The Macrobiotic Diet: Definition, Foods & Diet Basics (2024)

What is a macrobiotic diet?

Macrobiotic diets combine the concepts of Buddhist spirituality and certain dietary principles with the goal of balancing spiritual and physical wellness. Macrobiotic diets aim to avoid the "toxins" that come from eating dairy products, meats, and oily foods. A macrobiotic diet consists largely of whole grains, cereals, and cooked vegetables.

Are macrobiotic diets overly restrictive?

Early versions of macrobiotic diets could be quite extreme, for example, requiring the consumption of only cooked whole grains and limited beverages. Currently, macrobiotic counselors do not recommend these extremely restrictive diets. A specific macrobiotic diet prescription is determined for an individual, taking into account his or her age, sex, level of physical activity, and native climate.

Is the concept of macrobiotics a recent development?

The macrobiotic philosophy and diet were first described by the Japanese philosopher George Ohsawa, who began teaching his philosophies of health and dieting in the 1930s. In the 1960s, the philosophy of macrobiotics was brought to the US. Interest in the diet increased in the 1980s following a book written by physician Anthony Sattilaro, who believed that a macrobiotic diet helped treat his own prostate cancer.

Are there health benefits associated with macrobiotic diets?

Proponents of macrobiotic diets claim that it can prevent and cure disease, including cancer, although there is no firm scientific evidence to prove that a macrobiotic diet can cure or treat cancer. Since the diet consists largely of whole grains, cereals, and vegetables, those who follow this eating plan may experience some of the health benefits that are associated with eating low-fat, high fiber foods.

Are there risks associated with macrobiotic diets?

If not properly planned, macrobiotic diets can lead to poor nutrition. The macrobiotic diet is not recommended for pregnant women or children and may not provide sufficient protein and nutrients for others.

Is a macrobiotic diet the same as a vegetarian diet?

Not necessarily. There is no underlying vegetarian philosophy in the concept of macrobiotics. Early versions of the diet did not include meats, but newer versions discourage the consumption of heavy meats and may include limited servings of fresh whitemeat fish. Not all fruits and vegetables are considered acceptable for a macrobiotic diet. Potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, asparagus, spinach, beets, zucchini, and avocados are examples of excluded vegetables. A macrobiotic diet also recommends consumption of locally-grown produce and avoidance of fruits that do not grow locally, such as bananas, pineapples and other tropical fruits.

Does macrobiotics involve specific cooking and food preparation methods?

Macrobiotic diets recommend cooking with pots, pans, and utensils made only from certain materials. Glass, wood, stainless steel, ceramic, and enamel cookware all are considered acceptable materials for cookware. People who practice the diet do not usually use microwaves or electricity for food preparation.

The Macrobiotic Diet: Definition, Foods & Diet Basics (1)


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer
The Macrobiotic Diet: Definition, Foods & Diet Basics (2024)


The Macrobiotic Diet: Definition, Foods & Diet Basics? ›

The macrobiotic diet is a strict diet that claims to reduce toxins. It involves eating whole grains and vegetables and avoiding foods high in fat, salt, sugar, and artificial ingredients. A macrobiotic diet food list can help a person follow this diet.

What is the definition of macrobiotic diet? ›

Medical Definition

macrobiotic. adjective. mac·​ro·​bi·​ot·​ic ˌmak-rō-bī-ˈät-ik, -bē- : of, relating to, or being a diet that consists of whole cereals and grains supplemented especially with beans and vegetables and that in its especially former more restrictive forms has been linked to nutritional deficiencies.

What are the three principles of a macrobiotic diet? ›

It revolves around three main food principles including: Yin and yang, which, in the context of food, means ingredients that warm up the body also give the body more energy, and are the yang, where yin foods cool us down and can be more refreshing; the second is acid and alkaline, meaning one should consume foods with ...

What are the ingredients in a macrobiotic diet? ›

Some general guidelines for the Japanese-style macrobiotic diet are the following (it is also said that a macrobiotic diet varies greatly, depending on geographical and life circ*mstances): Well-chewed whole cereal grains, especially brown rice: 40–60% Vegetables: 25–30% Beans and legumes: 5–10%

Can you eat tomatoes on macrobiotic diet? ›

Potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, asparagus, spinach, beets, zucchini, and avocados are examples of excluded vegetables.

Can I eat bread on macrobiotic diet? ›

Although whole grains are preferred, small portions of pasta and bread from refined flour may be eaten. Fresh vegetables should comprise 25 to 30% of food intake.

What foods can you not eat on a macrobiotic diet? ›

Foods to avoid on a macrobiotic diet
  • meat.
  • dairy products.
  • eggs.
  • refined sugar.
  • animal fats.
  • artificial sweeteners or chemical additives.
  • genetically modified foods.
Apr 27, 2022

What vegetables are macrobiotic? ›

Our Favorite Macrobiotic Vegetables
  • Watercress – Watercress is highly nourishing and refreshing. ...
  • Kale – Kale is a leafy, cruciferous vegetable that is rich in nutrients and minerals. ...
  • Napa/Chinese Cabbage – Napa is a leafy vegetable that is very flexible and adaptable.

Can you drink coffee on a macrobiotic diet? ›

Vegetables and whole grains are the centerpiece of the macrobiotic diet. Most foods are processed very little, and eating dairy products, red meat, coffee, eggs, and sugar is discouraged. Vitamins and supplements are also discouraged.

What are the 5 elements of macrobiotics? ›

The elements are wood, fire, earth, metal and water. This approach, from deep observation, links our organs and different parts of our body to each natural phase.

Is oatmeal macrobiotic? ›

A macrobiotic practitioner plans your diet by taking into consideration your age, sex, where you live and how much exercise you do. Generally, the diet is made up of: organic whole grains such as brown rice, barley, oats and buckwheat (half your food intake)

What do you eat for breakfast on a macrobiotic diet? ›

We recommend that your macrobiotic breakfast has a grain-based dish with light vegetables on the side. For the basis of any breakfast dish, some great grains for breakfast include, but are not limited to: Brown rice. Steel-cut oats.

Are eggs macrobiotic? ›

Forbidden foods in the macrobiotic diet

All kinds of meat, dairy produce, spicy ingredients and fruit juices are forbidden. Coffee, soda, canned food, refined products (including sugar), eggs and all kinds of processed foods are not allowed.

What is a simple macrobiotic diet plan? ›

Plant proteins: Tofu, tempeh, seitan, natto, humus, falafel. Vegetables: Green leafy, round and roots, shoots and sprouts. Fruits: Local and seasonal when possible, fresh and dried. Seeds: Pumpkin, sesame, sunflower and others, tahini and seed butters and milks.

What is macrobiotic diet meaning? ›

Macrobiotics is a lifestyle stressing balance and harmony. It includes a rigorous diet plan, gentle exercise, and behavioral changes. All are geared towards obtaining a natural and calm way of life.

Is coffee allowed on a macrobiotic diet? ›

Forbidden foods in the macrobiotic diet

Coffee, soda, canned food, refined products (including sugar), eggs and all kinds of processed foods are not allowed.

What exercises are allowed on the macrobiotic diet? ›

Macrobiotic experts recommend including both cardio and yoga alongside your diet to experience total physical and spiritual well-being. Enjoy fresh and delicious healthy foods that work in harmony to make you feel immediately renewed and recharged.

Can you eat pasta on a macrobiotic diet? ›

A macrobiotic dinner should leave you feeling satisfied. As a result, dinner can be simple as a vegetable pasta dish. Or pasta dish with an additional vegetable dish, salad, soup, and/or dessert.

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