Macrobiotics (from the Greek macro ‘great’ + bios ‘life’) is a dietetic medicine-philosophy founded in the 1920s by a Japanese educator named George Ohsawa. It is a way of eating (but also a way of life), through which – it is said – man can find happiness and peace and live a long life on the earth.
Macrobiotics is based on the Chinese concept of yin and yang. According to the Chinese philosophy, all aspects of life, therefore even man’s metabolism, are governed by the opposing but complementary forces of yin and yang. Yin – representative of an outward centrifugal movement – results in expansion, while yang – representative of an inward centripetal movement – produces contraction. Yin is cold, while yang is hot; yin is sweet, yang is salty; yin is passive, yang is aggressive. According to macrobiotics, the forces of yin and yang must be kept in balance in order to achieve good health and happiness. The macrobiotics diet, therefore, attempts to achieve harmony between yin and yang. Now let me explain to you why our health and happiness – according to macrobiotics teachers – depend on the macrobiotic diet. Foods also are governed by yin and yang, and some foods tend to make us contractive and aggressive (yang), while other foods tend to relax us. And since the modern diets have produced in man an imbalance between yin and yang, and this imbalance has had harmful effects on man for it has produced many nervous and mental diseases which make man unhappy, it is necessary for man to restore a balance between yin and yang so that he might become healthful and happy. Macrobiotics experts, therefore, affirm that health and happiness depend on an harmonious balance between yin and yang. So foods are classified into yin and yang categories, according to their tastes, properties, and effects on the body. As a result, some foods are recommended while some others are forbidden. For instance, brown rice, barley, millet, oats, corn, rye, whole wheat, buckwheat, fresh vegetables, beans and sea vegetables, are highly recommended; while flesh and dairy foods, vegetables or fruits out of season, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants (aubergines), imported foods from a long distance, foods produced using pesticides and chemical fertilizers, are all forbidden and must be avoided. Furthermore, macrobiotics principles also govern food preparation and the manner in which food is eaten. Recommendation in this area include: avoid using a microwave oven to prepare food; cook rice in a pressure cooker; eat only when hungry; chew food completely, and so on.
To begin with, let me say that the Chinese concept of yin and yang is not scriptural. The Scripture affirms that the devil (or Satan) is the prince of this world, that is to say, he who rules and oppresses this world. The devil does this through the principalities, the powers and the rulers of the darkness of this age, and the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places, which are all evil spiritual beings. Men are unhappy because they are under the power of Satan, because they serve this evil being doing what displeases the Lord. In other words, men are unhappy because they are slaves of sin, which is a work of the devil, which repays them with death (cf. 1 John 3:8; Romans 6:23). Their unhappiness, therefore, is not due to the modern food or nourishment, but on something else, that is, to their rebellion against God. To confirm this, I want to point out that in the days of Paul, even though there were not these modern foods we eat today which are produced using pesticides and chemical fertilizers and are treated and preserved using chemical products, men were unhappy and corrupt just as they are today, for they served sin rather than God. But let me speak also of Adam and Eve, who lived on the earth about four thousand years before the apostle Paul. Now no one can affirm that in the days of Adam and Eve there were adulterated foods, for all foods were wholesome. There were no pesticides or chemical fertilizers or chemical preservatives, and Adam and Eve fed only on vegetables and fruits (man did not yet fed on meat at that time). Yet, after they disobeyed God, they began to live an unhappy life and to live in fear. This confirms that the reason why man is unhappy is that he rebels against God, he serves sin! Therefore, even if a man’s nourishment were the most wholesome, if he is slave of sin, he is unhappy, miserable, blind and naked. Let us look at the condition of those men who are without God and feed on unadulterated foods only. They are unhappy, and it could not be otherwise, for as I said before, man is unhappy because he breaks God’s commandments and not because of certain foods he feeds on. Therefore, what man must do is not to achieve harmony between yin and yang (in order to restore a balance between body and spirit), but to achieve that harmony which existed between man and God before the fall of man. In other words, man must be reconciled to God, who created all things. Therefore, we say to men, ‘Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 – NKJV). How can a man be reconciled to God? There is only one way, that is, by repenting of his sins and believing in the Son of God. Then will he become another person, for he will become a kind, quiet, and happy person, for he will be born again, in that the Holy Spirit will come into his heart and will transform him.
While the experts on macrobiotics affirm, ‘Would you like to become like the vegetable you are examining?’ and say that by eating certain vegetables one acquires the character of those vegetables (which is a nonsense), we who preach Christ say to all men, ‘Do you want to become like Christ, that is, do you want to be conformed to the image of the Son of God, and thus to be meek, peaceable, full of love, etc.?’ Eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God, for He Himself said: “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him” (John 6:56 – NKJV). Know this, that the flesh of Jesus is food indeed, and His blood is drink indeed. If you feed on them you will become happy, peaceable, and you will have eternal life, the great and true life, an abundant life which will last forever, even after death. However, you must understand that the words of Jesus are spirit and life, and they refer to the faith in Him and to the observance of His commandments (cf. John 6:40, 54, 56; 15:4,5; 1 John 3:24). That’s the Way which leads to Life: Christ Jesus. All other ways, including macrobiotics, which claim they lead men to life are false ways and thus are vanities.
Someone will say to me, ‘Are you not in favour of a wholesome nourishment then?’ Yes, we are in favour of a wholesome nourishment, that is to say, we prefer unadulterated foods to those foods which are produced using pesticides or chemical fertilizers or somehow adulterated by man, and we rejoice in the Lord whenever the Lord gives them to us to eat. However, if these kinds of foods are missing we eat the food which is sold in the shop, giving thanks to God for providing it for us. Our happiness does not depend on the food, but on the observance of the commandments of God, as it is written: “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:28 – NKJV), and among the commandments of God there is no commandment which forbids us to eat certain foods, for the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking (cf. Romans 14:17). The only things we are not allowed to eat for our good, for this is what the Holy Spirit has commanded us, are these: things polluted by idols, strangled things and blood (cf. Acts 15:19, 20, 28, 29). But as for all the other foods, we are allowed to eat them all – of course in moderation (or else we will suffer) for God wants us to be self-controlled (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:12) – giving thanks to God through Christ Jesus. Therefore the macrobiotic commandment which forbids people to eat tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants (aubergines), meat and those foods which are produced using pesticides and chemical fertilizers is a precept which makes the Word of God of no effect, and thus it must be rejected (cf. 1 Timothy 4:1-3). Neither does our health depend on what we eat (I mean it is not by abstaining from certain foods that we will enjoy good health), but on the observance of the commandments of God, for Wisdom, after telling us to be good and truthful, to trust in God with all our heart, and to depart from evil, affirms: “It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones” (Proverbs 3:8 – NKJV). Of course, among the evil things we must depart from is also the immoderate use of food.
Brothers, I conclude by telling you these things: you are free in Christ to eat all things. You are no longer subject to precepts concerning foods, such as ‘Do not eat this food for it has harmful effects on the spirit or the body,’ for these commandments are part of those basic principles of the world from which you have been delivered through the blood of Christ. Your heart is strengthened by the grace of God, “not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them” (Hebrews 13:9 – NKJV). Beloved, give thanks to God for He has set you free.