine.

Gone is her habit of eating without thought and working without rest. These days she rises at dawn and goes to bed at 10. She makes room for quiet time, takes daily walks, and has intimate conversations with God.

There have been other positive side effects of eating and living in a more balanced manner. "I used to have migraines, joint pain, and restless sleep," she says, "but not anymore." The biggest changes in her life, though, are less tangible. "I'm no longer afraid," she says. "I don't care about impressing others, and I don't judge myself.

"All the cells in my body are different," she adds. "I'm really not the same person I was before."

Portland Helmich is a writer and TV host in Maynard, Mass., who specializes in alternative medicine

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amazing, useful info. I just saw all this for the first time and it's exactly the kind of stuff I hope to pass on to mom when/if she's ready.

I also think I should consider moving towards it myself - I know I have an allergy to yeast, which I ignore and eat it anyway, and there is cancer all over both sides of my family. I've already had a carcinoma in situ (cervical) myself. the more I read and witness my mom's experience, the more I think I owe it to myself and the people who love me to make some changes.

all I can think about is the deprivation, but someone pointed out when I quit smoking (5/1/99!) that I wasn't depriving myself by quitting, I was depriving myself (of life, health, money) by continuing to smoke!

thanks again.

xoxo

amie

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Hi Heather,First time on the board.Sounds like you are doing well.My wife has scls limited and will be finishing up her conventional treaments of chemo and radiation at the end of August.I am going to contact the Kushi Institute for more info.When you went,did you go by yourself,and did you have to bring your records with?Also,does your diet change after the 3 month period?Thanks and have a few more questions if you can email me.Tom and Kathy [email protected]

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Hi -- to answer your questions -- I DID go by myself when I went. I wanted my husband to come, but it was easier for him to stay home with our son. Most of the people in my group were there with a partner though, and I wished he had come. Not only would he have had a better grasp on the reasons behind what I am doing, but he also would have been more inclined to help out in the kitchen :lol:

I didn't need to bring any records w/ me, but when I had my private consult, my counselor asked me for a detailed background on my health situation.

I was told to revisit my diet after 3-4 months and I plan to call my counselor within the next few weeks, as I am just about to hit the 3 month mark.

I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any additional questions!

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Hi -- to answer your questions -- I DID go by myself when I went. I wanted my husband to come, but it was easier for him to stay home with our son. Most of the people in my group were there with a partner though, and I wished he had come. Not only would he have had a better grasp on the reasons behind what I am doing, but he also would have been more inclined to help out in the kitchen :lol:

I didn't need to bring any records w/ me, but when I had my private consult, my counselor asked me for a detailed background on my health situation.

I was told to revisit my diet after 3-4 months and I plan to call my counselor within the next few weeks, as I am just about to hit the 3 month mark.

I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any additional questions!

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Hebbie,

Thanks for your post on my little survey. :)

I wanted you to know I am easing toward the diet Kushi recommends - just easing! 8) I read a great book called "What to Eat if You Have Cancer" by Maureen Keane and Daniella Chace. I'm following the diet they laid out and it's not as strict as the one you're doing, but no meat or bad carbs.

Anyway, I do feel healthier and more energetic after a week. Hmmmm...did you send out some vibes in my direction to open my mind a little? I'm leaning more in your direction. Just leaning! 8)

Leslie

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I just returned home from my very first Macrobiotic Covered Dish Dinner! I had to drive over an hour to get there, but it was well worth it! About 25 people attended and I was thrilled to finally meet some like-minded people who could relate to exactly why I was doing Macrobiotics in the first place!! I also had the priviledge to meet Janet Vitt, who used macrobiotics to recover from her stage IV lung cancer 10 years ago. She is a wonderful woman, full of energy, and she gave me some great advice. She is very inspiring!

A lot of people at the dinner are also cancer patients, focused on healing, and I connected with a breast cancer patient -- we are going to have lunch soon.

FINALLY.....I AM NOT ALONE IN MY MACRO QUEST!! :wink:

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Yay Hebbie!

It's good to be with like-minded people, especially if they are hard to find. Will you always have to drive to far for these dinners? Oh well, an hour spent heading for a good time is not a bad thing.

I'd like to learn more about Janet Vitt. I'll Google her name.

Glad you met some macro friends! :D

Leslie

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