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The Art of Energizing, Healing and Rejuvenating Eating
By Lino Stanchich

excerpts from Lino's Power Eating Program Book
(Order a copy via his web site see below)

Power represents our inner life force and the energy that flows through all things. When used with consciousness and love, power creates health, happiness, and peace. Of crucial importance is food. The way you eat affects you physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually, and spiritually. The Power Eating Program (PEP) will show you how to develop your greatest potential, each time you eat.

In a German concentration camp during World War II, my father made a miraculous discovery that enabled him to survive. After his liberation, he taught me this revelation that, ironically, much later saved my own life. My father's simple yet profound lesson is the foundation of this book.

The goal of the PEP program is to help you become a healthier and happier person who not only survives-but thrives! The solutions to life's problems are rarely mysterious or hidden. The key to health appears right under our noses, three times a day. When properly practiced, PEP will help maximize your assimilation of food and improve your digestion. It will help you eat less and will boost your body's immune system, increase your vitality, and may save you money. It may even save your life.

This is a step-by-step guide to achieving optimum value from your meal and from your mealtime. How you eat is as important as what you eat. You will learn when to eat, how food transforms into energy, and what foods supply the most healing power. To put PEP in perspective, I have included abundant data, quotes, and opinions from renowned experts in the health and personal transformation fields.

For the past twenty years, I have counseled thousands of people who had tried various health programs and diets without success. Yet after learning what to eat and how to eat properly, these people began to improve and to heal themselves - often of "terminal" illnesses. Experience shows that healthy people who practice PEP frequently feel the benefits after just one meal. Those who eat a macrobiotic, vegetarian, or Pritikin-type diet will experience the most positive health results.

If we are to nurture our bodies and our planet, we must change our habits. Stop and reflect on your eating habits. Consider the changes you want to make in your life. The time has come to adopt a way of eating that is ecological, healthful, nonviolent, and balanced and the only way to absorb such a diet is to eat it properly, a skill that few of us learned as children.

Health and transformation require discipline and awareness. PEP will provide you the information and, I hope, the inspiration to make the changes you want in your life. You will also discover that eating well is a powerful way to love ourselves.
--Lino Stanchich
Miami, Florida. September 1989

In 1943, during World War II, my father, Antonio Stanchich, was taken prisoner in Greece and sent to a concentration camp connected to a German factory, where all the prisoners were forced into hard labor.
That winter was bitterly cold. The barracks were poorly heated, clothing inadequate, and the food substandard. My father told me, "I was cold most of the time and hungry all the time." In the morning he was given a cup of chicory coffee and a slice of bread. For lunch and dinner he had a bowl of soup made of potatoes and some other vegetable, a grain or bean, and occasionally a bit of meat. Inmates died of starvation daily. Deaths from exposure to the elements increased constantly. Life was a constant fight for survival.

When my father was thirsty, he kept the cold water in his mouth to warm it and intuitively "chewed" it for a while, ten to fifteen times, before swallowing. One day, when the water was especially cold, he chewed it fifty times! And he discovered something that would save his life.
Aside from quenching his thirst, the water actually seemed to give him energy. At first he felt it must be his imagination. Eventually he realized that chewing water fifty times or more did indeed give him more energy. Puzzled, he asked himself how plain water could impart such a miracle. It took forty years to clarify this mystery.

My father experimented by chewing his food fifty times a mouthful. Then he tried 75, 100, 150, 200, even up to 300 times or more. He determined that the magical minimum number of chews was 150 and the more he chewed, the more energy he had. The morning and noon meals were restricted in time, but the evening meal was not. In the evening he could chew water as much as he liked.
My father's technique was simple: Put one tablespoon of food, either liquid or solid, in the mouth, and count your chews. Most of his friends scoffed at his discovery. But two men became interested in these experiments and joined my father in his chewing sessions, Comparing notes, they both concluded that this technique did give them more energy. And they also felt warmer and less hungry.

In 1945, after two years in the concentration camp, the prisoners were liberated by the U.S. Army. In time my father, skinny but alive, came home to us in Fiume-Rijeka, formerly part of Italy, now Yugoslavia. Of his crew of thirty-two from the concentration camp, only three survived: my father, and the two men who joined him in his practice of chewing.

The following year, when I was 14, while on a family picnic, my father told me of his experience. He attributed his survival exclusively to chewing. He gave me some important advice, saying: "If you are ever weak, cold, or sick, chew each mouthful 150 times or more." I never forgot those words, even though we had plenty of food and I was in good health.

Nineteen forty-nine found Yugoslavia in political turmoil. The communist government forbade Italian citizens to enter Italy. Many who opposed the government tried to escape Yugoslavia. I was one of them. On March 10, 1949, I was captured at the border and sentence to two years of hard labor. Now, at 17, I too became a prisoner.

My prison experience was extremely difficult, if not as horrible as my father's. The diet was similar to the one he had described: one bread roll with chicory coffee in the morning, a bowl of soup, usually with barley and beans, at noon; and the same in the evening. Once a week the soup included some meat. If there were twenty beans in the soup, I considered the meal a good one. Like my father, I was hungry most of the time.
I was allowed one small package a month from home. Because parcels often failed to arrive, I asked my mother to send me raw onions, salt, and dry whole wheat bread. I reasoned that no one would steal such things, and sure enough, I received each one.

This supplementation made a big difference. I sliced the onion into wedges, dunked them in salt, and chewed them along with some bread. This was followed by one or two glasses of water, which filled me up. When properly chewed, the water gave me great energy and a strange feeling of confidence and courage.
I chewed as my father had taught, 150 times or more, but I introduced an important feature: I chewed with my eyes closed. This way I could "escape" my depressing surroundings. Closing my eyes also internalized my energy. By not looking outward, my energy went inward, strengthening me more.

The next year my family was allowed into Italy, and in 1953 we immigrated to the United States, where food was so plentiful. I went into the restaurant business with my brother. Without any fear of starvation, I abandoned my chewing regime.

The years passed and in 1969, I began to suffer the effects of my high-stress life. I was startled to realize that I was digging my own grave with my fork! Nutrition and health foods became my main interest. I tried many diets, from raw foods to fruit-only, from high-protein to lacto-vegetarian. They all worked, but didn't last long. Then I discovered macrobiotics, which was far more satisfying, and which I enthusiastically studied and practiced, and still do to the present day.


When people experience imbalances in their health, they often try counseling, divorce, relocation, pills, herbs, and surgery. Only as a last resort do they consider changing their eating habits, in the hopes of regaining their health.

When we eat food in a conscious manner, we may, as Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, taught, let food be our medicine, and medicine be our food. Eating is a primal desire, the basis of our survival instinct. Eating is a simple act, yet vastly underestimated as a major influence on health. If you question the importance of food, try fasting for several days, or notice the behavior of a hungry infant. As with all basic human functions, eating can be a greedy indulgence or a spiritual experience. How we eat can merely fill us up and comfort us , or it can heal and transform us.

In many traditions and cultures, eating is considered a crucial, even sacred act. I was told by Lebanese friend that a peasant is not required to stop eating even if a king enters his house. Ancient Jewish law states that if a piece of food larger than an egg is eaten, one must sit down and say grace. Eating with a reverent attitude is recommended in many religious and spiritual ritual practices.

These days, we casually interrupt our meals for the telephone and a thousand other hectic, chaotic influences of modern life. While we eat, we jump up and down, talk, read, scurry around like rats in a maze, grab a bite, and then grab a digestive tablet. According to Consumer Spending Report, Americans now spend over $1 billion on digestive medicines each year Take a good look at your own lifestyle.

If foods are the building blocks of our health, then our stressful mealtime habits are causing us to crumble. Americans are overfed and undernourished. For too many people, food has become a form of entertainment rather than the means of nourishment. Grinning clowns sell high-fat, sugary non-foods. Cartoon characters, film stars and athletes convince Americans to eat junk food.

Yet a growing number of Americans now are changing their eating habits. Unfortunately, some who eat a healthy diet fail to achieve satisfactory results largely because they focus on what, rather than how to eat. Very few people I observe know how to glean the full power from their food. The effects of even the most healthful meal can be minimized or nullified if eaten improperly.

We each choose what we want for our lives. With PEP, you will derive the maximum benefits from the foods you choose to eat. As you begin to take more care with your food choices, eating manner, breathing, exercise and contemplation, and as you practice directing your energies, you will focus your life more swiftly on where you really want to be.


    Develop an awareness of your motivation for eating. Discover if the reason you are eating is:

1. Mechanical: a spontaneous response to hunger without thought about the quality or effects of     food. "I'm so hungry, I could eat anything." "I could eat a horse."
2. Sensory: Eating for the taste, texture, fragrance, visual appeal of the food. "I eat this because     it's delicious." "The food looks so pretty." "I love creamy foods."
3. Sentimental: Eating motivated by emotions or memories. "This dish reminds me of childhood,     my homeland, the ethnic foods I loved." "I want cookies and milk before bed."
4. Intellectual: Influenced by diet, experts, and scientists. "I eat this because the book says to."     "The speaker said these foods are low in calories and high in vitamins."
5. Social: Eating while conscious of the earth and its people, with empathy for others. "I eat food         which supports the earth and can feed everyone." As Gandhi said, "I eat simply so that others     may simply eat."
6. Ideological: Eating according to religious discipline or spiritual teaching, for development and     transformation. "Exercising discipline and care, I eat the food of my spiritual beliefs."
7. Supreme: Freedom in eating deriving from inner wisdom and understanding of self with an     awareness of all seven levels. "I eat to support my dream. I know the power of food. I eat to    live, not live to eat." (Adapted from George Ohsawa's Seven Levels of Judgment)


As a boy on my grandfather's farm in Yugoslavia, as many as two dozen field workers joined the family at our main noon meal. After everyone was served, hardly a word was spoken. The meal lasted an hour and a half, after which we rested under a tree or in a haystack until 3:00. Then we resumed work until sundown, and took our evening meal in the same manner.

There is a reason to practice silence at the meal table. Talking while eating can send the energy from the mouth to hour throat or brain, creating a separation of energy in the body and disrupting the digestion process. When we expend energy by talking, we receive much less energy from our food. An Italian saying is "Wuando si mangia non si parla," which means; "Whenever you eat, don't talk." Many other cultures ascribe to the practice of maintaining silence while eating too.

I observe that people who talk while eating often need more food and experience more frequent bouts of indigestion. So it is best to practice silence while eating. Speak as little as possible between bites. Turn off your television, telephone, or loud radio when you eat, though soft music can be relaxing at mealtimes.
If you must talk during social mealtimes, discuss pleasant topics. Avoid negative conversation because you will be charging the food with negative thoughts and the negative energy will digest and go through you. Charge your food with thoughts of strength, joy, and appreciation, and you will literally imbibe those very qualities.


We have discussed how to prepare for eating. We have talked about stretching, cleansing, breathing, posture, and relaxation. Now, before we begin to eat, we should give thanks. Does it make a difference? Think about how you feel when a friend expresses love and gratitude to you. This is exactly how the food feels.
Food is alive, a blessing from the earth. When food is unappreciated or wasted, I often become very upset. It is as though a dear friend were criticized or cast away. Today Americans have such abundance that many have lost their reverence for food. To remedy this oversight, the practice of fasting creates a profound awareness of the blessings of food.


Thank you, Universe, for giving us life, for inspiring us and guiding us. Thank you for parents, mates, and friends who share our lives. We deeply thank you for the food we are about to receive. We thank everyone who brought the food to us, from the farmer who grew it, to those who deliver it to us. We especially thank the cook who prepared this food and now serves it to us. May this food go inside our bodies and help make us healthier, better balanced, and happier. May it purify us, so that we become better human beings with more awareness, who can make this world more healthy, peaceful, and happy. Amen.

Of course chewing is one of the simplest of acts, yet done with consciousness it can be phenomenally powerfully. Macrobiotics teaches that chewing is a primary factor in health and transformation. Chewing is the spark that lights your inner fire. Throughout my life, I have seen my theory of chewing proven time after time. In all my experiences in war refugee camps, the Army, the restaurant business and in macrobiotic teaching, I have observed that people who chew more are healthier, stronger, and happier.

Throughout years of research, I found recommendations for chewing well from yogis, athletic physicians, nutritionists, beauty experts, a certain British Prime Minister, and from saints in many traditions, like Jesus, Gandhi, and Muktananda. I chewed their advice over until, based on my own experience, I agreed!
Still, I had many questions: "How can one gain energy exclusively from water?" "Why is it beneficial to continue chewing after the food has become liquid in the mouth?" As I searched for more information, my students and I were experiencing remarkable improvements from chewing.

My longtime sensei (teacher) Noboru Muramoto imparted the missing link in his book, Natural Immunity, Insights on Diet and AIDS, which included research and insights into the causes of and cures for all kinds of diseases. An entire chapter is devoted to chewing. When Sensei Muramoto visited me in Florida, I noticed how well he chewed his food.

In his book, he cites scientific studies by Dr. Tomozaburo Ogata of the School of Medicine at the University of Tokyo that discuss how chewing strengthens our immune system and promotes rejuvenation. The salivary glands produce enzymes that begin digesting carbohydrates in the mouth, a process that is vital to vegetarians. [LINO: WHY ESPECIALLY VEGETARIANS?] And chewing stimulates the release of parotin hormones, which encourage the thymus to create T-cells, the protectors of the immune system. Parotin hormones are released by the parotid glands, located on each side of the jaw behind the ears.

All foods, and especially carbohydrates, begin to be digested in the mouth. Chewing enables the digestive enzyme ptyalin, found in the saliva, to mix with carbohydrates and break them down. This begins the dynamic process of transforming food into energy. Vegetables, moreover, must be chewed well to break down the tough cellulose that surrounds the plant's nutritive core.

It is imperative to chew grains well. The stomach cannot digest carbohydrates! Poorly chewed grains cannot break down properly and so nutrients, protein and starches will not separate from the fiber. If grains are swallowed without proper chewing, the pancreatic enzymes will not break down the food into its basic components.

When the grains are thus only partially absorbed and digested, the food particles move to the large intestine, where intestinal bacteria ferments them. Fermentation produces excessive carbon dioxide and sometimes methane (if there is an odor). The result: gas and bloat, heaviness, discomfort and sluggishness. No diet, especially one high in complex carbohydrates, will be effective if you do not want to chew well. And poorly digested food can produce mental and emotional side effects like irritability, moodiness, and anger.

The human body is designed to consume grains and vegetables. Dr. Robert Haas, well-known athletic nutritionist and president of the American College of Sports Nutrition, counsels some of humankind's best physical specimens. Dr. Haas advices in Eat to Win, the Sports Nutrition Bible, "Chew every mouthful of food until it is liquefied in your mouth." [Under his influence,] professional athletes throughout the world are adopting a powerful diet of whole grains and vegetables.

We can learn much from the animal kingdom. The strongest animals with the greatest endurance eat vegetables, which they chew very well. The teeth of carnivorous animals are designed to tear, and the teeth of herbivores are designed to grind. We are omnivores who can tear and grind food. Of our 32 teeth, only four are sharp, tearing tools. As Jane Brody, nutritionist for the New York Times, reports in her Nutrition Book, "Our teeth are more like those of herbivores than of flesh eaters. Our front teeth are large and sharp good for biting, our canines are small, our molars are flattened and our jaws are mobile for grinding food." The strongest animals-the ox, bull, elephant and buffalo, for example, are plant eaters who chew very well.

The human intestine is four times as long as those of carnivorous animals, which means that our digestive system has plenty of time to digest high-fiber plant foods. Decaying animal food must exit the body quick. Because our intensities are so long, animal foods tend to remain in the body too long, creating putrefaction, excess wastes and fats, which often leads to cancer. Countries with low meat consumption have virtually no colon cancer.

We humans have the choice to putrefy or purify our bodies. We can eat a high-protein diet and take the consequences, or we can go the vegetarian route and enjoy the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits of that diet.

If you do not chew well you will not digest your food and you will tend to overeat. The more you chew, the more powerfully you will transform your food into energy. If you eat macrobiotically to heal yourself but fail to chew properly and enough times, the diet will be less effective or may not work at all.

Chewing is like building a fire. You can try this experiment, which every Boy Scout knows. Build a pile of paper and put three or four thick logs on top. Light the paper and see what happens. The paper will flare up, the logs will become blackened and the fire will go out. No matter how dry the wood is, the chances are a thousand to one that the wood will not burn.

Now try chopping the wood very finely, as thin as kindling. What happens when you try this time? It doesn't matter how hard the wood is-if you chop it finely enough, you will be able to start the fire and generate heat and energy.

Chewing food finely enough releases the energy absorbed by the plants form the sun, the earth, the moon, and the stars. As you chew these vegetarian foods, the universal energy is released to provide the power you need to ignite a healthier, more vital life. Perhaps this is what Lord Krishna refers to in the Bhagavad Gita: "I live within you in the form of the digestive fire."


Lino Stanchich is a macrobiotic educator, researcher, and counselor with over 30 years experience. He is a respected teacher of the macrobiotic diet, philosophy, and lifestyle, along with energy exercises (Chi Kung), shiatsu massage, Do-In self-massage, and special eating techniques. He is a Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist. Mr. Stanchich serves on the faculty of the Kushi Institute and is a member of the Kushi Institute Macrobiotic Educators Association. A Licensed Nutritionist, Mr. Stanchich is a multi-lingual educator who has established several macrobiotic learning centers in the United States.

He has lectured at many major macrobiotic centers throughout the world, as well as to universities, corporations, and the United Nations Macrobiotic Organization. Author of the popular book, Power Eating Program, You Are How You Eat, creator of "Healing Mealtime Music" cassette, and the dynamic self-massage and exercise video "Energize Yourself" and the CD, "Laugh! For the Health of It", Lino has appeared on a variety of radio and television shows.
He lives with his wife, Jane, in Asheville, North Carolina, where they conduct seminars, retreats, and classes.


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