If you're looking for a sample macrobiotic diet, the following information about macrobiotic diets and the sample diet provided will give you an overview and practical guidelines to make it easy to see if a macrobiotic diet is for you.
What Is a Macrobiotic Diet?
The term macrobiotic is taken from the Greeks. The term macrobiotic means "long life". The basis for a macrobiotic diet is whole grains, combined with other unprocessed fruits, vegetables, legumes and other whole foods. Essential tenants of partaking in a macrobiotic diet include eating slowly and chewing food thoroughly, as well as avoiding overeating.
Also of emphasis in a macrobiotic diet is selecting locally grown foods as much as possible, as well as eating foods seasonally available and seasonally appropriate. For instance, in the summer and spring you would eat foods that are lighter in character, while in the fall and winter you will be more likely to eat denser foods and produce such a root vegetables.
Benefits and Drawbacks of a Macrobiotic Diet
- The emphasis on whole grains, fruits and vegetables makes this a very high fiber diet.
- The diet is rich in many nutrients and can bring about health improvements over the typical American diet.
- The diet is quite limited and may be difficult to stick to if you crave variety.
- Eating a macrobiotic takes a lot of planning and isn't conducive to eating on the run.
- You may need to supplement certain nutrients such as vitamin D, iron or vitamin B12.
- The diet is not considered healthy or suitable for pregnant and lactating women or children.
There are some general recommendations that are made for a macrobiotic diet, including:
- Make well-chewed whole grains (such as brown rice) 25 percent of your daily dietary intake.
- Vegetables should be 30-40 percent of your daily dietary intake.
- Beans and legumes should be five to 10 percent of your daily dietary intake.
- Bean and/or miso soups should be approximately five percent of your daily dietary intake.
- The remaining intake should be composed of fish, nuts, seeds and fruits.
- Nightshade vegetables (such as potatoes, peppers and tomatoes) should be avoided.
- Select your meals according to the time of year. Use seasonally available produce, as well as choosing lighter foods for spring and summer and denser foods for winter and fall.
- Avoid stimulating foods (such as hot spices, tropical fruits, sugar and caffeine) and dense foods that create stagnation (such as dairy, poultry, meat, eggs and salt.) Instead, eat foods that promote balance such as whole grains, beans, fruits and nuts.
- Don't eat dairy, meat or poultry. These foods are avoided on macrobiotic diets.
- Avoid coffee, tea and soda. Teas made with roasted grains or dandelion greens are acceptable.
- All cooking and drinking water must be purified.
- Select only organic produce.
- Use only fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid canned and frozen produce.
- Avoid use of the microwave to prepare your food.
- Avoid intake of all animal products except for fish.
Sample Macrobiotic Diet
Here is a sample macrobiotic diet for a day's worth of meals:
Try one of the following for breakfast:
- Whole grain cereal (such as barley, millet or buckwheat) - either dry or with soymilk
- Steel cut oats with fruit
- Brown rice with winter squach
A morning snack might consist of one of the following:
- Baby carrots
Try a healthy soup for your lunch including:
- Miso soup and whole grain crackers
- Bean soup
- Split pea soup
- Udon noodles and broth
- Steamed Brussels sprouts
- Steamed kale
This is a good time to get the quick energy and protein from nuts and seeds, including:
- Unsalted nuts
- Sunflower seeds
Keep dinner light and minimally processed. Make your dinner food selections depending on what the season warrants and what produce is locally available.
- Brown rice and broccoli with steamed white fish
- Steamed artichoke and brown rice
- Lentils cooked with root vegetables
- Leafy green vegetable salad with shellfish
- Polenta with shrimp and vegetables
- Leafy green salad with chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- Sea vegetables and steamed tofu
As you can see from this sample macrobiotic diet, a macrobiotic diet combines minimally processed whole grains with seasonally available fruits and vegetables.