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SHA Wellness Clinic explains why we should all love macrobiotics

When it comes to wellness and eating right, our first port of call is always SHA Wellness Clinic! We’ve been chatting to Melanie Waxman, their health and nutrition specialist about all things macrobiotic!

What do you do at SHA Wellness Clinic?

I am a health and nutrition specialist at SHA. I see guests when they first arrive and discuss their present condition, make a specialised health assessment, educate on SHA nutrition, and recommend a specific diet for their stay. I work closely with the kitchen, Shamadi restaurant and Chefs Studio (SHA’s cooking school) to make sure our guests are given the best, most delicious, and balanced meals. I also write articles for magazines and travel to give consultations and talks on SHA nutrition. My work is exciting and I love the SHA concept and philosophy.

Why is macrobiotics important to our health and wellbeing?

Macrobiotics is the ultimate healthy diet and through good health we can live a full and happy life. The macrobiotic diet is generally made up of the foods eaten by the world’s most healthy societies including rural China, Okinawa, Hunza and Mediterranean. The dietary approach is flexible and can be adjusted to suit the individual and their needs. All our cells are built on the food we eat, water we drink and air we breathe. When eating a plant based diet, we can enjoy more energy, build a strong, healthy body, improve the mind and experience greater emotional stability.

The diet itself is high in fibre, low in saturated fats, and has a high mineral and vitamin content. It is high in complex carbohydrates, low on the glycemic index, and balanced in terms of sodium and potassium, and acid and alkaline. We offer a wide variety of ingredients and cooking styles which are nourishing and delicious.

It is also important to understand how foods will affect us in the long term. Macrobiotics clearly describes how different ingredients; combinations and cooking styles interact with our digestive system, influence our blood quality and ultimately build a healthy body and mind.

What has it brought to your life?

The most important aspect for me is that I am contributing positively to the world through my food and lifestyle choices. A plant based diet is not only nourishing to me but it also sustains the earth and saves animals from horrible and unnecessary suffering. Humans are killing 150 billion animals a year and an enormous amount of pollution is created from factory farming. It is destroying the earth. I am grateful that I don’t support this way of life.

I have been practicing macrobiotics for the past 36 years and I cannot really separate it from who I am today. I have bags of energy, have lived in four countries, and have 7 wonderful children and 2 grandchildren. I love to ride my bike, hike with my dogs, and ride horses. The macrobiotic way of life has helped me to be much more calm, patient, understanding, and able to handle challenging situations. I don’t think all of this would have been possible if I was eating a regular modern day diet.

What’s the most common misconception?

Probably that it takes ages to prepare and doesn’t taste great. However, you can make delicious and nutritious meals in 30 minutes or less. Cooking is vital for a healthy lifestyle and until recently, was a natural part of life. I feel it important to be able to cook wonderful, life sustaining meals in the comfort of our home. The Chefs Studio at SHA supports that learning and teaches guests how to prepare an array of delicious dishes that are nutritious and energizing. And the guests get to do the cooking.

Today, there are also many more restaurants that offer healthy options and some of the top restaurants are completely vegan so it does make it possible to eat well and be social. And macrobiotic food tastes fantastic. There are so many wonderful flavors, textures, and colors, and the dishes can be adapted to suit differing climates and cultures.

In what ways have you seen it help people/improve wellbeing?

More energy, deeper sleep, stronger immune, aches and pains disappear, maintain natural weight, look younger, increased mental clarity, better mood, circulation improves, stronger heart and digestion, enhanced blood, lower cholesterol, strong teeth and bones, and a greater sense of well-being,

How would you advise someone interested in learning more to get involved?

Begin by including more fresh, organic, local, and seasonal vegetables and fruits into your diet. Switch the refined carbs to whole grains like brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa or millet. Make time to cook at least one meal a day. Take a macrobiotic cooking class or buy a macrobiotic cookbook to get started. Encourage friends to make changes so you can support each other. Try cooking a new recipe every week. Check labels in the shops. Don’t buy anything that has ingredients that you have never heard of. Buy good quality olive oil, sea salt, sauerkraut, and miso. Cut back on meat, chicken, eggs, and dairy. Increase vegetable protein and fish. Enjoy herbal teas, vegetables juices and water instead of sodas and coffee.

What’s your favourite macrobiotic meal?

That is a toughy as I love so many dishes and meals. My most favorite are seasonal using fresh and local ingredients. I love light, delicate flavors and beautiful textures such as pureed pumpkin soup with ginger, a warm quinoa salad with edemame, steamed tofu with a white miso/tahini dressing or blanched greens with shiitake mushrooms, olives and dulse (sea vegetable). And the desserts are stunning from plum crumble, and lemon mousse to carrot cake with cashew cream. Simply yummy and sugar free!!

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