Spring Cleanse & Detox

Spring Recipes & Liver Tonics

Never in modern history has there been such an interest in food and at the same time, such a lack of confidence in the basic quality of food.

MACROVegan Spring Menu Cooking Class - Saturday 31st March 11.00a.m. to 3.00p.m

Spiced Carrot & Tahini Soup with Shelled Hemp
Almond Mung Bean Burgers Topped with Vegan Mayonnaise & Onion Butter
Caramelised Baked Pumpkin
Ume Radish Pickles, Fresh Salad Greens & Living Sprouts
Stewed Apples with Oat Cream

The following newsletter is for your reference. Our students find this format very helpful. It lets them see how I run my own business combining ChiBall and Macrobiotics with my Vegan Advocacy Work. It’s a great way to educate and broaden your client base. I make specific dietary recommendations for each season. I also offer a few recipes and medicinal teas for health and vitality for the organs relating to each season and combine that with the relevant ChiBall session.

Living with the Seasons: The Wood Element: 

Corresponding organs – Liver/Gallbladder

As we start our journey through the spring with the Wood Element of ‘Living with the Seasons’ I do hope that you have found greater energy levels over these past winter months when you have visited my ‘Chi Studio’.   It is such a wonderful way to live. Letting nature set us an example by showing us how to work with the extremes of the seasons keeps us strong and healthy.  Many of you have reported to me that you have come through winter with no colds, flu, sore throats or chest infections. Need I say more?  When we constantly discharge the excess from our bodies it rewards us with good health.  Keeping our immune systems strong with the nourishing seasonal food we eat allows us to live our lives to our full potential.

Longer days, rising temperatures, daffodils and new buds on the trees and bushes is an indication that spring has arrived.  It is a time of new growth and seeing nature’s energy rising.  This is called the ‘Wood Element’.  The main theme of Chiball will be meridian related paying special attention to the liver and gallbladder meridians. Spring is the ideal time to cleanse (not only your closets) your body.

Outside power walking is a great way to give your metabolism a boost and help remove any winter pounds you may have gathered around the middle during the months that the kidneys required for more heat. Chiball Yoga will be focused on stretching the liver and gallbladder meridians.

Cleaner lighter diet, stir-fry vegetables in water or vegetable broth, zero oil, detoxify, drink kombu/shitake tea, dried daikon soup and remove alcohol, and coffee they overwhelm the liver. Drink filtered water, kukicha or green sencha tea, available from our friends at Clearspring UK.

When you rise in the morning it is important to ‘hydrate your cells with water’. We lose approximately half a cup of water each night when we sleep.  The cells need hydrated when we awaken to start a new day.  I suggest to all my students and clients they embrace my format of drinking two glasses of water before breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Avoid drinking whilst eating as it dilutes the digestive enzymes.  We produce less hydrochloric acid as we age so we must support our stomach by hydrating before eating otherwise the body leaches water from other areas.  When we are born, we are like juicy plums, as we age we can resemble a dried-up prune.  It’s important to nourish the yin fluids for slowing the ageing process.

It’s crucial to remember that the brain is 80% water, so you will feel more alert when you give the body what it needs. This is a wonderful way to clean out your liver which is the main organ responsible for processing toxins that enter your system. Your liver gets tired. If you are eating heavy foods and drinking more alcohol than usual, your liver will start to get overburdened and you may experience: sluggishness, bloating, gas, diarrhoea, indigestion, depression, irregular menstruation, headaches, fits of anger, tense muscles, and believe it or not many more symptoms than those I just mentioned! The cleansing Mung Bean Soup below is a great way to give your liver a break and get you back on track.

Eat More: 

Fruit and vegetables in season, sunflower, sesame seeds, vegetable soups, green soups, your body will love the antioxidants and chlorophyll which is the life blood of the plant.   Eat wholegrain brown rice, as well as lighter wholegrain like bulgur, and quinoa salads with loads of spring greens, fresh herbs, (keep up with your porridge) made from left over short grain brown rice or make a fresh batch daily. Have miso soup daily or try my delicious homemade breakfast granola with rice milk.  Green lentil soup on the side with a tempeh sandwich made on sourdough bread is a perfect plate for spring. Using rocket, sauerkraut and some tofu mayonnaise to make a delicious sandwich is one of Bill’s favourites.

Eat foods as near to their natural state as possible.  This is the time to sprout seeds in abundance, particularly mung beans which aid in cleansing the liver. As always, sea vegetables should be a part of your daily diet using dishes like Hijiki or Arame sauté and using kombu seaweed as the base for soup stocks. Follow the seasonal guide in my book Macrobiotics for all Seasons.


Dairy – (milk, bitter, yoghurt, cheese), all meat including fish, eggs, sugar (sweets, cakes and puddings), white rice, white bread, processed ready-made meals

Go Green

Barley Grass being (a green food) is the most perfect addition to your spring diet, it’s the best I know of as it delivers enzymes which helps to aid in absorption of your food. Chewing well is of paramount importance.  I cannot stress this enough.  When most clients I see with digestive problems relearn the ‘art’ of chewing many of their problems disappear.

Thinking as always about disease prevention and keeping your insides sparkling clean particularly at this time of year (liver) will put a ‘spring’ in your step.   If we adhere to what nature is showing us about regeneration and take that on-board internally I guarantee you that your energy will soar to new heights.  It is unnecessary to do ‘hard-core’ liver cleanses if you constantly discharge the excess. The crazy cleansers I see on the internet are too harsh on the liver.  Our health is priceless; invest in your own health and connect with the vital energy within.

Drink Your Greens

Marlene’s Garden in a Glass

Every morning during the first 21 days of spring make yourself a ‘green juice’.  Green juices, made from a variety of green vegetables have a rejuvenating effect on the body because they are rich in chlorophyll (the life blood of the plant), which helps to purify the blood, build red blood cells, detoxify the body and provide fast energy.  Green juice is the perfect fuel for your body.

Its high-water content means it is easily assimilated and it contains the whole vegetable except for the fibre, which is the indigestible part of the plant.

Green juice therefore provides all the healthful ingredients in a form that is easy to absorb and digest.  Here is just one option, feel free to experiment with your own ideas –

1 carrot

1 cucumber

4 celery stalks

1 fennel stalk

Some spinach leaves

Tiny piece of root ginger

2 sprigs parsley

Handful of alfalfa sprouts (optional)

Put all the ingredients through a juicer and add the alfalfa sprouts before drinking.

You could also add one teaspoon of a super food green powder.  I use barley grass. (Green Zymes) each spring.

Step into spring with Marlene’s Mung Bean Soup.

It doesn't take much time to cook mung beans. They are done in about 30 -45 minutes. I love this thick and hearty soup. Serves 3-4 people.

1 cup mung beans
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled, cut lengthwise and then sliced into half-moon shapes
2 tbsp. organic tomato-paste
1 tsp. cumin
Sea salt, grounded pepper and red pepper flake to taste (all optional)

Wash the beans and transfer them into a saucepan. Cover with water, bring to boil and simmer until beans are cooked.  Meanwhile sauté the onions in a little water for about 5 minutes and then add the carrots, let the carrots cook for 10 minutes on low heat.  Add the tomato paste, spices and mix into the vegetables. Transfer into the saucepan with boiled beans; add enough water to cover the beans.
Bring to low simmer for 5 minutes and serve.

A Note on This Miraculous Cleansing Food:

Mung beans are originally from India but long ago became a part of Chinese cuisine and medicine; this is a cleansing food which falls into Chinese medicine traditions. Mung beans are cooling, sweet, beneficial to the liver and gallbladder, and nourish yin (the fluids of the body). Usually, mung beans are used in the summertime to cool hot conditions and keep the body regulated, but they can also be used to cool hot conditions or liver-related toxicity during other times of the year.

As we still many have cold days in the spring, the best way to use mung beans is in soups or by sprouting them.  Leave the mung bean juice for summer time. As you all know cold foods and raw foods in the colder weather can overburden your digestive system.

Spring Tonic Tea

Daikon, Shitake and Kombu Drink

This is a wonderful spring tonic as it helps the liver to open up and discharge smoothly.

1 dried shitake mushroom

½ cup dried daikon

1 x inch strip Kombu seaweed

3 cups spring water

Place the shitake, dried daikon and Kombu in a small pot and then cover with water. Leave to soak for about 30 minutes. Slice the mushroom, add the water, cover and bring to a boil on a medium flame.  Reduce the flame and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.  Remove and discard the ingredients.  Drink the tea whilst hot.

Note: you can also add a half cup of leafy green vegetables such as kale, cabbage or watercress.  Add the chopped leafy greens at the end and simmer for a further 2 or 3 minutes.


Start sprouting your seeds, mung beans, lentils, alfalfa, broccoli and chickpeas.

No ice with the water.  Drink your water as close to room temperature as possible.  Try dry skin brushing before having a shower, (it is wonderful) you will have skin so smooth and at the same time remove the mucus from your body.  This is a wonderful way to stimulate and cleanse the lymphatic system which is part of the immune system.

How to Keep in Balance

Alleviate stress by exercising regularly and making time to take enough rest and relaxation. Try and not hold on to anger (the corresponding emotion for the imbalance in the liver).

Remain in control, focus on the breathing exercises that you have learned over the last year. Have a healthy and enjoyable spring clean and keep smiling.

Remember it takes 42 muscles to frown ONLY 4 to smile!!!!!

Thank you for your interest in my work.

In good health




Private Vegan Cooking Classes in Surrey & Greater London

Private Vegan Cooking Classes in Surrey & Greater London Macrobiotics – Vegan – Plant-Based

Invite me to your kitchen to design your menu, cook your food, prepare your medicinal teas and get you on the path to good health.

Private Vegan & Macrobiotic Chef & Cooking Teacher
Marlene Watson-Tara

Healthy food doesn’t need to be boring or tasteless. Learn to prepare beautifully presented and delicious healthy meals using fresh, natural ingredients. My introductory whole food plant-based cooking and nutrition classes are designed for people who would like to cook healthy wholefood dishes for themselves and their families.

I am an international author, Macrobiotic teacher, chef and health counsellor and a graduate in plant-based nutrition. I have spent the last decade teaching and cooking for private clients in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Switzerland as well as training students and chefs the art and skill of macrobiotic and vegan cooking and counselling. My classes are educational, fun and skill oriented.

Health Counselling and dietary recommendations are also available in combination with your cooking sessions.

Be good to yourself and the planet! Learn how tasteful, invigorating and fun healthy gourmet plant-based cooking can be! I am hailed as a teacher of inspiring vegan cooking classes that help participants understand the relationship between food and health and contribute to positive lifestyle changes.

vegan recipesDuring each of my classes, you will learn to fashion delightful dinners and lunches using my unique fusion of European, Mediterranean, and Japanese Cooking styles. You will also learn knife skills, cutting styles and cooking dishes for the seasons. My wealth of knowledge spans four decades of teaching.


Be ahead of the curve and #govegan for humans and non-humans alike. As a healthy vegan for many decades, avoiding many of the processed junk foods that many vegans eat is the key to success. I will put you on the right path to health with my educational classes and cooking sessions.  

Check out our MACROVegan TV Channel here where you will find many of my friends and colleagues. All of them share their decades of research to help guide you towards a life free of disease. 

Please contact me for costs and availability.

I look forward to meeting you all soon.

In good health


Vegan & Macrobiotic Cooking Classes: Greater London & Surrey

Vegan & Macrobiotic Cooking Classes: Greater London & Surrey

The world at large is moving more and more towards a plant-based diet and a vegan way of life. As a long time vegan, this makes my heart sing with joy. The vanguard of modern nutrition now agrees that plant-based diets are not only better for our health but are far superior to animal-based diets.  My joy is to be able to share my work with so many who come to learn the basics of cooking and eating a delicious array of dishes.  They are in awe of the absolute delicious tastes and variations that they are introduced to at my cooking classes and workshops.

The key to success is using a variety of wholegrain, beans, vegetables from land and sea, seeds, nuts, fruits and delicious condiments such as pickled and pressed vegetables.

Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter Vegan Cooking Classes in London & Surrey with International Author & Teacher Marlene Watson-Tara

vegan recipesI am a health expert with four decades of teaching. As the international author of Macrobiotics for all Seasons, I will bring you back to nature's way of eating.  You not only feel natural you become naturally better in every way.  Seeing is believing.  I teach a user-friendly common sense approach to understand food.  My classes are fun and informative.  We will cook together, eat lunch together and enjoy some educational lectures and presentations. In the meantime, you can start enjoying my recipes immediately.

I look forward to meeting you all and sharing my decades of experience to enhance your health, wellbeing and longevity.

In good health



Creating A Macrobiotic Food Ethic


The desire to create a “standard” definition of macrobiotic practice has emerged within our community on a regular basis. In my experience alone I have been part of many intense and in-depth discussions at teacher’s gatherings and congresses in both Europe and America.  Most often there has been an agreed conclusion. These decisions are usually either so general that they could be used to describe almost any progressive natural health movement or are so steeped in past dogma that they are incomprehensible to anyone who is not already familiar with macrobiotics.

The expression of our collective beliefs must acknowledge modern concerns while maintaining the most important macrobiotic principles. When we begin to define ourselves by the past we neglect the opportunities of the future. If our objective is to contribute to the creation of “One Peaceful World” we need to have a clear understanding of where we are in the present as well as an inspiring vision of the future.


When set out to define any set of ideas it is helpful to reduce them to their simplest form and avoid specialized terminology.  This allows for clarity regarding the relative worth of the concepts being studied. My purpose here is to discover if there are any areas where our collective experience and study have proven to contradict previous beliefs as well as define areas where our collective action may not be congruent with our core values.


  • Macrobiotics is an ecological philosophy that aims to understand the laws of nature and the human relationship to those laws.
  • We believe that everything in nature is connected, there is no us or them, there is no “other”.
  • We believe that there is an order to natural process - we believe in natural law.
  • We believe that it is possible for humankind to perceive the order of nature through study, observation and experience.
  • We believe that if we understand this order we can align our thoughts and actions with it and live a more vibrant, fulfilling and healthy life.
  • Part of this process of alignment is the ability to change and adapt to new realities.


  • Macrobiotic teaching places great value on maximising individual and social health as an essential part of personal growth.
  • The process of creating and maintaining health is a personal laboratory for understanding natural law through physical experience and the development of a visceral understanding of the world around us.
  • We realize that creation of health includes a constellation of influences including (but not limited to) physical activity, emotional stability, intellectual curiosity, fulfilling relationships, a spirituality grounded on respect for all life as well as good nutrition.
  • Macrobiotics has always had a special focus on food choice and preparation. It is a fundamental part of creating health. The food we eat, along with air and water, are the most intimate connection between our biological being and the environment.
  • We acknowledge the fact that food choices have implications that effect the environment, social health, economic justice and a wide range of ethical issues as well as individual health.
  • Making simple food choices is a way of reforming social attitudes about health as well as a daily reminder of our relationship with nature.
  • Understanding our connection with nature, we make every attempt to live with gratitude and without the undue waste of resources.
  • We always support the natural rather than the synthetic and chemical solution to foods, goods and services.
  • The outcome of these actions leads to a greater commensal relationship to nature and a rejection of the parasitic values of modern society.


  • The stated goal of the last generation of macrobiotic teachers was to work toward the creation of One Peaceful World.
  • The challenge of any social movement is to stay true to its stated objectives and maintaining its founding principles while adapting to changes in the cultural environment.
  • Contemporary macrobiotic practitioners find themselves in a unique position. The science of nutrition is steadily moving toward the dietary conclusions we have promoted for decades. The macrobiotic movement has played an important social role in this development.
  • While public interest in and knowledge of nutrition has increased greatly over the past 20 years, interest in macrobiotics has diminished.
  • The macrobiotic skill set includes abilities as such as cooking, home food processing, understanding seasonal eating, home remedies, the healing power of foods and a variety of useful techniques from ancient wisdom traditions. These skills can be important contributions to those who are changing their food habits in response to health concerns, environmental issues and ethical concerns.
  • It is clear that one of the most certain contributions to the creation of One Peaceful World is changing the way our food is grown, processed, distributed and retailed. The modern food chain is a series of commercial, not biological relationships. Our fundamental beliefs should give us unique credibility on these issues, it has not.
  • There is a case to be made that macrobiotics is not seen as unique in any way and simply blends in with other forms of “plant-based” nutrition.
  • It may be that the tendency to cloak our thinking in a series of esoteric principles, the over-emphasis on individual “special needs” and lack of any dietary ethic creates confusion and lack of clarity.


Ethical issues are increasingly part of the debate on food quality. These ethical considerations include, but are not limited to:

  • The direct impact of specific foods which contribute to disease.
  • The impact of chemicals in farming on health and the environment.
  • The impact on small farms in poor countries by multi-nationals.
  • Food slavery.
  • International Food Security.
  • The potential damage of GMO crops to health and environment.
  • The spread of animal disease to humans (zoonosis).
  • The use of land to grow food for animals rather than humans.
  • The rapid depletion of fish stocks.
  • The killing of sentient animals as a food source.

All of these issues are part of the evolving understanding of human nutrition and will become more dominant in the future. The question is if the macrobiotic community will be part of that evolution or not.

When we look at the above issues of nutritional ethics it is clear that the production and consumption of all animal foods produce the biggest negative influence.  What holds us back from making a clear stand?

Perhaps a more important question for the macrobiotic teaching community is if our practice is coherent with the principles stated above. If macrobiotics is really about raising our consciousness, (or using Ohsawa’s term, Judgement) why would we not promote the highest standard of practice toward that goal. In Michio Kushi’s Spiritual Development Seminars he taught that the most refined state of consciousness we attained was by avoiding all animal food. In Zen Macrobiotics, Ohsawa suggested that eating animal-sourced foods were only used when there was no hurry to advance to the highest levels of judgement.


Macrobiotic practitioners have stated several concerns or objections about supporting an animal-free approach to macrobiotics. I have addressed some of these below.  I also acknowledge that there are many issues that would generally find group agreement but I have not addressed them here.

Nutrition: There is a general agreement that the modern diet, heavily dependent on animal fats, sugar, chemical additives and trans fats is killing us. Those populations that consume this diet consistently present the highest rates of NCD’s. This has been shown in epidemiological studies since the 1950’s and confirmed consistently by numerous studies.[1],[2],[3],[4]

The hundreds of studies that show the same relationship between the modern diet, particularly animal products and NCD’s is overwhelming. Even though we use a different and (I feel) more comprehensive method to reach the same results should not dissuade us from using this information.

Tradition: There are two parts to the macrobiotic resistance to the avoidance of all animal products regarding traditions. The first is anthropological and the second is the reference to macrobiotic culture.

When we reflect on food traditions from around the world we surely know that they were a direct response to environmental conditions such as soil, water, altitude, and weather as well as developed technologies. This is fundamental to the ecological macrobiotic world-view. Traditions were always a question of food availability, environment and cultural development. Stories of Maasai warriors, people living in deep jungles or native Inuit people are interesting but they are anomalies. The same is true of our real or imagined ancestors following the “traditional diet”.

Regarding macrobiotic culture, it is important to use the same thinking that applies to any cultural group – leaders are mimicked.  The fact that Michio was fond of fish is no more important that the fact that he smoked. The fact that Ohsawa included animal quality foods in 5 out of his 10 diets is as irrelevant as his views of the role of women. Respecting the teachings of these men and the courage of their commitment to a better word does not mean wholesale acceptance of everything that came out of their mouth (or went into it).

The physical and social environment we live has changed dramatically in the last century, even in the past 50 years and will keep on changing. It is the reality of the present, not the past, that we must make balance with. It is the present that produces the challenges to our health. Tradition is interesting and often instructive but not a sensible guideline for the future.

The Curious Story of The Fish: One of the most interesting theories put forward by Ohsawa was his view of evolution. His observations on the connection between plant and animal morphology are fascinating (his time scale not so much). This model certainly affected macrobiotic food choices, even among those who never studied the template that Ohsawa proposed. This evolutionary template places human life at the apex.  This is a very common idea and certainly not unique to him. After all, man is made in “Gods Image”. It is part of the hierarchy of nature that lays the groundwork for anthropocentric thinking and many of our present-day environmental issues. This image of our relationship with nature is outmoded, regressive and goes against all environmental sensibility.

Human life is certainly more complex in structure that most life on the planet but it is also the most destructive. When we imagine that animal life is inferior rather than part of the support system of life on earth we feel free to abuse it. In macrobiotics, the idea that fish have a simpler nervous system and a more primitive structure served as a rationale for consuming them as the “acceptable animal”. They were also one of the most popular animal quality foods in Japanese culture and reflected the eating traditions of our teachers.

Recent research shows that the lack of neural complexity does not demonstrate a lack of sentience. [5],[6] I will return to sentience later. Every year fish stocks are ruined to a devastating degree. Any lack of attention to this is to contribute to a major ecological disaster.[7] Aside from the environmental impact of eating fish they are also increasingly polluted with heavy metals.

Plants Are Sentient Too: I would be the first to agree that the earth and everything on it is living. That does not mean that everything lives the same. Sentient creatures have a nervous system that allows them to respond. Animals respond and react, plants seem to only react. Even if plants had some form of sentience they would still be appropriate for human food at this time simply because we lack the ability to take water, soil and exposure to sun and create our body’s needs.

Everything Is Macrobiotic: I hear this statement often and it is an attitude that runs counter to any ecological concern we might address. It is a simplistic attitude disguised as zen. It is simply relativism, the idea that there is no right or wrong, good or bad, up or down without a cultural or individual framework. We need to talk about this.

The way that Yin and Yang are used in macrobiotics defies any application of ethics or morality. I agree with that. Using Yin and Yang is a way of talking about objects, actions or ideas in comparison with other objects, actions or ideas. It is a system of measurement. In that sense, there are no values. In terms of Y&Y, a hamburger is just a hamburger and a bowl of rice is simply a bowl of rice. It is a convenient way of comparing the various aspects of nature. The fact that it is a system that is not concerned with values makes its use difficult when describing the subtleties of human behaviour.

If we really wish to create a healthy world and communicate that message to others we need to communicate values. If a person wants to lower cholesterol, then eliminating fats is a good idea. Yin and yang may come in handy in the classification of different fats but the value of staying alive is the issue.  Yin and yang cannot describe the value of anything only its characteristics. The classification of foods must be concerned with making choices that lead to health in the individual and society.

Popularity/Acceptance/Exclusivity:  We can always find a way to deflect our own resistance by pointing to how many people will not do something. Every radical change in social evolution has required a high degree of commitment to actions that could be seen as dangerous, eccentric or laughable. That process lies at the base of cultural evolution.

We are faced with the same challenge that many of us faced in the 60’s when we started eating this way. The food was not available and people thought it was weird or repulsive and even unpatriotic. We persevered regardless and opened a new chapter in the social understanding of food.

The rise of advertised “vegan” and “plant-based” cooking classes in macrobiotic circles means that the social acceptance of these ideas is certainly recognized. I am only hoping that the people giving those classes have made that shift themselves or it would appear dishonest.

When I hear, that people are resistant to eliminating all animal foods from their diet my response is that we are not communicating very well or that our focus is not on best options but on enabling people in their unhealthy habits.

Dietary Rigidity: Dietary rigidity is not being able to change. People who follow the modern diet are the most rigid on the planet. They are totally resistant to trying anything new and addicted to poor quality, environmentally damaging, disease-producing junk. That is rigidity I am quite happy to eat with people who decide to eat differently to me. I never produce any critical observations about their choices. I don’t get upset.

It is usually those who eat the modern diet that gets upset about someone else eating differently, that is dietary rigidity. I am happy with my choices.

Personal Freedom: Macrobiotics has always put itself forward as a beacon of self-determination and freedom. Freedom is certainly a valuable quality in life. Hopefully that freedom is an expression of the ability to do or not do. Our choices ultimately expose our consciousness (judgement). Where is our true north? If our goal is the creation of a Peaceful World do our actions show the truth of that goal?

Non-Credo is often suggested as a primary guide in macrobiotic thinking. It is an appealing invitation to question beliefs. I agree. That means that the leaning on non-credo as a reason for action gets called into question as well. This particular issue is often a code for “anything goes” and is not part of a serious inquiry. This inquiry would also call intuition into question. I hear macrobiotic people often claim that they are eating some unhealthy food because their intuition told them to. It usually means that they simply didn’t know how to interpret a craving and deal productively with it. People all over the world engage in all sorts of unproductive and damaging behaviour because it seemed intuitively right.


It is not a coincidence that foods that promote personal health also have economic, social, environmental and even psychological and spiritual advantages.  That is what we call Karma. When we view these factors as “side benefits” we miss the point. When personal action is a reflection of natural justice a state of biological integrity is achieved. This is the condition we call health.

The lack of compassion for life other than our own, the lack of appreciation for nature, the fear of change and frantic searches for instant gratification that characterize our society are woven into our food choices. Unravelling them is fundamental to creating a human ecology that can allow us to reach our full human potential. To me, that is the essence of macrobiotics and something that our community needs to constantly renew and nourish.

Bill Tara



[1]  Chowdhury R, Warnakula S, Kunutsor S, et al. Association of dietary, circulating, and supplement fatty acids with coronary risk. Ann Intern Med 2014; 160(6):398-406.

2 Oh K, Hu FB, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC. Dietary fat intake and risk of coronary heart disease in women: 20 years of follow-up of the Nurses’ Health Study. Am J Epidemiol 2005;161:672-9.

3 Laaksonen DE, Nyyssonen K, Niskanen L, Rissanen TH, Salonen JT. Prediction of cardiovascular mortality in middle aged men by dietary and serum linoleic and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Arch Intern Med 2005;165:193-199.

[4]de Goede J, Geleijnse JM, Boer JM, Kromhout D, Verschuren WM. Linoleic acid intake, plasma cholesterol and 10-year incidence of CHD in 20,000 middle-aged men and women in the Netherlands. Br J Nutr 2012;107:1070-6.

[5] Animal Cognition, January 2015, Fish intelligence, sentience and ethics, Department of Biological Sciences, Sidney Australia

[6] Dr. Victoria Braithwaite, "Do Fish Feel Pain?,

[7] http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/how-eating-seafood-kills-our-oceans/



On-Line Nutrition Course

MACROVegan Nutrition Course

Food, Health and Human Ecology

MACROVegan Online Nutrition Course is a unique and in-depth exploration of modern day nutrition from international teacher, author and health counsellor Bill Tara. If you are looking for a certificate program to add to your professional skills as a Nutritional Health Coach or simply wish to deepen your understanding of the confusion that surrounds nutrition, this course will fill your needs. The course examines our food choices and shows how they impact not only our personal health but social and environmental health as well.

A short introduction to our on line course - Please view this short introductory video that will give you an insight into the personal story from Bill Tara that led him to teaching thousands of students world-wide during the past 50 years.

online nutrition course

In this second short video here Bill will share with you the content and outline of what you will study.

My part in the course will have you all cooking up dishes in your kitchen like a professional chef. First and foremost, what we feed our bodies reflect on our day to day health and wellbeing. A naturally balanced diet is like healthy soil. When our bodies are properly nourished, the quality of our blood is sound, and the cells function in a normal way. In the KITCHEN with Marlene is where health and healing begins. The 60 recipes within the course are split into six categories.

10 Soups

10 Grains & Beans

10 Pasta/Noodles/Lighter Bowls

10 Vegetables & Sea Vegetables

10 Sauces, Dressings & Dips

10 Desserts

We look forward to working with many of you world-wide. To share our passion towards creating a healthy world for all humans and non-humans alike has been our mission and vision for decades. For immediate download you can purchase the course here from our MACROVegan Shop

There is no time-frame for completion of the course. Take as long as you like, we are here to guide and inspire you. Certification is available on completion of all the modules. We connect with all our students on our facebook discussion board page daily to answer questions and upload new material.

In good health


Reading Food Labels To Avoid Toxic Ingredients

Reading Food Labels To Avoid Toxic Ingredients

When you go shopping, your first stop should be at the colourful aisle that is stocked with wonderful seasonal fruits and vegetables.


Stock Up with Fresh Fruit & Vegetables

In this produce section, choose a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables – these are naturally low in fat, sodium and rich in cholesterol-lowering fibre. You can also choose frozen fruits and vegetables to have as a stand-by when there are times that you simply need something quick.   If you buy ‘simple’ frozen vegetables without any sauces, they can be better choices than cans because they eliminate salt and that’s a must to control blood pressure and manage heart disease. When purchasing canned goods choose brands with no-added-salt.

Following a MACROVegan lifestyle means avoiding all animal foods to limit the amount of saturated fat, that’s the fat that comes from animals and hardens our organs. Be very careful to avoid trans fats, check the labels if it says partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated it contains trans fats. Trans fats can be found naturally at low levels in some foods, such as those from animals, including meat and dairy products. Artificial Trans fats can be formed when oil goes through a process called hydrogenation, which hardens the oil.

This type of fat, known as hydrogenated fat, can be used for frying or as an ingredient in processed foods. Much smaller amounts of artificial trans fats can also be made when oils are refined to make them fit to eat. Artificial Trans fats can be found in some processed foods such as biscuits and cakes where they are sometimes used to help give products a longer shelf life.  Please also be aware of using products with Palm Oil.  The industry is linked to major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses in the countries where it is produced, as the land and forests must be cleared for the development of the oil palm plantations.

Focus on plant-based protein like all sorts of beans and lentils, tofu, tempeh, seitan. These foods are fantastic sources of soluble fibre, not only to keep your digestive tract working well but also to combat cholesterol!

Beans with MarleneThe colourful bins with an array of wholegrain such as short grain brown rice, wild rice, millet, quinoa, in golden and in red, buckwheat, and so much more are the mainstay of our diet. They provide us with long-lasting energy every day and don’t mess with our blood sugar, so make sure to stock up on these amazing grains.

For breakfast use wholegrain porridge or oatmeal which are excellent choices but if you are a cereal lover look for ones that have wholegrain and fibre with no sugar or make your own. When you start to read labels you will be surprised at what is actually in all those beautifully packaged ‘healthy’ breakfast cereals. There is only one brand of cornflakes that we can find that is sweetened with barley malt. Incredible eh!

There are many delicious breakfast recipe ideas on our MACROVegan you tube channel  and in my book ‘Macrobiotics for all Seasons’ available world wide on amazon or as a download with my delicious Cooklets on our MACROVegan Shop. 

In good health



Marlene's 60th Vegan Birthday Cake

Marlene's 60th Vegan Birthday Cake

Black & White Chocolate Cake

I created this recipe for my mum's 90th birthday cake. Everyone loved it, so much so, it has now become the family's birthday cake. Unfortunately, I had to make my own.!!!

vegan recipes

The crunchy base texture contrasts with the creamy top, to make this sumptuous cake irresistible

Oat or Quinoa Nut Crust

1 cup oat or quinoa flour

2 cups pecans

¼ cup brown rice syrup

1 tbsp. coconut oil

2 tbsp. maple or coconut sugar

3 tbsp. ground flax

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. sea salt

Preheat the oven to 175/350°.  Put 2 cups pecans in a food processor and process until they start to clump and oils start to release. In a small saucepan melt the coconut oil with brown rice syrup, stirring all the time. Transfer the pecan mixture into a large bowl and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Using your hands, squeeze the dough over and over to combine. You should be able to form a ball with it. If it's too dry add a little water. Transfer the pecan dough into a 9” push-up fluted flan dish and smooth out evenly. Press down firmly with fingers, bringing it up along the sides pressing as firmly as you can. Prick the dough with a fork to make a cross. Bake for 9-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

For the Cake Topping:

½ cup cacao butter

1½ cups cashew nuts, soaked overnight

1 cup almond milk

½ cup maple syrup or rice syrup

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

2 tbsp. lemon juice

Cacao powder for dusting

Drain the cashews and rinse in cold water.  Melt the cocoa butter in a small saucepan, on a low heat. Pour into your blender. Add all the other ingredients and whizz until smooth. Pour over the cooled cake base. Sprinkle with cacao powder and place in the refrigerator.  Once set, decorate with raspberries.

 MACROVegan ChitChat

Cashews are used throughout the world, as paste base for curries in India and Sri Lanka, as whole nuts in Thailand and China, and brewed as sweeteners in Spanish and South American desserts. Add them to chocolates and cakes. Please ensure you purchase fair-trade organic cashews grown using sustainable farming practices such as biodiversity and multi-cropping.

In good health



Become A Health Coach with MACROVegan

Become A Health Coach with MACROVegan

MACROVegan Philosophy & Lifestyle

The topic of nutrition has become a bewildering landscape of cultural myth and vested interest. There is an urgent need for a new approach to human diet, one that cuts through the commercial PR, the political caution and the nutritional confusion.

The MACROVegan approach to eating addresses these concerns with a fusion of two important doctrines.  The first of these are the ecological insights of ancient Asian health care found in macrobiotic studies. This tradition points to the benefits of seasonal, regional and ecologically sustainable nutrition.

The second set of standards come from the ethic of the modern vegan approach to eating that drives the leading edge of contemporary nutritional science proven by both medical study and extensive epidemiological research.

The MACROVegan way of eating addresses the requirements for vibrant health as well as a delicious, diverse and socially responsible way of eating.

This philosophy offers a unique approach to self-transformation.  MACROVegan practice improves our energy, stamina and flexibility as well as our mental well-being and creativity.  It also enhances intuitive instinctual and intellectual abilities and opens us up to greater levels of spiritual growth.

Food - Food has a very powerful influence on our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.  For many of us, trying to work out what constitutes a healthy diet can be confusing.  This is where a MACROVegan approach can help.  Macrobiotics considers the energetic quality of food and uses the polarity of expansion and contraction – yin and yang, to create balance. The vegan approach has no animals for use in any areas of our lives.

Wholegrains are the staple food of the MACROVegan diet, which also includes a wide variety of vegetables and complementary foods such as legumes, vegetables, sea vegetables, fermented vegetables, miso, nuts, seeds, fruits and a variety of condiments.

Ideally, the foods are organic, fresh, seasonal and locally grown.  The unique art of macrobiotic and vegan cooking is in creating delicious meals adapted to individual needs.

Healthy Living – Is it Still Possible?

Modern living means that for many of us it is increasingly challenging to stay healthy. The good news is that it is possible. While problems such as environmental pollution, stress and the decreasing quality of food will not disappear overnight, there are still many positive choices we can make. After all, how we choose to live is our responsibility. The most important decisions we make are those which enhance our wellbeing on every level. Each day we choose to eat food that creates health or creates disease. A MACROVegan diet is a way forward for vitality and longevity.

Happiness is the endless realisation of one’s infinite dream. George Ohsawa

Life is really very simple: What you give you, you get back. Bill Tara & Marlene Watson-Tara

We look forward to welcoming you to the Wild Atlantic Way on the West Coast of Ireland.

In good health






The Five Elements - The Five Tastes

I am a long time proponent of a vegan, wholefoods, plant-based diet.  As a passionate health counsellor and teacher within the principles of macrobiotics, I adore the whole concept of ‘chi’ as expressed within Traditional Chinese Medicine.  The five transformations of energy have always made such sense to me and I love the sense and sensibility it brings to understanding health.    The five savoury tastes are the recognised basic five tastes that are naturally contained in all foods.  In TCM, each taste is correlated with a season, a type of warming or cooling energy, and a specific body organ or system.  Theoretically, each taste nourishes a specific organ or organ system.

Practically speaking, the more you consciously include a variety of the five tastes in food preparation, the more satisfying and nutritionally enhanced your meals will be.  Sometimes just a small amount of a ‘taste’ can contribute significantly (e.g. a sprig or two of bitter-tasting parsley leaf)

The five tastes are bitter, salty, sweet, sour, and pungent.  A food will never contain one exclusive taste; there will always be a predominance of tastes.  Here are some examples of food sources and TCM medical organ connections for each taste.  It is said that a little of a particular taste can strengthen an organ system, whereas excess can weaken it. Hence, too much sugar weakens our soil energy, stomach/spleen/pancreas and contributes to digestive problems.


  • BITTER – Associated with the early and mid-summer season, (FIRE) bitter foods are thought to stimulate the heart and small intestine. These foods include dandelion, parsley leaves, mustard greens, collard greens, burdock root, sesame seeds, cereal grain coffee substitute, and some types of corn.
  • SALTY – Associated with the winter season, (WATER) salty food imparts strength and is thought to influence the kidneys and bladder. These foods include sea vegetables, miso, soy sauce, sea salt, Umeboshi salt plum, and natural brine pickles.
  • SWEET – Associated with the late summer season, (EARTH) sweet food is thought to influence the pancreas, spleen and stomach – organs of sugar absorption and distribution. Its nourishing effect is centring and relaxing.  The sweet taste refers to natural wholefoods and not the excessively refined sweet we know from white sugar.  Sweet foods make up the largest percentage of our meals.  These foods include wholegrains, vegetables – especially, cabbages, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, squashes and parsnips as well as chestnuts.
  • SOUR – Associated with the spring season, (WOOD) sour tasting food has a constrictive effect, giving quickening energy. It is thought to influence the liver and gall bladder.  These foods include sourdough bread, vinegar, wheat, sauerkraut and lemon/lime.
  • Pungent – Associated with the autumn season, (METAL) the pungent taste gives off a hot, dispersing energy and is said to be beneficial to the lungs and colon. However, an excess of these foods can irritate the intestines.  Pungent foods have been known to stimulate blood circulation and, according to TCM folk medicine, have a natural ability to help break down accumulation in the body.  In most culinary cuisines, they are commonly combined with animal protein and with foods high in fat.  These foods include scallions, daikon radish (or dried daikon), ginger, peppers, wasabi (dry mustard) and horseradish.


For convenient referencing, the following chart lists some basic foods that fall into each category.

BITTER – Kale, Collards, Mustard Greens, Parsley, Endive, Celery, Arugula, Grain Beverage

SALTY - Sea salt, Tamari, Miso, Sea Vegetables, Sesame salt, Umeboshi plum, Pickles

SWEET – Corn, Cooked onions, Squash, Yams, Cooked grains, Cooked cabbage, Carrots, Parsnips, Fruits

SOUR – Lemon, Lime, Sauerkraut, Umeboshi Plum, Fermented dishes, Pickles

PUNGENT – Ginger, Garlic, Raw onions, White radish, Red radish, Scallions, Wasabi, Spices

While most of your meals will contain a minimum of 60 percent sweet foods (whole- grains, vegetables, beans and fruit) aim for a full range of other tastes with major meals.  The other tastes can be represented in side dishes, sauces and condiments, emphasising a particular taste you may crave.  There is a definite art to meal balancing.

The combination possibilities are plentiful with disease-fighting nutrients.  The underlying principle dictates that these flavours, while seeming antagonistic (not compatible) are actually, by virtue of meal balancing, complementary.

Meals that include the five tastes will prove much more satisfying, in terms of limiting cravings, and more fortifying.  Many of the recipe suggestions I give to my clients take this into account.  Eventually, this will become a natural practice as you develop your cooking efficiency and planning ability and comfortably ease into your new way of eating.


You can make delicious sauces and dressings and wonderful tasting dips using all natural ingredients that incorporate the five tastes.   Toasted sesame tahini, Umeboshi plums, brown rice syrup and barley malt, Shoyu, sweet white miso, fresh ginger juice, lemon juice, and tofu, the possibilities are endless.  All of these delicious dressings can be used on salads, boiled vegetables, noodles like soba or udon, sea vegetables and many of them can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days and re-used.

Remember it’s all about satisfying the taste buds so you don’t have cravings.  If you make your food too salty you will crave sugar.  If you constantly eat sugar laced foods your body will crave salt.  It’s all about balance.  Have fun and create some wonderful tasting dressings and sauces using the five tastes and make your food taste delicious.

Here is a super recipe to try that encompasses the five tastes;

Creamy Sesame Dressing

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, slowly adding water to achieve a creamy consistency.

4 rounded tablespoons toasted sesame tahini

1 tablespoon onion, chopped

2 umeboshi plums, pitted and chopped

Dash (shoyu) soy sauce

2 tablespoons brown rice syrup or (barley malt)

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Cup of spring or filtered water

In good health






Building Our Vision of MACROVegan In The World

MACROVegan ChitChat from Marlene

When your desire is great,  you cannot fail to achieve the ultimate in the end.  So, I have been reminding myself to be patient, no mean feat let me tell you. Persistence, perseverance and simply believing you will get there no matter how many setbacks you have along the way is paramount. This has been fundamental to us as we moved from country to country deciding on where that 'place' would be that would become home to our MACROVegan centre.

Well, here we are, ensconced in the beauty of Surrey, working towards launching our MACROVegan Centre. When clients continue to respond in such a positive way and achieve incredible results renewing their health, it continually pushes us to offer our work on a much larger scale. We will offer many of our diverse programmes as well as healthy holiday breaks immersed in our Ultimate Health Experience programmes. It's very exciting to be embarking on this project.

Become a Health Coach with MACROVegan and disease-proof your family

What's News from Bill

Bill has been working on his online nutritional course 'Eating As If Life Matters' that is based on his work of fifty years teaching Health, Nutrition, & Human Ecology. There will be ten fabulous modules with video presentations, the book which has over 300 research studies as well as tutorials, recipes and so much more come packaged together with webinars and a student forum page. The course is available by end May, beginning of June.

Enjoy the spring weather and use one of my teas from my book Macrobiotics for all Seasons to cleanse your liver from the heavier diet of winter.

In good health