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Articles  |  Nutrition  |   Guide to a Macrobiotic Diet

Guide to a Macrobiotic Diet

Guide to a Macrobiotic Diet
 A macrobiotic diet follows the principle of eating fresh, seasonal food to balance the body, mind and spirit. The emphasis is on the quality of the food, how it is prepared and how it is eaten.

Benefits of Macrobiotic Eating

The benefits of eating a macrobiotic diet include:
  • Weight loss
  • Heart health
  • Anti-ageing
  • Lowering bad cholesterol
  • Preventing cancer (although no clinical research has supported this claim)
  • Balancing blood pressure
  • Energising
  • Preventing illness of body and mind

Macrobiotic Mostly Wholegrains

The macrobiotic diet is high in fibre, low in fat and emphasises whole grains and fresh vegetables. The following proportion of foods is recommended:
  • 50-60% wholegrains – brown rice, barley, millet, corn, buckwheat, etc
  • 25-30% seasonal vegetables
  • 10% protein from fish or legumes, including soya bean products like tofu
  • 5% soup, miso
  • 5% sea vegetables
  • 5% fruit, nuts or seeds
 
Foods to avoid include:
  • Food made with refined sugars and flours
  • Eggs, cheese and other dairy
  • Food that has travelled long distances
  • Food that is out of season
  • Spices, table salt or chemical seasonings
  • Coffee, black tea, alcohol

Macrobiotic Combinations

Macrobiotic eating is based on the principle of balancing yin and yang and including the five tastes - sweet, sour, bitter, salty and sharp - to provide a nutritional and balanced meal. It can be confusing trying to balance meals when you first start eating the macrobiotic way. A macrobiotic cookbook can be helpful. Talking to someone who already follows the diet can help too.

Macrobiotic Cooking Methods

Cooking methods for macrobiotic eating include steaming, baking, sautéing and boiling. A microwave should not be used. Just as importantly, meals should be eaten sitting down and chewed with awareness.

Macrobiotic Seasonal Eating

Local, organic food that is in season should be eaten. Eating with the seasons is sound for our body and mind and helps reduce illness. It’s also environmentally sound too. The less distance your food has to travel to your kitchen door, the fresher it will be – and the less carbon footprint it will leave too.
 
With so much imported food at supermarkets it’s hard to know what’s seasonal. Check out your local farmers’ market or use the following guide:

Spring

Try eating food with a lighter quality that is steamed, stir fried or cooked for a shorter time such as cabbage, brussel sprouts, snow peas, leafy greens

Summer

Raw dishes or a lighter cooking style are used. Favour:
 
•    Lighter grains such as barley and bulghur
•    Lettuce, watercress, cucumber, celery, sweet corn, berries

Autumn

Begin to cut down on raw foods and increase the cooking time, salt and oil. Try food with a more concentrated quality and heavier grains such as:
 
•    Brown rice, miso, millet
•    Cauliflower, pumpkin, beetroot, carrots, Asian greens

Winter

Think warming soups and stews. Dishes that take longer to cook are favoured. Winter ingredients include:
 
•    Brown rice, millet and buckwheat
•    More oil, salt and miso
•    Squash, cauliflower, turnip, broccoli, silverbeet
 
Millions of people around the world claim to feel balanced in body, mind and spirit by eating a macrobiotic diet.
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