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Thread: The Macrobiotic Diet

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    The Macrobiotic Diet

    Macrobiotics (from the Greek "macro" (large, long) + "bios" (life)) is a lifestyle that incorporates a dietary regimen. The word was first coined by Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland of Germany with his book, "Makrobiotik, oder die Kunst das menschliche Leben zu verlängern" ("Macrobiotics, or the Art of Extending Human Life"), in 1796.

    Macrobiotic methodology was brought to Europe from Japan by George Ohsawa (1893–1966). Ohsawa was a Japanese philosopher, who was encouraged to formalize macrobiotics by Kaibara Ekiken, Andou Shōeki, Mizuno Nanbaku, and Sagen Ishizuka and his disciples Nishibata Manabu and Shojiro Goto.

    Ohsawa was influential on Nishibata Manabu (who taught extensively in Paris), who subsequently brought macrobiotic theory to North America in the late 1960s, together with his pupils Herman Aihara, Michio Kushi and Aveline Kushi, among many others.

    Before the word "macrobiotics" came into global usage, it was known as the Unique Principle (a direct translation of its name in the Japanese language).

    Philosophy
    Followers of macrobiotics believe that food, and food quality, affects our lives more than is commonly thought. It is thought to affect our health, well being and happiness. They claim it is better to choose food that is less processed, more natural, and use more traditional methods of cooking for family, friends, and oneself.

    Macrobiotics emphasize locally-grown, organically-grown whole grain cereals, pulses (legumes), vegetables, fruit, seaweed and fermented soy products, combined into meals according to the principle of balance between yin and yang properties, rather than scientific dietary guidelines. Cereals (and in particular, rice), which are seen as being naturally balanced in terms of Yin and Yang make up the main part of the diet. Foods which are either extremely Yin in nature (e.g. very sweet foods, dairy products) or extremely Yang in nature (e.g. very salty foods, red meat) are eaten very rarely if at all. The yin/yang properties of food are determined by a number of properties: the acidity of the food, where the food grows (root vegetables versus fruit from tree tops), and the colour, shape, flavour and moisture content of the food.

    Ohsawa described ten diets in total, with varying proportions of the following food groups: cereals, vegetables, soups, animal foods, salad and fruits, desserts, and beverages. The ideal diet of the ten, according to Ohsawa, was named "Number 7" and consists almost entirely of cereals with a minimal amount of beverages.


    Macrobiotic Diet composition
    Consists of
    Whole cereals: 50-60%
    Vegetables: 25-30%
    Beans: 10%
    Soup: 5-10%
    Seaweed: 5%
    The remainder is composed of whitefish, seeds and nuts, oil and spices, sea salt, desserts.

    More information



    I am living macrobiotic in combination with doing Pilates after I had to stop my former sport, mountainbiking, because of knee problems. I had a perfect training weight of 47 kg, then it dropped down to scary 43 kg due to muscle loss and then I gained some horrible kilos because I did actually no sport anymore except walking to work and back home.

    I searched for a new way to get me back in shape and found Pilates. But together with my high protein diet (I was used to it from biking) it was simply disastrous. I almost collapsed after some minutes of training, although half a year ago I sat in the saddle for 200km a week. So I talked with my "personal trainer" and a nutritionist and both recommended the Macrobiotic diet. It was modified a bit to my needs (more water, more fish, some more milk), and it made me feel great, somehow clear and light. And probably healthier as I ever was before.
    Lík börn leika best.

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  3. #2
    Witukind
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    Re: Macrobiotic diet

    Quote Originally Posted by Rúna View Post
    I am living macrobiotic in combination with doing Pilates after I had to stop my former sport, mountainbiking, because of knee problems. I had a perfect training weight of 47 kg, then it dropped down to scary 43 kg due to muscle loss and then I gained some horrible kilos because I did actually no sport anymore except walking to work and back home.
    Where you still on a high protein diet? If so, it's strange because they are designed to make people lose fat and keep the muscle. However if you can't do sports anymore and you don't want to gain fat, you must reduce the quantity of food that you eat because you are using less calories.

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    AW: Re: Macrobiotic diet

    Quote Originally Posted by Witukind View Post
    Where you still on a high protein diet? If so, it's strange because they are designed to make people lose fat and keep the muscle. However if you can't do sports anymore and you don't want to gain fat, you must reduce the quantity of food that you eat because you are using less calories.
    More or less. More "less". And of course I didn't do any sport at that time. But as you can read above: I started with something new (and started with the protein diet, too), but it didn't worked out (it's not about losing weight, but about being in a healthy condition). Also explained above.

    And then I stopped with the protein diet and started with macrobiotics. And go on with Pilates which worked out very fine after I changed my diet. Also explained above.

    Actually your post is already answered with my first contribution in this thread.
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    Macrobiotics anyone?

    Anyone macrobiotic around?
    How has your life improved with the diet?
    Are you the "old school" Ohsawa/Nakamura macrobiotic or the modern Porter type?


    Don't be shy and answer



    *edit: for the ones who don't know so much on that topic:

    What is "Macrobitotics"?
    It's a way of eating. The word Macrobiotics derives from the Greek "macro" (large, long) + "bios" (life). The word was first coined by Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland of Germany with his book, "Makrobiotik, oder die Kunst das menschliche Leben zu verlängern" ("Macrobiotics, or the Art of Extending Human Life"), in 1796.
    Macrobiotic methodology was brought to Europe from Japan by George Ohsawa (1893-1966), a philosopher. Followers of macrobiotics believe that food, and food quality, affects our lives more than is commonly thought. It is thought to affect our health, well being and happiness. They claim it is better to choose food that is less processed, more natural, use more traditional methods of cooking for family, friends, and oneself. Macrobiotics emphasize locally grown, whole grain cereals, vegetables, fruit, seaweed and fermented soy products, combined into meals according to the principle of balance between yin and yang properties, rather than scientific dietary guidelines. Cereals which are seen as being naturally balanced in terms of Yin and Yang make up the main part of the diet. Foods which are either extremely Yin in nature (e.g. very sweet foods, dairy products) or extremely Yang in nature (e.g. very salty foods, meat) are eaten very rarely if at all. Ohsawa described ten diets in total, with varying proportions of the following food groups: cereals, vegetables, soups, animal foods, salad and fruits, desserts, and beverages. The ideal diet of the ten, according to Ohsawa, was named "Number 7" and consists almost entirely of cereals with a minimal amount of beverages. Macrobiotic diet composition consists of
    Whole cereals: 50-60%
    Vegetables: 25-30%
    Beans: 10%
    Soup: 5-10%
    Seaweed: 5%
    The remainder is composed of white fish, seeds and nuts, oil and spices and sea salt.

    The "new" macrobiotic way of life is less strict and has also developed differences for preparation and composition for males and females. Also fruits came into the diet.

    To cut a long story short: Macrobiotics don't eat sugar, no nightshade vegetables, no dairy products, no meat, no bakery products, no eggs, but whole grains, vegetables, (fruits), seaweed, white fish, miso, and so on.

    Food is "classified" on a scale of Yin And Yang and macrobiotics try to eat everything that is placed in the center of this scale, so that it's neither too Yin nor too Yang - it's all about balance!

    More info here:
    - http://www.macrobiotics.co.uk/
    - http://www.kushiinstitute.org/
    - http://www.hipchicksmacrobiotics.com/ (yeah, I know the title is.. uhm.. well. Anyway, the website and the book is a good example for modern macros)
    Last edited by Blutwölfin; Friday, November 24th, 2006 at 09:46 PM.
    Lík börn leika best.

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    Sorry, but I'd find this diet far too restrictive

    There are some elements of it that I like the sound of though, such as drastically reducing sugar intake. This has been hugely beneficial to me in the past and should really form the basis of any diet.

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