The macrobiotic philosophy and diet were developed by George Oshawa, a Japanese educator, who believed that simplicity was the key to optimal health. Macrobiotics is a lifestyle that can be used to create extraordinary health using both traditional wisdom and also modern knowledge.
The word ”macrobiotic” comes from Greek roots: ”macro” means great or big and ”biotic” means concerning life, so the word refers to ”big view of life” or more loosely ”long life”.
Macrobiotics or the macrobiotic philosophy is an approach to emotional and physical wellness through consuming foods that are balanced nutritionally and also energetically (between yin and yang). Macrobiotic approach to food is quite simple: macrobiotic diet is a well-balanced diet with high fiber, low fat, lots of vegetables and vegetable protein, grains and limited meat and dairy. It is also important to eat local, seasonal, and organic food. Variety in macrobiotic meals insures that a wide range of nutrients are consumed for the right balance and enjoyment. The main assumption in macrobiotics is that food affects health: one should consumption foods that nourish and avoid foods that are harmful.
All in all you can say that macrobiotics isn’t actually just a diet; it is more of a philosophy that places emphasis on proper dietary practice in everyday life. But if you want to get healthier and lose weight at the same time, macrobiotics is totally worth experimenting.
What Are The Benefits Of Macrobiotics?
The more we know about macrobiotics and the more we practice it, the greater is the benefit. However, it is very important to be aware that every individual is different so the exact benefits for each person may differ. Here is a list of common benefits:
- Better physical health and longevity
- Better health in general: relief from all pains and sicknesses, for example colds and flu
- Body becomes cleaner as toxins and old excesses are discharged
- Weight loss
- Less or no fatigue
- Deep and good sleep every night without bad dreams and the ability to fall asleep within minutes of lying down
- Better appetite
- Improved memory and better clarity in thinking
- Better sexual appetite
- Greater freedom from anger and fear
- Ability to view difficulties as positive learning experiences and the belief that nothing in life is too difficult
Standard Macrobiotic Diet Plan – What To Eat And What Not To Eat
This is complete guide for choosing foods for your macrobiotic diet plan. This dietary model outlines principle foods, secondary foods and pleasure foods. There is also a list of foods that you should avoid.
1) Whole grains (especially gluten free grains): Approximately 30-40 % by volume for the amount of food consumed for one day.
Organically grown whole grain is recommended. It can be cooked in a variety of ways. Whole grains have valuable antioxidants that are not found in fruits and vegetables. They contain B vitamins, vitamin E, fiber, magnesium and iron. Try to use whole-wheat flour in your recipes instead of white flour.
Use these whole grains often: short- grain brown rice, medium- grain brown rice, barley, millet, spelt, whole wheat berries, corn-on-the-cob, whole oats, buckwheat, long-grain brown rice, sweet brown rice, rye
Use these cracked and flaked grains occasionally: mochi (pounded sweet rice), barley grits, bulgur (cracked wheat), quinoa, corn grits, cornmeal (polenta), barley flakes, amaranth, rye flakes, couscous, and rolled oats
2) Grain products: Approximately 5 % per day: A small portion of the recommended percentage of grains may consist of noodles or pasta, un-yeasted whole grain breads and other partially processed whole cereal grains.
Use these flour products occasionally: thin wheat noodles (somen), whole wheat noodles (udon), buckwheat noodles (soba), bread (unyeasted sourdough), puffed wheat gluten (fu), seitan (boiled wheat gluten), homemade pancakes
3) Vegetables: Approximately 35 % of the day’s total percentage of food from greens, roots and ground varieties. Use a variety with every meal.
Local and organically grown vegetables are recommended. Many green vegetables packed with vitamins A and C, iron, folate, calcium and phytonutrients and beta-carotene. Green vegetables are also very filling, high in fiber and low in calories. They are alkalizing and create strong blood. Chlorophyll in them helps the body purify itself.
Vegetables for daily use: green cabbage, kale, leeks, broccoli, chard cauliflower, collard greens, pumpkin, watercress, parsley, arugula, pumpkin, hokkaido pumpkin, sprouts, Chinese cabbage, bok choy, dandelion greens, mustard greens, daikon greens, red cabbage, turnips, turnip greens, scallion, onions, spring onions, mushroom, radish, daikon radish, dandelion roots, lotus root, parsnip, burdock, carrots, acorn squash and winter squash such as butternut squash, buttercup squash, and acorn squash.
For occasional use (2 – 3 times a week): cucumber, celery, iceberg lettuce, sprouts, jerusalem artichoke, kohlrabi, mushrooms, romaine lettuce, salsify, snap beans snow peas, green beans, green peas, herbs such as dill and chives.
Vegetables not recommended for regular use include: tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, spinach, beets, zucchini and eggplant.
4) Beans and Sea Vegetables: Approximately 5-10 % by weight beans or bean products. Use beans no more than once a day.
The most suitable beans for regular use are azuki beans, black soybeans, chickpeas and brown or green lentils. Other beans may be used on occasion. Bean products such as tempeh, tofu and natto can also be used.
Beans for occasional use: kidney beans, lima beans, black- eyed peas, black turtle beans, mung beans, navy beans, pinto beans, soybeans, whole dried peas and split peas.
Sea vegetables are an important part of the macrobiotic diet.Unprocessed sea vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein, yet low in calories. You can use sea vegetables in sushi, soups, stews, salads and side dishes.
Sea vegatables and sea vegatable products: nori, nori sheets, agar, wakame, wakame kombu, arame, hiziki, kombu and dulse.
1) Fruits and berries: Approximately 5-10 % (2 – 3 times a week). And organically grown fruits are preferred. Avoid tropical and semitropical fruit and rather eat temperate climate fruits such as apples, pears, plums, peaches, apricots, cherries, grape, raisins, tangerines, berries (such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, blackberries) melons (honey dew melon, watermelon).
2) Beverages: Grain-based teas, herbal teas, vegetable juices, kukicha twig tea, stem tea, roasted brown rice tea, roasted barley tea, dandelion root tea, bancha leaf tea (green tea), roasted rice tea, yannoh (mixed grain coffee). Traditional tea that does not have an aromatic fragrance or a stimulating effect can also be used.drinking water, spring or good quality well water is recommended, without ice.
3) Oils, nuts, seeds and limited dairy products: Approximately 5-10 % natural vegetable oils, nuts, seeds or limited dairy products. Try lightly roasted nuts and seeds such as pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds. Peanuts, almonds, walnuts and pecans may be enjoyed as an occasional snack.
4) Reduced animal protein: Approximately 5-10 % of fish (preferable) or meat (optional). Fish include fresh white-meat fish such as flounder, haddock, sole, cod, carp, halibut or trout, or you can also try cold-water-fish, such as sardines.
5) New foods: Devote a small percentage of your dietary template to exploring new foods. You can try sea plants or fermented foods (kelp, wakame, kombu, sesame seaweed powder, sauerkraut, tekka, pickles, miso, tempeh, tamari, Kim chi,bran pickles (nuka))
Whatever You Want. Enjoy the best quality and control the volume of what you eat.
- Additional suggestions: Cooking oil should be vegetable quality only. It is preferable to use only unrefined sesame or corn oil in moderate amounts. For seasoning you can use miso (mugi), brown rice miso, shoyu and unrefined White Sea salt.
- Use sparingly or avoid: By avoiding the following foods, you may sleep better, feel better, increase energy, stabilize blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and tame cravings.
- Animal products: Red meat (pork, lamb, beef), poultry (duck, chicken, turkey), animal fat, eggs, dairy products (butter, yogurt, ice cream, milk and cheese)
All Tropical or semi-tropical fruits and fruit juices (coconut, banana, dates, fig, papaya, pineapple, citrus fruit, mango)
- Vegetables: beets, artichoke, asparagus, avocado, bamboo shots, eggplant, ginseng red or green pepper, spinach, okra, potato, sweet potato, taro potato, rhubarb, Swiss chard, tomato, yams courgette, fennel
- Tropical nuts: macadamia nuts, brazil nut, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachio nuts, All baked flour products and refined and polished grains, flours, and their derivatives (muffins, chips, popcorn, cookies, commercial-pancakes, rice cakes, bake pastries, puffed whole cereals, white rice, commercial pasta and bread), mass-produced industrialized food including canned, frozen and irradiated foods.
- Beverages: artificial drinks and beverages, soda, carbonated water, cold drinks, iced drinks, coffee, distilled water, hard liquor, regular tea, colored tea, aromatic teas (such as peppermint or mint) stimulant beverages, tap water
- Artificial sweeteners: honey, chocolate, vanilla, brown sugar, white sugar, refined sugars, molasses, carob, fructose, fruit sweeteners
- Other: hot spices, any aromatic stimulating food, artificial vinegar, agave syrup, maple syrup, rice syrup, barley malt
All artificially colored, sprayed, preserved or chemically treated foods.
Final Word About Macrobiotic Diet And Macrobiotic Lifestyle
Like any other diet, it is important to be careful and not to go to extreme like having only brown rice for long period of times. That will only cause nutritional deficiencies and that can lead to different diseases. If you have any health issues or if you are pregnant, read extensively about the macrobiotic diet and consult a doctor or a dietician before trying out this diet.