Eastern wisdom says that all living beings are carriers of two opposing energies Yin and Yang, which constantly compete with each other and affect organisms in a certain way. The dual perception of the world formed the basis of Zen teaching, which claims that only one who achieves energy balance can know true happiness. And what is happiness, if not health and longevity?
A macrobiotic diet is a food system, one name of which promises a long life to its followers. This technique is directly related to the philosophy of Zen Buddhism, but its fans are not only those who seek to achieve inner harmony.
The fundamentals of macrobiotics today are known all over the world and are actively used as an auxiliary means to combat a multitude of diseases and to improve the general body health. Excess weight is also a consequence of the imbalance of energies that can be effectively managed with the help of a macrobiotic diet.
Macrobiotics: nutrition and philosophy
It would seem that the eternal search for a golden mean has nothing to do with food, but an Eastern person is convinced that all phenomena in the world are interconnected. Proper nutrition is not the end goal, but only a means of promoting spiritual development. The vital force enters the body mainly with food, so in the East food is given attention incomprehensible to Europeans.
Macrobiotics can hardly be called a diet, because previously the transition to a special diet was only an intermediate stage on the path to enlightenment. Macrobiotics received its name only in the mid-twentieth century, when the Japanese nutritionist George Osawa examined the nutrition of modern man through the prism of Eastern wisdom.
Food, like everything else, carries the energy of Yin and Yang in one way or another. The distribution of products according to this system has a scientific basis: “frost” food is rich in potassium, cools and oxidizes the body, “spring” – contains sodium, warms and alkalizes. The secret of health and longevity is to maintain an optimal acid-base balance.
According to the principles of macrobiotics, pure “Yin” and “Yang” products do not exist, but all nutritional components known to man can be represented as a spectrum, where the extreme points are absolute Yin and Yang. The position in this distribution depends on which energy is dominant and which is suppressed.
|Product group||Yin, decreases||Yang, increases|
|Cereals||Corn, rye, barley, oats, cereal kernels||Brown rice, crushed wheat, millet, buckwheat|
|Vegetables, root crops, legumes||Eggplant, tomatoes, beans, mushrooms, peppers, sweet potato, potatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, asparagus, artichokes, sorrel. Less: spinach, beets, peas, celery root, cabbage (red, white, cauliflower, cauliflower, broccoli)||Dandelion leaves, cabbage (Savoy, kohlrabi), dried peas, onions (green, bulb, leek), lettuce, parsley, radish, radish, turnip. More: carrots, pumpkin (pulp and seeds), dandelion root|
|Fruits and berries||Pineapples, mangoes, bananas, oranges, lemons, grapefruits, dates, figs, pears, figs. Less: peaches, lime, watermelons, melons, plums, grapes, olives||Strawberries, strawberries, chestnuts, cherries, mulberries, apples|
|Nuts||Peanuts, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, forest|
|Animal origin||Oysters, reptiles, pork, beef, veal, horse meat. Less: rabbit / hare, chicken, lamb||Pigeon, turkey, partridge, quail and duck. More: whole eggs, pheasant meat|
|Seafood and fish||Mussels and other shellfish, squid, eels, octopuses, crayfish; carp, trout, pike perch, pike, flounder, tuna, halibut||Catfish, shrimp, herring, sardines, saury, anchovies. More: red and black caviar|
|Dairy and sour-milk products||Kefir, sourdough, yogurt, cream, sour cream, butter, cottage cheese, milk, processed and hard cheese||Soft cheese, sheep cheese, goat’s milk|
|Other||Honey, sugar, molasses, margarine, vegetable oils|
|Beverages||All sweet carbonated drinks with dyes and sugar substitutes, wine, coffee, tea, fruit juices, beer, mineral water||Herbal decoctions, ginseng and chicory drinks, dandelion root infusion|
|kitchen herbs||Vanilla, anise, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, pepper, garlic, bay leaf; vinegar, lemon juice, mustard||Greens, onions, horseradish, chicory, cinnamon, sea salt|
Yin-Yang balance is also influenced by the method of heat treatment and eating ready-made food. Yin dishes are prepared quickly, but more often they are eaten raw, generously flavored with oil, vinegar or other sauces. Served on the table in large portions with a minimum of salt. Yan food should reach full readiness. You can salt as much as you like, but the use of oil and the portion size must be limited.
Therapeutic macrobiotic diet
According to macrobiotic studies, the cause of all diseases lies in the poor composition of blood. The creator of the macrobiotic diet believed that Qi energy comes from food into the blood, and then distributed throughout the body and reaches the internal organs.
When a person receives an excessive amount of one energy or suffers a shortage of another, the energy balance shifts towards Yin or Yang. The gurus of eastern medicine believe that any disease is not a disease at all, but a consequence of a violation of internal harmony.
All diseases are divided by macrobiotic system into two categories, depending on the external signs of the disease, its course and many related factors.
|Symptoms Yang||Symptoms of Yin|
|Nature of the disease||Sharp, superficial, localized, infectious, viral, there is a struggle between the internal forces of the body and the pathogenic factor||Chronic, internal, permanent, weakened immunity and dysfunctions of internal organs|
|Pain sensations||Harsh, spasmodic, shooting, pulsing, migrating, worse when pressed and heated||Aching, pulling, diffuse, in a constant place, burning, diminishing with pressure and pressure|
|General state||Excited, high fever, fever, fever, man does not feel cold||Weak, sluggish, inhibited, low temperature, cold limbs, a person freezes|
|Constitution||Thinness||Both excess and underweight are possible.|
|Muscles||Tense, frequent cramps and cramps||Weak, flabby, possible dystrophy|
|The condition of the skin||Redness, dryness, burning, peeling, irritation, rash, inflammation, varicose veins||Pallor, humidity, sweating, swelling without inflammation|
|State of the mucous membranes||Dry conjunctiva, oral cavity, red dry tongue||Teariness, copious salivation, white patina on the tongue|
|The cardiovascular system||Hypertension, rapid surface pulse||Hypotension, weak pulse, which is badly palpable|
|Digestive tract||Gastritis, peptic ulcer, constipation||Intestinal dysfunction, dysbacteriosis, diarrhea|
|Excretory system||Frequent urination||Rare urination, renal failure|
|Reproductive system||Increased libido, non-abundant menstruation with a short cycle||Decreased libido, impotence, sterility, heavy menstruation and a long cycle|
|Nervous system||Over-stimulation, neurosis, panic disorder, manic syndrome||Apathy, depression|
|Biorhythms||Sleep disturbances, hyperactivity, insomnia||Drowsiness, overwork|
With the help of this table it is possible to determine the shortage of which energy caused the disease. The right food helps to regain its balance: Yang’s diseases are treated with “indium” food and vice versa. It is necessary to stick to 10 days for a strict macrobiotic diet for therapeutic purposes – this is the time it takes for the blood to be completely renewed.
Osawa himself argues that eating whole grains that saturate the body with the energy of the required type can be healed from any ailment. It is not at all necessary for a European person to become an adept of macrobiotics; it is enough to create a macrobiotic diet with an emphasis on the right products, which will help to correct the Yin-Yang balance.
Principles of Macrobiotic Nutrition
The macrobiotic system recommends using only organic products, in which Yin and Yang are as balanced as possible. At the same time, food with a pronounced energy of one type or another should be avoided.
The rules of a macrobiotic diet do not depend on the goal pursued by the macrobiotic beginner, and are reduced to the following requirements:
- completely eliminate generally accepted junk food;
- eat foods in their natural state;
- give preference to seasonal cereals, vegetables and fruits, characteristic of the area of residence, not to get involved in exotic things;
- eat in small portions and chew thoroughly;
- prepare dishes immediately before their use of fresh ingredients, do not store in the refrigerator for longer than one day;
- cooking and eating should be accompanied by positive emotions.
Food can be baked, steamed and boiled in water, a little vegetable oil is allowed. As seasonings, you can use only natural sauces (soy, lemon or lime juice, apple cider vinegar), herbs and unrefined sea salt.
Macrobiotic Diet: Regimens and Components
Sharp restrictions and radical changes contradict the steady flow of life in the East, therefore, the way of a man to the top of the macrobiotics Osava conditionally divided into 10 stages. The nutritionist did not indicate how long a particular regime should be followed and advised to listen to the inner voice. Further progress is possible only when the body has adapted to the previous diet, so the transition can last from a week to several months.
Each phase is characterized by a different percentage of the basic components:
|Components of the diet||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10|
|Meat, fish, seafood||30%||25%||20%||20%||10%||–||–||–||–||–|
|Salads, fruits, juices||15%||10%||10%||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
The first three modes are the most loyal, therefore do not guarantee a pronounced result. The next four are regular diets that can be used for weight loss as well as for preventive purposes. Modes 8-10 – hard monastic diets, which can not be applied without medical indications. Even in the presence of certain diseases, the limitations of the last three phases can cause irreparable harm to human health.
Regardless of the current regime, the macrobiotic diet strictly forbids:
- preservatives, dyes, sugar substitutes and other additives;
- products processed by an industrial method (sweets, bakery products, semi-finished products, etc.);
- “Overseas” vegetables and fruits or grown with chemical fertilizers;
- food of animal origin, also chemically processed: dairy products, cheeses, butter, red meat;
- stimulating, sweet, carbonated drinks;
- sugar, salt, hot spices and spices.
You should also reduce the consumption of vegetables with pronounced Yin energy (eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, mushrooms) and not include more than two “frosty” components in one meal. Of the products of animal origin, you can only eat poultry and seafood, and you should refuse eggs altogether.
Macrobiotic diet for weight loss
Macrobiotics initially did not apply as a means to combat obesity and began to be used for losing weight relatively recently. The basis of a variety of diets formed macrobiotic rations 4-7.
If you follow the general recommendations and rules of macrobiotic nutrition, you can get rid of 5-7 extra pounds per week. To a sharp start does not become stress for the body, you need to prepare for weight loss in advance using the first three modes.
The four most popular versions of the macrobiotic diet for weight loss are the most popular, which differ in some components, but whole cereals are still the basis of the diet.
|Traditional||Vegetarian||Kushi diet||Madonna’s Diet|
|20% vegetables||25% vegetables and seaweed||30% vegetables and root crops||25% vegetables|
|15% Protein Food||20% nuts and fruit||10% seafood, fish and legumes||15% soups, nuts, seeds and fruits|
|15% vegetable soups, nuts and fruits||5% legumes||10% herbal decoction and clear liquid||10% Protein Food|
In the presence of cancer, the percentage of dietary components changes slightly. The menu of the macrobiotic diet for cancer consists of 60% cereals from whole grains, 30% vegetables, 10% algae and 10% beans. You need to refrain from oxidizing and fatty foods that have pronounced Yin, and focus on the use of fiber.
Eastern doctors believe that such a diet can significantly reduce the risk of developing malignant tumors. However, no nutritional technique can replace the traditional treatment, but only serves as an auxiliary tool for healing. George Osawa prescribed a diet of brown rice for cancer patients. Rice should not be carried away by Europeans, since this product comes from distant eastern countries, and replace it with good old buckwheat.
Creating a macrobiotic menu on your own is not an easy task for a beginner. It is necessary to take into account not only the individual characteristics of the organism, the state of health and the desired result, but also the season, place of residence and other related factors (gender, age, occupation).
The classic diet for weight loss consists on 70% of Yin food and on 30% of Yang. Something like the optimal menu for a macrobiotic diet for a week with three meals a day:
|1||Whole oatmeal on water with a handful of dried fruit||Broccoli puree soup with wholemeal bread||Boiled chicken breast with cucumber and greens salad|
|2||Buckwheat porridge and fresh cabbage salad with olive oil||Borscht on vegetable broth without potatoes, whole-grain croutons||Corn Meatballs with Non-Starchy Vegetables|
|3||Wheat cereal and wholegrain bread||Broccoli, green beans and carrots stew seasoned with soy sauce||Baked fish and grated daikon salad|
|4||100 Mr. low-fat cottage cheese with cucumber||Onion soup and bran bread||Buckwheat porridge with chicken liver, spinach salad|
|5||Corn Porridge with Pumpkin Pieces||Sorrel soup with spinach, green onions and carrots, snack on a dietary loaf||Tofu slice and salad with avocado and herbs|
|6||Porridge and Whole Grain Cookies||Vegetable soup with buckwheat and whole grain crackers||Boiled seafood and fresh vegetables|
|7||Buckwheat porridge with grated carrot salad||Uncooked cabbage soup, bran bread||Grilled fish with seaweed|
During the macrobiotic diet can not overeat, the portion must be reasonable and meet the needs of the body. If possible, do not drink food, so that it does not swell in the stomach and does not stretch it. If you feel hungry, you can drink tea, herbal decoction and eat vegetables or fruit from native latitudes.
Macrobiotic Diet: Tips and Recipes
Those who are going to lose weight on a macrobiotic diet need to limit themselves to drinking and eating liquid food mainly at lunch. Drink only need purified water or herbal tea in small sips during the day. As macrobiota tonic drinks use infusion of chicory or roasted cereals, which are not inferior to traditional coffee.
Weight loss will bring maximum benefit, if not only eat cereals from whole grains, but also to cook them in a certain way.
- For the preparation of macrobiotic porridge take whole grains or cereals, thoroughly washed them and fry in a pan without oil.
- Dried grains are ground to a powder.
- The resulting mixture is poured warm water shortly before use.
Fans of syroedeniya can eat sprouted cereals whole or shabby, without frying them.
Buckwheat is an important component of the European macrobiota diet. Since brown rice does not suit Westerners, buckwheat can successfully replace it even in oriental recipes.
So a popular Japanese snack called onigiri turns into buckwheat balls understandable to everyone. To cook them, you need to brew a glass of buckwheat and thoroughly knead the porridge. In the resulting mass, add the maximum chopped vegetables to taste (carrots, bell peppers and others), mix and mold the balls.
This useful snack is useful to those who spend a lot of time at work and do not have the opportunity to cook fresh food. Chew such a ball should be slowly and drink water only after some time.
Positive and negative aspects of the macrobiotic diet
Watching the celebrities who follow the macrobiotic diet and inspire others with their example, it would seem impossible to doubt the effectiveness of this technique. However, in scientific circles they still have not reached an unequivocal conclusion regarding the benefits and harms of macrobiotics.
George Osawa gave his method of nutrition under the sauce “cure for all diseases” and recommended trying it to anyone who is interested in the Eastern understanding of happiness. The guru himself argued that macrobiotics helped him recover from tuberculosis, and used it to treat even severe ailments.
Nevertheless, scientists have not found a direct relationship between the healing of cancer patients and macrobiotic teachings. Macrobiotics can reduce the risk of malignant tumors, but it is not a panacea for the treatment of existing ones. The attractiveness of macrobiotic theory and oriental philosophy is no reason to refuse medical treatment.
As a method of losing weight, the macrobiotic diet has several undeniable advantages:
- losing up to 7 a kilogram of excess weight in seven days;
- cleansing the body thanks to foods rich in fiber;
- exclusion of harmful products and reduction of carcinogenic risk;
- lowering cholesterol and preventing cardiovascular disease;
- General body health, improvement of metabolism and strengthening of the immune system.
Macrobiotic diet has virtually no contraindications except during pregnancy, lactation, young age and individual intolerance to the components. Observe it is not recommended for those who play sports and lead an active life. Severe restrictions can lead to a deficiency of useful elements, so taking vitamin complexes is not superfluous.
Why is the technique that has been used in the East for more than one century, it is overgrown with so many nuances in the West? Perhaps the point is moderation and prudence – the basic principles of Eastern philosophy. It is dangerous for a European inclined to fanaticism to confuse food with religion and ethical considerations. Therefore, to make macrobiotics a lifestyle or not is a purely personal matter. For a safe weight loss on a macrobiotic diet, a healthy person is sufficient up to 10 days.