In macrobiotics, we consider the food as a whole. There are three main categories for vegetables. A leafy green is any vegetable that grows up from the soil, and this includes things like leeks, scallions, bok choy and kale. The second category is root vegetables, which are vegetables that grow beneath the soil. These include carrots, daikon, radishes and parsnips. The last category is round vegetables, plants which grow just above or below the soil surface. Squash, turnips, onions and broccoli are round vegetables.
Why Eat a Variety of Vegetables?
Different vegetables nourish us physically, mentally, and emotionally in unique ways. Leafy greens in particular are refreshing. They promote openness, freshness, and creativity. Round vegetables are harmonizing, balancing, and consoling. Winter squashes and sweet potatoes are healthy comfort foods. Root vegetables promote physical and mental vitality, and have the ability to create penetrating thoughts and ideas. When choosing foods, try to consider the food as a whole. Choose a variety of foods from the different categories to receive the range of the physical, emotional, and mental nutrition they provide.
Our Favorite Macrobiotic Vegetables
- Watercress – Watercress is highly nourishing and refreshing. Therefore, this leafy green serves to clear the mind, and acts as a filter for the body, helping to clean and refresh, particularly the upper body. It is helpful for all face, eye, gum, and chest problems. Try it steamed, lightly sautéed or raw in a salad.
- Kale – Kale is a leafy, cruciferous vegetable that is rich in nutrients and minerals. This vegetable helps manage blood pressure. Additionally, the high fiber in kale improves digestion.
- Napa/Chinese Cabbage – Napa is a leafy vegetable that is very flexible and adaptable. It can be steamed, blanched, sauteed, pressed, pickled or eaten raw. It also has a unique ability to nourish the microbiome.
- Round Cabbage – This type of cabbage is strengthening, nourishing and has satisfying, sweet properties when cooked. It is also adaptable like napa cabbage. Both can be eaten raw,lightly pickled or pressed, pickled over long periods. It can be also steamed, blanched, sautéed, or stewed. Both can store for a longer period of time than others in their categories. However, to highlight some differences, compare a preparation of a pairing of Chinese cabbage with tofu with that of a pairing of cabbage and seitan. Though both combine well with protein, there is a subtle difference in how they match with proteins and other vegetables.
- Broccoli – Broccoli is a very comforting, refreshing, and satisfying food. When cooked just right, it has a natural sweetness, juiciness and crunchiness. I never tire of eating broccoli.
- Squash – Squash is great for improving immune function and has anti inflammatory properties.
- Daikon radish – Daikon radish is cleansing, refreshing, and strengthening properties, and is extremely versatile and transforms depending on its preparation. For instance, the benefits of eating daikon raw or grated aids in digestion. It is often used with fatty or protein-rich dishes. Blanching brings out the refreshing properties of daikon. The more well-cooked daikon is, the more deeply nourishing it becomes. Daikon can be pickled lightly, or over a long period of time. When dried, daikon strengthens the bones, ligaments, digestion, and overall immunity. Dried daikon and fresh daikon are very different from each other, whereas dried carrots and fresh carrots share many similarities.
- Burdock – Burdock is a powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial food that helps improve skin.