Although a Macrobiotic diet can include meat and fish, it is possible to eat a vegan or a vegetarian macrobiotic diet.
Macrobiotics devotees believe that food, and food quality, affects our lives more than is commonly thought. It is thought to affect our health, well being and happiness. They focus on moving away from processed foods, and moving toward more natural and more traditional methods of food preparation. They claim it is better to choose food that is less processed, more natural, use more traditional methods of food preparation for themselves and their family.
Macrobiotics emphasize locally-grown, organically-grown whole grain cereals, legumes, vegetables, fruit, seaweed and fermented soy products, combined into meals according to the principle of balance between yin and yang properties, rather than scientific dietary guidelines.
Macrobiotic diets follow the idea of Yin and Yang. Cereals, fruit, beans, nuts and vegetables, and rice make up the main part of the diet and are considered neutral and are naturally balanced in terms of Yin and Yang.
Foods which are either extremely Yin in nature or extremely Yang in nature are eaten very rarely if at all. Very Yin products include coffee, tropical fruit, sugar, soft dairy products, alcohol and honey. Very Yang products include firm dairy products like hard cheeses, and eggs.
The macrobiotic diet is high in natural, unprocessed foods, complex carbohydrates, and vegetables. It is low in saturated fats, whilst providing the essential fats. Food should be organically grown and eaten fresh.
The Macrobiotic lifestyle also governs how food should be prepared. No microwave should be used - rice must be cooked in a pressure cooker. Food should be eaten and chewed slowly, in a relaxed manner.
Low-fat high-fiber diets are also believed to play a role in preventing some types of cancer. And the macrobiotic emphasis on fresh, non-processed foods may be beneficial to those dealing with certain food allergies and chemical sensitivities.
Followers assert that the balance and harmony of the macrobiotic diet and lifestyle create the best possible conditions for health. They claim that the diet yields many positive health effects, including a general sense of well-being, and some studies actually show that people on the diet have a decreased risk of heart disease and some forms of cancer.