Article: How a macrobiotic diet can change your life (Lee Gross)

Lee Gross is most well known for helping to launch M Cafe, LA’s premier macrobiotic eatery, and (maybe even more so) for being Gwyneth Paltrow’s personal chef during her macro days. Today, he lends us a complete overview of what exactly macrobiotic means and why you should try it. 

Overview Of The Macrobiotic Diet

1. The macrobiotic diet is based on whole, natural, plant-based foods, selected and prepared so as to achieve balance between ourselves and the natural world.

2. The goal is the optimal health of both the individual and the planet.

3. The diet focuses on a wide variety of land and sea vegetables, and whole cereal grains, including brown rice, quinoa, millet, spelt, barley, and others.

4. Beans and traditional bean products (such as tofu and tempeh) are eaten frequently, but the diet de-emphasizes most animal foods, including meat and dairy, although some fish and seafood is often included in small quantities, depending on the needs of the individual. Processed foods, chemicals and preservatives are generally avoided while best-quality natural and/ or organic ingredients are emphasized.

5. Cooking techniques are very simple and gentle, and many Japanese-style recipes and methods are used, including simmering, nabe (clay-pot cooking), and nishime (dry-cooking) with a bare minimum of seasoning and spices.

6. The diet is thought to foster a peaceful, balanced energy, and macrobiotic lifestyle practices (including meditation, gentle exercise, and time spent outdoors) are used to reinforce the individual’s connection to the natural world.

7. Macrobiotics is more than just a diet. It is a way of thinking and being in the world that helps us to better understand and appreciate our strengths and limitations as human beings. It teaches us to respect our place on the planet, as a single species amongst countless others, and it encourages us to maintain the delicate balance of life itself.

The Benefits Of A Macrobiotic Diet + Lifestyle

  • improved sleep
  • weight loss
  • clear mind/ better ability to focus
  • appreciation for one’s self
  • improved interpersonal relationships
  • improved overall health and a general reduction in minor symptoms and common ailments including colds, joint and muscle pain, headaches, constipation, etc.

It should be noted that there is no “one size fits all” macrobiotic diet. There are standardized recommendations for getting started (below), but everyone needs to adapt the diet to their own unique physiology and their own particular needs.

Tips For Getting Started & Ways To Implement Macrobiotic Principles Into Your Routine

1. Increase your consumption of fresh vegetables. Reduce consumption of heavy animal foods (including meat, poultry, and dairy) and increase consumption of whole cereal grains. When dining out, choose restaurants that focus on natural organic and/ or local foods.

2. Clear your kitchen and pantry of all “junk” foods, including highly processed packaged foods, sugars and sweeteners, food products with and artificial or chemical ingredients, commercial condiments, dressings, sauces, etc.

3. Replace the above items with whole, natural food ingredients, including whole cereal grains (brown rice, millet, barley, quinoa, buckwheat, etc), dried beans, dried sea vegetables, and plenty of fresh vegetables including leafy greens, root vegetables, and brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage).

4. Become inspired and learn to cook! Pick up a good macrobiotic cook book such as The Great Life Cookbook, The Changing Seasons Macrobiotic Cookbook, or The Hip Chicks Guide to Macrobiotics.

5. Eat only when hungry. Slow down while eating. Chew your food well. Be mindful of each bite.

6. Think about where your food comes from. Make the best, healthiest choices you can in any situation, but don’t stress yourself out. Be grateful of any food you have in front of you, and eat with appreciation for the farmer, the cook, and the earth.

10 vegan foods packed with protein

Yummy! 🙂

Where do you get your protein? It’s a question that anyone who has given up meat or is cutting down is probabaly familiar with. Many people know that soy products such as tofu and tempeh are a great source of plant-based protein. They also understand that nuts, seeds and beans make up a bulk of our protein intake. Unfortunately, this leads some to think that all we eat is tofu and beans. This is simply untrue! Here’s a list of 10 vegan foods that are packed with protein.

1. Hummus

Hummus is loaded with protein, courtesy of its two main ingredients, garbanzo beans and tahini. Bored by the plain variety? Try some new hummus flavors that are out of the box, such as this Spicy Sweet Potato HummusFresh Pumpkin and Kale Hummus or Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. Looking for even more protein for your post-workout snack? Try spinach, tofu, avocado or black bean hummus. Get creative!

Wondering what to do with that leftover jar of homemade tahini? Fortunately, there are many other uses for it besides hummus. Sesame seed paste, or tahini, can be used in salad dressings, dipping sauces, baked goods, spreads and dips. Use tahini in place of mayonnaise in potato salad or Asian slaw. Another option is to make a warm dressing and serve it over steamed or grilled vegetables.

Garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas) are extremely versatile. Read all about them in our Spotlight on Chickpeas. Look for garbanzo bean or chickpea flour in the grocery store. It can usually be found in the gluten-free section. Add it to baked goods for a creamy, rich flavor. The flour can also be used as a thickening agent for soups, sauces and gravies. The traditional Middle Eastern dish falafel is a delicious example of the use of chickpeas. They are also great on salads or simply baked as a snack. Toss them with a little olive oil and the seasonings of your choice. Bake in a 400º oven until golden and crispy. You now have a healthy alternative to popcorn! This Baked Falafel Salad is AMAZING!

10 Vegan Foods Packed with Protein

2. Avocado

Avocado contains healthy, monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to slow brain aging. Avocado has also been shown to help protect against certain types of cancer, and are a great source of antioxidant vitamin E. They provide all 8 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. When most people think of avocados, the first thing that comes to mind is guacamole. While delicious, it’s not the only thing avocados are good for.

Try adding some avocado in your morning green smoothie. Trust us, it will add an unbeatable creamy texture. If you real fan then add it into an avocado ”alfedro” sauce for pasta or blend it into a soup like this delicious Raw Creamy Mushroom Soup with Avocado. Don’t forget about dessert, this amazing fruit can quickly turn into a superb creamy icing for any cake!

10 Vegan Foods Packed with Protein

3. Pistachios

Pistachios are a low-calorie nut and are an excellent source of protein and fiber. A single ounce of roasted pistachio nuts delivers 13 percent of the recommended daily intake of protein and 12 percent of the recommended daily intake of fiber. A great way to use them is in homemade granola. Oats contain protein too. In fact, oat protein is almost equal in quality to soy protein. Add some soy or almond milk to the mix and you have a delicious, high-protein breakfast! Pistachios are also great in salads, pilaf, trail mix and desserts! For a twist, substitute pistachios for pine nuts in pesto. Don’t forget about pistachio pudding for dessert!

10 Vegan Foods Packed with Protein

4. Quinoa

Quinoa contains significant quantities of essential vitamins and minerals including manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, and copper. A cup of cooked quinoa also contains 8 grams of complete protein and 5 grams of fiber! Read all about this superseed in our guide to Quinoa. Use it in place of rice for a much more nutritious side dish. Try it cold in a salad or warm in a burrito or pilaf and don’t forget to check out these amazing Quinoa Recipes.

10 Vegan Foods Packed with Protein

 5. Chia Seeds

Remember those Chia Pet commercials you used to always see as a kid? Ch-ch-ch-chia! Yes, those are the chia seeds I’m referring to. Besides being a fun novelty item, chia seeds are also a protein powerhouse. Just 1 tablespoon of chia seeds contains 5 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, 2282 mg of Omega 3 and 752 mg of Omega 6 fatty acids! Read all about Chia seeds in our Chia Guide. You can blend the seeds into juice and smoothies, add them into soups, stews, and chillis, or roll the little guys into raw chocolate protein balls. They make a wonderful pudding, similar in consistency to tapioca, without needing to be cooked or use as a thickening agent for soups and gravies. Chia seeds also make a great egg substitute. You will need 1 tablespoon finely ground seeds and 3 tablespoons of water per egg called for in the recipe.

10 Vegan Foods Packed with Protein

6. Green Peas

Eat your peas! Turns out, mom really did know what she was talking about. These little  guys contain about 8 grams of protein per cup. If you think you don’t like peas, try them fresh out of the garden. They are actually quite sweet. Still not convinced? Sneak them into stir fries, soups and salads. Or, go for the gusto with this raw pea soup. Our favorites are these two knock off pea dishes; the Sweet Pea Hummusand the Knock-off-amole!

10 Vegan Foods Packed with Protein

7. Lentils

With about 30% of their calories from protein, lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybeans and hemp. Lentils are the easiest legumes to work with. They do not need to be soaked overnight and can be on your table in as little as 20 minutes.  While, soupsstews andsalads are common dishes that contain lentils. For your next cookout, try lentil veggie burgerslentil tacos or this out-of-the-world lentil loaf!

10 Vegan Foods Packed with Protein

8. Hemp Seeds

The amino acid profile of hemp seeds is close to “complete” when compared to more common sources of proteins such as meat, milk, eggs and soy. Hemp protein contains all 21 known amino acids, including the 9 essential ones adult bodies cannot produce.  You can sprinkle them on just about anything. They impart a rich, nutty flavor. Try using hemp seed oil in your salad dressing  or hemp milk on your granola. Want to pump up the protein factor in your pesto? Try this killer Creamy Hemp Pesto.

10 Vegan Foods Packed with Protein

9. Almonds

Almonds, like all nuts, are very high in protein. A 1/4 cup serving of almonds contains 8 grams of protein. You can add them to your cereal, salad, trail mix, or granola. My favorite way to use them is in almond butter (Check out this video guide on how to make it yourself!). Spread it on apple slices or toast and you have the perfect protein snack! Experiment with other nut butters such as cashew, pecan, macadamia or a combination. Be sure to try almond yogurt and almond cheese as well! Here are 10 amazing vegan recipes infused with almonds.

10 Vegan Foods Packed with Protein

10. Soy

A list of vegan foods packed with protein would not be complete without the mention of soy in some form. Try dry roasted edamame for a healthy snack on the go. We’ve seen them covered in dark chocolate, which would up your protein intake even more. Another thing to try is tofu noodles. They are great because the noodles are gluten-free, extremely low in calories and ready-to-eat. Think tofu is tasteless? Think again! Read this guide to learn how to cook with tofu, with some delicious recipes. Try serving them with an avocado “alfredo” sauce for a protein-packed meal. Just be sure you choose organic/non-GMO soy, and as with most foods, moderation is the rule.

10 Vegan Foods Packed with Protein  This shows that a well-balanced plant-based diet is anything but devoid of protein. It also doesn’t consist of eating the same thing every day. Share this list with all skeptics you know and maybe one day vegans will no longer be asked, “But where do you get your protein?”

June 2019
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