Food is Medicine
What is Macrobiotics?
“Macrobiotics is neither an empirical folk medicine nor a mystical, palliative, religious, scientific, spiritual, symptomatic technique. It is the biological and physiological application of Oriental philosophy and medicine, a dialectical conception of the infinite universe.” G.Ohsawa – Zen Macrobiotic
The macrobiotic approach is five thousand years old, but was first spread to the western world by a Japanese philosopher called George Ohsawa. He believed in a holistic approach to health incorporating many lifestyle aspects, from diet and exercise to meditation and the ‘yin and yang’ energy of each food.
Macrobiotics insists on choosing organic, locally grown and seasonal produce. Generally, the macrobiotic diet is divided roughly as follows:
Around 40-60 % of your food should be wholegrain (brown rice, barley, oats, buckwheat, millet)
Around 20-30% of your food should be vegetables
Around 10% – 25% should be beans and fermented products such as tofu, miso and tempeh as well as sea vegetables such as seaweed
Small amounts of pickles and fermented vegetables, nuts, seeds, and occasionally some meat or fish.
You’re supposed to eat a little bit less than you want, and this keeps you very healthy
(habit from Okinawa, place on earth with highest number of centenarians)
The macrobiotic diet is also about the lifestyle: Only eating when hungry and only drinking when thirsty; Chewing food thoroughly until it liquefies before swallowing; Only using natural materials such as wood, glass and china to cook and store food; Avoiding microwave ovens and electric hobs; Purifying water before cooking with it or drinking it; and avoiding flavoured, caffeinated or alcoholic drinks.
Followers may adopt a macrobiotic diet in slightly different ways with some adhering very strictly to the rules on food preparation, cooking and eating, while others are more relaxed and only follow these rules in moderation.
Advocates of Macrobiotics believe that following a specific diet plan or fasting can help with chronic illnesses including cancer.
The right way to eat is the same as the right way to live: be “just, cheerful, equable, temperate, and orderly.” Meaning that meals embody the principles and the disposition of the person who eats them.
The macrobiotic diet is largely vegetarian, and significantly limits animal fat. For this reason, it may be beneficial for people dealing with heart disease and high cholesterol.
Its emphasis on vegetables makes it high in phytoestrogens. These are naturally occurring chemical compounds found in plants. Phytoestrogens may help reduce circulating oestrogen levels in some women, which according to studies, reduces breast cancer risk.
Macrobiotics is also beneficial for people with diabetes, as it completely eliminates sugary foods and soda from the diet, putting a strong focus on whole grains. A 2014 study confirms that a macrobiotic diet is more beneficial than a standard diet for people with diabetes.
Some foods can be eaten occasionally, or a few times each week. These include:
Organic tree fruit and berries, seeds, nuts, cucumbers, celery, lettuce, etc.
Certain foods are meant to be eaten very rarely, or only a few times each month, such as: fish, seafood, dairy, eggs, poultry, meat
If you don’t feed a problem it can’t exist. We use food as an emotional support, to make us feel better.
There’s a direct correlation between emotional state and comfort in eating.
Macrobiotics insists on eliminating specific foods, including:
“Nightshade vegetables” (potatoes, peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes), caffeinated beverages, alcoholic beverages, processed foods (white bread, white flour, white pasta, and store-bought cakes and cookies), any food with artificial ingredients, sodas (diet and regular), sugar and products containing sugar or corn syrup, molasses, vanilla, pork, tropical fruits (pineapples, mangos, etc.), and overly spicy foods.
You should eat in a focused, thoughtful, and slow manner without distractions (like TV). You should only eat food to satisfy hunger, and you should chew it many times until it’s nearly liquefied. You should drink water or other beverages, such as dandelion root tea, brown rice tea, and cereal grain coffee, only to satisfy thirst.