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
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
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.
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.
Back To Main Menu
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 lifes 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
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
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 medicines 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. Minas 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.
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
Back To Main Menu
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 didnt 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 queens grain and would include foods that
we had never eaten before in our lives and others that we just didnt
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 anns 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
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 anns 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.
Back To Main
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 cant
eat because his mouth is sore, full of painful canker sores. His tiny
body is so skinny its 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? Heres
a child whose life is over before it barely gets started. He isnt
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 Peters healing.
Anna wants to use the macrobiotic approach while Adam doesnt
believe in macrobiotics. Adam is of the opinion that its cruel
to give his son false hope because he doesnt 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 dont want my son to starve to death
eating bird food, grains, beans, and seaweed. Hell die even
sooner without meat. Not only that, but whos 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 fathers diet. So the real conflict
is not about Peters lifestyle but about whose ego is to be satisfied.
Anna is ready to use food as medicine for her sons healing.
But Adam thinks its 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 Peters life is being measured
in seconds, he becomes the victim of his parents blind selfishness.
That negative energy conceals the real issue: What preserves and nourishes
human life? So Im 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
Excuse me, I say. Please help
me to understand the purpose of your visit. Your childs destiny
is in your hands. If you continue to argue, I dont 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. Lets 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 dont know enough. Im willing to
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 sons
case, I said, since hes only four years old, you
both must assume that responsibility for him. Didnt you already
tell me that the doctors didnt 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 were
looking for another approach. Thats why were here. Peter
hasnt 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. Ive read a lot of books and Ive been
trying to share everything Ive 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 dont
like it when your parents are talking this way.
He shook his little head from side to side. No.
What else dont you like?
like when people shoot the birds and I dont like when I have
to stop playing with my friends when I feel pain.
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,
You are not going to go there again!
I promised him. He dove deeper into my lap and held on tight.
I dont want to.
I hugged him tightly and said, Lets pray together that
you dont have to go there. He rested his cold, petite
hands in my arms and whispered with me, Dear Jesus, please dont
ever let Peter have to watch cartoons in the hospital and dont
let him have those machines attached to him, not even in his dreams.
Stop all the pain in Peters 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
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, Lets hear what Mina has to
I introduced macrobiotics to them and designed a healing diet specific
to Peters 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
One day all three of us were cooking in the kitchen. We made Peters
favorite dish French fries! He was busy eating them as fast
as he could cook them saying Yummy, yummy, yummy. He didnt
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 womans work.
Three months later, Peters 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
Back To Main Menu
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
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.
Im scared, I said to him. Im still flowing
and I feel like Im fading away. Watching your vital essence
pass from your body is a horrifying sight and I knew something was
Years ago, I had read a book called Recalled by Life, by Anthony Satillaro.
It is the story of a medical doctors 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
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 couldnt proceed further until I had
a pelvic ultra scan to determine the size, number and location of
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
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? Whats 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 couldnt
find anything. She paused for a few seconds and said, Then you
should be very happy.
About a week later, the doctors 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.
Lets 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 Minas 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 dont think Ill 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
Back To Main Menu
4. A Day in the Life of Mina
I started preparing meals for my family at 5 oclock this morning.
Now its about noontime, another warm, sunny day in California.
Im 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. Its as if they are speaking
a new language and Im 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 natures vibrations. Again
I renew my connection with the universe. The doorbell breaks this
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 weeks program, no picnics, no
vacation, no private life.
Scary, isnt it. She didnt know where to start. She didnt
know how to stop. She knew she was on a treadmill and couldnt
get off. She knew she couldnt 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, its 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 its 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 its
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 couldnt 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
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 didnt
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
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
Back To Main Menu
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 oncologists
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 ones 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,
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
oncologists 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 Minas inspiring
encouragement. Maybe it is my oncologists discouraging view.
Maybe it is my significant others 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 Ohsawas and Michio Kushis 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
Back To Main Menu
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
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 nights
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 didnt 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 brothers family. Ivan missed his
family. He was desperately homesick, separated from his wife and children.
He was here but his heart never was. He didnt 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 couldnt find
the macrobiotic food he needed.
Im not happy
here and food cannot make me happy, he protested.
When he started cooking for himself, he was alone in his brothers
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.
Back To Main Menu
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 Im 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. Im 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 wouldnt 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 couldnt 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 dont 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, Ill hold them in my hands, so that tradition will
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 couldnt 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
wouldnt 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
moms 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 dont
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.
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
Thank you, Mina.
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8. A Tennis Champions Story
By Page Bartelt
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, its
After switching to eating macrobiotically, immediately Ive noticed
an enormous increase in energy which is easily sustained throughout
the day. Ive 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 dont 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 dont
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. Im especially thrilled with the improvement
in my tennis performance. Most importantly, I believe macrobiotics
prevents illness. And Ive 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 youve
ever spoken with her, or been a patient of Minas, 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 didnt 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 Minas
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 doctors 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
No one had ever told him I was a macrobiotic counselor. I really dont
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 wasnt 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. Whats cooking?
We all take turns cuddling him and hes 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 hes asking
for more attention. The kids take him outside to play.
his legs are straightening up. Hes 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 hes 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 weve 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. Isnt 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 Srdjans 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
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 couldnt 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
doctors 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
he said he found a growth down there on my left side
that he couldnt 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 Id 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 doctors 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 wont eat meat, so Id 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 couldnt. When I looked in the toilet, I was terrified. There
was so much blood, I couldnt 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, theyd 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
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. Its
funny but without ever speaking to me directly, the instructions I
got were to stop eating bread and cheese. How appropriate. Since there
wasnt anything else to eat, I just fasted for the next two days.
I was frightened and bleeding, so it wasnt 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 didnt 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.
Theres a picture of me at this time, at about 2:45 a.m., taken
that night at Polands 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 Ive never really
understood why anyone does love me, fortunately, there are those that
do. So I thought about those who love me and realized theyd
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. Id done
some heavy travelling for 23 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,
Im 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. Im in pain. For those
of you who have passed a gallstone or two, you know exactly what I
Now Ive been off the macrobiotic wagon for so long, I dont
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 theyd 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
someone close to me put out an SOS call to her on my behalf. Im
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.
Id 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 Id be back to peanut butter cups and death. So
I decided this time No cheating. So far, so good.
Thus, the miraculous discovery Ive now made. Its been
a great deal easier this time to stick with the program. And its
because Im not cheating.
Now as I write this, the fact that Ive had repeated relapses
during the two year interval is not lost on me. I know Ive got
a long road ahead. I know Im still working to just get to my
goal. But Im confident enough this time. I believe things will
One: Im writing a book because I feel there is a difference.
Two: Im not suffering and I had always suffered before.
Three: I love the food now, completely.
Four: Im winning all the way around with this new approach.
Well see. Well just take it one step at a time.
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