Iggy Pop's Diet

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Once a hard-living 1970s punk star who used plenty of drugs, Iggy Pop now reportedly adheres to a strict macrobiotic diet, says "Boston Globe" writer James Reed. While different people follow different variations of the diet, most macrobiotic eating plans emphasize plant-based foods with few, if any, exceptions for animal products. While a macrobiotic diet appears to have helped Pop stay healthy over the long term, it may not be the right plan for everyone. Ask your doctor about the possible advantages and disadvantages before attempting the diet.

Basic Guidelines

On a macrobiotic diet, approximately 50 percent to 60 percent of your food will consist of organically grown whole grains such as brown rice, oats, barley or buckwheat. Local, organic fruits and vegetables will make up another 20 percent to 25 percent, while between 5 percent and 10 percent will be broth-based soups containing vegetables, including sea vegetables, miso, grains, beans and soy products like tofu. Some macrobiotic diet proponents also consume seafood up to a few times a week, but strict practitioners such as Pop usually exclude all red meat, refined grains, sugar, dairy, eggs, poultry and processed foods.

Sample Daily Menu

As outlined by "U.S. News & World Report," a typical macrobiotic menu supplying approximately 2,126 calories per day might begin with a breakfast of oatmeal, whole-wheat toast spread with natural apple butter and a cup of Japanese green tea. Lunch could be a salad topped with a tofu dressing, sushi made with fresh cucumber, tempeh and sauerkraut and more tea. Miso soup, cooked brown rice with a fillet of baked white fish, if desired, and boiled vegetables might serve as dinner, followed by a naturally sweetened, sugar-free cake and grain-based coffee for dessert.

Possible Advantages

Despite his age and years of drug abuse, Pop remains thin and appears to be in good physical health. Whether or not this is at least partly due to his adherence to a macrobiotic diet is unclear, but research indicates that eliminating refined grains, added sugars, animal fat and red meat from your meals, as the plan advises, may help you lose weight and lower your risk of a wide variety of medical problems, including cancer, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. Most Americans consume too much sodium and fat and too little fiber and potassium. Following a macrobiotic diet could rectify these nutrient imbalances.

Potential Disadvantages

A macrobiotic diet like Pop's is not easy to follow. The food can be expensive and time-consuming to prepare, and the many restricted items may make it difficult for dieters to stick with the plan over the long term once they've begun. Without adequate animal-based foods or fortified products, you may be more likely to become deficient in essential nutrients like vitamin B-12 and vitamin D. Exercises like yoga or martial arts are recommended -- Pop practices qigong, which is similar to tai chi -- but followers may want a more varied exercise program.