The Macrobiotic Diet – Basics, Cooking Methods, Exercise and Other Guidelines
What is the Macrobiotic Diet?
There have been several versions of the Macrobiotic Diet over the years, some more strict than others. The standard Macrobiotic diet is mostly vegan and is considered a low-fat diet. Following the Macrobiotic diet, you will consume seasonal, local and fresh foods. Food items such as, whole grains, vegetables, beans, and the occasional seafood meal are all acceptable. The diet stresses staying away from foods produced with chemicals, additives, hormones or anything artificial. If you love red meats, spicy foods or even eggs, than the macrobiotic diet is NOT for you. You will need to avoid these types of foods among other processed food items.
Macrobiotics is much more than just a dietary regimen. It’s about life balance. The belief is that the quality of foods consumed greatly affects health and overall well-being. Followers of the macrobiotic diet say that happiness in life, is very much related to what you eat and that a locally based diet is much more beneficial than other such diets. Chewing food thoroughly and eating the right amounts, without over eating is also a very important part for the macro diet.
While there is no official evidence, some claim that the macrobiotic diet can prevent or even treat cancer. Medical professionals do believe that eating low-fat, vegetable based and high in fiber diets can lower risks of heart disease and possibly some cancers. Research has shown that many digestive illnesses are directly related to daily diet. The use of a Macrobiotic lifestyle has been shown to combat these illnesses and prevent digestive issues if adopted earlier in life.
Foods and Menu Items
The macro diet is broken down into percentages of daily allowed food groups. These may seem strict at first, but you will find that each day you can consume a variety of food items. You will even be able to treat yourself to occasional weekly menu items.
50% – 60% Whole Grains
Grains should be locally grown and include items like brown rice, oats and rye. A small portion of these whole gains can include noodles/pasta and whole cereal grains.
25% – 30% Vegetables
Locally grown organic vegetables are best, cooked using methods like steaming or boiled are recommended. Vegetables like broccoli, collards and carrots among others are used daily. Items like celery, cucumber and herbs are to be used occasionally.
5% – 10% Beans, bean type products and sea vegetables
Beans such as chickpeas, lentils and azuki are recommended for regular use while bean products such as tempeh, tofu and some sea vegetables are to be used on occasion.
Also enjoy fresh fish and seafood, fruit and nuts several times weekly.
Seasonal Food Tips
Spring Foods will focus on fresh greens, lighter quality items, grain spices and cooking/steaming for shorter periods of time.
Summer Foods will be similar to spring with large leaf greens, corn items, fruits, and light grains. Cooking style steamed or other quick methods.
Fall will allow for heavier grains like rice/millet, beans, root type vegetables.
Winter will be your opportunity to consume round and root vegetables.
Heavier grains like buckwheat and more miso, oils and soups.
Keep in mind that climate and other factors where you live may slightly change what foods you eat.
Cooking Methods, Exercise and Other Guidelines
Aside from the foods themselves, the process of cooking is also an important factor in the macrobiotic diet. Utilizing utensils, pots and pans made from stainless steel, ceramic, glass and wood are best. Try to avoid Teflon coated or aluminum. Cooking without the use of microwaves or other electric conveniences are encouraged. You will focus on steaming or using natural fire from wood or gas to cook meals.
Chewing properly and thoroughly is an important part of good digestion. Practice chewing for 30-45 seconds more per mouthful. Try to avoid eating just to eat. Eat only when hungry and drink liquids only when thirsty. While you eat, relax. Sit with good posture and be thankful for the food you have. Always be satisfied with your meal, but not over full.
Cleanliness is important, but avoid cosmetics and soap products that are not natural or made from toxic ingredients.
Exercise is recommended. Given doctors Ok, regular activity is essential to health. Outdoor activities like walking, jogging or a bike ride are good choices. If you can’t get outside open some windows and get fresh air daily.
If you feel that a macrobiotic diet would benefit you it is best to speak to a professional. We are not doctors and this site is just a useful reference of information about cooking and food topics related to the macrobiotic diet. The information in this site may or may not be right for you depending on your current health and needs.
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