The term macrobiotics originated in Greece, where teachings based on a deep
understanding of the laws of nature came to be known as macrobiotics, meaning ‘big’ or
'great' (macro) ‘life’ (bios). Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, was the first to
introduce the word back in the 5th century B.C, as he himself taught a natural way of life,
which emphasized harmony with the environment, especially in the selection and
preparation of food. The ancient teachings of macrobiotics, however, pre-date
Hippocrates and have existed from the time of the earliest human cultures and
civilizations. By tracing its origins, we can see that macrobiotics is far more than a dietary
regime. It is a philosophy and way of life, which encompasses not only diet but all
dimensions of human life and cosmic activity.
That might all sound a little way out there but I think it’s important to understand where
macrobiotics comes from. The present day understanding of the term is far from what I
have described above, as most people have either never heard of it, or if they have, often
they associate it with a diet, which is renound for being regimented and bland.
So what is the macrobiotic ''diet'', you might well ask. Well, first of all, I would like to
emphasise that macrobiotics is not a diet; rather it is an approach to life and food, which
considers many factors such as the climate, the time of year, the location and the
individual’s needs. Broadly speaking, it is centered largely around eating a simple, natural
diet, which includes wholegrains, beans, vegetables, sea vegetables and smaller quantities
of fish, nuts, seeds and fruits.
The beauty of the macrobiotic approach is that the emphasis is not on what you can or
cannot eat. Instead, it focusses on making us more aware of how different foods and
cooking styles affect us, both physically and emotionally. But to create this awareness and
sensitivity to food, a simple diet is required. As we become more aware of the effects
that different foods have on us, we are more in control of knowing what our needs are at
any given time. And of course, what we need today may not be what we need tomorrow
or next week, as our needs are changing all the time.
So, I hope by now I’ve managed to give you some understanding of macrobiotics without
confusing you completely. I wanted to share this information because firstly, in the midst
of this increasingly complex world we live in, I think there is a lot to be said for a simple,
natural approach to life, which enables us to take control of our own health and
happiness. And secondly, over the coming weeks, I am undertaking a little macrobiotic
experiment to improve my own health and sensitivity to the foods I eat. So, I invite you
to join me on this journey and along the way, learn more about this fascinating and
ancient approach to great health and a great life!