Revolutionary Resolutions Day 4

Posted on by Denny Waxman

Welcome back to my series on the 7 Steps to a Great Life. Check my previous posts for other ideas for resolutions for a revolutionary 2012.

4. Make your daily life active.

This isn’t about what you think it’s about. I am not suggesting that you subject yourself to a purgatory of Stair Masters and step classes. Everyone thinks they need “exercise” but what we really need is to move our bodies, to challenge ourselves physically and mentally, and to play.

Rather than “exercise,” I recommend that you try to do life-related activities. Walk to the post office, or park in the back of the lot and carry your groceries farther. Squeeze in a quick walk in the morning, or on your lunch break, or after dinner. 30 minutes of walking outside a day, rain or shine, is best to balance both your body and your mind. Try a yoga class, or go for a bike ride. Remember, physical activity should be enjoyable!

What do you do to move your body?

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Revolutionary Resolutions Day 3

Posted on by Denny Waxman

See my previous posts for more ideas for revolutionary New Year’s resolutions. Today we’re going to talk about the format of the meals.

3. Eat two or three complete and nutritionally balanced meals every day.

Repeat after me: a meal is not complete unless it includes a grain and a separately cooked vegetable dish.

Grain and vegetables together form the basis of balanced nutrition. If you center your meals around whole grains and a variety of cracked grains (think brown rice, millet, whole grain pasta, barley, couscous, etc) supplemented by a separately cooked vegetable dish, you will be getting the most complete nutrition and you will feel more satisfied after your meal.

Notice that I said a separately cooked vegetable dish. This means that a grain dish that includes vegetables (such as vegetable fried rice or a pasta dish with lots of vegetables) does not count. Think steamed greens, squash, pressed salad, blanched vegetables, etc for your separately cooked vegetable dish.

Here are some examples of nutritionally complete and balanced meals:
Brown rice with chickpeas, steamed kale
Oatmeal with maple syrup, blanched watercress
Pasta with vegetables, pressed or raw salad
Couscous with vegetables, blanched salad with carrots, radishes and napa cabbage

Read The Great Life Diet for more information about the format of meals.

What are some of your favorite balanced meals?

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Revolutionary Resolutions Day 2

Posted on by Denny Waxman

Good morning, and welcome to the second post in my series on revolutionary resolutions for 2012. Each day I’ll be focusing on one of my 7 Steps to a Great Life, which make perfect 2012 New Year’s resolutions.

2. Keep your mealtimes regular.

If you’re like most Americans, your mealtimes are probably not regular. You might eat lunch at 3 and dinner at 10 one day, and then each lunch at 11 and dinner at 6 the next. Maybe you sometimes skip lunch. It’s really important to have regular mealtimes. All of your physical and mental cycles follow the sun’s movement, so if you want regular bowel movements, regular menstrual cycles, balanced emotions, regular blood sugar levels and a better metabolism, I suggest that you try to keep your mealtimes as regular as possible. If you notice that you crave lots of sweets or baked goods or that you are fatigued in the afternoon, your blood sugar levels might be off. Eating regular meals will help immensely.

If it’s too much for you to regulate all of your mealtimes, make lunch your focus. Start your lunch between 11 am and 1 pm every day for a week and see how you feel. Once you have lunch regulated, then try eating breakfast or dinner around the same time every day. For more information about this, read my book, The Great Life Diet, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @dennywaxman

Join me tomorrow for Step 3!

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Revolutionary Resolutions

Posted on by Denny Waxman

Thank you for joining me this week as I discuss each of my 7 Steps to a Great Life. If you have one resolution for 2012, make it one of my 7 Steps. Don’t feel pressured to implement all 7 Steps at the same time (unless you are experiencing serious health problems, at which point you should seek the guidance of an experienced macrobiotic counselor). Just pick one or two to begin, and take it from there. You are bound to experience better health and live a “great life” by adopting one or a few of the 7 Steps! For more in-depth information about each of the 7 Steps, read “The Great Life Diet.”

1. Take time for your meals every day.

This means that you sit down to eat without doing other things. If you eat while driving or watching TV, this takes the value out of your meal. Suppose you are having your teeth cleaned. If the dentist is texting or watching TV during your appointment, would you feel like you were getting the value out of your appointment? Uh, probably not. If anything, you would go find a new dentist! The same goes for eating. You will gain the most nourishment out of your food and you will feel more satisfied with your meal if you are not distracted while you eat.

The next important aspect of Step 1 is to stop eating three hours before bed. This is especially important if you wake up feeling groggy. Why is this? It takes three hours for your food to leave your stomach. When you eat three hours before bed, you still have undigested food in your stomach. This means that your body is working hard to digest your food while you are sleeping, instead of repairing itself and discharging toxins accumulated during the day. You then wake up feeling fatigued because your body has been expending extra energy throughout the night to digest, instead of resting and repairing.

I’ll be revisiting this Step in the future to go into more detail, but join me again tomorrow as I discuss Step 2! Also, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @dennywaxman.

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Getting the Most Out of Your Sleep

Posted on by Denny Waxman

When I was reading the New York Times the other day I came across this question and I have a slightly different opinion than the printed response. We eat and drink during the day for activity. At night we utilize the foods we consumed during the day to maintain and rebuild our bodies. While we are sleeping our bodies are cleaning, maintaining and repairing themselves and gathering physical and energetic excess to be eliminated in the morning when we rise. Most people have their morning routine which usually consists of going to the bathroom, washing, brushing our teeth, doing a body rub and stretching. All of these practices help eliminate the excess we gathered during the night.

Our organs, brain and nervous system also recharge at night during sleep. Our need for sleep is determined by how efficiently our bodies can clean, repair, recharge and eliminate. The length of our sleep also determines how refreshed we feel from our sleep. We get the deepest and most refreshing sleep between midnight and 4 am. Going to sleep before midnight is important so that we can be in a deep sleep during these hours. It is hard to feel refreshed the next day when we go to sleep after midnight.

A healthy person generally needs between five and eight hours of sleep per night. Stimulants like coffee or alcohol as well as eating before sleep can increase our need for sleep. Through adjusting our daily habits, diet and activity we can get the deepest, most refreshing sleep in the shortest amount of time.

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Summertime and the living is easy

Posted on by Denny Waxman

Many thanks to the many artists who have covered “Summertime” for the inspiration behind this title. For a lot of us, living has not been easy in these past few months. Between the major Japanese earthquake and Fukushima nuclear disaster in March, ravaging tornadoes in northeast, central and southern United States, flooding of the Mississippi River, and the still uncertain economy, the spring season had its fair share of harsh moments. With the summer season almost upon us, we now have the opportunity to take a breather and enjoy a respite, but only if we know how to accurately adapt our diets and lifestyles to the seasonal change.

First, we must understand the energetic impact of this season. The energy of the year peaks in summertime. It is the most yang season, as evidenced by nature – as the energy of spring climbs upward into summer, tree and flower buds slowly grow and then explode into bloom. Our world has become luscious, green and alive overnight.

For most people, this strong, active energy necessitates in eating and living a little more yin and passively to stay in balance with the season and our environment. As always, consider your lifestyle as an individual and how it is best for you personally to adapt to this change in season, but in general:

Dishes need to be cooked less, and more light fresh dishes should be introduced into daily meals.
Enjoy all of the seasonal fresh vegetables and fruit that are commonly grown in your area.
Instead of adding oil early on in cooked dishes, add it at the end.
Avoid eating baked, fried, salty and animal food dishes.
Avoid overindulging in liquids and spices.
Be aware that summer is a sensitive time for both your heart and small intestines.
And make sure you eat at least one sea vegetable dish a week, particularly those using nori.

Overall, this is the time to let your condition get a little more expanded and flexible, but be careful about overdoing it – one easy way to keep your condition balanced in this season is to eat less, but still keep your mealtimes regular every day. “Regular meals regulate all of your body’s cycles — physical, emotional and mental. They make your energy and life more stable.” (From “The Great Life Diet”)

Imagine this season like its 9 Star Ki element – fire: Once a fire is ignited, as long as there is fuel to burn, it will keep its flame alive. Similarly, to produce and prosper in your own life, you do not have push that hard to see projects and relationships flourish this summer. Lay back and relax – allow the energy of the season to work for you.

Summer gives us the opportunity to develop the more peripheral yin aspects of our personalities. It’s also the easiest time to be supported personally by the energy of our environment and nature, so dream big and bring ideas into fruition. Maximize this opportunity by living simply and structured. “Order and structure are what give us vitality, adaptability and creativity, confidence and a zest for life.” (From “The Great Life Diet”)

And of course, take time to explore the outdoors and walk for at least 30 minutes every day. I like to say that walking is “the brown rice of physical activity” because it helps to keep the mind balanced and the body flexible.

I hope you will join me in having a wonderful summer. And please consider visiting us at the Strengthening Health Institute these next couple of months at one of our many programs or at our monthly potluck dinners. http://strengthenhealth.org

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Corrections and Additions to Concerns Surrounding Recent Events in Japan

Posted on by Denny Waxman

I am enclosing some corrections to my original email and a letter from Bruce McDonald, the owner of the Natural Import Company. Reading his letter has brought this tragedy even closer to home. After eating the foods from these suppliers for some time I feel that I know them personally and now feel this loss even more strongly.
I will again forward more information as I receive it.

Corrections from John Belleme and Yuzo Iwata:
Onozaki miso is not made in Sendai. It is made in Yaita-city Tochigi prefecture, a long way from Sendai.
Johsen shoyu is made in Sendai Miyagi prefecture.

Letter from Bruce McDonald unedited:

Three of our suppliers were directly impacted by the disaster.

1. San Riku Bay wakame. The bay was completely torn up and worse most if not
all of the divers and processors were killed.

2. Sendai nori area is completely destroyed.,.

3. It is too early to tell about Johsen. They are located in the mountains
about 50 miles northwest of the nuclear plant and were not affected by the
tsunami but they still have no power and no phones so we don’t know much.
The prevailing wind is west to east so the radiation exposure might be
minor. Again, too early to tell.

Most of our suppliers are south of Tokyo. So unless there is a Chernoble
type of explosion that breaks open the reactor and causes a massive
radiation release, our other suppliers should not be affected. The Japanese
government is testing everything now that is exported and will not allow any
tainted product to be shipped abroad.

Before people get too worked up about low level radiation, they should
realize that there are 104 nuclear plants in the US all of which are leaking
radiation…
The worst one is in Vermont which is so old and obsolete (at least 5 years
beyond its safe operating lifespan), that it is leaking radiation constantly
through its containment walls.
Radiation is everywhere…it’s all about the levels of contamination as to
whether it poses a health risk.

We are currently sourcing wakame, OG shoyu and miso from Kyushu in southern
Japan.

Best Regards,
Bruce

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Concerns Surrounding Recent Events in Japan

Posted on by Denny Waxman

We at the SHI, including my wife, Susan and all of the staff, wish to extend our most sincere prayers of health and healing to the Japanese people, the land and the ocean that has been effected by the devastation of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima power plants.

With regard to the effect of the tragedy on imported macrobiotic staples, namely the quality of present and future Japanese miso, umeboshi, shoyu, wakame and other seaweeds, here are my thoughts. As of the earthquake on March 11th and the subsequent tsunami, nuclear meltdown and radiation release in Northeastern Japan, the most recent shipment of Japanese macrobiotic foods was already at sea before the earthquake hit, according to the suppliers of the SHI. The coming shipment is untainted but as far as future supplies are concerned, seaweed will be most effected by radiation fallout. If you have further concerns, please speak to your favored macrobiotic foods importer.

Shoyu is made in Sendai, as are some misos, such as Onozaki, and they take a long time to make. It takes eighteen months to make shoyu and two years for miso. Hatcho miso comes from Okazaki, nine hours southwest from Fukushima. Ryujin umeboshi plums come from Wakayama Prefecture in south-central Japan and so should remain unaffected. In the end, a big part of the quality of the product depends on the ingredients: wheat, soy beans, salt and waters, as well as the environment in which they are made. We will have to wait and see how the radiation settles, but for now, this might be a good time to start exploring American macrobiotic products, e.g. South River Miso, Miso Master Miso, Maine Coast Seaweed and California-made Umeboshi.

As for the plume of radiation headed for the west-coast of the United States, the radiation levels are very low and most likely will have dispersed to a non-threatening level, according to Scientific American on March 16, 2011. Maintaining a diet that includes brown rice, miso soup, moderate amounts of seaweed and adzuki beans are especially important for keeping blood quality strong. Seaweed also has the unique ability to bind with heavy metals, such as cesium, one of pollutants found in radioactive fallout. However, over-consumption of seaweed creates a mineral imbalance and could lead to thyroid problems and extreme weight loss, due to the high mineral content of sea vegetables.

I recommend an increase in sea vegetable consumption only in a case of heavy exposure to radioactive metals, and not otherwise. The current levels of radiation on the west-coast to not warrant increased seaweed.

In the case of heavy exposure to radioactive metals, foods to avoid include sugar, soft drinks, fruit, juices, chocolate and highly processed foods. It is also important to avoid extreme yang foods such as meat, chicken and eggs. Someone in Sendai or someone who has been exposed to the meltdown in or near Fukushima needs a simple diet of brown rice, adzuki beans, strong miso soup and a bit more seaweed, well cooked vegetables, such as nishimi and kinpira, and drink small amounts of kukicha tea as a beverage. It would also be imperative that all sugar, excess liquids and all extreme yin or yang be avoided.

People living on the west-coast of the United States should maintain a standard macrobiotic practice, making sure to include brown rice, miso soup, adzuki beans and a normal amount of sea vegetables, no more than usual, along with the usual variety of foods. I will keep you updated as more information becomes available.

With continued prayers for Japan,

DennyWaxman

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Year In Dieting: Distraction, Noise Cause Overeating

Posted on by Denny Waxman

There seems to be no stopping America’s expanding waistline, even though diets work when you stick with them. So researchers have a new focus — not what’s going on in our bellies, but what’s going on in our brains. Read article and listen to the story.

No Comments | Tags: 7 Steps, Articles and Research, Macrobiotic Philosophy, Macrobiotics, Macrobiotics and Medicine

The Claim: Taking a Walk Can Help Reduce Cravings

Posted on by Denny Waxman

If your goal is to break a bad habit or cut back on food and shed a few pounds, then a simple but overlooked trick could come in handy: go for a walk. Read Article

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