Macrobiotic—the name alone hints at what it means. Macro means “very large in scale, scope or capability,” while biotic means “pertaining to life.” Simply put, it’s about long life or a full life.
The macrobiotic diet, while focusing on a diet and a lifestyle that promotes health, longevity and balance, is based on consuming organically grown whole grains such as brown rice, millet and barley (comprising anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of the daily diet), as well as locally grown vegetables (about 20 to 30 percent of the daily diet) and beans and bean products such as miso and tempeh, and sea veggies such as seaweed, nori and agar (which weigh in at approximately five to 10 percent of the daily diet.)
Foods are low-fat and low-sodium and are mostly baked, broiled or steamed. Plus, fresh fish and other seafood, locally grown fruit, pickles and nuts often make it on the menu each week, too, while rice syrup serves as an occasional sweetener. And chewing food extremely well—about 50 times prior to swallowing—is also part of the macrobiotic way.
Some items those on the macrobiotic diet will typically avoid include meats, dairy, eggs, poultry, processed foods, refined sugars, some tropical fruits, fruit juice and certain vegetables. Likewise, spicy foods aren’t usually on the menu, and it’s advised to drink only when thirsty. Those on the macrobiotic diet won’t include strong alcoholic beverages, soda, coffee or anything else that is processed, chemically preserved or otherwise highly refined on the menu, either.
Again, though, the macrobiotic diet is not just about diet. It’s about lifestyle and attitude, too. Those following a macrobiotic diet are known to eat regularly (two to three times a day and stopping prior to feeling full), to listen to what their bodies tell them, to continue to stay active—frequent exercise is recommended—and to have a positive outlook on life. Showing gratitude for your food is an important part as well.
And you can go deep into the macrobiotic diet or just dip your toes in. It’s up to you and what agrees with you. In fact, if you’re vegetarian or vegan you can tailor-make the diet to suit your needs, making sure your nutritional needs are met, including getting enough vitamin B12, iron, zinc, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. The macrobiotic diet can even be gluten free.
So, there you have it—the macrobiotic diet—to help you live a long, full and balanced life.