Macrobiotics, originally an oriental philosophy, is a holistic approach to eating whereby food is considered “the foundation of health and happiness” and that the food we eat is directly responsible for our health and state of mind.
A fundamental idea in Macrobiotics is the concept of “balance” where certain foods are considered either neutral, Yin or Yang.
Neutral foods, deemed as ‘cereals’, form the foundation of a Macrobiotic diet and can be consumed daily at every meal. Foods that fit under this category are corn, rye, barley, oats, cracked wheat, wheat, millet, whole brown rice and buckwheat.
The forces of Yin and Yang are opposing yet harmonizing at the same time and when used in conjunction can create a level of equilibrium.
The quality of Yin encompasses things such as vegetables, femininity, cold seasons and sweet, sour and hot tastes. Some foods that fit under this category are almonds, apple, asparagus, bamboo, banana, barley, bean curd, broccoli, cabbage, celery, corn, cucumber, fish, grapes, honey, ice cream, lemon, oranges, mushroom, pineapple, salt, white sugar, soya beans, tomatoes and water.
The quality of Yang incorporates such characteristics as animals, masculinity, hot seasons and salty & bitter tastes. Foods under the grouping of Yang include beef, black pepper, brown sugar, butter, chillies, coffee, chocolate, eggs, garlic, ham, leek, onion, peanuts and potato.
It is said that 60% of a Macrobiotic diet should consist of foods that fall under the ‘cereal’ category. All other Yin and Yang foods are to be used occasionally and in small amounts.
Whilst it can at times be difficult to adhere strictly to the macrobiotic diet there are many recipes and variations of macrobiotic cuisine out there that make the daily practise of macrobiotics an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Macrobiotics encourages the seasonal consumption of locally grown fruit & vegetables and principally encourages the use of organic foods.
The most important thing to remember when starting a macrobiotic diet is to listen to your body and react when necessary to what it is telling you – after all, everyone is different and the key to sustaining this way of life is to constantly take in to account factors (seasonal, emotional and physical) that are affecting you and act on these in the most personally effective way.
Check out the website http://www.macrobiotics.co.uk/ for more information on Yin & Yang foods.
Gomashio: (salt and sesame seeds)
Heat 5 table spoons of sesame seeds. Crush them gently in a mortar with a pestle. Add 1 tablespoon of sea salt, heat again, re-crush until a well-mixed but coarse powder results.
Eat with rice or bread. Use as a condiment and sprinkle over all foods.
Keep mixture in a tightly closed bottle
Gyoza: (Japanese style dumplings) makes 30
Add a little salt to flour and knead with water to form soft dough. Roll out very thinly and cut into round pieces 2-3 inches in diameter.
Dice vegetables, sauté, season with salt, add a little flour, and mix. Wrap vegetable mixture in pieces of dough in long narrow shapes. Cook until done in boiling water.
Serve with soy sauce.
*Recipes sourced from ‘Zen Macrobiotics: The Art of rejuvenation and longevity’ by George Ohsawa.