Miso and Radiation
As the collective consciousness in the United States grows ever more agitated and fearful, we scurry to find magic bullets for bioterrorism: anthrax, smallpox and the black plague.
Based on current statistics, the odds of being exposed to and dying from anthrax in the U.S. are one in 35 million. Before anthrax hit the headlines, we listened to the international threat of mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or CJD, in humans).
The threat of chemical, bacteriological and radiological (CBR) warfare forms a constant undercurrent to our national hysteria conscious and subconscious. After all, we have been preparing CBR weapons at Ft. Detrick ever since World War II.
Clearly, we face daunting challenges to our quality of life and indeed, to life itself. Today's threat calls for a miracle of transformative scope. We look up to the government and to pharmaceutical companies for a fix, knowing full well that their bag of tricks is limited to petrochemical drugs and antibiotics. We're in need of some alchemy capable of transmuting sickness into health, fear into wisdom, hysteria into harmony.
In our search for such an alchemical remedy, I'd like to shine a light inward toward our own biological terrain, and downward to the nurturing black earth. Seeing ourselves as co-creators of our terrain‹that is, of our daily biological condition‹and then understanding that terrain as the single most significant factor in whether we succumb or not, empowers us mightily.
Pondering which daily food grounds me most deeply and most thoroughly enlivens my terrain, I know the answer immediately. An earthy, aged, fermented food dating back at least 2500 years to ancient China, miso (chiang in Chinese) originated from a culture whose world view revered food as medicine. Despite its Oriental origin, miso is now widely available in much of the world.
It is a relatively inexpensive condiment‹a food that gently and effectively restores dynamic digestion and assimilation. A morning bowl of miso soup‹mild, gentle, unassuming‹stimulates your appetite for the day's adventures and strengthens you from the inside.
Food for the Ages
Scientists now believe humanity's first cultivated plants were not grains and vegetables, but rather the microorganisms that cause food to ferment. They discoveredundoubtedly by accident at first that adding the right amount of salt to food cultivated friendly bacteria and enzymes not only prevented spoiling and deadly toxins, but also transformed the food's molecular structure, making it more healthful, digestible and delicious.
Fermentation, they realized, acted like an external digestive system that preserved the food and qualitatively transformed it. Compare sulfurous cabbage with sparkling sauerkraut, mild milk with tangy yogurt, bland soybeans with the deep, earthy flavor of miso.
Miso fermentation is alchemy working its miracle with microscopic bacteria, yeasts, molds and enzymes on our daily food: grains, beans and salt.
It is very similar to the miracle that transpires within our intestines where, with the help of friendly intestinal flora, we transmute food into blood via the hair like villi on our intestinal walls. And it is like the miracle that springs up from the earth where, thanks to myriad microorganisms and the warming sun, germinating seeds burst into green shoots.
Our life blood begins in our small intestine (called the cauldron by the Chinese), where we cook/transmute food into blood. The intestines are, in fact, our ancient brain; they actually make neurotransmitters just as our brain's neocortex does. Virtually all cases of learning disabilities and attention deficit challenges involve intestinal imbalances and inappropriate food choices.
Miso's alchemical gift nourishes this ancient brain and cauldron of our life.
Alchemy (from the Arabic, meaning black earth) draws the parallel between the miracles of gardening, fermenting and digestion/assimilation, our own internal fermentation. Alchemy suggests that fermentation is actually a further cultivation of a food beyond what it draws from the garden soil. Miso epitomizes the brilliant diversity possible with that fermentation. Japanese mythology extols miso as a gift from the gods for health, happiness and longevity.
As a food, miso can be thought of as an all-purpose and delicious seasoning for flavoring soups and vegetable dishes, or for making salad dressings, sauces and spreads. It is used in many of the same ways that we in the West would use salt. It is a condiment in the sense that only a few spoonfuls are used per person on a daily basis due to its high salt content (4-12% by weight). At the same time, miso is such a concentrated source of high-quality protein and other nutrients that only a small amount enhances and dresses up grain, bean and vegetable dishes.
As the high level medicine that Dr. Akizuki refers to, miso creates a truly resilient terrain in those who consume small amounts of it daily in soups, sauces, condiments and salad dressings. There has been no specific work done with miso and anthrax that I know of, and my thrust here is to offer way-of-life foods that strengthen the body and mind rather than heroic remedies that fit into the this-for-that pharmaceutical approach. That said, one researcher introduced some miso into a petri dish containing a culture of the disease bacteria Streptococcus. The good bacteria in the miso overcame and completely destroyed the Streptococcus!
Cultures throughout the world developed fermented foods that enhanced the foods they consumed. Most of these fermented foods and drinks rely on the action of lacto-bacilli. Miso making originated among grain-eating farmers and gardeners, people whose lives and livelihood were rooted in the earth and whose diet centered around grains, beans and vegetables.
Among nomadic people whose lifestyle did not permit staying in one place for years at a time, yogurt became a digestive aid. And among animal-herding, meat-eating cultures, people cultured grapes into wine. Wine helps break down the toxins in animal foods, whether it is used to marinade the meat or is drunk with the meat.
Ancient people, more in tune with Nature and with their own nature, were sensitive to the energetics of the foods they ate. They were aware of the warming or cooling, drying or dampening, acid or alkaline qualities they experienced as they ate particular foods. They knew how to influence a food's energetic qualities by cooking with fire and through fermentation (cooking without fire).
Like modern food scientists, these ancient people recognized the great value of the soybean as a complement to grains. However, unlike modern food scientists, the ancients recognized how extremely difficult to digest, and how over-cooling raw and unfermented soybeans were to the body. Ingeniously, they devised (in concert with natural micro-organisms in their environment) an intricate fermentation process that transformed the problematic soybean into a rich, hearty, alchemical substance of high order.
An aged, fermented soybean paste with living enzymes and friendly bacteria, miso is made by mixing cooked legumes (usually soybeans, though chickpeas, black soybeans, aduki beans, even peanuts make delectable misos) with sea salt and a cultured grain called koji (usually rice or barley). This fermenting mixture is then aged in wooden vats, sometimes for as long as three years.
Like a fine wine, each miso has its own unique color, flavor and aroma. Miso colors range from rich chocolate browns to loamy blacks, from russets to deep ambers, clarets and cinnamon reds, from warm yellows to light tans. Flavors range from hearty and savory to sweet and delicate.
In selecting a miso, you would usually choose darker, longer-fermented misos for colder seasons; lighter, shorter-fermented ones for warmer seasons and climates;
and red, moderately fermented ones year round. To balance your internal condition, you look also at the internal climate of your terrain. To strengthen a weak, deficient, over-acid cold condition, you would go to a dark, longer-fermented variety. And to balance an over-heating, excessive condition, a lighter, sweeter, less salty miso is preferred.
An excellent source of digestive enzymes, friendly bacteria, essential amino acids, vitamins (including vitamin B-12), easily assimilated protein (twice as much as meat or fish and 11 times more than milk) and minerals, miso is low in calories and fat.
It breaks down and discharges cholesterol, neutralizes the effects of smoking and environmental pollution, alkalinizes the blood and prevents radiation sickness. Miso has been used to treat certain types of heart disease and cancer. It helps with bed wetting, tobacco poisoning, hangovers, burns and wounds. A fine food for traveling (dry it by roasting over a low flame in skillet), miso gives warmth and life and the wisdom of age to those who consume it daily.
Studies in Japan's Tohoku University have isolated chemicals from miso that cancel out the effects of some carcinogens. We are all inevitably exposed to carcinogens in our foods and our environment. We are also exposed to non-ionizing radiation (ELFs and EMFs) given off by power lines, transformers, electrical stations, computers, hair dryers, microwave ovens and air conditioners.
Miso and Radiation Sickness
Thanks to nuclear accidents and leakage worldwide, we may be exposed to ionizing radiation as well. In the decades since the first atomic bombings, scientists have confirmed that miso (as well as sea vegetables) help protect the body from radiation by binding and discharging radioactive elements. Two weeks after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, all miso and seaweed disappeared from European store shelves.
At the time of the world's first plutonium atomic bombing, on August 9, 1945, two hospitals were literally in the shadow of the blast, about one mile from the epicenter in Nagasaki. American scientists declared the area totally uninhabitable for 75 years. At University Hospital 3000 patients suffered greatly from leukemia and disfiguring radiation burns. This hospital served its patients a modern fare of sugar, white rice, and refined white flour products.
Another hospital was St. Francis Hospital, under the direction of Shinichiro Akizuki, M.D. Although this hospital was located even closer to the blast's epicenter than the first, none of the workers or patients suffered from radiation sickness. Dr. Akizuki had been feeding his patients and workers brown rice, miso soup, vegetables and seaweed every day. The Roman Catholic Church and the residents of Nagasaki‹called this a modern day miracle. Meanwhile, Dr. Akizuki and his co-workers disregarded the American warning and continued going around the city of Nagasaki in straw sandals visiting the sick in their homes.
Since the 1950s, Soviet weapons factories had been dumping wastes into Karachar Lake in Chelyabinsk, an industrial city 900 miles east of Moscow.
Many local residents began to suffer from radiation symptoms and cancer. In 1985, Lidia Yamchuk and Hanif Sharimardanov, medical doctors in Chelyabinsk, changed their approach with patients suffering from leukemia, lymphoma and other disorders associated with exposure to nuclear radiation. They began incorporating miso soup into their diet. They wrote: "Miso is helping some of our patients with terminal cancer to survive. Their blood improved as soon as they began to use miso daily."
Over a 25-year period, the Japanese Cancer Institute tested and tracked 260,000 subjects, dividing them into three groups. Group one ate miso soup daily, group two consumed miso two or three times a week, while group three ate no miso at all. The results were stark: those who had not eaten any miso showed a 50% higher incidence of cancer than those who had eaten miso.
Twelve years ago, Dr. Evelyn Waselus, a California surgeon suffering from breast cancer, underwent a double radical mastectomy. Reading how Dr. Akizuki had used miso as an external plaster to treat people with radiation burns, she applied a miso plaster on her own wounded breasts, and for the first time in months was relieved of the gnawing, burning pain she, like so many cancer patients, had
Later Dr. Waselus opened Universal Life Center in Weed, California, where she
works with cancer and AIDS patients. Many of these people cannot maintain sufficient body weight because they have lost their natural powers of digestion and assimilation. Dr. Waselus premixes their food with three-year old barley miso, then allows it to sit for several hours. The miso predigests the food so patients can more easily assimilate nutrients needed to maintain body weight.
Dr. Waselus prescribes miso soup, again with three-year barley miso, to her outpatients undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments at local hospitals. For such people, restoration of the beneficial microorganisms of the intestines is crucial. Her patients do not generally lose their hair, as usually happens with chemotherapy, Dr. Waselus reports. (There is a direct correlation between the intestinal villi and the hair on our heads.) For patients receiving radiation treatment, Dr. Waselus administers an external plaster of miso mixed with aloe vera extract on the area being irradiated, with excellent results.
Spiritual fulfillment and biological resilience in these troubled times comes, I believe, by looking inward and downward. What we find there is something as humble as miso, a simple, whole food alchemically transformed by the power of microorganisms, giving us the inner resources and intestinal force to transmute even the most terrible threats to our own health, happiness and longevity, as well as that of the earth.
How to Improve Topsoil
A Letter on Rockdust and Nuclear Radiation
Eva G., Member- Swedish Green Party
This letter follows our brief encounter at the Buddhist Peace Pagoda in Grafton, New York on Sept. 28, where you spoke on nuclear contamination from Chernobyl. I'm concerned, too, since my catastrophic injuries occurred on Hiroshima Day 1992. But that's another tale to tell.
I told you I was sitting on a remedy for radioactive contamination and sickness referring to a 50 pound bag of trace element fertilizer on my wheelchair. I said quickly how, after Chernobyl meltdown, Austrian farms with soil remineralized with a similar rockdust had greatly reduced even negligible radioactivity in their crops and milk. I also said remineralization
can increase human tolerance to radioactivity even repair radiation-damaged DNA.
You said Dr. Rosalie Bertrell mentioned a link between minerals and radiation. Then you had to depart with two monks. Let me now amplify my statements.
At the time of Chernobyl meltdown, a few Austrian farms had remineralized their soil by fertilizing fields with rockdust. In the meltdown aftermath, routine radiation tests of foods found cheese from remineralized dairies weren't radioactive, and were much sought after. People stood in line to get them. For information about these Austrian farms:
* Georg Abermann
Sanvita z.H. Ing. Franz Cervenka Postfach 44, A-6370 Kitzbuhel, Austria
* Robert Schindele
Superbiomin Kicking 18, A-3122 Gansbach, Austria
tel: (43) 2753/289; fax: (43) 2753/276
Robert Schindele said a ton of rock dust was trucked to Chernobyl victims. A ton isn't much, but if field tested and proved, suitable supplies of powdered rock can be found closer.
Early investigations indicate this reduced uptake of rafioactive isotopes occurred due to several factors.
First, plants grown in mineral-rich soil don't take up radionuclides, whereas plants grown on mineral-poor soils readily absorb radioactive elements. When plants are supplied a menu abundant in all elements required, they are able to selectively absorb minerals from soil. Biological organisms are sensitive and intelligent enough to self-select only elements which precisely fit their biochemical pathways.
An example of this involving lighter elements calcium (Ca) and aluminum (Al) is well documented in animal husbandry. Plants grown on calcium deficient soil will take up aluminum as a replacement. However, these plants will grow more weakly and with a paler green. And animals fed these low-Ca, high-Al plants will develop signs of aluminum toxicity: joint arthritis, neurological impairment; lowered fertility, increased miscarriage, etc.
Second, the bag on my wheelchair was "trace element" fertilizer. Science knows plants need at least 18 elements‹probably more. Specialized soil bacteria have a wider range of atomic appetite. Chemical farming supplies three major (N, P, K) and two minor (Ca, Mg) elements. Biological farmers may supply a few other minor and trace elements. Nursing a vital strong soil ecosystem of bacteria, earthworm, insect, and plant must provide this bio-community a complete menu of minerals‹a full spectrum of all elements.
Like DNA, the Table of Atomic Elements is a spiral stairway to heaven, not square blocks stacked in two peaks and a valley. To build a staircase, you must
put each step in; leave one out, the whole stairway may fail. Geometric fit of element-to-enzme is very complex and precise.
Therefore, bioremediation with rockdust must supply a full spectrum of all elements, especially trace elements, each with their unique bonding geometry. Not all rocks are created equal, and there are as yet no set standards for elemental composition or chemical form.
Third is bioremediation of contaminated soil. Trace element fertilization with rockdust feeds a bacterial bloom in soil. It's microbes that actually dissolve
and digest minerals, package them in protoplasm, synthesize simple nutrients and complex enzymes, and feed this to roots. This "symbiosis" of specialized bacteria with plant roots is well documented, yet still inadequately investigated and dimly understood. A prime example are Rhizobia bacteria which inhabit root nodules of legumes: the bacteria fix nitrogen from air as nitrates, while legumes synthesize proteins and feed carbohydrates to the bacteria. Earthworms and certain creatures also eat minerals.
Certain bacteria can transmute unstable radioactive isotopes into harmless elements. Strong doses of rockdust nurture a bacteria population boom, thereby enhancing transmutation activity to remove radioactivity from soil.
There's little scientific evidence of this. Yet, it occurs, and a few scientists know this. As one appropriate example, Bechtel, world's largest construction contractor, currently has a high-level science team at Chernobyl. One strategy they're using is bacteria to consume and neutralize radioactive elements a strategy successful with oil spills, PCBs and hazardous chemicals.
Four, remineralization protects not only soil and plants from radioactivity, but humans, too. Supplying abundant minerals‹especially trace elements to the human body improves radiation tolerance, immune system integrity and radiation exposure recovery.
How? A main effect of radioactivity on biological systems is to disrupt metal ions critical to biochemical reactions and enzymes by direct ionization, or interaction with other free radicals. One symptom of radiation exposure is metallic mouth taste, indicating discharge of damaged metals and associated enzymes. Individuals with mineral deficiencies will be more strongly impacted by this than those with abundant minerals in blood and tissue.
Food and water are our main source of minerals, so foods grown on remineralized soils can improve radiation tolerance. There are other ways to enrich minerals in human blood and tissue, but food is fundamental and natural . And food comes from soil. Unfortunately, modern chemical treatments dramatically reduce minerals available in our water, soil and food.
Fifth, remineralization can improve recovery from exposure to radioactivity, including repair damaged DNA. Robert Schindele says research at University of Vienna and in Russia showed rockdust fertilization does take radioactivity out of the body. Other data show seaweeds‹also rich in minerals, including trace elements help remove radioactive strontium and other isotopes from human bodies. Chelation is known to remove radioactive metals.
Repair of radiation-damaged genetics is a greater challenge. Minerals alone can't mend broken DNA. But biological systems are created in evolution by conservative, self-protective and intelligent processes. Supplied all essentials for healthy, balanced, full function, they can both individually and as collective community remove damaged genetic material. Such healing is extra-ordinary, but not unnatural, nor impossible.
Regrettably, my catastrophic accident so disrupted my body and life that I can no longer access my information resources and networks. Therefore, I can't readily send documentation of these ideas. However, I initiated a search for the data and will forward it later, if you wish. Meantime, my Internet webpage http://www.championtrees.org/topsoil/ has a few basic essays on remineralization.
for a green and peaceful planet,