Are you feeling that your busy life is taking emotions out of control? No matter how difficult it seems but do we seek harmony and well-being in every day of our life?
Well, we know that food affects our emotions and can even affect our sleep, but did you know that some people believe that following a specific diet can actually bring peace and balance to our lives?
It is called the macrobiotic diet and its purpose is to bring about enlightenment, or at least some form of healthy well-being, through food as an instrument of peace.
Sounds a little philosophical, right?
This kind of diet is almost like a mix between Buddhism and Western diets such as veganism . Advocates of the macrobiotic diet believe that you will live longer and avoid more diseases if you follow their strict way of eating. The name ‘macrobiotic’ also comes from the words meaning “long life”, combining the Greek words macro and bio.
I was certainly intrigued so I decided to do a little research on this diet that extends your life.
What is the macrobiotic diet?
WebMD states, “This diet encourages you to eat regularly, chew food very well, listen to your body, stay active, and maintain a positive mental attitude.”
The menu includes mostly grains and vegetables, and by limiting the amount of animal products, your health and happiness will benefit greatly.
I guess we’re getting a little too spiritual here….
According to Healthline , “The pairing of flavors with food follows a yin-yang assortment to achieve balance and similarly Eastern philosophies see a similar balance in nature.”
Yin foods are said to be “passive” and include cold and sweet foods.
Yang foods, on the other hand, are more “aggressive” like hot and / or salty foods.
Proponents of this diet believe that whole food, such as that which is grown in nature without pesticides, contains energy. And this is the energy that is transferred to our body when we eat it. Factors such as where the food was grown, how it was handled, etc. all affect the energy of the food, which in turn affects us when we eat it.
It seems to me that this diet is really more than a lifestyle, or even a philosophy, it is all about holistic nutrition.
Since this kind of diet has been around for centuries, there is no specific diet. There are general guidelines on what you should and shouldn’t eat. The goal is to eat and drink whatever brings your body to peace.
What can you eat on the macrobiotic diet?
Macrobiotics places a great deal of emphasis on finding, naturally, local food to eat. Ideally, all food items should arrive within a radius of a few kilometers from where you live at most which is also a bit of the zero kilometer trend that is all the rage today.
Everything should be natural, unprocessed, unmodified.
Michio Kushi , one of the founders of the Kushi Institute, which many consider a mecca for the macrobiotic movement, created this standard food pyramid for macrobiotic diets and lifestyles:
It can be seen from the pyramid that whole grains are the foundation of any macrobiotic diet. Proponents of the diet believe that 40-60% of your diet should come from organic whole grains such as:
As stated on the pyramid, these foods can also be cooked and eaten in the form of pasta.
Going up the pyramid, we come to the vegetables.
20-30% of your macrobiotic diet should come from locally grown vegetables . However, unlike the vegan and vegetarian diets, this diet prohibits you from eating certain types of vegetables.
You can eat all these vegetables daily: kale, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, squash, cress, parsley, bok choy, dandelion, mustard, green daikon, scallions, onions, turnips, burdock, carrots and squash. .
Instead, you can eat these vegetables from time to time, about two or three times a week: cucumber, celery, lettuce and herbs like dill and chives.
And last but not least, you can eat these vegetables sparingly or eliminate them altogether: zucchini, artichokes, asparagus, bamboo shoots, beets, avocado, eggplant, fennel, ginseng, green or red pepper, spinach, okra, potatoes, rhubarb, potatoes, chard and tomato.
Who could ever imagine so many rules about vegetables?
But we’re not done yet.
For example, most of your vegetarian choices should be lightly steamed, seared, or sauteed with cold-pressed oil . Only a small portion of your vegetables should be eaten as a raw salad. And an even smaller part is reserved for pickled vegetables.
Legumes and algae
Beans, lentils, soy products, and sea vegetables should make up 5-10% of what you eat. These plant-based protein sources replace animal proteins in a typical standard diet.
But again, not all legumes are the same: azuki, chickpeas, lentils are ok for everyday use, but other legumes should only be eaten occasionally. Keep in mind that you can also eat legumes once a day.
As for soy products, you can choose from tofu, tempeh, natto, and miso. These can be eaten once or twice a week.
Algae are rich in iron , such as nori, wakame, kombu, dulse, and agar agar, you decide not to abuse them and always eat them with or without legumes. You definitely want to eat more algae because they also provide calcium, beta-carotene and vitamin B-12.
Nuts and seeds
While we know walnuts are chock full of healthy fats and omegas, macrobiotics recommend a moderate amount over the week. This is the same for seeds and nut butters.
Nuts and seeds should be lightly toasted. Nuts like chestnuts, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pecans are considered to be the best. Macrobiotics also prefer pumpkin seeds, sesame, sunflower seeds
No to Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, at most sparingly.
There are no fish in vegan diets and they are not necessarily in vegetarian ones. You will find some fish in the Mediterranean diet because it contains a lot of omega-3s.
In macrobiotics, however, fish containing fat does not like it at all.
If you are going to catch some fish you can eat it up to three times a week but it must be local fish, freshly caught and not fat.
Something that surprised me is that in the macrobiotic diet, fruit should not be eaten every day but only a few times a week.
We always talk about zero kilometer and organic fruit. And above all it must be in season.
You can make your choice between fruit tree or berry fruit such as blackberries, raspberries, apples, pears, peaches, plums, apricots, blueberries, strawberries, grapes, honeydew, watermelon, and cherries.
There is not much love for tropical fruit.
Thrifty ingestion of: coconut, banana, dates, figs, papaya, pineapple, mango, and citrus fruits.
Dog, chicken and dairy
Deciding to follow a macrobiotic diet takes a lot of effort and dedication. When you are in that transition phase between macrobiotics and your normal diet you can still eat meat, chicken and dairy products but let’s say you should do without them to eat only grains and vegetables.
However, some macrobiotic followers allow a monthly indulgence on these animal products.
These are the most common foods prohibited by the macrobiotic diet:
All dairy products
food Spicy food
The ban is also easy to understand: all of these foods fall outside the balance between yin and yang.
Some macrobiotic practices that will surprise you
True followers of macrobiotics may not use electricity! I don’t know if I could survive without a refrigerator or oven!
Others may only cook with pots or utensils that are made from materials that are natural based, such as cast iron or clay. When cooking macrobiotic the favored methods are steaming, boiling, pressure cooking, stewing, pickling, cold pressed oil.
Occasionally, if you are not an integralist, you can eat grilled, baked, dry roasted, pan-fried, fried foods, drink fruit juice, or eat raw foods.
Also, if you follow the macrobiotic diet, you will only be able to eat two or three times a day. No snacks.
And contrary to what our mother or grandmother told us, there is no need to finish everything on the plate. Macrobiotics believe that one must stop before being full . This is one of those things for personal well-being, so they think.
How often should you chew?
Let’s say that eating with macrobiotics is a different experience, an experience in which you take time to thank Mother Nature and to reflect on the food you are eating.
But, also make sure to chew every bite of their food at least 50 times. Proponents of this type of diet say that chewing until the food becomes liquid makes it more digestible.
Even though macrobiotics take all this time to think about what to do, their bodies are already in motion. On top of that, studies have shown that chewing a little more really helps digestion
Not only does your food break down into more manageable pieces, but the enzymes in your saliva begin to pre-digest your food so it’s the next digestion. If food is easier to digest, the more nutrients your body will be able to absorb.
Dr. Mercola says: “When you enter larger parts of improperly chewed food into your stomach, it can remain undigested when it enters your intestines. There, the bacteria will start to break down, or in other words it will start to rot, which could lead to gas and bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, cramps and other digestive problems. “
Also, since it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to signal to our guts that we’re full, taking more time to chew gives us more time to eat without binging.
Studies have shown that people who take longer to chew their food not only consume 10% fewer calories but feel fuller when they’re done.
According to research completed at Ohio State University , “softer foods should be chewed 5-10 times and denser foods (meats / vegetables) up to 30 times before swallowing.”
How healthy is the macrobiotic diet?
Macrobiotic advocates claim their diet can prevent cancer, or even eliminate cancer, but there are no scientifically backed studies to prove this.
However, the macrobiotic diet can be good for those with type 2 diabetes.
According to a study published in the World Journal of Diabetes , the macrobiotic diet, which is “a diet rich in carbohydrates, whole grains and vegetables, with no animal fats or added proteins or sugars, was considered useful for significantly improving health indicators. metabolic control including glycosylated hemoglobin, serum lipid profile, body mass index, body weight and blood pressure “.
This is a new study but it looks like it’s a great thing for diabetics.
Research published in the journal Nutrition in Clinical Practice stated that “Studies indicate lower lipid levels and better blood pressure in people following the macrobiotic diet as opposed to people following a normal diet and this bodes well for the impact on cardiovascular diseases”.
While these are the surprising results there are some holes in the macrobiotic diet that turn into nutrient deficiency.
Macrobiotic diet supplements
Macrobiotics who follow a diet similar to vegans and vegetarians also share the same mineral and vitamin deficiencies.
A study published in Nutrition Reviews found that: “Higher rates of vitamin B-12 deficiency were reported among vegans than vegetarians and among individuals who adhered to a vegetarian diet from birth compared to those who adopted. a diet later in life ”.
Vitamin B-12, an essential nutrient, is typically found in animal products and seafood so I would consider supplementing this vitamin to any macrobiotic diet.
Those who follow a macrobiotic diet are usually deficient in Vitamin D. Most people absorb this vitamin from dairy products such as milk and cheeses and fatty fish such as tuna and salmon, but since these are off limits one must either eat. lots of green leafy vegetables or staying in the sun more often.
In short, I do not know what to recommend but certainly the idea of being careful to take local and seasonal products is not bad.
And perhaps we should all learn to be aware of what we do in our body. And if the macrobiotic diet is also slimming , I can answer yes, only if you do not binge every time you are about to eat your meal … ..
We know that diets high in whole grains and vegetables are healthy. We also know that limiting refined sugars and processed foods will make us even happier.
As long as you are eating healthy foods and not eating junk food, everything is fine.
Do you follow a macrobiotic diet?
Write me in the comments!