Sunday, July 29, 2007

Macrobiotics Made Simple

This post simplifies macrobiotic principles into a few easy suggestions that you can adapt to your lifestyle. When some people are diagnosed with cancer, there is often a curiosity about different natural eating and cooking diets. One very popular alternative is macrobiotic eating. Often incorrectly stereotyped as a diet of brown rice and kelp, this diet is about eating whole, natural foods that are local to your area. Some people taking chemotherapy find they have an intensely increased sensitivity to chemical tastes. Some may find artificial sweeteners or preservatives almost unbearable. If you or someone you love is experiencing an increased sensitivity to chemical tastes, you may find that cooking according to some simple macrobiotic principles will make food more palatable. One great benefit to eating according to macrobiotic principles while on chemotherapy is the emphasis on simple natural foods without chemical modifications.

These suggestions are presented roughly in hierarchical order. The key with getting through chemotherapy treatment sanely, however, is to always remember that you should only do what you can. Don't make yourself crazy trying to perfectly follow any set of suggestions. For this reason, I have phrased the ideas below as "if possible..."

When in doubt, eat like someone would have in your area in the 19th Century.

Eat nothing you can't pronounce. Whenever possible, avoid preservatives.

If possible, use only all natural cooking surfaces, such as cast iron, stone, and glass. Avoid nonstick and aluminum. This is also true for food storage containers (pyrex makes very nice glass food storage containers).

If possible, avoid the microwave. Better to reheat on the stove or in the oven.

Whenever possible, buy and use minimally processed foods.

If possible, buy locally farm grown products. Macrobiotic principles emphasize eating in harmony with the natural cycles of your environment. Local, farm grown produce may also have better nutrients if allowed to ripen on the vine.

Instead of...Try...
All-purpose white flourUnbleached flour, unbleached whole wheat flour
White sugar, processed brown sugar, artificial sweetnersTurbinado sugar, cane sugar, honey
Margarine or fake butter spreadsReal butter
Processed meats or sausageOrganic or other minimally processed meats
Processed lunch meatsMake a roast at home and slice for sandwiches
Plastic food storage containersGlass food storage containers
Tefflon(R) and other artificial non-stick surfacesSeasoned cast iron or stoneware as natural nonstick surfaces

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