What is a Macrobiotic Diet?

It sounds a modern fad but macrobiotics is no passing trend, it was first mentioned in the writings of Hippocrates almost two and a half thousand years ago. He used the word macrobiotics to describe people who were healthy and lived long, indeed the word itself comes from the Greek for great life, macros equaling great and bios equaling life.

Disciples of macrobiotics advocate the belief that food quality seriously affects health, well-being and happiness. They emphasise locally grown whole grain cereals, pulses, vegetables, seaweed, fermented soybeans and fruit. These foods are combined into meals according to the principle of ying and yang, meaning balance. Yin foods are cold, sweet and passive while yang foods are hot, salty and aggressive. Some foods are prohibited because they contain toxins or fall outside the spectrum that make it too difficult to achieve the correct balance. It is mostly a vegetarian plan but it does allow you to eat fish and even meat occasionally.

There are also rules which must be adhered to regarding eating, cooking and lifestyle practices, it is far more than a diet, it is considered more an approach to life than an exact food plan. Foods should be consumed as close to their natural state as is possible and processed foods are not to eaten at all. Other foods which are removed include – fatty meats, most dairy, sugars, coffee, caffeinated tea, alcohol, chocolate, very hot spices, potatoes, poultry, chemicals and preservatives. Other guidelines which macrobiotics recommend include – eating only when hungry, proper chewing (around fifty times a mouthful), eat with good posture and in a relaxed manner, do not eat three hours before bed-time and retire before midnight.