I said that there were a lot of similarities between macrobiotics and Ikigai Diet, but there were also some differences. Let’s examine them today.
Before I begin, let me make it clear that there are many different kinds of macrobiotics in Japan, each person seems to practice it in slightly different manner, so it may be difficult to define what the macrobiotic diet is.
We both eat a lot of brown rice including fermented brown rice.
We both eat a lot of fermented food.
We are both mostly on a plant-based diet. Macrobiotic people eat fish ocasitionally but they don’t eat meat, eggs, and dairy products. In Ikigai Diet, I don’t set any rules on it, so if you want to eat any of the food above, you can, but moderately.
We both try to eat organic food as much as possible.
Chewing a lot
We both stress chewing. In Ikigai Diet, however, I don’t recommend that you chew too much, around 30 times is enough. What is important is your saliva and mixing the food with saliva.
We both practice Hara Hachibunme which means to stop eating when you are 80% full.
We both value Shindofuji and try to eat locally and seasonally.
Ichibutsu Zentai Shoku
We both eat food as a whole. When we eat rice, we eat brown rice because it is in its original form and is in the most balanced state. When we eat fish, we eat small fish because we can eat the whole thing instead of eating a part of big fish. When we eat vegetables, we eat the skins and roots, as well.
Yin and Yang
While macrobiotics carefully designs your diet to keep the balance between Yin and Yang by selecting the ingredients, cutting vegetables in certain ways, cooking food in certain ways, Ikigai Diet doesn’t. I value Yin and Yang, too. In fact, Yin and Yang is the main base of Zen and a Way of Sustainable Prosperity, but I don’t try to practice it through cooking and eating so much. I practice it in the overall lifestyle, and becoming not too strict is one of the ways of keeping the balance.
As I said before there are many different kinds of macrobiotic diets, and among them, there are people who live in the city and practice a macrobiotic diet, and there are people who live in the countryside to practice one, too. So the difference I am stating here may apply more to the people in the city.
Ikigai Diet isn’t just a diet, it is a lifestyle and living in the countryside and leading a sustainable lifestyle is very much part of it. When you lead a Satoyama lifestyle, you don’t think of the menu first and choose ingredients based on the menu. You think of the menu based on the ingredients you have. When you grow your own food, think of what you have in your garden. Even if you don’t grow food yourself, you think of what is available in the local vegetable section or the vegetables given by neighbors. For example, eggplants and potatoes are generally avoided by macrobiotics, but they are common vegetables in Japanese farming and gardening. So, for me, it is easier to welcome them in my diet, and I feel I am more going with the flow.
Another example is whether to eat completely organic vegetables or not. Some macrobiotic people buy organic vegetables from far away. I like to choose local vegetables as much as possible even though they are not 100% organic because they contain local bacteria, plus it helps local economy.
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