Last night was the end of my first week trying a macrobiotic diet. I don’t think I explained it fully when I first took on this challenge, so here is what I hope will be a good guide. Note that I’m not following this strictly. I’ll put **’s next to the items I am having trouble with or have decided not to follow.
Basics of the macrobiotic diet (this is from Wikipedia):
- Well chewed whole cereal grains, especially brown rice: 25-30%
- Vegetables: 30-40%
- Beans and legumes: 5-10 %
- Miso soup: 5% (this is why I’ve been having it with breakfast)
- Traditionally or naturally processed foods: 5-10%
Things I should not eat (from my own research):
- eggs, dairy
- meat and meat products
- alcohol, coffee, soda(don’t eat these anyway)
- sweeteners – sugar, honey, stevia
- processed foods, artificial foods (aspartame, splenda, etc…)
- excessive salt
- **tropical fruit (I’ve been having oranges)
- **nightshade vegetables – tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplants (I’ve been having ketchup)
Things to eat several times a week:
- **local fruit – apples, pears, peaches, grapes, berries, melons, etc… (I’ve been having about 3 pieces per day, but this is significantly down from about 6 pieces per day!)
- dessert – naturally sweet foods (fruit, squash, beans, dried fruit) and natural sweeteners (brown rice syrup, barley malt, amazake)
- fish and seafood (mostly white, non-fatty fish; but I’m vegetarian so I don’t eat this anyway…)
Things I should eat (this list is NOT comprehensive, but these are the main foods):
- whole grains – barley, brown rice, bulgur, corn meal, oat bran, oatmeal, quinoa, seitan, whole wheat pasta
- beans – adzuki beans, black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, miso, natto, tofu, tempeh
- vegetables – broccoli, Brussels sprouts, burdock, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumber, green beans, leafy greens, leeks, lotus root, mushrooms, onion, parsnips (ew), peas, radishes, scallions, squash (yay!), umeboshi plums
- seaweed – hijiki, kombu, nori, wakame, etc…
- spices, herbs, and minimal oil – chives, cumin, dill, garlic, ginger, mirin, mustard, olive oil, parsley, sea salt, sesame oil, soy sauce (shoyu), thyme, vinegars
Practices to follow:
- **chew food very thoroughly
- **eat only when hungry
- **don’t do anything else while eating
- **try not to eat 2-3 hours before sleeping
- eat foods that are in season and local
As you can see I’m having the most trouble following the recommended practices, not eating too much fruit, and staying away from nightshades (I love my ketchup).
Things I’ve noticed:
- My skin is clearing up. This is huge. I have very troubled skin and I would do anything to fix it.
- I’m not thinking/obsessing about food all the time.
- When I eat without doing anything else, I’m much more satisfied and stay full for longer.
- I tend to get really bloated at night, and I haven’t felt that as much this week. Especially on the days that I didn’t eat a ton of fruit (there was one day where I only ate 2 pieces and that day my stomach felt amazing).
- Things taste better. Before this week I was using some sugar-free products, and I think I’m actually happier without them. And my non-bloated stomach is happier.
- I love brown rice syrup. It has the most amazing flavor.
- Miso soup is refreshing in the morning.
- I’m still taking my calcium supplements, which have some kind of dairy in them. Not sure what to do about this if I decide to stay macrobiotic.
- I chew gum a lot. Gum has fake sugar = not good. How do you quit a gum addiction?
I’m really happy with the experiment so far and can’t wait to see how week 2 goes. Happy Sunday! It’s farmers’ market day here I’m trying to decide if I want to walk over or not (it’s raining).