Diet Plan Information: Macrobiotic Diet

Macrobiotic Diet Plan


What is the Macrobiotic Diet Plan?

The macrobiotic diet plan is one that was developed in the 1920s by George Ohsawa. The main goal of the diet is to avoid any foods that contain toxins and to consume whole, locally-sourced foods. Many people who follow the macrobiotic diet are vegetarian or vegan as it is thought that meats contain toxins. Proponents of this diet plan claim that it can cure cancer, although there is no evidence to support this. “The empirical scientific basis for or against recommendations for use of macrobiotics for cancer therapy is limited” (Kushi et al., 2001).


How Do You Implement the Macrobiotic Diet Plan?

To implement the macrobiotic diet, only eat when you’re hungry and drink when you’re thirsty. Make sure that you only eat when you’re hungry and chew for a long while before ultimately swallowing. Try to avoid cooking any of your food in the microwave and only use wood, glass, ceramic, or stainless steel to store your food.

In the macrobiotic diet, there are two types of food: Yin foods and Yang foods. Yin foods include cold food and sweets while Yang foods are warmer, saltier foods. Having a balance of bother is important to maintaining your good health, according to the proponents of the diet.


What Can You Eat on the Macrobiotic Diet Plan?

As far as diet plans go, the macrobiotic diet is rather strict on what you can and can’t eat. You should focus on whole, organic, and locally-sourced foods. Roughly half of your diet should consist of organic whole grains while soup and organic fruits and vegetables make up the other half. You can eat a bit of seafood if you’d like, but make sure it’s organic.

  • Organic Whole Grains (barley, rye, millet, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, wild rice, brown rice)
  • Organic Fruits (apples, grapes, honeydew, plums, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, apricots)
  • Organic Vegetables (kale, bok choy, carrots, onions, cabbage, parsley, pumpkin, broccoli, scallions, turnips, burdock)
  • Soup (miso, seaweed, lentils, chick peas)
  • Some Nuts and Seeds (pumpkin seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts)
  • Certain Oils (vegetable oil, sesame oil, corn oil, mustard seed oil)
  • Purified Water


What Can’t You Eat on the Macrobiotic Diet Plan?

  • Caffeine (teas, coffee, sodas)
  • Certain Vegetables (tomatoes, asparagus, potatoes, bamboo shoots, peppers, eggplant, spinach, beets, zucchini)
  • Added Sugars (honey, carob, chocolate, molasses)
  • Dairy (milk, cheese, cream)
  • Eggs
  • Meat (red meat, poultry, seafood)
  • Alcohol (beer, wine, spirits)


Pros of the Macrobiotic Diet Plan

  • Health Benefits: Although there is no scientific evidence that the macrobiotic diet plan can cure cancer, there are additional studies that show some other potential health benefits. One study pointed to the idea that the diet might reduce your cardiovascular disease risk (Lerman, 2010). Another study found that the macrobiotic diet has anti-inflammatory properties (Harmon et al., 2015) while another showed a reduction in blood glucose levels (Soare et al., 2017).
  • Weight Loss: Switching from the standard American diet (which is high in fats, carbohydrates, and sugars) to a whole food, organic diet is nearly a guarantee to lose weight so long as you stick to it.


Cons of the Macrobiotic Diet Plan

  • Not Easy to Follow: It’s hard to always consume organic, locally-sourced produce, especially if you’re someone with a full-time job and/or a family. You can’t just run through a drive-thru and grab a quick bite to eat.
  • Expensive: The cost of the macrobiotic diet plan can be prohibitively expensive for a lot of people. You cannot use plastic food storage containers and organic foods tend to be more expensive than non-organic varieties. Furthermore, private counseling sessions with a macrobiotic specialist may cost in excess of $150 per hour.
  • Lacking in Nutrients: Some diet experts warn that a macrobiotic diet plan might lead to nutrient deficiencies (Harmon et al., 2015). You aren’t supposed to take supplements on this diet either and you may find yourself lacking in vitamins, calcium, protein, and/or iron. Make sure to check with your doctor before starting any new diet regimen.


Books on the Macrobiotic Diet Plan

  • The Complete Macrobiotic Diet (Waxman): “Essentially, Waxman’s method weds a diet of whole grains, beans, vegetables, and soups to a lifestyle that nourishes the mind and the spirit.In seven steps, The Great Life Diet offers a balanced and orderly approach to an active, fulfilling daily life. The aim always is to strengthen health, however good or ill. Indeed, thousands of people, their ailments ranging widely from the common cold to chronic fatigue to heart disease and even to “incurable” cancers, have been helped, often dramatically, by espousing the dietary and lifestyle practices described in Waxman’s instructive guide.”
  • The Macrobiotic Path to Total Health: A Complete Guide to Naturally Preventing and Relieving More Than 200 Chronic Conditions and Disorders (Kushi & Jack): “Macrobiotics is based on the laws of yin and yang—the complementary energies that flow throughout the universe and quicken every cell of our bodies and every morsel of the food we eat. Michio Kushi and Alex Jack, distinguished educators of the macrobiotic way, believe that almost every human ailment from the common cold to cancer can be helped, and often cured, by balancing the flow of energy (the ki) inside us.”
  • The Ultimate Guide to Eating for Longevity: The Macrobiotic Way to Live a Long, Healthy, and Happy Life (Waxman & Waxman): This new book by acclaimed macrobiotic health and nutritional experts Denny and Susan Waxman leaves all negativity behind and brings to light a positive outlook on building one healthy habit at a time. “Great health is not achieved by taking away and restricting—it is achieved by adding healthier foods and lifestyle practices. One healthy choice leads to another healthy choice,” says Denny Waxman.”
  • Macrobiotic Diet Cookbook: 50 Macrobiotic Recipes for Holistic Wellness and High Energy Levels (Tuchowska): “It’s not about eating less! It’s about eating right. Forget about starvation diets, unrealistic cleanses or going hungry. You can restore balance, create vibrant health, lose weight and prevent many diseases just by eating more macrobiotic & plant-based. The solution is simple – you need to focus on clean macrobiotic foods. With this book, you can do it in an easy, doable, stress-free, uncomplicated jargon-free way. You will learn how to create delicious macrobiotic meals, so that you can fuel your body and mind the way they deserve.”


Evidence-Based Studies on the Macrobiotic Diet Plan

  • Anti-Inflammatory Properties: “Based on DII scores, the macrobiotic diet was more anti-inflammatory compared to [National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey] data” (Harmon et al., 2015).
  • May Lower Cardiovascular Disease Risk: “Studies indicating lower serum lipid levels and blood pressure in people following a macrobiotic diet than in the general population suggest it to be an effective preventive strategy for cardiovascular disease” (Lerman, 2010).
  • Reduced Blood Glucose Levels: “The macrobiotic Ma-Pi 2 diet reduced blood glucose excursions during the day, thereby facilitating glycemic control in subjects with [reactive hypoglycemia]” (Soare et al., 2017).

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