I was first introduced to macrobiotics by someone I met two days before my eighteenth birthday, in July of 1975. Three days after eating brown rice and veggies I noticed a strong sense of well-being, even before my morning run. That experience stayed with me, even though four months later I ate LSD and I could no longer balance a macrobiotic diet.
A year and a half later, in college, I was smoking pot and my diet consisted of fast food and ice
cream. This diet and the pressure of a destructive relationship caused me to experience hearing voices and becoming homeless. The next 7 years I spent on and off the streets. At the end of this time I was awarded Social Security Disability and was never homeless again.
A year after receiving my disability payments I started a job working with homeless folk with mental health challenges, which I did for 28 years. My diet for the next sixteen of those years consisted of coffee and cigarettes in the morning, a sandwich or a burger for lunch, and meat, veggies and a starch for dinner. In the year 2000, after twenty nine years of smoking cigarettes, I was having chest pains that wouldn't go away. So after trying to live with the chest pains for two weeks, I decided to quit smoking. On August 21, I smoked my last cigarette. Soon after I went to a doctor to find out where I stood with my health. After several tests the doctor said to me “Dan, I want you to walk two miles every day.” I weighed 229 pounds.
At first I could only walk 80 yards or so at which point my legs would cramp so bad I could barely walk back. But I persisted and made it to two miles, and when I did, I said to myself, “Why don't I put on some brown rice and veggies tonight?” And so began my macrobiotic rebirth. Twenty five days later I had lost 20 pounds and was feeling stronger every day. Now I walk twenty miles in a day in a given week, I weigh 50 to 65 pounds less, and my chest pains happen rarely. Some of my friends have made life changes from my example.
My practice has also led me to grow in other ways. I quit smoking cannabis after using it 34 years in 2005, and bought a guitar with the money I saved the first month. I take lessons and play for friends and at my macrobiotic summer camp regularly. The guitar is a symbol of my sobriety.
I have continued my macrobiotic experience since 2000 through daily cooking, camps, seminars, books and courses. My teachers include: Carl Ferre, the president of the George Ohsawa Macrobiotic Foundation, organizer of French Meadows Macrobiotic camp, and lecturer; Julia Ferre, author of Basic Macrobiotic Cooking (in my opinion the best macrobiotic cookbook available), and lecturers Lino and Jane Stanchich, who taught me the importance of chewing. My teachers have also included Cynthia Briscoe, who taught me about fermented foods, and David Briscoe, who taught me to be a macrobiotic counselor.
I am excited for you to explore committing to a macrobiotic journey. It can be a life changing experience on a physical, mental and emotional level. Macrobiotics has taught me to better understand my place in nature and the infinite. It has been the path to great freedom for myself and many others.