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.

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Some Thoughts on Dietary Supplements

Posted on by Denny Waxman

There has been a lot of controversy about the possible harms of dietary supplements over the years. The October 17 report on NPR has raised this question yet again.

http://www.npr.org/2011/10/17/141411363/americans-urged-to-reconsider-use-of-dietary-supplements

The last time I heard T. Collin Campbell (“The China Study”) speak, he stated that his research showed that it was the food and not the nutrient that gave the benefit and that the results of supplement use were unpredictable.

Common sense and experience tells us that a varied plant based diet along with life-related activity and a positive attitude are the basis of sound and lasting health. I recommend having a grain and a separate vegetable dish with every meal and making sure that you are trying to have regular variety in your diet. Brown rice and steamed kale with every meal do not count as variety—don’t be afraid to mix it up! More details can be found in my book “The Great Life Diet.”

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Risks: Acid Reflux Drugs Tied to Bone Fractures

Posted on by Denny Waxman

A new analysis adds to growing evidence that people using proton pump inhibitors to control symptoms of acid reflux are more likely to fracture bones than those who do not. Read article

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Mother’s diet during pregnancy alters baby’s DNA

Posted on by Denny Waxman

A mother’s diet during pregnancy can alter the DNA of her child and increase the risk of obesity, according to researchers. The study, to be published in the journal Diabetes, showed that eating low levels of carbohydrate changed bits of DNA. Read article

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Crazy for coconut? Enjoy it – carefully

Posted on by Denny Waxman

Here are my comments about coconut oil in a recent article in the Phildelphia Daily News.

Crazy for coconut? Enjoy it – carefully
April 21, 2011|By Maria Zankey

Coconut Oil and Carrot Cake. DON’T FEEL too guilty as you crack open that coconut-cream Easter egg, though you might want to save half for later. After nearly two decades of being considered “forbidden” in a healthy diet, coconut and products made with it are being viewed in a new light by some scientists, health nuts and chefs.

Coconut – be it oil, meat, water or milk – has gone from being a cholesterol criminal to an antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal “super food.”

Monica Glass, dessert chef at 10 Arts Bistro & Lounge by Eric Ripert in the Ritz-Carlton, said she inadvertently stumbled upon coconut oil as a potential cooking fat when Googling cholesterol-friendly recipes about two years ago.

“Coconut oil was showing up in a lot of gluten-free recipes,” the West Chester native said. “Bad cholesterol runs in my family, so that was really my main reason for trying it.”

Now, Glass said, she frequently uses a tablespoon “here or there” while cooking at home – mainly in granola bars or her favorite gluten-free muffins. “It makes a very good substitute for sautéing carrots or other vegetables, mainly because it can be liquid or sit firmer like butter. If you use enough of it, you can definitely taste the coconut flavor in your baked goods.”

Glass said her next venture in the kitchen with coconut oil will be using it as a key ingredient to conquer a gluten-free pie or tart crust.

But neighbors haven’t been knocking on doors for a cup of coconut for very long.
The public uproar over coconuts, namely coconut oil, began in the mid-’80s when advertising campaigns funded by the American Soybean Association and the National Health Savers Association brought tropical oils’ high levels of saturated fats to light: 86 grams compared with just 36 grams in lard.

The tropical oils terror was further drawn out in the mid-’90s when the Center for Science in the Public Interest released data revealing that most movie theater concession stands popped their corn in coconut oil because of its ability to cook at a high temperature without smoking. A large tub of popcorn popped in coconut oil, the CSPI said, bulged with nearly 1,600 calories and four days’ worth of saturated fat, double that of a serving of fettuccine Alfredo.

But apparently, comparing oils and saturated fats can be like comparing apples and oranges. The refined coconut oil used in those movie theaters in the ’90s is not the same as the unprocessed virgin coconut oil found in health food stores today.

Coconut oil that has been hydrogenated, a process that makes liquid fats solid to increase shelf life, contains trans fats, which can compromise cardiovascular health, according to the American Dietetic Association.

While virgin coconut oil is trans-fat free, it contains high levels of saturated fat. But the saturated fats in coconut oil are composed of as much as 57 percent lauric acid, a component also found to be an immunity booster in breast milk. And while lauric acid saturated fats do raise overall cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins, it’s not significant enough to make an impact, according to a study released by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

In layman’s terms, coconut oil is perfectly safe to use in moderation but perhaps to replace other oils rather than being added to the diet.

Denny Waxman, who co-founded Philly natural food store Essene Market in 1969 and has since moved on to health counseling, has seen similar food “scares” and crazes come and go. His brother Howard Waxman owns the 4th Street store now.

“I just like to sit back and watch any time a new super food comes out,” Denny Waxman said. “We’re always looking for the next ‘wonder food,’ the next thing that’s going to transform us. Whatever it is, it never turns out to be what people thought it was.”

Waxman is a longtime practitioner of macrobiotics, a diet that suggests choosing foods indigenous to your or similar climactic zones yields maximum health benefits. So while Waxman prefers sesame and olive oil, he said, coconut oil is not the health villain it had been made out to be.

And for vegans or gluten-free dieters, coconut oil can be a miracle ingredient. With the ability to take on both liquid and solid states depending on its temperature, it’s been used to replace butter or other trans-fatty oils. It’s also appreciated for its nutty, sweetening flavor.

“The [dietary] purpose of oil is to make food more digestible, absorb minerals, fat-soluble vitamins and calcium,” Waxman said. “Cooking with oil steps up the ability to get more energy from food. But whether you’re using sesame or olive or coconut oil, we should use it more sparingly than liberally.”

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

How Eating at Home Can Save Your Life

Posted on by Denny Waxman

The slow insidious displacement of home cooked and communally shared family meals by the industrial food system has fattened our nation and weakened our family ties. Read article.

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

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

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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