Paleo Diet 'Meats' Macrobiotic Principles

The Paleo Diet ~ a term coined after the first edition of The Paleo Diet, written by Loren Cordain, PhD, was published ~ is a diet based on what our Hunter-Gatherer paleolithic ancestors would have eaten prior to the Agricultural Revolution.  According to Cordain, and others, human health began to decline with the advent of agriculture, and the consumption of whole grains and beans.

As mentioned here, whole grains and beans contain lectins, and phytic acids which humans may not yet be evolutionarily adapted to eating.  They can inhibit the absorption of certain minerals, leading to nutritional deficiencies.  

According to the authors of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Eating Paleo,

     "In their raw form, grains and legumes are toxic, and people figured that out         very earl on. Even when they're cooked, seeds and grains contain gluten and anti nutrients, like certain lectins, phytic acid, and enzyme inhibitors, which are detrimental to our health. Anti nutrients interfere with the absorption of nutrients, and gluten can cause intestinal damage and immune problems. There's research that links lectins and gluten with autoimmune disorders, immune responses to foods, neurological disorders, skin problems, and major intestinal disease.  There are hundreds of symptoms and illnesses that may have their roots in grain and legume intolerance."

Red Bean, Kale & Squash Burrito in whole wheat tortillas ~ Whole wheat contains gluten, which some, including those w/ celiac disease, can not tolerate in their diet
Brown Rice Congee w/ Bok Choy ~ Most people eating macrobiotically choose meals centered around whole grains & vegetables, while those advocating a Paleo diet believe grains & beans contain 'anti-nutrients' and should be avoided.

Macrobiotic diets typically center around meals of whole grains and vegetables, however it is the principles of macrobiotics and Chinese medicine that we apply when coaching how to choose the best foods for each individual based on their unique needs.

A macrobiotic diet is not a vegan diet, nor does it have to be a grain-based diet if whole grains and beans are not the best staple food choices.

The ancestral diet for those of European descent, including many other cultures included fish or animal flesh foods, fruits, roots, fungi, nuts, greens, vegetables, sea vegetables and various underground tubers.

Macrobiotic principles provide a guidance system for choosing the best foods to eat, rather than following a one-size-fits-all approach.

Applying the principles of balance from macrobiotics to the principle food choices of an ancestral, or paleo diet will help you best determine the optimal diet for your particular needs.

How people craft their paleo diet can be quite varied.  Some focus heavily on animal proteins and/or fats, while others consume ample fresh fruits and vegetables.  

The macrobiotic principles can help demystify among the many varied approaches  to best customize your particular dietary choices.  You can choose more yin or yang foods and cooking techniques to best restore balance based on your constitution, current condition, and energetic needs.

Macrobiotic diets differ from paleo diets in many ways, primarily in the most widely accepted principal or staple foods.  However, I would argue that the principal foods of any person's diet need to be those which best support that person's health.  

Just because most people identify whole grains as the principal foods doesn't mean everyone needs to include whole grains as their primary staples.  If they don't support your health, then in my view, they aren't 'macrobiotic.'  

By the same token, there are many who tolerate some whole grain consumption, as seen in the Nordic diet, which includes rye bread and oatmeal as two of their primary staple foods.  

Understanding the difference between whole versus refined grains, and the effects of different preparation techniques is key.  Refined grains are whole grains that have been milled ~ stripping away the germ and the bran, the parts of the grain, or seed, with the bulk of the nutrients ~ to increase shelf stability.  Refined grains are among the list of those foods best avoided.

Traditional preparation methods can improve your ability to get the full nutrition of the whole grain.  For example, according to the blog post, Top Ten Reasons to Eat Sourdough Bread, found on Cookus-Interuptus, traditionally fermented sourdough breads contain higher amounts of lactobacillus, the healthy form of bacteria that resides in the gut.  Higher amounts of lactobacillus leads to greater production of lactic acid.  This diminishes the effect of phytic acids, and therefore increases the availability of key minerals in the grain, including magnesium, zinc, and Vitamin K.  

Soaked and sprouted grains have also been tested to have higher nutrient availability compared to grains cooked without soaking or sprouting. 

Greens w/ Orange & Yellow Carrots, Onions & Hijiki ~ a mineral-rich sea vegetable.

Advocates of both Paleo and macrobiotic diets recommend lots of fresh land and sea vegetables, as they are very alkalizing, and rich in vitamins and important phytonutrients.  

The TYTN Low-Carb Lifestyle is also very produce-rich, and includes plenty of fresh and dried fruit ~ something that differentiates us from several in the paleo and macrobiotic communities.

The term macrobiotic translates to mean 'great' or 'long' life.  Having a set of principles for determining which foods to eat can help you to better tune in and trust your true nature.  

We believe the concept that the paleo diet puts forth arguing that human health will better thrive when primarily consuming the foods of our more distant ancestors.  However, the macrobiotic approach provides the ideal guidance system for choosing how to customize your diet to best suit your personal needs.

Homemade Bone Broth, Grilled Lean Center Cut Pork w/ Apricot Raisin Sauce, Variety of Tubers ~ The high potassium, low protein of fruits & tubers are more yin, and a great supplementary food to the more yang animal foods, which are higher in sodium and protein.

While a paleo diet may have differences than a typical macrobiotic diet, there is also much they have in common, including the following:

  • Both a typical macrobiotic diet, or paleo diet emphasize lots of vegetables, and some fruits, nuts, and seeds.

  • Both recommend the use of sea vegetables.

  • Both recommend the use of naturally fermented vegetables and foods.

  • Advocates of both the paleo diet and macrobiotic diet emphasize quality foods. When possible, choose grass-fed/finished, and pastured animal foods, or locally produced foods, including fruits and vegetables.  However, it is our opinion that over emphasizing that point could make people who can not budget those foods give up before even getting started, or create a belief that they will suffer from ill health eating these 'lesser quality' foods.

  • Choosing regional foods, and locally produced foods, or foods from a similar, nearby bio climate is an important aspect of macrobiotic diets, but not as emphasized among paleo dieters.  

  • Both the macrobiotic and paleo diet advocates are helping people to become more conscious of their food choices.  When you learn to make every bite, and every sip count, choosing foods and beverages that support your health, you will reap the rewards of better health.

  • Both the macrobiotic and paleo diet also recommend a regular consumption of soups ~ 
Home made Bone Broth ~ bones cooked w/ lemon (or vinegar), a piece of citrus peel, and the discarded parts of vegetables + optional seasonings like bay leaf, turmeric, fenugreek, or thyme
Bone broth with Roasted Chx, Sautéed Onions, and a small amount of Red Miso Paste.

Eating foods ~ especially the more perishable fruits and vegetables ~ as locally produced as possible will better support your immune system as well.  These foods will develop traits that help them thrive in your same climate, which you can assimilate from eating these foods.

When you eat a healthy diet ~ an ancestral, or paleo diet ~ by applying macrobiotic principles, you can experience any or all of the following, and more:

  • Improved immunity 
  • Better moods
  • Clearer skin
  • Healthier digestion and elimination
  • Better focus
  • Increased energy
  • Better fitness results
  • Less pain and stiffness

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