Regulating Thyroid Issues Naturally

Posted on by Denny Waxman

A recent article in the New York Times discusses a link between psychiatric troubles and imbalances in thyroid hormones. Quite often subtle imbalances in thyroid hormones can create depression, anxiety and other psychiatric problems.

From a macrobiotic or energetic point of view, the thyroid is the balancing point between the pituitary and adrenal glands or, you could say, mind and body. The pituitary gland at the base of the brain is the major endocrine gland that regulates all others. The adrenal glands, just above the kidneys, help regulate vitality, metabolism, and help us deal with stress. The thyroid shows an overall balance between mind and body. Problems in the throat region can also be related to difficulty in expressing ourselves or in accepting situations.

Many of my clients express how much more positive, energetic and calm they feel, even after one visit. When we add balance into our diet, activity and lifestyle practices, our hormonal system including these major glands naturally rebalance themselves. The adrenals like beans and root vegetables and the thyroid likes leafy greens and the natural sweetness of vegetables such as onions, carrots and squash. Walking outside also helps all upper body problems.

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

Good Parenting Before Birth

Posted on by Denny Waxman

In a recent article in the Chicago Tribune five threats to a healthy pregnancy were listed:
poor nutrition in the womb, air pollution, Bisphenol A (BPA) found in many plastic bottles and the lining of soda and soup cans, depression and viruses. Out of this list we have the most control over our diets. A healthy diet also has the greatest ability to nourish and give protection to the developing fetus from environmental pollutants.

We recently completed a weekend in our year-long course at the Strengthening Health Institute where we discussed embryonic education. This has been a traditional understanding in the orient that has been passed down over the generations.

Embryonic education, which takes place before we are even born, is actually the most important education in our life. It sets our tendencies for health or sickness as well as our tastes in food, music and physical activity. This is consistent with the view of the fetal origins theory, which has been studied in recent years, where diet during pregnancy and infancy sets the future pattern for physical and mental health or illness. There are three main areas of this education: diet, activity and mental-spiritual practices. The dietary recommendations are based on grains and vegetables and include foods that are nourishing, strengthening and protective to the developing fetus. These include brown rice and other whole grains such as barley and millet, a variety of hard, fibrous vegetables, naturally pickled vegetables such as sauerkraut, beans especially azuki and lentils, miso soup and a variety of other foods.

Walking, cleaning and other daily, life-related activities are also important for the developing baby. Pregnancy is natural to life and activity and hard work are important to have a strong baby.

In a world filled with violence it is important to try and read or watch movies and TV shows that are peaceful and inspiring and to avoid shows and books that are violent, negative and overly sexually stimulating.

In my personal counseling practice I have guided many women through pregnancy. Many women who have followed these guidelines have expressed how happy they were that they discovered this understanding in time.

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

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

Sleeping Throughout the Night- Without Sleeping Pills!

Posted on by Denny Waxman

In Oriental medicine and diagnosis opposites show and regulate each other. The night or sleep is a reflection of the quality our diet and activity during the day. Our ability to experience deep and refreshing sleep is an important condition of good health.

A recent article published in the New York Times stated that an increasing number of women are turning to medications to help them sleep. This approach tends to take its toll on our health over time. There are healthier and more natural ways to have a good nights sleep than taking medications. A good diet and eating habits together with a balance of physical and mental activity leads to deep and nourishing sleep.

There are three main types of sleep problems. The first is difficulty falling asleep, especially before midnight. This is usually caused by drinking excess liquids or eating too many watery foods or sweets. The second type where you can fall asleep and then wake after midnight is the opposite. It is caused by eating too many animal foods, well cooked and hard-baked or dry foods.
Finally, there is a third type where you wake around 4 or 5 am. This is a combination of the first two types.

In “The Great Life Diet” I discuss the essentials of creating a healthy diet, eating habits and activity. These practices will help you get the deep and refreshing sleep we all desire.

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

How to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer

Posted on by Denny Waxman

Exercise or should I say activity is important for our health. In recent years activity and structured exercise have become confused. We are meant to be active physically and mentally throughout the day. This is what we did before we spent so much time in front of computers and the TV. It was also before we had the epidemics of obesity, diabetes and cancer. Our diet and eating habits have also changed dramatically in recent years. Fast foods have taken the place of real cooked foods and home cooked meals.

We can think of activity as a pump that circulates the energy that is derived from the food we eat. A recent article published on MSNBC stated that, sitting down for long periods may be increasing your cancer risk. This makes perfect sense when you think about it. Doesn’t it make even more sense that eating a healthier diet along with increased activity and less sitting would further reduce our cancer risk.

At the Strengthening Health Institute we recommend a diet centered around whole grains and vegetables that includes a variety of soups, beans, seeds, nuts, fruits, salads, good quality sweets, desserts and fish if desired. We also recommend making your daily life active and including a 30 minute walk outside everyday.

No Comments | Tags: Articles and Research, Exercise, Macrobiotic Philosophy

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

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

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

No Comments | Tags: 7 Steps, Adjusting Your Diet, Macrobiotic Philosophy, Macrobiotics