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Monday, June 6, 2011


Macrobiotic Diet

Macrobiotic is a dietry discipline based on the East Asian concept that good health depends on establishing a harmonious balance of the opposing life forces (yang and yin) and that is applies to foods as well as other aspects of life.

The regimen was developed during the first half of the 20th century by George Ohsawa, a Japanese philosophy student who claimed to have cured his tuberculosis by devising a diet based on the spiritual principles and practises of Oriental medicine. He created the term macrobiotics, which in Greek means "a broad view of life" and described his regimen in a 1920 book, A new Theory of Nutrition and Its Therapeutic Effect. The book is now in its 700th edition in Japan.

Macrobiotic diet was developed by George Ohsawa

By the time of his death in 1966, Ohsawa had written over 300 books and had traveled throughout the world promoting his dietry philosophy. He found a receptive audience in the early 1960s among young Americans, who flocked to macrobiotic restaurants and health food stores.

A number of alternative therapists, including acupuncturists, naturopaths, practitioners of Oriental medicine and holistic healers, have incorporated macrobiotics into their practices.

When it is used
As a therapy, macrobiotics is used to treat various ailments through a limited diet. It may, for example, be recommended as a treatment for eating disorders or for coping with stress. Many of its proponents also believe that is provides a spiritual or mystical foundation for the way life should be lived.

How it works
Macrobiotics classifies all foods as yang or yin instead of by nutritional content and the designations of carbohydrate, protein and fat (see box below).

Food Group
More Yin
More Yang
Corn, long-grain rice, summer wheat
Millet, buckwheat, short-grain rice, winter wheat
Soybeans and other oily beans
Chickpeas, lentils and other non-oily beans
All those grown above ground
Carrots and other root vegetables
Harvested in warm water close to shore
Harvested in deeper, cold water
Peanuts, cashews and other oily nuts
Almonds, chestnuts and other less oily nuts
Citrus, mango and other tropical fruits
Apple, cherries and other temperate fruits
Sugar, honey and maple syrup
Barley malt and rice honey

In general, a macrobiotic diet calls for 50 to 60 percent of calories to come from whole cereal grains, the foods that are most balanced in yin and yang; 25 to 30 percent from vegetables; 10 to 15 percent from beans and sea vegetables; 5 to 10 percent from fish, shellfish, seasonal fruits and nuts; and 5 percent from soups made with vegetables, grains or miso (fermented soy).

The extreme macrobiotic diets of the early 1960s were sometimes limited to brown rice only (Noodle, Organic, Brown Rice, 8.15 oz (pack of 10 ), which is balanced in its yin and yang qualities but is not complete nutritionally. Those were soon abandoned when faithful followers developed severe malnutrition. Today's macrobiotic diet is similar to many vegetarian regimens, especially those that eschew milk and eggs but allow inclusion of seafood.

The macrobiotic classification of foods as yin or yang  weights at least 15 factors. Plant foods are generally yin, representing the earth's upward force. Thus, they are thought to slow metabolism, have a calming effect and produce other yin effects, such as reducing body temperature. Animal foods represent the heaven's downward, or yang, force and have the opposite effect of speeding up metabolism.

Within each classification, however , there are many gradations, ranging from most yin to most yang. Geography and the season are also taken into consideration. As much as possible, foods should be locally grown. Persons who live in cold, northern (yin) climates should lean toward yang foods and means of preparation, while the opposite applies to those living in warmer (yang) climates. Similarly, yin foods and cooking methods are to be followed during the warm summer months and yang foods and preparation should dominate in the colder winter months.

What to expect
Following a diagnosis based on the individual's appearance, symptoms and current diet, the macrobiotic therapist recommends changes aimed at correcting the imbalance of yang and yin foods. Modifications depend on the availability of local grains, vegetables and fruit. Brown rice and herbal tea are considered basic. Bananas, mangoes and other tropical fruits are avoided in temperate climates. Even though fish and some meat may be acceptable, all dairy products are excluded. Processed foods, whether frozen or canned are also prohibited at all times.

A person may be taught new ways in which  to prepare foods. Copper and aluminium pans for example are not used because traces of their metals can leach into foods. Instead, stainless steel, enamel, glass and ceramic cookware, as well as wooden or bamboo spoons are recommended.

>A rigorous macrobiotic diet can have dangerous consequences if imposed on children and adolescents, because it is low in calories and certain nutrients. It can also further jeopardize the health of people with AIDS, cancer and malabsorption diseases.
>If you devise your own macrobiotic diet as a way of losing weight, ask your doctor or a qualified nutrionist about supplements, especially of vitamin B12

1 comment:

wadud@duad said...

jenuh cari SB.. :(


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