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The Macrobiotic diet for weight loss

by Georgia Ede
Published: Last Updated on

The Macrobiotic diet, explained step by step

The macrobiotic diet is one of the latest trends to achieve optimal health and also stay at your weight. If you are overweight, the moment you start to follow it, you will lose weight because you will regulate and rebalance your body . This diet was born from the hand of the philosopher George Ohsawa , who already in 1920 developed the macrobiotic diet thinking that if we eat healthy and in a simple way we can live in harmony with nature, although it is constantly changing. He also believed that this diet would contribute to the cure and prevention of different types of diseases.

The macrobiotic diet owes its name to the Greek “macro” means great, long and “bio” life, therefore the macrobiotic diet is considered the diet of longevity . So much so that many of his followers claim to have been cured of diseases considered chronic.

The idea of ​​the macrobiotic diet is to avoid foods that are toxic or that contain toxic, and it has been adapted to the circumstances and changes in society, since foods that did not exist before on such a large scale, such as processed foods. Although there are variants, or different currents within the followers of the macrobiotic diet, there are some basic principles that are the following. The macrobiotic diet is a diet based on the fundamentals of yin and yang and divides food according to the type of energy.

What is the macrobiotic diet?

The macrobiotic diet is a low-fat diet , mainly vegetarian in which whole grains predominate , it is a diet rich in phytoestrogens.

Some followers are totally vegetarian, others totally eliminate dairy without eating meat at all, but they do eat eggs and other people include fish or meat in a very small proportion and organic. The main idea is to consume natural foods grown organically and biologically and eliminate all processed and refined products from the diet.

Protein of animal origin is present in the diet but it does not have a very important weight, that is, fish is consumed as well as eggs but not in a usual way, or as a main dish, it is more the companion of whole cereals . There are currents that are totally vegetarian, but as you know this can bring us health problems related to deficiencies of vitamins, amino acids and mineral salts present in meat.

The main pillars of the macrobiotic diet

  • We must eat in its proper measure, without feeling satiated. You should eat, only when you are hungry and the necessary amount, considering that outside of this everything is excess.
  • It is very important to chew food correctly.
  • We must bet on the consumption of seasonal, fresh and natural fruits and vegetables.
  • We will limit the consumption of foods of animal origin to three times a week.
  • Seasonings for cooking meat or fish should be detoxifying like lemon, ginger, wasabi, or mustard.
  • The seeds and nuts should be consumed in moderation.
  • Tropical fruit is not recommended.
  • As a sweetener we should use rice syrup or barley malt. You cannot use sugar, honey, or molasses.
  • The consumption of chocolate is not allowed.
  • The consumption of pasta should be occasional and, if possible, integral.
  • The way of cooking should be steamed, boiled, baked or sautéed. Never fried or battered.
  • Take food from the environment in which you live, and that is mainly seasonal.
  • Eat food as less manipulated as possible.
  • All water to be consumed or used for cooking must be boiled.
  • Microwave cooking is not allowed.
  • Utensils for cooking or preservation, only made of wood, glass, stainless steel or porcelain.

What foods can I eat with the Macrobiotic diet?

40-60% of each meal should contain whole grains of organic origin such as brown rice, whole wheat, barley, millet, rye, corn, buckwheat and other cereals.
You should consume one or two plates of soup a day. Like Miso soup, very typical in Japan made with fermented soybeans. Also vegetable soups.
The vegetables should represent 35% – 40% of the daily diet. One part should be raw as are salads. Vegetables such as potatoes, aubergines, tomatoes, peppers, spinach, zucchini should be represented in the diet in less quantity than green leafy vegetables.

The seaweeds are an indispensable element in the daily menu of the macrobiotic diet.

15% of the daily diet should be beans , chickpeas or lentils and other foods such as Tofu, Tempeh or Natto.

Refined oils should not be used for cooking or as a dressing, as it is a Japanese diet, the most commonly used oil is black sesame oil. But if you can’t get it, you can use extra virgin oil of natural and biological origin in a small amount. As seasonings we will use sea salt, brown rice vinegar, grated ginger, toasted sesame seeds, seaweed, etc.

The only drink accepted is water , which must be boiled and tea made from dandelion or roasted beans.

The basis of macrobiotic thinking is that all things, including our body, food, and everything around us are made up of Yin and Yang . This theory is based on these two basic components in which they are not really matter or energy, it is a complementary combination and it is a way of explaining the relationship between things. They are like two opposite poles and at the same time complementary, in the macrobiotic diet the ideal is the balance between these two forces .

Yin and Yang foods

To determine if foods are more Yin or Yang, there are four main factors:

  • How they grow, speed and direction .
  • Where they grow, whether it is in Nordic climates or in hot climates .

Yin, are the foods considered cold, larger, with less salt and more potassium and that grow above the ground and Yang are the foods considered warm or hot, smaller, with more sodium and that grow below the ground.

  • Sodium-potassium content : Yin are foods rich in potassium and Yang are rich in sodium.
  • Effect that food has on the body, cold or warm .

To eat foods within the Yin and Yang philosophy and find balance, the philosophy is to eat cold foods when it is hot and warm foods when it is cold.

In summary …

Yin foods : are those with cold, dispersing and debilitating energy such as sugar, honey, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, eggplant, tomato, beets and alcohol.

Yang foods: foods with hot, invigorating and contractive energy such as cereals, legumes, fish, meat, salt, root vegetables.

Followers of the macrobiotic diet suggest eliminating poultry, meat and eggs that are too much Yin so it can cause stagnation in the body. Although there is really nothing wrong with eating these foods. Other foods such as sugar, alcohol, honey, coffee, chocolate, overly spicy spices, chemicals, preservatives, low quality or highly refined vegetable oils, commercial milk, yogurt and soft cheeses, are too Yang .

Orientative menu of the Macrobiotic diet


To choose between:

  • Brown rice with cooked pumpkin.
  • Dry whole grains or with soy milk.
  • Oatmeal cut with fruit.

Celery or raw baby carrots.


You can choose from a multitude of soups, such as:

  • The steamed kale soup.
  • Miso soup with whole grains.
  • Udon noodle soup and broth.
  • Pea soup.
  • Vegetable soups.

Sunflower seeds or unsalted nuts, a piece of seasonal fruit.

It is advisable to have a light dinner, you can choose one of these options:

  • Seaweed and steamed tofu.
  • Seafood salad with vegetables.
  • Brown rice with broccoli and steamed white fish.
  • Artichoke or asparagus and steamed brown rice.
  • Lentils cooked with root vegetables.
  • Chickpea salad with green leafy vegetables.

Does the macrobiotic diet help you lose weight?

The macrobiotic diet is not directly designed to lose weight, but it is very likely that if you follow it you will lose weight, since changes in diet, just by removing white flour and processed and refined products, and only with that change we will eat many fewer calories than before . As this diet is aimed at seeking a state of full health and bases its consumption on whole grains and vegetables, the caloric intake is not very high, in addition, the algae provide us with few calories and many benefits, and they keep us satiated , it is because this, that we will lose weight if we follow it.

The advantage is that the macrobiotic diet contains food with low fat levels and high fiber, low glycemic level , which improves appetite control and reduces the content of fat deposits.

In addition, the amounts of food are usually lower because whole grains are very satisfying and also provide us with fiber that ensures proper digestion, and satisfies us for a long time, so we eat fewer calories.

The exercise should be part of our life and our philosophy. Above all, the exercise in contact with nature must be present in our life. Being in contact with the earth, outdoors, breathing pure air should be our priority.

Contraindications of the Macrobiotic diet

Some nutritionists consider that this diet has some shortcomings and negative points, among which it is worth highlighting:

The lack of protein in the diet leads to a lack of vitamin B12, Iron and Magnesium, as well as a lack of vitamin D due to a shortage of dairy products. On the other hand, the high amount of soy and foods with a high load of phyto-estrogens that may be contraindicated in women and for people with diseases such as cancer.

Conclusions on the Macrobiotic diet

It is difficult to be 100% macrobiotic, so the diet has been adapted over time with some variations to make it a diet according to the society in which we live, respecting the basic principles of the diet.

In the different variations it is necessary to try to follow the basic principles of the macrobiotic diet , therefore, remember the main ones.

  • Eat organic food, whole grains, locally sourced food, lots of vegetables and beans.
  • Fruit, fish and shellfish, seeds and nuts, only twice a week.
  • Avoid dairy, eggs, poultry, red meat to a minimum.
  • Totally forbidden artificial or processed foods and products, and of course absolutely avoid all chemicals.
  • Cook in a healthy way.
  • Chew your food properly and do not overeat, only when you are hungry.
  • Get the balance between the Yin and Yang forces.

You may be interested in other Asian diets such as the Okinawa diet , the diet of the region with the lowest rate of obesity in the world; or the sushi diet . 

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