According to the International Macrobiotic Conference held in 2017, the term macrobiotic comes from the ancient greek: Macro meaning large or long and Bios life or way of living. It is a way of life that guides one’s choices in nutrition, activity and lifestyle. It is also a system of principles and practices of harmony to benefit the body, mind, and planet.
A macrobiotic diet promotes a healthy lifestyle that is mainly made up of whole foods: vegetables, grains, sea vegetables and fermented foods. It discourages the intake of simple carbohydrates, processed sugars and fast food.
- Fresh vegetables are highly recommended as part of the macrobiotic diet because they contribute with fiber, macronutrients, micronutrients and vitamins.
- Nightshades such as aubergine, tomatoes, bell peppers and potatoes are discouraged because they contain alkaloids which are waste products of plants’ metabolic processes. This type of compound has been associated with inflammation in the body. They tend to have antinutrients which reduce the absorption of nutrients in the body. Cooking may reduce the toxins in these vegetables and help the body to assimilate them better.
- Whole cereal grains are a staple because they are high in protein, fibre and nutrients. Cereals such as buckwheat, millet, barley, oats and brown rice are used for breakfast, lunch and dinner and can be used in many ways and adapted to tons of recipes. Variety will not be a problem.
- Beans are one of the protein sources vegans mostly rely on. Adzuki beans, lentils and chickpeas are the widely used and recommended. Remember, to decrease anti-nutrients, increase bioavailability and boost its nutrient content they must always be soaked in water for at least a few hours.
- Fermented foods such as tempeh, natto, sauerkraut and kimchi are a great addition to this diet because they provide probiotics that improve gut health and boost the immune system.
- Sea vegetables such as nori, wakame, dulse and hijiki are used to increase the mineral and vitamin content in the diet. Furthermore, seaweed usually contains Vitmain B12, which is usually low in a vegan diet. Make an effort to eat organic seaweed, since the sea is now widely contaminated with heavy metals. It is a smart choice to try to get the best and cleanest sources available.
In all, the macrobiotic lifestyle promotes a healthy and balanced diet that may help to avoid disease, promote healthy habits and improve overall health.
And remember, to be healthy you don’t need to become macrobiotic, paleo or vegan. You just need to have healthy habits, decrease the intake of processed foods and be more mindful of what you eat. Take what you like from each type of healthy diet and apply it to your life. Make it work for you, adapt it to your lifestyle and enjoy it!