What is Macrobiotics?

Macrobiotics is a system of dietary and philosophically outlook seeing the bigger picture of life. This is expressed in the Greek terms “macro” means big and “bios” meaning life. The early proponents of Macrobiotics were from a Japanese background, and Oriental philosophy and medical ideas permeates this system. One of the main principles of Macrobiotics is the cosmic forces of Yin-Yang, Yin being expansive, and Yang being contractive forces. Within the context of diet: Yin foods are vegetables, fruits, sugars, alcohol that all have uplifting expansive qualities; Yang foods are mineral rich, meat, eggs, hard cheese, salt, fish that have a firm contractive quality.

In the middle of Yin-Yang are whole grains and beans. These are the traditional basis of diet in many agricultural based civilisations for many 1000’s of years. Adding to that fresh veg and some fruit, and small amounts of animal foods, creates a dietary that is wholesome and life affirming. Addition to this Macrobiotics emphasises eating locally produced organic seasonal foods that have the qualities necessary to nourish us. For example, regularly eating raw veg and fruit smoothies in the middle of the winter months, can lead to a body that feels the cold and lacking the vigour to get through the winter. Also Macrobiotics looks at individual needs. Some people may need extra Yang or extra Yin in their diet to balance their overall health. Macrobiotics had in the past the reputation of being a boring bland diet of whole grain brown rice. But that’s not the case anymore. Looking at the Yin-Yang qualities of food, flavour and texture provides a flexible dietary system suitable for everyone. Click here for regional and climatic variation guidelines. Note these are guidelines, not hard rules!

Macrobiotics with its broad view of life, promotes sustainability, with the emphasis of locally grown foods, reducing the need for vast amounts of long distant transportation. Small scale or traditional food processing is used, with the emphasis on home cooking. This gives greater contact with the source of our food. We are not separate from our environment, but need to live with her in harmony and respect.

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