A macrobiotic diet (or macrobiotics), from “macro” (large) and “bios” (life), is a dietary regimen which involves eating grains as a staple food supplemented with other foodstuffs such as vegetables and beans, natural animal foods, and avoiding the use of highly processed or refined foods. Macrobiotics also addresses the manner of eating by recommending against overeating and requiring that food be chewed thoroughly before swallowing.
Its most recent development stems from Michio Kushi, who was inspired by philosopher-writer George Ohsawa. George Ohsawa published numerous works in Japanese, English and French, which combined the western traditions of macrobiotics with 5,000 years of traditional oriental medicine.
By using macrobiotic principles to address and adjust environmental, dietary and lifestyle influences, thousands of individuals have been able to prolong their lives by recovering from a wide range of illnesses including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and many others. The macrobiotic approach to health recovery can be used along with conventional and alternative medical treatment and intervention and is compatible with and adaptable to all forms of religious and traditional cultural practices.
A macrobiotic diet isn’t simply a diet plan, it’s a way of life.
Originally from Japan, the principle behind the macrobiotic diet combines tenets of Zen Buddhism with a Western-style vegetarian diet. Much more than a list of recommended foods, it is about a spiritualism that transcends lifestyle, attitude, and diet practices.
The macrobiotic diet regimen supports an Eastern philosophy of balancing foods to attain a balance of yin and yang. To achieve that balance, foods are paired based on their sour, sharp, salty, sweet, or bitter characteristics.
Yin foods are cold, sweet, and passive while yang foods are hot, salty, and aggressive. Some foods are prohibited because they contain toxins or fall on the far end of the spectrum, making it difficult to achieve and respect a Zen-like balance.
Practitioners of the macrobiotic diet prefer locally grown, natural foods prepared and eaten in the traditional manner, such as baking, boiling, and steaming. Lots of grains, vegetables, beans, fermented soy, and soups — supplemented with small amounts of fish, nuts, seeds, and fruits — are the basis of the macrobiotic diet menu. Other natural products, however, may be included to accommodate individual needs or during dietary transition.