What is Macrobiotics?

LIVING AND EATING IN HARMONY WITH NATURE

With a history of five thousand years, Eastern medicine comes to us as an ancient art and science that is valid and especially useful in today’s world. The macrobiotic philosophy embraces awareness for the natural cycles of the universe. It calls for involving oneself and our loved ones in the art of harmonious living.

We all know that the food we eat and the lifestyle we choose affects our health. Scientific researchers have proved this to us for decades, and our own experience tells us so. In macrobiotics, we follow the rhythm of the seasons and the natural healing processes in harmony with nature’s movement.

Macrobiotics, a Greek word meaning "long life" is associated worldwide with living and eating in harmony with nature. The macrobiotic philosophy embraces the 5000-year-old philosophy of yin and yang and the five-transformation theory.

WHAT IS MACROBIOTIC KNOWN FOR?

During the last 50 years macrobiotics has had an influence on how people think about Eastern medicine, nutrition, preventive medicine, healing, and natural living.

Macrobiotic is probably best known today as a dietary approach to the management of and recovery from diseases, especially cancer. Because of the low fat and high fiber content in a macrobiotic diet it is, besides strengthening the immune system, also beneficial in reducing high cholesterol levels in the blood, in preventing heart disease, in weight management. Macrobiotic is also valuable during midlife transitions such as menopause. [link tobook]

Many people have given testimonials of how they healed breast cancer, Crohn’s disease, and other illnesses with macrobiotic diets, specially designed for them. In 2000, an important study of alternative treatments used by cancer patients reported unconventional treatments, including macrobiotics, effective in reducing stress, minimizing discomforts, and giving patients a sense of control. (Sparber, A., Et Al. “Use Of Complementary Medicine By Adult Patients Participating In Cancer Clinical Trials.” Oncology Nurses Forum 2000. 27(4):623–630).

However, the majority of people who balance their lifestyle with a macrobiotic approach have no major illness. They do so because it makes them feel good, and it is a great support for a sustainable and peaceful future. Throughout the world, people seeking a holistic and natural approach to physical and spiritual well being practice macrobiotics.

Celebrities like Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow, Boy George, and Dirk Benedict reverted the glamour glow of macrobiotics, which has been polished by famed movie stars like the late Gloria Swanson, William Duffty (Author of - The Sugar Blues), and John Denver.

THE PHILOSOPHY OF YIN AND YANG

Nature’s principle is constant change. The relationships between these ever-changing energies of the universe, the yin (expanding energy) and yang (contracting energy), are forces, which influence our lives. Macrobiotics brings awareness to these universal forces and helps us to understand and use them to achieve what we all want: health, peace, happiness, and a long life full of prosperity and vitality.

Macrobiotics yin yang approach to natural foods is based on traditional formulation with the principle of balance, using foods that work in support of one another and to realign natural energies and promote health and well being. These macrobiotic yin/yang guidelines can assist us in balancing our natural cycles with seasonal foods that are inherent in nutrients like phyto-oestrogen, calcium, vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, and proteins.

The Kushi Family’s CONTRIBUTION

The Kushi family’s contributions to the evolution of modern society was recognized by the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History when it archived documents and artifacts related to their macrobiotic work in the Kushi Family Collection.

Macrobiotic teachers Michio and Aveline Kushi, who devoted their lives to macrobiotics, sparked the natural foods movement in the early sixties when they opened “Erewhon”, the first natural foods store in the US. Aveline Kushi is often called “The mother of the natural foods movement”.

Michio and Aveline Kushi encourage people to embrace a macrobiotic lifestyle from early on, even before the conception of a child, and to continue throughout life. They encourage a diet that is rich in whole grains, beans, fresh vegetables, sea vegetables, seasonal fruits, and seeds; and a variety of daily activities such as walking, running, biking, weight-bearing exercises, yoga, meditation, chanting, visualization, or Do-In self massage, as part of a healthy lifestyle.

The Kushi’s wrote numerous books, including "The Book of Macrobiotics: The Universal Way of Health and Happiness" (1977), "The Cancer Prevention Diet" (1983), "The Complete Guide to Macrobiotic Cooking" (1985) and many others.

They also acted as catalysts for the acceptance of alternative and complementary medicine, and founded the Kushi Institute in Massachusetts, U.S.A., the premier center for macrobiotic learning with branches in Europe and Japan.

THE MACROBIOTIC MEALS

Macrobiotic meals are created with the freshest, natural, and whenever possible organic ingredients. A multitude of traditionally used whole grains in their natural forms like barley and brown rice, beans like adzuki and black soybeans, and bean products like tofu, green leafy vegetables like collard or kale, roots like carrots and burdock, and round vegetables like onions and squashes, as well as sea vegetables like nori and wakame, and a variety of seeds, nuts, and locally grown fruits are implemented in enticing ways as part of a balanced diet. If a non-vegan diet is needed healthy amounts of fish or seafood, which is ecological harvested can be included.

Recipes are prepared with plant and seed oils and are free of sugar and other refined foods. A wide variety of cutting and cooking techniques provide an appealing surprise at mealtime. Either slightly steamed, pressure-cooked or sautéed, utmost absorption is geared for. Raw or sprouted foods and vegetable juices are prepared in the most nutrient saving manners.

Traditional made and longtime fermented foods like soy sauce, tamari, miso, umeboshi plum, and sauerkraut, as well as homemade pickled dishes, which are all well-balanced enzymatic seasonings, provide the backbone of the cuisine. With all this good food it is still of utmost importance to chew each mouthful thoroughly.

Considering that most of the meals eaten in the western world contain plenty of meat, poultry, butter, eggs, and all kinds of foods containing dairy as well as refined sugars and starches, it is advised to use such to a minimal extent and only if organic and in case of animal foods grass-fed. Foods containing artificial sweeteners or other chemical additives, or hormones, should be avoided.

Macrobiotic guidelines can provide a framework that should be personalized depending on one’s age, level of activity, personal needs, and environment. It is important to study the philosophy, take cooking classes, and experience the seasonal changes in order to understand how to choose the most beneficial lifestyle and the best preparation of ones food

In the context of disease treatment, or for more detailed guidance relating to dietary change, it is recommended that individuals seek the advice of a qualified macrobiotic counselor, a medical doctor and nutritionist.

RESEARCH: Why is what we eat important?

Scientists agree that refined food is a factor in most of the major diseases in western society.

  • The National Cancer Institute estimates that our western diet is responsible for 35% or more of all cancer in the U.S. Only tobacco, responsible for about 30% of cancers, approaches the impact of diet.
  • The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine estimates that 65-90% of all premature deaths in the united states are related to improper food and tobacco use.
  • Studies have shown that the right diet not only can prevent heart disease, but is also an effective means of treating it

 

Macrobiotics: A Diet for a Healthy and Peaceful World.


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