Kushi and his first wife Aveline, who died in 2001, founded Erewhon in the 1960s, a brand of natural foods that eventually became its own store offering staples of the macrobiotic diet, which focuses on whole grains and local produce over highly-processed foods. At the time, the idea of such a diet was “heresy,” said Alex Jack, the general manager of the Kushi Institute.
In the 1970s, Kushi and his supporters founded the East-West Journal and the East-West Foundation “for macrobiotic research and cross-cultural understanding,” and subsequently opened the Kushi Institute in Becket, Mass., dedicated to macrobiotic nutrition research and education. Kushi also taught that health and wellness were critically important to the keeping of peace.
The Kushi Institute, which is still active, promotes macrobiotics as a path toward “extraordinary health” and the reversal of “cancer, diabetes, psoriasis, and more.” Kushi’s own death was caused by pancreatic cancer, and his son, epidemiologist Haruo Kushi, told The New York Times that it was “clear that many different things contribute to cancer, and there’s a lot we don’t understand.”
Mr. Kushi is survived by his wife and four sons. A memorial service will be held in late January, with more details to follow, according to a statement of remembrance from the Kushi Institute.