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The “New” Macrobiotics

A Shift Towards Diversity

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The “New” Macrobiotics
Jody Hoy
Amongst people who have explored macrobiotic lifestyle there is a growing movement away from the traditional Japanese model. Many people who have contemplated adopting the concepts taught by Michio Kushi have moved away from them, finding that the way of life is too rigid in its orientation, and/or too Japanese. Some have tried the model and not thrived on it. Many others have expressed a desire for food that is more adapted to an ethnically diverse palate, and which includes the bounties of native agriculture.

The use of aromatic herbs and spices is virtually unheard of in Japanese macrobiotics, yet here in America we are surrounded by an incredible array of readily available plants, which are not only delicious, but medicinal as well. This “medicine at your feet” is tragically ignored when we adhere to the strict macrobiotic model. From sweet herbs like basil and dill, to pungent oregano and sage; from cumin, to cardamom, turmeric, and cinnamon, herbs and spices offer a rainbow of flavors and healing properties that can only enhance the food we eat.

Additionally, the agriculture of many regions of the world includes food that can and should be incorporated into the diet depending on where you live. If you live in the tropics, tropical fruit serves its purpose when used in moderation. Coconut is used as an antimicrobial food and is incredibly beneficial in the sweltering climate of the islands and elsewhere. Amaranth and quinoa literally grow wild throughout Latin and South America, and both offer high quality nutrition for a very low cost. Pomegranates are native to the Far East, yet Thomas Jefferson was so taken with them that he grew the fruit in his yard, and the Italians began using them hundreds of years ago. They offer incredible nutritive value.

Point being, look at what grows where you live, and make the most of it. Keep in mind the balancing of Yin and Yang: if you live in a very hot, tropical climate (Yang) you will balance the energy with more yin foods and cooking methods. If you live in a cold climate like Alaska, more Yang foods and cooking methods will help keep your body warm and your engine running smoothly. Those of us who live in places with distinct seasons will have to change our diets significantly through the course of the year.

Finally, remember that evolution and change are constants of life. We would not have Nouvelle Cuisine, New American Cuisine, Pan Asian, Fusion, Pacific Rim, and a myriad of other cooking styles- including Kushi’s macrobiotics- were it not for highly creative, forward thinking individuals who sought to improve, expand, and evolve the status quo. As we stand on the shoulders of those who come before us, we are charged with taking the best of what our predecessors had to offer and weaving it into a larger version of itself. The recipes on this site seek to do just that, offering a wide variety of foods and choices of seasoning to prepare them.

Have a look at The Macrobiotic Path. The concepts outlined there are very adaptable, and can be applied to a holistic, healing diet combined with the varied flavors of global cuisine. Bon Appetit!

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