A Look at Macrobiotics: It’s Not Just a Brown Rice Diet


Health is more than just eating well. It is about looking at all areas of your life, understanding how they are connected and finding proper balance between them.

When talking to people about finding balance, not only in their eating but also in their lifestyle, I always think of the concepts of Macrobiotics, which literally translated means "great life." Many people think it is just a "brown rice diet" because such a large part of the diet is focuse on grains, but it also focuses greatly on life balance. 

I do not follow a Macrobiotic diet but I appreciate its' lifestyle philosophy and have learned quite a bit from its' teachings.

The diet of Macrobiotics is comprised of whole grains (50 – 60%) followed by fresh vegetables, beans, soups, sea vegetables and a little bit of fish. Besides encouraging eating these natural foods it also defines itself as a way of living. It focuses on living a lifestyle with respect for physical, biological, emotional, mental, ecological and spiritual order in our daily lives. It encourages followers to strive to learn the art of balance in everything they do; not just in their daily diet.

Do you feel like you live a life of balance?

If not, then you may want to try applying some of the principles taught in the Macrobiotic lifestyle.

A lot of Macrobiotics is based upon the concept of Yin and Yang. We are all familiar with opposing forces like; up and down; day and night; hot and cold; and male and female. Just as the world is able to stay in balance with these complimentary and opposing forces, so should eating certain foods and lifestyle actions create balance in our bodies.

Yang qualities in food are foods that keep us grounded like root vegetables and animal foods. Yin foods are foods that lift us up like sugar and alcohol. According to yin-yang philosophy, if you eat a meal of steak and potatoes (yang foods), chances are you are going to feel pretty relaxed and not very energized and may end up turning to a quick energizing fix like coffee or a sugary drink (very high yin foods). If you had included some green leafy vegetables and a piece of fruit (also yin foods) in your meal, the energy levels would have been balanced. Do you see how that works? Interesting, huh?

This concept also applies to our daily activities. Macrobiotics says things like shopping and focusing on materialistic things are yang qualities and things like prayer and self care are yin qualities.

Here are some more yin and yang qualities and foods.

Yin Qualities Yang Qualities
cool hot
dark light
moon/night sun/day
intuition logic
female male
sensitive strong
expansive contractive
future past
Yin Foods Yang Foods
raw cooked
fruits chicken, eggs
sweeteners salt
alcohol meat
makes you like, happy makes you grounded, focused
can make you spacey, scattered can make you aggressive, forceful


There are several lifestyle suggestions that are encouraged in the Macrobiotics way of life. Here are some examples. Have fun reading them! You may even decide you want to incorporate some into your daily life.

  1. Give generously of yourself and your resources.
  2. View everything and everyone you meet with gratitude.
  3. Life each day happily without focusing on your problems.
  4. Hum or sing a happy song every day.
  5. Foster a sense of humor.
  6. Treat yourself to regular daily quiet time – study, pray, meditate; recharge yourself.
  7. Include exercise as a part of your daily life. Experiment with an exercise style that works for you. Try yoga, pilates, martial arts, walking, running, bicycling, rollerblading, swimming, dancing, weight lifting or competitive sports.
  8. To increase your circulation, scrub your entire body with a hot, damp washcloth morning and/or night.
  9. Avoid wearing synthetic or woolen clothing directly on the skin. As much as possible, wear 100% cotton clothing, especially for undergarments.
  10. Avoid excessive jewelry on your fingers, wrists and neck; fewer rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings and piercings allow your natural energy to circulate more freely.
  11. Avoid chemically perfumed cosmetics.
  12. For care of the teeth, use natural toothpastes, remember to floss.
  13. Keep your home in good order, including kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living rooms. You are your home.

Macrobiotics definitely offers some advice that many people could benefit from; eating more balancing foods and striving to find balance in our lives.

What do you about the principles of Macrobiotics? Is there anything you learned today that you think you might try? Please share your comments below or visit me on Facebook.

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Health and blessings,


Randi's passion is to teach people the importance of getting into the kitchen to cook! When people get into the kitchen to cook, they can control their health and their waistline. She uses fresh ingredients and traditional foods in her cooking like butter.  She is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, exercise enthusiast and marketing rep for an international internet business.

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