Easy living despite the Chaos

Research has linked bad diet and stressful lifestyle habits to all the chronic, debilitating, degenerative diseases that make up today’s world health crisis. When I was in my 20’s I lived in Boston where the Kushi Institute touted the benefits of a macrobiotic lifestyle to create extraordinary health of mind, body and soul.

I was mesmerized by the simple premise that eating seasonal, locally grown organic food could optimize health and overcome most issues.

(To find your local farmers market visit http://NFMD.org)

I attended Mishio Kushi’s classes and moderated my habits.

I learned to eat only when hungry and stop when sated, well before I felt full. I was taught to chew my food thoroughly to assist with proper digestion and to eat at a table in a relaxed and mindful manner remembering to be grateful for my food that I procured from the local farmer’s market.

KI avoided white flour and sugar and added more fermented foods and fiber.

Drinking fluids became a moderate need; when I felt thirsty and never while eating so as not to dilute the necessary digestive process.

Regenerative sleeping was best in the hours before midnight and well after my last meal.

I removed most toxins from my life using natural cleaning products and cosmetics and began wearing only natural fibers and essential oils next to my skin. I always exercised regularly but I became much more aware of the benefits of stretching and walking bare foot in the grass. The sun and fresh air became my friends and daily dry brushing a habit. I threw away all my aluminum pans, plastic containers and the microwave and converted to stainless steel, glass, earthenware and baking in the oven.

I began cooking differently.

Today, despite the almost impossible avoidance of EMF exposure and toxic overload, I still live by these very basic rules and try to remain hopeful that a positive attitude and a drop of discipline will continue to prolong  easy aging and a long and happy healthful life.

Macrobiotic Lifestyle Suggestions

  • Eat only when hungry.
  • Proper chewing (around 50 times or more per mouthful) is important for good digestion and assimilation of nutrients.
  • Eat in an orderly and relaxed manner. When you eat, sit with a good posture and take a moment to express gratitude for the food.
  • You may eat regularly two or three times per day, as much as you want, provided the proportion is generally correct and each mouthful is thoroughly chewed. It is best to leave the table satisfied but not full.
  • Drink liquids moderately, only when thirsty.
  • When drinking water, during Pellegrino, it is loaded with the necessary cellular minerals to properly hydrate.
  • For the deepest and most restful sleep, retire before midnight and avoid eating at least 2 to 3 hours before sleeping.
  • Wash as needed, but avoid long hot baths or showers which deplete the body of minerals.
  • Use cosmetics and cleaning products that are made from natural, non-toxic ingredients. Avoid chemically-perfumed products. For care of the teeth, brush with natural toothpaste.
  • As much as possible, wear cotton clothing, especially for undergarments. Avoid wearing synthetic or woolen clothing directly on the skin. Avoid wearing excessive accessories.
  • Spend time outdoors if strength permits. Walk on the grass, beach, or soil for at least one half hour every day. Spend some time in direct sunlight daily.
  • Exercise regularly. Activities may include walking, yoga, martial arts, dance, etc.
  • Include some large green plants in the home to freshen and enrich the oxygen content of the air. Open windows daily to permit fresh air to circulate, even in cold weather.
  • Keep your home in good order, especially the areas where food is prepared and served.
  • To increase circulation and elimination of toxins, scrub the entire body with a hot, damp towel every morning or every night. If that is not possible, at least scrub the hands, feet, fingers and toes.
  • Avoid using electric cooking devices (ovens and ranges) or microwave ovens. The use of a gas or wood stove is preferred.
  • Use earthenware, cast iron, or stainless steel cookware rather than aluminum or Teflon-coated pots.
  • Minimize the frequent use of television and computers. When using a computer, protect yourself from potentially harmful electromagnetic fields with a protective shield over the screen or other safety devices.
  • Sing a happy song!

Kushi Institute programs and services as well as all information on Kushi Institute web pages are educational in nature, not medical advice, and not intended to take the place of medical counseling, diagnosis, and treatment.

In case you are interested here is a  summary of the food categories and general daily proportions Kushi recommends for persons living in a temperate climate:

Whole Cereal Grains  40 60% by weight

Organically grown, whole grain is recommended, which can be cooked in a variety of ways.

Grains include: Brown rice, barley, millet, oats, corn, rye, wheat, and buckwheat. While whole grains are recommended, a small portion of the recommended percentage of grains may consist of noodles or pasta, un-yeasted whole grain breads, and other partially processed whole cereal grains.

Vegetables Approximately 20 30% by weight

Local and organically grown vegetables are recommended, with the majority being cooked in various styles such as lightly steamed or boiled, sautéed with a small amount of unrefined, cold pressed oil, etc. A small portion may be used as fresh salad, and a very small volume as pickles.

Vegetables for daily use include: green cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, collards, pumpkin, watercress, parsley, Chinese cabbage, bok choy, dandelion, mustard greens, daikon greens, scallion, onions, daikon radish, turnips, burdock, carrots, and winter squash such as butternut, buttercup, and acorn squash.

For occasional use in season (2 to 3 times a week): cucumber, celery, lettuce, herbs such as dill and chives. Vegetables not recommended for regular use include: potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, spinach, beets, and zucchini.

Beans & Sea Vegetables Approximately 5 10 % by weight

The most suitable beans for regular use are azuki beans, chickpeas, and lentils. Other beans may be used on occasion. Bean products such as tofu, tempeh, and natto can also be used. Sea vegetables such as nori, wakame, kombu, hiziki, arame, dulse, and agar-agar are an important part of the macrobiotic diet as they provide many vitamins and minerals.


Soups may be made with vegetables, sea vegetables, grains, or beans. Seasonings include miso, tamari or shoyu (soy sauce), and sea salt.


Recommended beverages include: roasted kukicha twig tea, stem tea, roasted brown rice tea, roasted barley tea, dandelion root tea, and cereal grain coffee. Any traditional tea that does not have an aromatic fragrance or a stimulating effect can also be used.

When drinking water, spring or good quality mineral water is recommended, without ice.

Occasional Foods

Recommended fish include fresh white-meat fish such as flounder, sole, cod, carp, halibut or trout.

Fruit or fruit desserts, made from fresh or dried fruit, may be served two or three times a week. Local and organically grown fruits are preferred. If you live in a temperate climate, avoid tropical and semitropical fruit and rather eat temperate climate fruits such as apples, pears, plums, peaches, apricots, berries and melons. Frequent use of fruit juice is not advisable.

Lightly roasted nuts and seeds such as pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds may be enjoyed. Peanuts, walnuts and pecans may be enjoyed as an occasional snack.

Rice syrup, barley malt, amasake, and mirin may be used as sweeteners.

Brown rice vinegar or umeboshi vinegar may be used occasionally for a sour taste.

Recommended condiments

Gomashio, seaweed powder (kelp, kombu, wakame, and other sea vegetables), sesame seaweed powder, umeboshi plums, tekka, pickles and sauerkraut made using sea salt, miso, or tamari/shoyu (soy sauce).

Additional Dietary Suggestions

Cooking oil should be vegetable quality only. To improve your health, it is preferable to use only unrefined sesame or corn oil in moderate amounts.

Salt should be naturally processed sea salt. Traditional, non-chemicalized shoyu or tamari soy sauce and miso may also be used as seasonings. (More)

Foods to Eliminate for Better Health

Meat, animal fat, eggs, poultry, dairy products (including butter, yogurt, ice cream, milk and cheese), refined sugars, chocolate, vanilla, molasses, and honey.

Tropical or semi-tropical fruits and fruit juices, soda, artificial drinks and beverages, coffee, colored tea, and aromatic stimulating teas such as mint or peppermint.

All artificially colored, preserved, sprayed, or chemically treated foods. All refined and polished grains, flours, and their derivatives, mass-produced industrialized food including canned, frozen, and irradiated foods.

Hot spices, any aromatic stimulating food, artificial vinegar, and strong alcoholic beverages.

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