Do not let the word macrobiotics scare you. The word simply means “long life. ” The word macrobiotic is first found in German literature written by a scholar named Christophe Wilhelm Von Hufeland in 1776. Most people have the misconception that macrobiotics is just another diet. Macrobiotics is a dietary practice based on the Chinese philosophy of balancing yin and yang (see yin-yang). According to macrobiotics. (2006). In Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, macrobiotics was first articulated in Asia in the 1930s and swept Europe and the U. S.
in the late 1960s. Adherents maintain that not only can the quality of life be enhanced but that serious ailments such as cancer can be healed; critics counter that uninformed attempts to practice such a diet can lead to malnutrition. Macrobiotics provides a healthier way of living due to its nutritional benefits for health and well-being. Of all the definitions I have read, I like the description on the Kushi Institute’s (2004) website that states, “Macrobiotics is a holistic and natural lifestyle, which addresses not only diet, but all areas of one’s life.
” Modern day macrobiotics takes the best of each phase and incorporates the healing foods within an open, flexible approach to healthy eating. There are two words that stand out in learning about macrobiotics. They are: way and philosophy. The macrobiotic way provides guidelines which encompass more than just food and becomes a philosophy in balancing all areas of life. The philosophy is based on the eastern concept of universal forces of energy which either expand or contract, known as Yin and Yang. Foods are classified into one of these categories based on the results they produce within the body.
Those foods which do not have an extreme affect are considered balanced. Fruit and sugar are classified as yin; whereas, meat and salt are yang. Brown rice is a moderate food. For a good list of yin and yang classifications refer to the table at the end of this article. Macrobiotics is not as restrictive as some people believe. The diet is composed of whole grains, vegetables (including a variety of sea vegetables), beans and bean products.
The modern, westernized diet allows consuming animal products of fish and seafood. What I find interesting, that most diets completely ignore, is the inclusion of balanced oils,condiments, seasonings and desserts. According to Wong (2007) the following is a guideline for the Macrobiotic Diet; Whole grains typically make up 50 to 60% of each meal. Whole grains include brown rice, whole wheat berries, barley, millet, rye, corn, buckwheat, and other whole grains.
Rolled oats, noodles, pasta, bread, baked goods, and other flour products can be eaten occasionally. Soup, one to two cups or bowls of soup per day. Miso and shoyu, which are made from fermented soybeans, are commonly used. Vegetables typically make up 25 to 30% of the daily food intake.
Up to one-third of the total vegetable intake can be raw. Otherwise, vegetables should be steamed, boiled, baked, and sauteed. Beans make up 10% of the daily food intake. This includes cooked beans or bean products such as tofu, tempeh, and natto. A small amount of fish or seafood in moderation is typically consumed several times per week. Meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy are usually avoided. Fish or seafood are eaten with horseradish, wasabi, ginger, mustard, or grated daikon to help the body detoxify from the effects of fish and seafood. Seeds and nuts in moderation.
Seeds and nuts can be lightly roasted and salted with sea salt or shoyu. Local fruit can be consumed several times a week including apples, pears, peaches, apricots, grapes, berries, melons, and other fruit. Tropical fruit such as mango, pineapple, and papaya is usually avoided. Desserts are permitted in moderation, approximately two to three times per week. Desserts can be enjoyed by people who are in good health. Emphasize naturally sweet foods such as apples, squash, adzuki beans, and dried fruit. Natural sweeteners such as rice syrup, barley malt, and amazake can be used.
Sugar, honey, molasses, chocolate, carob, and other sweeteners are avoided. Cooking oil is typically unrefined vegetable oil. One of the most common oils used is dark sesame oil. Other oils that are recommended are light sesame oil, corn oil, and mustard seed oil. Condiments and seasonings include natural sea salt, shoyu, brown rice vinegar, umeboshi vinegar, umeboshi plums, grated ginger root, fermented pickles, gomashio (roasted sesame seeds), roasted seaweed, and sliced scallions.
Diet guidelines are individualized based on factors such as climate, season, age, gender, activity, and health needs. In the chart below, you will be able to get a better idea of foods that are more yin and more yang. Yin Yang Food Chart |EXTREME YANG |VERY YANG |MODERATE YANG | |Skin |Colon |Lung | |Stomach (upper area) |Prostate |Stomach (lower area) | |
Breast |Ovary |Uterus | |Brain (outer area) |Brain (inner area^ |Bladder/Kidney | |Mouth (except tongue) |Bone |Tongue | |Leukemia |Rectum |Liver | |Esophagus |Pancreas |Spleen | For a normal healthy person, the philosophy is to stay in balance, nourish the body, and maintain health. Have you ever eaten a bakery style birthday cake and within 30 minutes attacked the cupboard or vending machine for anything salty?
That is your body’s attempt to balance itself. However, the salt is an extreme. With macrobiotics, one learns to balance that piece of cake with more balanced foods such as, umeboshi plums, kuzu drink, daikon or a Japanese radish. Upon gaining knowledge of the macrobiotic way and philosophy, one expands a narrow view of macrobiotics as just another diet and understands that macrobiotics encompasses the whole. It truly is a way of bringing wholeness and balance to all areas of one’s life. The end result is to hopefully live a long and healthy balanced life. References (2006).
Macrobiotics. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia Retrieved from XRefer XML database EBSCOhost Kushi Institute. (2004). . Retrieved from http://www. kushiinstitute. org/waytohealth/macrobiotics/whatismb. htm Wong, C. (2007). What Should I Know About the Macrobiotic Diet?. Retrieved from http://altmedicine. about. com/od/popularhealthdiets/a/Macrobiotic. htm Herman, S. (2009). The Pros and Cons of a Macrobiotic Diet. Retrieved from http://www. edubook. com/the-pros-and-cons-of-a-macrobiotic-diet/2653/ Richards, V. (1990). The hazards of macrobiotics. Nutrition Health Review: The Consumer’s.
Medical Journal, (56), 19. Retrieved from MasterFILE Premier database. Sundblad, D. (n. d. ). What is Macrobiotic? Retrieved from http://diet. lovetoknow. com/wiki/What_Is_Macrobiotic), Brown, S. (2006). Macrobiotic History. Retrieved from http://www. chienergy. co. uk/mbhistory. htm Aveline Kushi and Wendy Esko , (1985). Cooking in Harmony with Nature . : Avery Penguin Putnam Untalan, Connie. 2003. “Macrobiotics: New Life. ” Macrobiotics Today 43, no. 4: 17. Alt HealthWatch, EBSCOhost Kushi, M. , & Jack, A. (1994). The Cancer Prevention Diet (2nd ed. ).