Planetary Health Series

Macrobiotic Diet – The Anti Aging Benefits

Learning the ins and outs of the macrobiotic diet might seem overwhelming when you first begin eating this way, but as with any other way of eating, it soon becomes natural for its followers.

Proponents say that people who eat a macrobiotic diet are less likely to get cancer and other diseases, will live longer lives and usually have more energy and vitality, even as they age.

macrobiotic diet

The basis of the macrobiotic diet is that followers focus on natural foods that are produced locally. They eat largely vegetarian, but also eat fish and seafood and sometimes meat that been raised naturally or is organic.

An additional cornerstone of this diet is that when you eat this way, you eat with the seasons. So, for example, you don’t eat corn in the winter. If you are eating corn, it means that either that corn was not produced locally (if it’s winter in your neck of the woods, it is summer somewhere else but that means your food was shipped a distance to get to you) or you’re eating frozen corn. Both are not recommended.

So getting a true idea of a day in the life of a macrobiotic diet follower is tough. Much depends on where you live (what locally grown foods are available at any given time?), what season it is and your personal preferences.

Each meal should ideally contain the following:

  • A grain
  • A protein
  • A sea vegetable
  • Vegetables (both cooked for a time and those that are raw)
  • Pickles
  • Dessert (optional and only sometimes)

There should also be a mix of crunchy, soft, sticky, smooth and other textures and tastes in the meal. This provides the “yin and yang” contrast that macrobiotic eating is founded on.

Let’s look at a sample menu. Let’s assume it’s winter where you live. Here’s what you might eat for dinner one night:

  • For your grain – Sticky rice
  • For your protein – Fried fish with ginger for flavor
  • For your sea vegetable – Shio Kombu
  • For your vegetable – Sweet/sour beets
  • For your pickles – A Takuan pickle
  • For dessert? How about winter squash pudding?

Now, let’s look at a summer menu. Most people who eat a macrobiotic diet find that summer is the easiest of seasons in which to plan menus. The produce is plentiful and it’s easy to find locally raised protein sources and locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Here’s a sample summer menu:

  • For your grain – Polenta made with fresh corn
  • For your protein – Red lentils that are made creamy and rich
  • For your sea vegetable – Arame made with sunflower seeds and diced chives
  • For your vegetable – Green salad with carrots
  • For your pickle – Chinese cabbage with lemons and red radishes
  • For your dessert – Lemon pudding

Do you see how the daily meals combine creamy, sweet, sour, crunchy and other textures and tastes? This is the hallmark of the macrobiotic diet, other than the emphasis on fresh, whole foods and finding the proper “yin and yang” of food.

It might take a little planning and effort to purchase and prepare the food, but if the benefits are worth it to you, it’s worth giving the macrobiotic diet a try.