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,


No Comments | Tags: 7 Steps, Macrobiotic Diet, Macrobiotics, Uncategorized

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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Behavior: Distracted Eating Adds More to Waistline

Posted on by Denny Waxman

Catching up with e-mail while you eat lunch? Watching television? You may end the day eating more than you think. Read article

No Comments | Tags: 7 Steps, Adjusting Your Diet, Articles and Research

Macrobiotics in Florida and Transitioning to Spring

Posted on by Denny Waxman

This week we travelled to Jacksonville, Florida, at the invitation of Marlene Pendley. The group was international, four people from Venezuela and three from Bogota, Columbia. Susan taught two “international” cooking classes and I took these cultures into account in my lectures. It was a great success and very enjoyable.

Two of the students had just completed Anthony Robbins’ seminar, in which a vegan diet was promoted. The students felt our information complemented and refined that introduction very nicely.

We are already looking forward to returning to Florida.

Although it seems like the depth of winter now, the season turns on February fourth. Spring, and a new year, begin then. We can start to get ready in the next couple of weeks to slowly transition our diets. We can gradually lighten our diets, introducing more quick-cooked dishes and pulling back on baked, heavy and dense dishes.

A new group comes to the SHI for the CCP this week for our one-year certificate program. Again we are beginning in a snow storm, so this is an intrepid group. We hope to post a picture of the new class soon.

A reminder: There will be a macrobiotic dinner potluck at the SHI on March 5th. It is free of charge. Please bring a vegan macrobiotic dish to share. All are welcome.

No Comments | Tags: 7 Steps, Adjusting Your Diet, Articles and Research, Macrobiotics

The Cycles of Nature Support Us

Posted on by Denny Waxman

Everyone can align with nature. The sun doesn’t oversleep! It always gets up, always rises. The full moon is always there when it should be and spring always comes after winter. The only way the sun won’t rise, I believe, is if our planet is out of orbit. Otherwise the sun will rise everyday.

The stability of nature gives to everyone psychologically, if we are aware of the feeling that each day is new and fresh. Each day is an opportunity. Each day the sun will rise and each day it will set. Whatever we are doing, for good or for bad, comes to an end everyday, or at least to a pause or recess. In the morning we start again, refreshed and renewed. Or at least, we have the ability to do so.

These cycles start from the daily cycle and move out to larger and larger cycles in different aspects of our life. Then we have this ability to align with and be part of this order. This gives us the stability and the vitality to create our life, to create change or do what we want to do. I think we cannot overestimate how strong that power is. Unfortunately, many times we connect or align more with our individual family experience, which then blocks or interferes with our ability to really align with nature. Recently, excessive focus has been paid to our personal experiences. In other words, making them more significant, rather than looking at nature and then having our perspective changed.

The cycles of nature will support us if we let them!

1 Comment | Tags: 7 Steps, Mental Health

Emotions and Health

Posted on by Denny Waxman

If we get nervous or angry we influence our health! Happy and unhappy emotions have an effect of either improving or weakening the quality of our blood. The same dynamic exists between emotions and our organs. If we feel calm and peaceful, this nourishes the liver. This is the same kind of energy that creates the liver and returns it to balance. If we feel courage and security, this type of deep energy nourishes our kidneys. On the other hand, if you experience strong fear, that can weaken your kidneys. If you become very angry, the opposite of calm and peaceful, that harms your liver; weakens it. And the more you experience an emotion, the more your organs are damaged by that. The balance works in both directions.

Emotions exist to make balance. Emotions have a natural state. That natural state is something flowing and changing. Healthy emotions are constantly changing. Some days we feel a little bit more up, some days more down, more tense. It changes from day to day and this is a natural state. It is something like the weather, which changes from day to day. We can tell when there is a problem with our emotions when we experience the opposite; when our emotions start to surge; to become too strong, forceful or extreme, or stuck, rigid or one-sided.

There are many ways to read and influence our health.

No Comments | Tags: 7 Steps, Adjusting Your Diet, Macrobiotic Diet, Mental Health, Uncategorized


Posted on by Denny Waxman

There are three types of exercises: harmonious exercise, physically or emotionally-oriented exercise and spiritually/mentally or energetically-oriented exercise.

Harmonious exercise means everyone can do it and everyone benefits. This is universal exercise and should be the basis of all exercise programs. Examples of harmonious exercise are walking, laughing, body rub, reading, making love, breathing, cleaning, chewing, gardening, swimming, dancing and hobbies.

Today I will consider walking. Walking is the universal exercise. When I say “part of life,” I don’t mean power walking, which is an unnatural stride. Walking in the past was how you got from one place to another. That was part of life. And our idea of walking, what a short walk is, has changed very much. When you walk naturally, your arms swing like a pendulum and your legs do the same. This is setting a rhythm that helps to regulate all of our bodies’ natural rhythms, including the balance of the branches of our automatic nervous system, our heart beat, our digestive system. Plus, walking helps every condition. It makes you more flexible, and if you are tired, it gives you energy. If you are full, your digestion improves. If you are down, it picks you up. Whatever your state is, you benefit, you return to balance from walking, if it is a natural walk, especially outside. This is so-called harmonious or universal exercise. Everyone should do it and everyone benefits from it. Now of course, if you have certain injuries where this can’t be done, don’t try to do it. But under normal circumstances, everyone benefits from walking. It should be done at a natural stride, at a brisk pace. As if you have somewhere to go and you want to get there.

2 Comments | Tags: 7 Steps, Exercise, Weight loss

The Macrobiotic Approach to Careers

Posted on by Denny Waxman

One of the observations I have had again and again in counseling is that so many people I see who have serious health problems have spent their lives doing what they didn’t want to be doing. And often, when that realization comes strongly enough, it is already a very serious situation. Our career means something like our course or plan of action through life. A lot of people think of career as what they do from nine to five and that the rest of the time is their life. However, career is like exercise, which must be a kind of activity that is part of our life, not separate from it. Career is the same. Our career and our life should be exactly the same.

When people ask me what I do, I don’t really know what to say. When I go to different countries and am asked my occupation, I don’t know what to say. Teacher? I don’t know. Macrobiotic person? Human being? That is my career. Basically, to understand careers we have to know about our basic nature, because whatever we do in life has to complement or build on our nature. But the real question is, what is the purpose of our career? What shall we look for in the first place in understanding our career? Of course we have practical considerations to make, we have to support ourselves, make a living. But that is the secondary or minor part. Really, a career means: How to realize our infinite nature. How to realize our endless nature. Day by day we should try to have different experiences which take us further toward our full potential in life, or our endless nature. You can say, to the realization of our oneness. In essence, if somebody is coming to macrobiotics because of health, then, if they are able to overcome a terminal illness, basically what they are doing is realizing their endless nature, their endless ability to create, not only sickness, but health.

Career should be the same thing, but in a much larger sense. Day by day, we should have this deepening realization of who we are and why we came here.

1 Comment | Tags: 7 Steps, Macrobiotic Philosophy, Macrobiotics, Mental Health

The Movement Between Sickness and Health

Posted on by Denny Waxman

When does life begin? When does life end? This is a very good question. Does life begin when you are a twinkle in your parents’ eyes? Does life begin at the point of conception? Does life begin at the moment of birth? When the cord is cut? When does it begin? Does life begin when you are weaned? No-one can really say. And in the same way, when are you dead? People have been brain dead and have come back to continue to live their life. We can’t separate opposites. Opposites complete each other to Oneness. However, we have grown up with an idea of good and bad. One or the other. Black and white. But this idea does not exist in nature because we can’t separate things in the same way. When we look at health and sickness, when are we really healthy? And when we are sick, when did that sickness begin? Everything moves in a wave-like movement. If we have a wave, then when we are at the top. we call that health. When we are at the bottom, we call that sickness. At what point does sickness really begin? Is it when you are at the top of the wave, at the midpoint, or at the bottom? We can’t say.

The next question is, is there ever health without sickness? Can yin exist without yang? They cannot. Is there such a thing as absolute, perfect health? I don’t think that there is. Health cannot exist without sickness. No one has everyday just the same perfect energy, perfect clarity, everything going smoothly as planned. I haven’t met that person yet!

No one has perfect sickness. There is nothing that is one-sided. Everything contains its opposite. We have come to think, health is good and sickness is bad, but they are always connected. There is a movement between health and sickness and between sickness and health. In macrobiotics we lean how to move from sickness to health, unhappiness to happiness and chaos to clarity. Trying to practice my Seven Steps will help you move towards health and happiness.

3 Comments | Tags: 7 Steps, Macrobiotic Diet, Macrobiotic Philosophy, Macrobiotics