Part A | The nutritional evolution of the species
Part B The basis of human nutrition
Part C Cereal types and their characteristics
Part A | The nutritional evolution of the species
Food is the foundation of life … and life is the foundation of food.
This is the approach of Macrobiotics to the evolution of species. In essence, it states the interactive and bi-directional relationship of the species (plants and animals) that had their evolution over time, their adaptation to the natural environment and the climatic changes.
4.5 billion years ago the Earth was covered with water and minerals. 3.5 billion years ago, some of the minerals were converted to carbohydrates, fat and protein – an organic substance. Three billion years ago the bacteria appeared in the water. Some form of high intensity energy, such as lightning and activity near the Earth’s core (volcanoes), may have been the cause of organic matter change in bacteria. These simple plants were the first form of life on Earth.
From these simple plants the first photosynthetic plankton developed. Part of this plant plankton became more active (Yang) to survive the cold weather (Yin). In cold weather, the most Yin of the plant species die while the most Yang survive. The living organisms that fed with Yang Plankton naturally became Yang’s more. As the plant plankton became more and more Yang, at some stage it was transformed into animal plankton. This happened on a large scale about 1.5 billion years ago. Spongies (which belong to the animal kingdom) sprang up 1 billion years ago, 500 million years later followed by shellfish, and after another 100 million years, various species of fish began to appear.
When large masses of land were created between the oceans some 300 million years ago, some species of plants were adapted and established on the land. As some fish adapted their survival in both environments, they evolved into amphibians. After about 50 million years the ferns and mosses were in abundance, the reptiles appeared, and then the insects appeared. In this period, about 200 million years ago, the climate was warm (Yang) and Yin life styles such as dinosaurs and huge ferns dominated.
Then the climate started to cool, about 150 million years ago, and the ferns began to decline and replace the first barefoot – plants whose seeds are exposed. Then there were animals that could feed on these seeds, birds and mammals.
More than 100 million years ago, angiosperms – plants whose grains are enriched in the ovary – made their appearance in the forefront, offering a more Yang form of animal feed. As some animals became and the more Yang began to hunt and feed on other animals, making them even more Yang. That’s how the carnivores evolved. The other, most Yin, animals fled to the trees. It was the beginning of the first mammals that fed almost exclusively fruitarian primates 75 years ago. After 25 million years, mainly due to the dilution of the vegetation, the first monkeys and monkeys appeared. These species, while continuing to feed on the trees, could also live on the ground.
The different species of herbs and herbs began to grow about 25 million years ago. Fruit-eating monkeys began eating cereals 10 million years ago. Bringing more carbohydrates into their diet, essential for the development of the brain and the nervous system. For many, that is why they managed to stand up as a natural consequence of the change in their diet. By changing their attitude, their hands were freed from the function of body support and became more skillful. This was the appearance of the homofaber, 5 million years ago, which made the first tools. About a million years ago, the fire was discovered, marking the origin of Homo sapiens, the kind of modern man we are. Fire has given people the power to transfuse food, unlocking and making their energy available.
The cultivation of the earth came a long way. Until then, the survival of the Paleolithic man was not based on his physical strength and armament, but on the tools and the power of his mind. It was the result of its nutritional support for cereals.
At the end of the glacial period, the ice collapsed and new conditions were created in the wider region. The challenge of this environmental change has exhale people to find ways to control their environment and food, so that they cannot be exposed again. She began to grow plants and has domestic animals. It was the beginning of agriculture and livestock farming. In this way it no longer needed to move seasonally, managed to stabilize their dietary supplies, creating the first settlements, at first, and then the first cities and the first major cultures.
Babylon, Egypt, Greece and Rome were based on the cultivation of cereals such as wheat, oats and millet. In India, China and Japan the crop was mainly concentrated on rice. The Incas, the Mayans and the Aztecs mainly used corn for their daily bread. In all these ancient civilizations we find mythologies that recognize cereals as divine gifts from life-giving deities.
All this ancient tradition has been forgotten by most, except for a few who have managed and kept it alive such as George Oshawa, which he spread through the consolidation of Macrobiotic as a way of life.
[Free translation from Basic Macrobiotics | By Herman Aihara | Revised edition 1998]