Talk:Macrobiotic diet

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Nightshades, caffeine, etc.[edit]

What about nightshades, caffeine and pressed lettuce? The one time I had the misfortune of being hauled to a cooperative macrobiotic kitchen, there were warning labels about nightshades on the salsa bowl, since apparently some MB diets don't consume them. The lettuce was also pressed, in accordance with some MB diets, and the tea was made from stems only, apparently because of some MB caffeine issues.

It'd be cool if the article addressed some of these things, so that the unwashed beef-eating heathens like me who visit the article asking can see whatever justifications are made for these eccentricities.


"See also" for Macrobiotic lifestyle?[edit]

Er, should I make a "See also" for Macrobiotic lifestyle? The name and concept seem similar but the origins sound quite a bit different. Are they related at all? Kent Wang 22:07, 9 Mar 2004 (UTC)

  • Sounds reasonable. Though, I haven't read the other article... Actually, now that I look, I wonder if the articles shouldn't be merged, and in the process fact-checked against verifiable sources. They both seem to basically be saying the same things. But the Macrobiotic diet article seems to be more developed. Anyone want to put up a suggested merger tag and/or consider working on a merge? If the two articles are different, how so? Something akin to Vegitarianism vs Veganism? Don't know enough on the topics to comment with any degree of authority. Mgmirkin 21:31, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Introduction (coining of the term macrobiotics)[edit]

Concerning the coining of the term macrobiotics -->

C.W. Hufeland was not the first to use the term macrobiotics:

"The earliest recorded use of the term macrobiotics is found in the writing of Hippocrates, the father of Western Medicine. In his essay 'Airs, Waters, and Places,' Hippocrates introduced the word to decribe people who were healthy and long-lived.[...]Herodotus, Aristotle, Galen, and other classical writers used the term macrobiotics to describe a lifestyle, including a simple balanced diet, that promoted health and longlivity." (Stephen Blauer, in Michio Kushi (1993), The Macrobiotic Way,2nd edition,AVERY, p.xi)

blackmamba 13:05, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Regarding Hippocrates, that would be macrobios, not macrobiotics. Not sure if he "introduced the word" per se, but he is cited as the earliest recorded use. And Hufeland would have been using the term in German, i.e. "Macrobiotik". But it does seem misleading to mention Hufeland in the leading paragraph without mentioning Hippocrates or Ohsawa. --Dforest 09:18, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Historical Development of Macrobiotics Diet Concepts[edit]

In the infobox, we see:

Ohsawa didn't live until the later 18th century (1893). Sagen Ishizuka was born in 1850. What was going on in 1797 that it is cited as as historical market in the historical development of the concepts used by macrobiotics?

We have:

Don't we have Asian and Hellenistic origins around 'health advice' (see above)? MaynardClark (talk) 20:31, 11 March 2017 (UTC)

Move to macrobiotics? Merge macrobiotic lifestyle?[edit]

I propose we move this article to macrobiotics, which is a redirect. It would be more consistent with the leading sentence, and clearly macrobiotics is more than a diet. And we should also consider merging macrobiotic lifestyle, which is basically a fork. Note the leading sentence of this article:

Macrobiotics (from the Greek "macro" (large, long) + "bios" (life)) is a lifestyle that incorporates a dietary regimen.

Comments? --Dforest 09:04, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Like above comment on Macrobiotic lifestyle, sounds reasonable. Seeing as how Macrobiotics does appear to be the term referenced in the article's starting sentence. Also seems like linguistically, Macrobiotics could be perceived as the "study" or philosophy of the macrobiotic diet and/or lifestyle? I don't know if that's a good or bad thing. Still, the 3 heading seem directly related and need at the LEAST a disambiguation page, if not a bit of congealing into a single article, or very specifically defined separate articles with notable differences on different topics (not 2-3 that all say the same thing). Mgmirkin 21:56, 19 April 2007 (UTC)


I was surprised to see that there isn't a listing of celebrities that did/do follow macrobiotics for a while; there had to be a few. I can recall Lennon and Ono being for it for a while (Mike Douglas show from the 70's) and surely if they did it other big names tried too? That would be an interesting thing to see, in the article--people love to see big names attached to stuff, y'know?--Tabaqui 18:12, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Good idea, John Cage even published a bunch of macrobiotic recipes in one of his books, although it isn't referred to in his article. Selfinformation 12:20, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Quirky actor Crispin Glover follows a macrobiotic diet plan. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:56, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Gwyneth Paltrow was also on a macrobiotic diet prior to being pregnant with her daughter, Apple. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:31, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Dirk Benedict, star of the 1980s television series The A-Team, wrote a book about his having cured his prostate cancer through macrobiotics. The book is called Confessions of a Kamikaze Cowboy. Softlavender (talk) 04:52, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Translate the pseudoscience.[edit]

This article throws around terms that are vague and unscientific, i.e. "yin-energy foods". Instead of talking about a food as "high" or "low" energy, indicate whether that means caloric content, vitamin content, etc. Remember, neutral point of view does not mean taking pseudoscience seriously.

I disagree completely. If (ascientific) philosophical or religious theories are the main motivation for macrobiotic diets, they should be presented as such. Demanding that yin/yang terminology be translated into actual nutrituional information is a classification error: the same rule would rewrite the Kosher article from a bacteriological perspective. The article as it stands makes clear that macrobiotic dieting has its origins in philosphy, and (in the criticism section) that a nutritional analysis shows there to be no scientific or nutritional basis whatsoever for following one. -Ben 16:44, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Now hold on a sec. The thing is that a lot of people take Eastern philosophy as gospel, scientific and otherwise; otherwise nobody would take the concept of qi seriously. The fact is that the very name of the diet is a health claim, and it's something of a copout to analyze it any other way. Vegetarianism in general is a philosophical diet for many, especially for religious groups such as the Jains and the Hindu Brahmans, as well as ethical vegetarians in Western cultures. Macrobiotics is a bit different -- it equates philosophy with science, and it's disingenuous to claim anything else. (In any case, if macrobiotics is viewed solely from a philosophical view, it provides an unfair out to those who need to explain the death of Aveline Kushi several years short of the normal female life expectancy. But that's argument from adverse consequences.) Haikupoet 01:42, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

I agree that there is a philosophical base for following a macrobiotic way of eating ( a diet is not an accurate description). There is , however, plenty of reasons for following the way of eating for nutritional reasons. As with healthy vegan diets, all nutritional requirements can be met with well planned macrobiotic eating. Only B12 would have to be supplemented if not enough fish was eaten. Vegetarian diets are seen, despite those who wish to debunk them, to according to the science, have great disease preventive benefits.

Most americans are eating diets that are dificient in several key nutrients. The dangers of eating high fat, high protien animal foods diets are well documented. All diets should be well planned.

So what kind of clarification do you propose to an article that doesn't claim MB to be scientific in the normal sense of the word, and points out the nutritional consensus that MB is similar to Breatharianism? Certainly, if it weren't for NPOV, you and I could simply reclassify it as "Dangerous Nonsense", then get into a big edit war. But the fact is that a Japanese philosopher founded it as a philosophical tool, and a lot of people practice it for the same reasons. This should be presented clearly, and I believe the article does that. It's also a fact that the medical/scientific community views MB as having no health benefits whatsoever at best, and fatal consequences at worst. I think the article also presents that, though perhaps doesn't go into enough depth. Do you not think my comparison with Kashrut valid? -Ben 02:14, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

There is no mention of breatharianism at least, now.

I don't (Kashrut makes no specific health claims, it's simply a set of rules followed by one particular religion), although you have a point overall. What I'm saying is that if scientific claims are made (and the name Macrobiotic is a scientific claim in and of itself) then the product should be viewed according to a scientific standard. And yes, that does mean coming up with a scientific equivalence to yin and yang or whatever, but the onus of that is on those presenting the theory in the first place. I do agree that there could be more discussion of scientific criticism of the subject, but then I think that's the case about a lot of articles on Wikipedia about the paranormal and "alternative". Haikupoet 02:20, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
Hmm... You have a point. The article does state (albeit not very explicitly) that the macrobiotic diet people lifted the term "macrobiotic" from a proto-scientific usage to apply to their own eccentric eating habits. That might be worth clarifying. Other than that, the article does state that practitioners think the diet improves their health, but that's coupled with it improving their happiness. I still find it hard to imagine anyone could read the article and come away seeing MB as anything like a nutritional recommendation. -Ben 19:53, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

I agree that the basis of macrobiotics might not be "scientific", but "philosophical". However, if it is so, pseudo-scientific terms should be removed. For example, what on earth are "organically-grown whole grain cereals,..."? Are there cereals, vegetables, fruits or any other somesuch that is INORGANIC or INORGANICALLY-GROWN? Either the term "organic" should be used within its correct and scientific meaning (and accept corrections based on science), or not used at all. It is very biased to use pseudo-scientific terms to fool readers into believing a scientific base for something (and silently claiming credibility for that), and then not accepting scientific rigor as a judge of that "something". Isilanes 11:53, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

"what on earth are "organically-grown whole grain cereals,..."?" Seems pretty obvious to me. Please see Organic farming and Organic certification. --Ds13 17:37, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
I understand the (incorrect and pseudoscientific) use that is made of the "organic" word, in contexts like "organic farms" or "organic food". But understanding doesn't equal aggreeing. Using "organic", to mean "natural" or to opose it to "synthetic" is misleading, at best. DDT, for example, might well be a synthetic pesticide, not to be seen near any "organic farm". However, DDT is as organic as it gets. OTOH, I don't think "organic farmers" opose to the use of common salt as edible condiment, or refuse to water their plants, however inorganic sodium chloride and hidrogen oxide might be. Carbon dioxide and oxigen are also inorganic, but vital for plants, so why the "organic" label? Its use in this article might be seen as justified by widespread use, but to some extent any encyclopedia should try to dispell ignorance, not help spread it. Isilanes 13:38, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
Exactly, such as dispelling ignorance of the fact that a single word can have several meanings and uses. Your substantive advocacy of a prescriptive, normative stance is contrary to your above assertion. Knowledge is descriptive. What you want to do is erase or ignore a substantial portion of reality by dismissing it as "pseudoscientific." If a philosophy touts itself as a pseudoscience, then it should be portrayed as it portrays itself and then a "criticisms" section can be added, eg, to dispute specific claims such as the origin of red blood cells. However, you come across as someone who feels threatened or offended by macrobiotics, and spending a lot of energy here at that. If you're really interested in debating whether something is a "pseudoscience" there are better places to look. 08:05, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
You can confirm the myriad of correct meanings of the word organic in many places:
I removed Category:Pseudoscience and the Template “Pseudoscience” on the grounds that this is mostly one of many possible not-unreasonable diets; not pseudoscience.--Solomonfromfinland (talk) 05:43, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
  • organic (Wikipedia disambiguation page)
Cheers. --Ds13 16:46, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
I bow to the accepted use of the term, however incorrect it still seems to me. The inclusion of e.g. definition 3. in, is an example of commonplace (mis)use of a term leading to acceptance by "authorities". If you see the definitions in that 3rd entry, you'll realize they are vague, at the very least:
  • "Of, marked by, or involving the use of fertilizers or pesticides that are strictly of animal or vegetable origin: organic vegetables; an organic farm." Water, oxigen and salt are mineral, not animal nor vegetal. Do they not use them in organic farms? Animal feces might be used as fertilizers... would a human drying these feces (say, over a bonfire) still qualify them as "natural", or "processed"? A substance ("artificially") distiled (by evil humans) from the leaves of a certain tree would still be "strictly of animal or vegetable origin"? A substance obtained by mixing two "organic" substances (say, the blood of a pig and the meat of an apple) would still qualify as "natural"? Would it be different if such a mixture was made by aunt Polly in her shack or a large-scale reactor of a multi-billion company?
  • "Raised or conducted without the use of drugs, hormones, or synthetic chemicals: organic chicken; organic cattle farming." Drugs? Anything is a drug. An organic farmer can not take LSD, but can lick the back of a certain frog to hallucinate? The farmer can ingest the bark of a willow to have its salicilin cure her headache, but can not have an aspirin (chemically derived from salicilin)? Hormones? Do organic chickens not have hormones? Hormone abuse is certainly bad, but even human kids take them when they have e.g. growing problems, or women in their menopause. Most popular contraceptives are hormones, or molecules that mimick them. Synthetic chemicals? Who wrote that dictionary? Is there still anybody who thinks a synthetic sugar molecule is in any way "different" from the same "natural" sugar. Nature in itself is a huge chemical lab, as "artificial" as you can get, and more complex and error prone than many human labs. Also natural venoms kill as effectively as any artificial one, and most animal and vegetal derivatives are actually toxic. Having a walk in the forest and eating whatever you came accross is as dangerous as doing so in the center of a city.
  • "Simple, healthful, and close to nature: an organic lifestyle." Yeah, right. They could as well have said "organic=good", and save space. The guy who equated "natural" and "simple", simply (not naturally) has no idea of what nature is. Healthful: as in cocaine or heroin, or alcohol, or tobacco, or mescaline, or marijuana, or poisonous fish and snakes, or toxic plants. Close to nature: as in not using a shovel to dig a hole to plant the organic vegetables, not using gloves to avoid hurting your hands, not using motor vehicles to transport your products, not using the phone to contact your buyers, or not making a call with Skype to your son, who is studying in France.
From whatever side you see it, "organic" is just a scientific word, borrowed by pseudoscientists to gain credibility, streching its meaning to what they will then label as "good". Isilanes 23:26, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
You are a moron.

Your argument would be a lot more convincing if you could spell "oxygen". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:16, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

"From whatever side you see it, "organic" is just a scientific word, borrowed by pseudoscientists to gain credibility" It's not so simple. Science borrowed the word from Latin, where it meant something else again, so science changed the word to suit its own purposes. Then a later special interest group of environmentalists or food-obsessives (starting in 1942) used the word in a new way. And so it goes. We're all just borrowing words from someone before and changing them to suit our purposes.
You seem interested, so here's a bit of the etymology of "organic": 1517, "serving as an organ or instrument," from L. organicus, from Gk. organikos "of or pertaining to an organ," from organon "instrument", obviously related to the word "organ". In this light, some might see "organic chemistry" as a misleading change in meaning. Then there's the Ph.D.'s in economics who speak of "organic growth" within an organization, referring to not requiring injections of external capital, etc. All quite different, but I don't see big problem. --Ds13 01:56, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

These discussions , often, seem to have nothing to do with the content of the this article but are nit picking words and semantics. There is plenty of scientific evidence to support the health promoting effects of foods suggested in a macrobiotic approach. The USDA is now suggesting that whole grains such as brown rice be eaten daily as opposed to cheerios.

What is not written in the article but taught in classes on macrobiotics is the idea that the goal is to develop an intiutive understanding of what your body needs. The guidelines of eating are to resensitize people to the effects of foods and lifestyle practices. The goal is that a person will choose a diet and lifestyle that is health supportive once sensitivity is restored.

In my view, it would be more productive on this page to discuss the philosophy of health . I am not sure why a way of eating that is similar to one eaten by cultures that had good health and longevity is eccentric.( See John Robbin's book, "Healthy at 100".) Since it is estimated by researchers that diet plays a great role in the development of cancer and heart disease, we should all be eccentric.

I know many who have followed a macrobiotic way of living that are incredibly healthy. Those who arent' are generally stuck in following the rules and regulations of eating versus an intuitive knowledge.````


As a longtime practitioner of the macrobiotic philosophy and diet, I find it more than a bit disturbing that high profile cancer deaths in the macrobiotic community seem to constantly be removed from the criticism section of the macrobiotics article. I believe it is important that these deaths are kept front and center for several reasons. The first, and most important reason has been demonstrated by Michio Kushi himself. If you have a cancerous tumour threatening your life, have surgery to gain the time to let macrobiotics strengthen you. Michio Kushi did so. Too many others did not. Arrogance is not only localized in the American Medical Association, it is just as prevalent in the macrobiotic community. We do not have all the answers, just some of the most important ones. Secondly, our methods and techniques will not continue to evolve if we dogmatically blame an imaginative assortment of variables for why the diet does not heal some cancer victims, or prevent it in the first place. If these high profile deaths are the result of air and water too polluted to properly sustain life then it is important we come to see this. Not make unfounded statements like "Aveline developed cervical cancer because Michio smoked", or "Cecile developed cancer because she worked too hard on her tea company." or "Anthony Sattilaro varied the diet too much and killed himself". The truth is important to everyone but self serving business people who need to make a buck on the "Cure-All" myth of macrobiotics. I will continue to post the truth here as long as I know there are sick and ill who will come to this site for answers.

The following line was originally under the Criticism section: Kushi's methods of diagnosis include pulse diagnosis, visual diagnosis, meridian diagnosis, voice diagnosis, astrological diagnosis, parental and ancestral diagnosis, aura and vibrational diagnosis, consciousness and thought diagnosis, and spiritual diagnosis.[1] but no longer fits now that much of the section related to cancer was given its own Macrobiotics and Cancer section. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:35, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

The statement that modern macrobiotic teachers that are well versed in modern and traditional systems of nutrition is fine. But the further statement that their system teach a well balanced approach to nutrition that satisfy's all nutritional requirements, without citation, is a clear POV and innacurate. The point seems to be to undermine the criticism of macrobiotics which is considered by most scientists to be ill advised, unhealthy and possibly dangerous. Even the minority of scientists who accept that some of the less oppressive versions of macrobiotics are healthy (that is that they are as healthy as a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, meats, cheese, milk etc.) do not believe it is anything but dangerous for children. But just stating that there are any macrobiotic diets which meet all nutritional requirements without scientific citation is clearly not a NPOV.

In point of fact, well balanced macrobiotic approaches to diet do satisfy all modern scientific requirements regarding protein, fats, vitamin, minerals,etc. It is an inaccurate statement that most scientists believe a macrobiotic approach to diet to be ill advised. Are you talking about chemists or atomic engineers? Are you referring to nutritionists who recommend a so called well balanced diet that includes high amounts of unhealthy foods such as refined sugars?

There is a growing recognition from researchers that diets which consists of high amounts of meats, cheese and milk are unhealthy and causative of cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.

The idea that the dietary teachings are dangerous for children is based on an erroneous idea of the teachings. Even well balanced vegan diets are seen as being adequate and healthy for growing children. People who feed their children in a macrobiotic way incorporate milk and eggs from healthy animals as needed by individual children.

The complete removal of the Criticism section of the Macrobiotic Diet page does a great disservice to the macrobiotic community and to those ill individuals who come here to learn. Given that many teachers of the community developed cancers, the model obviously needs refinement. Denying these cancers and the resulting deaths is exactly the kind of whitewashing that the macrobiotic community has claimed that corporate American is guilty of in promoting unhealthy foods to make a buck. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:02, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

J/ April 12,2007

The criticism of macrobiotics needs to be of the subject itself NOT one of its proponents. As the history discussion suggest there is a two thousand year history to macrobiotics and even in terms of its more recent history Michio Kushi is only one of many teachers, authors and experts. The criticism would be more applicable if it was of the diet itself, yin and yang or some of the theory instead. I suggest any criticism of Michio Kushi is moved out of macrobiotics and to a separate page on Michio Kushi. IN terms of the development of cancer in some teachers; the information would need to include the likelihood of the cancer being diet related with a comparison to the general population to have any meaning or validity. (talk) 22:14, 6 May 2009 (UTC) Simon Brown chair of The Macrobiotic Association.

I'm sorry, but while there may be a twenty-five century long history of the word stem "macrobio-" and of study and speculation on the causes of longevity, the modern macrobiotic movement certainly may not claim that history as their own. Just because you adopt a name doesn't mean that you may exclusively define its meaning nor claim any continuity with previous use of the word without demonstrating actual historical continuity. There's no connection between Hippocrates and Galen on the one hand, and Ohsawa and Kushi on the other. Ben (talk) 00:49, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

Michio Kushi's current health status?[edit]

I attempted to verify the statement that Michio Kushi is currently suffering from cancer, but it was pretty much impossible to filter out all the pro-macrobiotic material that came up in a quick google search. Does anyone have a cite for this? (Aveline Kushi's death from cervical cancer just shy of the standard life expectancy as well as Georges Ohsawa's death from a heart attack are both well documented, but I was not able to find anything on Michio Kushi's current health.) Haikupoet 00:24, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

I believe it is vitally important in a balanced discussion of macrobiotics that we include a list of the many experienced and thoughtful macrobiotic teachers who died from cancer. Macrobiotics is an evolutionary process and we will not continue to grow if we do not acknowledge significant failures. Michio Kushi has had cancer. His wife and daughter died from it. So did my friend Cecile Levin. There are many others. This was mentioned at one time in this wiki listing for macrobiotics, but it appears that significant spin control is going on.

Well, good luck finding a peer-reviewed scientific journal that has carried out this study. Otherwise, such assertions are meaningless. (talk) 18:26, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
According to some newfangled thing called "Wikipedia," he died in late December of 2014 of pancreatic cancer. (talk) 15:34, 30 January 2015 (UTC)HelenChicago

Macribiotics and infants[edit]

Hi I would just like to add these comments:

Infants, Children and the Macrobiotic diet.

Studies on infants and children who followed their parents macrobiotic nutrition principles showed that they deviated most from the current norms when compared to other infants and children on other types of alternate nutrition.. Growth retardation was strongest in the 8-14 months of age. This related to a diet low in energy-density, fat and protein. Data also revealed very low Vitamin B12 concentrations. Iron and Vitamin D deficiency were also found in a number of the children studied. The children were also retarded in gross motor skills and language development. This was independent of socio–economic or hygiene factors. The typical diet of an infant starting solids was water based sieved porridges, followed by veges, seseme seeds, and pulses. Fruit was rarely given. To correct this it was suggested that these infants and children be given 20-25gm of oil n each day, 100-150grams of fatty fish each week and daily servings of milk be offered as a source of Calcium, protein and Vitamin B12. Source: Dagnelie, P.V., VanStaveren, W.A. & Hautvast, J.G.J.A. 1991 Stunting and Nutrition Deficiencies in Children on Alternate Diets. Acta PaediatrScand Suppl374: 111-118

Bobbi c —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Bobbi campbell (talkcontribs) 09:24, 3 March 2007 (UTC).

This is why the article mentions a new breed of macrobiotic teachers. This study , that is cited,took place in the Netherlands where people were feeding their children a very narrow version of macrobiotic eating.

It has been found by macrobiotic teachers that a wider diet which includes more fish, eggs and some dairy products is more suited for children. Vegan diets are not recommended but may be adequate for some children with some supplementation. The macrobiotic movement is attemting to bring traditional healthy eating to modern society. This approach is continually evolving, although, by reading some books, it may give the impression that the dietary suggestions are set in stone. J.April 13,2007 J

Confusing sentence?[edit]

"Other animal products from naturally raised animals may be included according to need such as heavy physical labor or desire as in transition or for social purposes"

Specifically, "according to need such as heavy physical labor or desire as in transition or for social purposes"

Perhaps my brain isn't working today, but what the heck does the middle section of this portion of the sentence mean: "or desire as in transition or for social purposes"? I can't make heads or tails of it. It should probably be re-written for clarity.

Did they mean something akin to "according to need, such as for heavy physical labor, for social purposes, or as desired while transitioning between diets (non-macrobiotic -> macrobiotic, etc.)"?

Like I said, the line could probably use a quick re-write for clarity. Mgmirkin 21:26, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Recent Edits of Critisism[edit]

I tried to clean up what one editor recentaly posted, however the comments on it being "helpful" is a contentious subject. In the sense of helping cancer remission or allowing a longer life, a study could be preformed. If nobody can make it sound right, I'd reccomend just removing it. 17:56, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Weasel words a'plenty, references need to be consistent[edit]

I've adjusted the "cleanup" tags a bit, but in reading the article, I'm seeing a lot of weasel words left, even after some dedicated editors have visited and removed POV and weasel-y statements.

I also see tons of references which are not done in the usual <REF> fashion. If you have time (it does take time and effort), please take a section and convert the WWW references to proper footnotes. TIA! David Spalding (  ) 16:33, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

Contextual spelling error in first paragraph[edit]

saturated = surely the author mean satiated as in satisfied and fully fed. ArthMawr 11:48, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Go ahead and make the change. Be bold, etc. David Spalding (  ) 13:36, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

yin/yang error[edit]


in this article about macrobiotics where extreme yin and yang foods are listed, the titles have been mixed up: meat, refined salt... are yang, and sugar, milk... are yin. for someone who is getting started in mb this could couse a confusion.

if someone could fix this it would be great, thank you 12:25, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Nearly complete deletion of the article[edit]

Somebody deleted large parts of the article without any discussion or justification. I would ask this person to explain himself, otherwise I would suggest to undo this deletion. -- (talk) 08:37, 8 December 2007 (UTC)


Can you please comment on MRSA and how macrobiotice may be of benefit in treating this condition? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:41, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Offering some clarifications on the "Some Points" Section below[edit]

Cecile Tovah Levin was 61 when she passed and not in her eighties as the "Some Points" below claims. I knew her personally and know this for a fact. Though Michio Kushi was a smoker, it was not lung or heart disease which proved to be the problem as outlined in this clarification below. He had a cancerous tumor removed from his intestines. This is entirely different and does not fit the smoking model being outlined below. I have practiced macrobiotics for 20 years and believe firmly in the healing power of macrobiotics. But this clarification below is guilty of a common mistake I see in well intentioned macrobiotic practitioners, explaining away cancer in macrobiotic people on the flimsiest of hypotheses. Cecile Tovah Levin was the most steadfast and inspired practitioner of macrobiotics I have ever known. She taught with patience and love and even offered to help Aveline when it was discovered she had cancer. But Cecile had a heart attack which resulted in discovery of an inoperable tumor in her pleural cavity. When she passed, she weighed only 85 pounds. It is very important that ill people understand that macrobiotics is a powerful tool to heal, but it is evolving and we face many unknown variables. Too many ill people have faithfully followed the macrobiotic way and ultimately blamed their blossoming cancers on themselves for "not believing hard enough", being "too dogmatic in their practice", being "too liberal in their practice", continuing to live with a non macrobiotic spouse, etc. etc. etc. I have read many tales of the emotional suffering this rigid and thoughtless defense of the diet has caused families. It does a great disservice to our community.—Preceding unsigned comment added by user: (talkcontribs)

I'm sure you know this anyways, but these clarifications can only be used in the article if you can cite them to reliable sources. For obvious reasons, facts you know to be true from first-hand experience can't be presented as encyclopedic. --Ds13 (talk) 17:35, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
You will note that these details were presented in the Discussion page and not within the article itself. Within the article itself I have presented only those facts that are verifiable through creditable sources other than my experience or opinion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:03, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Some points[edit]

A lot of good points have been made in order to improve the Wikipedia article(s) on macrobiotics. I have read extensively on macrobiotics, taken a cooking course, and have followed the cooking guidelines myself for over one year with good results so far. Here are my responses to those points:

1. Wikipedia entries on macrobiotic cooking and lifestyle (and especially edits) should be very closely reviewed by Wikipedia editors. The goal of macrobiotic cooking is to balance acid and alkaline factors in the human diet, although this approach has little in common with most of the books now being published with the words Acid/Alkaline in the title. Macrobiotic cooking is organized around a collection of more pH-neutral dishes, to state it briefly; quite a number of variables are involved in creating any one macrobiotic recipe. As you can imagine, vested interests in the global meat and dairy industries are unhappy about the threat posed by the global macrobiotic community, and for that reason I was unsurprised to see one Wikipedia editor's comment that most of an existing entry on macrobiotics had been deleted.

2. The deaths of macrobiotic community members from various causes has occurred. Keep in mind, however, that we all die. Some of the prominent members of the "macro" community apparently had longstanding cigarette smoking habits before starting macrobiotics. I have heard many stories about how hard it is for any smoker to quit that habit either temporarily or permanently. Most biographical notes on George Ohsawa refer to his use of cigarettes during his lifetime. Michio Kushi has also been a cigarette smoker. Smokers are at greater risk of both lung and heart diseases. Wives of smokers are at greater risk for cancer of the cervix, which is the disease that claimed Aveline Kushi at far too young an age; even the world's most perfect diet cannot defeat risky health behaviors like smoking. Cecile Tovah Levin, a certified macrobiotic instructor and nonsmoker, lived decades after recovering from leukemia in her twenties, then finally succumbed to heart disease in her eighties. In short, the vast majority of those following the macro dietary approach have come to macrobiotics with preexisting health issues. What I find remarkable and inspirational about these people and other leaders in the macrobiotic community is in fact their success in overcoming serious health challenges for many decades.
3. The most authoritative websites with lists of books for greater study of macrobiotics include The George Ohsawa Macrobiotic Foundation and The Kushi Institute. The Amazon website also lists quite a few macrobiotic cookbooks. For those who live far from any organized macrobiotics classes, the following website is managed by an authoritative macrobiotic instructor:

Canyonwriter (talk) 02:42, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Ohsawa's macrobiotic diet seeks to balance Yin and Yang. What your instructors told you about acidity and alkalinity is their own interpretation and has nothing to do with the subject of this article, Ohsawan macrobiotics. BTW, there is no indication that your body has trouble balancing its pH on a normal diet, just as you it's not espececially healthy to keep the room temperature equal to your body temperature.
Although it is great that people overcame their health issues, individual success stories don't prove anything. Other people smoke, drink, whore and eat raw meat and then die when they get run over by an omnibus at the age of 100, but that doesn't prove that smoking, drinking, eating raw meat and unprotected casual sex are healthy.
Ohsawa in particular claimed that macrobiotics could cure schizophrenia. Kushi claimed that it could cure cancer. Both claims are unsubstantiated, and personally I think it's cynical to make such grandiose claims. Maikel (talk) 14:43, 27 February 2008 (UTC)


The article omits Seitan. Maikel (talk) 16:42, 24 February 2008 (UTC)


I haven't put up the neutrality tag, but I would like to second it. Much of the article reads like a promotional text on macrobiotics rather than an encyclopedic text. I'll pick out one egregious example:

Macrobiotic methodology was utilized by many of the long-lived traditional cultures, such as the Incas, the Chinese in the Han Dynasty, etc. George Ohsawa drew from Oriental and Japanese folk medicine to create his version of this traditional philosophy of health.

The Incas weren't exactly a "long-lived traditional culture" (whatever that's supposed to mean), they existed from ca. 1200 until their extinction by decidedly unmacrobiotic conquistadores in 1572. I'm sure the Incas had their own ideas about healthy living, but I very much doubt that those had much to do with Georges Ohsawas'. If you're trying to latch on to someone else's success story (and if you want to stay in the same region) I suggest you pick the Mayas who have been around since ca. 1800 BC. Another point is that the connection between personal and cultural longevity is moot -- a healthy diet won't help you much if your neighbouring king happens to be a psychotic, goldhungry, twisted fuck who has developed delusions of how bathing in your kin's blood will cure his searing headache and chronic impotence.
Next, you can't create something traditional from different traditions. Pickled cabbage might be traditional in Germany and pizza in Italy, but a "pizza con sauerkrauti" ain't traditional. Either Ohsawa merely passed on a (singular!) tradition, or he came up with something new. Make up your mind.
I'd appreciate your feedback, thanks. Maikel (talk) 20:47, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

I assume the writer meant something like "traditional cultures of people who live long lives" rather than "traditional cultures that lasted a long time." (I have no idea whether individual Incas lived long lives.) But your "pizza con sauerkrauti" example is right on. Aardnavark (talk) 18:00, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

You got it mixed up - yang is stimulating (man principle) yin is conserving (woman principle) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:25, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Move proposal[edit]

See Talk:Ume#Requested move. Badagnani (talk) 04:48, 27 March 2008 (UTC)


In the philosophy section, it states, "Nightshade vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplant; also spinach, beets and avocados are forbidden (or used sparingly) in macrobiotic cooking, as they are considered extremely yin."

Yet in the section about yin and yang, it states that no foods are forbidden. "Macrobiotic eating follows the principle of balance (called yin and yang in China). Products that are extreme are not suggested for regular use. No foods are forbidden, but better quality natural foods are always suggested."

Bmorebmore (talk) 04:39, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

"University of Tulane"?[edit]

...meaning Tulane University in New Orleans? Or is there, elsewhere in the world, a "University of Tulane" about which Google is unaware? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:43, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

It's much easier to complain about it here than fix it yourself, isn't it? -.- —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:10, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

WikiProject Food and drink Tagging[edit]

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Chinese Macrobiotics[edit]

I have added a sentence in the section on Japanese diet stating that there is also a Chinese form of Macrobiotics called Ch'ang Ming or 'Long Life diet', and a reference to a book on the subject published by Chee Soo called the "Tao of Long Life". Chuangzu (talk) 12:57, 17 July 2008 (UTC) I have now expanded the reference on Chinese macrobiotics to include a book reference and some mention of the Neijing and Traditional Chinese Medicine.Chuangzu (talk) 00:00, 6 November 2008 (UTC) According to a verbal report from Chee Soo - which I have heard confirmed by other people who were present at the time - he was sued some time prior to 1982 by 'macrobiotics people' who claimed he was breaching copyright of their diet, however the case was heard by a High Court judge who found in Chee Soo's favour that the Taoist diet was the original and older diet. I have also found a letter in the Exeter University archives which suggest that Chee Soo was waiting for a date about a court case related to publishing. This seems plausible considering much of Japanese culture, and especially traditional medicine, is inherited from the Chinese. However I cannot find any court records of this case, I have looked in the National Archives and tried records of case law from databases but no luck so far, can anyone help find the case archives from the High Court in London?Chuangzu (talk) 23:52, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

Michio Kushi and Macrobiotics[edit]

I was so impressed by this synopsis on macrobiotics. I have read several of Michio's books; I have spent a week at his center in MA, and I ma starting to read George Ohsawa's writings. The wikipedia description of macrobiotics was very well done.

Thank you,

JK —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:35, 25 September 2008 (UTC)


Would those familiar with the term "Sanpaku" be interested in fixing and referencing/citing the article on it? It's kind of a mess. I added a historical reference sentence and two photos, but it's otherwise all over the place, not to mention fairly inaccurate. Thanks in advance. Softlavender (talk) 02:27, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

macrobiotic lay persons acting as doctors[edit]

Hello. I have been familiar with macrobiotics for over 30 years. I have been to Michio Kushi and French Meadows camps. I studied with the Aiharas in the 70s. My criticism is about something that I have seen over the years--lay persons with no formal health training giving "consultations," prescribing diet and lifestyle changes, etc often to very vulnerable terminally ill "patients." This is very disturbing to me. Astute astarte (talk) 16:36, 26 December 2008 (UTC)


Even the high end of this set of percentages totals to only 95% (if one includes the miso!) Clearly, this list needs to be revised by someone who knows something about the topic. (talk) 08:00, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Modern Day Macrobiotics[edit]

I would propose a new section that explains how macrobiotics embraces change and how the dietary recommendations and practice of macrobiotics have evolved over the last twenty years or more.

Reading the whole macrobiotic page appears to give a version of macrobiotics that is biased to its practice along the East Coast USA. It does not reflect the practice among Europeans or West Coast USA and seems to be centred on Michio Kushi and his teachings. Although Michio has made great contributions to macrobiotics he himself would admit that he is only one of many.

I suggest the description is broadened out to better reflect all versions of macrobiotics and to embrace the wider group of teachers involved.

Simon Brown chair of the Macrobiotic Association of Great Britain —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:27, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

Isn't couscous a flour product?[edit]

Couscous was included in a list of typical seasonal foods; would this really be considered macrobiotic as it's a processed food?

I enjoyed the article.

Marcusanimal (talk) 03:42, 3 June 2009 (UTC)Marcusanimal

List of yin and yang foods[edit]

I believe the author of the Macrobiotic diet article mixed up which foods are yin and yang. Yin is thought of as being heavy and sedating. Yang, on the other hand is hot and stimulating. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:24, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

The way they're generally explained in books about macrobiotics is yin being expansive and yang contractive. While some (most?) philosophers would have it the other way around, this is the norm among macrobioticists, and their explanation when the subject comes up is that it's just another way of saying the same thing (i.e. "expansive" food has an "expansive" effect whether you call it yin or yang) and that it's not an innovation of macrobiotics, differing views on the subject having existed for centuries. Perhaps this should be clarified in the article. (Sorry I don't have sources handy, and I'm not an expert on Taoism, but anyone with time to spare could look into this.) Zip-x (talk) 08:50, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

Criticism section isn't criticism[edit]

The section headed "Criticism" does not display NPOV, and thus does not actually amount to reports of criticisms. A few items could be cleaned up (e.g. when the AMA Council on Foods and Nutrition changed its view to be less critical of a macrobiotic diet, this is described as their "position had evolved", which is clearly biassed language. (Suppose I changed it the other way to their "position had degenerated"?) But in general, the problem is that this section reads as being written by defenders of macrobiotics to neutralize their critics, and this is not what Wikipedia articles should do. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:09, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Bold textItalian version MACROBIOTICA[edit]

Bold textSomeone may tell me why the italian version MACROBIOTICA have a BIG WARNING at the entrance reading something like "THE THINGS HERE DESCRIBED ARE NOT ACCEPTED BY THE MEDICAL SCIENCE etc" The italian medical barons lobby of what has fearful? That the beans are better than chemo and ratiation? May an "insulsus faseulus" trow down the building of the official medicine that is NO science at all but only "business of health care": it's not a science because, following f.i. Popper, his teories have to be submitted to falsification, and following Thomas Kuhn the science advance by "paradigm and that of Official Medicine is always the same: they try to cure the symptoms not THE PERSON. They investigate, like a policeman, the cause starting from the effect (symptoms) the opposite way of true science that start with a teory and go see the results of operations. Using scientific instruments dont make science a practice that is fraudolent in the sense that never try to investigate the "SALUSGENESIS" i.e.wellbeing of a person but only the "PATOGENESIS" Bob, epistemologist —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:34, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

History Updates[edit]

I have added a considerable amount of text to update the history section. For this I have used text from my book Macrobiotics For Life. This text was reviewed by renown peers before publication including macrobiotic historian David Kerr, Carl Ferre of the Ohsawa Foundation and many of the current teachers. This history takes us up to the 1970s but does not cover the period after. If appropriate we could write up more on the development since. If you have any objections to the additions I have made or my proposal please let me know directly at my address -

I would like to slowly go through the whole entry slowly as I think there are important aspects of the philosophy missing and it currently focusses too much on macrobiotics and cancer, as well as Michio Kushi.

Simon Brown - Chair of the Macrobiotic Association of Great Britain —Preceding unsigned comment added by SimonGBrown (talkcontribs) 14:24, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Historical Development of Macrobiotics Diet Concepts[edit]

In the infobox, we see:

Ohsawa didn't live until the later 18th century (1893). Sagen Ishizuka was born in 1850. What was going on in 1797 that it is cited as as historical market in the historical development of the concepts used by macrobiotics? We have:

Don't we have Asian and Hellenistic origins around 'health advice'? MaynardClark (talk) 20:31, 11 March 2017 (UTC)

Macrobiotics and Cancer Section[edit]

I deleted the following text from the Macrobiotics and Cancer section because it has no bearing on the topic of that section. It would be better placed under a new category. " On the other hand, a study in the April 15, 1998, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that 76,000 to 137,000 people died in 1994 from adverse drug reactions. The study says, "Fatal ADRs appear to be between the fourth and sixth leading cause of death. Their incidence has remained stable over the last 30 years." [2] Iatrogenic (doctor-caused) deaths number another 120,000 to 225,000 yearly. " —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:52, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

  1. ^
  2. ^ JAMA 279:1200-1205, 1998

I'm disappointed to see Slashme's removal of Kuchi's son's quotes about tobacco and his father's cancer. I thought that they were highly illustrative of the quackery associated with macrobiotic advocates, and were well attributed. -Ben (talk) 15:52, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

I felt that they were not particularly relevant to the topic, and that they were too long for the purpose. Rather than quoting large chunks of opinion verbatim, it's better to give a reference to the source and summarise the point of view. --Slashme (talk) 09:38, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

I changed the sentence "Medical professionals do not consider that there is evidence that a macrobiotic diet is useful as a cure for cancer" to be more clear and factual. I also modified the text below to delete most of it leaving only the sentence about Michio Kushi's tumor removal. As it was, it stated facts without context, leaving the implication that the diet is not only ineffective against cancer but may cause it. But this list is anecdotal evidence and no study was cited to back up the implied conclusion. In fact of any group of people some die of cancer and some don't.

"and many long-term practitioners of the diet, including Michio Kushi's wife, Aveline, and daughter Lilly, died of cancer. Michio Kushi himself developed cancer and in 2004 had a tumor removed surgically from his intestines. Some macrobiotic teachers who followed more vegan type macrobiotic diets also passed away from cancer including Luchi Baranda, Patrick McCarty, Cecile Levin, Bonnie Kramer, and Murray Synder."

Cratv1 (talk) 00:06, 29 December 2011 (UTC)


I just found a copyright violation in this article, so I commented it out. I don't have time to get more sources and paraphrase at the moment, so others will have to help out. I'm sure this will also be in George Ohsawa. Someone needs to check whether the rest of the text is OK, or whether there is some more verbatim copying going on. Note: if you have a citation at the end of the paragraph, the natural assumption is that you've summarized the content of the source in your text, not simply cut and pasted! If you quote from a source, the quotation must be clearly marked as such. --Slashme (talk) 09:41, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

Advertising versus encyclopedic entry[edit]

The entire tenor of this article comes across like an advertisement rather than an encyclopic entry. This simplest example is found in the line "For instance, take a carrot," which is somewhat akin to a show-and-tell demonstration. As such, the entire article needs to be revamped, IMHO. Skaizun (talk) 15:22, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Agreed. The philosophy section in particular is a bit of a mess, but I've tried to fix it a bit. A dullard (talk) 06:49, 17 July 2010 (UTC)

macrobiotic diet revived in Vietnam[edit]

§This macrobiotic dietary regime was introduced into South Vietnam in the early 1970's, during which time quite a few of rich people in big cities suffered health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and other cardiovascular. So when oshawa's dietary was diseminated, those people accepted with very high hope. A few more people benefited from this move by investing in ohsawa's eating style restaurants and food stuff and ingredients. Then in 1975 , South Vietnam fell; the reunification the next year saw dislocation of town people ( going to new economic zones). Vietnam degraded into terrible poverty. People had hard time earning their daily bread, much less eat into superfluosness to develop health problems. Health problems then were all from hunger. ohsawa eating style was completely ignored. In the 1990's Vietnam changed its ecomomic policies, opening a bit toward free market and privatization. People began to get better-off. The up-growing generation had more to eat. Some obesity subjects were seen, then cardiovascular problems were ever widerspreading. The ineffectiveness in the State-controlled health service and the poor skilled health specialists shunned away bad healthed people toward finding other than normal medication. Then macrobiotics were revived avidly. Among those mobilizers, the Buddhist monk Thich Tue Hai, from Long Huong pagoda,in Nhon Trach District, Dong Nai Province is prominent. The reverence even pushes the ohsawa's dietary method in wide steps forwards. Combining with Buddist philosophy and darma, his reverence delivers remarkable presentations on macrobiotics and karma mythicism. How many cases of recovery from illness as result of macrobiotic diet have not been proved yet. However, the Long Huong pagoda looks like a clinic for mostly incurable patients. The memorial day on Ohsawa's death is observed solemly on the 10th of 3rd month of Lunar Calendar. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:02, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Cooking according to the time of year[edit]

I emended a word in the Spring section - changing germs to greens. Germs are not a food, and, given the context of Spring Foods, greens seems to me to be the more appropriate word.

Teneriff (talk) 01:40, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

Main problem with the article, and some suggestions[edit]

The opening sentence is perhaps a reasonable assessment of the popular macrobiotic movement founded by George Ohsawa, but if the broader and indeed original meaning of the term macrobiotics is what the article is supposed to be about then it's simply not true.

"A macrobiotic diet (or macrobiotics), from "macro" (large) and "bios" (life), a dietary regimen which involves eating grains as a staple food supplemented with other foodstuffs such as local vegetables avoiding the use of highly processed or refined foods and most animal products."

All the major authors on macrobiotics (other than those who denounce it as pure quackery, if they can be considered authoritative) state that the essence of macrobiotics is eating appropriately with regard to yin-yang balance, subject to the conditions one finds oneself in. I have read many books and articles on the subject (none recently so I don't have sources handy), and while they all extoll the virtues of whole grains because they're at the cosmic center of yin-yang balance in the scheme of human nutrition (with the type of grain and preparation method being chosen according to how much yin and yang one needs), how many of them ever stated that grains are an absolute necessity regardless of local circumstances?

If you look at traditional food consumption around the world throughout history, you find that most societies have had grains as a major staple (with variation in type and preparation methods, and often with legends stating that grains were bestowed on humans by deities), and when you come across societies in which grains weren't prominent, they generally turn out to be at climatic extremes (the more tropical, the more dependent on starchy tubers and fruits; the more arctic, the more dependent on fatty meat -- and this basic trend can also be observed among some animals, though without the tendency towards grains, e.g. birds that eat high-carbohydrate fruit in summer and high-fat seeds in winter).

The article then correctly states that "classical writers used the term macrobiotics to describe a lifestyle, including a simple balanced diet, that promoted health and longevity." And again, pre-Ohsawa, in Hufeland's view, "illness was to be prevented primarily by pursuing a proper diet and lifestyle." I haven't read Hufeland, so I don't know if he made grains an absolute requirement, but the fundamental principle is a proper, balanced diet and lifestyle, and that is what the modern movement has been trying to promote all along.

We must assume that Ohsawa's concept of "proper and balanced" was influenced by his cultural upbringing, and the concept of macrobiotics was popularized in the West by Ohsawa and his (mostly Japanese) followers, especially Michio Kushi, so it's no surprise then that the popular concept of macrobiotics is centered around brown rice (pressure cooked and seasoned with tamari, and either long grain or short grain depending on the time of year), daikon, hokkaido squash, pickles, seaweed, fish, miso, gomashio, and other foods which are not strangers to Japanese cuisine.

And yes, at times they suggested extreme diets such as only brown rice (or brown rice and very little else), but such an extreme position was not to be adopted as a matter of course. They also stated that consumption of more animal products and the use of medicinal herbs were called for in some cases, subject to an individual's needs.

They were prejudiced, it seems, against the notion of eating anything made from flour, which is understandable given the popularity of white bread and white flour pasta in the West compared to Japan (at the time), and they were also critical of spices in general, considering them inappropriate on the grounds that they're too yin/too tropical, but willing to make a very big exception for ginger, a staple of Japanese cuisine.

In the 1970's there were reports of people reading Ohsawa and proceeding to take drastic action in the pursuit of yin-yang balance, such as drinking a whole bottle of shoyu in one sitting or taking up the all-rice diet for as long as possible without being counseled to do so. These extreme cases, understandably, have caught the attention of quack-watchers.

The well known Japanese cultural tendency towards rigid hierarchy has been observed and commented upon in the macrobiotic community. There are macrobiotic authors who could be described as dissidents, having first been supporters of the popular Ohsawan regime but then having discovered its shortcomings, eventually writing that actually bread can be just as healthy as unmilled grain (if it's made from whole grain flour and without yeast, sugar, etc. -- and it's been proven that natural sourdough fermentation results in higher bioavailability of nutrients compared to conventional yeast bread) and therefore just as useful in the pursuit of macrobiotic health. They have also written that though science firmly backs up the superior nutritional quality of whole grains and their usefulness in preventing certain diseases, it's actually not harmful to mix in a certain quantity of refined grain (which has been the historical norm in some regions, depending on cultivation/preparation methods), that there's no macrobiotic basis for an emphasis on Japanese vegetables like daikon at the expense of other vegetables of similar characteristics, that Ohsawa was too focused on finding an optimal diet for a temperate climate, and so on. If you read a cookbook or go to a restaurant advertised as "macrobiotic", you may find dishes that don't fit the stereotype of brown rice and seaweed (or perhaps that Ohsawa would not have approved of), but which make perfect sense to modern practitioners of (what the practitioners themselves describe as) macrobiotics.

With all that in mind, to what extent is the popular notion of (Ohsawan) macrobiotics the macrobiotics of Hippocrates and Hufeland, and the theoretical macrobiotics of Ohsawa himself? To what extent is it balanced and appropriate? To what extent is this article really about macrobiotics per se, rather than a particular view of macrobiotics like brown rice worship or veganism? Oh and one more thing, why does the history section currently list all those pre-Ohsawa names but not Ohsawa himself?

My proposal for a revised introduction:

"A macrobiotic diet, or macrobiotics, from Greek μακρος "makros" (large) and βιος "bios" (life), is a diet formulated according to the philosophical principles of balance and avoidance of unnatural products. Influenced by the Taoist concept of yin and yang, the diet varies according to several factors including climate, time of year, age, and physical condition, which are used to select appropriate quantities of different types of food and preparation methods. It is generally characterized by the use of whole grains as a staple food, emphasizing fresh local produce and small quantities of animal products, and abstaining from the use of refined sweeteners, artificial flavours, and other additives. This controversial dietary philosophy, often adopted with the intention of curing diseases, has been both praised and criticized for various reasons.

If that's not acceptable, how about changing the article's title to "Macrobiotic movement"? Or adding a section on macrobiotics as a movement, to distinguish it from the concept?

A few other points to note:

1) Ohsawa had some interesting views, such as that homosexuality could be cured with macrobiotics, and possibly a kind of "yin-phobia". He believed water intake should be limited (to prevent excess yin) to such an extent that urination would occur at most twice per day. He was aware of traditional Asian medicine systems but thought they should mostly be used for emergencies, since herbs in general are either too yin or too yang.

2) In addition to the story that Ohsawa had a mystical experience that launched him on the macrobiotic path, there's also an interesting story about him trying to prove (to Albert Schweitzer iirc) the power of macrobiotics by intentionally exposing himself to a nasty tropical disease and then curing himself, only to be denounced as a fake. One explanation for his heart attack is that while experimenting with "extreme yin" herbs that would be used in a macrobiotic replacement for Coca-cola, he triggered the return of the disease, and his body couldn't handle the sudden change.

3) The section listing macrobioticists who have/had cancer is a bit POV imo. It's an important point to cover, but shouldn't there be more analysis, like how long Aveline Kushi survived in spite of her exposure to nuclear fallout (1945) and her husband's smoking?

4) In addition to studies demonstrating the negative effects of macrobiotics (generally the more extreme versions), there have also been studies demonstrating positive effects. There's a whole book about macrobiotics and AIDS, and there was even a study in an American prison (it started with staff but was extended to the prisoners), which included macrobiotic versions of popular American dishes like mashed potatoes.

5) As macrobiotics is a philosophy and not just a diet, its practitioners tend to support other lifestyle measures in addition to diet, such as using natural products to the greatest possible extent, opposing genetic engineering, and avoiding radiation from cell phones and other sources (the idea being that radiation is extremely yin). The yin/yang effect of different cooking methods is given prominence by some authors (pressure cooking being considered the most balanced), and use of refrigeration is sometimes discouraged (because it increases the yin quality of the vegetables).

6) Macrobiotics is often described as either pescatarian or vegan, but other animals products are sometimes included. The same cautions that apply to veganism apply to macrobiotic veganism, but since macrobiotic vegans are more likely to shun vitamin supplements (considered unnatural), the issue of finding a reliable source of vitamin B12 is of critical importance. (This is probably discussed in other articles. The big caution to repeat is about relying on tempeh or other fermented foods whose B12 content varies according to sanitary conditions.)

7) Yes there have been a few celebrity endorsements, including John Lennon (in the 70's).

8) Kushi (or it may have been Ohsawa) tried to have macrobiotics recognized and endorsed by the UN and basically said, "It doesn't matter what religion you follow, anyone can be macrobiotic." Kushi has also been involved in the one-world-government movement, in addition to marketing macrobiotic brands.

I'm sorry I don't have citations for any of this. I don't have time to go and dig up all these things. Maybe I'm mistaken about some of them, maybe the Schweitzer story is pure hearsay, but as someone who believes in the importance of nutrition and balance (a macrobiotic in the classical sense), I invite interested readers/editors to do further research. Zip-x (talk) 15:57, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

Other language versions of this article[edit]

Having glanced at several of them, I have to say that the Catalan version is the best imo. (The French, Italian and Spanish versions are similar to but shorter than the Catalan.) Why? Instead of being all over the place like the English version (victim of conflicting viewpoints), it begins with a "problems of definition" section and then gives a very detailed explanation of the philosophical basis of macrobiotics, a description of the diet & lifestyle, the history of the macrobiotic movement, brief criticism (should be expanded), and a partial list of prominent figures involved in the movement. The Catalan wiki also seems to have the most detailed article on Ohsawa.

The German version has some important but rather one-sided criticism (malnourishment of children, rickets, etc.), including a study as recent as 2007. Also, no surprise, the German wiki appears to have the best article on Hufeland.

I can't read Japanese but that version isn't the longest. Apologies to authors of other language versions I didn't bother looking at.

What does the article (in any language) still need? More information about the history of the movement (including in recent years), and more detailed and balanced criticism, citing studies/expert opinions and various (scientific, cultural, commercial) reactions to those studies/opinions.

If I had time I would try to make a synthesis of the English and Catalan versions and then expand on it. Zip-x (talk) 16:54, 20 November 2011 (UTC)


Currently, this section cites the advice given by the American Cancer Society at

The current wording in the Complications section of the Wikipedia Macrobiotic diet article is lifted straight from the last ACS paragraph entitled Are there any possible problems or complications?:

One of the earlier macrobiotic diets, which called for eating all grains, is severely deficient and has been linked to severe malnutrition and even death. Strict macrobiotic diets that include no animal products may result in nutritional deficiencies unless they are carefully planned.

On the face of it, the ACS advice might seem to be a strong source. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, the advice and claims made on the ACS page lack easy verifiability because the ACS author has failed to include any in-line references to the peer-reviewed, published literature, instead unhelpfully giving only a bibliography at the article's end which is next to useless.

Given this, it's worth scrutinising what the ACS page actually advises. If one looks at the penultimate ACS paragraph entitled What is the evidence?, one reads:

One of the earlier versions of the macrobiotic diet that involved eating only brown rice and water has been linked to severe nutritional deficiencies and even death.

This fairly precise statement seems to be the basis for the less precise claim made subsequently by the ACS in the next paragraph Are there any possible problems or complications?

I recommend that in this section of the Wikipedia Macrobiotic diet article, therefore, the vague ACS statement about the dangers of "eating all grains" be replaced with the more precise statement of fact about the dangers of eating only brown rice and water made earlier by the ACS in the same article. (talk) 12:41, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Removal (in "Chinese macrobiotics" section)[edit]

According to Chee Soo in The Tao of Long Life,[14] natural dietary therapy, or ch'ang ming, has been developed in China since prehistoric times, along with a range of health arts that have become what we now know as traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM. Other than this, however, there is no real evidence that ch'ang ming predates the advent of macrobiotics in Japan.

"Other than this, however, there is no real evidence that ch'ang ming predates the advent of macrobiotics in Japan." I'm removing this claim. Its unsourced and seems polemic in nature.

He should read:

"Prince Wen Hui's Cook: Chinese Dietary Therapy" by Bob Flaws and Honora Wolf

"A Soup for the Qan: Chinese Dietary Medicine of the Mongol Era As Seen in Hu Sihui's Yinshan Zhengyao (Sir Henry Wellcome Asian Series)" by Paul D. Buell and Eugene N. Anderson

"Nourishing Life: Chinese Hundreds of Herb-medicine Imperial Cuisine (Chinese-English edition)" by Jiao Mingyao

"Healthy Life: Chinese Hundreds of Herb-medicine Imperial Cuisine (Chinese-English edition)" by Jiao Mingyao

"Prolonging Life: Chinese Hundreds of Herb-medicine Imperial Cuisine (Chinese-English edition)" by Jiao Mingyao

"Food as Medicine: A Traditional Chinese Medical Perspective" by Ted Zombolas and Jing Yuan

"The Healing Cuisine of China: 300 Recipes for Vibrant Health and Longevity" by Zhuo Zhao and George Ellis


Henry123ifa (talk) 12:11, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

If the statement were sourced, I'd support its inclusion. The macrobiotic diet is a recent invention which attempts to draw upon older traditions -- sometimes (as with its reliance on Japanese cuisine) because those traditions were a real influence on the diet, and sometimes (as with the term "macrobiotic") as a post-facto adoption for marketing. There's nothing wrong with being recent, nor is there anything polemic about pointing out its recency. Nevertheless, without a citation the statement smacks of OR at best and shouldn't be part of the article on that ground. -Ben (talk) 13:08, 5 May 2012 (UTC)


I couldn't find any mention of 'macrobiotics' in Hippocrates's "On Airs, Waters, and Places", see for yourself. Here is the text removed from the article. Perhaps it's been translated some other way? If so, we need the exact Greek phrase and its translation, and we can put it back in the article. Otherwise, it's pure WP:OR.

== History ==
The earliest recorded use of the term macrobiotics is found in the writing of Hippocrates, the father of Western Medicine. In his essay "Airs, Waters, and Places," Hippocrates introduced the word to describe people who were healthy and long-lived. Herodotus, Aristotle, Galen, and other classical writers used the term macrobiotics to describe a lifestyle, including a simple balanced diet, that promoted health and longevity.

Chiswick Chap (talk) 21:10, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

American Cancer Society/Cancer Research UK[edit]

Hi Alex, I think there are some issues to your revert. The least important is that detailing the sources individually isn't summarizing the content per WP:LEAD; but more serious is that the current text isn't reflecting the content: neither body "recommends that people with cancer should not take the diet".

The American Cancer Society's "Overview" of macrobiotics says:

Available scientific evidence does not support claims that a macrobiotic diet is effective in treating cancer. A diet consisting mostly of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains is associated with general health benefits and lower risk for several diseases, and a macrobiotic diet, by virtue of its main components, can also achieve these benefits. However, macrobiotic diets can lead to poor nutrition if not properly planned. Some earlier, more limited, versions of the diet may actually pose a danger to health. Research is under way to find out whether a macrobiotic diet may play a role in preventing cancer.

Cancer Research UK's "Research into macrobiotic diet" says:

Some research shows that macrobiotic diets can improve some people’s health if they are followed in moderation and not taken to an extreme. This may be because these people are almost certainly increasing their fruit and vegetable intake and reducing their fat, sugar and salt intake. But for some people who are ill or very young, following a macrobiotic diet can have serious harmful effects.
People who eat macrobiotic diets for many years often have low fat and cholesterol levels, which may lower their risk of getting
Heart disease
Breast cancer
Other cancers linked to a high fat diet
But you can also get these health benefits through a normal healthy diet, as we describe in our news and resources section. Some organisations say that a macrobiotic diet and lifestyle can help people with cancer and other health conditions. But researchers have not tested macrobiotic diets in randomised controlled clinical trials as a way of preventing, treating or curing cancer. So we don’t know whether they work. … So, researchers funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in America are doing a study to test whether a macrobiotic diet can play a part in preventing cancer.
We don’t support the use of macrobiotic diets for people with cancer but you will need to make up your own mind about whether you want to use complementary therapies. It is important to talk to your cancer specialist about any complementary or alternative treatment you want to try.

I'm sure we can work together to create a better account of these two bodies' recommendations. Cheers, Spicemix (talk) 16:50, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

Okay, so CRUK "do not support" and ACS's diet recommendation reads: "The American Cancer Society's nutrition guidelines recommend eating a balanced diet that includes five or more servings a day of vegetables and fruit, choosing whole grains over processed and refined foods, and limiting red meats and animal fats." So if we change it to "do not recommend" rather than "recommend against" that will do the trick! Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 17:03, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Alex. As "recommend" doesn't appear in the sources, but "support" is used in one, I suggest we follow the source in that respect. "Do not recommend" while logically defensible, to a normal reader sounds like a warning. As we can see from the sources above, there is cautious approval that the diet, used adjunctively, may in fact be healthy and beneficial—CRUK says "Some research shows that macrobiotic diets can improve some people’s health"— and both bodies make clear that they are waiting for ongoing research to provide clarification. These points should be made in the body of the article, and the lead in turn should then reflect that. In terms of the medical responsibility of Wikipedia we don't want to risk having a prominent wording that isn't accurately nuanced to the medical sources. Thanks for your help. Spicemix (talk) 17:47, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
"But for some people who are ill or very young, following a macrobiotic diet can have serious harmful effects" ← sounds like a warning to me. No further change to the text is needed here in my view. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 17:51, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
(Add) Though, having said that, I have just added a systematic literature review which reinforces the "warning" slant of the research in RS. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 18:32, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

Local ?[edit]

What has Locally sourced got to do at all with Macrobiotic Diet? With regard to respect for the Earth, for minimizing energy consumption, for harmonizing with regional biomes, and many other global and regional environmental concerns, that makes some sense. But with respect to a personal diet and personal health, local is nearly meaningless. It only comes into play where Philosophy of harmonizing body and surroundings come together. Frankly, that is about the mental and spiritual aspects of macrobiotics, not the biology of it. Compare that with non-local but macrobiotic foods (grains and vegetables brought into the Arctic) vs local but non-macrobiotic foods (fish and caribou meat) and it becomes pretty obvious. --Wolfram.Tungsten (talk) 17:32, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

Possible fringe views?[edit]

I don't know enough about the subject to give a definite opinion, but I feel uncomfortable with the implication that a plant-based diet affects anything if you already have cancer. It's a reasonable enough statement with a fair bit of evidence to say that it helps *prevent* cancer, but the current state of the article implies something rather different. Could there be some discussion around this? MLODROB (talk) 22:36, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

Agree - there have been some bad edits; have tidied. Alexbrn (talk) 04:41, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
I didn't mean to provoke a fight. Is there a way both sides can reach an agreement without conflicting editing? MLODROB (talk) 07:03, 12 April 2015 (UTC)


Just looking at this article again, some edits had crept in reasserting the fringe views and misrepresenting our strong sources. Have corrected. Alexbrn (talk) 07:42, 11 November 2015 (UTC)

Beth Ann Simon[edit]

Hello, I have added a sentence about Beth Ann Simon's death. As indicated by the associated sources, this was a watershed moment for macrobiotics in the 1960s. In this article, it's important, as it indicates that the 1971 report was not mistaken- macrobiotics had a profound danger of malnutrition in the 1960s. This addition was reverted by Alexbrn; since the addition was made in good faith, I'm unreverting it for the moment. If there is a good reason my rv is undue, please let me know. Thanks, Indeed1234 (talk) 00:56, 25 December 2015 (UTC)

Find a decent source stating the importance of this death then. Alexbrn (talk) 03:03, 25 December 2015 (UTC)


I am removing this stuff referenced to the "Macrobiotic Diet". American Cancer Society. November 2008. page which has no such quote regarding macrobiotics. Also removing the stuff about smoking, these guys did not advocate smoking as part of Macrobiotics and did not deny that smoking is harmful.Chuangzu (talk) 21:49, 29 December 2015 (UTC)

I disagree with this edit: It seem pretty obvious that the original advocates blamed lung cancer on the combination of tobacco use and dairy product consumption, regarding tobacco use alone as harmless. Furthermore, this edit is part of a long-standing effort by macrobiotic supporters to downplay or entirely eliminate material critical of macrobiotics from the article. Given the history of macrobiotic advocates claims about cancer, such statements about cancer by founders of the macrobiotic movement are extremely noteworthy. Ben (talk) 15:54, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
For further examples of censoring the parts of the article presenting criticism, see and -- all deleted by Chuangzu. I've restored the section about junk-science statements on tobacco use by macrobiotic teachers, but need more time than I have to resurrect the criticism section. Ben (talk) 16:02, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
I just restored the criticism section--which had been entirely deleted--to the version from . Ben (talk) 16:07, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
I agree that there needs to be a criticism section on Macrobiotics, but I could not find any statements regarding macrobiotics on the reference link that was given to support this section so I removed it along with the statements it was backing up. In fact if you input the term "macrobiotics" into the search field on this site it yields no results, it would appear that this is no longer the position of the American Cancer Society. Perhaps it would be better to extract the critical sections from the main article paragraphs and collate them into a criticism section with a new set of up to date references. What the article seems to be suffering from is too much piecemeal editing over the years judging by the talk page and the long running battle has left an incoherent article, what it really needs is entirely re-written and restructured. Perhaps we should concentrate on making a clear distinction between the general principle and definition of Macrobiotics and criticisms of Japanese macrobiotics as propounded by Ohsawa and his followers. It may be worth noting in the proposed Tobacco section that at the time these statements on smoking were made that smoking had not been researched as thoroughly as it has been today. Chuangzu (talk) 12:51, 31 December 2015 (UTC)

@Benwbrum:I'm very sorry but I will have to delete these paragraphs in the Criticisms section that are linked to the American Cancer Society webpage because they are not backed up by any proper references on the website that is given. If you have any objection or a better reference then please let's hear about it.Chuangzu (talk) 23:40, 3 January 2016 (UTC)

Section on Chinese Macrobiotics[edit]

I have restored the section on Chinese macrobiotics because firstly the Nei Jing is probably one of the oldest sources in existence for natural health and dietary recommendations, also it stresses the importance of prevention and lifestyle as well as diet. Secondly it is highly likely that the Japanese macrobiotic recommendations were influenced by these considering a large portion of Japanese culture - especially medicine - was inherited from China and Traditional Chinese Medicine which is based on the Huangdi Neijing. In my humble opinion a great deal more could be added to this section considering the growing importance of Traditional Chinese Medicine and it's influence on Western medicine and a lot more research could be done into it's history. Please do not delete this section but if you have any comments or recommendations for expanding it then please speak up.Chuangzu (talk) 16:41, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

You did some blatant POV-pushing, distorting the sources as you went. Don't. Alexbrn (talk) 20:34, 11 March 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for the Laughter[edit]

Hi. I've been using Wikipedia since 2006. It's been a superb reference. Yesterday, I was celebrating my 32nd anniversary of being on a macrobiotic diet, so I looked up Macrobiotic Diet in Wikipedia. I was literally laughing out loud.

Where did all of this negative, erroneous, claptrap come from? I presume the reference to Zen Buddhism stems from a macrobiotic diet book titled "Zen Macrobiotics" that was published over a half-century ago -- and had nothing to do with the Zen Buddhist religion?

How about the nearly 50 year old citation about malnutrition? I guess that was before the USDA designed the food pyramid, in 1992, that closely resembles the macrobiotic diet. And before they opened the Macrobiotic exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History?

Moreover, I'm 64. After half a lifetime macrobiotic, when will I encounter my own serious bouts of malnutrition? Shall I stop eating fresh vegetables, whole grains, real bread, pasta, pickles and fish, and race back to my diet of steak, burgers, meatloaf and mashed potatoes and gravy? What do you think my MD would say?

Whoever is "in charge" of this "article", I'd like to thank you for bringing such humor to Wikipedia. Great Stuff!

But you may want to clean it up before you kill someone.

Sincerely, Greentree 11 (talk) 06:41, 7 July 2017 (UTC)

The Zen sources are strong and recent. Alexbrn (talk) 07:41, 7 July 2017 (UTC)
The abstract you use as reference 1, The Macrobiotic Diet in Chronic Disease, shows a far more balanced and favorable view of macrobiotics than the Wikipedia "version". The ONLY reference to Zen is in the footnotes of that article, and that reference is a JAMA footnote dated October 18, 1971.

Reference 3, A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition, published for the 4th time in 2014, includes a brief parroting of the Wikipedia article that you have commandeered. Circular references lead nowhere.

Reference 19, Scurvy: historical review and current diagnostic approach, is 14 years old and allows no access to the full text. Your link mentions " followers of fad diets such as the Zen macrobiotic diet" but the macrobiotic diet hasn’t been called "zen macrobiotic" since the early 1980's; 35 years ago. And even then, "Zen" macrobiotics cited no relationship with Zen Buddhism.

Reference 28, refers to the JAMA article from 1971.

These references are neither recent nor are they strong. Again, why are you cherry picking ancient references and ignoring the positive, more recent, accolades (some of which I've already mentioned)? Almost everything in the Wikipedia article ignores the fact that the Macrobiotic Diet was among the first, if not the first, diet to introduce the elimination of high LDL food from the American & European public. As such, it has saved and increased the longevity of hundreds of thousands of lives.

If I were seeking relief through a healthier way of life, and I landed on this Wikipedia article -- essentially saying that a diet of whole grains, fresh vegetables and fish is bad for me -- what then may my conclusion be?

I'm not saying that skepticism should be set aside. But the truth of the matter is, this article should begin with "A Macrobiotic diet is a diet that has been used by thousands of people, in order to remain in good health. It's origins can be traced back to ancient Egyptian records ( and some anthropological sources cite grain-eating as the reason we became human.

This is 2017. Why in the world are you stuck on citations from 1971?

Again, if I was seeking relief through a healthier way of life, and I landed on this totally negative Wikipedia article, I would have to conclude that dietary change isn't the answer. And where would that leave me?

I don't know how long you've been "in control" of this Wikipedia page but, if it's been over six months, you've certainly killed someone -- simply by cherry picking your ancient and outmoded "facts." Skepticism is healthy and necessary. But this one-sided misinformation is lethal.

Zen Buddhist diet? Wrong. Your conclusions are generally incoherent.... Greentree 11 (talk) 08:26, 8 July 2017 (UTC)

Probably best to stick to reputably-published sources. From 2014/[1]. Alexbrn (talk) 08:31, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
Hi Greentree. You need to learn how to correctly indent your posts to talk pages using colons. Then you need to learn to recognise WP:RS (reliable sources according to wikipedia WP:P&G) and then you need to learn how to read those sources, and then you need to learn how to use those sources to improve wikipedia articles. Good luck, -Roxy the dog. bark 08:36, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Roxy the dog. I'm working on it.Greentree 11 (talk) 05:41, 14 July 2017 (UTC)