There are certain ways of eating that have been around for hundreds of years, but as we become a more global world, some of these old ways of eating are just recently becoming popular. One of those diets is the Macrobiotic Diet, which started in the late 18th century. Originally, the diet took many of the basic principles of Buddhism, which promotes balance. The way of eating had been around for more than a century before the 1900’s when George Oshawa made it popular with a large amount of people.
Due to people trying to eat more whole foods and avoiding processed foods and meats, the Macrobiotic Diet has become more popular once again. While some have classified it as a fad diet, there are experts out there that say there are a lot of healthy properties of the Macrobiotic Diet. So how can it help you to lose weight and gain health overall? Let’s look inside the Macrobiotic Diet to see if the details will be able to help you reach your goals.
Behind the Macrobiotic Diet
The Macrobiotic Diet actually didn’t get popular at first because of how it promoted weight loss. Instead, it was a focus on treating cancer that caught the public’s attention. The idea was to focus on your overall well being instead of following a standard diet. The biggest basis of the Macrobiotic Diet is to eat foods that are locally grown, with an emphasis on whole grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes.
When eating these meals, you are supposed to balance them out for the ultimate effect of well being. Scientists have said that this way of eating is not going to help you with a cancer diagnosis, but does have some good values. Some of the foods that are left out for the most part in the Macrobiotic Diet include potatoes, spinach, tomatoes and beets. Those are surprising since those foods do have healthy values, but are said to make ailments like cancer or bone disease worse.
There is a fairly standard basis of the Macrobiotic Diet that you can follow, though it can vary from person to person. Foods that don’t appear on the list should make up 10 percent of your daily food intake. Other than that, miso soup, sea vegetables and legumes/beans take up five percent each. Vegetables should be around a quarter of your intake with a majority coming from whole grains like brown rice. There’s a little leeway as you can indulge sensibly a couple of times per week.
So why does that type of eating sound so familiar? That’s because the food list looks a bit similar to the Food Pyramid that we’ve all come to know throughout the years. The difference is the foods that appear at the bottom, and the United States Department of Agriculture has even acknowledged that the Macrobiotic Diet is similar enough to their recommendations that the plan is completely healthy.
There are stricter forms of the Macrobiotic Diet that didn’t bring enough nutritional value, but thankfully it has been adjusted to an all-around healthy plan. Some notable foods that were left off of the Macrobiotic Diet plan completely include meat, sugar, poultry and dairy. Soft drinks and spicy foods are also not on the menu, so there does take a lot of work to follow the plan to the letter.
What’s on the Menu?
Like a lot of the diets that we’ve reviewed, cutting out sugar, soft drinks and processed foods is really going to help you lose weight. Knowing that we have to avoid those types of foods, as well as the other ones that were surprising, we can put together a sample menu. There are many delicious foods on here if you like vegetables, though meat eaters will have a tough time following through. Here’s what you can expect to eat over the course of the first few days.
Breakfast – Whole grain cereal with steel cut oats and brown rice
Lunch – Miso soup with brussel sprouts
Dinner – Brown rice with a side salad, lentils and broccoli
Snacks – Carrots, celery, sunflower seeds
Breakfast – Whole grain porridge with light cinnamon
Lunch – Brown rice with broccoli, beans and tofu
Dinner – Miso soup with brown rice, carrots and couscous
Snacks – Roasted almonds and raisins with carrots
Breakfast – Vegetable wakame soup with barley miso and spinach
Lunch – Cucumber sushi with salad and tofu
Dinner – Oatmeal with sourdough bread, tea and apple butter
Snacks – Cantaloupe, broccoli and sunflower seeds
As you can tell, following the diet for an extended period of time isn’t going to be simple as many of the foods tend to repeat themselves. With a huge emphasis on brown rice, you might get sick of it after just a few days. However, many of the foods are very low in calories, especially when it comes to the vegetables and soup. This means that if you stay on the plan, you will be able to lose weight.
What to Know About the Macrobiotic Diet
Many of the popular diets out there don’t have a large online following, but there are plenty of websites, blogs, forums and more that are dedicated to the Macrobiotic Diet. This should be able to help you connect with people and learn new recipes so that you aren’t eating the same things over and over while sticking with the diet.
Another aspect of the Macrobiotic Diet is exercise, since there is a focus on your overall health and well-being. Since the plan was originally designed to battle cancer, focusing on exercise is another great way of doing that. Most of the encouraged exercise is not all that challenging, including hiking and yoga, or other forms of relaxing exercise. The usual suggestion for exercise is 30 minutes per day, and doesn’t involve any intense workout like running or weightlifting.
Losing weight is going to be an added benefit of following the diet, as long as you aren’t taking in too many calories. Most people on the Macrobiotic Diet don’t have to worry about that thanks to the whole foods that are low in calories. They also tend to be high in nutrition, and the idea is that you’ll feel better overall. It’s going to be hard not to feel better about yourself as you see the number on the scale go down.
As for the claims that the Macrobiotic Diet can beat cancer, it’s best just to ignore those claims and focus on your overall health and weight. Studies have shown that while following the diet can help you prevent some forms of cancer, it’s not a suitable treatment option if you have already been diagnosed. It’s also not suggested that children, diabetics or women that are pregnant or nursing participate in this diet unless advised by a physician.
Summing it Up
Overall, the Macrobiotic Diet is a healthy one as long as you are getting enough calories throughout the day. The plan gets high reviews from experts when it comes to helping you lose weight and also managing heart health. However, the lowest scores come from how hard the plan is to follow. With very strict guidelines for what you can or cannot eat, many don’t make it more than a short amount of time on the Macrobiotic Diet.
However, experts have warned that regaining the weight on this diet is a high possibility since people have trouble staying with the guidelines for more than a few months at most. If you are a person that is always on the go and can’t avoid eating out, then the Macrobiotic Diet might be next to impossible to follow unless you happen to live in a place with organic fast food restaurants that specialize in brown rice.
One benefit that you will find with this diet is the cost. It might be a little more for some locally grown vegetables and grains, but it will be cheaper in the long term than diets that require a lot of meat. Local food is highly encouraged, so visiting a local farmer’s market is going to take up a lot of your weekends.
If you want to be successful on the Macrobiotic Diet, switching up your recipes is going to be beneficial. Since there are so many books and websites dedicated to the diet that has been tweaked through the years, it’s not as hard these days as it used to be. Even the elimination of sugar and processed foods while adding a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise will be enough to help you lose weight, even if you don’t want to follow all of the stringent rules of the Macrobiotic Diet.