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Macrobiotic Diet

browse diets: Diets / Low Calorie Diets / Macrobiotic Diet

How does a macrobiotic diet work? A macrobiotic diet is a strict whole-foods pesco-vegetarian diet and lifestyle choice. Pesco-vegetarian includes fish but no meat or poultry. The diet appeals to health-minded people who are practicing a holistic approach to physical and spiritual well-being. The diet suggests that 50 to 60% of what you eat should be whole grains, 25 to 30% vegetables, 5 to 10% miso and bean soups, and 5 to 10% beans and vegetables. Foods are classified into yin and yang categories, according to their tastes, properties, and effects on the body. The two food groups grains and vegetables that have the least pronounced yin and yang qualities, are emphasized in the macrobiotic diet.

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If you answer yes to more than 50% of the following questions, the Macrobiotic Diet is right for you:

  • 1Are you searching for a vegetarian or vegetarian with some fish diet?
  • 2Has your healthcare provider suggested dietary changes to treat cancer or other health condition?
  • 3Are you searching for an alternative life style as well as a diet?
  • 4Are you searching for a diet high in natural, unprocessed foods, complex carbohydrates, and vegetables?
  • 5Have you tried every single diet that is currently out there and had no luck?

The Macrobiotic Diet promise to you?

The macrobiotic diet does not promise that you'll lose a bunch of weight, be able to fit into a size 4 dress or have the amazing body you've always wanted. It's much more internal than that. This diet is less about changing the size of your body, and more about feeling centered, balanced and at one with the earth. By eating simple, healthy food that comes from the earth, you combine spiritual and physical health without causing harm to the beautiful earth around you. Not only will you feel better and lessen your carbon footprint, you may even lose weight along your journey.

The Theory and Details Behind the Macrobiotic Diet

The word macrobiotic is Greek for long life. The philosophy behind the diet, and the diet itself, was created by George Ohsawa, who was a teacher in Japan. He believed that in order to achieve optimal healthy, you need to focus on simplicity. This diet combines parts of Buddhism with a Western vegetarian diet. He believed that overall health needed to include not only healthy diet practices, but also spirituality and a change in lifestyle. This theory was expanded by Michio Kushi who later opened up the Kushi Institute (located in Boston) in 1978. He and his wife went onto write several books about the macrobiotic diet, which made it gain popularity in North America.

Details of the Macrobiotic Diet

This diet combines physical and spiritual well being, without forgetting to be conscience about your impact on the world. Most of the food you eat is whole grains and vegetables (including seaweed), followed by smaller amounts of beans, fruits, fish, nuts, seeds and miso soup. Besides occasionally eating fish, this diet is vegetarian. This is a very low-fat, high fiber diet which is often times recommended for people with cancer or chronic diseases.

Specifics on Food

Whole grains: Your diet should consist of 50%-60% whole grain, especially brown rice. You are also encouraged to eat barley, buckwheat, whole wheat berries, rye, and corn to name a few. Occasionally you can eat noodles, oats, bread and other products made with flour.

Vegetables: Your diet should consist of 25%-30% vegetables (including seaweed). Most of these vegetables should be cooked by boiling, baking, steaming or sauteing. You can eat up to of them raw.

Beans: Your diet should consist of 5%-10% beans. This could include all different types of cooked beans (black, navy, garbanzo, lentil, split pea, etc.) as well as products made from beans like tempeh, tofu or natto.

Fruit, fish, sees, nuts, miso soup: Your diet should consist of 5%-20% of these products in moderation. You can eat a small amount of fish or other seafood 3-4 times a week. It is recommended you eat the fish or seafood with mustard, wasabi, horseradish or ginger to make sure the fish or seafood doesn't have a negative effect on your body. You should avoid eating other types of meat, dairy and eggs. You can have 1-2 cups of miso soup each day made from recommended ingredients. Nuts and seeds should be eaten either raw, or lightly roasted. You can eat local fruit several times a week. You should avoid tropical fruits of possible, and instead eat grapes, apples, peaches, pears or apricots.

Other Food Items: You can eat desserts sparingly (2-3 times a week) if you are in good healthy. Try to choose foods that are sweet all by themselves, but natural sweeteners can be added if necessary. A few good examples of natural sweeteners are barley malt or rice syrup. You are allowed to use sesame oil, mustard seed oil and corn oil. Western style condiments, like mustard and ketchup, are not allowed. You can use things like brown rice vinegar, natural sea salt, roasted seaweed and grated ginger root.

Although there are general guidelines, the way this diet is followed will change based on gender, climate, age, season, and other health needs.

What Health Care Professionals Say About the Macrobiotic Diet

If you follow the Macrobiotic Diet as directed, it can be very nutritionally beneficial. The American Dietetic Association has approved vegetarian diets that are well planned and executed for every stage of life. You can follow this diet while pregnant, breastfeeding, as a child, during the teenage years, or later on in life.

Dawn Jackson Blatner, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association likes the way the macrobiotic diet focuses on healthy foods that contain lots of fiber, while staying low in fat. However, she does recognize the fact that you could potentially be lacking some necessary nutrients if you are not careful. She recommends you be vigilant in getting enough calcium, iron, protein, and vitamin D and B12. She suggests you make sure good nutrition is always placed at the forefront of your diet.

Examples of Macrobiotic Diet Meals: #1

BreakfastMacrobiotic tea with nothing added, fresh baby carrots or cucumber slices, wholegrain cereal with soy milk
SnackBaked apple
LunchOne cup of Miso soup, wholegrain crisp bread, garden salad, macrobiotic tea with nothing added
SnackHandful of nuts
DinnerBrown rice with winter squash, one cup of Miso or Shuyo soup, fresh cantaloupe, bancha tea

Examples of Macrobiotic Diet Meals: #2

BreakfastCreamy buttercup squash, miso with takuan and parsley garnish
LunchBread with pea soup, veggies, peppermint tea
DinnerRice, tofu bake with mushrooms, onions, celery root, miso, garlic, parsley, basil
DessertApple kuzu and grain coffee

Modern-Day Macrobiotics by Simon Brown

Modern-Day Macrobiotics is both a cookbook and a practical guide to understanding and adopting a macrobiotic lifestyle. Along with menus and complete eating plans including a one-day tone-up, three-day detox, ten-day regeneration diet, and four-month healing diet it helps readers tailor a diet to their specific needs.

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