What is a MACROBIOTIC DIET and what can I eat with it…

macrobiotic diet chart
Chart via

I happen to be watching the trailer for the FOOD HEALS documentary, and there was a part I had missed earlier where John Salley says that he started his path on a “MACROBIOTIC DIET” and I had no clue what the hell that was. So I looked it up. Here is what I’ve found.

By wiki definition, A macrobiotic diet (or macrobiotics), is a dietary regimen which involves eating grains as a staple food, supplemented with other foods such as local vegetables, and avoiding the use of highly processed or refined foods and most animal products. Macrobiotics also addresses manner of eating, by recommending against overeating, and for chewing thoroughly.

The Macrobiotic diet and philosophy was founded by a gentleman called George Ohsawa, a japanese cat who was born into a poor samurai family during the Meiji Restoration… I like it. The diet itself, emphasizes locally grown whole grain cereals, pulses (legumes), vegetables, seaweed, fermented soy products and fruit, combined into meals according to the principle of balance (yin and yang)… I like it even more. George Ohsawa, sought to integrate Zen Buddhism, Asian medicine, Christian teachings, and some aspects of Western medicine in to this diet and philosophy…. OK. I might be all in right now.

Only one problem for me, despite his belief and adherence to the life style that encouraged a long life, George Ohsawa himself died of a heart attack at the relatively young age of 73. He was known to smoke heaters though. The gentleman who is most known for introducing macrobiotics to America in the 1950s, has stated that that lung cancer (in his estimation) actually cames from exposure to dairy foods and not tobacco alone:

“In combination with tobacco, dairy food can trap tars and other ingredients of tobacco smoke in the lungs, leading often to lung cancer.”

From what we know now, that sounds ridiculous…. but Michi might be on to something. He was born in 1926 and is still around in 2013. Anyways, this is about the diet, and here are some typical hits from MB Diet and a video or two that I’ve found.

A macrobiotic diet isn’t simply a diet plan. It’s a way of life. If you’re drawn to the concept of eating a natural, organic, plant-based diet (with a little fish) and embrace a Zen-like spirituality in both your life and food selections, then a macrobiotic diet may be for you. – webMD

A macrobiotic diet combines elements of Buddhism with dietary principles based on simplicity and avoidance of “toxins” that come from eating dairy products, meats, and oily foods. – cancer.org