My Realizations The Autobiography of Julian Lee  /  COPYRIGHT 2009 JULIAN LEE
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Food Fanatics
It seems strange looking back, but I had food fanatics around me starting early, and I myself became a food fanatic during my Iowa incarnation. Could this be a facet of my natal and locational Pluto-in-Fourth-House? Probably so. To share some of this would be entertaining to the reader.

Here I am with other fellows at age 16, in the 10th grade, and several of them are heavily into George Osawa's Macrobiotic Diet. This included an affable and laguidly sardonic Jew named Marty D., a Scandinavian friend named Rick S. who I later played in bands with, Bob F., a cultured, epicurean, slightly feminine lady's man and very talented guitarist with a premature burly beard and humongous sideburns, and a few others whose names escape me now.

Now I'm saying: These guys were serious about their brown rice and tamari sauce. There was literally a Brown Rice Cult around me in junior high and high school. Brown rice was going to take care of all that might ail them, and maybe even save the world. Although these guys didn't care so much about the world. My food fanatic friends were all-around cool guys, too. They were into all the best new music coming out of Europe and America. They were the same guys who would get together to imbibe as a group some new album by Jethro Tull or Badfinger or Genesis. At least two of them played in rock bands with me, and they were very good at it.

Some of them were avid about camping and going to the mountains of Colorado. Some wore the now iconic waffle-stomper boots with red shoelaces. This was before John Denver popularized the Colorado hiker image.

Pot was also a secret culture among some of them. In the case of Rick, he was developing a passion for Psilocybin mushrooms. This along with his passion for his Hammond B-3 organ, or Marty's passion for his Fender Rhodes piano.

Rick was avidly learning printmaking in the Roosevelt art department. Marty, for his part, had a habit of drawing very funny cartoons that lampooned his Gentile competitors Rick and Bob. I myself was sometimes featured in these cartoons, in a bit role. (He tended to be merciful to me since I was a friend.) He actually drew rather well and the renderings made you break out laughing. I sometimes hung out with him at his home at his invitation, perhaps watching him show off some new piano part he had learned. He kept me in the basement, but it was one of the rare cases where I ever was welcome in a Jewish home. (He just made sure his parents never saw me pollute their space.) He loved to relate to me his woes about his father who didn't like his hippy ways and pot smoking. I remember how impressed I was when the started playing the piano from Emerson, Lake, and Palmer's "Trilogy." He didn't have it perfect, but what he had gleaned by ear from the album was elegant and delightful.

Marty's cartoons became collectors items where he circulated them from study hall at the dystopian Merrill Junior High, and later at Roosevelt High. Wasting away another hour of "study hall," he might observe Bob and Rick a few rows away, chatting about "the guitar part for The Water Song" and Bob flashing his perfectly manicured fingerpicking nails (with clear polish to keep them strong), and he would be inspired by his basic Jewish animus to begin another hysterical cartoon featuring an absurd Bob F. and Rick S. And yet all of these three were fanatics about the George Osawa Macrobiotic diet, brown rice, and tamari sauce. For me it was like, "OK, but what is Going On?"

Going further back, my old woman friend and spiritual mentor Ruth Christians was also a food fanatic. She had everything you could buy at the nearby healthfood store, Campbells. It was always a matter of grave concern to her that she (and I) eat pure and wholesome food. I remember her turning me on to "Green Magma," a new product from Japan. When she would call me in for a lunch with her, out in her back solarium, she would be serving me only the "best" in her view. It was all a little beyond me, but I became a food fanatic myself. I did the brown rice thing a while. I read George Osawa's book. I became particularly concerned about refined sugar, and later I became a bit of a heavy in my family (with my wife and kids) over the sugar matter. I regret that. But part of it came from my own bad "2nd House" in Iowa, which gives both difficulty in earning and poor health. Having poor health since childhood, I felt instinctively hunted, and food purity and quality seemed like some kind of answer. Yet it never worked to improve my health. The only dietary measure that did improve my health was fasting. And among the books I picked up in the local health food stores were "Dr. Ehret's Mucousless Diet" and a "hygenic" fasting book by a guy named Shelton. (I got that one from Ruth's library.) When I read about fasting I had great faith in it, and I tried my first 3-day fast by age 16. It was a profound activity and I think it has very much affected my ultimate path in life and has had a role in the fruitfulness of meditation and the yogic path.