Do you soak your grain?

Posted on by Denny Waxman
Rice growing in the fields of Blue Moon Acres Farm.

Rice growing in the fields of Blue Moon Acres Farm.

A number of my longtime clients are elderly women who have come to me with a variety of health concerns.  I have counseled these women over many years regarding their diet and lifestyle practices according to macrobiotic principles.  Some of these women have had serious falls where you would except them to break a bone,  and surprisingly they have not.  I attribute their strong bones and quick recovery to their macrobiotic practice.  Even those of my clients that have experienced broken bones, have healed in about half the time expected.  This would not be the case if they had osteoporosis.

 

In addition, my longtime observation is that children who were born and raised following the macrobiotic diet and lifestyle have stronger and thicker bones than their peers.   This is something I have found to be true around the world.  Both of these situations lead me to believe that there is not a problem with phytic acid and mineral absorption from the amount of grain we eat as part of our macrobiotic practice.

 

There is a general consensus that soaking grains is desirable for taste and digestibility; however there is not a general agreement on the best method for soaking grains.  I found the information in the blog post from macrosano.com very interesting and helpful.  I would like to inform you of the way we recommend soaking grains.  Experiment and see which way you like best.  The only way to really know is to try a specific way for weeks or months and try to see which method is more suitable.  If you are not sure, you can always vary your soaking method.

 

This is our method for soaking and cooking rice.  We recommend rinsing the rice in cold water two or three times.  Measure out the water for cooking and soak overnight or longer, basically between 8-22 hours.  Overnight soaking is more beneficial.  When ready to cook the rice, add a pinch of sea salt or a half inch square piece of kombu and then boil or pressure cook as normal.

We’ve been soaking grains in this way for many years and feel very comfortable in it.  Brown rice is the most sensitive food to our intentions, feelings and emotions; it is uniquely sensitive to our own condition.  Taking time to properly prepare rice in this manner ensures a happy and satisfying meal.  Soaking and cooking rice in this manner is not an afterthought; it is an act that conveys respect and appreciation.

Rice drying at Blue Moon Acres Farm

Rice drying at Blue Moon Acres Farm

4 Comments | Tags: Adjusting Your Diet, Articles and Research, grains, Macrobiotics, osteoporosis, plant-based diet

Diet is Related to More Than Personal Health

Posted on by Denny Waxman

It’s no longer a personal choice of whether to eat animal or dairy foods or not. Our planet can only support the production of animal and dairy foods for a limited number of people. At the same time, the environmental effects of animal and dairy foods is devastating. Take a look at this graph that shows the differences of impact from a vegan diet, a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, and an omnivorous diet*.

Environmental Impact from Various Diets from MDPI study

Environmental Impact from Various Diets from MDPI study

Whether we like it or not, everything we do impacts climate, society and the environment. It is becoming more clear that eating and raising animals is the most devastating thing we are doing to the environment.

So it’s no longer a question about what the healthiest diet is. Raising grains, beans, and vegetables and eating them directly nourishes us at the most basic level. You can feed the entire planet on grains and beans and the agriculture devoted to the cultivation of grains and beans is in turn nurturing and sustaining to the planet. Understanding this connection means that we can all do our part to restore and help the environment we live in to heal.

*Baroni, L.; Berati, M.; Candilera, M.; Tettamanti, M. Total Environmental Impact of Three Main Dietary Patterns in Relation to the Content of Animal and Plant Food. Foods 20143, 443-460.

No Comments | Tags: Articles and Research

Amberwaves, Elizabeth Karaman, and macrobiotics

Posted on by Denny Waxman

Good morning,

I would like to share with you an informative and entertaining article by my friend Elizabeth Karaman about the trials of therapy, extreme work-outs, and macrobiotics. This article will be published by Amberwaves later this summer. Enjoy!

Below is a PDF of the article that you may want to share.

Acupuncture With A Fork – 6-8-14

 

ACUPUNCTURE WITH A FORK

Elizabeth Karaman

 

Reprinted from Amberwaves, Summer 2014

 

My best friend, a shrink, has a patient she calls grouchy girl due to her reactions to suggestions made to her during their sessions. Every range of emotion is expressed, from sullen anger to stomping on the floor while raging against her plight in life and her (imagined) beleaguered state. After her visit, grouchy girl feels compelled to work out her perceived unhappy existence at a gym where she pedals away on a bike in a frenzy. Or alternatively she attends a boot-camp session taught by a former navy seal.  Despite her tremendous effort to silence her angry inner voice, she is still left emotionally frustrated. Her volatility gets temporarily anesthetized, but still ripples throughout her being.

Extreme workouts are the latest trend for burning body fat and for emulsifying a jagged brain chemistry. High-Intensity Training is the name of this current workout craze to be found at selected gyms throughout the country. It’s no longer enough to lift some weights and follow that with a thirty-minute aerobic session. All of a sudden, this routine is shunned—it seems the extreme workout people believe it’s no longer adequate to remove all the body fat found on most Americans now. Speed running or intense cycling for short bursts of time are what’s required, they say. I guess none of these athletic connoisseurs have ever seen the star macrobiotic counselor Denny Waxman or the vegan doctor John McDougall, both of whom possess trim bodies despite their supposedly no-no diet of 80 percent carbohydrates, ten percent protein, and 10 percent fat. They do exercise, but moderately, and their diet is currently reviled by the paleo-enthusiasts and the gluten-free mavens.

At a gym, a lot of these people pay more than $100.00 an hour to get as sleek as a jaguar, but unfortunately for them, their jungle physiques have yet to be attained. Instead, they acquire a lot of muscle and stamina on top of their fat stomachs filled with big pharma’s medications to lower stubbornly high cholesterol levels, off-the-charts high blood pressure, and borderline elevated glucose. These rigid people wouldn’t dare eat a single kernel of any wholegrain food. Instead they eat bison or buffalo meat, along with the standard beef, chicken, fish staples, combined with salads loaded with olive oil. Protein is the key component of their supposedly healthy regimen. What they’re not being told is that places like MD Anderson Cancer Centers and the Salk Institute, among others, have learned that animal protein fuels the growth of cancer cells, in addition to contributing enough plaque to the cardiovascular system to cause a heart attack.

Accompanying 100-mile runs, double-spinning classes, and boot camps, body detox centers have arrived to provide the latest choice of purges.

Take your pick:

  • Drink enough saltwater to induce vomiting—this supposedly cleanses the contents of the stomach;
  • Drink water with epsom salts to induce diarrhea and further rid the body of toxins.

But wait, that’s not enough…

  • Also offered are extended juice fasts, colonics, and wheat-grass rectal infusions.
  • If more cleansing is in order, chelation therapy, ozone therapy, or bloodletting can be offered to satisfy the most fastidious customers.

In the 1970s, I visited China where I saw skinny yet muscular Chinese slurp down a bowl of noodles and then scamper up a palm tree as if it were a flight of stairs. Their diet contained tons of white rice along with a lot of Chinese vegetables and condiment-size portions of animal protein. They all had low body fat, tons of hair, clear skin, and flat stomachs. I was told that many of the men fathered children at an age when most men in America were reaching for Cialis to get their hydraulic system to work.

During the mid-eighties, my husband and I ran so low on money while vacationing in Florida that we were forced to forego such treats as ice cream, exotic, costly tropical fruits, expensive cheeses, and any animal food from land or sea in order to save enough money to get home. Instead we dined on the basic components of a macrobiotic diet. In my kitchen there, I still had brown rice, tofu, seaweed, lentils, cabbage, and collard greens—our splurge was on a bakery loaf of bread and rolled oats. In one week, my husband lost eight pounds and  I lost five, but we gained an inner calm and natural energy. All this for a few dollars, compared to the thousands it would have cost to join a gym or go to a detox spa.

Basically, macrobiotics is nothing more than acupuncture with a fork, which manages to balance the body without employing extreme measures. Give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised and like what you find.

6 Comments | Tags: Articles and Research

Give Youths Back Their Health

Posted on by Denny Waxman
Play, or mischief?

Play, or mischief?

The Wellness section of The New York Times recently published a blog about the climbing numbers of sedentary youth in the country. Despite all claims that we as a country are making advances in health, it is clear that our health is declining and longevity is falling. Young people are at risk for developing degenerative illness, especially cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as cancer. In addition, 1/3 of our children between the ages of 6-19 are overweight or obese. There is a great concern that the U.S. is falling behind in education as well. There is a clear connection between being sedentary and a lack of interest or inability to learn.

 

Healthy people like to be active, challenge themselves, and learn. Throughout history, throughout the world, children have played outside without our involvement from morning until night, summer through winter. Why is it that our children no longer want to play? Being sedentary is a very clear indicator of poor overall health.

 

The article blames parents for not helping their children to exercise. That is not the solution. Healthy parents who are active and curious about life usually have children that grow up and foster similar attitudes and approaches. Health is a family issue. We learn about health through eating healthy foods at mealtimes. When healthy foods are reinforced at school, it becomes easier for children to make healthy choices.

 

Large quantities of poor-quality food do not encourage us to be active or foster an interest in learning.  We also have total access to unhealthy foods, but we have to seek out and make an effort to find high-quality, healthy foods.  Proper education about the long-lasting benefits of a plant-based diet and increasing access to healthy foods is the best solution for our youth and our future.

 

Michio and Aveline Kushi started the natural foods movement in the 60s by creating access to whole, natural, and organic foods. They encouraged the development of natural food stores and educational centers to make the food available and to teach people how to incorporate these foods into their daily lives. Now is a good time to make macrobiotic-style education more widely available so that a new generation of healthy children are better equipped to create a healthy future.

 

3 Comments | Tags: Articles and Research, Circulation

Mom was always right

Posted on by Denny Waxman
The Atlantic recently published an article about broccoli sprout tea:
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have similar effects on mitigating air pollution.
Chemo-prevention is much better than chemo-therapy.

No Comments | Tags: Articles and Research, Uncategorized

Obesity in the U.S.

Posted on by Denny Waxman

The U.S. Leads the way again! Unfortunately, it is individual obesity rate.

 

City Lab Obesity Report

 

How many people do you know practicing macrobiotics or other plant-based diets have issues with being overweight or obese?

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

The Importance of Sunlight in the Morning

Posted on by Denny Waxman

There was a slideshow from weather.com called “7 Signs You Need More Sunlight– and Don’t Know It.” The morning sun helps many emotional and physical discomforts.

 

We have the greatest ability to release unneeded excess in the early morning hours close to sunrise. It happens as soon as our feet literally hit the ground. The sun rises with a burst of energy that evaporates the dew. This evaporation refreshes everything. The rising sun affects us similarly. This explains why it is more difficult to get started on a rainy or cloudy day. However, whether we can see the sun or not, we still have the best ability to clean and refresh ourselves early in the morning. If we go out and become directly exposed to the early morning sun, we are even more fully charged with its energy.

Philadelphia Dawn Covered with Fog and Dew

 

It’s also important to understand the overall rhythm of the day and night. We eat during the day and are active. At night we utilize the food we ate during the day to maintain and repair ourselves. We recharge our brain, nervous system and organs during the night. The activity during the day charges us physically, mentally, and emotionally. Furthermore, during the night with deep sleep, the inactivity allows us to be nourished by the celestial energies that are blocked by the sun during the day. Before we wake, we gather the physical and energetic excess to release upon rising. Upon rising, we reset our biological clocks and activate our metabolism for the day.

 

This relationship is a bit like breathing. When we breathe in more deeply, we breathe out more deeply. We connect more with our ourselves through this breathing, and receive more air and oxygen. The day for us is breathing in and gathering, and the night like breathing out and releasing. When we start the day earlier, we are able to “breathe” the day more deeply and in turn, become more nourished.

 

4 Comments | Tags: Articles and Research, Macrobiotics, Mental Health

Confused About Protein? Don’t be!

Posted on by Denny Waxman

 

Food can be just as addictive as cigarettes.

Food can be just as addictive as cigarettes.

Article from the Telegraph UK: “High-Protein Diet ‘as bad for health as smoking'”

To paraphrase T. Colin Campbell, epigenetics controls genetics and food controls epigenetics, or how our genes are turned on or off and express themselves. According to Neal Barnard, M.D. genes are merely a suggestion. This gets to the root of many things, which also offers another powerful testament to ourselves: we are ultimately in control of the switches than can determine health or sickness. This article demonstrates a lot of the confusion created between researchers and doctors within the field of medicine.

A poor diet is more harmful than smoking; more people die of diet-related illness than do from smoking. Everyone now knows that tobacco is highly addictive and has been manufactured to become more addictive overtime, and the same thing can be said for food and food manufacturers. The sad thing is that although health craves health, it works the same way with sickness.

The problem with the article, besides the conflicting reports of analysis between researchers and doctors, was in the conclusion. After all the research about protein, the types of proteins and the types of intakes at different ages within a research population, “British experts agreed that cutting down on red meat had been proven to lower the risk of cancer but said a balanced diet was still the best option,” saying nothing about what constitutes a balanced diet!

Plant-based diets using a variety of cooking methods that include grains, beans and vegetables and other plant-based foods provides the proper balance of minerals, proteins and carbohydrates that we need to operate at optimum health and efficiency. This proper balance of protein within a plant-based diet is suitable for all ages in life, from young to old.

2 Comments | Tags: Articles and Research, Cancer

Can Food and Learning Be Separate?

Posted on by Denny Waxman
Bound for college after a family meal.

Bound for college after a family meal.

I’ve recently come upon a study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition published in November 2013. The article discusses the results of a survey conducted in four European countries concerning the effect that food has on learning and mental performance in primary school children. The survey participants were all parents. The results of the survey are interesting, as they reflect the opinions and perceptions of an array of parents regarding the connections they associate with how food, biology, the school environment, social factors, psychological factors and physical factors affect a child’s ability to learn. The study broke up “mental performance” into four main elements: attention, learning, mood, and behavior.

Unanimously across the four countries, the parents felt that sleep and activity as well as mood and behavior were more important factors affecting learning than food. Parents agreed that the regularity of meals had the most powerful perceived effect of food on mental performance. I was surprised that there was no correlation made between how food affects activity and sleep and also mood and behavior. Simply put, if we eat whole-food, plant-based meals, we naturally become more active with an agreeable and even mood.

Healthy children are naturally curious. Healthy food fosters natural curiosity and a desire to learn. Healthy food and good eating habits strengthens digestion, which helps develops stronger thinking ability and memory. This is because our digestive system is our body’s second nervous system made up of the same types of cells. A useful thing to remember is that healthy digestion promotes healthy thinking.

It was also interesting to me that family meals were not part of this study in relation to food or social aspects to learning.  A family meal is a time where we eat and talk together without distraction. Recent research has indicated that family meals reduce the risk of obesity and substance abuse. Family meals encourage children to think about the future in the company of supportive, engaged family members.

As studies such as these begin to publish with more regularity, I feel as if “The Great Life Diet” would be a great educational tool for children and parents alike.

 

 

4 Comments | Tags: Articles and Research

Nature’s View of the Night Shift

Posted on by Denny Waxman
<a href='http://fineartamerica.com/featured/camping-under-the-stars-quincy-dein.html' size='20'><img src='http://fineartamerica.com/displayartwork.html?id=3613901&width=249&height=166' alt='Photography Prints' title='Photography Prints' style='border: none;'></a>

“Camping Under the Stars” by Quincy Dein

 

The BBC recently published an article about the effects on the body as a result of working the night shift. It is no surprise that the overall conclusion was that it is not good for us, but one result of the research was that the “speed and severity of damage caused by being awake at night was a surprise.”

 

Night shift workers are a more extreme example of what happens when we move away from natural cycles, which have developed with the rhythms of the sun. All of life moves according to the sun’s movement. The most harmonious order for our health is to rise early, eat at regular times, settle down in the evening, and sleep deeply at night. We have the best ability to get deep, refreshing sleep between midnight and four, which correlates with the time when the most stars are visible.

 

Our natural rhythm is of intake and discharge. During the day, our bodies take in for activity and at night, our organs and nervous system recharge, repair, and gather excess, which is eliminated in the morning. Upon rising, we go to the bathroom and do our morning routine.

 

According to Oriental Medicine, different parts of our body are nourished at different times of the day. The activation of our organs also follows a rhythm. Our kidneys and bladder– the seat of vitality, balance, and elimination– are most active at night when we are in a horizontal position. Our liver and gallbladder are more active in the morning to do the job of fat metabolism and detoxification.  The heart and small intestine is activated by being upright and vertical around noon. A nourishing lunch starting before 1 p.m. activates our lymph and immune systems, harmonizes our blood sugar and resets our biological clock. Walking outside during a lunch break is a very heart healthy practice. Settling down in the evening helps to regulate our lungs and large intestine. Our various organ systems work in accord with natural cycles daily as well as seasonally.

 

Another result of some studies was that “shift workers getting too little sleep at the wrong time of day may be increasing their risk of type-2 diabetes and obesity.” We have the greatest ability to release excess early in the morning and at night our body repairs itself. When we are awake at night and continuously taking in during these hours, we accumulate and are unable to normally release the accumulated excess. If we sleep during the day, our organs get out of sync. If we take a nap sometime after lunch, however, we align with the receding energy of the day.

 

For ex-night shift workers or the sleeping impaired, the best thing you can do to re-align with natural cycles is to start rising by 7 a.m. and eat a regular lunch by 1 p.m. A daily walk outside helps us to reconnect with nature as well.

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