Macrobiotic diet essentials – food list for me

I have in the “I want to know evvvvvvvrything phase” now, so I started to search for the essential info I really need to know about the macrobiotic diet. I got a quite strict meal plan that I have to follow at least for a month, then I can ease into the “normal” macrobiotic diet.

I have to admit, it will be difficult for me. First of all, I have to buy several ingredients that I have never used before, but secondly, I will have to avoid frozen food. This is the biggest difficulty for me. I hate doing the shopping, I work in weird hours, on my free mornings I prefer not to get up early enough to catch the good quality food in the farmer’s market, so I often fill my freezer with vegetables and meat (okay, I know, I will eliminate meat from now on…) and I prefer freezing some portions of food I have already made to have something to eat on busy days. So, this frozen stuff will be the biggest deal for me.

Picture is from here.


Anyway, I’m enthusiastic (although a bit worried if I can do everything properly) so I spent hours on searching for info about the macrobiotic diet. I found a very good list and grouping of foods I can eat (and I have to avoid), I changed some things in the original list, this is my personalised list. I left out the stuff I shouldn’t eat (normal wheat is avoidable for me, I have an intolerance to that) and some ingredients that I cannot stand.

Unfortunately, my favorite vegetables, spinach and zucchini are not on the list 😦 Okay, spinach is on the original list but my nutritionist told me to avoid that, too.

Whole Cereal Grains and Flour Products

Whole grains

Use often: short- grain brown rice, medium- grain brown rice, barley, millet, spelt, corn-on-the-cob, whole oats, buckwheat, long-grain brown rice, sweet brown rice, pearl barley

Cracked and flaked grains –  Use occasionally

Mochi (Pounded sweet rice), Barley grits, rolled oats, amaranth, quinoa.

Flour products – Use occasionally
Whole wheat noodles (udon) *personally should avoid but I would really-really want to taste*, Thin wheat noodles (somen) *same here*, buckwheat noodles (soba), bread (unyeasted sourdough), pancakes (home-made)


Use a variety with every meal and use often.

Green leafy:
bok choy, carrot tops, Chinese cabbage, collard greens, daikon greens, dandelion greens, kale, leeks, mustard greens, parsley, spring onions, turnip greens, watercress

acorn squash, broccoli, buttercup squash, butternut squash, cabbage, cauliflower, hokkaido pumpkin, onion, pumpkin, red cabbage, turnips, shiitake mushroom

burdock, carrots, daikon, dandelion roots, lotus root, parsnip, radish.

Use occasionally:  Celery, chives, cucumber, endive, green beans, green peas, iceberg lettuce, jerusalem artichoke, kohlrabi, mushrooms, romaine lettuce, salsify, snap beans snow peas, sprouts.

Beans – Use no more than once a day

Use often:
Azuki beans, black soybeans, chickpea, green or brown lentils

Use occasionally
Black- eyed peas, black turtle beans, kidney beans, lima beans, mung beans. navy beans, pinto beans, soybeans, split peas, whole dried peas.

Source of pic


Special foods

Soy products

Use occasionally: Dried tofu, fresh tofu, natto, tempeh. (I don’t know what to think about it, I don’t really like the idea of tofu)

Seasonings for cooking

Use often
Barley miso ( mugi), brown rice miso, shoyu, unrefined white sea salt

Use occasionally
Brown rice vinegar, ginger garlic, mirin, tamari, umeboshi plum, umeboshi paste, umeboshi vinegar, wasabi (horseradish) white miso.

Sea vegetables
Nori sheets, wakame kombu, agar-ager, Dulse, arame.

Drink a comfortable amount for thirst Bancha twig tea (kukicha), bancha leaf tea (green tea),
roasted barley tea, roasted rice tea, yannoh (mixed grain coffee) spring water.

Foods for occasional use

2 to 3 times a week

Choose from non-fatty – white Carp, cod, flounder, haddock, halibut, sole, trout red snapper.

Seeds and Nuts
1 to 2 cups a week each

Seeds: pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, tahini (sesame butter)

Nuts: chestnuts, almonds, peanuts walnuts, pecans, coconut, nut butters.

Sweet and Sweeteners

Use as snacks or in cooking: barley malt, brown rice syrup, rice and barley malt candies, apple juice or grape juice, pure maple syrup (use sparingly)


cooked, dried or fresh, seasonal climate fruits 2 to 3 times a week.

Ground fruits: blueberries, blackberries, honey dew melon, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon

Tree fruit: apples, apricots, cherries, grape, peaches, pears, plums, raisins, tangerines.

Other foods and oils

Mild herbs and spices, natural sauerkraut, cucumber -brine pickles, horseradish, lemons, toasted sesame oil, light sesame oil, olive oil, corn oil, safflower oil, coconut oil.

Amaske drink, apple juices, grape juice, organic beer, wine, and sake, soy milk carrot or other vegetable juices herbal teas.

Use sparingly or avoid

Baked flour products and refined grains
Muffins, cookies, commercial-pancakes, rice cakes, chips, bake pastries, puffed whole cereals, popcorn, white rice, commercial pasta and bread,

Artichoke, asparagus, avocado bamboo shots, beets, eggplant, fennel, ginseng green or red pepper, spinach, okra, potato, rhubarb, sweet potato, Swiss chard, tomato, taro potato, yams courgette

tropical nuts
including: brazil nut, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachio nuts.
All tropical fruits, including:
banana, coconut, dates, fig, mango, papaya pineapple, citrus fruit.

Avoid as much as possible:

Red meat: beef, lamb, pork.

Poultry: chicken, duck, turkey.
Dairy foods:
milk, butter, cheese yoghurt, ice cream.

Artificial sweeteners, brown sugar, molasses, carob, chocolate, fructose, fruit sweeteners, honey, white sugar.
Artificial beverages, carbonated water, cold drinks, iced drinks, coffee, distilled water, hard liquor, regular tea, stimulant beverages, tap water,

Styles of Cooking

Use often
Pressure cooking, boiling, blanching, steaming, nishimi-style (steaming with kombu) soup-making, stewing, quick water sautéing, quick oil sautéing, kimpiria-style (sautéing and simmering), pressing, pickling.

Use occasionally
Baking, broiling, dry-roasting, pan-frying, deep-frying, tempura (batter-dipped), raw foods, juicing.

I think, I will deal with this how-to-cook topic in a whole post later, I will share my struggles with you. For example, during my consultation, I took notes about the diet and wrote “nishimi vegetables” and spent long minutes on searching for a list of vegetables that goes to this nishimi group. Well, I realised that it’s a type of cooking not a group of food. I will have to work a lot on my diet, I guess.

I found those very nice illustrations of a macrobiotic diet that I inserted above but they are not the same as my nutritionist suggested (I got a basic info guide on the consultation than a personalised meal plan later in e-mail), they are like this. Not as colourful, not as beautiful, but at least something 🙂


I will have to work and think a lot about my diet, I’m happy that I decided to have a “light” vegan month before the real macrobiotic diet. I tend to hate myself when I don’t do something properly and I KNOW that I wouldn’t be able to do the diet properly before getting some more info, doing my shopping (I don’t even know where to by bacha tea or miso :S) and preparing my kitchen for the change. I will have to buy two new pots, too.

Cross your fingers, for me, please 🙂