The Macrobiotic Diet: Foods, Menus, FAQs, and Recipes

Macrobiotic-Diet

Everything you need to know about The Macrobiotic Diet plan including foods to eat, menus, FAQs, shopping lists, and more. 

The Macrobiotic diet is a combination of a natural, organic diet in which you are avoiding certain toxins along with the spirituality of the Buddhist practices. This diet is strictly a plant-based, vegetarian diet with the elimination of toxins, these toxins are things that come from eating dairy and meat products, and oily foods. It also incorporates the elimination of chemicals and artificial ingredients. These chemicals can also include products that you use around your home or on your body.

For many people, this diet can be quite restrictive because not only are foods allowed very limited, but this diet also requires you to cook and prepare your foods a certain way. Dieters also have to be aware of what cookware you use to prepare your food. Allowed foods can also depend on where you live and some of the factors may include your current health issues, your gender, and your age.

What is the Macrobiotic Diet Plan?

As mentioned before this is not just your typical diet, along with this unique diet is a whole holistic lifestyle approach to help you have a healthy well-balanced life. Along with gaining a healthier and more well-balanced lifestyle people may choose to adopt this type of diet to help with certain health issues such as heart issues, obesity, diabetes, premenstrual issues, and certain cancers like breast cancer (although the claims against treating cancers has not been proven).

Macrobiotic Practices and Guidance

Along with food restrictions, Macrobiotic dieters are also encouraged to follow certain practices, espcially when preparing and eating foods, to enhance your spirtual life.

  • Prepare and cooks foods with specific dishes, cookware, and utensils made from natural ingredients. Examples are glass, wood, bamboo, stainless steel, cast-iron, ceramic, and enamel.
  • Cook on an open flame or on a glass stovetop. This is the safest and most efficient way to cook food.
  • Never use a microwave. Microwaves can diminish nutrients, causing an unbalance in your body.
  • Use your five senses while cooking. Be grateful for your time to cook. Relaxin your mind and focus only on the task of cooking your meal.
  • Your foods should be only baked, broiled, or steamed. This preserves as much of the foods’ nutrients as possible.
  • You want to only drink when you are thirsty and only eat at mealtimes. No snacks throughout the day.
  • Give thanks to yourself or to whoever prepared your meal.
  • You must chew each bite of food up to 50 times. Food must be chewed thoroughly to help with your body’s dejection.
  • Stop eating when you start to feel full. Overeating can through off the balance in your body. You can always save food for your next meal.
  • Make sure to stay active, exercise, have a positive outlook on life, and pay attention to your body.

The Breakdown of the Macrobiotic Diet

  • This diet consists mostly of grains, vegetables, and beans. The breakdown is 60% grains, 30% organic and locally grown vegetables, and 10% is beans, miso, and sea vegetables, for example, seaweed. Spicy foods and heavy spices are not allowed. Sporadically, you may enjoy local or fresh fish and seafood, locally grown fruit, pickles, and nuts a few times a month. If you are looking for something sweet you can occasionally sweeten things with rice syrup.
  • 60% whole grains
  • 30% vegetables (local and organic)
  • 5%-10% soups
  • 5%-10% beans and sea vegetables

Foods to Eat on the Macrobiotic Diet

The foods included in this diet are strictly grains, organically grown vegetables, and beans, miso, and sea vegetables. Grains make up 60% of this diet and they include the following;

  • Bulger wheat
  • Buckwheat
  • Brown rice
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Rye
  • Wild rice

Vegetables should be organic and locally sourced and make up for 30% of the diet. Vegetables may differ slightly depending on the seasons and where you live. The most common vegetables include;

  • Broccoli
  • Bok choy
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Green cabbage
  • Kale
  • Onion
  • Parsley
  • Pumpkin
  • Radishes

10% of the Macrobiotic Diet include things like beans, miso, and sea vegetables. The approved foods are;

  • Beans
  • Pickles
  • Miso
  • Natural seasonings (sea salt)
  • Seaweed (or other sea vegetables)
  • Soy
  • Vegetable oil

On the Macro diet, you are allowed a few other vegetables, nuts, seafood, and fruits. However, you can only have these very rarely at that or maybe a few times a month. When eating off this list you should make sure they are strictly organic foods. Here is the lists below;

  • Berries
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce
  • Nuts
  • Organic tree fruits
  • Seasonal local fruits
  • Seeds
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Seafoods

Download our free checklists with all the approved Macrobiotic Diet foods (and what you should avoid.)

What you Can Drink

  • Water
  • Green tea
  • Amazake (a sweet rice drink)
  • Bancha (Kukicha) (a Japanese tea)
  • Grain coffee
  • Mu Tea
  • Rice milk

Foods Not to Eat and Drinks to Avoid

Unfortunately, you will find on this diet than most fruits, meats, dairy, oily, and fatty foods are not allowed on the Macrobiotic Diet. The foods to really eliminate from this diet include the following;

  • Alcohol
  • Artificial foods
  • Caffeinated beverages (coffee and soda)
  • Foods that are hot and spicy
  • Garlic
  • Mangos (all tropical fruits)
  • Molasses
  • Peppers
  • Pineapples (all tropical fruits)
  • Potatoes
  • Pork
  • Processed foods (cakes and cookies)
  • Seasonings
  • Sodas (includes diet and regular)
  • Sugars (processed foods and foods with sugar and corn syrup)
  • Tomatoes

The Macrobiotic Diet Plan: Pros and Cons

Yes, you may find this diet extremely limiting however for health benefits, people find this diet very beneficial. If you are interested in this diet you might want to speak to your doctor before beginning.

Pros

  • Can be beneficial if you and your family have a history of heart disease
  • This diet can also help with weight-loss
  • The same can be said for if you have a history of breast cancer in your family
  • This can also be a good diet for those who have diabetes
  • Improved digestion and bowel movements

Cons

  • You may find that this diet is extremely restrictive
  • The Macro diet is lacking certain nutrients
  • Food on the approved list are high in salt
  • Because it’s an extremely low protein diet, you may find that your body loses too much good/healthy body fat.
  • This diet is especially not recommended for children. Studies show nutritional deficiencies and low bone density

The Macrobiotic Diet Menu Sample Menu (One Week)

Here’s an example of a simple first-week Macrobiotic diet plan menu. So if this doesn’t seem to motivate you, there are many great recipes available. Check Pinterest for a huge variety of hundreds of different recipes and ideas. This menu is a really simple one just to get you started. 

Monday

  • Breakfast: cup of coffee
  • Lunch: miso soup and vegetable fried rice
  • Dinner: wild rice with sauteed vegetables

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: cup of coffee
  • Lunch: soup with lentils, seaweed, and vegetables
  • Dinner: whole grain pasta mixed with vegetables

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: cup of coffee
  • Lunch: miso soup and vegetable fried rice
  • Dinner: fresh salad, sauteed vegetables, and leftover fried rice

Thursday

  • Breakfast: cup of coffee 
  • Lunch: soup with lentils, seaweed, and vegetables
  • Dinner: quinoa, chickpea, and broccoli bowl

Friday 

  • Breakfast: cup of coffee
  • Lunch: miso soup and vegetable fried rice
  • Dinner: fresh salad, sauteed vegetables, and leftover fried rice

Saturday

  • Breakfast: cup of coffee
  • Lunch: soup with lentils, seaweed, and vegetables
  • Dinner: wild rice with sauteed vegetables

Sunday

  • Breakfast: cup of coffee
  • Lunch: miso soup and a side of vegetable fried rice
  • Dinner: leftover miso soup, fresh salad, and sauteed vegetables

Macrobiotic Diet Easy Soup Recipe

Making and eating soups are also a huge part of the Macrobiotic Diet. The following foods are daily staple items and are used to make a variety of soups. Below is an example of an easy soup recipe.

  • Lentils
  • Seaweed
  • Sea salt
  • Soy products (tofu, miso)
  • Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of barley miso or brown rice miso.
  • 1 cup of diced mushrooms.
  • 1 cup of leek(s)
  • 1/2 cup of cooked wild rice or brown rice


Instructions

Place the leeks, mushrooms, and two cups of water in a small pot. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the leeks and mushrooms are tender (about 8-10 minutes). Halfway through the cooking time, stir in the cooked rice. Once the leeks and mushrooms are done, take the pot off the heat. Stir in the miso until it has dissolved.  Serve the soup with a sprinkle of diced scallions and a drop or two of toasted sesame oil.

Links to Resources

A few recommended books to read if you are interested in learning more about the Macrobiotic diet.

Summary 

Thank you for reading our guide on the Macrobiotic diet. Please feel free to download and use our free embedded checklists. This will be helpful when creating your menus and making your grocery shopping list.