Macrobiotics Cooking with Linda Wemhoff:

Tip 2B: when cutting your vegetables, guide the knife against the knuckles of the opposite hand, imagining you are holding a golf ball in that opposite hand.

Macrobiotic diet instructors
Macrobiotic diet basics
      pg.1 Home - Introduction
      pg.2 Seven Components
      pg.3 Food Categories
      pg.4 Expansive/Contractive
      pg.5 The Five Elements
      pg.6 Acid and Alkaline
      pg.7 Menu planning
      pg.8 A few reminders
      pg.9 Unique foods
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Macrobiotic diet basics,
Page 6 of 9

The Theory of Acid and Alkaline

Research shows that people who are sick usually have an acidic blood condition. This can lead us to believe that the delicate balance of the acidity or alkalinity of our blood plays a critical role in our health and vitality. Blood is rarely too alkaline because the modern diet focuses on acid-forming proteins and most bodily functions create acid in the body. 

We naturally balance this acidity/alkalinity in the body by breathing.  The breath removes acids from the body before they can build up and cause pain, inflammation or dis-ease.  However, if we're not exercising and breathing deeply on a regular basis, and if we eat an overly-acidic diet, the acids build up and the body tries to balance on its own or the body creates a dis-ease.

The answer is in understanding which foods have an acidic effect and which foods have an alkaline effect and balancing them from the get-go.

The following chart by Herman Aihara  categorizes foods in both Acid/Alkaline and Yin/Yang categories.  This is a shortened version of the list and it is not to scale.  Some of these foods are not recommended in a daily diet but they are listed for demonstration purposes.

Yin Acid
most chemicals and drugs

nuts and nut butters
cooking oils

Yin Alkaline
tropical fruits
temperate fruits
leafy vegetables
round vegetables
________Dairy Products________
Yang Acid


Yang Alkaline
root vegetables
sea vegetables


As you can see, the foods we eat in a whole foods diet are found in each of these categories. The important piece is to know how to balance each food category, ie. acid grains and proteins are balanced with alkaline vegetables, sea vegetables, and 'salt' condiments.

A problem with the Standard American diet, is there isn't an understanding of this balancing. If there is balancing, it's usually balancing with extremes, ie. too much red meat with too much wine, or too many sugary pastries with too much coffee, or too much coffee with too many eggs.  Each of these extreme foods can have negative effects in the body, physically or emotionally.

So, we maintain the balance in our diets by:
1)  accenting either a grain or a protein at a meal with a lot of vegetables;
2)  chewing well - saliva is very alkaline-forming so chewing every bite 20-40 times is ideal;
3)  breathing deeply throughout the day;
4)  exercising regularly to actively move the acids out of the body.
5)  not eating a lot of dairy products.  Although dairy products are both alkaline (calcium) and acidic (protein), when eaten in excess, they tend to cause stagnation in the body.
Sweet dairy products like ice cream can possibly stagnate in the breasts and salty dairy products can possibly stagnate in the reproductive organs.

Now, putting it all together....

Next: How to Organize a Menu Plan and Cooking Tips

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