Macrobiotics: Diet and Lifestyle for Long-term Health

A frequent misunderstanding about macrobiotics is that it

is a diet sick people use – cancer patients especially – in

order to heal. While it is true that a macrobiotic

approach has helped a great many people get well,

macrobiotics is much more than a mere diet, and it is for

everyone. Whether you’re recovering from illness or simply

interested in having greater vitality, macrobiotics is a

wholistic, natural system for good health and long life.

“Let food by thy medicine, and medicine thy food,” is a

saying from the ancient Greek philosopher Hippocrates, who

also coined the term “macrobiotics.” In Greek, “makro”

means long or large, and “bio” means life. A macrobiotic

approach to good health begins with food and cooking,

extending to include lifestyle and exercise. Daily walks,

a grateful state of mind, and meditation for centering

oneself are among the practices of the system. Its purpose

is to create a state of health that supports rather than

prevents a full and vibrant life.

Since Hippocrates coined the term, we know that the

principles of macrobiotics have been around a long time.

They’re the same concepts that you’ll find in any modern

day nutrition or fitness class: high fiber, low fat, plenty

of vegetables and grains, limited meat. Going beyond these

basics, macrobiotics also includes healing foods such as

sea vegetables and ginger root.

To bring balance to one’s physical and emotional condition

through utilizing food is the macrobiotic focus. Foods

that have nutritional and energetic balance – yin and yang –

are used: legumes, beans, whole grains, and vegetables

dominate. Red meat, dairy, refined sugar, and coffee are

examples of foods without balance and they are eliminated.

For flavor, variety, and seasonal virtue, some oils, nuts,

and fruits are used in small amounts. The variety adds

interest and also increases the nutrient range. The end

result is food both wholesome and delicious.

It is critically important that the food tastes good

because food is sensual, and if it doesn’t appeal to our

senses, we won’t eat it in the long run. It might take a

bit of time to develop the taste for macrobiotic cuisine

because it is light and elegant in its simplicity. Here is

an example of typically combined macrobiotic ingredients

for an easy and tasty meal.

*Nutty Rice with Vegetables*

Cook 2 cups short or long grain brown rice in sea-salted

water (2 and 1/2 cups water with 2 pinches sea salt). Cover

the pot tightly for 30-40 minutes on very low heat.

Parboil these vegetables separately for two minutes or

less: 1/4 cup diced carrot, and 1/4 cup diced red onion,

and 2 cups florets of broccoli. Allow to cool.

In a dry frying pan toast 1/2 cup walnuts over medium heat

for five minutes. Puree the toasted walnuts with one

teaspoon barley miso dissolved in some water.

Mix together the vegetables, rice, and puree. Then add the

grated peel of a lemon. Serve this dish warm or cool,

rather than hot or cold. Enjoy!

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