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Macrobiotic Lifestyle

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Macrobiotic Lifestyle  

What is a macrobiotic diet?

A macrobiotic diet is better understood as a lifestyle, rather than as a diet. Macrobiotics is not just focused on what we eat, but how we live each day. A macrobiotic lifestyle aims to achieve balance between the body and the natural world.

The macrobiotic diet was first introduced to the U.S. from Japan in the1960s by George Ohsawa and then later refined by Michio Kushi. Kusih’s book, The Macrobiotic Way, is considered the definitive guide to the macrobiotic lifestyle. In the past few years, the macrobiotic diet has been considered more mainstream, due to its use by Madonna and many other Hollywood celebrities.

The nutritional aspect of the macrobiotic diet holds to the principle that your body can live in harmony with nature and recover its natural good health. The following guidelines are important components of the macrobiotic approach to diet and eating:

  • Whenever possible, use foods native to the climate and geography in which you live.

  • Approximately 50% to 60% of the diet is composed of whole grains, including brown rice, millet, barley, oats, rye, corn, wheat, and buckwheat. Breads should be consumed sparingly, but eat only those made without yeast and without pasta.

  • Approximately 20% to 30% percent of the diet consists of vegetables including green cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, collards, pumpkin, watercress, dandelion and mustard greens, scallions, onions, turnips, carrots, and winter squash. On occasion, eating cucumbers, lettuce, celery, chives and dill is permitted. Potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants are not permitted, as these foods are thought to undermine natural immunity.

  • Another 5% to 10% of the diet is represented by soups made from vegetables and grains.

  • The remaining 5% to 10% of the diet comes from cooked beans and mineral-rich sea vegetables, such as nori or hijiki.

  • Fruits may be enjoyed occasionally, but should be locally grown.

  • Fish and nuts may be enjoyed occasionally.

  • All animal products, except the occasional fish, are eliminated from the macrobiotic diet.

  • Dairy foods, refined sugars, honey, molasses, vanilla, and chocolate are eliminated from the macrobiotic diet.

  • Water and decaffeinated teas are permitted. However, sodas, coffee, caffeinated and aromatic teas, and alcohol are not allowed.

  • Food preparation also is central to the macrobiotic lifestyle. Recommended cooking fuels are wood and natural gas. As the objective is to live in harmony with nature, electrical- and microwave-based cooking is discouraged. A rationale is that electrical- and microwave-based cooking is believed to cause food to retain less energy and nutrients.

  • Meals should take place in a relaxed and contemplative setting.

  • Food should be savored with gratitude and chewed thoroughly—50 times is the official chew count per mouthful of food.

  • Meals should take place in a relaxed and contemplative setting.

  • The macrobiotic lifestyle also encompasses guidelines for bathing, clothing, outdoor activities and exercise, and organization of the home:

  • Excessively hot and long showers and baths are discouraged, as they can leach minerals from the body.

  • Clothing should be made from natural fibers. Clothing made from synthetic fibers should be avoided.

  • Fresh air and regular exercise are also essential components of the macrobiotic lifestyle.

  • A neat and orderly home is encouraged.

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