A macrobiotic diet is one that places greatest reliance on eating grains supplemented by local and seasonal vegetable produce. One of the main principles of a macrobiotic diet is the avoidance of most animal products as well as refined or processed foods. Not only that, macrobiotics also provides guidelines about limiting food portions and chewing the food properly.
It is thought that a macrobiotic diet can help enhance good health and wellbeing and there is also the understanding that it can help to combat conditions such as cancer.
Guidelines for a macrobiotic diet
Rather than follow strict guidelines, the idea is that a person develop and intuitive understanding of what is good for them personally to eat.
Things such as a person’s age, sex, weight and health conditions should be taken into account to decide what their diet should look like.
Also a person’s level of activity, the sort of diet they presently have should be considered before transitioning.
Not only this, external factors such as the climate and the seasons should dictate how, and what a person should eat under the macrobiotic diet.
Composition of a macrobiotic diet
Between 40 and 60% of food consumed should be grain based (with emphasis on brown rice). Another 5 to 10% should be legumes and beans. Vegetables should constitute about 30% of the diet. The rest should consist of miso soup, sea vegetables and naturally processed foods. Twice or thrice a week, fruit, beverages, sea food such as fish, seed and nut butters can also be taken. Leeway as regards using animal products is provided if one has special needs or is making a dietary transition.
Importance of seasons in the macrobiotic diet
In summer the emphasis in on lighter foods, such as green leafy veggies, fruit, sweet corn and grains such as bulgar wheat and barley. The proportion of raw foods should be higher and if cooking the food, stick to steaming or quick methods of cooking.
In autumn, foods with greater concentration should be consumed – pumpkin, root vegetables, cereals and beans as well as mochi, millet, and sweet rice should be paramount.
In winter heavier foods such as fried rice, buckwheat, millet, soy sauce, oil and salt as well as round veggies and pickles are recommended.
In summer, lighter foods such as fresh greens, wild plants, and fermented foods and so on are recommended to be cooked for a shorter duration.
Criticism – The suitability of this diet for children and pregnant women is in some doubt, because it may not contain requisite nutrients.