The Macrobiotic Diet is much more than just a weight loss plan. It is a way of life where followers are guided to adopt a new way of life that integrates physical and spiritual health. The name of the Macrobiotic Diet is derived from the Greek word “macro” meaning large or long, and “bios” meaning life. So – a diet designed for a long life. The term “macrobiotics” was first used by Hippocratus, the father of Western Medicine, to describe people who were healthy and long-lived.
George Ohsawa, a Japanese philosopher, developed the original Macrobiotic Diet and philosophy. He took his teachings over to the United States in the 1950s. Michio Kushi, one of Ohsawa’s pupils later refined and popularized this diet. The Kushi Institute was opened in Boston in 1978. Kushi and his wife, Aveline Kushi, published a number of books on the Macrobiotic Diet.
Followers of the Macrobiotic Diet believe there is a strong relationship between food and the mind, body and spirit – and that our lives really are affected in many ways by what we eat, when we eat, and how we eat. The nutritional approach this diet is based on is in essence a low fat, high fiber diet; emphasizing locally grown whole grains and vegetables with plenty of beans and soy products. The basic vegetarian diet is supplemented by small amounts of fish, nuts and fruit. Macrobiotics discourages the use of processed or refined foods and clearly identifies refined sugar as one of the major culprits in the modern diet.
The Macrobiotic Diet goes as far as to prescribe different foods for different seasons, and for different times of the day. Food must be chosen to ensure a balance between yin and yang as per the eastern philosophy. Yin foods are described as cooling and include most fruit and vegetables. Yang foods are regarded as warming foods and include most animal products, fish, coffee, chocolate, ham and wine. Sweeter food generally holds more yin energy, while salty food contains the yang. Extremes to both sides (yin and yang) are to be avoided and foods must be selected from the middle range. Even though it is a largely vegetarian lifestyle, Macrobiotics also allows for fish and some animal products, and is therefor described as a “flexitarian” lifestyle.
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