The food pyramid gives a good idea of the Macrobiotic diet.
A macrobiotic diet is one based on eating grains supplemented with natural foods such as vegetables and beans. This diet rejects highly processed and refined foods.
Hippocrates, the founder of western medicine, was the first person to use the term macrobiotics in describing long-lived, healthy people. Other classical writers including Aristotle employed this term. The macrobiotic way of life was a part of many traditional cultures including the Incas, the Chinese, and the Japanese. But it became popular in North America only towards the end of the 1950s.
Macrobiotics stresses that people become aware of the true effects of foods on their health and well being, rather simply follow dietary rules and regulations. Macrobiotics emphasizes locally grown whole grain cereals, fruit, legumes, seaweed, vegetables, and fermented soy products, combined into meals according to the balancing principle known as yin and yang, discussed later. However, not all vegetables are recommended. Dieters should avoid nightshades such as eggplant, peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes as well as avocados, beets, and spinach.
While the suggested diet depends on the dieter’s geographic location and the season of the year here are some general recommendations: Vegetables 30-40%, whole cereal grains, especially brown rice 25-30%, beans and legumes 5-10 %, miso soup 5%, and traditionally or naturally processed foods 5-10%. Complete this diet with fish and seafood, seeds, nuts, nut butters, seasonings, sweeteners, fruits, and beverages. Some macrobiotic dieters will consume naturally raised animal products, others will not.
One of many macrobiotic diet books.
In the spring and summer these dieters will concentrate on light foods that are cooked quickly, for example by steaming. Seasonal products such as sweet corn are recommended. In the autumn foods should be more concentrated such as beans and rice. In the winter foods should be even more concentrated such as heavier grains.
Macrobiotics places an emphasis on balancing yin and yan. Some foods are overstimulating and can cause exhaustion. These foods are yin and include alcohol, chocolate, coffee, chemicals and preservatives, honey, milk, refined flour, soft cheese, sugar, and nightshades such as tomatoes. They should be avoided. Other foods are concentrating; they can be strengthening, but can slow you down if you consume them excessively. These foods are yan and include eggs, meat, poultry, and refined salt. The best foods are balancing. They are listed above and form the heart of the macrobiotic diet.
An individual’s specific suggested diet depends on his or her gender, age, physical activity level, age, and health condition. Other factors include the season and the climate. As always, make sure that you get professional advice before embarking on this or any other diet.