A macrobiotic diet not only helps in reducing excess weight, but also promotes the total well-being of a person. The following article provide information about this diet and its effectiveness as a weight loss diet.
A macrobiotic diet is not just a diet, but a way of life. The term “macrobiotic” has Greek origin and essentially means “great life” or “long life”. The diet and its philosophy were developed by a Japanese educator named George Ohsawa. Ohsawa’s theory was further expanded by another educator, Michio Kushi.
This diet is based on the Chinese philosophy of balancing the forces of yin and yang. Certain foods are classified as yin foods, and are considered to be overstimulating. They can exhaust the body and mind, and include sugar, alcohol, coffee, chocolate, very hot spices, milk, soft cheese, cream, refined flour products, chemicals and preservatives. Yin represents coolness and passiveness.
On the other hand, some foodstuffs are classified as yang, and are considered strengthening but heavy and dense. These include poultry, meat, hard cheeses, eggs, and refined salt. Yang foods are hot, salty, and cause aggression, as well as stagnation if consumed in excess. The macrobiotic diet tries to reduce the influence of both yin and yang foods, and encourages the consumption of food that creates a balance, such as whole grains, vegetables, beans, fruits, nuts, seeds, and sea vegetables.
Composition of the Diet
The diet is based on the philosophy that people should eat natural, unprocessed, and organic foods, which are native to their region. It also emphasizes on the consumption of seasonal fruits and vegetables. It is a predominantly vegetarian diet and consists of low-fat and high-fiber foods. However, it allows fish occasionally. The general composition of this diet is as follows:
- Whole grains comprise 50% of this diet. These include brown rice, barley, millet, wheat, corn, rye, buckwheat, and rolled oats. Small quantities of whole grain breads and pasta are allowed.
- Fresh, seasonal vegetables account for 25 – 30% of the diet. The highly recommended veggies include broccoli, cauliflower, green cabbage, carrots, parsnips, daikon radishes, watercress, collared greens, bok choy, onions, parsley, and kale. Vegetables such as eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, and beets should be avoided.
- Beans, legumes, and fish (occasionally) account for 10% of the diet. Beans to be included are chickpeas, lentils, and azuki. Tofu and tempeh can also to be included due to their high protein content.
- Sea vegetables form 5% of the diet. These include nori, wakame, kombu, hiziki, and arame.
- Remaining 10% of the diet is made up of soups made with regular or sea vegetables or miso soup, and fruits, nuts, and seeds. Locally produced fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, apricots, grapes, berries, and melons should be consumed. Fruits like mango, pineapple, and papaya should be avoided.
Macrobiotic Diet and Weight Loss
The diet is low in saturated fats, and provides all the essential fats. It also prevents the consumption of processed foods, deep-fried snacks, meat, alcohol, sugary soft drinks, etc. Thus, it aids weight loss as the calories consumption reduces. This diet should be coupled with regular exercises to produce the desired results. Its composition may vary, depending on various factors like age, body weight, medical condition, level of activity, and other factors like your geographical location, climate, and season.
However, it is believed that this diet is not only followed for weight loss, but also for other benefits like the total well-being of the body. It improves physical, psychological, and spiritual health of a person. By balancing the forces of yin and yang, it creates harmony in life. It also encourages the consumption of natural and organically grown foods. Also, proper chewing of food, avoiding television and computers while eating, avoiding food prepared with microwave and electricity, are some of the habits encouraged by this diet. These practices bring you closer to nature, and promote a holistic and healthy way of life.
Side effects of this diet are few and can be prevented. Since this diet is very restrictive, it might lead to deficiency of protein, vitamin B12, iron, magnesium, and calcium. Inadequate proteins and other nutrients may lead to a lack of energy. In spite of these low points of the diet, it doesn’t affect the fitness of a person.
From the aforementioned information, it can be concluded that this diet can serve many other purposes apart from weight loss. It has the potential to enhance and improve the overall mental, physical, and spiritual health of a person significantly.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.