Macrobiotics

Here is some basic information about the macrobiotic diet, a philosophy of health and lifestyle focused on balance, local and seasonal resources, and simple nutrition that I have taken from Wikipedia for a simple explanation.  I have additional resources I am happy to share with anyone who is interested in learning more…

Philosophy

Followers of the traditional macrobiotic approach believe that food and food quality powerfully affect health, well-being, and happiness, and that a traditional locally based macrobiotic diet has more beneficial effects than others. The modern macrobiotic approach suggests choosing food that is less processed.

One goal of modern macrobiotics is to become sensitive to the actual effects of foods on health and well-being, rather than to follow dietary rules and regulations. Dietary guidelines, however, help in developing sensitivity and an intuitive sense for what sustains health and well-being.[5]

Japanese macrobiotics emphasizes locally grown whole grain cereals, pulses (legumes), vegetables, seaweed, fermented soy products and fruit, combined into meals according to the principle of balance (known as yin and yang). Whole grains and whole-grain products such as brown rice and buckwheat pasta (soba), a variety of cooked and raw vegetables, beans and bean products, mild natural seasonings, fish, nuts and seeds, mild (non-stimulating) beverages such as bancha twig tea and fruit are recommended.[5]

Some Japanese macrobiotic theorists, including George Ohsawa, stress the fact that yin and yang are relative qualities that can only be determined in a comparison. All food is considered to have both properties, with one dominating. Foods with yang qualities are considered compact, dense, heavy, hot, whereas those with yin qualities are considered expansive, light, cold, and diffuse.[6] However, these terms are relative; “yangness” or “yingness” is only discussed in relation to other foods.[7]

Brown rice and other whole grains such as barley, millet, oats, quinoa, spelt, rye, and teff are considered by macrobiotics to be the foods in which yin and yang are closest to being in balance. Therefore, lists of macrobiotic foods that determine a food as yin or yang generally compare them to whole grains.[8]

Nightshade vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplant; also spinach, beets and avocados are not recommended or used sparingly in macrobiotic cooking, as they are considered extremely yin.[9] Some macrobiotic practitioners also discourage the use of nightshades because of the alkaloid solanine, thought to affect calcium balance.[10] Some proponents of a macrobiotic diet believe that nightshade vegetables can cause inflammation in the body and osteoporosis.[11]

Composition

Some Basic Macrobiotic Ingredients

Some general guidelines for the Japanese style macrobiotic diet are the following (it is also said that a macrobiotic diet varies greatly, depending on geographical and life circumstances):[12]

  • Well chewed whole cereal grains, especially brown rice: 40–60%
  • Vegetables: 25–30%
  • Beans and legumes: 5–10%
  • Miso soup: 5%
  • Sea vegetables: 5%
  • Traditionally or naturally processed foods: 5–10%

Fish and seafood, seeds and nuts, seed and nut butters, seasonings, sweeteners, fruits, and beverages may be enjoyed occasionally, 2–3 times per week. Other naturally raised animal products may be included if needed during dietary transition or according to individual needs.

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Here We Go

I discovered a few things in the last 19 days about cooking, eating and blog writing.  One of which is that I do not eat anywhere near enough to cook a new recipe everyday.  Secondly, I do not always have the time, energy or ingredients to make something new and different on a daily basis.  Lastly writing and posting also are not easy to do daily….

When we start new things, even with the best of intentions, they do not always work out as planned.  So I take this as my first lesson and will now be posting the recipes I have used in the past nineteen days since I started this project.  It has not been perfect, I have not always followed my intentions, but I keep coming back to them and working to eat right for my emotional, physical and spiritual health.  I realize that it is easier than I thought to eat healthy and delicious meals, but that it takes new ideas and more options to turn it into a long lasting lifestyle.  Hopefully some of the recipes that follow will be useful for you in working to make lifestyle changes or will support adjustments that you already have made.

and so, on to the recipes…