Thursday, August 22, 2013

Some Basics Of A Macrobiotic Diet

Some Basics of a Macrobiotic Diet

The macrobiotic diet was created with the belief that the quality and type of food a person eats directly affects a person's physical and mental well-being. The word macrobiotic is of Greek origin and translates to "long life." The macrobiotic diet was originated in Japan by George Ohsawa and it combines Zen Buddhist beliefs and Eastern philosophical diet practices which reflect the idea that a balance of foods directly correlate to a person's balance of yin and yang.


The macrobiotic diet follows the guidelines that the best foods are those that are natural and organic with little to no processing. The belief is that foods closest to the earth promote the health of the body, mind and soul. A macrobiotic diet is mainly vegetarian and is made up of foods that are low in fat and high in fiber. This diet focuses on whole grains, vegetables, fermented soy and soups, accompanied by small servings of fish, fruits, nuts and seeds. There are also guidelines pertaining to the way the food is cooked, prepared and eaten. For example, foods should be baked, boiled and steamed, and it should be chewed thoroughly and slowly eaten.

Yin and Yang Food Classification

The balance of yin and yang are central to the macrobiotic diet, so all foods are categorized as being one or the other. The classification is determined by the foods flavor, properties and its effects on a person's body. Yin foods are characterized as being cold in temperature, sweet and passive, while yang foods are categorized as being hot in temperature, salty and aggressive. Foods deemed too yin or yang are to be steered clear of, as they possess toxins and have an unhealthy spectrum, making it harder to reach the Zen-like balance.


Grains and vegetables are the staple of the diet because they have are seen as having the smallest marked yin and yang structure. Whole grains, like barley, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, oats, rye and whole wheat, constitute between 50 percent to 60 percent of a macrobiotic diet. Fresh organic vegetables, including acorn and butternut squash, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, mustard greens, onion, pumpkin, radish, turnips and turnip greens, make up around 25 percent to 30 percent of the macrobiotic diet. The remaining 5 percent to 10 percent consists of a combination of soups or broths, sea vegetables and beans like adzuki, chickpeas and lentils.

Other Features

Depending on the dieter's age, sex, physical health and other factors, including the season and climate, the specifics of the macrobiotic diets may be altered. Fish or seafood is usually consumed in small portions numerous times per week, along with fruits such as apples, apricots, berries, grapes, melons, peaches and pears. Desserts are allowed a couple times per week in moderation and are usually foods (like fruits and nuts) that are naturally sweet; however, desserts may include natural sweeteners like amazake, barley malt and rice syrup.


Foods or drinks deemed as intense have stimulating properties or are too concentrated and prevent the body from attaining a proper balance. Alcohol, carob, chocolate, coffee, dairy, eggs, fruit juices, mango, meat, papaya, pineapple and other tropical fruits, poultry, refined flour, soda, sugars, teas and a number of hot spices, are avoided. It's important to note that a macrobiotic diet is not right for everybody, and you should consult your doctor prior to beginning this diet or any other regimen. A macrobiotic diet can be too restrictive for some people and not provide them with an adequate amount of nutrients.

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