News & Features

Tuesday 22nd August 2017

How to make a plant-based diet Healthy.

As more and more people consider a "plant- based" diet our principal Oliver Cowmeadow offers advice on the importance of balance as the key to good health.
 

When I started giving health consultations more than 30 years ago, my main challenge was convincing people to reduce their intake of meat, dairy food, sugar and refined foods, and eat more whole grains, vegetables, and vegetarian sources of protein like beans and pulses.

This was a new concept to many people, but now millions are switching to a “plant-based” diet, and the health benefits are backed by a wealth of scientific research.

For example in the last 20 years Western medicine has extensively researched the effects of eating a ‘Mediterranean diet’, rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruit, peas and beans, with some fish and olive oil. There is little red meat, dairy foods are only eaten in small quantities, and refined foods do not play much part.

This research shows unequivocally that this way of eating, along with regular exercise, reduces the chances for us developing major degenerative diseases so common among people eating a typical Western diet, including high blood pressure and heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes, many cancers, and more recently Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Let's say that again, these very common degenerative illnesses are NOT an inevitable part of aging, but are avoidable, if we choose to make healthy changes in our diet and life style. Great news!

This is exactly what macrobiotics has been advising since its beginnings in the early 20th century, a return to the traditional way of eating found in most parts of the world, based around eating whole grains, beans, and vegetables, with a wide variety of fruits, seeds, nuts, sea vegetables and seasonings, and only small amounts of fish or other animal food.

Over and over again I have seen just how effective this way of eating is in healing many health problems, and increasing people’s physical health and vitality, emotional wellbeing and mental positivity.

However with today’s macrobiotics we can take a further step in healing problems and maintaining robust health, using the guiding principle of creating balance between opposites, expressed as yin and yang in Oriental culture. This means choosing foods, ways of cooking, and a life style that creates an internal balance in the body, improving the health and functioning of the body and avoiding many illnesses.

So for example we can balance the yang warming and nourishing foods like whole grains, beans, root vegetables, soups and longer cooked dishes, and possibly some fish, that we need to give us energy and warmth, with the more yin relaxing and cooling foods like green vegetables, fruits, naturally brewed alcohol and raw, fermented or very lightly cooked vegetables. Too many yang foods and we get a hot, tense condition in the body, that may create tension headaches or migraines, heavy painful periods, or high blood pressure. Or too many yin foods and we can get cold, tired, lacking in motivation and joy, and suffer problems like easily catching colds, hayfever, cold hands and feet, or heart palpitations.

Macrobiotics offers us the chance to make an art of our life, creating a daily balance to achieve our greatest potential for health, happiness and freedom.

Our 5 day intensive Looking After Your Health is a perfect way to begin your Macrobiotic journey.