Monday, January 11, 2010

Macrobiotics Is Not What You Think

The cooking class this weekend was so interesting! It lasted five hours, and I was exhausted when it was over. But there was tons of information, so it was well worth it. The first part of the class was about cooking and preparing several macrobiotic dishes with protein (mostly beans). We watched while Warren Kramer and several others cooked and discussed food preparation, different recipe options, the art of cooking (and the creativity involved), and macrobiotic principals. Then we had lunch, which was great because I got to talk to several people who are macrobiotic and several others who are thinking about trying macrobiotics (more on that below). After lunch, Warren gave a speech called “10 Steps to Strengthening Health,” which I think was basically the principals of macrobiotics. The beginning was about macrobiotics generally –that it is a way of finding balance through the food you eat and the structure in your life. Here are the principals and what macrobiotics is all about.

1. Meals. Sit down to eat and eat at regular mealtimes.

2. Eat slowly, chew well. Chewing stimulates the brain and gets digestion going.

3. Don’t eat for 3 hours before you go to bed.

4. Try to have soup at least one time per day. It relaxes the body.

5. Have variety in what you eat. It helps to keep the body relaxed and ensures that it gets enough nutrients.

6. Have a whole grain and vegetable at every meal.

7. Body rub. Fill the sink with warm water and use a cotton cloth to lightly scrub your body. Especially in the areas where skin cells and toxins collect like the elbows, knees, between your fingers, etc. Over time, this is supposed to release toxins that your skin holds.

8. Take a walk every day (apart from your exercise).

9. Wear cotton whenever possible.

10. Put a green plant in your bedroom, which provides extra oxygen as you sleep.

I think the most interesting part of the whole thing was talking to people who are macrobiotic. The thing that I noticed instantly is that everyone looked so healthy and much younger than they actually were. Since I used to be a make-up artist, I always notice people’s skin. Each one of these people (ages 25-55) look amazing. Gorgeous, bright, clear skin. Each person also talked about how they have energy (both physical and mental) like they’ve never had it before. The energy part sounded like something that is almost indescribable to someone who is not macrobiotic. People have been cured from terminal cancer by eating a macrobiotic diet.

Anyway, I was so inspired by this, that I decided to try this way of eating (and the lifestyle) for 90 days. Another macrobiotic nutritionist who was there said that if I ate this way for 90 days, I wouldn’t want to go back to how I eat now. I just have to try this out.

For anyone who thinks this sounds like craziness, I have a few things to say. It sounds slightly strange to me too! But, think of it as trying to eat and live more naturally. There are also some other things. First, I can still go out to eat. This way of eating isn’t so rigid that you have to go to a vegan restaurant or not eat out at all. (Some macrobiotics do eat fish and there aren’t things that you have to eat, besides a grain and a veggie, at every meal.) Second, and sort of going with the last point, the idea with the diet is not eating processed foods or sugar and of course, having a whole grain and vegetable at every meal. Finally, it’s only for 90 days! If it’s the worst, I’ll go back to how I eat now in 3 months.

I’ll admit, I get a little nervous when I think about it. The idea of giving up my occasional treats (cookies, cupcakes, whatever my sweet tooth calls for at the moment) makes me a little sad. I’m also nervous about finding a variety of dishes that I like and that don’t take hours to cook. I often eat Trader Joe’s premade meals for dinner…so, I’m sure I’ll write about it all here. New year, new me! I’m going to think about this as an adventure, as something that could really make a positive change in my life.

Here is an interesting account of a woman who decided to become macrobiotic (click on these words): Macrobiotic Diary

Also, my friend Erika has a fantastic blog and wrote a post about food, eating, and her experiences with healthy eating and losing weight. If you’d like to read, here it is: Erika's Blog

Jessica O.


  1. jess, what a WONDERFUL post!!! i am so excited to see where 90 days of macrobiotics brings you. one note about the soup- you cannot eat canned/prepared soups. they are chock-full of excitotoxins. you have to make them from scratch (even the broth). for more info on this, check out russel blaylock's "health and nutrition secrets" book. also, trader joe's frozen meals are FULL of excitotoxins. so, you're gonna have to stop eating those entirely. i had to do that, and it was HARD but ultimately, i felt so much better when i started eating fresh, whole foods.


  2. Thanks, Erika! Preparing so much food by hand is so intimidating, but I am trying to collect many, many recipes. How do you know what includes excitotoxins? Is it all processed food? Or can whole foods also have them?