The Macrobiotic Diet

also see Macrobiotic Guidelines


Michio Kushi developed the Standard Macrobiotic Diet, dietary guidelines based on harmony with the evolutionary order, harmony with universal human dietary traditions, harmony with the ecological order, harmony with the changing seasons, and harmony with individual differences and needs. (Kushi M. Standard Macrobiotic Diet. Becket, MA.: One Peaceful World Press, 1991.)


In temperate latitudes, including most of Europe and North America, the guidelines for people in usual good health are as follows:

  • 50-60 percent by weight whole cereal grains, including brown rice, millet, barley, oats, wheat, corn, rye, and other grains and grain products including noodles, couscous, bulgur, pasta, and various sourdough breads.
  • 5-10 percent soup, consisting of one to two cups or bowls a day, prepared primarily with vegetables from land and sea and seasoned with miso, shoyu, or sea salt, and sometimes prepared as bean soup, grain soup, fish soup, etc.
  • 25-30 percent vegetables, including root, round, and green and white leafy vegetables, prepared in a variety of ways, including about two-thirds cooked and up to one-third raw such as salad and pickles
  • 5-10 percent beans, bean products and sea vegetables (cooked together or separately) such as aduki beans, chickpeas, or lentils; tofu, tempeh and natto or other bean products; and kombu, wakame, nori and other sea vegetables
  • Occasional foods to be taken several times a week, if desired, include white-meat fish or seafood, fruit, seeds and nuts, and snacks and desserts (naturally sweetened with barley malt, rice syrup, amasake, or other grain-based sweetener)


In addition to the actual foods in the diet, there are several 'way of eating' suggestions.

These include:

  • It is preferable to cook with gas or wood heat, rather than electric or microwave, which gives a chaotic vibration to the food
  • Use cookware made of stainless steel, cast iron, earthenware, or ceramic rather than aluminum or chemicalized nonstick materials
  • Eat regularly in a relaxed manner, two to three meals per day as desired
  • Avoid eating or snacking for at least three hours before sleeping
  • Chew each mouthful of food very well, ideally fifty or more times, until it liquefies in the mouth
  • Foods that are generally avoided include meat and poultry, dairy food, eggs, sugar, honey, chocolate, and other refined sweeteners, tropical fruits and vegetables, refined flour, and foods containing artificial colorings, flavorings, preservatives, and other additives