Macrobiotic Diet

macrobiotic-dietThe Macrobiotic Diet is part of the Far Eastern philosophy of Macrobiotics (literally “Great Life”).

Despite a reputation of being nothing but brown rice, there is more to the Macrobiotic Diet than just brown rice. The food guidelines have been evolving over a number of years.

Macrobiotic Food

The basic diet is essentially:

  • 50% whole grains
  • 25% seasonal vegetables, cooked or raw.
  • 10% protein foods – such as fish or legumes.
  • 5% sea vegetables
  • 5% soups
  • 5% fruit, nuts, or seeds.

Food should be organically grown and eaten fresh. The Macrobiotic lifestyle also governs how food should be prepared.

No microwave should be used – rice must be cooked in a pressure cooker. Food should be eaten and chewed slowly, in a relaxed manner.

What’s not allowed?

Sugars, spices, alcohol, eggs, meat, and cheese. This has everything to do with the extreme yin and yang properties.

What’s good about the Macrobiotic Diet?

The macrobiotic diet is high in natural, unprocessed foods, complex carbohydrates, and vegetables. It is low in saturated fats, whilst providing the essential fats.

It could be considered a weight loss diet, due to these factors, and the potential lower calorie count. However Macrobiotics is more of a way of life, than just another weight loss fad.

There are a number of claims made about the healing properties of the macrobiotic diet. Conditions such as cancer and heart disease have apparently been aided by this diet. However some claims are unsubstantiated.


The macrobiotic diet can be fairly strict. Where a diet is strict there is a potential for nutritional deficiencies – particularly calcium and iron.

Modern Day Macrobiotics which retails for $19.95.

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 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Ernst, E., & CAM-Cancer Consortium. (2014). Macrobiotic diet. link
  • Knuiman, J. T., & West, C. E. (1982). The concentration of cholesterol in serum and in various serum lipoproteins in macrobiotic, vegetarian and non-vegetarian men and boys. Atherosclerosis, 43(1), 71-82. study link
  • Bowman, B. B., Kushner, R. F., Dawson, S. C., & Levin, B. (1984). Macrobiotic diets for cancer treatment and prevention. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2(6), 702-711. study link

15 Comments or Reviews

Comments now closed
  1. Deborah Tidd

    The person who said it was terrible I don’t believe gave it a fair chance. I have been to the Kushi Institute in Becket, MA three times in the last year for a week each time. The first time was in October 09 which was for Diabetic II research – my ulcers on my legs disappeared in one week and my asthma improved greatly where I was not grasping for air. I have been back twice for a week each time – the last group I was part of was THE WAY TO HEALTH- 24 of us from throughout the US ages early 20’s to age 71. After one week everyone’s health has improved. Since it is only 50 miles from my home I try to go at least once a week for suppe or on a Sunday for brunch. There is also a store on the premises so one can but what they need miso past, umeboshi plums or paste, the beans, grains, books, kombu, wakamee, nori, cooking classes, gentle exercise. I plan on going back in 2011 when I have three weeks vacation. Thank God the KI is so close to me. The meals are great especially the rice with chestnuts, millet and cauliflower, aduki beans and squash, squash soup, and the desserts which are only two to three times a weeks – also love the rice or vegetables or soup that has lotus root (stengthens the heart and lungs)

  2. K

    Amazing! I lost 30 lbs. In two mounths

  3. donna ginsburg

    How does alcohol affect the macrobiotic diet?

  4. Mary

    Eating macrobiotic has added balance to the medecines I take for my chronic disease.
    I Have NO vitamin deffiencies and I do not stick to the macrobiotic way.But I do stay away from dairy and sugars of all kinds.I feel wonderful thanks to macrobiotics!!

  5. Armida Espinoza

    John Miller – you don’t need to have a macrobiotic clinic in your area to learn about it. Google Mina Dobic whose a consultant. If you can get to LA or San Diego for a consultation, she will give you a individualized diet plan to follow, tell you were to find everything you need, and literally walk you through it. You could also consider hiring a chelf in your area that’s familiar with the diet (google your area for one) and have them teach you how to cook the diet items. It’s doable. Mina will walk you through the “how to do this”.

    Good luck

  6. john miller

    wished i could find a macrobiotic clinic here in nothern california where i live. i think this diet might be a way for me to live with and possably cure my cancer.

  7. john miller

    i got follicular lymphoma and my version of this diet dropped my resting heart rate by 20 beats a minute in a three week period camping in the woods. i regained the unwanted 20 beats a minute when i came out of the woods and started eating more crackers and bread.

  8. Mark Jensen

    Not a whole lot of info, but what is said is right on and true to my experience of the “movement”.

    However, they may have mellowed in the last 30 years, but practitioners and teachers used to be quite strict, almost militaristic, and it had the tendency to attract authoritarian types.

  9. simplelife

    sometimes simplicity is what one needs

  10. Jen

    Terrible diet. VERY restrictive!

  11. Mzkitty

    very little information on this site, keep googleing there is a lot more FREE information out there

  12. Firman

    Macrobiotic diet as long as I know is the best way get healthy. The way is the nature way.

  13. James

    If you live in NYC, go to Souen Restaurant, which is a macrobiotic restaurant and read the menu. You’ll have all the info you need. It’s more than a menu. It explains the whole way of life. It’s on 13th Street between University and 5th Avenue. Near Union Square basically. Good luck 😉

  14. melissakay

    i have celiac disease along with milk and egg allergies, i was told this was the only diet possible for me. you didnt have a whole lot of info, but a good start….

  15. ilovetj4lyfe

    not enough info for my assignment