what is macrobiotics?

what is macrobiotics?

macrobiotics – noun (used with a singular verb)

a system of holistic principles and practices that guides choices in nutrition, activity, and lifestyle for physical, emotional, mental, social and environmental health.


origin: from ancient greek: macro (large or long), bios (life or way of living) and tics (techniques, practical skills or art of)

principles and values

The following principles and values are based on the writtings of the early twentieth-century philosopher George Ohsawa. His and our intention is to cultivate individual and world health, happiness, peace, ecology, social consciousness and a productive way of life.

way of life

gratitude – developing a love of life making the most of every moment and being grateful for whatever happens whether it seems positive or negative, is an opportunity for growth.

one grain, one thousand grains – in Nature, one seed becomes a plant that produces many seeds, thus giving back and increasing. This is a metaphor to continuously act with generosity towards others in all aspects of life, thus giving back more than you receive.

values – learning to accept people as they are and appreciate each person’s life journey. Seek to make honest and positive relationships that fulfil the highet ethics and values in life.

everything changes – by embracing change, humans develop. Macrobiotic living is a way to create beneficial change in life, evolving through experience as as the world changes.


seven conditions of health – 1. Vitality; 2. Good appetite for natural food and life; 3. Deep refreshing sleep; 4. Good memory; 5. Cheerful pleasant outlook; 6. Clear thought and action; 7. Honesty and appreciation.

self-reflection – developing the ability to view life from the biggest perspective from a more objective and non-judgemental place. Living with self-awareness can guide each person towards health.

intuition – an integral part of health based on an inner knowing that comes from a direct connection with Nature and beyond.

self-empowerment – the ability to influence your own life and health is one of the first steps to empowering yourself, leading to a creative and constructive approach to life.

ecology and food

body and Nature are not separate – what we do to the environment greatly affects us. Food and breathing are our direct connection to Nature. Through daily meals, regular rising and sleeping times and daily exercise, we realign with the seasonal cycles of Nature everyday.

food – consistent meal times and eating together promote health. A macrobiotic diet is based on combining healthy traditional food, including fresh vegetables, whole grains or their products, beans, fruit, nuts, seeds, pickles, fermented foods, herbs, seasonings, sea vegetables and teas. Each person is unique and discovers the best food for health based on macrobiotic principles. Many thrive being vegan and some choose to include a litlle animal food. Macrobiotics is an open, flexible and adaptable approach to eating that include a wide variety of foods for social events and special occasions.

principles for food selection – prioritise food that has grown and adpated to your climatic region over many centuries or at least comes from a similar climatic zone. Prefer local and seasonal perishable foods from as close to home as possible and organic/natural foods with as little chemical additives as possible.

natural preparation – use natural preparation, cooking techniques and preservation methods to enhance taste and quality of ingredients and to make nutrients more available. Cooking is a skill that can bring greater sensory and emotional satisfaction to a meal.


order of the universe – describes the way things come into being in a logical progression through seven stages. This process forms the philosophical basis of macrobiotics.

unifying principle of yin-yang – illustrates the unity and diversity of all phenomena, connections and the relative direction of all things. Yin or yang cannot exist or be define without the other. They are relative terms where things are more yin or more yang relative to something else. Opposites, such as day and night complete and change into each other.

five transformations – phases of change based on times of day and seasons. They combine with yin and yang for further insight and refinement in making daily food, cooking, health, decisions and lifestyle choices.


living with curiosity – learning to think for yourself. Macrobiotic education includes asking questions and developing curiosity to help explore life more deeply. Live with a beginner’s mind that is open to new and fresh ideas. Be ready to experiment and verify them for yourself. Study traditional cultures that have achieved health, longevity and harmony with their environment.

seven aspects of consciousness – helpful guides for sel-reflection as we grown and develop. These innate human qualities are physical, sensorial, emotional, intellectual, social, philosophical and universal love that can turn antagonism into its complement.

authors: Simon Brown, Carl Ferre, Anna Mackenzie, Isabel Moreno, Denny Waxman