Macrobiotic diet is a low-fat and high fiber diet, which was developed by George Ohsawa, a Japanese educator. Since its inception, the diet has undergone a number of modifications. However, in essence, Macrobiotic diet comprises of less fats and large amounts of fiber. The foods consumed during the diet are mainly vegetarian and basically include whole grains & vegetables. Soy products, rich in phytoestrogens, also make an important part of the diet. Though the basis of the macrobiotic diet remains the same, it is modified on the basis of factors like climate, season, age, gender, activity levels & health needs.
Beneficial for Cancer Patients?
Macrobiotic diet comprises of low-fat and high fiber, the same diet components that are recommended to those people who are suffering from cancer and other chronic diseases. The diet also comprises of phytoestrogen content, which has been found to reduce the risk of estrogen-related cancers such as breast cancer. This is one of the main reasons why cancer patients have started turning to macrobiotic diet. However, till date medical evidences have not provided conclusive evidence that macrobiotic diet helps in prevention and treatment of cancer.
- Each meal of the macrobiotic diet comprises of atleast 50-60 percent of whole grains (including brown rice, whole wheat berries, barley, millet, rye, corn, etc).
- 25 to 30 percent of the diet comprises of vegetables. Of the total vegetables, up to 1/3rd can be taken in raw form. The rest 2/3rd is to be taken as steamed, boiled, baked or sautéed.
- You have to eat beans on a daily basis, in the form of cooked beans or bean products such as tofu. Infact, beans will form 10 percent of the daily food intake.
- Soup also forms a very important part of the macrobiotic diet. You need to take 1-2 cups of soup on a daily basis. The most common soups are those made from fermented soybeans, especially miso and shoyu.
- Flour products, like rolled oats, noodles, pasta, bread, baked goods, etc, are eaten only once in a while.
- Macrobiotic diet does not exclude animal products. Infact, they are had several times in a week, though in very small quantities. However, the main emphasis is on sea food, while meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products are avoided.
- You can even have seeds and nuts while following the macrobiotic diet, but they have to be taken in moderation.
- Macrobiotic diet allows the follower to have local fruits several times in a week. However, fruits like mango, pineapple and papaya should be avoided.
- Those with a sweet tooth not worry. You can have desserts while following this diet, but not exceeding 2-3 times in a week. However, emphasis should be on using natural sweeteners, while other sweeteners like sugar, honey, molasses, chocolate and carob should be avoided.
- Throughout the diet, food should be cooked in unrefined vegetable oil. Light sesame oil, corn oil and mustard seed oil are the best.
- Condiments and seasonings should be restricted to natural sea salt, shoyu, brown rice vinegar, umeboshi vinegar, umeboshi plums, grated ginger root, fermented pickles, gomashio (roasted sesame seeds), roasted seaweed, and sliced scallions.
Macrobiotic diet lacks in the following nutrients:
- Vitamin B12