Macrobiotics is a philosophy embracing the idea that living one’s life within the natural order will ultimately lead to good health, happiness, and an enhanced appreciation for the constantly changing nature of all things. It is based on the ancient Chinese principles of yin and yang, which represent opposite yet complementary forces believed to exist in all aspects of life and the universe. Things that are yin are flexible, fluid, and cool; things that are yang are strong, dynamic, and hot. According to macrobiotic theory, illness is the result of an imbalance in these two forces. Therefore, macrobiotic practitioners attempt to treat ailments by bringing yin and yang back into balance through diet and lifestyle changes.
Strictly defined, fasting is abstinence from all food and drink (except water) for a limited period of time to maintain or improve health, or treat a specific illness. Juice fasting, a popular variation, is abstinence from all food and drink except water, vegetable juices, and fruit juices. A modified fast includes small amounts of solid food, usually raw fruits as well as raw and steamed vegetables. Some advocates of fasting include other modifications as well, such as vegetable broth, herbal teas, and nutritional supplements. Most of the research into the therapeutic value of fasting has explored the water-only method.