Combating Stress With Macrobiotics

Combating Stress With Macrobiotics Interview with a Macrobiotic Counsellor on How to Manage Stress

I was recently interviewed by one of the health magazines about my ‘take’ on stress and what I feel is causing more and more people to be on medication. My answers below may prove helpful to those of you who feel overwhelmed at times.

Marlene Watson-Tara & her husband Bill Tara are the creators of the very successful two week intensive ‘Macrobiotic Health Coach Programme’.

I believe that working hard for something you don’t care about is called STRESS.  Working hard for something you do care about is called PASSION.

Marlene is a teacher of the Chi Ball Method – a holistic approach to exercise using Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates and Deep Relaxation as well as being a Macrobiotic Counsellor and Cooking Teacher. All her work is geared towards reducing or removing stress from our lives as she believes stress is an energy imbalance that is the primary cause of all disease.

1. How does stress affect us?
One of the main effects of stress is that it affects our adrenal glands. These glands produce the hormones adrenaline, norepinephrine, DHEA and cortisol. When we go through life in a state of emergency the adrenals become overworked and we become prone to anxiety and stress responses. I hope the information below is helpful to you all.

2. What is the difference between stress and burnout?
When the adrenals become over-worked they eventually cannot produce hormones in sufficient amounts or cannot utilize the hormones they do produce, basically the adrenals get wiped out. This is called adrenal exhaustion (burnout). This state of exhaustion is emotional, mental and physical.

3. Do you think people are becoming more stressed?

In this 24/7 busy, busy, busy existence people become more stressed due to the increased reliance on caffeine containing products like coffee and fizzy drinks, as well as chemicals in foods and excess sugar. When health is not good we become less adaptable. The over-use of mobile phones and computers, lack of being in an outdoor environment and not getting enough physical exercise also contribute.

4. How can we learn to manage our stress?
Adopting a wholefoods natural diet can make the biggest impact on stress. When we eat food it should energise us, and create vitality and adaptability. What we eat today is who we are tomorrow.  Removing processed and fast food from our diets will make the biggest impact on stress at a cellular level. We do not hear about nutritional stress but it is very real.

5. Why do people seem to be more reluctant to deal with their stress, or admit it’s a problem whereas they will happily spend and commit to weight loss?
We live in a world where it seems the more stress you have to deal with the more important you are, it’s almost like wearing a ‘badge of courage’ kids even talk about being ‘stressed out’. We are setting ourselves up for illness if we do not address these issues. When the body becomes overwhelmed (stressed) it’s a signal to take stock and listen to the message.

Weight is often seen as a cosmetic issue, or obsession with appearance, when it often overrides more serious health issues. We are miraculous in our design; the body is a self-healing organism so when we eat in a way that nourishes us from the inside out we are better geared up to deal with life on a daily basis.

The money that is wasted on weight loss products is perhaps one of the most ridiculous marketing scams of the 21st century. Cortisol as I mentioned above is produced by the adrenals when we are stressed, the interesting point to note here is that Cortisol is a fat storing hormone, any wonder then why people find it hard to lose weight.

Bill and I have designed various programmes to address all of these issues. The Ultimate Health Experience, Weight Loss Nature’s Way, The Natural Woman and The Great Escape all address issues on stress and weight gain.

6. How can food help us de-stress?
Natural un-processed foods in their whole-form are packed with every vitamin and mineral to create a healthy equilibrium that does not cause stress to the body. The modern diet is a strange mix of chemical additives and the excessive use of fats, protein and sugars. This mix puts the body under a constant pressure to either store or detoxify acids and fats. This is a constant battle within us to achieve the constant state of chemical balance that keeps us alive – we are fighting ourselves. When we treat the body kindly and only eat foods that are easy to digest and metabolize, it is like tuning in a clear channel on the radio and getting rid of the static.

7. What do you do to combat stress?
“If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?” This has been my mantra for over 2 decades, stress kills us, robs us of good health. It is easy to deal with it in such a simple way. I work hard, play hard, but rest also. Balance is the key to a healthy and happy life. Eating good healthy food, fun exercise, short 5-minute sessions of deep breathing and relaxation/mediation every day keep the stress to a minimum. If you create healthy habits stress is not an issue.

On top of all that my delightful hubby and I exchange shiatsu treatments with each other, a wonderful stimulating massage, we have seaweed baths, and laugh every day, even at ourselves.

More information on my work, and recipes can be found in my book ‘Macrobiotics for all Seasons’ available on my website

In good health