Macrobiotic Summary, week 1

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
  • chocolate
  • **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).

22 Replies to “Macrobiotic Summary, week 1”

  1. Maggie,
    hi sweet fruity girl! Your week has inspired me! I think there is something to the tummy bloat thing and our beloved FRUIT. Man, I am really having a hard time but seeing the benefits. Only 2-3 fruits a day might be a good thing. HARD thing, but a good thing. hmmm.

    You always inspire me and so wonderful that Bobby has such a delightful girl in his life to love him and FEED him!! 🙂 XOXO

  2. I’ve noticed my skin clearing up as well, but only from the healthy fats, veggies, and reduced sugar I’ve been eating. I love this post, it’s so informative.

    I used to have a gum addition (a pack a day!) but then I just quit cold turkey. I don’t know how and I wish I could give you advice but I just did it.

  3. That’s awesome! Good job sticking to the plan, it does sound tough- mostly the stuff to avoid list 😀 I like the practices a lot…They go hand in hand with intuitive eating which I try really hard to work on. Ha, so funny how healthy food bloggers have a “pack a day” habit, only its sf gum at least right!!?

  4. wooooooo…… the changes you’ve noticed are great! specially the skin, not bloated things…. they happened to me pretty often.
    And besides of fruit intake restriction, do you find anything else specially hard to follow?

  5. good luck w/ week 2 ~ it definitely seems like there are positives to this challenge for you so i hope it goes well!

    i used to have a huge addiction to gum and now i just drink water (TONS!!!!) and hot tea instead, but for some reason today i really wanted gum and i definitely cant have it on my crap-free week b/c of hte artificial sweeteners!

  6. “Can” (in quotes, because I hate when people ask me what I can eat…I CAN eat everything, it is what I CHOSE to eat that is important, but….for the sake of this comment) you eat soy? Tofu, tempeh, etc?

    Just curious! I’m glad it is going so well for you! My skin cleared up majorly when I cut out gluten…food is so interesting 🙂

  7. Interesting one week update. I am sure they make calcium supplements that don’t have dairy in them.

    As for the gum, I would love to quit that too. I go through stages with it. Have you ever heard of or tried Glee Gum? It doesn’t have fake sugar in it. I’ve bought it at Whole Foods. It doesn’t taste as good and therefore, you kind of don’t want to eat the whole pack at once.

  8. Very interesting! I didn’t know that seitan was considered a grain.
    I think you have done a great job of incorporating the main principles without freaking your body out with an extreme overhaul of your diet. If you continue on with this (haven’t read your new posts yet), I’m sure the things you are struggling with will become easier. And, if not, you are still reaping the benefits of the main pratices 🙂 At least that’s how I see it! 😉

  9. I had bad skin problems too about 5-6 years ago. Have you heard of Proactiv? Give it a try if you can because it works WONDERS!! I will never try another product again! The only bad thing is that it bleaches whatever towel/washcloth you wash your face with so use a white one. Also, it can dry out your skin too so a light moisturizer is key. That felt like a commercial 🙂
    I also have a huge gum addiction, I never thought of it that way but I guess I’m pretty dependent on it…

  10. Wow – sounds like you are really seeing some benefits already. I think that is great Maggie. I’ve been doing a little research, and I’m really interested in learning more about macrobiotics. Thanks for posting this info.

    I would have a hard time with the ketchup thing as well…and I have a horrible gum addiction…chewing on some Extra Spearmint as I type this.

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