Forward To My Beautiful Life - Michio Kushi

Forward To My Beautiful Life - Aveline Kushi

1. A Blessed Event - By Alex Downs and Tammy ann Casper

2. They Sent Him Home To Die

3. My Healing Journey - By Antoinette Ippolito, M.Ed.

4. A Day In The Life Of Mina

5. A Story Of Healing - by Jennifer E. Greene, Ph.D.

6. The Case of a Broken Heart

7. Guiding Light - By Ruska Porter

8. A Tennis Champion’s Story - By Page Bartelt

9. Ode to Macrobiotics - Anonymous

10. Wisdom from Little Beings

11. Motivated by Blood — The Road to Macrobiotics - by Phyllis Mueller

Forward To My Beautiful Life
By Michio Kushi

We are facing a grave biological and psychological crisis in human society on this planet, because the modern lifestyle of our current civilization has developed unnaturally, causing changes in dietary patterns.

In the twentieth century, especially during its latter period, the progress of artificialization, chemicalization and industrialization of food have advanced throughout the world. Together with environmental contamination, this trend towards dietary change has been creating heart disease, cancer, arthritis, allergies, diabetes, and various types of viral diseases, as well as psychological and emotional instability among modern people.

In order to restore the proper human diet and realize planetary health and peace, macrobiotic understanding based upon traditional, universal common sense has offered a solution for this crisis of mankind. Since the 1960s, it has innovated the natural, organic food movement and it has initiated alternative medicine of various kinds.

Macrobiotic education began among the grass roots and it has penetrated gradually but steadily among all levels of society during its forty years. In addition it has also spread to every major country during this period. Hundreds of thousands of people have received physical and psychological benefits including recovery from many disorders. One of the remarkable stories of such a recovery is the story of Mina Dobic.

Mina and her husband Bosko, together with their lovely, strong children, are contributing to One Peaceful World, which is a goal of macrobiotics. One Peaceful World is not a visibly-structured social system but it is a brotherhood and sisterhood of every individual on this planet as a family member in health, love, and peace.

Mina and her family are one of the centers from which the light of One Peaceful World radiates out over many thousands of people, through their presence, talking, meeting, cooking classes, writing, and the gathering of their friends.

Michio Kushi
Brookline, Massachusetts
February 10, 1998

Michio Kushi is the founder and president of the East West Foundation, a non-profit, educational and cultural institution and recognized leader of the natural foods movement. He has written several books including The Macrobiotic Approach to Cancer, Macrobiotics and Oriental Medicine, and How to See Your Health: Book of Oriental Diagnosis and One Peaceful World.

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Forward To My Beautiful Life
By Aveline Kushi

In recognition of the role macrobiotics has played in stimulating the natural foods movement and the health revolution in American society, The National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institute has approved the acquisition of our life’s work, establishing an archive of macrobiotic papers and associated materials. These materials will be made available to researchers, students and the general public free of charge, as part of the national collection. This autumn, Mina and Bosko Dobic organized the first in a nationwide series of fund-raising dinners to establish the Kushi Collection at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

I remember the Laguna Niguel party vividly. Local macrobiotic chefs and the Executive Chef of The Ritz Carlton Hotel in Dana Point devoted many hours preparing a magnificent banquet. Chris Akbar and Patricio Garcia de Paredes, two young macrobiotic teachers, accompanied Michio and me.

About a hundred people, including well know personalities, enjoyed the buffet, entertainment and conversation. One woman sang a Russian folk song that I used to sing in college and it brought back fond memories.

I was delighted to see how young and beautiful Mina looked. I had not seen her for nearly a decade. She spoke eloquently and clearly, everyone admired her. My mind went back nearly eleven years ago when I first met Mina in Yugoslavia. She had been diagnosed with fourth-stage ovarian cancer and presented a very sad, dark countenance. Following her diagnosis, Mina decided to forgo Western medicine’s techniques of radiation and chemotherapy and seek healing through a macrobiotic lifestyle. Following our seminars there, she and her family eventually moved to America and studied with us at the Kushi Institute.

As Michio always says, family support is the most important factor in getting well. Mina’s husband, Bosko, helped her so much. He is very strong and, together with their two children, worked tirelessly at the Kushi Institute in Becket, Massachusetts. They assisted with cooking, cleaning, driving and other arrangements, soon making themselves indispensable. Mina soon became one of our head chefs, cooking for cancer patients. As a result of their influence, hundreds of their countrymen came to study in Becket, and the Dobics welcomed and translated for them during their visits.

After completing their studies at the Kushi Institute, they moved to California. Mina has become an outstanding teacher, counselor, and chef who inspires and guides many people to greater health and happiness. As her book reveals, she is a shining example of the macrobiotic spirit and an international treasure for the health of the world.

The success of macrobiotics is due, in no small part, to the Dobics and many wonderful people from many countries and cultures. Without them, knowledge of the healing qualities of a macrobiotic diet would not have spread so rapidly.

Aveline Kushi
Brookline, Massachusetts
December 20, 1997

Aveline is the wife of Michio Kushi and mother of 5 children. She is a superb macrobiotic cook and teacher, and author of many books on macrobiotics including Complete Guide to Macrobiotic Cooking, Macrobiotic Diet and Aveline: The Life and Dream of the Woman Behind Macrobiotics Today.

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1. A Blessed Event

By Alex Downs and Tammy ann Casper

Tammy ann and I are both professionals in the entertainment industry. We have always tried to eat healthy food prepared at home. We thought that giving up red meat and eating a modified-vegetarian diet that included chicken a few times a week would be healthy and wise. For our generation this seemed to be “the cure” to bad living. Yet we didn’t feel revitalized by our lifestyle even though we exercise regularly. A chance meeting with Nadine Barner, a macrobiotic cook and angel, sent us on a quest that would begin with quinoa, a strange “queen’s grain” and would include foods that we had never eaten before in our lives and others that we just didn’t know to eat regularly or in certain quantities.

There is a strange unmasking that takes place with Mina, and with your relationship to food, when you begin this quest. Quite literally Mina was able to read our faces, our skin, our smiles and knew what ailed us. At this time Tammy ann and I had also decided that we wanted to have a child and Tammy ann was dedicated to cleansing her body and her mind to prepare herself for this physical and emotional transition. With that in mind, Mina put us on a six week macrobiotic cleansing diet that helped to educate us on the energy and harmony available through the principles of macrobiotic eating.

Though it took some getting used to (it takes will to change old habits), we turned our philosophy and practice of eating food upside down and discarded everything in our kitchen that was not organic or that contained preservatives, sugar or hydrogenated oils. In their place we included organic grains of all types, fresh organic produce, beans, seeds, soy, sea vegetables, noodles, things we had never tried that left us feeling rejuvenated.

Tammy ann’s pregnancy under macrobiotics was amazing. After being together for 15 years and not trying to get pregnant, we conceived our child the first week we tried, where as friends of ours struggled month after month spending thousands of dollars pumping fertility drugs into their system. Tammy ann ultimately gained a healthful 30 pounds and exercised throughout her pregnancy while the baby got the most incredible foundation of nutrition imaginable. Another amazing by-product of macrobiotics seemed to be that Tammy ann never experienced any morning sickness and had abundant energy throughout the day.

When the baby was born we knew someone special had joined our family. From the very first moment of her new life little Liberty Rae was filled with alert, wide-eyed wonder. She looked upon her Momi and Popi and this incredible new world she was born into with probing, soulful interest. Her clear complexion and serene disposition astound us every day and we attribute this to our love, the healthy foundation Tammy ann gave her and the macrobiotic-produced breast milk that she eats exclusively.

Incredibly, at three months of age, we ask her where our nose, eyes and mouth are and she touches them to show her understanding. She has the most incredible smile and radiant laugh and loves to stand on her own two feet as she holds our hands for balance. Balance. That is ultimately the principle that makes so much sense about macrobiotics. Getting your body into balance so that it can function the way God intended in a synchronous dance with the abundance that nature provides season to season.

For us this has been a doorway into a new way of life that has spiritually and physically revitalized us. We look years younger, our clarity of thought, our complexions, our soul, Tammy ann’s pregnancy, our child have all benefited from this education. What particularly impressed us was the principle that live food sustains the soul in ways that change your spirit because it feeds you life. When we have eaten dead food we have felt deadened, as if the rot of this food were slowing us down and saddening our spirit. Living in harmony with the earth in macrobiotic balance changed us on a cellular level and we are so thankful to Nadine and Mina for helping us make this transformation. A renaissance of the mind, body and soul takes place when you follow this path. Start walkin’.

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2. They Sent Him Home to Die

Peter, four-year-old son of Anna and Adam, is terminally ill with cancer of the urinary tract. Their search for hope for their son has brought them to me. Even a casual glance tells you he has suffered a lot. His little head is bald. His cute round face is greenish-gray. There are dark circles under his chestnut brown eyes, devoid of light, as if they belong to an old man. His thin, colorless lips, hiding under his button nose, have lost their joy of smiling. He can’t eat because his mouth is sore, full of painful canker sores. His tiny body is so skinny it’s hard to find it under his baggy clothing.

I ask myself, how could any therapy be really good when it damages the body so unmercifully? How could such aggressive treatment help an already weak immune system in the process of recovery? Here’s a child whose life is over before it barely gets started. He isn’t just wasting away; his entire being, physically, emotionally and spiritually, is being destroyed. It is obvious that his life is dimming. His doctors told them that there is nothing more they can do for Peter so they sent him home to die.

Anna is a 25-year-old attractive woman with pleasing proportions, but her oval face displays a cold, painful, involuntary cramp-like expression. Her sapphire eyes no longer sparkle. They appear puffy and lined with red. As she finds the most comfortable position on the sofa, she unconsciously uses her long, slender fingers to comb through her hair. The sunlight catches the brilliance of her diamond as she struggles nervously to untangle the hair that winds around her expensive ring. Even the costly thick, gold chain that adorns her sculptured neck cannot restore life to her face. Yet in spite of her pain, she still radiates a strong spirit from within. This same strong spirit has been genetically inherited by Peter.

Adam is blond and very tall, obviously a body-builder. His hands move nervously. His face is ruddy and when he talks, his utterances are angry and judgmental.

His young parents have reached an impasse regarding Peter’s healing. Anna wants to use the macrobiotic approach while Adam doesn’t believe in macrobiotics. Adam is of the opinion that it’s cruel to give his son false hope because he doesn’t believe food causes illness, let alone cure it. (This belief isalmost universally shared by health professionals and the science community.) Adam was close to yelling at Anna. “I don’t want my son to starve to death eating bird food, grains, beans, and seaweed. He’ll die even sooner without meat. Not only that, but who’s going to cook that ‘microbiotic’ food when the only thing you cook is coffee?!”

Within this family exists a horrendous conflict. Anna is a strict vegetarian. Adam is a meat-eater. He also drinks heavily. Their son Peter is inclined to favor his father’s diet. So the real conflict is not about Peter’s lifestyle but about whose ego is to be satisfied. Anna is ready to use food as medicine for her son’s healing. But Adam thinks it’s too much pressure to deprive Peter of the food he likes, especially now that cancer has taken over his life.

How sad it is to see this family, which is really no family at all but a mere pretense. At a time when Peter’s life is being measured in seconds, he becomes the victim of his parent’s blind selfishness. That negative energy conceals the real issue: What preserves and nourishes human life? So I’m watching them and wondering, “Where is the love, unconditional/unselfish love?” Then as I look at Peter, I sense he has made a decision to leave his parents — to die. His little face has darkened as his head has dropped and he looks to me like an old man, exhausted with life, who has decided his life is over.

“Excuse me,” I say. “Please help me to understand the purpose of your visit. Your child’s destiny is in your hands. If you continue to argue, I don’t see any solution.” I said this in an attempt to move the conversation along.

“Adam,” Anna confronted him. “We came here hoping to find a way to help our child. Let’s allow Mina to introduce this diet to us.”

“Do you know what macrobiotics is about?” I ask. “Do you know what that word means?”

They silently shook their heads from side to side. Anna added, “I did some reading but I don’t know enough. I’m willing to learn.”

I explained to them that macrobiotics essentially means “large life” and the diet is based on a common-sense approach using natural, whole grains and organic vegetables. “In your son’s case,” I said, “since he’s only four years old, you both must assume that responsibility for him. Didn’t you already tell me that the doctors didn’t help him?”

Anna interrupts, and turning toward her husband begins to speak, “Yes. We went to the doctors. We allowed them to do whatever they said had to be done, never questioning any treatment they prescribed. They proposed a special study program. Over the past two years, Peter was treated with radiation and chemotherapy. Nothing worked. Now we’re looking for another approach. That’s why we’re here. Peter hasn’t even tried macrobiotics. We came to you to learn about it. Adam, you immediately show that you discount the value of this alternative approach. But what about Mina? She is a cancer survivor. Will you discount her so quickly, too?”

She continued. “I’ve read a lot of books and I’ve been trying to share everything I’ve learned with you. You refuse to read or listen to anything. In fact, those books are still sitting unopened on the nightstand next to your bed.” Adam looked down and remained silent.

Observing them was like watching two children on a seesaw in rapid motion, afraid any minute that one would fall off and Peter will be the one feeling the most pain. I already felt his pain and hopelessness and, unconsciously, moved from my chair to the floor. At that moment, Peter accepted my silent invitation to sit on my lap.

Looking into his sad eyes, I said to him, “I guess you don’t like it when your parents are talking this way.”

He shook his little head from side to side. “No.”

“What else don’t you like?”

“I don’t like when people shoot the birds and I don’t like when I have to stop playing with my friends when I feel pain.”

“What do you do when you have pain?” I saw his lips twitch.

“Me and my mom pray to Jesus and sometimes I have to go to the hospital, lose my hair and watch those stupid cartoons.”

“Do you watch cartoons at home?”


“Are they stupid?”


“Why do you say that hospital cartoons are stupid?”

“Because they are stupid and the hospital is stupid and all those machines in my room are stupid and the food is yukkie,” he insisted.

“You are not going to go there again!” I promised him. He dove deeper into my lap and held on tight.

“I don’t want to.”

I hugged him tightly and said, “Let’s pray together that you don’t have to go there.” He rested his cold, petite hands in my arms and whispered with me, “Dear Jesus, please don’t ever let Peter have to watch cartoons in the hospital and don’t let him have those machines attached to him, not even in his dreams. Stop all the pain in Peter’s body with pure and healthy food. Let him play and play and play with his friends until he gets tired playing. Thank you, Jesus.” And I heard a deep sigh as he whispered “Amen.” Then I broke the silence. “Peter, shall we ask your mom and dad to join us on the floor?”

Teary eyed, he said, “If they want.”

Gladly they joined us, moving closer to their son and gathering him into their warm embrace. This was just what was needed to turn the situation around.

The room became intensely hot. I wanted to leave so their love could take my place. For a second I felt like an intruder and that I should absent myself, for this was their moment. It belonged to them alone.

Adam was the first to say, “Let’s hear what Mina has to say.”

I introduced macrobiotics to them and designed a healing diet specific to Peter’s needs. I also gave them a few names of people who recovered from the same illness using the macrobiotic way of healing. They left in peace.

For the first time in her life, Anna took charge and became the chief pharmacist in her “Pharmacy of Life” — her own kitchen. She spent hours and hours cooking meals, making medicine for her son and herself.

One day all three of us were cooking in the kitchen. We made Peter’s favorite dish — French fries! He was busy eating them as fast as he could cook them saying “Yummy, yummy, yummy.” He didn’t notice that he was really making “turnip” French fries! I remember thinking how unusual this was: seeing a man (even a four-year-old boy) in the kitchen. In my country, people think it is degrading for a man to be in the kitchen, doing ‘woman’s work.’

Three months later, Peter’s test revealed incredible improvement. And after six months, he was cancer free! Unfortunately, his parents had already divorced but despite this Peter is today a happy and healthy child.

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3. My Healing Journey
By Antoinette Ippolito, M.Ed.

I am 53 years old and conscious that time is precious. In 1996, within a few months, I experienced many life-wrenching changes: I had gotten married, been laid off from work, and moved into a new home. I kept wondering, “How is it that I have gone through so many changes without getting sick?” The answer came in the middle of January.

My period began again after an absence of two months. I was very happy to see it arrive. It continued for a week, then 10 days… then two weeks. At this point, Don and I went to the movies one Saturday night. When we got home and saw I was bleeding heavily, I panicked. “I’m scared,” I said to him. “I’m still flowing and I feel like I’m fading away.” Watching your vital essence pass from your body is a horrifying sight and I knew something was wrong.

Years ago, I had read a book called Recalled by Life, by Anthony Satillaro. It is the story of a medical doctor’s battle with terminal prostate cancer and his eventual cure with macrobiotics.

I had studied macrobiotics years ago and had practised it for a while but not with any full commitment. But through my study of macrobiotics I had come to know an excellent macrobiotic diagnostician/advisor who lived near me. Her name was Mina Dobic and she has always been one of the people whom I am truly thankful to have in my life.

At the instance of having my period for two weeks, I called Mina and begged her for an appointment. My intuition told me that I might have fibroids, an affliction which my mother had, resulting in a partial hysterectomy. Mina agreed to see me that Monday.

When I arrived for my appointment, I was nearly hysterical. I was weak from blood loss, but was also – and probably just as debilitating – scared to death! Mina saw my state and we sat together for almost an hour-and-a-half. She asked me what I was eating and what was going on in my life both emotionally and spiritually. Part of my problem was that my marriage with Don had been, up to now, a strain on me.
I had also been eating badly. I knew better. But lately I had been consuming sweets, meat, coffee, wine – all of which I knew were wrong. The eating was a feeble attempt to alleviate stress and to get some pleasure in my life.

Mina checked my pulses, looked at my face, my hands, assessed the puffiness and swelling, the whites of my eyes, my overall weight gain. She said she believed I had fibroids and told me that they are not necessarily related to menstruation nor necessarily to mid-life, but are the result of excess accumulations in the body from years of stress and over-consumption of sugar, oil and animal products.

This, compounded by the numerous life changes I had recently experienced, had resulted in unwanted growths. She said they were a warning sign and that I had to make a radical change if I were to get well. She also suggested that she couldn’t proceed further until I had a pelvic ultra scan to determine the size, number and location of them.

After our consultation, I went home with a copy of the standard macrobiotic diet, which included her specific recommendations and immediately went to the natural food store and began my shopping.

From the beginning of January, when I first saw Mina, to the end of January, I bled for a total of 23 days. Those last 10 days I was in hell. I was very frightened about the betrayal of my body but realized I had to bite the bullet and take care of myself. My saving grace was the support of my girl friends, to whom I told everything. They called me several times a day and allowed me to be as panicky as I wished, accepting me exactly the way I was.

I decided to begin macrobiotics because I felt it was the smartest thing I could do. It was tough for I had no help immediately at hand. I felt miserable, had lost weight, was pale and weak, terrified, and I had to do my own food shopping and food preparation. Mina suggested what to do and allowed me to call her several times with questions, which she patiently answered at each instance. But I had to take care of myself.

Wrestling with the fear was bad enough. Wrestling with my own mind and its resistance to this task, which at the time seemed insurmountable, was almost as bad. I sat at the kitchen counter, praying and saying aloud to myself, “You are capable. The bottom line is that no one can do it for you. You can do this. You have to do this.”

Motivated by the fact that Mina would work with me only after a confirmation of her diagnosis, I called my doctor and demanded a referral for the ultra scan. I got the referral and somehow drove myself to the hospital to have the procedure done. While on the freeway, my hands were shaking on the steering wheel. I was a wreck and on the examining table, kept saying, “Do you see anything? What’s there?” I know that I drove the technician crazy and was completely amazed when she said she saw nothing of significance.

I jumped off the table, ecstatic and called Mina to say they couldn’t find anything. She paused for a few seconds and said, “Then you should be very happy.”

About a week later, the doctor’s office called me to say that there were indeed two fibroids but they were small. They therefore considered the ultra scan to be “normal.” I called Don and told him, then telephoned Mina. She said, “You can shrink them. Let’s get to work.”

Realistically, ‘combination medicine,’ which blends East and West, may be the best bet. But I decided that at this juncture, I myself would make the essential lifestyle changes in an attempt to heal myself of all the negatives which I had allowed into my life, dietary and otherwise.

I then met my own resistance head on. I sometimes sat at the kitchen table at 3:30 in the morning, wondering where to start. I made food charts and wrote out every single item I was to eat daily, two times a week, three times, or weekly. I made a master shopping list. I literally dragged myself to the natural food store. I took the capsules Mina had suggested. I went for short walks. I ate well.

I watched reruns of “The Andy Griffith Show” to calm me down. I did deep breathing. I prayed to God. And the bleeding lessened. And by the end of January stopped.

I felt there had been a miracle in my life! And I had done it with my own hands, under my own steam. I got down on my hands and knees and thanked my Creator for inspiring me to do what I had to do.

Several months have passed. The symptoms are gone and the fibroids are reduced by half. My cholesterol reading, always high, is down by 112 points! But I still have work to do, all is not perfect. Like a total fool, I have strayed a few times from the alkaline, clean food that was prescribed. I have lost about 20 pounds but most of them were bloaty fat that was ugly to me. On good days, I feel as if I am floating, with high energy and a calm, centered feeling. On some days, when the food preparation seems overwhelming to me, I remind myself, at Mina’s behest, that I am healing myself.

I have also streamlined my cooking process, so that it takes less time. I enjoy the food, which can be as delicious as any other but with less spices and no animal products. I mainly use fresh, organic vegetables, beans and bean products and whole grains. When I go out, I take my food with me, since I am still in the initial healing phase. Later, I may be able to eat simple foods, such as pasta, in restaurants. But I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the artificial, over-spiced fare which I had been eating all my life. It now tastes bizarre to me and seems synthetic and fake. I can no longer tolerate anything phony in my life, not even cheesecake.

To anyone who reads this, I would ask you to appraise your life and courageously do something while you can. And to realize that in the end, the power of love and helping yourself and others, is all there is. I would ask you to be good to yourself and practice this. Be kind to the fellow human being who may be seated next to you, who is trying to live the precious life she was given by God in the best way she knows how.

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4. A Day in the Life of Mina

I started preparing meals for my family at 5 o’clock this morning. Now it’s about noontime, another warm, sunny day in California. I’m relaxing in a lounge chair next to the pool in my back yard. The birds are composing their sonatas while I, their audience of one, am touched in a special way by their musical concert. I feel compelled to thank them for their performance. And as I talk to them, they respond by raising their voices in harmony. It’s as if they are speaking a new language and I’m the only who understands it. I believe they know my mood and they come looking for me. They possess an uncanny ability to be there at the moment when I need them. The musical message they bring me makes me feel special. I am grateful yet overwhelmed by this phenomenon.

The rhythmic sound of the water as it flows from the Jacuzzi into the pool is the river of my childhood. It resonates through my body, gently delivering me into deep meditation. In these pleasant surroundings, I feel the knotted tightness uncoiling and the chapel of my soul being blessed. My mind is expanding with nature’s vibrations. Again I renew my connection with the universe. The doorbell breaks this magical spell.

My daughter, Yelena, opens the door. Standing in the door frame is a young woman, my size, my age, wearing the same cramp-like expression on her face which I once wore. How well I know the meaning of that expression, I lived with it for so many years. There she was, the personification of the Mina I once was. It was like looking in the mirror and seeing myself. For one brief moment, it was frightening.

When she opened her heart and told her story, it was deja vu. As her story unfolded, she recounted her lifestyle: director of a TV sit-com, wholly devoted to her career, last one to leave the studio, loses track of time, forgets to eat, forgets to use the bathroom, weekends devoted to preparing for next week’s program, no picnics, no vacation, no private life.

Scary, isn’t it. She didn’t know where to start. She didn’t know how to stop. She knew she was on a treadmill and couldn’t get off. She knew she couldn’t take it any more. Chronic fatigue syndrome, recurring migraines, chronic allergies, digestive disorders, acute candida, PMS, all chipping away at her ability to concentrate, to function. Choking her! Years of medication had produced only temporary change and destructive side effects. Medications can only target symptoms, generate new causes.

Like most people, she wanted to know what caused her condition. I proceeded to explain relevant facts.
“Candida is an infection by a yeast-like fungus similar to parasites which lives in the body without any ill effects. It affects the moist skin areas of the body, oral mucous membranes, respiratory tract and vagina. As it increases in intensity, it can enter the blood stream, penetrate cell walls, inhabit different organs, even cross the blood-brain barrier.”

The key to her cure was to avoid fermented foods, excepting umeboshi plum, which is used extensively for medicinal cooking. Candida thrives on a sugary climate. So it was important to avoid simple carbohydrates, such as pastries with yeast, fruits, any sweeteners and raw salt added to cooked food. Weak kidneys cannot maintain the proper amount of sodium in the bodily fluids.

In order to cure candida and build up the immune system, one must first strengthen the kidneys. She was advised to apply ginger compresses on her kidneys for 20 minutes twice a week. This compress improves blood circulation and brings needed oxygen to the kidneys, thereby strengthening them. Thirty minute salt baths twice a week were recommended. Even when a person knows that she should, it’s hard to give up familiar foods. The spirit is strong but the body is weak.

Nancy confided in me, “On one occasion on the set, we were forced to stop shooting because I was too sick to continue. As it turned out, that was good because I met the person who told me about you. Her story is my story. She gave me your phone number.”

Before we started her consultation, one by one, she took each prescription drug, all the vitamins, minerals and other supplements from her purse. “Where is your garbage can? I have been on this stuff for years and look what it’s doing to me. I want to get rid of it once and for all,” she said angrily.

This was her first introduction to macrobiotics, so I gave her a brief overview. Our world today is technologically powerful but it’s out of balance. Disease, increased crime, high divorce rates, biogenetic engineering, are all evidence of rampant disorder that ultimately leads to human annihilation. The macrobiotic approach could be used to heal suffering and restore balance. Food is the only energy powerful enough to heal our physical, emotional and spiritual being.

Food can heal the world but you have to put macrobiotic tools into practice. Eat only organic food and work to see that food is organically grown; exercise; live in harmony with nature and the environment; be grateful for the gift of life; distribute joy and thankfulness to all of mankind.

This brief philosophical approach made sense to Nancy. Her comment was that she lived and worked in an ignorant and angry world. She was ready to change. When was the last time she walked in the daylight or after a meal? She couldn’t remember. The only exercise she got was walking from the car to her front door, studio or restaurant. She understood that we are part of nature and we have to go back to nature. Everything we put in our body and on our body, should be natural and pure.

It took her awhile to accept the dietary changes. She stopped abusing her body with meat, dairy and sugar, but she had a hard time giving up fruit and pastry. Those were the hardest habits to break. She didn’t like to cook but took care of that simply by hiring a macrobiotic cook. In two months her symptoms were gone. Even after recovering she decided to keep her cook. But now she selects her food from a “gourmet” macrobiotic menu.

As her condition improved, not only did the old symptoms vanish but her skin became satiny and wrinkles softened. She looked ten years younger. She became calm, her depression subsided and she was able to concentrate once again. As people complimented her, she told them her “secret.” She shared her story with everyone who would listen. Many people benefitted and made changes in their lives as well. Once again, the maxim is true: “From one grain, ten thousand grains.”

Nancy and I became good friends and expanded our relationship. There was no more counselor and client. There was only friend and friend. I lost count of how many times we cooked together, took walks together. She made a profound discovery, or at least it was to her. The birds had always been here. The birds had always been singing but she had never heard them. Attending their command performance was playful, like living in a never ending fairytale world. Adopting the macrobiotic way of life enabled her to discover the highest level of consciousness, the dynamics of infinite freedom and a quality of life that completes our health and internal happiness. Life is a symphony and we are the conductors.

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5. A Story of Healing
by Jennifer E. Greene, Ph.D.

It is December 1988 and the holiday season is in full swing. I learned a few weeks ago that my husband was having an affair and now a biopsy has revealed that I have breast cancer. I cannot say that I am in shock, as many women are when this news is delivered. It is more surprising, not that cancer came but that it came so early. My mother was fifty-eight when hers began. I am forty-four.

My mother had a radical mastectomy with her first cancer and another ten years later with her second. She died ten years after that following several rounds of chemotherapy. The cancer had spread to her bones, her brain, her being. My “A-team” (as one of them liked to put it) of L.A. doctors decided a lumpectomy, radiation and tamoxifen were reasonable treatment. I know that something more is being called for, beyond medical treatment. I cannot buy my doctors’ view that cancer is a meaningless tragedy. I know that something in the way I am living is causing it, something related to forty-four years of feeling powerless, as if I am not yet really living but always getting ready to live.

For many years, I have felt that my real self is near but that I am cut off from her. Only when I drink — as I did in great quantity between the ages of twenty and forty — do I have intimations of her spunk, her liveliness, her creativity.

I leave my job at the Motion Picture Association and start helping others use dance to break free of old, confining ways. Alone in my living room late one night I watch the film Out of Africa. As I watch Isak Dinesen lose everything that matters to her, I find the core of myself that is a survivor.

The shame lifts and briefly I feel freer that I can remember. Then I find a new lump. Because of a needle biopsy that wrongly characterizes the lump as benign, I leave it there from September 1991 until January of 1992, when a rising tumor marking blood test arouses my oncologist’s suspicion. Once again I undergo a lumpectomy. This time my doctors strongly urge chemotherapy but I again opted for radiation. I still see my little lumps as local phenomena. Attacking the whole body with deadly chemicals strikes me as overkill.

I have not yet stopped to ask why my body is growing malignant lumps. What is in there that makes those lumps pop up? Then in July 1992, I am faced with a more difficult dilemma: the cancer has spread to my sternum. I no longer have the option of a tidy little surgery to remove it. With heart and lungs so close, neither is my old stand-by radiation advisable. It seems chemotherapy is my only choice. I have two treatments, a week apart, and then something happens I am still at odds to explain.

In September 1991, when I thought I was quite happily settled in a relationship that seemed both supportive and strong, I surprised myself by falling wildly in love with a man several years my junior. I do not know what to say about destiny or changing one’s destiny. But it seems quite possible that had I stayed in that former relationship with a man who was a cancer survivor himself, yet had an ineradicable fear-based faith in Western medicine, I would not be here today. This new man has an understanding that there are ways to cleanse a body naturally, an idea which I, with my conventional medical thinking, regard dubiously.

Yet, as I look back now, something clearly had been set in motion and getting connected with Scott was preparation for what happened next. We visit a holistic M.D. who suggested macrobiotics as nutritional support for chemotherapy. On September 1st 1992, I meet with Mina. She tells me, among many other things, that clearing the cancer from my body will be a piece of cake. This is in striking contrast to my oncologist’s view that chemotherapy will probably take care of this round but that there is a ninety percent chance it will recur.

By now I do not know what is moving me. Maybe it is Mina’s inspiring encouragement. Maybe it is my oncologist’s discouraging view. Maybe it is my significant other’s report on every negative nuance of change resulting from two chemotherapy treatments. Maybe it is the sensation that my teeth are coming loose. Maybe it is all of the above and maybe none. Somewhere in me the decision is made, perhaps by a part of me that knows more than the I who usually makes decisions, to leave Western medicine and embark on a journey of macrobiotic healing.

Life on my macrobiotic regime is about getting simple. Scott and I learn the cooking together and our kitchen becomes our pharmacy. I scrub my body with hot ginger water morning and night to improve circulation and move stagnation. I go for long walks, getting out into nature at every opportunity. I sing happy songs. I wear pure cotton next to my skin. I avoid television with all the pollution it cranks out. I wear a cabbage plaster on the area over my sternum to pull the toxins out. Sometimes I feel like a walking salad.

The months pass and my healing feels like anything but a piece of cake. I am struggling with old demons that have kept my life small and limited for years. Friends consider me brave for not seeing doctors but, in truth, my fear keeps me away: I cannot take the undermining dose of doubt that a trip into the medical world would bring. I decide to learn about macrobiotics so I can understand how it works. I read George Ohsawa’s and Michio Kushi’s books. I go to the Kushi Institute to study. I sense that my mind is a key element here and I begin to read and study and practice to get it working for me. I make up little ditties about being well and run them through my brain like a broken record to program my subconscious for wellness. I read inspiring stories about others who have healed. My friend Ruska, whose cancer is already gone, suggests we start a support group and so we begin to meet weekly at my house, inviting the local macrobiotic counsellors to be our teachers.

Slowly, sleepily, however, a change begins to take place. I notice differences not just in my body but in the way I think and feel, the way I experience the world. What I have come to understand is this: We are what we eat in ways most of us do not begin to comprehend. By eating whole, balanced, organic foods I am creating a whole, balanced me. Being whole means taking responsibility for our own lives. My hopelessness was stagnation just as much as my cancer was. Clear, holistic thinking is not something we acquire, as if from outside; it is the natural, healthy view that is left when the stagnation goes.

I cannot say that the rough ride became completely smooth after these moments but the journey became progressively easier. Eleven months into my macrobiotic practice I add Chi Gong to my daily regime. Feeling energy course through me — direct experience of the unseen world — makes it real to me and awakens a passion to know more.

In March of 1994, eighteen months after beginning macrobiotics, I decide to have medical testing to see if what Mina has been telling me could be true. A bone scan reveals that the tumor is either in remission or gone and blood work suggests I am cancer free! This might seem like the end of the story but it is not. In macrobiotics we say it takes seven years, give or take, to create a new body. Mind and body are truly one. Spiritual development has been the heart of my healing. I believe that because we are by nature spiritual beings, we are always ‘at one’ with something. Until my healing from cancer, I was at one with my hopelessness, powerlessness and depression. This path of clearing out my body moved the focus of oneness from myself to what I now call God.

When I was stuck in that old belief system, there was good reason for fear and, in spite of endless attempts, I could not make the fear go away. When I came to understand that I am first and foremost energy/spirit (which happened as good eating began to eliminate the stagnation from my body) and that my body is the result of what is happening on that level of being, then what I believed about healing could change: healing can happen quickly and easily. With these new beliefs, my feelings could change: fear being replaced by love, joy, gratitude, excitement.

People argue over whether the food or the spirit is the primary source of healing. What I know is that while I ate that balanced macrobiotic food, both the cancer and my lifelong depression slipped away. My spirit was able to begin a sleepy awakening that is finally allowing the real me to shine through. My interest in Chi Gong has developed into an intensive study of energy healing and I now have a practice in which I do healing on others, as well as teaching and facilitating self healing. I will forever be indebted to Michio, to Mina, and to all the wonderful macrobiotic teachers who have helped me on my transformational journey.

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6. The Case of a Broken Heart

One memorable case was Ivan, who came to America for hope. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Neither the surgery, radiation, nor chemotherapy which he received in Yugoslavia helped him. His brother heard about my experience and invited him to try this alternative medicine.

Ivan arrived at my home every morning at 6 a.m. and studied with me until 5 p.m. when he would scurry away like a mouse caught in the light. He was a small man, 60 pounds overweight, spreading at the middle, slow moving and very self-conscious about carrying his colostomy bag. For the most part, he was devoid of smooth creases, having mostly sharp edges. Every dark, luxuriant slicked-down hair was arranged neatly atop his head. His thick, bushy eyebrows dominated his clean shaven face. The expansive condition of his intestines was easily read by his swollen, puffy lips. Obviously, he was a man with a very strong constitution who could potentially live a long life.

Every morning he greeted me with a new story about his last night’s dream. Instantly, he became extraordinarily intense. His mouth made a clicking sound, his eyes flashed, his voice deepened. His demeanor changed, while his words cascaded over his lips in impatient swirls. He never ran out of things to say as he allowed himself the sweet pleasure of his newest fantasy.

There he was, in his backyard constructing a three-prong pole securely fastened at the top, with a heavy cast iron pot suspended in the middle above a long burning fire. Cuddled inside the pot was his favorite goulash-paprikash — a spicy pork stew drowned in jalapenos, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, carrots. Or another favorite — a barbecued piglet seasoned with salt and oil. He was rotating his prize and suddenly you would hear him ask in a cool, dispassionate voice, “How long do you cook that rice?”

He had no idea what I was doing in the kitchen, nor did he care about food balance. But in spite of himself, he lost thirty pounds the first month and he started cooking for himself, even balancing correctly. At one point he admitted to actually liking the food and had fewer and fewer “pork” dreams. He was a musician, singing and playing his accordion at weddings. Many times in the middle of our cooking, he would break into song and I would join him. We had an impromptu concert and the meal tasted even better. Believe it or not, people were happier after eating our food, prepared to music.

He never accepted the American way of life. He didn’t understand this chaotic lifestyle. He said that Americans make children for “day care” and “baby-sitters.” And grandmas and grandpas are in nursing homes. How can a family exist without love? This was his daily complaint to his brother’s family. Ivan missed his family. He was desperately homesick, separated from his wife and children. He was here but his heart never was. He didn’t understand the time-proven wisdom that macrobiotics is not just about food, even though I was teaching him that every day. He wanted to go back to his country even though it was at war, even if he couldn’t find the macrobiotic food he needed.

“I’m not happy here and food cannot make me happy,” he protested.

When he started cooking for himself, he was alone in his brother’s home all day. His life was empty. Ivan would appear at my home unexpectedly, looking like an unmade bed, saying that he just wanted to talk to someone. Instead of regarding him as an annoyance, our hearts went out to him. His eyes told the truth, dark and knowing, overreached by loneliness. His speech was punctuated by a muffled sadness, unconscious of his grim mood. Sorrow was swelling inside of him, like an ominous black cloud, filling the empty space where happiness once lived. Ivan had no more songs to sing. He was to be pitied.

A year-and-a-half later, on the very day he was scheduled to fly back to Yugoslavia, possessing none of the secrets of immortality, he died but not of cancer, he died of a broken heart.

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7. Guiding Light

By Ruska Porter

I always believed that I could have a beautiful life but it took six years after being diagnosed with breast cancer to end up living a great life! To say I’m grateful is not enough, particularly when I think of my teachers who taught me how to get where I am now. Mina Dobic is one of them.

Today is November 19th, 1997. On this day six years ago, a doctor told me that I had breast cancer. I felt I was going to faint. My husband turned very pale. “I’m sorry, that you have to go through this once again,” I told him. Some time ago, in England, his girl friend had died of breast cancer.

When I look back to that time, I realize how a friendly invisible hand guided me in all my decisions. I chose Dr. Waisman as my oncologist. He was highly recommended and to this day has remained a perfect doctor.

Since I had three lymph nodes involved and unclear margins around the tumor which was Stage II, he recommended removal of the breast, very strong chemotherapy and tamoxifen. It is a drug routinely prescribed for women with breast cancer as a preventative against recurrence.

Very assured that I would find an alternative to my medical cure, I told Dr. Waisman that I would keep my breast, do radiation and weaker chemotherapy. I also told him that I wouldn’t take any other drugs after I had completed my treatments. Being as good a doctor as he is, an intuitive person, he knew that he couldn’t change my mind and he never tried. He believed that my type of cancer was curable. But he left healing to me.

A while later, when I met with Mina Dobic for a macrobiotic consultation, I found out that we had both worked as journalist/correspondents for the major radio station in Belgrade. Coincidence, one would think: I don’t believe so.

During the consultation, she examined every inch of me, which no one had ever done before. I noticed the very special spark in her eyes as she was telling me about the power that grains have for our health, in particular short grain brown rice. A childhood memory came to me: When I was growing up on a little farm in central Bosnia, my grandfather, who was a farmer, used to carry different grains in his pockets as a token of respect for them. When he would sit down with us children (and we were many), he would gently stroke some of the grains in his hands and say, “Look how beautiful and shiny they are.” As Mina talked to me about the macrobiotic way of life, she had the same sparks in her eyes as my grandfather did when he talked about his grains. In that split second, I became totally conscious that, from now on, that same light which both of them had in their eyes would be the guiding light in my healing.

That night I went to bed free from worry. I wished that some day by eating grains that light would shine through my eyes as well. The next morning I put several grains of rice in all of my pockets. When I have time, I’ll hold them in my hands, so that tradition will go on.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my little country, Bosnia, was going through a war. Since the postal services and telephone lines were shut down, I couldn’t write to my mom or telephone her about my illness. And, as sad as this was for me, I knew in my heart that if I told her I was eating grains and vegetables for my healing she wouldn’t worry about me. After my grandfather passed away in 1968, my mom was the one who planted grains and vegetables on our land. For many years now, millions of grains had been touched by my mom’s hands. What a lovely image I have of my mother in the time of my healing.

In October of 1992, I went to the Kushi Institute for one week of study. Inspired to know more about how to achieve the balance for my new way of life, I went back to Becket for one month every year until I had completed all three levels. Back home in Los Angeles, I continued to study every Thursday night with a wonderful teacher, Cecile Tovah Levin.

For the last five years, every Monday night, Jennifer Greene and I have hosted a Macrobiotic Support Group, one of a kind in Los Angeles. In the first couple of years, Mina gave countless hours of teaching and support to our group.

I go to see Dr. Waisman once a year. Last year I told him that I don’t wish to do mammography anymore. He was not surprised and told me so, knowing my new natural style of life.

When I saw him this year in October for blood work only, a week later I received a letter from him.

“Dear Ruska:

I wanted to give you follow-up information on your blood studies which, as usual, were wonderfully normal. Your cholesterol is 162. Congratulations! Your tumor markers, specifically your CA 27-29 and CEA are normal. As you know I continue to urge you to have follow-up mammography but I respect that you are not interested in that.”

In so many uncountable ways, life today is beautiful. Even when some real misfortunes happened to me in the last couple of years, I was able to remain calm and focused, feeling that nothing could really push me off center. Perhaps, the beauty of the grains has entered my soul.

Thank you, Mina.

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8. A Tennis Champion’s Story

By Page Bartelt
April 1998

I thought I ate a very healthy, balanced diet until I was introduced to macrobiotics five months ago. I am training to play professional tennis. I have to be aware of my body, my energy level, how food affects my training and my ability to perform efficiently. My definition of “eating healthy” is: salads, chicken, fruit and low fat dairy products. Despite that healthy menu, I never had enough energy. Often I was sleepy after meals, craving sugar and sweets. Even after sleeping 8 or 10 hours, I woke up feeling tired. Although I waited several hours after eating before practice, an uncomfortable feeling lingered in my body. Food felt like a large lump in the pit of my stomach, still undigested. Usually I attributed this to lack of sleep or overtraining. Or I rationalized: most people feel like this, it’s normal.

After switching to eating macrobiotically, immediately I’ve noticed an enormous increase in energy which is easily sustained throughout the day. I’ve become more alert. Now I wake up earlier, feeling better with less sleep. My skin is softer and clearer. No more puffy or dark shadows under my eyes. While people around me suffer with a cold or flu, I don’t get sick.

Of all these changes, the best is my new-found ability to train harder and excel in my sport. Diet was the only thing I changed. Instantly I was able to practice longer with increased endurance. I don’t get nearly as sore after tough matches or long tournaments. My body recovers much faster.

I am sincerely grateful for being introduced to the macrobiotic diet. Each day I feel better. I’m especially thrilled with the improvement in my tennis performance. Most importantly, I believe macrobiotics prevents illness. And I’ve learned how to promote a sustainable and healthy environment by making better food choices.

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9. Ode to Macrobiotics

Mina is very knowledgeable in terms of the relationship between the body and the biochemistry of food. It is most apparent if you’ve ever spoken with her, or been a patient of Mina’s, that she is caring in the deepest and most crucial sense of that word. In the tradition of great physicians, or great artisans of healing, she carries out in no uncertain terms, and executes in no uncertain terms, the ability to do no harm.

When I first came to Mina I was faced with some health challenges. Under the direction of my doctor I had undergone a series of tests, and although the results were not fatal they were challenging nonetheless. I was exhausted as much by the testing as I was by the ailment. Several days later I was introduced to Mina through mutual friends. When Mina arrived at my office she didn’t say very much. She looked at me and asked to see my hands. She asked me to take off my shoes so that she could look at my feet. She looked into my eyes and asked me to stick my tongue out further than anyone has ever asked me to stick out my tongue in my life. After that she looked at me, felt my pulse and told me exactly what the 30 days of testing had concluded. I was totally amazed by the insight and accuracy of her diagnosis. In addition, she told me a number of things that I had not been told by my doctor.

She suggested that the body is an extremely wise instrument that can heal itself; it is assisted by the correct and proper diet and the elimination of harmful substances in the body. I followed Mina’s advise and found my condition to greatly improve. I was totally astonished by that because I have always been a health food person. At one time I was a vegan vegetarian. I have fasted over the years and I have been on and off several kinds of diets and vegetarian regimes over the years. And although they were gratifying, I have never found a system that was as fully invigorating as macrobiotics.

I see no conflict between my doctor’s diagnosis and what Mina has diagnosed through her insight and knowledge

Thank you, Mina

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10. Wisdom from Little Beings

Rocky is our neighbor. His family lives across the street from us. One uneventful day in December, he walked slowly up the walkway to my front door, knocked softly and waited for someone to answer. I opened the door and even though he had never before been in my home, he instinctively headed immediately in the direction of my pharmacy — the kitchen.

No one had ever told him I was a macrobiotic counselor. I really don’t know what moved him to come to me and I never asked. Nevertheless, his story was not unlike many I had heard. The prognosis was not good. The doctor had opened him up, discovered an abdominal tumor in the pancreas and spleen, pressing against the aorta, causing him to lose feeling in his legs. The doctor sewed him back up and sent him home saying there wasn’t much they could do for him. The medication he was taking now only made him worse. He had constant diarrhea, vomited every time he tried to eat, and was losing weight at an alarming rate.

His family had made plans to visit their relatives over the Christmas holiday but Rocky was in no mood to travel. However, at my suggestion, they agreed to let him stay in our home for the next five days while they were away. I assured them he would be feeling better by the time they returned. I prepared medicinal food for him; rice cream and barley cream, seaweed vegetable soup, bean dishes and special condiments with natto (fermented soybeans rich in enzymes and vitamin B-12). Food was served fresh and warm daily. At first he just smelled it but then decided to give this strange-looking concoction a try and quickly gobbled it down. Each meal he seemed to like more than the last, lapping it up, begging for more. I was delighted and encouraged to see such enthusiasm and commitment in someone who had never eaten anything macrobiotic before.

For the next five days he continued to relish every meal, and to our astonishment, was able to keep all the food down. When he first arrived at our door he was dragging himself, his unsteady legs barely supporting his weight, but now it was obvious that his energy level was quickly increasing. He took regular walks and slept peacefully through the night. Rocky by nature is quiet, but his eyes speak volumes. I had only to look into those bright eyes to know how much he genuinely appreciated all that I did for him.

Now almost every day at lunch time Rocky knocks at our door with his palm tree tail! He knows exactly where to find me. When the door opens, in front of us appears the cutest little ashy gray, sooty black, dusty white, curly furred lhasa apso. The mere sight of him tugs at your heart strings. He swaggers into the kitchen. He looks up at me through his long straggly bangs that hide his brown eyes as if to say, “Well, here I am. What’s cooking?”

We all take turns cuddling him and he’s thrilled. He starts petting each side of his snout with his front paws, melting from all our love and attention. His lunch disappears in one minute and he’s asking for more attention. The kids take him outside to play.

“Mom, his legs are straightening up. He’s walking much better,” Yelena says excitedly.

Srdjan appointed himself in charge of making sure Rocky got his macrobiotic meals delivered. Arame seaweed with corn is one of his favorites, licking the plate clean. For him, this is the best dessert!

Of course, now that Rocky is macrobiotic, he enjoys daily “constitutionals” with regularity. Since he’s lost a few pounds, he easily slips through the bars in the fence and runs as fast as he can to our door.

The interesting part of this story is that although we’ve been neighbors for over a year, Rocky never once came to visit us until he got sick! Rocky will never understand what macrobiotics is, yet somehow managed to find me on his own. What he does understand is that this food makes him feel better. And now he refuses to eat what he was eating before. Isn’t it interesting that a dog can listen to what his body needs and sets about to find it. Here is a dog teaching us how to find energy in the power of food.

Fortunately, his natural instinct was not destroyed by his synthetic diet. Perhaps this inherent basic instinct possessed by animals guided him. Who knows. Or maybe later there may even be a part for Rocky in Srdjan’s movie. After all, he is a hero. He was instrumental in getting his family to consider learning more about the natural way of living and changing their diet to a more healthy one. Could it be said, “Rocky showed them the way?”

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11. Motivated by Blood — The Road to Macrobiotics
By Phyllis Mueller

My road to macrobiotics was a spotted one (no pun intended). I first heard about it when I hired a friend as an exercise coach. I listened intently as he talked about his experiences and belief in macrobiotics. I tried it but had trouble with the food. Still somehow, I knew I had hit truth. Unfortunately for me, in the early days of my finding macrobiotics, I found only very strict and very untalented cooks. So the food seemed plain and too limiting. But I couldn’t sop thinking about it and whenever I did it, I had miraculous beauty and health just permeate this body and the changes were fast, positive and dramatic. But I always fell “off the wagon.” I read a lot of books and became convinced it was the way to go but I never actually did it permanently. It was on and off.

After about ten years of more or less thinking about it, I ran into a health problem. I started bleeding pretty heavily, vaginally. I went to a doctor who said I was probably just having a heavy period. But there was so much blood that it would ride up my back to my waist when I was sitting in a chair and I could feel it gushing. That got my attention. I thought I might be bleeding to death right there on the spot. Being leary of “medical” doctors, I went to a doctor who was supposed to be the holistic type. He was recommended to me by a macrobiotic person I trusted, so I did not question the doctor’s decision. He took one look at me (during an examination) and said I needed an immediate D & C. Well, before I knew it, I was on that operating table. I got a D & C. Ouch.

When I awoke, the doctor said it went pretty well. There was just one thing… he said he found a growth down there on my left side that he couldn’t fully see but he could feel it. It appeared to be the size of a grapefruit and I needed to have another procedure to have it checked out. He said it was probably just a fibroid but it did need to be “checked out right away.” Well, after the D & C, I knew I was not going to have another procedure. I was pissed that I’d been bamboozled into a D & C in the first place. What was I thinking? How did this happen when I just wanted some macrobiotic advice?

Anyway, I was worried and frightened. This medical doctor’s “grapefruit” comment really got my attention. So this time, I went on macrobiotics pretty strictly. I lost a lot of weight and looked good and never had the problem again. I hung in there for about two years and then slowly fell off the wagon, back to continuing being the mother of all over eaters. Back to sweets, sugar, fat, dairy.

Then came Poland. I was working as a marketing consultant for my own company but on a project for Unisys. The project took us through all of Europe. We were in a different city every day. On this particular day, we were in Poland. Throughout this extended trip, I had not been able to get much to eat except white bread and cheese, with some fruit. This is because I was/am a vegetarian and wherever we went, they served us lots of meat. Well, I won’t eat meat, so I’d pick at everything else, mostly the bread and cheese, which I like.

That night, we checked into our hotel and I tried to go to the bathroom. I couldn’t. When I looked in the toilet, I was terrified. There was so much blood, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought I might be having the “heavy period” again. To my horror, I realized I was bleeding from my colon.

The bleeding was so severe that I laid on my stomach on the bed, hoping that gravity would save me. I thought hard about my miserable condition at the time — alone, lonely, bleeding to death in a cold, ugly, dingy hotel in Poland, an almost Communist country at the time, with no one I loved anywhere near me. I knew if Unisys knew what was going on, they’d insist I go to a hospital. That scared me even more. In Poland? As an American, there was no way I was going to a hospital in Poland.

I panicked and placed an SOS call to my husband to call the one macrobiotic counselor I knew. He did and she counselled me through him. It’s funny but without ever speaking to me directly, the instructions I got were to stop eating bread and cheese. How appropriate. Since there wasn’t anything else to eat, I just fasted for the next two days. I was frightened and bleeding, so it wasn’t hard.

The following morning, I had to give the presentation to the Unisys team, presenting all day, standing up. Unfortunately I was the person making all the presentations on this trip. I kept excusing myself and going to the bathroom to see if the blood was running down my legs or showing through my clothes. Fortunately, I had on a dark navy suit and it didn’t show a thing. I stuffed extra toilet paper and wash-cloths in my panty hose to soak up the blood. I kept worrying that my client would be horrified if they saw that much blood running down my legs onto their floor. Fortunately, I got through the day without them ever knowing. I told no one.

There’s a picture of me at this time, at about 2:45 a.m., taken that night at Poland’s Warsaw airport after that all-day meeting. We were leaving Poland that night; as this picture was snapped, I was thinking that this is the picture of a dying woman, who may not even live through this next plane ride. What would people think when they looked at that picture taken minutes before my own death. What was she thinking? Did she have any idea?

So I had a talk with myself. I realized, if I could live through this next day or two by not bleeding to death, I could probably save myself with macrobiotics. But I had to think about the fact that I was still continuing to kill myself with the way I was eating. So I stopped for a minute and had a serious conversation with myself, fully and honestly. I just asked myself, “Do you want to live or do you want to die?” It was clear I was behaving in a manner that was leading to certain death. Why? Why did I want to die so much?

My life was really not that happy. I think I was trying to kill myself in a subconscious sort of way. But then I thought about the impact of my death upon those that do love me. Although I’ve never really understood why anyone does love me, fortunately, there are those that do. So I thought about those who love me and realized they’d be sad if I died. So I chose, oddly, to live for them. And that worked for me. That gave me enough discipline to clean up my act for another two years or so. I got down to 184 pounds. But slowly, over another few years, I fell completely off the wagon again.

Once fully off the wagon, I quickly put the weight back on and this brings me to the present time. I got back up to 235 pounds. The date is September 14th, 1998. I travel a lot for business. I’d done some heavy travelling for 2–3 weeks, lots of air travel, much more than pilots. Lots of red eyes, my speciality. I got a little cough going. At first, just a throat clearing. Within 24 hours, I had a fever of about 106 and a major case of pneumonia. I could barely stand. Simultaneously, my body decides to pass a few gallstones. Simultaneously, I lose complete control of my bladder and rectum. Simultaneously, I’m weak. Cannot take care of myself. Shaking with cold and fever. Coughing so hard I cannot breathe or sleep. Phlegm in my lungs is dark green and gray with occasional blood. I’m in pain. For those of you who have passed a gallstone or two, you know exactly what I mean.

Now I’ve been off the macrobiotic wagon for so long, I don’t even see anyone macro any more. I mean, I was ashamed to see them since I was obviously back to being a total fool regarding healthy eating. I told my husband that I was pretty sure I was dying right now, at this very moment. I considered going to the hospital but I knew they’d want to remove a minimum of 30% of all my body parts, especially that gall bladder of mine. And I hate doctors. Antibiotics make me even sicker. Again, doctors were just not an option.

So I called in that “macrobiotic bail out counselor” again. Her name is Mina Dobic. (Actually she had called me… I think someone close to me put out an SOS call to her on my behalf. I’m not sure about this but the “coincidental timing” is quite miraculous. No one has as yet confessed.)

Wisely I took the call. And can you believe it? With the patience and understanding of Mother Mary, she came to my house and nursed me back to health. My husband stayed home from work two weeks and assisted with this healing process. Needless to say, I was totally unable to care for myself. It took more than a month to fully recover.

This time, though, I had used only macrobiotic food to cure myself. I took no drugs or pain killers of any kind. This time I had not cheated or strayed away from the healing foods. Not one atom of bad food entered this body. In one month, I lost 30 pounds. All of a sudden I was motivated. I’d gotten through some very tough times. I had certainly kicked some bad habits during all that strict healing food. I felt I could take advantage of my position and I did. As an addict I knew I could not cheat or I’d be back to peanut butter cups and death. So I decided this time No cheating. So far, so good.

Thus, the miraculous discovery I’ve now made. It’s been a great deal easier this time to stick with the program. And it’s because I’m not cheating.

Now as I write this, the fact that I’ve had repeated relapses during the two year interval is not lost on me. I know I’ve got a long road ahead. I know I’m still working to just get to my goal. But I’m confident enough this time. I believe things will be different.

One: I’m writing a book because I feel there is a difference.

Two: I’m not suffering and I had always suffered before.

Three: I love the food now, completely.

Four: I’m winning all the way around with this new approach.

We’ll see. We’ll just take it one step at a time.

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