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How to Eat Macrobiotic

Macrobioticism looks for foods that have a balanced yin and yang and recommends making up most of your diet from those. Yin characteristics are light, cold, expansive, and dark, while yang foods are more heavy, hot, compact, and dense.

Photo: Maren Caruso

Know your yin and yang

Macrobioticism looks for foods that have a balanced yin and yang and recommends making up most of your diet from those. Yin characteristics are light, cold, expansive, and dark, while yang foods are more heavy, hot, compact, and dense.

Grains, grains, grains

A macrobiotic diet is heavy on whole grains like brown rice, barley, and millet. These are said to be the foods where yin and yang are most closely balanced.

The right veggies

Vegetables are also a huge part of the macrobiotic diet -- about 25 to 30 perent -- save a few exceptions. Veggies in the nightshade category, such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and peppers, as well as spinach, beets, and avocado, are all considered overly yin and aren’t often used.

The rest of your diet

After whole grains and veggies, your diet should be made up of beans and legumes, miso soup, and sea veggies. Every once in a while you can have seafood, nuts, and seeds (along with nut and seed butters), fruit, seasonings, and sweeteners.

No-nos

Stay away from foods that are considered too yin (stimulating) or yang (stagnating). The too-yin list includes sugar, alcohol, honey, coffee, chocolate, refined flour, hot spices, chemicals and preservatives, commercial milk, and soft cheeses and yogurt. On the overly yang side are poultry, meat, eggs, and refined salt.

The reality? Try for 75%

Your body can get the same benefits of a macrobiotic diet if you eat by its tenets about 75 percent of the time as if you eat by them all the time. This frees you up for some meals out with your friends, who might not be into your eating style.

Still not sure if a macrobiotic diet is right for you? Learn how to eat raw.

Nestpert: Kim Wyman, MPH, RD

-- Paula Kashtan