FOR PETS AND PEOPLE
A Holistic lifestyle
animal kingdom depends entirely for its existence on the plant
kingdom. Animals need to consume plants for sustenance. Even
carnivorous animals depend on plants by eating animals which
have eaten plants. The evolution of the animal kingdom reflects
the evolutionary changes in the plant kingdom. As plants became
more complex so the animal kingdom developed. The most highly
developed animal is man. Man has the most sophisticated nervous
system and is the most adaptable species on earth and is capable
of surviving in the widest habitat of any creature.
The macrobiotic view is that this has come about because man
evolved through eating the most complex plants, namely whole
cereal grains. Eating cereals plus the ability to cook have
given man the pre-eminent position at the top of the evolutionary
tree. As recently as a few hundred years ago, man relied on
a diet based on whole cereals and vegetables with meat and
other foods forming only a minor part of the human diet.
In the West, the change to a diet based on meat, dairy foods
and refined foods high in sugar has taken place as recently
as the Second World War.
Our affluent Western society has largely overcome the problem
of infectious disease. This is due as much to improved public
health measures as the role of medicine in developing vaccines
and antibiotics. Similarly, our pets rarely die of infectious
disease (unlike farm animals which suffer epidemics due to
poor hygiene and overcrowding).
But although we have largely seen off infectious disease,
our hospitals and mental health clinics are swamped, veterinary
clinics are busier than ever and our society is fragmented
and ill-at-ease. We have replaced the problem of infectious
disease with that of degenerative disease.
Many people believe that a return to a more holistic, inclusive
lifestyle offers a solution to many of the ills of modern
society. To begin that process we have to define and understand
what we mean by the word “holistic” which has
become one of the most used (and abused) terms in present
“Holistic Medicine” is defined as “a system
which treats the whole person physically and psychologically,
rather than simply treating the individual [affected] part.”
While this may seem self-evidently desirable, that is not
how modern medicine is structured or practised. We have experts
who specialise in the different organ systems e.g. specialists
for skin, kidneys, gastro-intestinal system and so on. Veterinary
Diets extend that process into nutrition tailored to specific
My view is that nutrition is fundamental to the practice of
Holistic Medicine. Correct diet underpins all therapies, whether
conventional or complementary and may even make them unnecessary.
Some companies market additives or supplements which they
describe as “holistic” but a holistic lifestyle
involves much more than correcting a deficiency or providing
a particular stimulus.
It is beyond the scope of this section to set out a comprehensive
prescription for a holistic lifestyle but it does seem sensible
that if we try to provide a holistic life for our pets we
would wish to do the same for ourselves.