Sunday, October 7, 2012

Macrobiotics... It's complicated

I read the Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics. It was not what I expected. I thought it might be easy. Like, "eat vegetables."

But it's about the energy of the universe, which is slightly more complicated.

The book starts with yin and yang. Really the whole thing seems to be about yin and yang. Everything in the world is yin or yang, yin being expansive and yang being constrictive. People are yin or yang, with yin being more feminine and yang being masculine. Yin attracts yang and vice versa. Yin repels yin and vice versa. Everything changes, and what is yin becomes yang. Everything has both yin and yang in it. Foods are yin and yang, and macrobiotics is about keeping these forces in balance within your diet.

I hate to say this. I do not want to be disrespectful, but ugggh...

No beef (extreme yang), no chicken (even more yang + crazy chicken energy), no eggs. No caffeine, no dairy (food for baby cows is not good food for adult humans). No sugar. No nightshade vegetables, so tomatoes, eggplants, and potatoes are out. Pretty much no alcohol, though you can sip on some beer if you need a little yin balance. Very little salt. Nothing spicy. No microwaving. No freezing.

What do you eat? Whole grains. Certain vegetables, but keeping in mind their yin/yang business and balancing that. A little bit of pickled stuff. And seaweed. Yup. Seaweed.
Photo from "How to Heal with Macrobiotic Foods" at 

This is entirely more woo-woo than I was prepared for.

What the author did say over and over again is that if you get nothing else out of it, eat whole grains each day. Whole grains will make you feel good, focused, and light. And chew your grains- chew each mouthful 25, 50, ideally 100 times so that you really get the nutrition and energy out of them. Keep doing that and then come back if you want to, so you can go, as she says, whole hog.

I  couldn't help but think of the movie Bernie where the last thought that Bernie had before he shot Mrs. Nugent four times in the back is that he cannot bear the idea of having dinner with her again, watching as she chews each mouthful twenty. five. times.

So now I know, and I wish I didn't. I'm just not prepared to give up coffee, craft beer or cupcakes. I will continue with the occasional macrobiotic lunch and I will chew up whole grains regularly and see what happens. Maybe someday if I become more enlightened, I can do this. For now, I'll just be chewing.

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