(Taken from the Book: Introduction to the macrobiotics of Carmen Porrata Maury. University of Havana, Cuba)

Macrobiotics is a way of eating and living

Macrobiotics is a way of eating and living practiced for thousands of years by many people across the planet. It comes from an intuitive understanding of the natural order. Modern macrobiotic philosophy is focused on offering a way of life that covers the great gulf between humans and the natural world. Macrobiotic theory suggests that illness and sadness are natural ways to urge us to adopt a proper diet and lifestyle.

Since we have strayed far from nature, we have lost its value. It is said that we can learn a lot from peoples like the Hunzakuts, the Vilcabambas and the Absajos, who live in close contact with nature. They are very healthy, vital and develop great physical activity, and many are centenarians. Most of the food they eat is grown locally, organically, and is not processed. Their diet is essentially macrobiotic because it is mostly based on whole grains like wheat, barley, buckwheat, corn, and brown rice, with fresh vegetables, peas, nuts, beans, and fruits. They do eat some meat, dairy, and poultry though; These make up less than 1% of your diet.
It is not the purpose of macrobiotics to adopt the level of physical activity of these peoples, nor their more rustic way of life, but a more complete and comprehensive diet. In fact, the committees of Experts to prepare the Dietary Guidelines (FAO-WHO) support the change in diet towards a simpler one, which includes whole grains, whole grain products, legumes, vegetables and fresh fruits, and recommend a decrease in red meat, cheese, eggs, poultry and highly refined foods lacking in fiber, in addition to reducing salt, sugar and fat consumption.
Nutrition experts believe that changes in diet may reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes mellitus, and cancer, among other chronic and degenerative diseases. The first report, prepared by the Select Senate MacGovern Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs in the US, concluded that current eating habits can be considered as profoundly detrimental to the health of citizens as the widespread infectious diseases of the turn of the century.
Thousands of people in the world are approaching food alternatives such as the macrobiotic diet to prevent disease and promote health. Macrobiotics are already seen by many prestigious nutritionists and doctors as a ray of hope for the prevention and cure of many diseases. The proven success of the macrobiotic diet for control blood pressure, fats, and cholesterol have given him medical credibility.
Unlike other diets, macrobiotics are expanding more and more. Macrobiotic educators have pioneered the revolution to consume natural and organic foods.
Macrobiotic philosophy teaches that a complete and balanced diet is the most direct way to good health. Macrobiotics, to a greater extent than any other diet regimen, values ​​and highlights individual differences, such as where you live, activity, and health status. It highlights the detrimental effect of modern food processing and refining methods on our physical and mental health. The macrobiotic diet only uses complete and processed foods by traditional methods.
A large amount of processed food is consumed today, much more in industrialized countries. In 1971, the United States already had the painful honor of being the first country on earth to consume more than 50% of its diet in processed foods, such that the annual per capita consumption of chemical additives is estimated at approximately 4 kg.
An excess of calories and saturated animal fats, coupled with a loss of nutrients in processing and the use of additives is largely responsible for the increasing rate of health problems.

Key macrobiotic foods

The macrobiotic diet is in accord with the latest scientific findings regarding diet and nutrition, yet the rich union of tradition and common sense that underlies its essence is an even better reason to eat macrobiotically.
Since agriculture began almost twelve thousand years ago, most humans have eaten a diet consisting of whole grains, their derived products, vegetables, and legumes, with limited amounts of animal food.
After the agricultural revolution of the last century, the modern diet began to change rapidly.
The abundance of cheap grain made animal husbandry profitable, and meat and dairy became readily available. The invention of the roller mill changed the way of preparing bread, refining flour - bran and germ were separated from the endosperm.
The prosperity of the 75th century favored widespread access to refined food and meat, previously the privilege of the wealthy. For the past XNUMX years or so, our food supplies have been made quite artificial, and animal food supplies have become popular.
Macrobiotics favors a more traditional way of eating that emphasizes natural and complete foods.
In the macrobiotic diet most of the energy comes from complex carbohydrates and in it the cooking methods that are used conserve the nutrients and highlight the aroma of the food.
The modern diet relies heavily on processed and synthetic foods. It is very high in saturated animal fat, cholesterol and is deficient in complex carbohydrates, fiber, and natural vitamins and minerals. It also contains an excess of salt, sugar and chemical additives. This diet is receiving more and more criticism from the point of view of quantity and quality nutritional.
Admittedly, we are experiencing moments of confusion and no one knows who to listen to. The real problem is that we have strayed so far from nature that our intuition and common sense have been lost.
A true healthy diet must consist of choosing the foods, not the nutrients, most appropriate to the constitution and individual conditions (physical, emotional and mental). Only in this way we will approach the optimal state of health and gain quality of life.
Food in its entire state, in addition to nutrients, contains numerous substances such as phytochemicals in the case of vegetables, which have important antioxidant actions, but also have other values ​​still unknown due to the phytocomplex itself that all its constituents form, with their corresponding interactions and effects.
Choosing the right foods at all times is a relatively easy task at the hands of Macrobiotics, an eminently analogical and globalizing Eastern philosophy, developed by George Ohsawa. This philosophy allows us to implement common sense, with which we will only eat food that we can digest, assimilate perfectly, eliminate its residues, and that are appropriate to our state, the climate and the activity that is carried out. Over time a state of equilibrium will be achieved in which what is really needed is desired and desired.
Macrobiotic means great life and it is a philosophy oriented to the respect and care of nature and love towards humanity. It is based on the continuous and necessary balance of the Yin and the Yang and of the Five Transformations. It rejects consumerism and has deeply social bases.
Macrobiotics considers the act of eating the most important for life, so it must be a reasoned and conscious act and not a mechanical act (in which one drinks when thirsty or eats when hungry, without distinction of what is drunk or eaten). It teaches you to think about what you eat, it involves appropriating the true culture of food that distinguishes between healing foods (those that can be eaten every day, everything you want), nutritious ones (which are maintained but not necessary). eat them daily) and the toxic ones (that are consumed only by medical indication).
He argues that to be healthy you have to breathe well (clean, uncontaminated air), eat well (fresh, uncontaminated food) and drink well (clean, uncontaminated water). The healthy person eats every day in harmony with the environment.
For food to be well digested and assimilated, certain conditions are also required, such as: eating in a ventilated place, in a comfortable position, in tranquility, slowly, chewing food well.
Macrobiotics considers food in its most comprehensive sense, from the time the seed is sown until it is used biologically by the cells, making a Insights continuum of the interactions that take place between the internal and external environment. In this philosophy, Agriculture with its cultivation and harvesting methods has the maximum responsibility for the health of the populations, followed by the Food Industry.
Macrobiotics is based on the principles of the ancient Asian civilization and aims for people to achieve a long life with good quality, through a healthy, safe and balanced diet. Macrobiotics can also be applied in the field of diet therapy, where reaps enough success.

Nutritional principles

  1. Priority use of natural, integral and organic foods, that is, they have the least possible industrial processing and come from crops that have not used fertilizers or pesticides.
  2. Use of foods that offer health safety.
  3. Less acidifying diets than conventional ones.
  4. Limit or avoid the use of refined sugar, dairy, foods of the nightshade family (potato, tomato, eggplant, pepper), red meat, ham, sausages of all kinds, eggs, animal fats (butter, butter , bacon), citrus fruits, coffee, alcoholic beverages.
  5. Secure energy supply.
  6. Adequate supply of proteins (between 10 and 12% of energy), but mainly of plant origin, respecting the biological value of amino acid mixtures. Fully vegetarian offerings are preferred. When food of animal origin is provided, it is done at lunchtime, replacing legumes. Meals are always vegetarian.
  7. Fat supply in the recommended values ​​for the prevention of non-communicable diseases (between 15 and 20% of energy), basically of plant origin, respecting the recommendation of essential fatty acids and the distribution of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats .
  8. High supply of carbohydrates, mainly complex carbohydrates (between 65 and 75% of energy).
  9. Low supply of refined carbohydrates.
  10. Contribution of dietary fiber at the recommended levels for the prevention of non-communicable diseases (30 to 40g).
  11. Diets with high antioxidant power.
  12. Adequate supply of all vitamins and minerals.
  13. Exclusive use of natural seasonings.
  14. Limited use of salt for cooking. Only whole sea salt is used.
  15. I don't use table salt.
  16. Moderation in eating.
  17. Correct chewing of food
  18. Using cooking methods that preserve the smell and color of food.
  19. Using handling and cooking methods that minimize the loss of vitamins and other nutrients.
  20. Food preparation in adequate amounts for each meal time, so you do not have to save food.
  21. Fresh food service.
  22. Compliance with hygienic regulations for food handling, processing and preservation.
  23. Use of water with good quality, without contamination.
  24. Cook with love.
The principle of providing less acidifying diets than conventional diets is essential in macrobiotic diet therapy.
From prestigious studies in the field of oxidative stress it is known that changes in H + concentrations in biological fluids can dramatically change the cellular redox potential (Nernst equation). In this way, small changes in the cellular redox environment can alter the DNA and RNA synthesis transduction signals, protein synthesis, enzymatic activation, and therefore regulation of the cell life cycle. It is argued that the magnitude of oxidative stress leads the life cycle from proliferation to differentiation, apoptosis and finally to cell necrosis. On this basis, it is possible to discuss the benefit of diets with alkalizing power and rich in antioxidants, such as the studied macrobiotic diet, in the possibility of tissue regeneration, allowing the replication of stem or totipotent cells in situ. In any case, even if this potential did not occur, it is undeniable that diets that leave few acidic residues demand less work from the buffer mechanisms to restore blood pH, thus, they demand less insulin production, less bone calcium output, a less liver and kidney work.

Principles of Macrobiotics in the kitchen

  • Use good quality water
  • Stainless steel, glass and wood utensils
  • No use of chemical substances
  • Correct use of uniforms in cooks
  • Avoid unnecessary noise
  • Cook with peace of mind
I am a dreamer and in my dreams I believe that a better world is possible, that no one knows more than anyone, we all learn from everyone. I love gastronomy, numbers, teaching and sharing all the little I know, because by sharing I also learn. "Let's all go together from foundation to success"
macrobiotics
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