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!
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.
Q. 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.
Q. 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 www.marlenewatsontara.com 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.