Macrobiotic Dietary Guidelines

Whole Cereal Grains
On average, 50 percent of daily intake by weight should include whole cereal grains such as brown rice, millet, barley, whole oats, corn, rye, wheat, and buckwheat. A portion of this amount may consist of noodles or pasta, unyeasted whole grain breads, and other processed grains or grain products such as couscous, bulghur, and oatmeal.


About 5 to 10 percent of daily food (1 to 2 cups or bowls) may include soup made with seasonal vegetables and seasoned with miso, shoyu (natural soy sauce), or sea salt.


About 25 to 30 percent of daily food ideally include vegetables, locally and organically grown whenever possible. Vegetables may be cooked in various styles such as steaming, boiling, sautéed with a small amount of sesame oil, and occasionally deep-fried or made tempura style as health permits. A small portion may be eaten occasionally as fresh, raw salad, pressed salad, or as pickles.


Beans and Sea Vegetables
About 5 to 10 percent of daily diet may include cooked beans, bean products such as tofu or tempeh, and sea vegetables such as nori and wakame.


Seasonings, Condiments, and Pickles
Regular seasonings include sea salt, miso, and natural shoyu. Cooking oil should be plant quality only, especially unrefined sesame oil (light or dark) or corn oil. Condiments include gomashio (sesame seed salt), umeboshi plums, and tekka.


For drinking or cooking, good quality water (preferably natural spring, well water, or filtered water) may be used. Daily beverages include bancha twig tea, brown rice tea, and roasted barley tea. Any traditional tea that does not have an aromatic fragrance or a stimulating effect may be used. Vegetable and fruit juices (especially carrot juice and apple cider) may be taken occasionally, and mineral water, beer, sake, or wine in moderation as health permits.


Supplemental Foods (for generally healthy persons)

  • Fish and Seafood
  • Fresh low-fat, white-meat fish such as cod, flounder, or sole once or twice a week in moderate volume, if desired.
  • Fruit, Seeds, and Nuts
  • Fruit, including fresh, dried, and cooked fruits, may be taken several times a week. Local and organically grown fruits are preferred, such as apples, cherries, pears, peaches, apricots, berries, and melons. Nuts and seeds such as pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, almonds, and others may be enjoyed as a snack.
  • Natural Snacks and Desserts
  • Snacks and desserts such as mochi, sushi, puddings, natural gelatins, rice cakes, pies, cakes, and cookies may be taken several times a week as health permits. These are made with wholesome, high quality ingredients (including no eggs, refined flour, or dairy) and naturally sweetened with a grain-based sweetener such as amasake, barley malt, or rice syrup or with fruit or fruit juice. Kuzu root may be used as a thickener and agar agar or arrowroot for a gelatin base.


General Diet & Environmental Guidelines
While the Standard Macrobiotic Diet features a wide range of flexibility, certain foods are customarily restricted for better health as well as the preservation of the natural environment. These include:

  • Meat and meat products
  • Eggs, chicken, and other poultry
  • Dairy foods, including milk, cheese, butter, cream, yoghurt, and ice cream
  • Hydrogenated, partially-hydrogenated fats/oils (e.g., margarine and soy margarine)
  • Irradiated foods and genetically engineered foods
  • Chemical and artificial additives, preservatives, and sweeteners (e.g., saccharin)
  • Ingredients not naturally occurring in nature
  • Refined sugar, fructose, sucrose and most other refined sweeteners
  • Vitamins, supplements, hormones, extracts, etc.
  • Chemicalized tap and distilled water
    · Table salt, iodised salt, and gray sea salt
  • Yeast and baking soda
  • Conventional agriculture and cultivation that utilizes pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, and other potentially harmful substances
  • High temperature processing
  • Non-recyclable packaging and aluminium packaging
  • Tropical products in temperate climate zones (and vice versa)
  • Microwaved foods or foods cooked on an electric range or stove