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Macrobiotic Diet to Lose Weight

Updated on December 21, 2011

If you're considering the macrobiotic diet to lose weight, it may be the diet to help you shed those unwanted pounds. However, the macrobiotic diet didn't come about as a weight loss plan. It is a lifestyle with ties to Zen Buddhism in conjunction with the Western version of vegetarianism known as flextarian. It's a natural, organic diet that is mostly plant based, but allows for a small amount of fish. The purpose behind the diet is a healthy, long life. Weight loss is a beneficial side effect.

Organic foods are recommended.
Organic foods are recommended.

Mindful Eating

Zen Buddhism teaches one to be mindful of what they are eating. This goes beyond the actual foods eaten to address how you eat.

  • Foods should be consumed in their most natural state, which eliminates processed foods from the menu. Organic foods are recommended.
  • Nothing else should be done in conjunction with eating. That means no multitasking while eating, no checking your email, no watching TV, no talking on the phone.
  • Food should be chewed slowly and thoroughly.

Food and the Macrobiotic Diet

Along with mindful eating, the philosophy of the macrobiotic diet is a holistic approach that promotes balance of your ying and yang. The Americanized version of the macrobiotic plan is based on pairing of foods based on their characteristics.

  • Ying foods include: cold and sweet foods and are considered passive.
  • Yang foods include: hot and salty foods and are considered aggressive

What to Eat

It is recommended that foods eaten on the macrobiotic diet be locally grown. Guidelines stipulate that foods should be prepared by baking, boiling or steaming. Foods eaten on the macrobiotic diet include:

  • Beans
  • Fermented soy
  • Grains
  • Soups
  • Vegetables
  • Small amounts of fish, seeds and fruits
  • Other foods to be eaten in limited amounts include: eggplant, peppers and tomatoes

Overview of How to Eat on the Macrobiotic Diet

  • 50%-60% - Consume whole grains (especially brown rice)
  • 25%-30% - Vegetables (and seaweed)
  • 5%-10% - Beans
  • 5%-20% - Fish, nuts, seeds, fruits, miso soup
  • 1 – 2 cups of soup made from the above ingredients each day

Foods to Avoid

The following foods are to be avoided because according to the beliefs that support this diet, some of these foods contain toxins, and others are considered over-stimulating or too concentrated making it difficult to maintain that Zen-like balance.

  • Fatty meats
  • Most dairy
  • Sugars
  • Coffee
  • Caffeinated tea (and other stimulating beverages)
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Refined flour
  • Hot spices
  • Chemicals and preservatives
  • Poultry
  • Potatoes
  • Zucchini

Eating the Macrobiotic Diet to Lose Weight

While the benefits of this diet have not been clinically proven, the wholesome, nutritious foods recommended for this diet are thought by some to help promote good health and protect against chronic diseases. With the elimination of sugars, refined flours, potatoes and other foods, weight loss is also a beneficial side effect for many.

Talk to Your Doctor First

Even though the foods consumed on the macrobiotic diet are healthy, it is always important to talk with your doctor before starting this or any diet. Your doctor knows your medical history and will know if this diet is a healthy approach to weight loss for you.


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