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The Cancer Prevention Diet: Macrobiotic Approach to Prevent and Relieve Cancer

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Updated September 26, 2011

Cancer Prevention Diet - Michio Kushi and Alex Jack

Cancer Prevention Diet - Michio Kushi and Alex Jack

Photo © St. Martin's Griffin, Publishers

The Bottom Line

Michio Kushi started on a quest for world peace after World War 2. He came to the United States in 1949, where he brought the macrobiotic diet and way of life. In this system, when we are unbalanced in energies (yin and yang), we develop diseases. To prevent or to recover from disease, Kushi says that we must balance our lives in all ways - by changing our diet and our behavior. This book includes macrobiotic recipes and recommendations for breast cancer as well as many other types of cancer.

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  • A clear presentation of macrobiotic diet and lifestyle
  • Specific diet and recommentations matched to specific types of cancer
  • Recipes, menus and internet resources included


  • Most recipes require specific Japanese ingredients not widely availble
  • Explanation of cause of cancer is not based on evidence-based research


  • Book Website: The Cancer Prevention Diet
  • Authors: Michio Kushi and Alex Jack
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin, 25th Anniversary Edition
  • ISBN 10: 0312561067
  • Copyright: 2009
  • List price: $22.99
  • Book Details: Paperback - 588 pages

Guide Review - The Cancer Prevention Diet: Macrobiotic Approach to Prevent and Relieve Cancer

Michio Kushi wants you to live and eat like a pre-industrial Japanese farmer. The macrobiotics pioneer says that this simple, whole foods diet can prevent cancer or help you recover from treatment. Macrobiotics is an ancient way of eating and living very simply, in order to live a long life. In this revised 25th Anniversary edition of his book, The Cancer Prevention Diet, he explains the foundations of macrobiotics as a diet and a way of life. Kushi and co-author Alex Jack have updated this book to include recent statistics and research as well as 17 new chapters and 100 new recipes.

The Cancer Prevention Diet presents a thorough foundation of the principles and practices of macrobiotic diet as applied to cancer. It prescribes a diet based on whole grains, vegetables and legumes, with small servings of fish. This is a low-fat, high-fiber diet, avoiding packaged, processed foods and sugar; instead relying on fresh, locally and organically grown ingredients. Chapters are devoted to specific cancers as well as emotions, exercise, lifestyle, spiritual practices, and ways to combine macrobiotics with complementary and alternative medicine and conventional cancer treatments.

The chapter on breast cancer recommends very traditional Japanese foods, drinks, and home remedies. Recipes are included for the dishes and plant-based compresses. However, if your local grocer does not carry items such as kombu, miso, mirin, natto, and umeboshi plum, you may not be able to use most recipes in this book.

Many chapters include personal stories from people who have converted to macrobiotics and greatly benefited from it. You won't find many stories of failure to balance the macrobiotics successes here. Kushi and Jack devote a section of each cancer chapter to the cause of that type of cancer, viewed through the lens of the pre-industrial, macrobiotic, yin and yang worldview. The reader should bear in mind that modern research has yet to find the precise cause of many cancers, so the macrobiotic description of the cause should be read as a pre-scientific explanation. The authors do try to balance that section with medical evidence that focuses on diet and health, which appears to be sound.

If you want to commit to overhauling your life from the inside out - changing how you live, cook, eat and interact with the world around you - this may be the book you're looking for. It will require serious study and dedication to properly apply all the principles and recommendations. But if you are curious and just want to know what macrobiotics is based on and what it claims to do, this book may overwhelm you.

Note: This book should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or treatment, especially if cancer is suspected or diagnosed.

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Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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