What’s So Great About Brown Rice Anyway?

Posted on by Denny Waxman

I started to eat brown rice in 1967 after years of indulgence in an almost exclusively junk food diet. Interestingly enough, one of the few foods that I liked in my junk food incarnation was kasha and bow ties, a typical Russian dish, which my mother made on a regular basis. Kasha or buckwheat is commonly eaten in Eastern European countries where my mother is from. There was something about it that I found both delicious and deeply satisfying. It wasn’t until I encountered brown rice in 1967 that I found another food that had a similar degree of satisfaction. I started to eat brown rice because of a challenge from a friend.

Doing that brown rice challenge led me to begin my macrobiotic practice over the course of the next two years. One of the first things I noticed after I started to eat brown rice on a regular basis was that many of the foods that I had avoided in previous years started to become delicious. For years I had refused to eat vegetables other than lettuce and tomato on a sandwich. All of sudden I became attracted to eating vegetables. The only thing I could attribute this change to was my regular consumption of brown rice. One by one, my diet began to widen with healthy foods. I also found that my cravings for junk foods were declining. Brown rice transformed me from a junk food eater to a healthy foodie, almost overnight.

As I became more familiar with brown rice, I discovered that it had some other very interesting qualities. Brown rice is the only cooked grain you can eat everyday and always find it delicious. I discovered this in the early 1970‘s when the crop of brown rice would not last the entire year and we were forced to try eating other grains. Try eating oatmeal or millet everyday for weeks or months and see if it is still appetizing.

Brown rice has two other attributes that I find even more amazing. Whatever you cook with brown rice cooks in the same period of time as the rice, even if it takes much longer to cook without the rice. Chickpeas, which can take hours to cook on their own will cook in one hour when pressure cooked with brown rice. It is the same with other foods with long cooking times.

Brown rice also combines well with and enhances the taste of all other foods. Brown rice combines well with all other grains, all beans, all seeds and nuts, all vegetables, all fruits, all different types of meat, poultry fish, shell fish, all dairy foods, and finally all different types of sweets.

Because brown rice has these unique capabilities, I think it is safe to assume that eating brown rice on a regular basis will also give us unique abilities. My experience is that brown rice helps us in all areas of our life, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Eating brown rice helps us to align with or understand the thoughts and ideas of others, even if they are divergent from our own. I have seen the power of brown rice in helping people to recover their physical health and also to re-direct their lives in many ways. These are bold statements and probably seem hard to believe. So now, I pass the brown rice challenge on to you. Try eating brown rice on a daily basis for two to three weeks. If you experience positive results (and I am confident that you will), please pass this brown rice challenge on to others.

No Comments | Tags: Adjusting Your Diet, Macrobiotic Diet, Macrobiotic Philosophy, Macrobiotics, Mental Health

A Response to Dr. John McDougall’s Article “Why Did Steve Jobs Die?”

Posted on by Denny Waxman

John McDougall’s latest newsletter is titled, Why Did Steve Jobs Die? I read this issue with great interest the moment I received it to see Dr. McDougall’s insight into a question that has many people wondering. Would Steve Jobs’ life have been extended if he had surgery for pancreatic cancer 9 months earlier? John McDougall answers this question with an emphatic no. He further goes on to say that his vegan lifestyle, which has been questioned, actually extended his life by slowing the development of his cancer. Dr. McDougall further suggests that chemical exposure and bad luck caused his cancer. This may well be the case but I think there are additional factors to consider.

Throughout my years of macrobiotic counseling I have observed that our digestive system, especially the pancreas and intestines, thrive on order. The pancreas has two functions: one aids digestive and the other regulates blood sugar. Our blood sugar level follows the rising and setting of the sun. In the morning blood sugar rises so that we can wake and be active. At night it lowers so that we can settle down and sleep, Orderly meal times, along with regular sleep and waking times, help to regulate the healthy functioning of our digestive system and pancreas. On the other hand, extremes in diet and lifestyle stress the pancreas, compromising digestion and making blood sugar erratic. Steve Jobs is famous for extremes in his diet, lifestyle and temperament.

The content of meals is also important to healthy digestion. Our body runs on glucose, a simple sugar. The ideal source of glucose is the complex sugars found in whole grains, beans and vegetables that break down slowly through the digestive process. Fructose, found in fruit and many common sweeteners, is another simple sugar that stresses the pancreas. A UCLA study published in the Washington Post states that pancreatic cancer cells proliferate on fructose and not on glucose. Could it be that Steve Job’s episodes of fruitarianism together with his extreme lifestyle promoted his cancer?

My book, The Great Life Diet, is a practical guidebook to creating healthy, balanced meals and lifestyle practices. It is one of my great regrets that I did not have the opportunity to guide Steve Job’s in these simple and life-altering health practices.

No Comments | Tags: Articles and Research, Events, Macrobiotic Diet, Macrobiotic Philosophy

Eight Glasses of Water a Day?

Posted on by Denny Waxman

An article in Scientific American has raised the question as to whether drinking eight glasses of water a day is fact or fiction. I would like to offer some insights into this. Originally George Ohsawa recommended limiting liquid consumption. This recommendation was changed years ago by Michio Kushi to drinking a comfortable amount to satisfy your thirst.

In the modern American diet almost everything is dry. Meat, chicken, cheese, pizza, bagels and chips are all dry. Coffee, alcohol and caffeinated drinks are dehydrating. When you have a plant that is too dry, water runs right through, even though the water is what it needs most. It takes time until the plant can accept and utilize the water. It is a similar situation with the modern diet. When we consume so many dry foods, liquids tend to run through us. We have more of a need to drink continually as see all the time these days.

In traditional diets as well as the macrobiotic way of eating most foods are wet. Cooked grains, beans, vegetables, soups, salads, fruits, etc. all have a high water content. The most important liquid we consume is through our food, especially when well chewed. This liquid does not just pass through us. When we drink some water or mild tea we easily become well hydrated.

In order to stay well-hydrated, try to consume a variety of cooked foods that are naturally moist and refreshing in addition to drinking a comfortable amount of liquid.

No Comments | Tags: Adjusting Your Diet, Articles and Research, Macrobiotic Diet, Macrobiotic Philosophy, Macrobiotics

Did He or Didn’t He? Steve Jobs and Macrobiotics

Posted on by Denny Waxman

In a recent 60 Minutes interview, Walter Isaacson claimed that Steve Jobs tried to heal himself through alternative healing practices, including “various ways of doing it macrobiotically.” As a macrobiotic teacher and counselor for 40 years, I was disturbed by the light in which macrobiotics was presented in this segment. Furthermore, it does not seem that Steve Jobs’ diet or lifestyle were reflective of a macrobiotic practice.
Introduced to the United States by George Ohsawa and Michio Kushi, and advanced by people like myself, macrobiotics has its roots in traditional Oriental medicine. It is an ever-evolving orderly approach to diet and lifestyle, which does not preclude the use of Western medicine. Macrobiotics is not opposed to surgery or other medical treatments when necessary. Unfortunately, there are many diets that claim to have the efficacy of macrobiotics, but show a true lack of understanding of macrobiotic principles, and therefore often fail. I disagree with Isaacson’s use of the adjective “macrobiotic” in describing Steve Jobs’ diet, as there is no evidence that Steve Jobs sought macrobiotic counseling or practiced a macrobiotic lifestyle.
It is reported that Dr. Dean Ornish advised Mr. Jobs during his illness. While I applaud Dr. Ornish for his holistic approach to health, which includes a low-fat, mostly vegan diet and regular exercise, his plan is not the same as a macrobiotic approach. Macrobiotics is similar to the Ornish plan in that one eats brown rice and vegetables in both diets. However, there are many differences beyond that.

To properly heal oneself of a terminal illness through macrobiotic practice, one must take responsibility for one’s own health, learn the principles, and adapt one’s diet and lifestyle to allow healing to take place. There are no short cuts and everyone has to discover their own path to health. It is also extremely important to seek the guidance of an experienced macrobiotic counselor who will be able to understand your health condition and make proper recommendations.

Regardless of the path chosen, there are no guarantees, and so for Mr. Isaacson to imply that Mr. Jobs would still be alive had he chosen surgery earlier is pure speculation for which there is little or no basis.

Steve Jobs decided on a course of healing that ultimately failed him. Macrobiotics however, did not, as he neither studied nor practiced it.

No Comments | Tags: Adjusting Your Diet, Events, Macrobiotic Diet, Macrobiotic Philosophy, Macrobiotics, Macrobiotics and Medicine, Press

Treats, Not Tricks

Posted on by Denny Waxman

Although the surprise snowstorm kept me from going out and celebrating Halloween this past weekend, I thought it would be appropriate to share some autumnal treats with you today. Below you will find two of my favorite treats for cold autumn days. Many thanks to my wife, Susan Waxman, for letting me share her Crispy Brown Rice Treats recipe.

Hot Apple Cider
Ingredients:
Apple cider
Lemon
Kuzu (optional)

Preparation:
Dilute the apple cider slightly if you find it too sweet.
Hear the apple cider until it is hot but not boiling.
Squeeze in lemon to taste.

Variation for a thicker, warming drink:
Dissolve 1 heaping teaspoon of kuzu in cold water.
Put in a saucepan.
Add 1 cup of cold apple cider (diluted if desired).
Stir on a medium flame until it thickens.
Squeeze in the lemon to taste.

Crispy Brown Rice Teats
This recipe makes enough for a crowd, which is perfect for bringing to a Halloween party or for introducing your trick-or-treaters to whole foods. This quick snack will keep in a tin or glass container for 1 week.

Ingredients:
½ cup Barley Malt
¾ cup Maple Syrup
1 cup organic currants or raisins
1 cup organic peanut butter
5 cups Crispy Brown Rice

Preparation:
Mix Barley Malt, Maple Syrup and Peanut Butter in a stainless steel pot.
Turn on flame and begin heating on a low flame.  Add the fruits and continue to mix.
When you begin to see bubbles around the edge of the pot, turn off the flame and add the rice crispies.  
Mix well to blend all of the ingredients.
Place on an oiled tray to cool a bit.
Roll into balls and serve.

Variations: Substitute Almond butter or tahini for the peanut butter. When using tahini add a little add a little more rice crispies in order to maintain a good consistency.
Add grain-sweetened chocolate chips in place of raisins for a richer taste.

For the ultimate chocolate lovers treat:
Melt unsweetened organic dark/vegan chocolate. 
Add 2 tablespoons of brown rice syrup
1 tablespoons of barley malt
1 – 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
If this is not sweet enough for you, just add a little extra, remember the kids need to like it too!
Mix well and allow the now, grain sweetened chocolate to cool a bit.
Drizzle or roll the crispy balls in the chocolate.
Place the chocolate coated treats in the fridge until the chocolate cools.

Makes about 60 bite size treats.

No Comments | Tags: Macrobiotic Diet, Recipes

Ben Franklin was Macrobiotic

Posted on by Denny Waxman

Ben Franklin is one of my heroes because of his practical, creative genius and his connection to Philadelphia. While rereading his autobiography recently it occurred to me that he was not only one of our founding fathers but also a father of macrobiotics. Ben Franklin is a role model for macrobiotic practice.

He became a vegetarian at 16 and tried to share this practice with his friends. He also had a grain-based diet with regular eating habits and lifestyle practices. It is very reminiscent of my 7 Steps, which I refer to as the pillars of macrobiotic practice. I think of the 7 Steps as a regular and orderly approach to diet and lifestyle. This is completely in line with Ben Franklin.

Ben Franklin was closely tied to nature through gardening and seed exchange and the range of his social activities is legendary. We now enjoy so many of the institutions and inventions he created including hospitals, libraries, fire department, etc.

It deeply saddens me that we have moved so far away from the nature and values of Ben Franklin. It is one of my goals to show that the roots of macrobiotics are shared by all of the world’s longstanding cultures. They are common to all of us. What better place to start than Ben Franklin. There is no better time to start re-establishing these connections than now.

No Comments | Tags: Macrobiotic Diet, Macrobiotic Philosophy, Macrobiotics, Uncategorized

Every Cancer Has a Silver Lining

Posted on by Denny Waxman

I thought that everyone would be interested in this New York Times piece about Kris Carr and the rebuttal that Jeff Silberman wrote.

“Every Cancer Has a Silver Lining”

I was interested to read Mireille Silcoff’s article on Kris Carr in the New York Times magazine (8/14/11) as my wife had recently cured herself of breast cancer through her macrobiotic practice (medically documented) in roughly six months while being counseled by Denny Waxman, one of the foremost authorities on Macrobiotics, who has been counseling people to health for almost 40 years based upon a science that is almost 3,000 years old.

So I found it curious when Ms. Carr said that she “flirted” with Macrobiotics for a year, which by anybody’s standard is a long time to flirt (many people consummate and end relationships in that period of time), and to use the term “freakier” in the same sentence seemed both disingenuous and disrespectful. Rather than giving kudos to an ancient science and those dedicated practitioners who were happy to share this knowledge with her, she invents a “freaky” drink (almond butter, cucumber, romaine, kale, ginger and two pears?) or two as the cherry on top of a macrobiotic pie and sells the whole thing as her own invention.

Ms. Carr didn’t invent a plan from which to deal with her cancer all on her own. She enrolled in a year long program with Denny and Susan Waxman at their Strengthening Health Institute in Philadelphia. Before that she met with the Godfather of Macrobiotics, Michio Kushi, in Boston. She received macrobiotic counseling from Warren Kramer, ate macrobiotic food prepared by Kezia Snyder in New York City for 6 months (often the period of time it takes for the macrobiotic diet to rid the body of disease) and she was treated by Shiatsu practitioners Patrick Riley and David Sergel.

Ms. Carr interviewed and filmed Mr. Waxman on several occasions for her movie,”Crazy, Sexy Cancer”, but did not include any of his segments when he refused to sign a waiver which would prohibit him from any input on how his segments were edited.

While Ms. Carr is selling (very well I might add) her “sexy” cancer, she is doing so on the backs of those dedicated people who shared with her their time, skills, knowledge, wisdom and compassion and who brought her back from the abyss. She should know that gratitude and appreciation are also basic tenants of health and healing.

Namaste,

Jeff Silberman
Philadelphia PA

1 Comment | Tags: Adjusting Your Diet, Cancer, Macrobiotic Counseling, Macrobiotic Diet, Macrobiotic Philosophy, Macrobiotics, Macrobiotics and Medicine

Remembering Aveline Kushi

Posted on by Denny Waxman

I first met Aveline in 1969 when she accompanied Michio to Philadelphia for a lecture. It was a great joy for me to read Ed’s article about Aveline and it brought up many memories for me. As Ed says in his blog post, Aveline was among the greatest of women. Her wisdom, grace and adventurous spirit always kept me in awe. In addition to everything she accomplished socially, Aveline was a major force in my life personally. I considered her my spiritual mother. She encouraged me every step of the way in my personal development and in the creation of many macrobiotic projects. In her later years it was always a great joy for us to meet and spend some time together. Our last meeting was when Aveline again accompanied Michio to Philadelphia for a lecture. It was a wonderful and very sad meeting as I knew it was the last time I would see her. Aveline is always close to my heart.

Read more about Aveline here

No Comments | Tags: Macrobiotic Diet, Uncategorized

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

No Comments | Tags: 7 Steps, Macrobiotic Diet

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

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