What Is A Macrobiotic Diet?

Where can I find information on macrobiotic diets? It involves both nutrition and lifestyle, it is held strongly by many who praise it's healing effects. Learn more.

The first thing one should do when looking into the macrobiotic diet is to drop the work "diet" and add the word "lifestyle", for it is much more than a simple food plan to be followed. It is a way of life that aims at achieving balance with nature and that includes a balance with our own bodies.

The plan came to the US in the 1960's, when it came from Japan with a man named George Ohsawa. The diet was then refined by Michio Kushi, and developed into the lifestyle as it is known today. Since this plan does include dietary and lifestyle changes, we'll look at both, as well as the claims to aid in healing.

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. This is done by consuming a high percentage of grain and vegetables. It is important to note here that your diet should be based on foods native to your own climate, as this helps in achieving that "natural balance".

Grains: 50-60% of this diet is to be composed of whole grains. Those recommended are brown rice, millet, barley, oats, rye, corn, wheat and buckwheat. Breads must be made without yeast and pasta is allowed in small amounts.

Vegetables: 20-30% - Recommended vegetables include green cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, collards, pumpkin, watercress, chinese cabbage, dandelion and mustard greens, scallions, onions, turnips, carrots and winter squash. Cucumbers, lettuce, celery, chives and dill are also permitted on occasion. Potatoes, tomatoes and eggplants are not permitted as they originated in tropical regions and the fact that they are eaten in temperate climates is believed to contribute to the loss of natural immunity.

Other foods that are limited to occasional use are fish, fruit,, nuts and seeds. When eating fruit it should be locally grown and native to your area.

Along with the recommended grains and vegetables, another 5-10% of your intake should come from soups made with those listed, as well as a final 5-10% of your intake coming from cooked beans and sea vegetables, such as nori or wakame. Although these vegetables are not local for many people, they are recommended because of their high vitamin and mineral content.

The beverages one should drink on the macrobiotic plan include spring or well water and any traditional tea that is without fragrance or stimulants. The drinks that should be eliminated are soda, any artificial drink, colored and aromatic teas, coffee, and strong alcohol.

So where in this program do you fit in steak and an occasional pat of butter? You don't! All animal fat, meat (except the occasional fish), poultry, dairy, refined sugars, simple sugar, honey, molasses, vanilla and chocolate must be eliminated from your diet.

You must also take care in how you cook the allowed foods on this program. Since the objective is to get one to live in harmony with nature, electrical or microwave cooking is not recommended. These types of cooking cause food to retain less energy and nutrients. Recommended cooking fuels are wood and nautral gas.

Now that we've looked at the nutritional guidelines, let's examine the suggested lifestyle guidelines.

It is advised that one eat in a relaxed environment, chewing each mouthful of food at least 50 times, and expressing gratitude for the food. Meals are recommended 2 or 3 times a day, as long as the portion percentages go along with those recommended previously. Drinking should be limited to only when you are thirsty.

Excessively long, hot showers or baths are to be avoided as they can leach minerals from the body. Cotton is recommended for any clothing that touches the skin as it is a natural fiber. You should avoid synthetic fabrics and wool on skin.

Advice for the home includes opening your windows at some point every day, no matter what the weather, as it is important to have fresh air circulating indoors. Another fresh air tip is to have several green plants around to enrich the oxygen in the air. One should also be sure to keep their home neat and clean, as it brings order and balance to your environment.

Other lifestyle adaptations (that should be done regardless of what nutritional plan one follows) are to increase exercises such as walking or dancing, spending time outside in nature and in the sunlight, and minimizing your time spent in front of a TV or computer.

All of us could benefit from employing even one of these lifestyle changes, but one can not deny the radical benefits many have experienced when embracing the whole of the macrobiotic lifestyle.

The two areas of medicine that report greatest results with the macrobiotic lifestyle are the treatments of AIDS and cancer.

Research has been done on men with AIDS. One way AIDS can be detected is when lymphocites (the white cells that fight infection) decline in number. A study has shown that when those affected began the diet soon after their diagnosis, they maintained higher lymphocite counts.

Dr. Anthoy Sattilaro, from Philadelphia, wrote a book titled "Recalled By Life", in which he shares how following the macrobiotic diet helped cure him of cancer. Many others testify to the same. There are even documented reports of incurable cancer completely disappearing in people who follow the diet.

So what does the American Cancer Society have to say about this? Surprisingly, the society does not endorse the diet. Their stance on it is that it is too low in protein and has insufficient calories to aid those with cancer who are recovering from surgery or undergoing chemotherapy. Lack of medical and objective evidence is their reasoning behind this. Yet all one would need to do is speak to those who have experienced their miracle after following the macrobiotic plan.

We could all benefit, in some way, by improving our dietary and lifestyle habits and by trying to live more harmoniously with our environment.

© High Speed Ventures 2011