Is Macrobiotics Right For You?
Macrobiotics was first introduced to New York City in the late 1970s by Aveline and Michio Kushi more as a lifestyle choice rather than a fad diet. While it has since lost some popularity, macrobiotics still has a strong following of people who believe in the healing powers of the lifestyle.
So what exactly is macrobiotics? The Kushi couple taught a theory rooted in the traditional Japanese and Chinese ways of eating and living, meaning lots of whole grains, beans, vegetables and fish, with an emphasis on spiritual wellness. They believe that without excellent physical health, emotional and spiritual health cannot be achieved.
The Yin to Your Yang
One of the major components of macrobiotics is the ancient Chinese theory of yin and yang. Essentially this means for all of the yin you have in your life, you need an equal amount of yang to balance it out. Drugs are the most yin substance that you can put in your body, followed progressively by sugar, cheese, fruit, water, nuts, vegetables and beans. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the food with the most yang-like quality is salt followed by eggs, meat, fowl, and fish. Foods closer to the center of the spectrum (fish, beans and vegetables) make up a larger part of your diet because of their balancing properties.
All Hail the Mighty Grain
At the very center of the yin and yang spectrum are whole grains. According to macrobiotics, whole grains are the ultimate food for health. They are nutritious and grounding. The general caloric break down of a macrobiotics diet consists of 50% whole grains such as brown right, farro or quinoa, 25% vegetables, 5% sea vegetables such as seaweed or konbu, 5% from soup broth, and 5% animal protein.
A huge emphasis is placed on eating organic, locally grown food as much as possible.
Chewing is the Key to Success
When following a macrobiotic lifestyle, a big emphasis is placed on the amount of time spent chewing your food. In fact, each bite should be chewed to the point of becoming a liquid. The reason for this is simple. Digestion begins as soon as you place the food into your mouth. The more broken down the food is by the time it reaches your stomach, the less work your body has to exert in the digestion process. This can help heal digestive and stomach issues.
Eat with the Changing Seasons
Eating seasonally is also a major part of the macrobiotic lifestyle. It is thought that if you eat exactly what nature intended you to eat during different times of the year, your body will work in complete harmony. In the summer months, you will eat cooling foods like lettuce or white fish and in the winter you will have hearty foods like kale or squash.
Macrobiotic Menu for Fall
A sample daily menu for the cooler, autumn months would look something like this:
Breakfast: Quinoa with boiled squash.
Lunch: Sauteed kale with quinoa or brown rice and sesame oil and a small amount of organic fish or chicken.
Dinner: Miso soup and warm adzuki beans and collard greens with brown rice.
Meditation For Mental Clarity
Emotional and mental health is also very important in macrobiotics. Now that the food that you are eating is healing you and improving your physical health, it’s time to focus on keeping your mind healthy. Daily meditation is encouraged to clear the mind of negative thoughts as well as breathing exercises and exercise.
Now that you know the basics, is macrobiotics a lifestyle that you want to try?