The Ying and Yang of Diets: the Macrobiotic Diet!

Fitness Expert

If you diet for life you may be inept to the Jojo effect.

Topping the list of good intentions is the one about losing weight which seems to be increasing every year. Most polls for 2009 suggest that every 1 in 3 people wish to reduce their body weight. The intent is obviously there; just after the Christmas holidays where we stuff in more calories than ever. But for those who have tried everything and have had enough of those low-carb, and weight loss diets, relays a very important and exciting message: the macrobiotic diet is here and the JoJo effect is past.

The macrobiotic diet is not a traditional diet, but it refers to a holistic lifestyle, that includes diet. The origin of the word macrobiotic shows that it originated from the ancient world. Macros in ancient Greek means "high", biotikos stands for "life on." Macrobiotics could therefore be translated to "The lesson from the great life". Even the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 - 322 BC.) used this term. He described order as a lifestyle where a simple diet, health, and longevity should be achieved.

As the father of macrobiotics the Japanese doctor Ishizuka (1850 - 1910) knows all about this emaculate diet. At the end of the 19th Century, he developed a theory, combining the Far Eastern philosophy with Western science of biology, chemistry and medicine. With his Shoku-Yo movement ( "healing through food"), he criticized those in the West to Asia's expanding diet. He called for a traditional Japanese diet of whole, unprocessed foods, without the use of milk and other animal products. Vollgetreide was the principal food of mankind. The theory is based on the teachings of Zen Buddhists, who assumed that the universe was made up of two different forces, Yin and Yang. A happy and healthy life could only be possible if the balance between Yin and Yang was achieved. As two specific opposing attributes (Yin: sugar, fruits, potassium; Yang: salt, cereals, sodium) were brought together, they created a diet that was balanced.

While Ishizuka was the ideological founder of macrobiotics, the Japanese George Ohsawa (1893 - 1966) was the brains behind the operation. His movement was larger and expanded well into Europe. Ohsawa suffered as a 16-year-old with tuberculosis, claiming that he was cured by the teachings of the Shoku-Yo movement. As evidence of the effects of a macrobiotic lifestyle he saw in addition to his own healing that the Zen Buddhists all lived exceptionally long lives.

But, what are macrobiotics now specifically in relation to the diet? They are based on whole grains that are either crushed or processed into flour to be consumed. Whole grain products should be up to 50 percent of the total food consumed for this particular diet. Fresh vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and small amounts of fruit may also be on the menu. Since this is a meatless diet, fermented soy products serve as an alternative source of protein. There are also products made from seaweed. Items that should be taken off your list in the macrobiotic diet include: milk, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, and sugar. Fruits and vegetables should be organic and should come from your region.

According to a medical school, a strict macrobiotic diet is not recommended. Numerous studies have shown that it causes deficiencies in vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium and iron. Therefore, nutritionists warn that this could not be the best diet for everyone, especially young children. However, a high percentage of whole grain products and the avoidance of sugar makes for a healthier diet. We just recommend making sure that you are getting the right nutrients, no matter what diet you decide to try out.