Macrobiotic living focuses on learning the art of balance in everything we do, starting with everything we eat. The art of macrobiotics incorporates whole natural foods of the highest quality prepared by traditional, simple methods of preparation. Macrobiotic living does not mean adhering to one unchanging “diet”- it may mean eating in a more regulated, simple way or in a more broadly varied way, depending upon your needs, circumstances and preferences all of which change over the course of our lives. Macrobiotic eating means gaining understanding of how different foods affect you and choosing, preparing and consuming your food and drink with an active sense of reverence for life. It places special emphasis on a conscious diet because it regulates your daily eating and drinking at its most basic, practical way to change your life.
Beyond the food Macrobiotics is also about doing healthy things for your body, including eating three balanced meals a day, getting exercise, chewing your food well, not eating three hours before bedtime, eating reasonable portions and SITTING down and enjoying your time eating your meals.
I’m sure many of you have heard of yin and yang, which are closely connected to the Macrobiotic diet (please see separate post on Yin and Yang). An easy way to think of Yin and Yang is to picture a ruler 1-12. Meat, hard dairy (hard cheeses), salt are on one end because these foods are more contracted or yang. On the opposite end of the ruler are sugar, oils, alcohol, which are more expansive or yin foods. Whole grains, beans, vegetables are in the center of the ruler as more neutral and balanced. All foods are okay, however, to eat a more balanced Macrobiotic diet you try to eat primarily (but not entirely) in the center, where you will find grains, beans, and vegetables and eat small amounts of foods from each side. If you only eat from one side (all meat or very salty foods-you will crave foods on the opposite side of the ruler such as alcohol or sugar. These opposite extremes are more harsh on your body.
The followingare the Dietary Recommendations for Modern Macrobiotic living:
- Whole Grains- Eat 50-60% whole grains everyday by weight. Use grains at most meals; this includes all types of buckwheat, rice, millet, whole grain breads, quinoa, millet and noodles.
- Soups-Can be made from grains, beans, or vegetables and can be seasoned to suit your taste
- Vegetables-Eat at least one vegetable with every meal. Try sampling from root vegetables, leafy greens and rounds to keep your palate guessing. Moreover, by varying your cutting and cooking styles you can make each vegetable deliciously different
- Sea Vegetables-Rich in trace minerals, important for modern daily life
- Beans-Great source of vegetable-quality protein. Beans can be cooked in a variety of ways such as in stews, soups or with grains, which enhances their naturally sweet flavor.
- Condiments & Pickles-Create variety in meals, aid in digestion, increase vitality and bring balance. Pickles, pressed vegetables and sauerkraut should all be used on a daily basis. Allow your family to individualize their meals rather than cooking to accommodate each person’s taste by placing a lazy susan full of their favorite condiments on your dinner table.
- Fish-Prepare through steaming or poaching to give a more moist vegetable quality rather than the meaty consistency due to broiling or grilling
- Nuts & Seeds-Wonderful snacks that can be enjoyed raw or by simply roasting in the oven. Nuts and seeds may also be used to add zest to every meal from breakfast to dinner.
Most of all, create a positive attitude and enjoyable environment around you, and enjoy the process of becoming healthier and happier every day.