The Macrobiotic Diet
The macrobiotic approach to eating is based on choosing foods that are less processed and more natural, and employing more traditional methods of cooking.
Dietary recommendations include whole grains such as brown rice and grain products such as pasta, a variety of cooked and raw vegetables, beans and bean products such as tofu, sea vegetables, mild natural seasoning, fish, fruit, nuts, seeds, and mild beverages.
Certain types of vegetables, such as tomatoes and eggplant, are avoided temporarily or used sparingly. Food should be organically grown and eaten fresh. The Macrobiotic lifestyle also provides guidelines as to how food should be prepared. Using a microwave to cook food is prohibited, and rice must be cooked in a pressure cooker. Food should be eaten and chewed slowly, in a relaxed manner.
The Macrobiotic Diet is considered as an approach to life, rather than a diet. It is a chosen lifestyle where you learn to eat healthy foods. Here are some general guidelines for following the Macrobiotic Diet:
- Well chewed whole cereal grains, especially brown rice: 25-30%
- Vegetables: 30-40%
- Beans and legumes: 5-10 %
- Miso soup: 5%
- Traditionally or naturally processed foods: 5-10%
The remainder is composed of fish and seafood, nuts and seeds, seasonings, sweetners, fruits, and beverages. The Macrobiotic approach is based on cooking different foods according to the seasons.
- food with a lighter quality
- wild plants, germs, lightly fermented food, grain species, fresh greens
- light cooking style: steaming, cooking for a short time, etc.
- food with lighter quality
- large-leaved greens, sweet corn, fruit, summer pumpkins
- light cooking style: steaming, quick cooking, etc.
- More raw foods
- lighter grains, such as barley, bulghur, and couscous
- food with more concentrated quality
- root vegetables, (winter) pumpkins, beans, cereals, etc.
- heavier grains such as sweet rice, mochi and millet
- food with a stronger, more concentrated quality
- round vegetables, pickles, root vegetables, etc.
- more miso, shoyu, oil, and salt
- heavier grains such as millet, buckwheat, fried rice, etc.
Yin and Yang Content of Foods
The Macrobiotic approach also follows the principle of balance (called balancing yin and yang in China). The approach says that some foods are overstimulating and can cause exhaustion of the mind and body. These are classified as extreme yin in their effects.
Extreme Yin Foods (Not Recommended)
- Refined flour products
- Very hot spices
- Chemicals and preservatives
- Commercial milk, yogurt and soft cheeses
- Poor quality vegetable oils
Foods that are concentrated, heavy and dense created stagnation. These have yang which are strengthening but can also be bad if overconsumed.
Yang Foods (Can be Consumed Sparingly)
- Refined salt
Foods that create balance are whole grains, vegetables, beans, sea vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds. Foods such as these are used in a macrobiotic way of eating.
The composition of dishes and the choices of foods is adjusted according to
- the season
- the climate
- health condition
- transition in one’s diet
and any other personal considerations.