The macrobiotic diet finds itself in the spotlight every now and then, as one celebrity or another announces that they are eating the “macrobiotic” way and that they feel great.
But what’s it all about, really? Let’s take a look at this diet that followers say is more of a lifestyle than a true diet.
First, let’s get some terms out of the way. It’s believed that the famous Hippocrates coined the term “macrobiotics” to describe people who were very healthy and lived long lives. The term is also found in the writings of Aristotle and Herodotus, who use the term to also describe people who had great longevity.
It’s believed that many of the longer-lived cultures in the world throughout history subscribed to this way of eating – the Incas, and the people of the Chinese Han Dynasty, for example. Over time, the lifestyle and way of eating made its way to the West and although it’s hardly the most popular eating plan people follow these days, it certainly has its followers.
In short, the macrobiotic diet involves eating very natural foods, not raw foods, but foods that are as near their whole state as possible. Followers eat rice, for example, but only brown rice and not white rice, which is highly processed.
In particular, those who eat a macrobiotic diet emphasize the following in their diets:
Whole grain cereals
Fermented soy products
Tofu and tempeh
One of the particular important aspects of this way of eating is that foods should be eaten in the right combinations, in order to maintain the proper “yin and yang” of digestion.
In that regard, then, the following foods are not eaten, as it’s believed they are considered “too yin”:
This largely vegetarian way of eating also emphasizes beverages that are not stimulating, so certain decaffeinated teas are recommended along with proper quantities of water.
There’s also an emphasis on how food is eaten, with followers encouraged to avoid overeating and to chew food thoroughly to aid digestion.
In particular, the following breakdowns of meals should be adhered to:
Whole grains, including brown rice, should constitute about 50-60% of the meal;
Vegetables should be about 25-30% of the meal;
Beans and legumes should comprise another 5-10% of the meal, and
Miso soup should comprise about 5%.
Other foods like nuts and seeds, fish and seafood, fruit juices and seasonings and sweeteners can be added as necessary. If meat must be consumed, it should be naturally raised or organic. The majority of food should also be produced locally when possible.
Followers of a macrobiotic way of eating believe that it can help to prevent cancer, and result in overall better health. In addition, those who eat a macrobiotic diet say they feel more energetic, happier and find it easier to manage their weight.
The ins and outs of the macrobiotic diet might seem complicated, but after reading more about it, you might find that it is really about returning to a more natural way of eating.