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Go Macrobiotic

A balanced approach to eating

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Go Macrobiotic

The macrobiotic diet is a whole foods diet centred on fresh, local, seasonal, and organically grown food. Here are few simple macrobiotic recipe ideas.

The macrobiotic diet is a whole foods diet centred on the consumption of fresh, local, seasonal, and organically grown food. This makes it one of the most healthy and balanced ways of eating, as it provides abundant fibre, vitamins, and minerals, which strengthen our body’s ability to ward off disease.

All the more reason to consider using this traditional cleansing season to partake—even for a short time—in the macrobiotic lifestyle.

Some background

Derived from the Greek macro meaning long and bios meaning life, macrobiotic means “the art of longevity or long life.” In the 1920s George Ohsawa integrated Eastern and Western philosophies and the principles of yin and yang, or the play of opposites, to create a balanced system of eating.

Foods are categorized as either yin (alcohol, fruit, sugar) or yang (meat, salt) with grains considered to be the most balanced food, and hence the mainstay of the diet. It consists of cooked food almost exclusively, the premise being that raw food is difficult to digest and is too cooling to the body.

Although no food is forbidden, animal products are usually avoided with the exception of white fish and seafood a few times a week.

Immune booster

Anecdotal evidence suggests a macrobiotic diet and lifestyle may have a positive effect on those battling various diseases, including cancer. While we may not have control over genetic or environmental factors that contribute to the development of disease, soy-based foods, which are high in phytoestrogens, may decrease the risk of estrogen-related cancers such as breast cancer.

As well, the alkalizing effect of sea vegetables, prominent in the macrobiotic diet, helps maintain a proper pH balance, essential to optimal health.

The typical North American diet is high in meat, dairy, white sugar, and processed foods. This type of diet may generate an excessively acidic environment, which many holistic practitioners believe seriously weakens the immune system.

Here are a few simple macrobiotic recipe ideas that stay true to the original concept but have a bit of flair.

Food prep

The preparation of food is important in macrobiotics, as it is thought to affect the energy of the food. Boiling, blanching, steaming, pressure cooking, and sauténg in water or oil are the preferred methods of cooking, using pots and pans made of porcelain, stainless steel, and glass.

Caution for kids

Recent studies on the macrobiotic diet point to a possible deficiency of vitamins D and B12, which is of particular concern during infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Supplementation may be required.

Components of the macrobiotic diet

  • grains: 50-60%
  • vegetables: 25-30%
  • beans such as adzuki, lentil, and garbanzo: 10%
  • sea vegetables: 2-4%
  • fruit: in season but preferably cooked
  • nuts and seeds: in moderation
  • soy products: tofu, tempeh, miso, tamari, and shoyu
  • condiments: brown rice vinegar, roasted seaweed, fermented pickles, and ginger
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