Lee Gross is most well known for helping to launch M Cafe, LA's premier macrobiotic eatery, and (maybe even more so) for being Gwyneth Paltrow's personal chef during her macro days. Today, he lends us a complete overview of what exactly macrobiotic means and why you should try it.
Overview Of The Macrobiotic Diet
1. The macrobiotic diet is based on whole, natural, plant-based foods, selected and prepared so as to achieve balance between ourselves and the natural world.
2. The goal is the optimal health of both the individual and the planet.
3. The diet focuses on a wide variety of land and sea vegetables, and whole cereal grains, including brown rice, quinoa, millet, spelt, barley, and others.
4. Beans and traditional bean products (such as tofu and tempeh) are eaten frequently, but the diet de-emphasizes most animal foods, including meat and dairy, although some fish and seafood is often included in small quantities, depending on the needs of the individual. Processed foods, chemicals and preservatives are generally avoided while best-quality natural and/ or organic ingredients are emphasized.
5. Cooking techniques are very simple and gentle, and many Japanese-style recipes and methods are used, including simmering, nabe (clay-pot cooking), and nishime (dry-cooking) with a bare minimum of seasoning and spices.
6. The diet is thought to foster a peaceful, balanced energy, and macrobiotic lifestyle practices (including meditation, gentle exercise, and time spent outdoors) are used to reinforce the individual's connection to the natural world.
7. Macrobiotics is more than just a diet. It is a way of thinking and being in the world that helps us to better understand and appreciate our strengths and limitations as human beings. It teaches us to respect our place on the planet, as a single species amongst countless others, and it encourages us to maintain the delicate balance of life itself.
The Benefits Of A Macrobiotic Diet + Lifestyle
- improved sleep
- weight loss
- clear mind/ better ability to focus
- appreciation for one's self
- improved interpersonal relationships
- improved overall health and a general reduction in minor symptoms and common ailments including colds, joint and muscle pain, headaches, constipation, etc.
It should be noted that there is no "one size fits all" macrobiotic diet. There are standardized recommendations for getting started (below), but everyone needs to adapt the diet to their own unique physiology and their own particular needs.
Tips For Getting Started & Ways To Implement Macrobiotic Principles Into Your Routine
1. Increase your consumption of fresh vegetables. Reduce consumption of heavy animal foods (including meat, poultry, and dairy) and increase consumption of whole cereal grains. When dining out, choose restaurants that focus on natural organic and/ or local foods.
2. Clear your kitchen and pantry of all "junk" foods, including highly processed packaged foods, sugars and sweeteners, food products with and artificial or chemical ingredients, commercial condiments, dressings, sauces, etc.
3. Replace the above items with whole, natural food ingredients, including whole cereal grains (brown rice, millet, barley, quinoa, buckwheat, etc), dried beans, dried sea vegetables, and plenty of fresh vegetables including leafy greens, root vegetables, and brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage).
4. Become inspired and learn to cook! Pick up a good macrobiotic cook book such as The Great Life Cookbook, The Changing Seasons Macrobiotic Cookbook, or The Hip Chicks Guide to Macrobiotics.
5. Eat only when hungry. Slow down while eating. Chew your food well. Be mindful of each bite.
6. Think about where your food comes from. Make the best, healthiest choices you can in any situation, but don't stress yourself out. Be grateful of any food you have in front of you, and eat with appreciation for the farmer, the cook, and the earth.
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