Is The Macrobiotic Diet a Good Diet? : Exclusive Renegade Health Q & A

Friday Dec 16 | BY |
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not macrobiotic but insanely good
If you ate a strict macrobiotic diet, you might not be able to eat everything here… how much fun would that be? (LOL!)

It’s Friday, so that means I’m going to dig into your questions and give you the answers you need to get and stay super-healthy…

Today, I have questions about the macrobiotic diet and if it’s good or not, why I like fermented foods better than probiotics, and thoughts on eating local.

Let’s get going…

Is the macrobiotic diet good for you?

Joan asks…

“Hi Kevin, Have you heard of a Macrobiotic Diet??? If so what do you think about it?? Thank you Joan.”

Thanks for your question, Joan! Yes, I have heard of the macrobiotic diet and I do have some thoughts about it.

Any diet that restricts people who are suffering from diseases of excess (over-feeding) from eating processed foods are going to work.

This is why many diets that you read about help people get healthy. The vegan diet works, the raw food diet works, the Mediterranean diet works, the Paleo diet works and many others work as well because they all eliminate processed foods, tell you to eat lots of vegetables and all include water rich foods.

The macrobiotic diet falls into the same category. It eliminates foods that are processed and stimulating and it allows the body to heal.

But on the other hand, just like any restricted diet, sometimes excessive long term use may lead to deficiencies.

Staples in the macrobiotic diet are rice, grains, squashes, root vegetables, sea vegetables and fermented foods.

This line up provides a bunch of great nutrients, but could leave your deficient in others. Some of the biggest concerns are B12, Vitamin D, and Essential Fatty Acids.

So your mission, while you’re exploring the diet that works for you, is not to fall head over heels for the literature about one particular plan, but to monitor your own body to make sure that the foods you’re eating are nourishing you, not depleting you.

Since I’ve been doing countless diet experiments over the last 10 years, I can very firmly say that it gets more and more difficult to recommend or stand by any one diet for anyone.

I’ve fallen into this trap before and have realized now that it can actually be quite irresponsible.

If I don’t have any data about your body, genetics or tendencies, I don’t have any idea what diet is best for you – but, what I do know is that eating is essential and in order to get great health results you need to monitor your nutrient levels to ensure that you’re getting what you need from your food.

So back to macrobiotics…

I’m beginning to think that each diet has a threshold for its effectiveness for an individual. I don’t know what yours or mine is for macrobiotics, but I recommend that you give it a try, keep a pulse on your body with blood tests and also don’t get so deep into the theory of it that you can’t pull yourself out if you start to feel less than healthy.

BTW: Two of our favorite restaurants in the U.S. are macrobiotic – Cafe de Luz in Austin, TX and Manzanita in Oakland, CA.

Probiotics vs. Fermented Foods

Crystal wants to know about packaged probiotics and fermented foods…

“Hi there, I noticed on your website that you don’t have any probiotics other than the body ecology coco-biotic drink. I was wondering what your thoughts were on the difference between the body ecology biotic drinks and the five lac from global health trax and nutraelle ..which is made in Florida?”

Hi Crystal, this is the first time I’ve heard of Five Lac, but I am familiar with Three Lac. One gripe I have about this company is that they market the product using a spit test to determine if you have candida. This test is completely inaccurate – almost everyone could test positive – and makes me wonder if they start out on the wrong foot in a clear selling proposition with a questionable methodology – what else should we know about?

Anyway, I’m sure the product is OK 🙂

I like trying fermented foods first for your gut for two reasons.

First, when you eat a fermented food that you or someone else has made and you’ve controlled the culture by adding a starter, you can be sure that the bacteria are alive and hearty.

When you take a supplement pill, there is very little assurance that the product is still as potent as it was when it first came out of the factory. Even if the company guarantees a certain amount of live bacteria at the time of manufacture, that doesn’t mean that it’s still vital in a capsule on a shelf at Whole Foods 2 years later.

Secondly, probiotics are only one part of rebuilding the gut. When you ferment foods, not only do you get great, healthy bacteria, you also get some of the beneficial by-products on the fermented process – alcohol… wait, just joking… I meant to say pre-digested amino acids and B vitamins that help keep the gut healthy, and your immune system strong.

This is why I like fermented foods, but of course if you need a high-powered probiotic and fermented foods aren’t doing the trick there are plenty of good products available.

Can You Eat Cinnamon Bark?

Would I be able to eat the cinammon bark? I buy cinammon chips from a health product company and chew them, can I do that with yours? Thanks-Shari

Hey Shari! Thanks for your interest in the cinnamon bark. I’m not sure what cinnamon chips you’re talking about in the health food store, but if they’re small pieces of bark, then they’re probably the same thing. If they’re snacks, then it’s likely not.

Chewing on cinnamon bark not only releases it’s fantastic flavor and freshens your breath, it also helps clean your mouth because cinnamon is naturally antibacterial.

When we first found this particular cinnamon in Costa Rica, the woman who was running the farm harvested a little piece for each of us to try. When we put it in our mouths is was a flavor explosion – like a healthy atomic cinnamon fireball.

This was what sold me on bringing it back with us to share with you.

So again, if you’re not actually eating the chips, then yes, I imagine it would be the same. If you are eating them, then no, this probably isn’t close!

Cinnamon isn’t local, but you recommend eating local… what’s up?

“i understand the importance and benefits of eating local….how do you reconcile the item in parenthesis about eating local with selling irish moss and ceylon cinnamon?….thank you in advance for your response….”

Thanks for the question. You are correct, I do advocate eating local – as local as possible. I apply an 80 / 20 rule to my local eating vs. long distance eating.

80% or more of what we eat is local while we allow for the other 20% to be non-local (or what I call “fun.”)

Cinnamon, Irish Moss and other imported health products fit into this “fun” category for me.

If the entire U.S. adopted this 80 / 20 type rule for eating locally, we’d dramatically decrease the amount of fuel wasted, support to questionable regimes and keep money in the local economy.

Watch the movie No Impact Man and you’ll see the level of extremity needed to eat completely local – to the point of neurosis.

I think allowing yourself some play is a great way to balance the need to support our local economies and not go crazy and make ourselves neurotic while doing so.

One of the reasons we moved to Berkeley is because we wanted to be around a climate that would have more local foods longer into the year – this way by default we’d be eating locally grown foods all the time.

Are you politically involved?

Maria wants to know…

“Kevin, what charities and political missions based around food policy do you support?”

Great question, Maria!

There are a lot of charities and political organizations that need money and support. We’ve chosen for now to focus on just three.

For food policy, we’ve been working (as much as we can) with the Label GMO ballot initiative here in California. This is an initiative that will make labeling of GMO foods mandatory. I feel this is an essential piece of the puzzle to help us understand – as a whole population – where our food is coming from.

We’ve supported the Gerson Institute for the past few years to help pass along the work of the Gerson family and preserve their contributions to natural medicine history.

Finally, all the work we do with Dr. Williams in part supports AyniGlobal which is a non-profit that is assisting to record the history of the Q’ero people in Peru as well as help then transition into a more modern world without having to deal with many of the pains and troubles that indigenous people face when this inevitable crossover occurs.

I’m not the type of guy that wants a fancy car or a big house – I want to help facilitate change through commerce. That’s why we work so hard.

To look back one day and say, I helped change the world to make it a better place (no matter how big or how small) is one of my greatest dreams.

This is why some of our profits, energy and free time (very little!) goes to these three places.

Your question of the day: What do you think about eating local 100%? Do you do it? Do you give your time or money to charity? Tell us what you do to make the world a better place!

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

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