A Month-to-Month Guide to Macrobiotic Eating

by Sammy Caiola

Native Foods Cafe


It has always been my
belief that the earth is not merely a surface upon which human life occurs, but
an ever-changing source of sustenance with which human life interacts. It is
this philosophy (in a much lengthier, more spiritual form) that governs the macrobiotic
way of life- a commitment to the yin and yang of food as taught by Japanese
scholar Michio Kushi.

Followers of
macrobiotics are encouraged to eat only what occurs naturally in their
surroundings- which usually means a lot of whole grains, vegetables, beans,
herbs and spices- and to balance those foods according to their temperaments
(spicy/plain, hot/cold, dark/light). The right combinations, macros say, will
restore a sense of natural peace and healthfulness to the body. It warns
strongly against all forms of processed foods, which are too saturated with
chemicals and flavors to fit into the harmonious balance, and even frowns upon
nightshade vegetables like tomatoes and peppers, which they deem disruptively


The macro food
pyramid. Native Foods Cafe uses this image courtesy of halemacro.com

The diet does not
stray far from veganism- with its focus on plants, its rejection of dairy and
its general consciousness about food sourcing. The difference is that
macrobiotics is definitively a way of life. There is philosophy surrounding all
aspects of a macro’s life, like how to chew (slowly and pensively), what to
wear (soft cotton whenever possible), how to cook (without microwaves and
Teflon pans) and other tips for leading a “long life” (macro + bios in Greek)
as one with your environment.

We at Native know
that cooking the macrobiotic way requires a spiritual connection to food, and
close attention to season, climate, and local accessibility of ingredients.
Here’s our quick macro cheat-sheet on what to eat when trying to keep nature’s
pace. The teachings divide the year into five natural elements, so we’ll start
with that.


Fire: mid-June through mid-August

The “high summer”
months are characterized by the sun’s radiance and the earth’s abundant energy.
People are encouraged to eat “fire foods” with reddish hues and bitter flavors,
which will increase the vibrancy of summer living.

June: Eat lots of asparagus, which just came
into season, and embrace beets and collard greens as well. Be on the lookout
for Kohlrabi and catch peas before they go out of style.

Macro2Native Foods Café uses this image courtesy of Reneesgarden.com

For fruits go with
juicy red cherries and strawberries. All summer, grains should include corn,
maize and quinoa.

Native Foods Café
uses this image courtesy

July: The season gets a little sweeter as
apples, nectarines and peaches take their place at the table.

Macro4Native Foods Café uses this image courtesy of worldcommunitycookbook.org

Broccoli, onions
and artichokes are in full bloom, and okra is just about ready to jump onto
your plate. Take full advantage of this prosperous month


Macro5Native Foods Café
uses this image courtesy of onegreenspan.com

August: Shallots and parsnips can enhance your late-summer suppers, and
lima beans come into play as a source of protein.

Macro6Native Foods Café uses this image courtesy of natures-health-foods.com

Pick up plums and melons
while you can!


Native Foods Café
uses this image courtesy of foodsubs.com

Earth: mid-August to

The “early fall”
period is the time when the world is most balanced, as it is a pause between
summer and winter. Notice the shift from juicier foods to more solid ones, and
a yellow color as well as a sweet flavor.

August/September: Take advantage of squash, sweet corn, string beans and
collard greens during this hearty season.

Macro8Native Foods Café uses this image courtesy of dailyfitnessmagz.com 

Check the fruit bins for figs, grapes
and tangerines, and bulk up on protein before the winter with almonds, pecans
and walnuts.


Native Foods Café
uses this image courtesy of whatscookingamerica.net

Metal: mid-September
through mid-December

There is a sense of
contracting in autumn as everything moves toward the earth. Leaves are falling,
the last fruits are ripening, and everyone is preparing for the long stillness
of winter. The “metal” color is white, and the flavor is spicy or volatile.

October: Your local veggie variety may be limited because summer crops are
going out of season and fall ones aren’t quite in yet.

Macro10Native Foods Café uses this images courtesy of myrecipes.com


But you should still
have access to good mushrooms, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. And who
couldn’t live off that?

Native Foods Café
uses this images courtesy of

November: Winter squash and carrots will be at their best right now, which
means tons of soft, hearty comfort food in the cold of winter.

Macro12Native Foods Café uses this image courtesy of foodnetwork.com


Also be sure to
stock your spice cabinet with fall’s bounty of fennel, thyme and rosemary
before the cold sets in.

Native Foods Café
uses this image courtesy of savoryspiceshop.com

December: Leeks, radishes, turnips and watercress abound in the white of

220px-Turnip_2622027Native Foods Café uses this image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Also snuggle up with winter sweets like raisins, apples and cinnamon.

Native Foods Café uses this image courtesy of Wikipedia.


Water: mid-December
to mid-March

It’s winter and
everyone is dormant, harvesting energy for the vibrancy of spring. The water
color is black, and the flavor is salty.

January: It’s a good time for earthy grains like buckwheat and barley, and
sea vegetables like kelp, nori and arame.

Macro17Native Foods Café uses this image courtesy ripeorganics.com

Go for salty condiments like miso and
pickles, and keep eating winter nuts.

Native Foods Café
uses this image courtesy of glutenfreeda.com.


February/March: This may be one of the few times of year that macro folks
eat spinach and tomatoes, purely for the fact that they are among the few
vegetables still in season.

Macro19Native Foods Café uses this image courtesy of glutenfreecat.com.

If that’s not sitting right with your zen, stick to
carrots and other winter veggies and get your whole grain on while you hold out
for spring.

Native Foods Café
uses this image courtesy of simplyrecipes.com

Wood: mid-March to


After months of
hibernation, we can finally emerge from our caves and greet the soft light of
spring. Enjoy the blossoming flowers and the embrace the “wood” color, which is


April: Oats and rye will enhance the wood element and keep you cozy
during spring showers.

Macro20Native Foods Café uses this image courtesy of chinesefood.about.com

Bok choy, sweet onions and snap peas will spice up your
spring stir-fries.

Native Foods Café
uses this image courtesy of sunset.com

May: Scallions and nettles are in season, and asparagus is back! But
what’s really exciting is that fruits are finally in season. Stock up on
avocado, limes, lemon and grapefruit and make some kickin’ summer salads.

Native Foods Café
uses this image courtesy of 


Native foods Cafe, vegan, vegan food, vegan restaurant, macrobiotic diet

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