Macrobiotic Diet – The History and Philosophy of the Diet

Tess Thompson

The macrobiotic diet is a natural diet plan that is based on Oriental philosophy. References to the term ‘macrobiotic’ have been recorded in the written work of Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine. The diet has been known to be practiced by tribes and cultures with a longer life span.

George Ohsawa originally brought the macrobiotic diet to Europe. His philosophy about the diet and the manner in which it could prevent certain ailments and promote good overall health were propounded by various followers. He later took the diet to America.

The basic philosophy of the macrobiotic diet revolves around the belief that foods have a certain kind of energy that needs to be evaluated. Certain foods are considered to have yin energy, while others are considered to have yang energy. The macrobiotic diet recommends consuming the foods that have a balance of both. Yin foods like sugar, alcohol, chocolate, coffee, hot spices, preservatives and processed foods are considered to be over-stimulating. Yang foods like poultry, eggs and refined salt are considered to induce laziness.

Followers of the diet also believe that energy in various foods can be altered and reduced based on the manner in which it is cut and prepared. Therefore, a macrobiotic cookbook has elaborate details on how specific vegetables and fruits should be cut. Preparation of the food can be done in various ways. Steaming, sautéing, blanching, baking, boiling and tempura are allowed.

A macrobiotic meal should ideally be comprised of about 50 to 60 percent whole grains, 25 to 30 percent vegetables, 5 to 10 percent legumes, and 5 percent soups. The diet, specific composition, and manner of preparation need to be modified based on the climate, as well.

The proponents of the macrobiotic diet did not intend it to be a weight loss diet. They popularized the diet since they believed that it could cure certain conditions like cancer, asthma and psoriasis, and prevent lifestyle ailments by improving immunity. However, the macrobiotic diet is natural and allows you to achieve significant weight loss without the need of weight loss supplements. It is definitely a diet that you may want to consider if you want to lose weight and remain healthy at the same time.


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