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Macrobiotic Nutrition: Healthy & Balanced

Posted by Shima Shimizu on


In the last article we discussed food as energy and achieving balance through food. Today, we continue to explore these topics and will go deeper in discovering which specific foods are worth their reputation and why. Without further delay, let’s dive right in!


The Myth of Magic Foods

You might wonder “What mysterious food have they discovered this week?” Remember when ginger suddenly climbed to the top of the charts as “THE” new anti-inflammatory food? People started consuming it in large amounts, anyway they could. Some added it to juices, others to shakes, and the brave ones even drank the juice alone. How about when the Western world discovered Acai berries? Brought from the rainforests of South America, acai berries became overnight the new, irreplaceable “superfood”. Today, in the U.S. at least, the new champion is celery juice. It has dominated the market and is being consumed in such great quantities that it’s common for stores to post signs like “Sorry, No Celery Today”. The demand is so large that it’s exhausting production. But for how long? Until the next “superfood” or “anti-inflammatory” or “antioxidant” contender enters the arena? There is no denying these foods are beneficial in one form or another, but let’s be real - can anyone live on ginger alone? How about acai berries? Celery juice should probably sit this one out. Superfoods, anti-inflammatory foods, and antioxidant foods are a good addition to a healthy diet. But, there is major difference between a healthy diet and a balanced diet.

Healthy Diet vs. Balanced Diet

Eat your vegetables. Make sure you get enough protein. Drink plenty of water. Chances are, you probably heard these growing up over and over again. Today, when you hear them you probably chuckle a few times. Does it mean then these statements were a bad advice? It depends. Yes, you should eat your vegetables, but which ones? We think spinach, eggplant, and potatoes are great vegetables, but you won’t actually get much nourishment out of them.

Green leafy vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and are easy to digest. Where leafy greens nourish with light, upward energy, root vegetables, like carrots, parsnips, and yams balance with grounding, longer lasting energy. Round vegetables, like onions and turnips nourish with complex carbohydrates and provide sweetness. Leeks give steady upward energy, while kabocha squash, for example, provides sweetness and warmth. The combination of all these vegetables provide not only nutrition, but also variety of life sustaining energies that nourishes the whole body. Hooray for veggies!

Let’s move on to protein. When most people think of protein animal meat comes to mind. How about beans? They are also packed with protein. What is the difference? Animal protein is much stronger and requires the body to work overtime to digest it. The fact is, the nourishment vs. energy required to digest, it just doesn’t compute. It can take the body up to 2 days to digest animal protein! Beans on the other hand, if cooked properly, will take 120 minutes to digest. Then there is the question of variety. Most people who eat animal protein alternate between 3 to 4 different kinds, a week. There are 40,000 varieties of beans worldwide. Now that’s a lot of beans! True, in macrobiotic nutrition, we might eat the same type of beans twice a week, but if we do, it’s for a reason; typically to support specific organ function or aid a condition. From purely logical standpoint, not to get into the “harvesting” animal protein for human consumption and all the negative effects on the environment, we’ll just say beans can take on animal protein, any day.

 

Macrobiotic Hong Kong


What about water? The essence of life. We can’t survive without it for more than 3 to 4 days. In that respect, shouldn’t we consume as much water as we can? Not exactly. If you remember, from my previous article we talked moderation. This doesn’t only apply to food, but everything else, including water. If you are eating rich foods like animal protein, dairy (especially cheeses), eggs, and other foods high in salt content, you are going to be thirsty. They dry the body and, yes, you will need to drink quite a bit of water. The body then has to do something with all that liquid. It has to filter it and all the filtration makes kidneys and bladder work overtime. With a plant-based diet, however, you are getting plenty of water. For example, cauliflower and cabbage are 92% water. If you consume them, you are also consuming the water content. Unless you are over-salting your food you won’t be as thirsty. The general rule is: if you aren’t thirsty you shouldn’t drink water. If you are constantly thirsty, you are probably getting too much salt, or simple sugars, somewhere. Review and adjust, is the best practice.

Eating a healthy diet these days typically means you are eating plenty of vegetables, getting substantial amount of protein, and avoiding heavy, rich foods. Soft drinks are also off the menu due to the high content of artificial ingredients and simple sugars.

In a macrobiotic nutrition we don’t just eat any vegetables but carefully choose which ones, based on the energy they provide us with. As I mentioned earlier, variety is important as well and we are typically balancing whole meals with vegetables above ground (leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, Brussels Sprouts, etc.), round vegetables (onion, cabbage, turnips, ect.) and root vegetables (carrots, daikon, parsnip, burdock, etc.). Different vegetables have different nutrition and provide us with different energies.

Grains are staple of every culture and every continent has its own, native grain. In Europe it’s barley, in Latin America it’s quinoa, in Africa it’s millet, and in Asia it’s rice. Some are lighter, having cooling energy, for consumption in hotter climates, while others are substantially heavier, having warming energy, for colder climates. Grains are the world’s most balanced food, and of them all, short grain brown rice is the undisputed king. It has the most perfect ratio of everything you need; fiber, protein, and is packed with minerals and micronutrients. You could literally live on water and short grain brown rice alone. However, let’s not forget, macrobiotics is also about variety. It’s not a fasting diet.

Besides whole grains or grain derivatives (pasta, and flour products), varieties of fresh vegetables, beans and bean products (tempeh and tofu), macrobiotic nutrition also includes sea vegetables for rare minerals and vitamins, occasional nuts and seeds, fruits, herbs, seasonings, teas and fermented foods. Now, that’s variety!

 

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Foods That Strengthen, Foods That Heal

In standard macrobiotic diet, besides eating the foods that daily nourish our bodies, occasionally there might be a need to strengthen specific organs and organ functions. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome The Home Remedies: the teas and drinks made of highly alkaline and energetic ingredients. We don’t use ginger alone, or celery alone. It’s usually a combination of one, two or more ingredients including: carrots (yes, carrots!), daikon (white radish), ginger (you are welcome, ginger lovers!), umeboshi plums (pickled for over 3 years), dried shiitake mushrooms, to mention just a few. These foods consumed alone have a single effect, but in specific combinations work with the body to help resolve aches, pains, discomforts, discharges, accumulations, and so on. Home remedies are modern and traditional, collected from different cultures for over 5,000 years. They are a well proven nourishment that body responds to without side-effects. Give body what it needs, and it will reward you with good health and long life.

In Closing


It’s actually quite difficult to sum up macrobiotic nutrition in one, two, or three articles. It’s a nutrition that has helped us evolve. The practice of macrobiotics has been observed in all cultures throughout the ages, from ancient Inka’s to modern Greeks.

I invite you to continue discovering with me even more reasons why macrobiotic nutrition and lifestyle are worth pursuing. After all, and as the name suggests macrobiotics is about living a “large life”. Until next week…

 

 

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WORKSHOPS

Macrobiotic Workshops with Srdjan “Serg” Dobic

Serg has 3 levels of workshops lined up for October and November 2019. Sign up for the classes from the links bellow!

 

Workshop Sign Up Dates:

  • Workshop 1 - Day 1
    Introduction to Macrobiotic Nutrition Cooking Class
    Wednesday, October 23 11:00am – 1:30pm
     Sign Up Here

  • Workshop 1 - Day 2
    Introduction to Macrobiotic Nutrition Cooking Class
    Thursday, October 24 6:00 – 8:30pm
    Sign Up Here

  • Workshop 2 - Day 1
    Food as Energy - Macrobiotic Nutrition with Cooking Class
    Tuesday, October 29⋅6:00 – 8:30pm
    Sign Up Here

  • Workshop 2 - Day 2
    Food as Energy - Macrobiotic Nutrition with Cooking Class
    Wednesday, October 30⋅11:00am – 1:30pm
    Sign Up Here

  • Workshop 3 - Day 1
    Home Remedies - Macrobiotic Nutrition with Cooking Class
    Tuesday, November 5⋅6:00 – 8:30pm
    Sign Up Here

  • Workshop 3 - Day 2
    Macrobiotic Nutrition with Cooking Class
    Wednesday, November 6⋅11:00am – 1:30pm
    Sign Up Here

 

Srdjan “Serg” Dobic

 

Macrobiotics Hong Kong

 

Srdjan “Serg” Dobic is a macrobiotic nutrition and lifestyle counselor. Implementing the principals of macrobiotic philosophy, diet and lifestyle, Serg specializes in working with clients to enhance vitality and improve specific health conditions such as stress, anxiety, chronic fatigue, digestion and respiratory issues.

 

For a 15 minute complimentary consultation and to schedule a full consultation with Serg, please send email to info@equilibrium-hk.com or Call / WhatsApp: +852 6112 4183


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