Macrobiotic feeding: everything you need to know!

Macrobiotic feeding: everything you need to know!

Have you heard of macrobiotic? Some people call it a diet, others call it a lifestyle or simply food. What happens is that, like many other contemporary movements, macrobiotic nutrition is accompanied by many promises, questions and criticism. The undeniable fact is that many people have followed and talked about, starting with Gilberto Gil since the 70s and, today, with his daughter Bela Gil. Let’s understand and, who knows, practice some teachings of macrobiotic food?


Despite having been thought of before and part of the teachings of some older writings, the macrobiotic actually appeared in 1961, presented by George Ohsawa. The movement arose in response to the food customs of the modern world and as a proposal to provide mouth cure, in which diseases could be prevented by eating.

Macrobiotic feeding: everything you need to know!

Photo: Simply Happy Foodie

Today it is part of 2 large groups: those who take macrobiotics as a diet, taking into account only the ingredients and the need for body changes; and another who understands the movement as a philosophy of life and performs the practice in many other aspects besides food.


The first definitions of the theme bring the energies From foods as decision factors for what we should and should not eat. According to Chinese philosophy there is the yin it’s the yang and each of them represents one side of the center of balance. Some foods would be more yin and others more yang, and others would be neutral – which should be eaten.

Macrobiotic feeding: everything you need to know!

Photo: Arcot Gautham in Unsplash

However, not everyone believes in this “energetic” definition and still see that there is a lot to learn from macrobiotics. The word itself defines very well what this type of food wants: macro is great, broad and biotic is life. That is, a great and extensive life, but not only regarding time, but about living a great and magnificent life.

The Macrobiótico Institute of Portugal, conceptualizes in a very broad way that it is “a way of life that guides individual choices in food, physical activity and lifestyle. It is a system of principles and practices that aim at balance for the benefit of the body, the mind and the planet ”.


The “root” macrobiotic diet indicates the consumption of some foods that are totally balanced: brown rice (the most balanced of all), oats, barley, corn and any type of whole grain and some vegetables. And it suggests avoiding alcohol, sugar, fats and even fresh fruits (these in a lesser proportion of imbalance), as they are considered yin. And yangs, which should also be avoided: red meat, eggs, dairy products and salt.

Macrobiotic feeding: everything you need to know!

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The initial proposal is that there should be a gradual and radical change in food, until it consumes only brown rice (which is fraught with much criticism). However, it is undeniable that the increase in the consumption of cereals and whole grains (as long as it is not radical) is a great way to a healthier life. In addition to that, there are also indications of prioritizing seasonal foods, without preservatives, without dyes and industrialized. In this way, we can think that macrobiotics is not a diet, but a change in daily practices in our relationship with food. Both from the perspective of health, ecology, our relationship with the earthly and spiritual world, if there is such a belief.


The criticisms are directly related to the comparison of macrobiotics with traditional medicine and nutrition, after all, this is a practice that restricts some food groups such as meat, milk and others more controversial. The concern is that it is very much linked to a “fashion diet”, A problematic concept that brings many compulsory diets, regimes and behaviors to the“ search for the perfect body ”, but that cause diseases and psychological and nutritional disorders.

Macrobiotic feeding: everything you need to know!

Photo: Jennifer Burk in Unsplash

Tomio Kikuchi, who passed away in 2019, considered the “father of macrobiotics” in Brazil, also said that it is a utopian concept and that it is important to look at the teachings of the practice observing what measures can be taken in each person’s life to find The self-knowledge and balance.

Many people have had health problems for practicing macrobiotics in an extreme and radical way, so knowing your own limits is very important. And, of course, whenever necessary, consult a doctor and perform periodic examinations to check and replace possible nutritional deficiencies. Remembering that the extremes and “challenges” caused by a diet are not recommended by any specialist.


It is a fact that macrobiotics should not be seen as a diet and that there are many points to be observed and discussed. However, it is also undeniable that there are many benefits that can be learned from practice, as a way of introducing the routine of each person in the healthiest way possible, as a way of self-knowledge. They are:

  • Give preference to integrals.
  • Avoid sugar and salt.
  • Do not ingest industrialized products.
  • Prefer organic.
  • Consume seasonal and regional products.
  • Avoid yeast, condiments, chemical seasonings, dyes.
  • Consume teas with awareness, understanding that balance is always important.
  • Avoid animal products.
  • Make food preparation and consumption a moment of respect and pleasure, chew often.
  • And always, self-knowledge.


Do you already practice macrobiotic feeding? Leave your experience here in the comments.

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