Sunday, 3 March 2013

"Macrobiotic" Lifestyle Explained!

The Macrobiotic dieter considers all aspects of life when determining the proper diet.  In doing so, individuals following this diet will consume different foods based on the season, climate, their location and their ancestry.  It is a very holistic approach to eating and promotes many benefits to its followers.  There are seven basic principles that macrobiotics follow which result in eating locally while consuming foods in their entirety.  This is very economic and creates no waste and allows for no processing of goods.  In order to maintain a full balance, Macrobiotics is based on the principle of balancing Yin and Yang, or the balance of opposites.  As a result, Macrobiotics allows for the use of cooking as long as it is from traditional methods such as gas or wood stoves and the cookware used is cast iron and stainless steel, as it believes cooking will change the effect of the food.  The diet does not require supplements and also recommends that there be more appreciation for the foods we have.  There is no calorie counting with this diet, but it recommends that we eat only when hungry and stop eating once we are satisfied.

            The foods consumed must be organic and include whole cereal grains, including all portions of the grain, seasonal vegetables, beans and bean derivatives and sea vegetables.  Soups that have miso, tamari and sea salt as their base are also acceptable in small amounts.  The diet forbids meat, eggs, poultry and dairy but does recommend the consumption of fish, specifically flounder, cod, sole, trout and halibut one to three times per week.   Fruit, though allowed in small quantities has to be consumed according to climate and the season, and natural sweeteners such as rice syrup, barley malt and maple syrup can be used.  Fermented products are encouraged such as brown rice vinegar or umeboshi vinegar as a condiment.  Since most foods are recognized as okay for the Macrobiotics plan, it is best to look at the foods not allowed which include tomatoes, potatoes, spinach and peppers, as well as artificial color, preservatives and sprayed foods.

Consuming organic foods that are of leaner choices will not only help the environment but will provide the vitamins and minerals needed to reach optimal health.   The Macrobiotic diet is both curative and sustainable for life and presents itself as a way of life rather than simply a way of eating.    Annemarie Colbin informs us in her book, Food and Healing, that Michio Kushi, a disciple of the Macrobiotic plan believes that all problems we encounter a result of poor diet, and that “a proper Macrobiotic diet will help us solve most of life’s difficulties” (Colbin, Pg 128). This is definitely a benefit that anyone seeking a healthy lifestyle would be able to receive.

 Finding balance with the Macrobiotics diet should not be difficult to achieve.  Based on the breast milk model of nutritional proportionality, individuals should have little to no cravings for foods as the consumption of all macronutrients will be adequately met and in perfect balance based on the foods consumed.   The Macrobiotics Diet, focussing on whole foods with no processing, also offers a diet that is neither contractive nor expansive, if followed correctly, which explains the stability and lack of cravings while on this plan.  Though mostly in balance in terms of acid/alkaline, the macrobiotic plan allows alkaline foods such as salt, miso, and spices, which if consumed in excess and not balanced with protein and grains, may lead to a possible protein deficiency. 

Everything in life, regardless of how good it seems, will often have a down side.  The Macrobiotics Diet is no exception.  One main limitation of this diet which for many individuals can be a deterrent, is the expense associated with the purchasing and consumption of the organic whole foods.  Consuming foods in season is expensive in itself, and since modern day preservation methods such as freezing are not allowed it may be very difficult. As a result, it may be discouraging for individuals and may take more explanation as to its health benefits.

            Though individuals of any blood type may benefit with a Macrobiotics Diet, those with Blood Type A are best suited for the foods recommended to be consumed and avoided.  This blood type should avoid preservatives, corn syrup and sugar, tropical fruit, potatoes and tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, vinegar, as well as meat, dairy and fatty fish.  Cayenne should also be avoided by blood type A individuals which agrees with macrobiotics since it forbids the use of hot spice.  The basis of the Macrobiotics diet is the consumption of whole foods which will serve an individual with Blood type A well.  Additionally this blood type responds well when there is a reduced consumption of fatty fish, and the occasional use of eggs, tofu and grains in cooking. 

          When looking at this diet in terms of body types, profile types and balance we can determine that this diet is truly sustainable and beneficial of life.

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