Featured image via BBC Good Food

George Ohsawa coined the word “macrobiotique” while he was living in France. Norio pointed out that the word in French has greater clarity because it automatically translates to “great life.” In English however, this macrobiotic meaning is not immediately apparent, which has in turn created a lot of misunderstanding and confusion. But the origin of macrobiotics actually comes from Japanese culture. This diet is similar to veganism, but allows some fish to be consumed.

While a macrobiotic diet will have similarities to a vegan or vegetarian diet, the differences will come in the form of Asian influences. Common foods that will be added include fermented soybeans and fermented sauerkraut as well as sea vegetables. One that follows this diet will commonly avoid many food items, processed and unprocessed, such as: coffee, white flour, added sugar, and any food that includes preservatives.

As with any diet change, you will be wondering why one may consider adopting this. The origin of macrobiotics stems from Japanese culture and philosophy. This diet includes the yin and yang of food. The macrobiotic diet encourages chewing food roughly 50 times before swallowing. You should also pause before you eat and gives thanks.

You now may be wondering what foods you do get to eat other than the Japanese fermented foods and fish. Whole grains make up over half of your diet. Some of these grains include brown rice, barley, millet, oats, and corn. Vegetables will add to your grains for roughly a quarter of the diet. It is preferred that vegetables that are grown locally are consumed. This enforces the principle of the diet. The last bit of your diet is made of the Japanese fermented vegetables previously mentioned, as well as beans. Tofu is made up of soy beans and this will be a part of the macrobiotic diet as well. Fish is generally consumed around one time per week. It is a rare part of the diet and can be skipped altogether.

When diving into any new diet that is radically different than your current diet, it is important to ensure you are eating or supplementing the necessary nutrients for our bodies to survive. This can be checked through a nutrition and calorie tracker like Cronometer or by simply adding it up in a notebook. Some common nutrients to check for include: B12, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as iron.

The macrobiotic diet is one of the more interesting diets to try and is sure to provide healthy choices. Take some time to learn of the origin of the macrobiotics as it is deeper than simply the foods that you eat.