Macrobiotic Food

The Yin and Yang of Physical and Mental Balance  

Though it may seem like something from mars, macrobiotic food is a simple dietary platform that when applied carefully, can create a stabilised state of overall physical and mental balance. You may ask yourself what's wrong with the food I'm already eating, that which my mother made and that which has passed down for generations.

But now that we there is too much exposure to modern conveniences, so comes more imbalances. We are following this with more and more cases of severe health conditions. Sometimes we have to make some adjustments to bring us back in balance. The macrobiotic approach to more significant health is not only for the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease but also for all the imbalances created within our system. 

I've studied the macrobiotic diet for some time now, and while it has many good points, it does take some getting accustomed to some of the food practices. And even the sustenance itself. However, when you crunch the numbers, a lot of it makes complete sense. Even though some may question the diet for its relatively high carbohydrate content, primarily in the form of polysaccharide glucose such as those are found in cereal grains, vegetables and beans. It does, however, avoid simple carbohydrates such as monosaccharide and disaccharide sugars. These are some of the ones found in fruits, honey, dairy foods, refined sugar and other sweeteners.

Macrobiotic food is not that much different to that of a vegan or vegetarian type diet though not excluded are meat, chicken or fish. It is an excellent dietary approach should you want to gradually change from consuming meat products to a much healthier lifestyle. My recommended guidelines are to eat fish as opposed to chicken and chicken as opposed to red meat in that order and then gradually give up or limit these foods altogether.

If you find this to be too great an adjustment, you could begin with a meat-free Monday. And then perhaps only include these foods occasionally on such days as Thanksgiving, (a national holiday) Christmas day, a Birthday or any other special occasions you wish to celebrate. These guidelines are not only for the prevention of cancer but also the prevention of most other illnesses as well, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and strokes.

And it's not only for persons in good health but especially for those who already have a severe medical condition. It may be advisable to do so under the supervision of a qualified macrobiotic counsellor or a medical professional. Though I'm a veteran vegetarian for over 40 years, I've followed the principles of macrobiotics, food and lifestyle for more than 30 years.    

Whole Grains

Macrobiotic Food - Whole Grains

The following macrobiotic food recommendations may differ slightly due to the various latitudes and climates in which you live or where you may be travelling in the world. However, the principal food of each meal is wholegrain which usually makes up between 50 and 60 per cent of the total volume of the meal. It's far better to consume whole grains cooked or raw over flour products. Whole-cereal grain and grain products include:

Regular Use

1) Short-grain Brown Rice

2) Medium-grain Brown Rice

3) Long-grain Brown Rice (for hot climates)

4) Whole Barley

5) Pearl Barley

6) Millet

7) Corn

8) Whole-wheat Berries

9) Buckwheat

10) Whole Oats

11) Rye

Occasional Use

1) Sweet Brown Rice

2) Wild Rice

3) Bulgar (Cracked Wheat)

4) Steel-Cut Oats

5) Rolled Oats

6) Quinoa

7 Amaranth

8) Corn Grits

9) Rye Flakes

10) Cou


11) Teff

12) Mochi (pounded Sweet Rice)​    ​

13) Basmati Rice    

Medium-Grain Brown Rice

Macrobiotic Food - Vegetables

About one-quarter (25 to 30) per cent of your daily macrobiotic food intake should comprise of fresh vegetables prepared in a variety of ways including steaming, boiling or sautéing with a small amount of organic coconut oil or unrefined sesame oil. Up to one-third of vegetables can be eaten in the form of pickles or salad while the rest you should cook. In selecting plant-based edibles, you can follow these guidelines.

Regular Use - Green and Leafy Vegetables

1) Bok Choy

2) Chinese Cabbage

3) Collard Greens

4) Kale

5) Mustard Greens

6) Parsley

7) Chives

8) Dandelion Leaves

9) Watercress

10) Scallions

Regular Use - Round Vegetables

1) Acorn Squash

2) Broccoli

3) Brussels Sprouts

4) Buttercup Squash

5) Butternut Squash

6) Cabbage

7) Cauliflower

8) Pumpkin

9) Hubbard Squash

10) Onion

11) Hokkaido Pumpkin

12) Red Cabbage

13) Rutabaga

14) Turnip

Regular Use- Root Vegetables

1) Burdock

2) Carrots

3) Daikon

4) Jinenjo (Mountain Potato)

5) Lotus Root

6) Parsnip

7) Radishes

8) Sweet Potatoes

Occasional Use

1) Beet Root

2) Celery

3) Coltsfoot

4) Cucumber

5) Endive

6) Escarole

7) Garlic

8) Green Beans

9) Green Peas

10) Iceberg Lettuce

11) Jerusalem Artichoke

12) Kohlrabi

13) Lambs-quarters

14) mushrooms

15) Patty Pan Squash

16) Romaine Lettuce

17) Salsify

18) Shiitake Mushrooms

19) Snap Beans

20) Snow Peas

21) Sprouts

22) Summer Squash

23) Wax Beans

24) Winter Melon

25) Zucchini

Vegetables to Limit

1) Asparagus

2) Avocado

3) Eggplant (Part of the Nightshade Family)

4) Fennel

5) Spinach

6) Plantain

7) Potatoes

8) Yams

9) Curly Dock

10) Shepherd's Purse

Vegetables to Avoid

1) Eggplant

2) Green Peppers

3) Potatoes

4) Tomatoes

The reason why you should avoid these four plant foods in the macrobiotic diet is that they belong of the Nightshade Family and unlike other fruits and vegetables that grow during the day these foods thrive at night, the same time our bodies are growing. According to the macrobiotic principles, we should not eat foods that grow at the same time as we do. Because we use up energy during the day, we need to rest during the night and allow our bodies to grow while we sleep.                     


Macrobiotic Food - Sea Vegetables

Sea Vegetables or Seaweed are outstanding macrobiotic food and served in small quantities. You can include them in various cooked dishes comprising about five per cent of the daily intake. Below are a few examples.

Regular Use

1) Toasted Nori Sheets

2) Kombu

3) Wakame​    ​

Occasional Use

1) Arame

2) Hijiki

Optional Use

1) Agar-agar

2) Dulse

3) Irish Moss

4) Mekabu

5) Ocean Ribbons

6) Sea Palm        

Nori Seaweed

Macrobiotic Food - Fruits

Although fresh fruit is not that high on the list of macrobiotic food, these nutritional plant foods you can consume several times a week, especially if you live or are travelling in the warmer parts of the world and that you're in reasonably good health. While eating fruits in Mediterranean or tropical locations makes a lot of sense, fruits that are not grown in colder climates you should, therefore, avoid them. Dried, canned, preserved or cooked fruit would be preferable.

Temperate Climate Fruit

1) Apples

2) Apricots

3) Blackberries

4) Blueberries

5) Cantaloupe

6) Cherries

7) Cranberries

8) Currants

9) Grapefruit

10) Grapes

11) Honeydew Melon

12) Oranges

13) Peaches

14) Pears

15) Plumbs

16) Prunes

17) Raspberries

18) Strawberries

19) Tangerines

20) Watermelon

Tropical Fruits

1) Bananas

2) Coconut

3) Dates

4) Figs

5) Mangoes

6) Papaya

7) Kiwi Fruit   ​   ​    


Macrobiotic Food - Nuts and Seeds

Who doesn't like to go nuts on almonds and cashews or even the humble peanut? Add a few pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds to the mix, and you have an excellent snack you can enjoy between mealtimes. A small number of roasted nuts or seeds with or without sea salt or shoyu are high nutritional additives to your diet. It is preferable to minimise the use of nuts and nut kinds of butter as they are difficult to digest, and they are also high in fats.

Occasional Use

1) Sesame Seeds

2) Sunflower Seeds

3)Pumpkin Seeds

4) Chestnuts

5) Almonds

6) Filberts

7) Peanuts

8) Pecans

9) Spanish Peanuts

10) Walnuts

Limit Tropical Nuts

1) Brazil Nuts

2) Cashews

3) Hazelnuts

4 Pistachio      


Macrobiotic Food - Beans

Beans play a significant role in macrobiotic food, and a small portion (about 5 to 10 per cent) of your daily intake should include cooked beans or bean products whether it's whole beans, in a fermented form or as bean curd. The most suitable include:

Regular Use

1) Adzuki Beans

2) Chickpeas

3) Lentils (Green or Brown)

4) Black Soybeans

5) Tofu (Fresh Soybean Curd)

6) Dried Tofu

7) Natto (Fermented Soybeans)

8) Okara (Residue in making Tofu)

9) Tempeh (Fermented Soybeans)

Occasional Use

1) Black-eyed Peas

2) Black Turtle Beans

3) Great Northern Beans

4) Kidney Beans

5) Lentils (Red)

6) Lima Beans

7) Mung Beans

8) Navy Beans

9) Pinto Beans

10) Yellow Soybeans

11) Split Peas and Whole Dried Peas   


Love Travel Eat Right - Disclaimer

Please take note that the information on this site is designed for educational purposes and is intended solely for a general readership. The contents herein are not intended to offer any personal medical advice or to diagnose any health issues you may have. This information is also by no means a substitute for medical care by a licensed healthcare provider. For that, you'd need to consult your medical doctor or a health care practitioner for any advice should you require prescription medication.  

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