It seems like there is this common pattern.
Passionate guru/longevity-expert bursts on the scene, after some serious revelation, filling the world with his ideas for getting healthy, staying lean, and living the (real) high life. Some aren't impressed, especially the food fascists like dietitians, who declare the recommended diet to be unhealthful because "it eliminates too many healthy foods", particularly fruits and vegetables and even dairy.
But soon, sick and forgotten groupies flock to the program, and they feel better for doing it, despite the sacrifices. It is said to cure or eliminate cancer.
It is not just a diet, but it is a lifestyle. In addition to the diet rules, which are based on a balance of cosmic and earth energies that science cannot seem to prove or disprove, participants are told that where they live matters in respect to their health, intelligence and reproductive fitness. They follow an organic whole-foods seasonal diet, make fermented foods, enjoy plenty of the fruits of the sea, cook on a gas or wood stove (no microwave here, ma'am!). They keep their homes simple, full of natural stone floors, simple furnishings, natural heating methods, natural lighting. There is no room for plastic shoes, plastic take-out containers, plastic clothing, plastic anything, really. Clocks, TV, other electrical appliances, well, not in the bedroom please, and no eating right before bed. There should be fresh air and time spent outdoors every day, and of course, no fluorescent lights when indoors, and TV and computer use is strictly limited, because electro-magnetic radiation is unhealthy, unless of course, you're playing at an ocean beach.
It is weird. The participants buy weird food, eat weird, dress weird, live weird. Their families can be supportive, or not. All the regular gurus are not supportive. It is a dangerous fad. This guy is nuts. It is fake. Don't do it. Yes, you can eventually get down to two meals a day, but who cares?
The guru was fond of admonishing his followers for not following local, seasonal activities, but then his proclamations were made based upon his own locale. Still, there was not alot of wiggle-room on the rules, no matter where participants lived. Of course, abut the worst thing one could do is eat a banana in winter in Canada. The second worst thing would be to eat a banana in the summer in Canada.
Some of the controversial conclusions of the guru involve the differences between men and women, and the differences (including intelligence) between people's living at different parts of the globe. This belief results in the intention of the participants to move to different parts of the globe and to look down on other cultures as less in intelligence and certainly health. Some lament, why can't it just be about a few diet rules? Why do I have to remodel my whole house, re-do my cooking equipment, or move altogether? And then there is all the accompanying woo-woo philosophy...Cosmic and earth energy raining down (and up?) on us, encouraged or discouraged by our food choices....syncretic adoption of Asian spirituality....dependence on mountaintop retreats and revelations...circles and spirals of improvement, just like the tides.....and that stupid idea that any participant/groupie had to run anything up the guru flagpole in order to find out if it was safe to eat, wear, whatever......it will all be revealed shortly.....
If you think I am talkin' about Jack Kruse, here, you'd be wrong. It's about Michio Kushi, a popular choice for the founder of modern macrobiotics. Hey, but what about the others? Ever heard of Dr. Hufeland? I never heard of him either. Michio is the guy who wrote some books about it more recently and started the expensive seminars. I guess that is why he gets to be the guy who takes all the credit. Certainly not Don Matesz.
P.S. as for the shameless title theft, thank you Dr. Feinman. And, of course, This.