Understanding The Macrobiotic Diet
The Macrobiotic diet is a dietary philosophy and lifestyle that emphasizes whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. It also places importance on natural sweeteners, such as honey and maple syrup, as well as sea salt instead of table salt.
The word “macro” refers to foods that are generally considered healthy; these are all the things this diet revolves around. The Macrobiotic diet is centered around eating smaller quantities of food in greater frequency. Macrobiotics also recommends eating only until you are 80% full in order to prevent overeating.
It recommends eating once every three hours and from a very limited list of foods. There are various reasons why someone might choose to follow the principles of this diet, including reducing stress on the body, cleansing the liver and kidneys, losing weight or simply for its taste-enhancing properties.
What to Eat on the Macrobiotic Diet
It is worth bearing in mind that not all grains are suitable for this diet. The following foods are recommended:
- Whole grains such as brown rice, barley, buckwheat, rye, oats, wheat, and corn (not cornflakes)
- Legumes such as navy beans, pinto beans, black beans, chickpeas, and lentils
- Vegetables, preferably organic and eaten raw
- Nuts, especially almonds and walnuts
- Fruits, such as apples, pears, peaches, grapes, and strawberries
- Natural sweeteners, such- as honey, maple syrup, and molasses
- Sea salt is used in place of table salt
Foods to Avoid
When following the Macrobiotic diet, certain foods are to be avoided. These are:
- Meat, fish, and other proteins.
- Dairy products, including milk and cheese.
- Sugar, and artificial sweeteners.
- Coffee – Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, and yams.
- Other foods, such as peanut butter, white bread, soy sauce, and cornflakes.
How to Follow a Macrobiotic Diet
When following the Macrobiotic diet, you should eat between five and seven times a day. The exact times depend on your metabolism and activity levels, but eating more frequently will help you feel more satisfied.
The recommended daily number of calories when following this diet is between 1,600 and 2,000 for women and 2,000 and 2,400 for men.
For breakfast, you might choose to eat oatmeal with fruit and nuts, a bowl of miso soup, or whole grain cereal with honey or brown rice porridge.
For lunch, you might eat a large salad with whole grains and legumes, such as quinoa with chickpeas and beans, or brown rice with vegetables and tofu.
Dinner could be brown rice, barley, and vegetables, or a large salad.
Potential Advantages of the Macrobiotic Diet
Proponents of the Macrobiotic diet claim that it can help with weight loss, as well as improve overall health. While there is no scientific evidence to support these claims, the diet does focus on eating healthy, unprocessed foods, which is likely to result in weight loss.
If you are interested in trying the Macrobiotic diet for weight loss, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, it is important to consult a qualified health or nutrition professional to create a customized meal plan that meets your specific needs.
Second, you should gradually transition to the Macrobiotic diet over time, rather than making a sudden switch. This will help your body adjust to the new way of eating.
Finally, make sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources, and avoid processed foods and sugary drinks.
Potential Disadvantages of the Macrobiotic Diet
The Macrobiotic diet is a very rigid way of eating and some feel they may place unnecessary restrictions on dieters, especially if they are following the diet on their own.
There is also a risk of nutrient deficiencies, as this diet is very restrictive and does not include any supplements. The dangers, particularly of a long-term macrobiotic diet, include the lack of protein, an excessive intake of carbohydrates, and a reduction in essential fats. Although this diet may enhance digestion and reduce toxins in the body, it may also cause negative health effects, such as anemia.
Breaking it All Down
Macrobiotics is not a specific type of diet, but rather a way of thinking about food and nutrition. The macrobiotic approach to eating is based on the principle of yin and yang, which holds that all things in the universe are in a state of balance and harmony.
- The goal of the macrobiotic diet is to create balance in the body and mind by eating foods that are in harmony with the natural world.
- There is no one-size-fits-all approach to macrobiotics, and the diet can be customized to meet the needs of each individual. However, there are a few basic principles that are common to all macrobiotic diets.
- The most important principle of macrobiotics is to eat foods that are in balance with the natural world. This means consuming a variety of whole, unprocessed foods that are locally sourced and in season.
- The macrobiotic diet also encourages eating foods that are balanced in terms of their yin and yang energy. Yin foods are cooling and calming, while yang foods are warming and energizing.
- Another key principle of macrobiotics is to eat foods that are easy to digest. This means avoiding processed foods, artificial additives, and foods that are high in fat or sugar.
- Macrobiotics also recommends eating foods in their natural state. This means avoiding processed foods and eating whole, unprocessed foods.
The Macrobiotic diet is a very strict diet and should only be attempted by those who are committed to making a lifestyle change. If you are considering following this diet, it is important to speak to a medical professional and have your diet plans tailored to your specific needs.