Weight loss Blog - BetterMe

Take 1 Min BMI Quiz

Select your gender:

Male Female
Nutrition » Diets » Macrobiotic Diet: Balancing Spiritual And Physical Well-Being

Macrobiotic Diet: Balancing Spiritual And Physical Well-Being

Macrobiotic Diet

Macrobiotic Diet

Beyond watching or losing weight, a macrobiotic diet focuses on helping one live a balanced life. The diet has a combination of certain dietary principles and Buddhist spirituality that aim to impact the dieter’s physical and spiritual wellness. Some of these principles include regular eating, extreme food chewing and keeping a positive perspective on life.

Get Ultimate 28 Days Meal & Workout Plan

Macrobiotic, as a word, was coined from parts of the words macro, meaning big, and biotic, which stands for life. So, the combination represents a big view of life. Macrobiotic diets became popular in the 1970s, and according to George Ohsawa’s philosophy, the diet’s essence is to bring vitality and promote a balanced lifestyle. The philosophy evolved from Ohsawa’s search for another way of eating due to his sickness (7).

macrobiotic diet weight loss

Macrobiotic diet definition

What is a macrobiotic diet? This diet combines the concepts of Buddhist spirituality with some dietary principles to promote wellness spiritually and physically. It also employs the Asian yin and yang principles, which implies that when you serve a ”yang” food like grain, you should combine it with a ”yin” food like vegetables to balance out the diet (7).

Part of the goals that macrobiotic diets try to achieve is the avoidance of toxins, which are found in oily foods and dairy products. The main foods in this diet include locally grown fresh veggies, whole grains, beans, and sea veggies. At the same time, seasonal fruits, seeds, nuts, and eating white fish two to three times weekly, can form part of this amazing diet.

Some who pursue better health have found this diet useful. It is a primarily plant-based diet, and research has shown that plant-based diets may help maintain a healthy weight and lower the risk of several diseases (3). In essence, the macrobiotic diet helps to obtain a natural and calm way of life, even though there is no scientific proof that back this specific diet’s health benefits.

corn

What do you eat on a macrobiotic diet?

The focus of macrobiotic eating is put on organic, natural food. It also leverages organic whole grains, which are expected to constitute about 50 per cent of everything you take daily. So, your macrobiotic diet food list can include the following (3):

  • corn
  • millet
  • oats
  • brown rice
  • barley

If you are taking vegetables that are locally grown, depending on what is in season, you can consume any of the following:

  • onion
  • radishes
  • carrots
  • kale
  • cauliflower
  • parsley
  • green cabbage
  • broccoli
  • pumpkin
  • bok choy

beans

Bear in mind that any of the vegetables listed above should make up one-third of whatever you take daily. Other food that you may add to you daily menu include:

  • pickles
  • beans
  • soy products (e.g. miso)
  • sea vegetables (e.g. seaweed)
  • vegetable oil
  • natural seasonings (e.g. naturally processed sea salt)

Food that you steam or sauté can also be eaten. Then, any soup that you make with the following ingredients will not be a bad idea:

  • soy products (e.g. miso and tofu)
  • sea salt
  • vegetables
  • seaweed
  • lentils

The point is 50%-60% of foods to eat daily should be whole grains, and as for the veggies, it should be within 25% and 30%. As for beans and sea veggies, and soups, the composition should be between 5% and 10% (4).

cookie

Food to avoid

It is not advisable to eat vegetables like asparagus, zucchini, tomatoes, spinach, and eggplant (3). Processed foods like cookies, store-bought cakes, and white bread; dairy products, eggs, poultry, and refined sugars are not encouraged. Also, avoid taking fruit juice and tropical fruits like mangoes and pineapples if you want to get the best result.

Beverages that have strong alcohol, things preserved or processed chemically, coffee, and soda should not be considered. Besides, avoid food that has artificial ingredients or seasonings like oregano and garlic.

Whether you’re a workout beast or just a beginner making your first foray into the world of fitness and dieting – BetterMe has a lot to offer to both newbies and experts! Install the app and experience the versatility first-hand!

macrobiotic diet recipes

Macrobiotic diet recipes

Part of what has encouraged dieters to stick to Macrobiotic diet plan is the fact that it is easy to follow. So, if you want to try out this diet, here is a sample meal plan (menu) (4):

Breakfast

  • Oatmeal (2 cups)
  • Whole-wheat sourdough bread (2 slices) and add with two tablespoons of apple butter
  • Bancha tea (Japanese green tea)

Lunch

  • Tempeh-sauerkraut sushi and cucumber sushi
  • Bancha tea
  • Boiled salad (dress with tofu)

tea

Snack

  • Mix roasted almonds, raisins and sunflower seeds (1/2 cup)

Dinner

  • Miso soup (1 bowl)
  • Rice and baked sole
  • Grated daikon (1/4 cup)
  • Watercress (boiled) and carrots with umeboshi-scallion dressing
  • Pear sauce and couscous cake
  • Grain coffee (1 cup)

How it works

To get the best of your macrobiotic diet, a few principles that you cannot overlook when preparing your meal are the following (1):

  • Don’t use microwave ovens or electricity for cooking.
  • Purify the water you drink or use for cooking always.
  • Use pots and utensils made of stainless steel, glass, wood, or ceramics for cooking and storing your food.
  • Prepare your food in a peaceful and calm environment.

Can you use the macrobiotic diet as a cancer treatment?

Although no scientific evidence has proven a macrobiotic diet’s ability to cure cancer, some cancer patients use the plan to complement their healing process (1). They believe that as they stay away from meals that have toxins and other dairy products, it can have a positive impact on their general wellbeing.

macrobiotic diet definition

Pros and cons of macrobiotic diet 

Some of the benefits involved include:

Minimises the risk of disease

Plant-based diets like this one can significantly help reduce one’s risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease (5). Women who work with the plan may be less prone to breast and other cancers as well. This is partly due to the fact that the diet, which is composed of plants, has anti-inflammatory power.

Promotes healthy heart

Low fat and plant-based diets can reduce cholesterol and blood lipids that manage blood pressure.

Weight Loss

Macrobiotic diet weight loss is another benefit that is reportedly possible. If you replace high-fat meats and processed foods with vegetables, chances are it can help you burn some calories. Apart from that, the fact that it emphasizes whole grains and bean products are possible factors that can aid in weight loss (2).

Beneficial for type II diabetic patients

Considering the emphasis on high-fiber foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, patients who have type II diabetes and those who experience deficient blood sugar levels four hours after eating (known as reactive hypoglycemia) will find it beneficial (6).

If you struggle to even flirt with the idea of giving up your favorite foods or working out till your legs give way – BetterMe app is here to breathe a fresh perspective into the way you view the weight loss process! Check out the app and experience the fun side of fitness and dieting with BetterMe!

macrobiotic diet plans

Cons

Challenging to maintain

The fact that you have to prepare your food from scratch and also get locally grown ingredients is a significant challenge associated with this diet.

Inadequate Vitamin Intake

There have been debates on whether this diet grants the necessary vitamins that the body needs to grow effectively. Due to the exclusion of animal products, the likes of zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and vitamins B12 and D are part of what is not assured can be contained in the diet.

30 Day BetterMe Challenge Rules

Lack of necessary calories for promoting recovery

Another downside of this diet is that the needed variation and calories in the body to quicken recovery for a sick person may not be available (6). At the same time, it may hinder proper growth and development, especially for children.

If you want a balanced and healthy lifestyle, a macrobiotic diet is worth pursuing, considering the reports given by those who have tried it. However, you should really mull over the pros and cons of following the plan and speak to a licensed healthcare provider before you incorporate it into your daily life.

Are you struggling to achieve better and faster results? Check this 20 Min Full Body Workout at Home challenge up!

DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. Macrobiotic diet (2019, cancerresearchuk.org)
  2. Macrobiotic Diet (health.usnews.com)
  3. Macrobiotic diet (2020, webmd.com)
  4. Macrobiotic Diet Recipes (health.usnews.com)
  5. The Pros and Cons of a Macrobiotic Diet (2017, purplecarrot.com)
  6. What is the macrobiotic diet? (2019, bbcgoodfood.com)
  7. With Macrobiotic Cooking, A Balance of Yin and Yang (1988, nytimes.com)
Olivia Johnson

Olivia Johnson

Olivia is a passionate writer and a whip-smart proofreader who takes pride in her ability to turn hard-to-digest information into an enjoyable read. She is a book worm, a life of the party, a meditation and fitness enthusiast, and a champion for healthy living all in one. Dissecting dietary fads, debunking long-established weight loss myths and delivering science-backed quality content is her top priority. When working on a piece, Olivia tunes into her own experience of trial-and-error weight loss which helps her cut through the clutter when doing extensive research. Her unbridled enthusiasm spills over into her work and motivates readers to chase after their full potential.

Kristen Fleming

Kristen Fleming

I am a U.S. educated and trained Registered Dietitian (MS, RD, CNSC) with clinical and international development experience. I have experience conducting systematic reviews and evaluating the scientific literature both as a graduate student and later to inform my own evidence-based practice as an RD. I am currently based in Lusaka, Zambia after my Peace Corps service was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic and looking for some meaningful work to do as I figure out next steps. This would be my first freelance project, but I am a diligent worker and quite used to independent and self-motivated work.

Kristen Fleming, MS, RD, CNSC

Add comment

Fill The Form And Get Free “28 Day Keto Challenge” Book