It’s here – Marlene’s macrobiotic competition!


Debbie and Marlene Watson-TaraOK, a departure for this week's blog, everyone!

So many people have been asking me about the change in my appearance, that I've persuaded Marlene Watson-Tara to bring us an amazing competition. Find out how to enter here.

Marlene's  been my own inspiration for the last three months and that's why I wanted to share her with you guys! Read the interview with Marlene below and then enter. Just leave a comment below – eg. just state you'd like to enter the comp. Or – do you have a story about how changing your eating has helped with a health condition?

Every comment left by Monday 16th July will be entered into the random draw to win the prize, which will be announced on this blog on or around Friday 27th July 2012. Normal blog back next week, and meanwhile you can check out my Facebook page or Twitter feed to see what I've been up to lately! Next week, Craig and I go to see Ginetta from Veronese Gold, in lovely Tuscany!

Good luck!
Debs x

Interview with Marlene Watson-Tara
Marlene Watson-Tara is a Macrobiotic Counsellor, Natural Foods Cooking Teacher and a maverick and pioneer in natural health care.

Over the past three decades, Marlene has taught her workshops and courses in many parts of the world – she's massive 'Down Under', as they say – and is currently based in Scotland.

Many of the greatest rewards in her life have come from helping people gain back their most prized possession, their health. Here she talks to me about some of her success stories and why 'Health is Everything'.

Q. Marlene – you really have made me a convert to a healthier lifestyle, particularly changing my eating habits. But with macrobiotics, it's been far easier than when I was just vegan for three months a decade ago! What is it about the diet that sets it apart and makes it work?
A. The interesting point to make here is that macrobiotics is how we were evolved to eat. It's not a 'diet' per-se, but a lifestyle – eat this way for great health and longevity. The broad spectrum of delicious foods and colours, the freedom to be flexible, the energetic quality of the food and the understanding of our connection to nature, sets it apart. It's about eating what grows – in your environment – without contamination – and eating according to your body's needs.

Q. My own results have been swift – without dairy I no longer have that breathlessness I used to have, nor the constant bloating, and my hormones seem to be balancing out. But best of all – I've lost nearly a stone since the end of April, without even feeling like I've tried too hard! Is that a typical side effect?
A. Yes, the benefit of a macrobiotic dietary programme is in the immediate change the body experiences once you give it what it needs to heal itself – basic nutrition. And we teach you how to cook to make the food delicious. It really is all about balance.

Q. There's a very serious side to macrobiotics, and that's how it affects people with serious health concerns?
A. Firstly Debbie – who are we? What we eat creates our blood, our blood nourishes our cells, our cells create our tissue, and our tissue creates our organs and our brain. Without a doubt, food should be our number one priority in creating good health. Sadly too many doctors and hospital specialists don't study nutrition so they can't tell people about the problems food can pose, for instance, sugar. As in this study on '60 Minutes'.

What we aim to do is remove the 'rubbish' in your diet, then add in extras.

Miso soup for me is the world's most amazing food – the enzymes in this food will help to balance your body's internal flora and bacteria, and it's full of vitamins and minerals. It should be a daily staple in everyone's diet – two or three times a day if you're feeling poorly. That's a hint as to why this lifestyle produces such noticeable changes in health.

Vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains are the basics. Remember, the body is a self-healing organism. By contrast, processed, fast foods are high in calories, fat, sugar, salt and low in nutrients.  Paying for this bad food is like buying a house but ending up with a thin, draughty tent. You wind up tired, energy-deficient, and can even plagued by serious health problems.

Macrobiotic cookery bookQ. If someone's really serious about changing their diet, and wants to make a difference to their health, what's the best way to start?
A. Allow absolutely nothing to hamper you or stop you changing your diet – tomorrow. You might say your health depends on it! There is a fabulous chapter in my book* entitled 'Making Change Quick & Easy'.

Miso soup is a good way to start – you can make your own – see my YouTube clip below:

Or even make a tiny start by buying a little box of the instant miso soup paste sachets, which you can make up with hot water – even Tesco stocks it now.

Marlene Watson-Tara with a chi-ballQ. We talk about balance – how important is exercise, too – and what's a chi-ball?
A. We must move acids out of our bodies each day. Chi-ball is a fantastic workout which incorporates tai chi, yoga, Pilates, relaxation and meditation, and follows the seasonal flow of energy to work with specific organs. Even a simple ten minute routine every day can start you on your way.


Q. What's impressed me the most is that you really do 'walk the walk' – and you're so passionate about helping people – what's your ultimate goal?
A. My ultimate goal is to have folks back in their kitchens cooking natural wholefoods and to launch our Human Ecology Project that my husband Bill and I created. And to get a cooking show combining basic recipes with the effects on your health, using real life testimonials. (You can help Marlene by signing the petition to get one.)

Macrobiotics simply translates to the good life. It's time for change and I challenge anyone in the food industry to argue against the countless studies and even new TV programmes backing up our findings.

*You can buy a copy of Marlene’s book here.
Or visit her website to contact Marlene direct, find out more about her work and keep up to date with the latest videos on YouTube.

Testamonials from some o f Marlene's customers:
RB, London – Thank you so much for such an inspiring and amazing programme. Unfortunately now every time I have a tiny lapse, I have a different undesirable effect: sugar = feeling low, wine = sleepy and lethargic all next day, bread = aching joints, dairy = the trots… I can see how it all added up with my former diet. My digestion has improved beyond my wildest dream. I feel fabulous: slimmer, happy and so energetic. You are amazing and I wish you huge success with your workshop on Weight Loss/Nature's Way and your book.

Derek Young, Glasgow – I had resigned myself to the fact that I would forever be over inflated, unhappy and in some pain (excruciating sciatica) for the remainder of my days. It is with some considerable relief and joy that I can reliably report that whilst having followed and being inspired by Marlene's excellent guidance, I am transformed not only in body but in spirit. I have shed around five stones. I now feel as if I have been given a new body. All areas of my life have improved dramatically and coupled with all of the above, the food is fantastic. Marlene is my Health Evangelist.

Lorna V, Freelance Journalist, S&D Magazine, London – I had noticed benefits in just a week. I began to suspect the culprit for my nausea was none other than my daily cappuccino. I was sleeping better, and within three weeks I'd forgotten all about my hormonal issues. I realised that macrobiotic eating had reduced my cravings – I didn't feel the need for cake or chocolate and I didn't even want a cappuccino. When I did have one, thinking it was a big reward, my body literally rejected it. How could I not be spellbound whilst making one of Marlene's many delicious recipes 'Enchanted Broccoli Forest'? Millet as an alternative to oat porridge and toasted sunflower seeds as a topping for porridge or soup have been among many of the great discoveries on my macrobiotic journey with Marlene.


  1. Susan carrington July 6, 2012 at 8:09 am -  Reply

    I love the sound of it I have crones and the more I now what is good of me the better

  2. Debs f July 6, 2012 at 9:59 am -  Reply

    Ps it doesn’t state here, but the prize is a super consultation with marlene, and a copy of her book, worth over £100! She’ll assesS your situation and tailor some personal advice just for you. Considering the results she’s achieved, it’s quite incredible what your own body can do when u help it! RememberFTP leave a comment below. Everyone doing so will be entered and winner randomly chosen. You can choose to gift the consultation to someone else if u prefer. Good luck! X

  3. julie crane July 6, 2012 at 11:01 am -  Reply

    I would love to be entered into your competition.
    I am currently coming to the end of my treatment for breast cancer and have only recently seen a nutrienist. I was told i should be following a dairy free diet and cutting out all processed foods.
    I am finding it quite difficult to follow even though i know i will benefit loads. I really could do with a shove in the right direction as to what to eat and how to cook it.
    Julie Crane

  4. Nikki Stanescu July 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm -  Reply

    I have underactive thyroid and find it difficult to lose weight. I would love a consultation x

  5. Jules Stevens July 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm -  Reply

    pleeeeeeeeeeeease pick me!!!!
    I’ve tried every diet going
    Approaching menopause
    2 medical complications that I need to deal with on a regular basis and could do with a bump in the right direction

  6. Marlene Watson-Tara July 6, 2012 at 6:11 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julie Crane, If you email me on I will send you some information. Be well, Marlene x

  7. Marlene Watson-Tara July 6, 2012 at 6:21 pm -  Reply

    Hi Susan
    You need to buy my girlfriends book, How to cure Crohns disease, yes CURE….. 30 years ago Ginny discovered macrobiotics, followed the diet and hey presto…..she then became a macrobiotic counsellor and has helped thousands regain their digestive health. Google Virginia Harper and you will get her book on line.
    Love Marlene x

  8. Kay Salisbury July 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm -  Reply

    Gosh-that 60 minutes interview was both fascinating and utterly terrifying.The bit that stated the food industry has substituted the fat for sugar-awful. Also these tumours feeding on sugar intake-(uch a fi-bit of Welsh). I will have to cut back as I love sugar after my tea (meal) but am a big headache-sufferer so I must try to help myself. Also my stomach is very bloated these days-assumed it was due to bread so have cut that down a bit but imagine sugar to be just as bad. Thanks for bringing this to our attention Debs. K.XXX

  9. Tracy Case July 6, 2012 at 11:50 pm -  Reply

    Would so love to follow this path to true health :-)

  10. Mavis Henderson July 7, 2012 at 12:06 am -  Reply

    This sounds like the answer to my prayers, i have a few health problems an under active thyroid being one of them i have gained so much weight and feel so depressed that i just gave up trying at 67 yrs old i am resigned to the fact that after trying most weight reducing programs this is the way i will be for the rest of my shortened life.

  11. Jennifer O’Neill July 7, 2012 at 12:17 pm -  Reply

    Hi Marlene, my name is Jennifer O’Neill I have just been diagnosed with IBS so any help you can give on what food to avoid would be amazing.
    Jennifer xx

  12. Michelle Roberts July 7, 2012 at 8:43 pm -  Reply

    I really need some help I have suffered with Rheumotiod Arthritis from the age of 21 I will be 46 next week I am still finding I’m having to many flare ups, I’ve lost count on how many joint re-placements I have had over the years, recent one being left wrist re-placement joint and right knuckle re-placement 3rd one on this joint. to add to this I have recently been diagnosed with a over active thyroid I must have a rubbish immune system !!!! I’m looking for help how to boost it and any possible tips on what foods I should avoid.
    Next a week I see the Consultant for my Arthritis who is suggesting stronger medication, i don’t want this so I think diet could be the way forward for me any help-would
    be greatly received, I would glady purchase your book Marlene just need to know this is a step in the right direction I’ve tired everything else.
    I must say I have been very interested in Debbie’s comments and how well she looks !!

  13. peggy pig July 7, 2012 at 10:16 pm -  Reply

    I would love to be entered Im very interested in food and health and on a constant diet I suffer with Fibromyalgia I would really like to ease the symptoms without so much medication.

  14. Anna nowak July 8, 2012 at 11:57 am -  Reply

    i would love to try this type of eating as i have spent years yo yo dieting and cannot shift a stone.
    thanks ,anna x

  15. marie simpson July 8, 2012 at 1:57 pm -  Reply

    Plase enter me into competition

  16. Joanne Kershaw July 8, 2012 at 3:12 pm -  Reply

    I would love to win this competition, over the years l feel like I lost my way with everything in my life.
    Thank you for reading.

  17. Renie Reynolds July 8, 2012 at 3:38 pm -  Reply

    I just watched your Youtube interview with Marlene (thanks) and hubby just came in. I said we should try Macrobiotics and he started laughing and said ‘That’s why God invented elasticated waistbands!’ HA!
    I emailed Marlene to see if we could afford a weekend and we could try Macrobiotics as I gained lots of weight in the last 8 months (redundancy etc) and can’t seem to shift it. Is it my age? And I love to cook. You are so enthusiastic about it.
    Thanks for the blog as this may just be the ticket.

  18. Teresa July 8, 2012 at 3:51 pm -  Reply

    I have just yesterday 7th July reached my 50 Birthday – had a great day though.
    Whilst I am told I do not look my age I often feel it. I constantly feel huge and bloated and as if my stomach wants to burst. I have been told I have IBS but have never been given treatment for it.
    Perhaps I will be given the best 50th Birthday present and will be lucky enough to win.

  19. Tracy Case July 8, 2012 at 9:13 pm -  Reply

    I love Marlene’s dream for a healthier world and would really love to totally transform my life and hopefully in time I could influence those close to me. x

  20. Filomena James July 9, 2012 at 2:15 am -  Reply

    Please enter me into your competition……
    Having been extremely sick for such a long time, and putting so much down to my awful eating habits…..well recovery has been aided by my researching the types of foods to eat for a healthier lifestyle….I am trying to follow an Alkaline / Vegan style diet, as well as trying all sorts of other diets too, to become as healthy as possible,..and Well i get somewhat confused at times, and am in need of some true direction from Yourselves….so please help me.

  21. lynn lee July 9, 2012 at 12:01 pm -  Reply

    very interested..just joined weightwatchers..but i’m always feeling tired,and have constant bloating..look pregnant sometimes..

  22. Mrs B. Bugg July 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm -  Reply


  23. Mrs Christine Curry July 10, 2012 at 10:12 am -  Reply

    This sounds fascinating and as my husband is diabetic it is definitely worth a try. I so often feel lethargic and need more energy.

  24. Anita July 10, 2012 at 5:30 pm -  Reply

    Started eating macrobiotic food many years ago and wish I had kept it up,maybe I wouldn’t have got rheumatoid arthritis. Hopefully not too late as would like to try it again but need direction.

  25. debs flint July 11, 2012 at 2:01 am -  Reply

    I’m obviously not going to do individual responses for these entries ladies and gents, but just to say a huge thank you for your interest in Marlene and her macrobiotic way to health – behind the scenes she is able to talk so much more about the remarkable success stories she’s had to date, even things along the lines of what many of you discuss below. I can only hope you’ll take a look at her website, and the youtube video clips she’s producing, and maybe give it a go. Watch out in the next blog for news of an evening course in the south london/surrey area – and do email marlene at her address as in her comment below, for more info. Dont forget her book is on amazon – she wouldnt plug it like this, but I can! It’s just £10.49 plus deliv.
    Do get it – first few pages are all general, easy read info about why macrobiotic diets work.
    Do tell any friends about it too if they have serious health concerns – it could be a great gift.
    Good luck all.

  26. Jacky July 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm -  Reply

    Inspiring I have cut out most processed food in an attempt to loose weight and do feel better but need to try new ideas for meals as become a bit stuck in a rut. Will get cookbook and look for inspiration. Agree about Sugar being a toxin feel much better having cut out added sugars.

  27. louise July 11, 2012 at 6:42 pm -  Reply

    Hi again #Debs
    I love miso soup. It is quite expensive but I bought some from a bargain shop for 20p per box! Re the macrobiotic diet, I have been vegetarian for 27 years and, although nothing I eat would cause it, I have a high cholesterol level. Do you or Marlene know if any components of this dietary plan would help this? btw, I don’t need to lose weight.
    Take care.

  28. Kirsty Doak July 11, 2012 at 6:46 pm -  Reply

    I was diagnosed with Meigs Syndrome in Jauary. After the removal of a 6lb abdominal tumor, a radical hysterectomy and two lung drains in February, I am now in recovery. However, I am still feeling utterly exhausted, bloated and demotivated. I have just started HRT, and I am ungoing further tests for anaemia, an underactive thyroid and IBS. I am only 42 and want a full and active life-style once again. Do you think adopting a macrobiotic diet might assist me on my road to recovery and good health?
    Thank you in advance.

  29. Jules July 11, 2012 at 9:29 pm -  Reply

    Hi Debs it’s Jules back here after a long time. Really interested in this, thanks so much. My health is very up and down with m e type shattering fatigue and symptoms,)on/off) inability to concentrate etc, will look into the miso soup ( and even eat some!) Love, jx

  30. Shirley Holyhead July 11, 2012 at 9:51 pm -  Reply

    I have had a chest x ray and was then fast tracked for a ct scan, I get my results on Monday 16th June, all I been told
    is that I have shadows on my lungs. I already have bronchiectasis
    so don’t know what else I am facing, but know I need to change
    my diet/lifestyle and what better way than winning your competion. I have aa list of ailments as long as your arm so am
    desperate for any help

  31. Val selway July 13, 2012 at 10:00 pm -  Reply

    Please enter me into the competition.
    I have yoyo dieted most of my life and now have a back problem that after 2 operations can only be helped by pain medication, any more yoyoing will only make my back worse. Any help for a healthier lifestyle would be appreciated. :-)

  32. san July 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm -  Reply

    fascinating, please enter me

  33. Jill July 15, 2012 at 2:23 am -  Reply

    If the competition is still open, PLEASE consider choosing me? I seriously need to lose weight, control menopause symptoms, manage multiple illnesses which have disabled me, including fibromyalgia and CFS/ME.
    So I would deffo be interested in winning the competition, or attending Marlene’s workshop when she comes to QVC!

  34. Clare L July 15, 2012 at 1:23 pm -  Reply

    I’d love a consultation with Marlene. I managed a week of macrobiotic eating by hiding myself away in a NT cottage away from my family, it made a real difference to my health and my skin was amazing. I am now battling with gall stones which in the past I’ve controlled by cutting out rich food and red meat. I managed to lose one and a half stone, but slowly I’ve gone back to my old ways. For the past 48 hours I’ve been in agony and I know why. Red meat, red wine and a creamy desert. Truly I know that I need to take radical action. A consutation with an expert might just be what I need to make permanant changes

  35. Helen July 15, 2012 at 11:40 pm -  Reply

    Found the study on ’60 minutes’ video very interesting & certainly agree with content. My body craves sweet things in an effort to try & gain energy even though I do (force myself) to exercise regularly. I suffer from FM, hypothyroidism, chronic stress, CFS (Oh dear sounding like a crock! & negativity not good for the soul!). Feel as if I have adrenal fatigue but alas am frowned upon for saying so. Conventional medicine seems only to ‘mask’ health problems with drugs instead of dealing with actual cause. Feel so despondent – would love to have my life/health back! Am I the only person who, when trying to ‘diet’ actually ends up putting weight on? Apathy & tiredness is all consuming. Hopeless case! Thanks Debs for introducing Marlene. Any advice/direction would be much appreciated though would be just great to win? x :-)

  36. Samantha Wesley July 16, 2012 at 12:32 pm -  Reply

    Please enter me into your wonderful competition :)

  37. Angie July 16, 2012 at 10:12 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ladies,
    I would like to be considered – I have always believed you are what you eat – so far fortunate with menapause and i believe its down to the fact I’m vegetarian I would like to take to another level and interested to learn more…Thanks Angie

  38. debs flint July 18, 2012 at 2:24 am -  Reply

    Thanks very much to all of you for your fascinating comments and for entering the comp. Winner will be announced on here soon. If you can, do buy her inexpensive book – see below. And if you’d like to attend an evening talk, also see info below and let me know.
    Whatever your ailment, a better diet can only help – and Marlene can’t write to everybody but she may be in contact with a few of you directly.
    thanks again all – and good luck if you’re embarking on macrobiotics to aid your health and well being – keep me informed!
    I’m obviously not going to do individual responses for these entries ladies and gents, but just to say a huge thank you for your interest in Marlene and her macrobiotic way to health – behind the scenes she is able to talk so much more about the remarkable success stories she’s had to date, even things along the lines of what many of you discuss below. I can only hope you’ll take a look at her website, and the youtube video clips she’s producing, and maybe give it a go. Watch out in the next blog for news of an evening course in the south london/surrey area – and do email marlene at her address as in her comment below, for more info. Dont forget her book is on amazon – she wouldnt plug it like this, but I can! It’s just £10.49 plus deliv.
    Do get it – first few pages are all general, easy read info about why macrobiotic diets work.
    Do tell any friends about it too if they have serious health concerns – it could be a great gift.
    Good luck all.

  39. Jean Sherman July 19, 2012 at 8:37 am -  Reply

    I have had 3 major ops on my back which has left me still with great pain, as I cannot walk far my wight has gone up. I would love to try this diet and as my Husband has been diagnosed with a rare for of cancer I would hope it would help him. Deb love your blog

  40. Marlene Watson-Tara July 19, 2012 at 10:34 am -  Reply

    Good Morning Ladies
    I look forward to working with the lucky winner and will be hearing from you soon I believe. As Debbie said, I wish I could work with you all and if I had the funding from local councils in the U.K. I would, however if that day every comes you will all be the first to know!! The next best thing I can do is to start posting information on my blog for certain health problems with some help-yourself guidelines. As weight issues are a big part of health problems for many of you check out my blog for 4 healthy recipes for 5 minute breakfasts (the most important food of the day) and some good information. This is the link;
    Remember, the most important thing you can all do is to remove the ‘nutritional stress’ to allow the body to start healing. Our body is a self healing organism, and wants to be well, so feed it with healthy natural foods and it will reward you with good health. A tree absorbs nutrients through external roots. The roots of the body are deep inside in the region of the small intestine where nutrients are absorbed. Here they enter the bloodstream and are distributed to the body’s cells, so my loving advice to all my clients is that we have a brain in our head and feet in our shoes to guide us in the direction we choose to go, I hope you all choose to really start looking at your diet and steer towards a wholefoods plant food diet.
    Thank you Debbie for being such an advocate of my work and a pioneer in recruiting family and friends and steering them in the right direction, you’re a star.
    My heartfelt thanks,
    Much love to you all
    Marlene x

  41. Nicola Gadsby-Helme July 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm -  Reply

    Please enter me in the competition. I am 45 years old and was diagonised a diabetic 2 years ago, I am slim and very active. I am on insulin and metformin and try to eat healthly to maintain my blood sugar which i do find increasing difficult to do. If I can find a diet that helps maintain a healthy blood sugar it would mean I wouldn’t need more insulin injections than I already take.
    Kind regards

  42. Nina August 2, 2012 at 9:55 pm -  Reply

    Please enter me into the competition!!!! I have tried everything, i have been to the doctors asking for food intolerence test’s which i was quite rudely told NO! I have had allergy tests done at holland & barrats who said there were intolerences present in dairy, bread, monosodium glutimate and several other products,but still i was refused when asked to see a dietician. I have also tried colonic irrigation several times and was told i have a very high yeast level and have suffered constantly for the past 10yrs with thrush. I would just like to feel well instead of lethargic, irriatable, stressed and bloated.

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