Luke Melia


July 18, 2002

7/18/02, 12:56 am

A late night call from Dad to say hey. He’s in Atlanta tonight. Our talk wandered to the story of how he became interested in macrobiotics. I thought I hadn’t heard it before but I had. It was interesting to hear again. It’s a good story.

It’s sometime in the early seventies. My dad is nineteen years old. He’s recently dropped out of college and is living in Boston. It’s his first time living on his own, sharing a house with a few friends.

They throw a party at their house. My dad is tripping on LSD.

He walks into the kitchen, where a friend is smoking a cigarette. My dad tells the friend that cigarettes are really bad for him, a friendly stoned-out piece of useful advice. As they talk, my dad opens the fridge and takes a swig of grape-flavored Hi-C, right from the can. The smoker laughs, gently chastising my dad for talking about cigarettes while drinking Hi-C. My father reads the ingredients.

Never in the many years of drinking the liquid from the purple can that mom would bring home had he read the ingredients. Lots of chemicals in there. Unpronounceable stuff.

He thinks about what he puts into his body and how it affects him. Drugs have an obvious effect, he thinks, but what if other things we consume affect us in more subtle ways?

The next day, at a store, he puts a copy of Zen Macrobiotics under his jacket and takes it home. (Stealing was morally acceptable in the hippie code of the time, apparently.) The book resonated with him, and one thing led to another.

Later, my parents studied with Michio Kushi, opened up a natural foods store, taught cooking classes, and raised me and my siblings on a mostly macrobiotic diet, instilling experiences, beliefs and habits that we’ll likely pass on to our children.

Funny how one thing leads to another…

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