What is a macrobiotic diet plan? This article attempted to describe the basics of a macrobiotic meal plan. It is similar to the type of information many will encounter when trying to become familiar with macrobiotics. The author of this article draws largely from an outdated model that is no longer applicable to most people today. Though this model is still widely practiced, it is quite restrictive and largely does not give the same benefit as it did in the past. For more information about the development and history of macrobiotics, see this entry.
What is a Macrobiotic Diet Plan?
Many things about macrobiotic practice have changed, but unfortunately in many cases the negative perception of it has not, nor has the presentation of information in books or the internet. The practice of macrobiotics ideally adapts to our changing personal and environmental conditions over time — it is more than simply crafting a macrobiotic diet plan. Through our experience at the Strengthening Health Institute (SHI), the higher percentage of grains recommended in the past no longer has the same benefits as it once did. In general, people’s conditions have changed due to weaker quality of food and lack of physical activity and contact with the natural environment. Most people spend too much time indoors or sitting at a desk. There is also a substantial amount of ambient light pollution in urban areas, radio and microwave pollution, and other EMF pollution.
For more than two decades, the SHI has been working to adapt and refine the practice of macrobiotics for people in modern conditions. We have had much success, and have found a model that works for people today. This approach is still effective for maintaining and recovering health that made macrobiotics popular, yet it is simultaneously adaptable for the conditions that many experience today. Below are our recommended adaptation from the most recent iteration of macrobiotic practice.
SHI Macrobiotic Practice Guidelines
In most cases, we do not advocate a strict diet, but an adaptable approach based primarily on adding healthy foods, lifestyle practices, and cooking styles at one’s own pace.
We encourage honoring and making use of the world’s traditional cuisines, which were all largely grain, bean, and vegetable based supplemented by a wide variety of naturally pickled and fermented foods.
Regularly vary food selections and methods of preparations spanning well-cooked, lightly-cooked, naturally pickled and fermented, and raw. Combine different methods in daily and weekly meals.
Today, be much more liberal in the use and enjoyment of raw salads (including in the winter, as winter conditions are very dry) and seasonal fruits, particularly summer fruits whose time of ripeness and availability is brief.
Incorporate and enjoy a variety of whole grains, cracked grains, and whole-grain products (examples include: brown rice, barley, millet, bulgur, oatmeal, polenta, udon and Italian semolina pasta, and unyeasted sourdough breads)
Choose restaurants with healthy meal servings, not necessarily limited to healthy, vegan restaurants. There are many cuisines to choose from (examples include: Italian, Mexican, Middle-Eastern, Turkish, Mediterranean, Indian, and vegan-friendly establishments).
General Macrobiotic Diet Plan Rules of Thumb
- Use high-quality, naturally processed untoasted sesame and extra virgin olive oil sparingly in preparation
- Use high-quality, unrefined white sea salt in cooking
- Mild hot or room-temperature beverages: filtered water, grain and green teas
Basic Macrobiotic Meal Proportions
Start out with an equal amount of grains and vegetables throughout the day. If your digestion feels heavy, you can try decreasing grains a bit. If you feel a lack of focus and vitality, you can try increasing grains slightly. Beans, of multiple varieties, are more important for people today than before. Have one to one and a half servings of bean/bean products (combinations of beans, tofu, and tempeh) often or daily. A serving of beans is one half to one cup.
Seasonal Foods and Methods of Preparation
Learn about the approach to seasonal foods and preparation methods through books and/or cooking classes.
Rely mainly on foods from the same or similar climatic region, choose foods mainly from east and west directions as opposed to north or south.
Locate people who have been successful and are still enthusiastic about their macrobiotic practice. More information is available about getting started, having access to important on-going education with books, seminars, and classes.
What is macrobiotics? Macrobiotics is a system of holistic principles and dynamic practices that guides choices in nutrition, activity, and lifestyle for physical, emotional, mental, social, and environmental health.
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