Rooted in the traditional teachings of East and West, the term macrobiotics derives from the Greek root words macro, meaning “long” or “great” and bios, meaning “life.” It was coined by Hippocrates, the father of medicine, nearly 2,500 years ago, whose approach to health and healing was based on his famous proverb “Let food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be food.”
Macrobiotic-quality foods are organically grown as much as possible, traditionally or naturally processed, and contain no sugar, dairy, white flour, chemicals, or other harmful ingredients.
The macrobiotic way of eating is very broad and comprehensive. It has been observed by millions of human beings for thousands of years, contributing to health, happiness, and peace for endless generations and our species’ overall biological and spiritual evolution. For the most part, it is based on whole cereal grains (the traditional staff of life), vegetables from land and sea, beans, and other fresh foods, with a minimum of animal products. With the advent of the modern era about 400 years ago, this way of eating steadily declined around the world, as meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy became the center of the diet; white flour and white rice displaced whole-wheat flour and brown rice; and canned and frozen foods, highly processed foods, and foods grown with or containing chemicals largely replaced fresh, local produce grown organically and consumed in season.
The goal of macrobiotics is freedom—the ability to create and realize our dream in life as part of our endless spiritual journal in the infinite universe.
The macrobiotic approach is based not only on meeting optimal nutritional needs but also on a deep understanding of the earth’s relation to the sun, moon, and other celestial bodies; the evolution of life on the planet; ancestral tradition and heritage; ever-changing environmental and climatic conditions; humidity, pressure, and other atmospheric influences; local availability, affordability, and other economic factors; natural storability and other practical considerations; and the effects of different foods and beverages on our mind, body, and spirit. The macrobiotic way of eating is not a set diet that applies rigidly to everyone, but a flexible dietary approach that differs according to climate, environment, condition of health, sex, age, activity level, and personal need. Macrobiotics is the collective wisdom and universal heritage of humanity.
In comparison with the modern way of eating, the standard macrobiotic way of eating has the following general nutritional characteristics:
- More complex carbohydrates, fewer simple sugars
- More vegetable-quality protein, less animal-quality protein
- Less overall fat consumption, more polyunsaturated fat, and less saturated fat
- A balance of various naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients and less supplementation
- Use of more organically grown, natural food and more traditional food processing techniques and less chemically grown, artificially produced, or chemically processed foods
- Consumption of food primarily in whole form as much as possible and less refined, partial, or processed food
- Greater consumption of food that is high in natural fiber and less food that has been devitalized by overprocessing