Macrobiotic Diet Plan – The macrobiotic approach is based on the view that we humans are products of our environment. We are continuously being influenced by environmental factors, which encompass our eating and drinking habits, our chosen way of life and our social interactions. For this reason, the macrobiotic approach gives prominence to physically and morally beneficial lifestyle and diet practices.
The basic foundation of the macrobiotic philosophy lies in the classical Chinese belief – the presence of yin and yang elements in each and every aspect of the universe. Macrobiotics applies this age-old principle of these cosmic energies to generate a wholesome diet. The diet is specifically designed with the aim of balancing these opposite yet complementary energies, which are regarded to be present even in food. It is believed that sickness creates a state of disharmony; keeping the positive energy of life from flowing smoothly. It is a sign that a balance needs to be maintained through daily life, the ways of eating and living need to be modified, to redeem health, happiness and contentment.
Maintaining the Balance of Yin and Yang
It is essential to keep the forces of yin and yang in harmony. In order to maintain equilibrium between these energies, macrobiotic diet includes only those foods that contain moderate amounts of yin and yang; whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, peas, pulses and beans are deemed suitable to be incorporated in the macrobiotic diet whereas animal meat and fat, dairy products, artificial drinks are thought to be inappropriate and thus, rejected. Foods are categorized as yin and yang on the basis of their distinctive features – their flavor and aroma, their effect on the body and so on.
The macrobiotic diet is almost vegetarian except for the fact that it allows the consumption of fish; white-meat fish and certain kinds of seafood can be eaten occasionally. Some of the dietary recommendations are as follows:
- Whole cereal grains – brown rice, oats, corn, wheat, rye, millets and barley. They should constitute 40 to 60% of the diet.
- Vegetables – broccoli, pumpkin, cauliflower, onions, mustard greens, carrot, radish and Chinese cabbage. They should comprise approximately 20 to 30% of the meal.
- Beans and Sea vegetables – beans, chickpeas, lentils and tofu. Sea vegetables like nori, dulse, agar-agar, arame, etc. They should make up 5 to 10% of the diet.
- Soups – They may be made with vegetables, sea vegetables, beans or peas.
- Occasional foods – fresh white-meat fish such as flounder, trout or cod. Fruit desserts made of fresh or dried fruit. Lightly roasted nuts and seeds such as sesame or sunflower seeds, peanuts and walnuts.
Foods to be eliminated from the diet include eggs, dairy products, meat, honey, molasses, chocolate, tropical fruits, coffee, tea, juices, soda, artificial drinks and other substances that are high in yin-yang energy.
Macrobiotic principles also direct the methods of food preparation. Some of the cooking and lifestyle suggestions are as follows:
- Eat only when hungry
- Chew food completely
- Avoid using electric cooking devices
- Use earthenware or stainless steel cookware
- Wear cotton clothing as much as possible
- Spend time outdoors and connect with nature
- Minimize the use of television and computer
The macrobiotic dietary regimen is ideal for those who seek harmony and balance for body, mind and spirit. The diet, consisting mainly of whole grains, vegetables, beans and sea vegetables, and soups, emphasizes on organically grown foods. It is said to prolong life and balance the body’s systems. In fact, the word “macrobiotic”, that has Greek origins, literally translates to “long life” or “great life”.