The fundamental characteristic of this philosophy is the belief that mental and physical condition of man are inseparable – a man is a part of nature and the universe and his health is dependent on the way of how he accepts the world and its relations with the surroundings. At present, macrobiotics also deals with issues of human longevity and the possibilities and conditions for extending life.
Macrobiotic divides all food according to whether it contains the energy – yin (eg. carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, etc) or yang (meat, eggs, etc.)
If we want to change the current way of eating and start with macrobiotic diet, we will probably have to start with a body cleansing (cathartic cure) – a more radical version of detoxification is to eat cereals for a shorter period, in cases of long-term (several months), a suitable combinations of cereals, vegetables, legumes and fruits is suggested. Macrobiotic supporters argue that such purification treatments rid your body of toxins, striking a balance and restoring vitality to the body.
Macrobiotic meals consist mainly of cereals, which constitute 50% to 60% of all food consumed. Another 20-25% are vegetables typical for the area in which we live (even though this style comes from eastern cultures, it is important for our health to respect geographical conditions we are adapted to and choose foods that our body knows accordingly). An essential part of the macrobiotic diet are all sorts of seaweed. In smaller quantities, various soups and legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds and bread are recommended in moderation and preferably not every day.
However, not all fruits and vegetables are okay with this lifestyle – it’s advisable to avoid solanaceous vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers), tropical fruits and virtually all concentrated sweeteners. Also, try to avoid the cold and frozen food and especially dairy products.
What nutrition principles does macrobiotic diet recommend us?
The basis of macrobiotic diet for all seasons should be well prepared grains and legumes, both accompanied by seaweed, vegetables, fish, seeds and all sorts of wild herbs. For drinks, clean water or broth from edible herbs are ideal.
Macrobiotic food is also divided according to season.
During the spring, the basis of meals is based on prepared nettles, dandelion leaves and daisies, sprouted alfalfa and watercress, sorrel, corn and legumes. It is recommended to limit the intake of meat, eggs, fats, seeds and nuts.
In the summer the emphasis is on color and light meals – for example all kinds of vegetables and fruits, which grow in our neighborhood. Food can be cooked in less time than other seasons, we can use steaming, frying on a minimum of oil, etc. It is also possible to use hot spices, which operate in the body so that they bring the internal heat to the surface of the body, which then leaves in the form of sweat.
Recommended foods for autumn period are for example the bread of bread leaven, sauerkraut, rose hips, leek, red adzuki beans, soy products, barley, various kinds of nuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, etc. Instead of sugar or honey, it’s better to use the barley malt. Towards the approaching winter, we add foods with bitter taste to our diet, such as dried leaves and dandelion roots, leaves, daisies, chicory, brussels sprouts, savoy cabbage, burdock root, rye and amaranth.
During winter, spicy thick soups without spices are recommended. Also fermented pickled vegetables, especially cabbage. Oats, amaranth, rye, celery with leaves, burdock root and dandelion enhance flavor while helping to maintain a good health in winter. Meat can be eaten more often in winter, boiled or steamed, always with a triple amount of vegetables (but avoid baked or grilled meats).
If we want to spend more time with macrobiotic diet, we should bear in mind that sudden (in this case too drastic) change in eating habits can be hurtful to some extent – any significant shift in our long-term diet should be gradual. Macrobiotics is not a panacea – if we are looking for opportunities to strengthen our health through the changes in diet, macrobiotics is one of the options, but do not expect any miracles. Many experts also warn that the macrobiotic diet may not be optimal for children (arguing that lack of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals).
If you are thinking about macrobiotics as a way to targeted weight loss – why not (have you ever met a macrobiotic obese?)