The macrobiotic diet is an ancient clean eating practice based on principles of Zen Buddhism. This diet helps to balance the yin and yang elements of food. It is a great way to detox and de-stress from tech chaos and work overload.
Practicing a macrobiotic lifestyle will improve your health and bring back harmony in your life. So, no more fad diets. Try the macrobiotic diet and live a disease-free, happy life. Here’s all you’ve got to know. Read on!
In This Article, You Will Know…
Macrobiotic Diet – What Is It And How Does It Work?
The macrobiotic diet is a low-fat, high-fiber, mostly vegetarian diet (1). It was popularized by George Oshawa a in 1930. Later, Michio Kushi elaborated on the diet and made it a growing trend amongst dieters and mindful eaters. Kushi said that macrobiotics is “the universal way of life with which humanity has developed biologically, psychologically, and spiritually and with which we will maintain our health, happiness, and peace” (2).
This Asian diet and lifestyle follows the Chinese philosophy of balancing yin foods and yang foods (more on that later). The macrobiotic diet works by removing toxins and bringing you closer to nature. It promotes the consumption of organic, locally grown produce and limits the intake of processed, packaged, canned, foreign, and zero-nutrition foods.
People who follow the macrobiotic lifestyle have a more balanced, peaceful, and harmonious approach to life. Scientists have found that following the macrobiotic diet may help lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer (1), (2), (3). Does that mean only people with heart disease, diabetes, and cancer should follow this diet? Let’s find out.
Who Can Benefit From Macrobiotic Diet?
You may benefit from this diet if you:
- Have anxiety issues
- Worry too much
- Are overworked at home, school, or office
- Experience frequent bouts of depression
- Cannot control anger
- Are obese and need to lose weight
- Are pre-diabetic or have diabetes
- Have a family history of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer
- Have hair fall and dull skin
- Exhibit signs of premature aging
- Have painful and/or irregular periods
It is clear that following the macrobiotic diet can help you in many ways. Given our current diet and lifestyle, a close-to-nature diet is the only way to detox our body and mind. But what should you eat and which foods to avoid? Scroll down to find out.
Macrobiotic Diet – What To Eat And Avoid
Foods To Eat
- Veggies (20% – 30%) – Locally grown, organic veggies. Consume raw, pickled or boiled veggies.
- Whole Grains (40% – 60%) – Consume barley, millet, oats, brown rice, wheat, buckwheat, corn, rye, and a few products made from them like bread and pasta.
- Beans (5% – 10%) – Lentils, chickpea, azuki, and products like tofu, tempeh, and natto.
- Sea Vegetables – Nori, wakame, hiziki, and kombu.
- Others (once a week) – White fish, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
Foods To Avoid
- Dairy products
- Refined sugar
- Processed food (salami, sausage, breakfast cereal, protein bars, protein shakes, etc.)
- Meat and poultry
- Canned and packaged foods
- Foods with artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and additives
- Genetically modified foods
- Animal fat
- Fried foods
If you are a regular dieter, you know that most weight loss diets follow similar guidelines. So, is this diet a good for weight loss? Let’s find out.
Will The Macrobiotic Diet Help You Lose Weight?
Yes, the macrobiotic diet will help you lose weight. Here’s how it switches the body to the fat-burning mode:
- Low Calories – You will consume fewer calories. As a result, your body will shift to negative energy balance. Meaning, fewer calories in and more calories out (in the form of RMR, TEF, REE, and workout sessions). Naturally, your body will store less fat.
- Dietary Fiber – Veggies and whole grains are sources of complex carbs and dietary fiber. Complex carbs take longer to digest, thereby making you feel full for a long duration. On the other hand, humans cannot digest dietary fiber, and it forms a gel-like layer in the stomach. This helps in increasing satiety. Dietary fiber also improves digestion by increasing the number and variety of good gut bacteria.
- Lean Protein – The protein that you will consume is mostly plant-based. Occasionally, you will also consume white fish, which is a good source of amino acids and healthy fats. Proteins are building blocks of muscles, enzymes, hormones, nails, hair, and biomolecules. A lean source of protein in your diet will help boost your metabolism and augment lean muscle mass growth.
- Metabolism Boost – Dietary fiber and lean protein both help to boost the metabolic rate. Dietary fiber works by improving bowel movement, and protein helps build lean muscle, where the storehouses of energy (mitochondria) are present.
- No Junk Food – You will completely avoid foods that are high in calories and/or have no nutritional value. Junk foods also cause inflammation and increase toxicity in the body. So, by eliminating them from your diet, you will feel light, proactive, and less stressed out.
- Organic Food – Locally grown, organic food is close to nature. It’s almost what our ancestors consumed years ago when there was no pollution, GMOs, synthetic food, and widely available processed foods.
- Low Inflammation – Inflammation is the body’s natural response to a wound or toxins. But when you consume too many junk foods, your body remains in a constant state of inflammation. This may trigger fat deposition in your belly area. The macrobiotic diet is a close-to-nature diet that helps lower inflammation and stress levels in the body, which, in turn, prevents belly fat.
So, you see, the macrobiotic diet works for weight loss. But does it work for cancer? Scroll down and find out.
Macrobiotic Diet For Cancer – Does It Work?
The macrobiotic diet may work against cancer. It is a clean eating strategy that helps de-stress and detoxify the body. That, in turn, may lower inflammation and cancer cell proliferation. However, there is no solid scientific evidence that the macrobiotic diet can halt tumor cell growth in humans. Should you follow it if you are fighting cancer? Take your doctor’s opinion and choose a diet that suits your condition and helps you improve your health.
Next comes the most important question – how easy is it to follow the macrobiotic diet? Well, here’s what you must know.
Is The Macrobiotic Diet Easy To Follow?
Yes, the macrobiotic diet is easy to follow if you have access to an organic farm in your locality and have the determination to give up eating out or consuming junk food. Otherwise, following the macrobiotic diet can be tough. You would also need to say “No” to most foods on family gatherings, trips, outings, dates, and movie nights. So, be prepared and take the jump.
Before we come to a close, here’s a quick look at the pros and cons of the macrobiotic diet.
Pros Of The Macrobiotic Diet
- Lowers the risk of heart disease
- Reduces the risk of diabetes
- Aids weight loss
- Improves digestion
- Boosts metabolism
- May help fight cancer
- Lowers LDL cholesterol
Here’s the flipside of the macrobiotic diet.
Cons Of The Macrobiotic Diet
- Causes nutrient deficiency
- May cause lean muscle mass loss (if you do not do strength training)
- May make you irritable and moody
- May make you feel hungry all the time
- May weaken your immunity
The only way around the cons of the macrobiotic diet is to consult your dietitian and follow a diet that’s macrobiotic but customized according to your needs. That way, you will not be deficient in nutrients that your body needs. Also, you will be able to function properly and stick to this diet without giving up halfway through. So, talk to your dietitian today, eat organic food, workout regularly, and channel your energy into something productive. You will improve your physical appearance and mental health. Good luck!
- “The macrobiotic diet in chronic disease.” Nutrition in Clinical Practice, US National Library of Medicine.
- “The Macrobiotic Diet as Treatment for Cancer: Review of the Evidence” The Permanente Journal, US National Library of Medicine.
- “Gut microbiota and Ma-Pi 2 macrobiotic diet in the treatment of type 2 diabetes” World Journal of Diabetes, US National Library of Medicine.