“Washoku” in Japanese is written with two characters. The first, "wa," (和) has two meanings: “indigenous to Japan”- so when it is used before another word it means “Japanese”- and “harmony”. "Shoku" (食), the second character, means “meal”. If we layer these meanings together, we have “the food in harmony that is indigenous to Japan”.
As in the West there is a huge misconception about macrobiotics, in order to prevent misunderstanding and avoidance I have decided to name my healing-with-foods work "Washoku", as it really is all about restoring harmony within ourselves through a balanced diet. Just to add something more, in year 2013 the Japanese diet, washoku, has been declared as a "world heritage" by UNESCO.
I was still a very little child when I made my first encounter with Japan. I didn’t know then, but this encounter led me, one little step at a time, all along my life, to the discovery of amazing new ways for overall true Healing and surely gave me a new understanding of Nature, of the Universe and of Existence itself.
It all started one day when my Dad came back home from Japan bringing us children a “Kogeshi” (a little traditional Japanese doll made out of wood), a small Kimono (the lovely traditional garment) and an “uchiwa” (a traditional fan made with rice paper). To me it was love at first sight. Instantly I forgot about all of my other toys, at carnival my only costume would be the kimono, to which my Mum combined a black-haired wig with a lovely flower arranged in the traditional Japanese style, and the more I grew up the more I read and wanted to learn about this far-away land. Needless to say, it was just a matter of time for me to actually land in Japan. I arrived there after graduating at college with the intent of studying the language, their lovely writing and their philosophy. My plan was to stay for two years, but loved it so deeply that just couldn’t leave, and ended up staying there for 20 amazing, fulfilling years.
In Japan everything was so different, but at the same time so interesting and stimulating. I also discovered that what I had learned in books about Japan was seldom correct, and this made me even more determined in exploring and verifying things by myself. Obviously, also the food there was completely different and for a few months I felt unsure if I would ever be able to like the new array of tastes and aromas I was experiencing for the first time in my life. But actually it didn’t take long to get used to them. As a matter of fact, I understood quite soon that even if I couldn’t relate many of the new tastes to anything I already knew and liked, all those new things that had become part of my daily diet were actually very good to me, and that my body was answering this new stimulation with happiness and delight.
But this new healthy diet wasn’t enough to get rid of the illness that had been growing within me since I was a child. My digestive system had been compromised quite seriously and after a couple of years since I had arrived in Japan, in order to get my nutrients I often had to intake special liquid meals and intravenous therapy at the hospital. The situation looked quite serious and I felt at a loss. It was then that I met for the first time someone who talked to me about Macrobiotics. I always had thought that Macrobiotics was about only eating a very restricted diet, both in quantity and quality, and that it was a very severe regime. But when I started to study it closer, together with people who “really” knew about Macrobiotics (in the West there is still so much misconception about it!) I finally realised how amazing it was, and how its healing power was deep and true. As I wanted to know more, I continued to study and also started to change my own diet, in stages, slowly, allowing my body to adjust to the changes with no rush. At the same time, having become aware of how much unresolved emotions can deeply affect the physical health, in order to clear them I started practices like meditation and yoga. It took me about 3 years to completely get rid of all the medication, but when I finally was able to say “goodbye” to my routines at the hospital, my joy was incommensurable. Even after that I continued with the macrobiotic diet and life-style, and strangely enough I felt like I didn’t even want to get back to the old life style any more. Month after month my health continued to meliorate, at times alternating also with some negative periods, but the overall improvements were so evident that I almost couldn’t believe it was really happening.
Today I can firmly say that I am very glad I was able to receive the teachings of Macrobiotics from people who really knew its meaning. Macrobiotics is not about miracles. It really is about getting rid of the toxins accumulated in the body due to a wrong diet, and in the spirit and mind because of the bearing of negative emotions and greed.
Due to family reasons I had to leave Japan in year 2009. But the Universe has been so kind to me and has allowed me to keep my bonds with Japan as strong and genuine as ever, despite the distance. Furthermore, it also has given me the chance to meet with new people with whom I can share what my Japanese friends and mentors have shared with me. And in this way the loving cycle of taking and giving, of caring and sharing, is repeated. Personally, I believe this is a true blessing.
I would like to dedicate my "Washoku" work and the little booklets on healthy eating to all the lovely people in Japan who always held my hand while leading me towards the choices that helped me in restoring my inner and outer balance and who also taught me about Health, Gratitude and Love. I hope I will be able to share their amazing teachings in the same passionate, devoted and loving way with all those who have been looking for new ways towards True Healing.
* Today I am working as a Healing-with-Foods advisor, lecturer and writer. On my time off I also like to continue my research about the Japanese language, reading interesting books and occasionally doing translations. I like to call all this my "Japanese heritage"...
1990 Italian Slow Food Organisation, Florence, Italy
1993 Japanese Washoku basics, YMCA, Osaka, Japan
1997~2009 Seishoku Kyokai (Healing with Foods Association), Osaka, Japan distance learning, healing with food and nutritional medicine
2010 The Health Store, Dublin, Ireland, A Vogel Certificate, Healing herbs in daily life
2012 The Health Store, Dublin, Ireland, Viridian Certificate, Ultimate Nutrition and the Use of Supplements
2015 Seishoku Kyokai (Healing with Foods Association), Osaka, Japan, Healing with Foods - Human physiology and medicinal food
2000 Tradlabor, Kanagawa, Japan
Healing with foods coach; healing with foods seminars in English and Japanese in conjunction with aromatherapy and reflexology
2002 Takatsu Culture Centre, Kanagawa, Japan
Italian Slow Food and Health Care Chef
Teaching monthly cookery classes both in English and Japanese based on the Italian slow food focusing on the healing properties of the different ingredients and on nutritional balance
2004 Simultaneous interpretation at holistic care seminars (from Japanese into English and vice versa)
Healing with Foods cookery classes and demonstrations
2006 herbs in the kitchen courses, tea and cooking with herbs
2010 The Health Store – The Square, Tallaght, Dulbin, Ireland
Consultations and events centred on health management through appropriate food choices and life-style