Macrobiotic restaurants, macro-approved meals, even Gwenyth Paltrow is apparently “macrobiotic”. But what does this word mean? More than just a diet, the Macrobiotic approach is a path towards health by following basic principles such as eating locally and in season, buying organic or minimally treated produce, and consuming a mostly plant-based diet. This philosophy, created in Japan, comes from the Greek word for long, Macro, and life, Bio.
The theory states that all factors in our lives influence our health. Practiced by scholars, philosophers, physicians for centuries, the Macrobiotic approach combines elements of ancient Eastern medicine with western practices to create a healthful and wholesome way of life.
Macrobiotic principles include:
- Increase variety of foods
- Eat regularly and in small portions
- Chew food well, at least 50 times, for proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients
- Eat only when hungry, stop when you’re satisfied but not full
- Increase physical activity, exercising daily
- Use natural, non-toxic cosmetics and cleaning products
- Avoid long hot showers which deplete the body of minerals
- Eat in a relaxed manner, sitting with good posture and expressing gratitude
- Wear as much cotton clothing as possible
- Avoid excessive jewelry, synthetic or woolen clothing
- Spend time outside 30 minutes a day
- Sleep by midnight and avoid eating 2-3 hours before sleeping
- Drink liquids moderately
- Keep your home clean and if you can, have a green plant to enrich oxygen in the air
- Open the window, even in cold weather
- Avoid electric cooking devices (microwaves, ovens). Try to use a gas stove
- Use cast iron or stainless steel pots rather than aluminum or Teflon-coated
- Minimize use of TV, laptop and tablets. When using, protect your body from harmful electromagnetic fields with a protective shield
- Spend time in direct sunlight
- Have a positive outlook in life
- Sing, dance, laugh, smile
Though few of us follow this entire list, we should strive to make as many of these changes as possible for a healthier, happier life. None of us are perfect and in this day and age, it’s extremely difficult to follow all of these principles. We are forced to spend hours on our laptops, do not have the time to exercise everyday, don’t have access to a park to walk in and often overeat because we aren’t in touch with our bodies (until our stomach is screaming “Stop!”)
However, small changes make a huge impact.
How you can incorporate macrobiotic elements into your life
- Try to walk outside, even if it’s around your house.
- Brush your teeth after dinner so you aren’t tempted to eat late at night.
- Carry bottles of water around with you as a physical reminder that they need to be done by the day’s end.
- Turn off the TV while eating dinner, even if you’re by yourself.
- Taste your food to avoid over-eating it. In Mindful Eating: How Thinking About Your Food Will Change Your Life), I discuss how savoring your meals is a key component in health.
- And even if it means getting off Eat Feel Fresh, put down the laptop once in a while. I myself struggle with internet-addiction but sometimes we need to unplug to in order to restore. Your email will still be there when you come back.