By: Marisa Marinelli of Cooking Macro the Italiano Way
Let's start with: What's Macro? I usually get a response from people "Macro like Big?"
Yes! I'm talking Big, Great, Larger than Life. How about a GREAT-LIFE! How about we talk about Macrobiotics, in standard definition meaning "Living a Great Life."
At 26 years old I've seen enough doctors, needles, and medications than anyone should in their lifetime. You would never know it because five years ago I found a practice and a belief that would save my life. I discovered Macrobiotics. You may have heard that word before used vaguely, or some might associate it with being a stereotypical "hippie" life style. Believe me when I say I've never been a hippie. I'm more like the brainy beauty queen who wants world peace. Some of you might think macrobiotics is a strict diet where you eat seaweed off the beaches. "Um, yuck!" I'm here to clear some of these stereo-types that macrobiotics has been given. I'm here to say that because of this practice I'm alive today, and living HAPPILY and HEALTHY.
So, what is Macrobiotics? Is it a diet or a life-style? Well I say it's finding Balance with in both. Let's think scientifically for just a minute. For those who believe in the "Big Bang Theory," the world was created one day with one big burst of energy. Everything we are, to everything we eat is made up of energy. Energy moving up, energy moving down, energy expanding, contracting, etc. Have we ever stopped to think about what kind of energy we are putting into our body when we think about the food that we eat? When you eat something like a steak and pour salt all over it (contracting), don't you usually get really thirsty after that? And what do you crave, maybe mashed potatoes or french fries (expanded).
Expanded and Contracting are two types of energy that in Macrobiotics are considered Yin and Yang. I don't want to get into the scientific details too much because that would be boring. I'm sure what you really want to know is how all this knowledge and balancing act saved my life five years ago. I'm here to explain briefly how a diet that consist of Whole Grains, Non-animal source of protein, Leafy Greens, Fruits and Root Vegetables, and yes a little sea vegetables can actually put your body back into Balance.
Whether you are over-weight and just can't seem to shed the pounds, or if you have a serious illness which is preventing you from living a fulfilled life, or even worse if you're life is a risk, please know that most likely it's due to what we are eating. The quality of the foods that we put in our body can actually cause our bodies to attack themselves -- All auto-immune diseases fall into this category. Sometimes cells begin to over produce rapidly and can not be killed off -- Cancers are formed. And sometimes we can over-simulate our bodies with processed chemicals such as sugar and drugs where we can give our-selves heart attacks and strokes.
Food is the answer to a Great Life!
Without going into too much of the scientific of food energy, I want to provide a starting point for people. We all know changing your diet is probably the hardest thing anyone will try to do in their life-time. Avoiding sugar? I think I can probably convince more people to sell their souls to the devil. Here are my top Five suggestions in starting to make some changes in your life. I call them "Marisa's Suggestions for a Road to a Better Life"
#1 -- AVOID ALL SUGARS! This does not necessarily include natural sweets such as fruits, honey, and pure maple syrups. And who say anything about avoiding desserts. Eat away! In fact, most Americans don't even realize how their taste buds have been tainted so much with poor chemical sugars that we can no longer taste the natural sweetness of desserts. For more info and recipes I can be contacted at a later date. ;) Basically you're torturing yourself by doing this because sugar is not a natural product. It is "man-made." Sugar canes are cut down, grated and heated at a very high temperature which causes it to crystallize. Our bodies do not have the capability of breaking down this material therefore we store it as fat. The reason we crave so much sugar is because it's a glucose. We all need glucose in our bodies to give us fuel. However, this fuel is a very poor quality. We eat that snickers bar and an hour later we're crashing on the floor. We need to eat substances with a complex carbohydrate that will provide with a complex glucose molecule that will be used slowly and not burned off quickly. You might also have heard of this refereed to as an "empty-calorie".
#2 -- EAT ORGANIC - HORMONE FREE FOODS. Yes it's true that many people who are macrobiotic do not eat animal meat. The reason is because it's extremely hard to digest in our bodies and can cause acid in the blood. However, some people (and this is very individual) need more protein in their daily lives. Us who are very active is not going to get what we need from a salad. Fish is an excellent source of protein for the body. Other forms of protein are soy, beans, and even sea vegetables. I know how difficult it is to cut out meal completely. My suggestion is to cut-back meat and replace it with a more variety group of protein. And most importantly, when you do eat meat, it must be FREE-RANGED, AND GRASS FEED.
#3 -- EAT A VARIETY OF FOODS. Especially for those out there who are not trying to recover from severe illness and are just trying to make it through the day. Maybe you live in Manhattan like I do and we all know how much stress we are surrounded by. We are just looking for ways to feel better. The best thing you can do is eat something different every day. Always try to eat a whole grain every day. Bread is NOT a whole grain. Brown Rice, Millet, Quinoa, Barley, Oats. Bread and pasta are processed grains. Okay on occasion but not going to cut it for 7 days a week. Always try to eat a Vegetable with your meal and this means a green leafy vegetable and maybe something that's round or root. Be adventurous try new recipes. Home cooked meals are the best way to go. If you always eat something different every day and try to eat as much vegetables as you can you will always be fill of proper nutrients and energy.
#4 -- AVOID DAIRY -- 95% of people in this world do not possess the enzyme necessary to break down casin (which is found in dairy). It's stored in our bodies as fat and causes acidity in the blood. Just avoid it as much as possible, you might find out you don't even miss it.
#5 -- DIET IS NOT ENOUGH -- People, especially those who reside in large cities, are just so incredibly busy today. Working a corporate 9-5 job, or an artist trying to get a big hit, or single parents trying to raise children. We can get so wrapped up in the daily grind that we never stop to think about ourselves. When was the last time you asked your body "how are you feeling today? tense or relax?" I'm going to guess the answer is tense and stressed. We can't avoid stress in our life but we can learn how to handle it. Take time for yourself everyday! Read a book, take a bath, do some yoga, meditate and put your mind at peace. It's so important to constantly bring your body back to balance physically. As important as food choices are they can't solve everything when you can't even sit down peacefully and breath. There needs to be a balance between work and play. Who says you can't have fun when you get older...listen to your body.
Thanks for reading today and hopefully letting me inspire you. You can do it!
Ask me more about my experiences and guidance by emailing me at MACROMARINELLI@GMAIL.COM.
Have a peaceful day!