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What People Say About Macrobiotics > Melanie Waxman


Q: How did you start with macrobiotics?

A: I first heard about macrobiotics when I was 12. My mother ate a macrobiotic meal prepared by the son of one of her friends. I was horrified to hear that she ate seaweed even though she said it was delicious. I first dabbled ineating brown rice when I was 16 after reading an ancient book on macrobiotics. My feeble try lasted three days.

I gave in to some delicious looking biscuits when seemed infinitely more tasty than the 3 small bowls of brown rice I had eaten in an attempt to cleanse my system. I actually started in full force when I was 21. Ironically the son who had cooked for my mother became my boyfriend. He was intense, energetic and passionate about macrobiotics.

I learnt to cook in an old house in Bath that had slate floors. We made tahini with a stone mill and I received my first lecture on how potatoes were the downfall of modern civilization. I found the meals delicious, satisfying and wholesome.

I was fascinated with the philosophy and my nose was always in a book by Michio Kushi or George Ohsawa. When Patrick and I split up, I decided to continue my studies. I used to cycle across London to the Community Health Foundation to take classes in cooking and shiatsu.

I then embarked on the in-depth Kushi Institute courses. I was very enthusiastic, idealistic and zealous. I took my studies extremely seriously. Everyone seemed like that in those days. I had a great deal of energy and life was thrilling. I cooked for everyone and anyone. Macrobiotics made sense and it seemed to be the way of life I had been searching for.

My studies in the early 80’s were fun and challenging. I went on to cook for people with serious health problems, marry my teacher, move to America, run a study house and have 7 children.
Life definitely became an adventure.

Q: What problems do you have with macrobiotics?

A: I think the principles are marvelous but at times it is presented in a somewhat intellectual and idealistic manner. I think more people would be interested in a macrobiotic lifestyle if it wasn’t so complicated.

Often, the dietary recommendations seem difficult and people feel that they can’t practice correctly. Macrobiotics appears overwhelming to the beginner. This can be disheartening and creates a dependency on counselors for continued advice and encouragement. Instead of it being an empowering experience it becomes disempowering.

The principles of macrobiotics actually encourage people to take responsibility for their health and life. Macrobiotics is a very practical way of living. It should come from the heart. Understanding the difference between an ideal situation and day to day reality is important. For example, cooking cannot be learned from a book.

One needs to practice and get involved . To really understand the power of food, one has to feel it deep inside. Cooking is a practical, creative and loving experience. It’s a way to really nourish ourselves and others. There is a tendency for macro people to get food obsessed and to forget that life is a big, beautiful adventure. There is a lot of guilt attached to eating the so-called ‘wrong’ foods and endless worrying about the condition of internal organs.

Food is a very important aspect of life, however it is only one part. The principles of macrobiotics encourage you to experience and live life to the fullest. Eating a well balanced diet can be a springboard for such an adventure. Other areas of life such as exercise, enjoying nature, having fun, doing what you really want, being creative, relaxing, meditating and helping others are also very important and not to be forgotten.

In order for the macrobiotic movement to grow and develop, I think the approach has to be relaxed and focus on the positive rather than emphasize the negative; what people are doing well instead of their mistakes. Macrobiotics needs to be much more practical and flexible in its application so that people from all walks of life feel they can make changes be it big or small.

Q: How has macrobiotics helped you?
A: From those early days in the 80’s until now my life has been enriched with experiences. I feel blessed to have found macrobiotics. I have 7 wonderful children who are an utter joy to me.

I take care of them by myself and we have a very active, fun and lively home life. Eating macrobiotic foods has given me the vitality to take on different challenges. I have lived in three countries and have met many unique and wonderful people. It has helped me to understand my own nature and character. I love to paint, write, garden and ride horses.

I give massage, practice feng shui and write books. I have loads of energy and a youthful outlook on life. I love helping others and I sincerely feel that I would be a very different person if I hadn’t changed my way of life all those years ago.

I love creating with macrobiotic foods and the dishes taste absolutely fantastic. My life is not always an easy ride but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I am extremely grateful to my teachers and friends who have helped me so much. I think macrobiotics has given me the ability to see life with a sense of joy and wonder.

Q: What do you offer and specialise in?

A: I live in an old farmhouse in Chester County outside Philadelphia. I have taught cooking classes and worked with private clients for the past 20 years. I also give massage at a local spa and feng shui consultations. I offer a Way of Life Coaching for families and individuals who wish to make positive changes to their lifestyle.

This includes dietary, exercise, home environment, and emotional and spiritual recommendations. I am currently working with a group of women on issues that relate to family life. I self publish a series of 12 Cooklets, which are considered to be the most practical and easy to follow recipe booklets on macrobiotic cooking.

I have written Bless the Baby, a lovely book for new mothers about the natural and traditional ways a mother can bond with her baby. I also self publish Mr. Hoppity’s Color Me Cookbook for Kids which has recipes and activities geared for children.

Q: What one piece of advice would you give to someone trying macrobiotics for the first time?
A: Keep an open mind and enjoy the ride!

Melanie Waxman


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