Macrobiotics is a
way of life based upon living in harmony with Nature through a balanced
whole-foods diet, an active lifestyle, and respect for the natural
environment. It attempts to consciously re-establish balance in all
aspects of an individual's life -- physical, emotional, mental,
ecological, social and spiritual. The macrobiotic way of life is
holistic, taking into account the importance of attitude, exercise,
stress levels, and other lifestyle factors.
The macrobiotic diet is based on elements of ancient Chinese philosophy.
It is a nutritional attempt to balance the 'complementary opposites'
known as yin and yang -- forces that the Chinese believed must be kept
in harmony to achieve good health. Macrobiotics places great emphasis on
a proper dietary practice in daily life. It works on the belief that
each food substance has qualities of yin and yang and strives to bring
them into balance. Certain foods are said to be very yin, others very
yang, and some in-between. Too much of yin food (milk, cheese, butter)
is said to produce lethargy and depression
and too much yang food (meat, spices, eggs) is said to produce
aggression and tension.
The most balanced foods in the yin-yang continuum are brown rice and
whole grains. Hence, these foods constitute the foundation of the
macrobiotic diet. To this foundation, the macrobiotic regimen adds foods
said to support the body's own self-healing ability and promote overall
health and a strong immune system. Proponents assert that the balance
and harmony of the macrobiotic diet and lifestyle create the best
possible conditions for health. They claim that the diet yields many
positive health effects, including a general sense of
It is not proved that a macrobiotic diet can cure any illness. However,
advocates of the therapy believe that it creates a situation in which
the body naturally detoxes. They claim that it has been effective for
improvement and recovery in a huge range of illnesses and problems
including arthritis, heart disease, fibromyalgia, diabetes, digestive
disorders, autoimmune disorders, allergies and obesity.
It is true that the macrobiotic emphasis on low-fat high-fiber diets may
play a useful role in preventing heart disease and some types of cancer.
And its stress on fresh, non-processed foods may prove helpful in
dealing with certain food allergies and chemical sensitivities. Despite
these benefits, few mainstream nutritionists endorse a strict
macrobiotic diet. The selection of foods is so limited, they warn, that
you can easily develop significant nutritional deficiencies. They add
that while a macrobiotic diet may indeed reduce your risk of heart
disease and cancer, it will not cure any specific disorder - including