« back to encyclopedia search results
Macrobiotics is based on the principle that all of life can be viewed as a balance between two energies: yin and yang.
It originates in Zen Buddhism.
These energies can be seen in all aspects of life including nutrition. For example, a woman is yin, a man is yang. Night is yin, day is yang. All foods can be classified as being degrees of yin and yang. However, the degree of yin or yang is relative.
For example fruit is considered yin. But with fruits apples are the most yang. These energies attract each other and by balancing yin and yang in all aspects of life health and well-being is achieved.
The following is a list of yin, yang or in-betweens -
A general guide:Animal foodCerealsDairy produce
Meat & Fish:PheasantChickenPork
Dairy Food:Goat"s cheeseMilkCream
Goat"s milkCream cheeseMargarine
Fruit juiceSugured drinks
Miscellaneous:Sesame oilOlive OilHoney
From a conventional point of view a macrobiotic diet has many advantages in that it very much encourages the eating of unrefined food, and reduces the intake of stimulants and intoxicants. However, it is not without its inconsistencies.
First, in practice a macrobiotic diet often provides large amounts of salt in gomasio (a mixture of sesame seeds and salt), miso or shoyu (made from soya). Most food is also cooked and fresh fruit is limited because it"s too yin. For this reason an adequate intake of B and C vitamins is not always possible. The macrobiotic approach also shuns the use of nutritional supplements claiming that a truly balanced diet will provide all essential nutrients. While this viewpoint is shared in principle by many nutritionists the sad truth is that in today"s polluted world it"s often necessary to supplement vitamins and minerals to ensure adequate intake. (the macrobiotic diet is often unsuitable and inadequate for infants and young children).