Are you allowed to eat fish? That’s a question I’m asked all the time. I confess – I am a sushi counter groupie. I love sitting in front of the chefs, watching them create those delicate morsels topped by fresh fish, morsels with explode with flavour in your mouth. Best of all, they are healthy – what’s healthier than raw fish, right?
Ok, I admit it – raw fish is – indeed totally raw anything – should be the exception rather than the rule on a macrobiotic diet. Notice I did not use the word ‘banned’ here.
The beauty of a macrobiotic diet is its flexibility. Forbidding any food means that the practitioner has not really understood the tenets of the diet.
Rather, we speak of balance. If one eats extreme yang – which is raw fish – there should be a balancing out with similarly yin food. It does bear mentioning that eating at the extremes, even if you are balancing out, is not recommended if you are on a healing diet. As a general rule, macrobiotics recommends eating more at the centre of the food spectrum, with food that are in and of themselves balanced. They should not need any fancy balancing gymnastics so that you feel that you are ‘centred’. But hey, we’re all grown-ups (some of us more than others!) and what we need to know is that if we take a decision to eat at the ends of the yin-yang spectrum, there will be consequences. The question to ask is: are you ready for this?
So, I eat sushi only rarely, compared to all the other meals I eat, which are macrobiotic. When I have sushi and sashimi, I make sure I don’t eat a whole lot of it. I ask the chef to give me less rice. I bring my own shoyu. I ask for white fish and avoid shellfish. And before the meal, I make sure I have eaten well, and strictly. This is so my diet is only flavored, in the grand scheme of things, with touches of sushi and sashimi.
Am I being precious about the whole thing? Maybe. But I prefer to relax with macrobiotics, rather than continually policing myself. After all, joy and an appreciation of life and nature’s bounty is an instrinsic part of the diet. And if you are miserably denying yourself just to be macrobiotic, is it really worth it?