Ithaca taught me: Macrobiotics

While we browsed the stands at the Ithaca Farmers Market, we sipped apple cider slushies and picked at maple syrup cotton candy. So delicious. I looked down at Ella stuffing her face with cotton candy and she proclaimed: I'm ready to eat something healthy. Who's teaching her this stuff? I know it's not Rob because as she was saying it, he was walking up to us with a bowl of cinnamon ice cream.
I knew just where to take her. We walked back to a booth called Macro Mamas because I remember seeing the most colorful prepared vegetables and a huge line. Must be good! As Ella gazed at all the platters of food, she pointed to what she wanted: The greens in a large wooden bowl. The meal came with greens, rice, beans, and roasted cauliflower. Little did I know I had just ordered what is part a food movement called Macrobiotics.
One bite of the cauliflower and I was sold. Shortly after I got home, I did some research. This food movement is so intriguing to me. And tempting. Here's the basics:
*It's considered an approach to life, rather than a diet.
*Grains are the staple food, supplemented with local vegetables, beans, and fermented soy.
*Fish, nuts, seeds and fruits are to be eaten sparingly
*Other natural products can be included to suit individual needs

So far everything in this diet makes sense to me. But then things started to get a little overwhelming. Believers in the macrobiotics diet balance their food by using the Eastern philosophy of the yin and the yang. Yin foods are cold, sweet, and passive while yang foods are hot, salty, and aggressive (source).  Fascinating, right?

Looking back on the pictures I took from the Macro Mama booth, I was confused how these desserts play into the macrobiotic diet. Anyone know? I don't but they looks good to me. Next time I'll try them. :)
While I wouldn't want to completely convert to macrobiotic eating, I would love to learn a few good recipes. Just as I would love to learn a few Cuban, Mediterranean, or Greek recipes. I can hear it now: It's Macrobiotic Night! Yay! Oohhh! Cheers from all the kids.

I found a macrobiotic cooking class coming up on August 30 at the Natural Gourmet School. For a few hours, students learn the basics and a few recipes. Anyone want to go? I do!


  1. I looove Ithaca! And I love Macro Mama! I'm so glad you went. That food is yummy. How can cauliflower taste so good?

  2. this is so interesting to me as well. i always thought a macrobiotic diet meant eating everything raw. i also thought it meant eating really nasty food. i have been proven wrong, obviously.

  3. My mom went through a macrobiotic phase when I was younger... Me and my sister remember it clearly! My mom wasn't that much of a cook, and then suddenly we were having all sort of "fancy" meals and desserts! We never had dessert before!!! There is no sugar in those desserts... And you can only eat veggies of the season, and no potatoes! All in all it was pretty good, but I can't imagine planning my meals that way today, way to much organization for me! Enjoy the class, and share some recipes with us please!!!

  4. That food looks so good! How cool that they have a class for this.

  5. Looks pretty awesome. Ithaca is beautiful--next time you go, you should check out Moosewood Restaurant.

  6. The food looks good, the movement sounds interesting, but the name??? Sounds like something a transformer would eat.

  7. Everything looks delicious, especially the dessert. Is that carrot cake? Carrot cake is my weakness.


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