Food & Lifestyle

Traditional Dietary Guidelines

There are many books, ranging from very strict traditional macrobiotic diet guidelines to a more modern approach. The concepts of yin & yang can be applied to foods, and eating seasonally is recommended. The traditional dietary approach is based on: lots of whole grains (40-60%) and vegetables (25-30%); sea veggies (5%), plant based protein (5-10%) like legumes, nuts & seeds; miso soup (5%); and extras (5-10%) including a bit of high quality fat (nuts and seeds, and unrefined vegetable oils), fish, natural sweeteners (local fruit, maple syrup, brown rice / barley syrup) and condiments such as natural pickles, shoyu & tamari, and natural vinegars. I follow this general framework most of the time, but include things outside this spectrum when it feels right for my body & soul. Remember, these are guidelines only, and can be used in any degree, as little or much as you personally desire--> find the version of Macrobiotics that works for you! 

Eat Mostly:

  • Whole Grains: brown rice (short, medium & long grain), quinoa, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, spelt, wheat, kamut {cracked whole grains like cornmeal, and whole grain flour products like real bread are good too}
  • Root Vegetables:  carrots, turnips, daikon, burdock, lotus root, parsnips
  • Ground Vegetables: pumpkin, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, onions
  • Leafy Greens:  kale, collards, dandelion, beet & turnip tops, carrot greens, arugula, lettuces, parsley, spring onions, and many more

Eat Daily in Smaller Amounts:

  • Healthy fatschia seeds, hemp seeds, sesame, sunflower & pumpkin seeds & their oils. Flax oil, unrefined natural vegetable oils.

  • Vegetable Proteins: legumes, beans, nuts & seeds, tofu, tempeh

  • Condiments/Seasonings & Pickles: miso, shoyu, sesame salt, tamari, umeboshi, brown rice vinegar, natural sauekerkraut & homemade pickles

  • Beverages: high quality natural drinking water, low stimulant teas like kukicha (twig tea), nettle, some herb teas, occasionally green tea, dandelion or grain coffees. Occasional natural fruit & vegetable juices, and smoothies. Very natural grain or seed milks.

Include weekly & for variety

  • Natural Sweeteners - local fruit, mochi (pounded rice) amazake (a fermented rice drink), rice syrup, barley malt, maple syrup, fruit spreads, desserts & baked goodies made with these things

  • Animal Products: fish is wonderful for more active people, and those building strength. Goat dairy is easier to digest than cow's so if you want cheese, try it out first!

  • Extras: nut & seed butters: peanut butter, tahini, sunflower butter, etc. Non-dairy milks like rice milk, soy milk and almond milk (these make great smoothies!), snacks like popcorn & high quality corn chips, rice cakes etc.

Macrobiotics is more than just using the right ingredients---although that's a great start. It also involves chewing really well, specific ways of cooking (steaming, pressure cooking, lots of soups etc.) as well as balancing each meal seasonally and in terms of yin & yang properties, as well as acid/alkaline balance.

I believe that the best way to try out a new way of eating is to slowly add things in. Don't be afraid to try anything, and don't put any pressure on yourself. These are by no means full on extensive lists; rather they are simple suggestions from the traditional macro guidelines. There are many more foods that are macrobiotic friendly, especially when you factor in your geographic location, so happy exploring!

 **PLEASE NOTE: This is all information I have absorbed from reading literally, a ton of books. I am not a certified health counselor in any way, and I highly recommend checking with your doctor before making any changes. For more detailed information about specific health conditions, proportions, and more specific ingredient & food lists find a certified macrobiotic counsellor. I wholeheartedly recommend educating yourself: check out my resources page!

Lifestyle Suggestions

This one is pretty simple: take care of yourself, on a fundamental level. Are you sleeping enough? Do you take some quiet time for yourself for reflection & contemplation? Do you get outside enough? If you are stressed, how do you deal with it? Things like fresh air, long baths, journaling, gentle movement, meditation, and simple hot tea are all good for the soul. Often, less is more. If you're sick, you can use Macrobiotic Healing Prescriptions  (specific body plasters, food to prepare, teas to drink). For overall zest in life, find something you love doing & keep doing it. Be grateful, and infuse your spirit & home with joy.