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The macrobiotic diet has been around for a very long time and it is Japanese in origin. It was developed by a man named George Ohsawa.  Actually more a way of life than a diet, the macrobiotic diet embraces Zen Buddhism. Macrobiotic actually means "long life" in Greek.

How Does It Work?
Foods on the macrobiotic diet are paired, and based on the yin and yang concept of opposing forces. For example, yin is sweet, yang is salty; yin is cold, yang is hot; yin is passive; yang is aggressive. In choosing meals, foods must complement each other to achieve good health.

Some foods are never allowed, as they just don't fit in with the overall philosophy.

The macrobiotic diet is basically a vegetarian diet, with some small amounts of fish allowed. It is considered low fat, and high fiber.

Some basic rules of the diet include chewing your food thoroughly, keeping your kitchen neat and tidy, and only eating when you are hungry, avoid using a microwave, prepare rice with a rice cooker and use good posture when eating.

What Can You Eat?
Some of the foods that are a vital part of the macrobiotic diet include: brown rice, tofu, broccoli, sea vegetables (nori, kombu), squash, cauliflower, chickpeas, butternut squash and vegetable soups.

Within each meal, 50 to 60 percent should consist of whole grains, 25 to 30 percent of daily food intake should come from vegetables and 5 to 10 percent should be from beans. Nuts, seeds, fruits, fish and miso soup should take up 5 to 20 percent.

Soups should be consumed 1 to 2 times per day.

Foods to be avoided include meat, poultry, eggs and dairy.

Desserts should only be eaten a couple of times a week, and only if the dieter is healthy. The only sweeteners allowed are rice syrup, barley malt and amazake.

Is It Safe?
A macrobiotic diet is considered relatively healthy. One cautionary note is to watch out for Vitamin D deficiencies, which come from milk, calcium fortified juices and breakfast cereals. It may be wise to take a daily multivitamin to insure that you are getting adequate vitamins and nutrients.

As with any diet, it is best to consult with a doctor before starting on any new diet program.

Changing Seasons Macrobiotic Cookbook: Cooking in Harmony with Nature

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