Macrobiotic is the art and science of health and longevity through the study and understanding of the relation and interactions between ourselves, the foods we eat, the lifestyles we choose to lead, and the environments in which we live.
The macrobiotic approach is based on the 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.
In considering all factors that influence our lives, the macrobiotic approach to health and healing views sickness as the natural attempt of the body to return to a more harmonious and dynamic state with the natural environment. As what we choose to eat and drink and how we live our lives are primary environmental factors that influence our health and create who we are, the macrobiotic approach emphasizes the importance of proper dietary and lifestyle habits.
The macrobiotic approach is based on principles, theories and practices that have been known to philosophers, scholars, and physicians throughout history. The term "macrobiotics" comes from Greek ("macro" meaning "large" or "long", and "bios" meaning "life") and was first coined by Hippocrates, the father of western medicine. Its most recent development stems from Michio Kushi who was inspired by philosopher-writer Georges Ohsawa. George Ohsawa published numerous works in Japanese, English and French, which combined the western traditions of macrobiotics with 5,000 years of traditional oriental medicine.
By using macrobiotic principles to address and adjust environmental, dietary and lifestyle influences, thousands of individuals have been able to prolong their lives by recovering from a wide range of illnesses including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and many others (view some of these recovery testimonials on our library pages). The macrobiotic approach to health recovery can be used along with conventional and alternative medical treatment and intervention and is compatible with and adaptable to all forms of religious and traditional cultural practices.
Some traditional and basic macrobiotic practices include eating more whole grains, beans and fresh vegetables, increasing variety in food selections and traditional cooking methods, eating regularly and less in quantity, chewing more and maintaining an active and positive life and mental outlook.
General dietary and lifestyle guidelines for persons living in a temperate, four seasons climate have been established by Michio Kushi. These guidelines outline basic dietary proportions along with healthier lifestyle habits and are not intended to define a specific regimen that one must follow, as additional adjustments are required for individual application which will vary according to personal situations.
Food categories and general daily proportions for persons living in a temperate climate:
Whole Cereal Grains:
×50% by weight
×Organically grown, whole grain is recommended, which can be cooked in a variety of cooking methods.
×Grains include: Brown rice, barley, millet, oats, corn, rye, wheat, and buckwheat. While whole grains are recommended, a small portion of the recommended percentage of grains may consist of noodles or pasta, un-yeasted whole grain breads, and other partially processed whole cereal grains.
×Approximately 20 - 30% by weight
×Local and organically grown vegetables are recommended, with the majority being cooked in various styles such as lightly steamed or boiled, sauteed with a small amount of unrefined, cold pressed oil, etc. A small portion may be used as fresh salad, and a very small volume as pickles.
×Vegetables for daily use include: green cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, collards, pumpkin, watercress, parsley, Chinese cabbage, bok choy, dandelion, mustard greens, daikon greens, scallion, onions, daikon radish, turnips, burdock, carrots, winter squash such as butternut, buttercup, and acorn squash.
×For occasional use in season (2 to 3 times a week); cucumber, celery, lettuce, herbs such as dill, chives.
×Vegetables not recommended for regular use include: potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, spinach, beets, and zucchini.
Beans & Sea Vegetables:
×Approximately 5 - 10 % by weight
×The most suitable beans for regular use are azuki beans, chickpeas, and lentils. Other beans may be used on occasion. Bean products such as tofu, tempeh, and natto can also be used. Sea vegetables such as nori, wakame, kombu, hiziki, arame, dulse, and agar-agar are an important part of the macrobiotic diet as they provide important vitamins and minerals.
×Approximately 5 - 10 % by weight
×Soups may be made with vegetables, sea vegetables, grains, or beans. Seasonings include miso, tamari soy sauce, and sea salt.
×Recommended beverages include:
×Roasted bancha twig tea, stem tea, roasted brown rice tea, roasted barley tea, dandelion root tea, and cereal grain coffee. Any traditional tea that does not have an aromatic fragrance or a stimulating effect can also be used.
×When drinking water, spring or good quality well water is recommended, without ice.
×Gomashio, seaweed powder (kelp, kombu, wakame, and other sea vegetables), Sesame seaweed powder, umeboshi plums, tekka, pickles and sauerkraut made using sea salt, miso, or tamari.
Additional Dietary Suggestions:
×Cooking oil should be vegetable quality only. To improve your health, it is preferable to use only unrefined sesame or corn oil in moderate amounts.
×Salt should be naturally processed sea salt. Traditional, non-chemicalized shoyu or tamari soy sauce and miso may also be used as seasonings.