{Macrobiotic March} Are Nut Butters Macrobiotic?

Happy March! Here in NYC we are starting to warm up… a little!

To jumpstart the month of macrobiotic posts, I have 2 things for you.

1) I made a Macrobiotics page for the blog. I went through ALL my posts and recipes and put links to the relevant ones there. Please check it out if you have time.

2) I wanted to answer a common question:

Is nut butter macrobiotic?


This is a toughie – the basic answer is YES, nut butters can be macrobiotic.

But the caveat is that nuts (and nut butters) should be eaten in moderation: maybe 2-3 times a week. The most specific measurement I found was no more than 1.5 cups of nuts in a week. I am not sure how much nut butter 1.5 cups of nuts would amount to. Probably 3/4 of a cup of nut butter? That is a little less than 2 tablespoons of nut butter a day.

Any nut butter with added sugar is not macrobiotic, so macrobiotic nut butters are the natural kind – nuts should be the only ingredient. No added sugars, no added oils.

Get freshly ground nut butter, if possible.

Some nuts are not macrobiotic: peanuts are not (much as I love them), pistachios, Brazil nuts, cashews (another love!), filberts (aka hazlenuts) and macadamia nuts – these are all not allowed.

Why are some nuts avoided on a macrobiotic diet?

The simple reason is that macrobiotics encourages eating in harmony with your climate. The disallowed nuts are likely not native and could not grow in the temperate climate where most of us live (I am in the northeast US). I think these nuts listed above are only found in tropical climates.

The other reason for avoiding certain foods, like these nuts, is that (according to macrobiotics) foods can have either yin (expansive, cooling, moist) or yang (contractive, warming, drying) energies. Likely these nuts to avoid are very yin or very yang (probably too yin). Macrobiotics tries to help you strike a balance, and it’s easiest to get this balance if you are not eating either of the extremes (far on the yin or yang side of the spectrum). But more on this later.

Note that peanuts are a different story – most peanuts and peanut butters have fungus on them/in them (yep, I know – sounds gross – they still taste great). The amount of fungus allowed in peanuts/peanut butter is small (15 or 25 parts per billion I believe) but that is too much for macrobiotics to be okay with.

However – don’t lose hope! There are lots of macrobiotic nuts and seeds: walnuts, sesame seeds (to make tahini or sesame butter), pumpkin and squash seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, coconuts, and chestnuts (are these really a nut?).



I like fresh almond butter, coconut butter, and I adore tahini and sesame seeds in general.

Another note – if you’re following a strict healing macrobiotic diet for a specific ailment, you’ll probably be avoiding all nuts + nut butters, at least until you are healed from whatever your illness is. Then you would slowly add nuts and nut butters back in, as your body allows.

I hope this answered any questions you might have about macrobiotics and nuts / nut butters.

What is your favorite nut? What’s your favorite nut butter? How much do you eat in a week?

  • My favorite nut is the cashew (not macrobiotic)
  • My favorite nut butter is tahini (macrobiotic) or peanut butter (not)
  • It depends on the week – some weeks I probably eat 2-3 cups of nuts; other weeks I don’t have any at all.

10 Replies to “{Macrobiotic March} Are Nut Butters Macrobiotic?”

  1. I can’t choose. Love my crunchy PB, but some days all I want is tahini or sunflower seed butter. Then sometimes, I get on a huge almond butter kick that lasts for months…hence HEAB. 🙂

  2. I love the macro page, so easy to find recipes! 🙂

    I like almond butter the most, I still need to try the sunflower seed butter!

  3. Boy, I just love all nut butters . . . except cashew. I don’t really like cashews in general, so that’s probably why. 🙂 LOVE almond butter, and peanut butter is a close second. Great post–thanks for all the info!

  4. all nut butters are yummy —-> but ultimately, as far as taste goes, Peanut Butter will always have my heart. I do love tahini & sunflower seed butter too though, and pumpkin seed butter is pretty yum too. I like the taste of almond butter (and it’s supposed health properties!) but I have yet to find one that doesn’t leave my stomach feeling crazy! Any Almond butter recommendations anyone?

  5. Michelle lives by me – I’ll have to let her know that they have a peanut grinding station at the grocery store where I work and where she lives – I’ll have to check out the almond butter with no added sugar!

    Off to check out your macrobiotic page! 😀

  6. This is fascinating, I have always wanted to know more about macrobiotics so I will be following this series, I’m in Scotland and hazelnuts were the mainstay of our diet back in the ‘olden’ days – many neolithic hazelnut “middens” have been found, layers and layers of discarded shells, so would hazelnuts be acceptable for me then? I love almond butter, peanut butter doesn’t float my nut butter boat. Off to read the macrobiotics page.

  7. Ah read the page, i don’t think I could ever give up my full fat Greek yoghurt, I think it’s the only treat left in my diet – former fatty who has to watch every calorie/portion like a hawk.

    1. @Tabitha: I know! I don’t know if I could ever give up Greek yogurt either. Love the full fat version. It’s just so delicious.

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