If you’ve ever meditated, then you likely appreciate balance — balance of the mind and balance of the body. Meditation originated in ancient Asia, as did the macrobiotic diet, so it’s no surprise that, like meditation, the macrobiotic diet is based on balance. This diet is more than a particular combination of healthy food; it can have mental benefits as well. Like meditation, the macrobiotic diet has been around for centuries, and it’s based on the principles of eating to meet your body’s needs.
What is the Macrobiotic Diet?
In the modern world, eating is seen as an activity. You go out for dinner with friends, you cook family dinners and have one-on-one time with your kids, or you order something different, possibly strange, for the experience. Comfort food and junk food are always a temptation, and eating when full is a common occurrence.
The macrobiotic diet, however, is based on your bodies needs more than anything else. A few of the principles include eating enough nutrients, but not eating until you’re full, eating healthy food rather than indulgent food, and eating natural food without artificial ingredients.
Unlike other diets, the macrobiotic diet has recommended guidelines, but you also need to adjust for your own body’s needs. As much as possible though, you should stick to the following breakdown:
- 60% whole grains
- 30% vegetables
- 10% protein
When picking out your meals, you should keep in mind that the macrobiotic diet is pescatarian and eco-conscious. Though you can eat fish, like salmon, it is recommended you only do so 2-3 times a week. The rest of the time, you should be eating tofu or tempeh, or seaweed. Not only does seaweed tie in with the pescatarian them, but sea vegetables are also a surprisingly great source for protein.
When eating your food, you should take the time to eat slowly, and chew your food extensively before swallowing. One factor that sets this diet apart from other diets and diet recommendations is about drinking water. You should only drink when thirsty, and be careful not to drink excessively. When it comes to what you drink, you should essentially only drink water, tea, or coffee.
The Macrobiotic Lifestyle
In order to make any diet work, you need to make it more than a temporary mix of food guidelines; it needs to be incorporated into lifestyle. However, when talking about the macrobiotic diet, it truly becomes your lifestyle. As mentioned before, the macrobiotic diet is based on the same philosophies as meditation, and there is a lot of focus on balance.
In this diet, you want to listen to your body and feed it right, but you also need to treat it right apart from that.
- Yoga, martial arts,
- Practice being grateful
- Drink liquids in moderation
- Do not eat a few hours before bed
- Spend time outside, but be careful of sun exposure
In addition to those guidelines, you want to make sure that you use natural products around your house. The macrobiotic diet emphasizes eating whole, natural food, and extends that to your lifestyle. For example, you should opt for clothing made out of cotton over polyester and other synthetic material, and you should keep ceramic dishes over plastic ones.
Is the Macrobiotic Diet Right For You?
Whether or not you should take on the macrobiotic diet depends on your lifestyle. If you already incorporate or have a deep interest in meditation, yoga, martial arts, and other Eastern practices, it is a good sign that this diet is right for you.
If you have kids, you should consider how this diet will fit into their lives. While it may not be a good idea to have them on this diet, you can introduce them to healthy eating habits in a few ways. For example, juice is a major source of sugar for children, so you can give them water and tea to drink most of the time over juice, or even soda.
While forcing healthy diet habits on them can lead to struggles with healthy eating, teaching them little by little about the needs of their bodies is a great lesson for them to learn. Just keep in mind that you may have to cook separate meals for you and your kids at times.
One great thing about the macrobiotic diet is that it passes through the tests of Jennifer Brown, a registered dietitian and faculty associate at ASU’s School of Nutrition and Health Promotion. She offers advice for eating healthy — aimed for her students at ASU, but can be applied to anybody trying out a new diet on a busy schedule. These include eating mindfully, finding a long-term diet, listening to your body, and not choosing an unhealthy, trendy diet.
Once you have jumped into the macrobiotic lifestyle, you will be on your way to a more balanced, wholesome life. This lifestyle can help with your physical and mental health, as well as providing delicious and nutritious foods for your stomach.