Macrobiotic diet and cooking styles

Discover what the macrobiotic diet is, what foods it involves and what cooking styles are used in its preparation. The macrobiotic diet is a great way to enjoy the experience of eating a wide range of natural foods. During this time people often find their healthy improves and that they generally feel better. It is helpful to think of the macrobiotic diet as a tool to get started until you recover your natural sensitivity to healthy foods and develop a greater awareness to how you feel after eating.
You might use the macrobiotic diet stage for a month to a year. This can be complimented with a greater understanding of food in general through courses, books or internet. I find a short meditation after meals helps be more aware of my response to the food. Once you feel comfortable with the foods and generally healthy you can experiment and adjust your diet to better suit your personal needs.
Here is information on what could make up a generally healthy macrobiotic diet to get started with.



Foods: The macrobiotic diet is generally made up of foods eaten by the world’s most healthy societies. It is based on a range of whole foods that come straight from the land.
Whole grains
Naturally fermented foods
These are supplemented with the option of;
Processed grains
Nut butters
Tofu, tempeh or natto
Animal foods

As the macrobiotic diet is not a strict, limited diet people may choose to include other foods when eating out or visiting friends. Many cultures had a basis for eating that followed a pattern of eating primary, everyday foods, along with a secondary diet that might include foods on a weekly basis and then occasional party foods for festivals etc.

Prime: All vegetables, whole grains such as brown rice, barley, wheat berries, rye, whole oats (oat groats in UK) corn on the cob, quinoa and millet, beans including aduki, kidney, soya, pinto, black eye, lentils, mung, butter, peas and chickpeas, local fruit in season, nuts including almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans and walnuts, seeds such as pumpkin, sesame and sunflower, sea vegetables for example wakame, kombu, dulse, arame and nori, as well as fermented foods including miso, shoyu, sauerkraut, pickles, natto, tempeh, kimchee and vinegars. Any herb teas. In addition sea salt, herbs, garlic, ginger, oils, lemon, mild spices and other seasonings would be included to taste.

Secondary: Tofu, humus, noodles, pasta, good quality bread, couscous, flakes, muesli, good quality sugar free breakfast cereals, fish, eggs, meats, fermented dairy foods, nut butters, seed spreads such as tahini, sugar free jams, fruit juices, natural snacks including health bars, cookies, biscuits, and non-local fruits.

Occasional if required:
Coffee, alcohol, deserts with sugar, chocolate, strong spices, salty fried foods and salty dishes. NOTE: these are all potentially addictive and may hinder our ability to be sensitive to the influence of foods. Some people find it easier to avoid these food for a few weeks or months and then review whether to include them. It can be that it is only by stopping a food like coffee for a few weeks and trying it again that we really know its effect on us.
Macrobiotic Diet Cooking Styles: The way foods are cooking dramatically alters their taste, nutritional value and the way we feel after our meal. In macrobiotic theory the cooking style alters the energetic qualities of the food. The list below has the cooking styles that are more yin and cooling at the top and the more yang and warming at the bottom.
Pressed salads
Blanched/boil for a minute
Stir fried
Stews and Casseroles
Deep frying


Proportions: To begin with try making your everyday, primary diet about 50% vegetables and the rest a mixture of grains, beans, fruit, nuts, seeds and fermented foods. This will help you maintain an alkaline condition. If you want to include more of the secondary foods try 40% vegetables. 40% other primary foods and 20% of the secondary foods.
Awareness: Try to be aware of the smell, texture and taste of the foods whilst eating. Chew well, eat slowly and try to enjoy the whole experience of eating healthy foods with your favorite music, laughter, happy conversation and attractive colorful foods.