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Macrobiotics: Diet and Lifestyle for Long-term Health

A frequent misunderstanding about macrobiotics is that it is a diet sick people use - cancer patients especially - in order to heal. While it is true that a macrobiotic approach has helped a great many people get well, macrobiotics is much more than a mere diet, and it is for everyone. Whether you're recovering from illness or simply interested in having greater vitality, macrobiotics is a wholistic, natural system for good health and long life.

"Let food by thy medicine, and medicine thy food," is a saying from the ancient Greek philosopher Hippocrates, who also coined the term "macrobiotics." In Greek, "makro" means long or large, and "bio" means life. A macrobiotic approach to good health begins with food and cooking, extending to include lifestyle and exercise. Daily walks, a grateful state of mind, and meditation for centering oneself are among the practices of the system. Its purpose is to create a state of health that supports rather than prevents a full and vibrant life.

Since Hippocrates coined the term, we know that the principles of macrobiotics have been around a long time. They're the same concepts that you'll find in any modern day nutrition or fitness class: high fiber, low fat, plenty of vegetables and grains, limited meat. Going beyond these basics, macrobiotics also includes healing foods such as sea vegetables and ginger root.

To bring balance to one's physical and emotional condition through utilizing food is the macrobiotic focus. Foods that have nutritional and energetic balance - yin and yang - are used: legumes, beans, whole grains, and vegetables dominate. Red meat, dairy, refined sugar, and coffee are examples of foods without balance and they are eliminated. For flavor, variety, and seasonal virtue, some oils, nuts, and fruits are used in small amounts. The variety adds interest and also increases the nutrient range. The end result is food both wholesome and delicious.

It is critically important that the food tastes good because food is sensual, and if it doesn't appeal to our senses, we won't eat it in the long run. It might take a bit of time to develop the taste for macrobiotic cuisine because it is light and elegant in its simplicity. Here is an example of typically combined macrobiotic ingredients for an easy and tasty meal.

*Nutty Rice with Vegetables*

Cook 2 cups short or long grain brown rice in sea-salted water (2 and 1/2 cups water with 2 pinches sea salt). Cover the pot tightly for 30-40 minutes on very low heat.

Parboil these vegetables separately for two minutes or less: 1/4 cup diced carrot, and 1/4 cup diced red onion, and 2 cups florets of broccoli. Allow to cool.

In a dry frying pan toast 1/2 cup walnuts over medium heat for five minutes. Puree the toasted walnuts with one teaspoon barley miso dissolved in some water.

Mix together the vegetables, rice, and puree. Then add the grated peel of a lemon. Serve this dish warm or cool, rather than hot or cold. Enjoy!

Grace M. Navarro's articles on topics related to diet are published in Alta Diet News the leading resource on-line for information about diets. Visit the complete archive of articles here: http://www.altadiet.com/

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