The word “macrobiotic” is Greek in origin and means something like “large life,” but it’s connected with a way of eating that is focused more on Asian food and culture. The Kushi institute describes it as a “view that we are the result of and are continually influenced by our total environment, which ranges from the foods we eat and our daily social interactions to the climate and geography in which we live.” Considering how intimate the act of putting things in our mouths that will eventually become part of our bodies is, it’s no surprise there are systematic approaches designed to make us more aware, comfortable and healthy as a result of these choices.
Credit Hippocrates (ca. 460 BC – ca. 370 BC), George Ohsawa (1893 – 1966)) and Michio Kushi (b. 1926) for combining millennia of information, diets and philosophies into modern macrobiotics. The diet has been embraced by millions for improving health, bringing balance, reversing, treating and preventing disease as well as connecting followers to the cycles of the earth’s seasons, which creates an important harmony and balance not to be overlooked. In these fast-paced, intense times, a practice such as macrobiotics may be as relevant a tool as Occupying, voting and activating our participation in the human evolution. (In other words, corporate eating will get ya sooner or later, so opt out of manufactured foods!)
At its most basic level, a daily macrobiotic diet is made up of at least fifty percent organic, whole grains including brown rice, millet, barley, oats, whole wheat, etc. Twenty to 30 percent of the diet comes from organic, seasonal vegetables lightly steamed, sautéed or raw. Lots of leafy greens, root vegetables, cabbages, squash. Vegetables avoided include the nightshades: potato, tomato, eggplant, peppers, zucchini. Ten percent of the diet comes by way of beans and sea vegetables. Beans such as adzuki, chickpeas and lentils are ideal. Sea vegetables including nori, wakame, kombu and dulse are recommended for their dense nutrient content.
Foods to avoid include animal products, refined sugars, tropical fruits, processed foods that contain artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, very spicy foods, very fragrant or aromatic foods and alcohol. Food should always be prepared fresh—not from cans or frozen.
And beyond what is eaten, the macrobiotic diet suggests eating only when hungry, chewing slowly and thoroughly, and bringing a focused attention and awareness to the meal (not the television or computer). Spend time outdoors. Spend quiet time alone. Exercise. Drink water and be mindful of how you use it otherwise. Keep a clean, clutter-free home and your mind and body will follow.
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