In our previous books, Essential Macrobiotics, by Don Matesz, and my book, The Macrobiotic Action Plan, we recommended for people to keep animal food consumption to no more than 10-15% of their total calories for the best health results.
Our personal experience, and more current research caused us to make changes to our diet. About 30% of my total calories now comes from animal proteins, and usually only about 15% of my total calories comes from carbohydrates in the form of vegetables, some fruits, nuts, and a little whole-fat dairy. That may change over time, as I am continuing to do my best to apply the third principle of eating a healthy diet (also outlined in our Trust Your True Nature Diet Plan) ~ to eat more intuitively, and trust my true nature!
I have updated our nutritional recommendations throughout this website, on my LivingYourTrueNature blog, and in The Trust Your True Nature Diet Plan e-book. Don also has several informative articles about the health benefits of eating a higher protein and fat diet on his website.
Each person will need to discover what works best, based on their current condition, general constitution, geographic location, and ancestral heritage.
Generally speaking, we no longer advocate a whole-grain & bean, or carb-heavy diet as grains and beans contain components that can block absorption of important minerals, including zinc and others, and can cause difficult to detect gastro-intestinal issues which can lead to leaky gut syndrome. Plus, excess consumption of carbohydrate-rich foods, all of which break down into sugar in the body, has actually been shown more affirmatively to be the culprit of insulin-resistant obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, whereas meats and saturated fats have not, contrary to popular belief.
That being said, whole grains are a better choice than refined grains which are higher glycemic, causing a greater spike and subsequent dip to your blood sugar.
For those who do not tolerate grains, or gluten, or who are in the earlier stages of weight loss, and a lower-carbohydrate diet, other vegetables can be used in lieu of the barley. Less starchy vegetables like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, or red bell pepper will also make a delicious and hearty Beef Vegetable Soup, especially good for those trying to lose weight.
Starchier vegetables can be used instead of the barley as well. Try the soup with rutabaga, turnip, or a little sweet potato, pumpkin, spaghetti squash, or other winter squashes for a hearty one-pot fall or winter meal.
Going without any animal foods for any length of time (as we did for over five years) has been shown in some studies to result in certain nutrient deficiencies (which we definitely had.)
Zinc is one such mineral and antioxidant, which is important for immunity, wound healing, healthy skin, and libido that is more bioavailable from animal foods than plant foods. B 12 is also a very important vitamin to supplement if not including animal foods in the diet.
Deficiency of B 12 can lead to anemia, and long-term deficiency can cause fatigue, lightheadedness, palpitations or shortness of breath, depression, nerve problems, pale skin, and memory or vision loss.
All of these symptoms are similar to those of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis of blood deficiency. You can read more here.