The Macrobiotic Experiment & Becoming Whole

A few days ago, Meg Wolff offered to send me a copy of her book, Becoming Whole.  Meg is a bone and breast cancer survivor who cured herself with a macrobiotic diet.  Her book is incredibly touching and engaging.  Her blog is also called Becoming Whole and it is a wonderful resource for recipes and health information.

After reading her story and browsing her recipes and meal plan, I’ve decided to try macrobiotics.  I’m not going to go fully macrobiotic (yet), but I am going to try hard to adopt a more macrobiotic diet and lifestyle.  I’ve decided to do this for two weeks, and after the two weeks are up I’ll evaluate my findings and decide where I want to go from there.  Here is a summary of macrobiotics directly from Meg’s site:

DOs:
Organic whole grains, vegetables, beans, sea vegetables (seaweeds), soups, some fruit, and some seafood.

DON’Ts:
Junk or highly chemicalized processed foods, dairy, animal products (and yes, this means saying no to cheese and eggs, too!) Fish is the exception.

I can’t wait to start this experiment.  I won’t be eating fish, so I guess this is actually going vegan for two weeks.  But macrobiotics is so much more that just food choices.  I may be posting more of my meals again in an attempt to hold myself accountable.  More from Meg’s site:

BEYOND THE FOOD:
Macrobiotics also is about doing healthy things for your body, including eating three balanced meals a day, not eating three hours before bedtime, getting exercise, chewing your food well, eating reasonable portions, and — actually sitting down and taking your time to eat!

I think that these practices are very important and I have definitely been neglecting them.  This is going to be the hard part for me. Her story is truly inspiring and I can’t wait to share my thoughts on her book with you all.  It was an absolute pleasure to read.  Bobby is going to play along and eat my macrobiotic meals as well.  He loves Japanese food and the macrobiotic diet incorporates a lot of the food he had growing up (his mom is Japanese).  What have you heard about macrobiotics?  Would you try it?

My review of Becoming Whole:

bw cover big The Macrobiotic Experiment & Becoming Whole

This book is in two parts – Meg’s story and a practical guide to her diet, which includes recipes and meal plans.

Meg’s story begins in a doctor’s office in 1988.  At 31 years old, she has just been diagnosed with bone cancer.  Her fluid writing then carries us from stories of her childhood, through her diagnosis of bone cancer and losing her leg, through the aftermath of that loss, and on to another cancer diagnosis – this time breast cancer.  At a point perilously close to death, Meg hears about macrobiotics.  She details her journey of learning about the practice, following it religiously, and her eventual recovery (yes, this story does have a happy ending).

Some things I particularly enjoyed:

  • Watching the evolution of Meg’s relationship with her husband.  Macrobiotics not only cured her physically, but it helped restore their relationship to something wonderful after it was damaged by the years of disease.
  • Learning about the Asian approach towards food/lifestyle versus the American approach.  Meg lived in Korea for several years and she noticed that people would put food in front of her and say, “eat this, it’s good for your heart,” or, “eat this, it’s good for digestion.”  We don’t do that in the U.S.  We don’t connect food and health the way we should.  Later on in her story Meg also talks about how macrobiotics is based on the ancient Chinese principle of yin and yang.  Read the book to learn more!
  • Meg’s openness.  Her words are honest and she’s not afraid to talk about any step of her recovery.  You will see her pain but also see what it was like to overcome these difficult situations.
  • Her hope, and her eventual triumph over fear.
  • How Meg learned to question doctors.  Once she learned to go with her gut and question authority, she found what she needed.

The recipes section is also a great resource. She has 4 weeks (!) of menus, and recipes for a variety of foods – soups, grains, beans/bean products, fish, vegetables, sea vegetables, simple desserts, and party foods.  Meg also explains a bit more of the philosophy and science behind the macrobiotic diet.  I looked through this for ideas for this coming week’s meal plan.  She has recipes for everything from miso soup to apple pie.

This book was eye-opening for me and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn to seize life and conquer their fears, or for anyone who wants to read a story that’ll leave you with hope.  Thank you Meg for a lovely read, and a new perspective on life!

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35 Comments on The Macrobiotic Experiment & Becoming Whole

  1. gliding calm
    8 February, 2009 at 12:59 pm (5 years ago)

    Really really interesting post!! I loved hearing about her book, and am really excited for you to share your experiences with macrobiotic eating and living. I totally agree about the Asian way of eating- and eating for health!

    Meg sounds like a really inspirational and strong woman. Thanks for this review!

  2. coco
    8 February, 2009 at 1:27 pm (5 years ago)

    I’ve heard great things about macrobiotic diet… but never tried it since there are many restrictions.
    I’m looking forward to read your eats!

  3. Heather McD (Heather Eats Almond Butter)
    8 February, 2009 at 1:30 pm (5 years ago)

    I can’t wait to follow the progress of this experiment. Kudos to you as I know you LOVE your yogurt. I’ve heard really good things about macrobiotics. There is a woman here in Nashville that has had tremendous success with children with autism by putting them on macrobiotic diets. Good luck over the next two weeks – I have a feeling you’re really going to learn a lot from this.

  4. VeggieGirl
    8 February, 2009 at 1:41 pm (5 years ago)

    I own that book too!! Meg is great :-)

  5. Sharon
    8 February, 2009 at 1:44 pm (5 years ago)

    Oh wow, that actually sounds very interesting! I look forward to hearing from you about it!

  6. Shelby
    8 February, 2009 at 2:17 pm (5 years ago)

    The book sounds really interesting, I’ll have to check it out!

  7. annie
    8 February, 2009 at 2:24 pm (5 years ago)

    that is true! koreans always say stuff about food like that! they always say stuff about other things to make you eat food like “eating onions makes you prettier” =)

  8. DestinyZoe
    8 February, 2009 at 2:55 pm (5 years ago)

    I have been trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle this year. nice blog. will go read up on microbiotics .. =)

  9. mi
    8 February, 2009 at 3:56 pm (5 years ago)

    this is so great!! i know you’ll excel at this. i so very nearly bought macro cookbooks in japan – there were a couple that looked really good, but i was a bit hesitant to buy them since i think it would be very hard to get my hands on some of the ingredients. i look forward to hearing more about this!

  10. K
    8 February, 2009 at 4:02 pm (5 years ago)

    Oh wow – thanks for the book review! It sounds fabulous. Good luck with the macro :) You’ll be fabulous and I can’t wait to see what you eat!

  11. juliet
    8 February, 2009 at 5:18 pm (5 years ago)

    The book/story sound really inspiring. I can’t wait to see how you do on the diet and how you feel.

  12. carolinebee
    8 February, 2009 at 6:56 pm (5 years ago)

    Awesome baking and fro yo :D And thanks for the book review, it sounds really interesting and genuine, I love that over “fads” or trendy diets. Good luck with it!

  13. emily
    8 February, 2009 at 7:15 pm (5 years ago)

    great book review, I’m putting this on my amazon wish list!

  14. eatingbender
    8 February, 2009 at 9:25 pm (5 years ago)

    Sounds like a great read! I’m interested to see what you find with your experiment. Good luck!!

  15. Sarah (lovINmytummy)
    9 February, 2009 at 1:39 am (5 years ago)

    I think this will be a lot more difficult and rewarding than my fry challenge ;) I am fascinated and can’t wait to see how it goes!

  16. Lara
    9 February, 2009 at 10:08 am (5 years ago)

    So interesting! I went through a brief macrobiotic stint in college after reading “The Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics.” I find the theroy so facinating. Can’t wait to read more as you start your journey!

  17. HangryPants
    9 February, 2009 at 11:13 am (5 years ago)

    What an interesting story. I would definitely be interested in incorporating more macrobiotic ideas into my meals. I am always striving to eat more cleanly. Can’t wait to see how you do. Good luck!

  18. Erin
    9 February, 2009 at 2:30 pm (5 years ago)

    This is incredible! I’m so excited Maggie! All I’ve heard about macrobiotic stuff is negative, and I think it’s unfair. I can’t wait to see how it goes. Good for you baby!

  19. Diana
    10 February, 2009 at 11:24 am (5 years ago)

    great post! I’m not sure I could give up dairy products or animal products, but I am trying to eat more fruits, veggies, and whole grains.

    I try to eat foods both because it’s good for me and because it tastes good. Maybe b/c Im half Asian/half American? i tried to tell hubby to eat something the other day b/c it was good for him and he replied that he ate food b/c it tasted good, not b/c it was good for him. oi! i have a lot of work cut out for me! lol.

  20. Nidhi
    10 February, 2009 at 11:48 pm (5 years ago)

    Hey Mag,
    I would like to have some of your recipes (stevia realted) on my site where we are popularizing stevia in India.
    It would be great if you let us do the same.

  21. Jasmine (Sweet and Fit)
    12 February, 2009 at 5:31 pm (5 years ago)

    I am really intrigued by your experiment – what recipe are you using to make miso soup – I have only bought the instant kind and its full of sodium =/

  22. Braiden
    14 February, 2009 at 2:12 am (5 years ago)

    good look curing your autism with macrobiotics i will follow your journey!

  23. London calling
    4 March, 2009 at 5:32 pm (5 years ago)

    Brilliant! I’m trying to be brave and start microing. I’m an addict (bread/junk food etc) and fear the hunger. Keep blogging I want to know how you do.

  24. John Mooter
    14 September, 2011 at 10:16 pm (3 years ago)

    I follow a vegan diet, and Macrobiotics can easily be practiced as a vegan. As a matter of fact, a healing Macro diet is vegan, low fat. I have been studying Macrobiotics over the past couple of years. I am excited about teh possibilities for improved health and well being!

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