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Okay before you all bash me because I didn't love this book, let me state that I was already mostly macrobiotic before reading it -- I'm vegan (other than a couple of tablespoons of milk in the coffee I'm weaning myself off of), my diet consists mostly of whole grains, vegetables, & legumes, I don't eat sugar at all and almost no refined or processed food, and I cook most of what I eat fresh, every day. I'm not reviewing the philosophy or science of macrobiotics, just this book, which I was looking to as just what the title suggests.
The book is for the most part well-written and the explanation of macrobiotic philosophy is pretty clear. So far so good. You either agree with the notion of the universe as being composed of the fundamental forces of yin and yang, or you don't, but you can't argue with statements such as "in macrobiotics ______ is seen as yin," or with the idea of creating balance or with a clear statement of activities that increase yin or yang (unless you think she is wrong about what macrobiotics means, but I didn't catch any of that). Porter also sets forth great ideas for helping people achieve balance in a general sense as well as a macrobiotic sense.
There is no substantiation for most of what Porter says and here I'm talking not about the unsubstantiable (carrots are more yang than celery), but about outright statements such as:
1. Dairy food leaves snotty, wet deposits in the lungs (p. 114);
2. Coffee gives you wrinkles (p. 143 -- oh yeah, 1/2 cup a day even? Porter might have just said coffee's a diuretic, but she doesn't, just that it "gives you wrinkles");
3. It's good to snack on 1/2 sheet of nori every day (p. 151, no explanation why);
4. Plopping the kids in front of video is a good idea if it frees you up for an hour a day of cooking (p. 167);
5. More than 15-20 mins. of bathing can leave you weak because after 20 mins. in hot water the body begins to release minerals (p. 178);
6. Microwave cooking is weakening to the blood (p. 179);
7. Spinach and chard generally shouldn't be eaten as they are high in oxalic acid (p. 191 -- this is true, but it's the only reference in the book to oxalic acid, so most people will wonder why it's relevant); and
8. Saturated fat dulls the walls of the vagina (p. 263).
I'm not saying categorically that these points are inaccurate, just that Porter offers not a shred of evidence for these statements, but puts them forth as facts, not just as macrobiotic philosophy. This casts into doubt everything she says, which is a shame.
Porter also gives little more than lip service to the possibility (a reality for most people) that cooking all your food at least every other day isn't feasible, and that most people who work have to eat out a lot. More practical advice would have been helpful.
The Downright Hideous
Gross overuse of the 'word' "desludging". If you're not sick of it by the end of this book, you have a greater tolerance than I do for lazy writing.
Porter would probably say that I'm just too yang, and she may be right, but I'm sure that there are books that could do a better job of convincing me. If scientific accuracy isn't that important to you, and if you think, as Porter does, that Madonna and Gwyneth are the epitome of women who have it all and are living ideal lives, you might enjoy this book. But if you need some actual facts before you chuck meat, cheese, pasta, tomatoes, sugar, alcohol and caffeine out the window entirely, or even before you ditch your version of vegetarianism for the macrobiotic one, look elsewhere. This book is not for you.