The China Study and Macrobiotics

Posted on by Denny Waxman

American society has a general notion that we are neither in control of our genes nor the environmental factors which cause disease. Under this assumption, many may be throwing up their hands and wondering: What’s the use of trying to prevent disease when it is inevitable?


A current medical assumption is that early detection of a disease in fact prevents disease from killing us. But does it? Unfortunately, this approach in western medicine does not save lives. In my experience, it merely prolongs life of lower quality. A nutritional biochemist, who I both admire and follow, by the name of T. Colin Campbell authored The China Study in 2005, explicating discoveries that could alter our way of life.


Two points(there are many!) contained in the book are ones I would like to relay to you most as they give evidence contrary to the current American diet and furthermore provide scientific support for the practice of a macrobiotic way of eating.

 1. Diet can cause, or reverse, the majority of contemporary degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Epigenetics is the study of genetic expression, that is the study of mechanisms outside of our DNA that can cause a particular gene to express itself. The genetic propensity an individual has for a particular disease can, on a chemical level, be “turned on” or “kept off”. How can we control the expression of our genes?

Hopefully, you guessed that we have an enormous amount of personal control with our diets. The China Study proposes that although cancer is a result of many things, including toxic external environmental influences, the cancer gene that we may have in our DNA is likely to be “turned on” as a result of what we eat.

T. Colin Campbell made this discovery through experiments involving rats and the dairy protein casein, concluding that it was a very prevalent and potent carcinogen in our society. When animal and dairy protein comprises 10% or more of our diets, our genetic markers for cancer activate. When our intake of those proteins falls below 10%, those same markers deactivate.

 2. Eating whole foods facilitates the absorption of nutrients, not isolated dietary supplements.

Mr. Campbell’s research shows that while taking a dietary supplement may have an unpredictable effect, a whole food works within the body to foster a better environment in which to absorb nutrients. In the book, he uses a case involving beta-carotene and Vitamin A in relation to lung cancer. It was discovered previously that people with higher levels of these nutrients in their blood were less likely to develop lung cancer, even if they were smokers. The results of a controlled experiment involving supplements with these nutrients shocked many.

Those taking the supplements actually developed lung cancer at a higher rate. This is because we cannot assume to know how the body will take in and distribute nutrients because the body takes care of itself in a healthy digestive system. The conclusion was that when integrating particular vitamins and minerals into one’s diet, a whole food(an example being a vegetable or whole grain) must be eaten to ensure the healthy, balanced absorption of nutrients.



A conclusion of The China Study is to transition to a whole food, plant-based diet.  It is rare to see mainstream nutritional research promote such healthy habits. T. Colin Campbell’s contribution to the evidence of the efficacy and healthiness of a plant based diet gives so much credence to macrobiotics. Whereas science and research can offer proof or conclude something, there isn’t much in the book guiding people or offering methods of how to switch or change diet and lifestyle.


I find it is here where his research and my life work complement each other. If I can’t provide the evidence on why our current diet standards are so imbalanced and unhealthy, The China Study does. And if The China Study does not offer suggestions or guidance to a reader about eating healthy or practicing a healthy lifestyle, I can.


As contemporary society, we have a lot to be thankful for and a lot that we have inherited, both culturally and genetically. We have the developments and technologies of modern science that has greatly informed and changed our methods of observing the world around us. We also have a cultural history that spans at least 10,000 years around the globe, which also includes a vast knowledge and history of practicing health, mindfulness and awareness. It behooves me in my own practice to honor the insights given to us by the past as well as to integrate and utilize the techniques that technology offers to insure our health for both today and future generations.

I am interested in hearing your opinions and responses on this topic.

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Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Posted on by Denny Waxman

I’ve written two blogs about breast cancer, both describing what things to do in order to greatly decrease your risk of developing it.  In Shining Light on Breast Cancer Prevention, I explained what lifestyle habits to practice, and in Pertinent Info. about your Health and Breast Cancer, I correlated the spiritual, emotional, and physical factors that contribute to the start of breast cancer.  Today I am giving you the Top 5 Risk Factors in conclusion.  Now you have more concrete tools in working towards avoiding breast cancer:

Top Five Risk Factors:

1) Irregular Menstruation & Constipation or Irregular Bowel Movements

Most women with breast cancer have either or both of these issues.  When the body cannot eliminate excess and detoxify through the kidneys, intestines or reproductive organs, this accumulation may try to eliminate through the lungs or breast.  This can set the stage for the development of cancer. Cancer can be developed through deficiency as well as excess.  To be safe from breast cancer, keep your cycles in your ovaries and bowels on a healthy schedule.

2) Eating Dairy Foods (especially with refined sugar)

Eating diary, and I’m emphasizing yogurt because I see that many people overeat yogurt.  According to Colin Campbell, casein, which is dairy protein, is one of the most potent carcinogens on the planet.

3) Excessive Emotions

The heart chakra regulates energy metabolism and circulation in the chest region.  Excessive emotion creates a pathway for inflammation.  This inflammation can be manifested in the development of cancer.

4) Lack of Emotional Expression

Since the heart chakra regulates energy, when someone shuts down due to grief, loss, and depression allows stagnation to build up in the area.  A person cannot express how they feel, therefore they cannot renew the energy locked up in their chest region.

5) Not walking outside regularly

Walking helps because it settles strengthens digestion, calms the nervous system and rebalances the body on many levels.

If you show signs of these risks factors and harbor deep concern about developing breast cancer, I can help.  Please set up a consultation with me so that I can show you how to dampen your fear of this disease.

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Some Photos of our trip. Enjoy :)

Posted on by Denny Waxman

DennySeattleSusanSwaseySusan Seattle DennyandNatashaDennySign Boats CookingClass Food

Photo Credits to my vibrant wife: Susan Waxman.

Again, we appreciate the chance to meet and work with all of you this past month.  Please keep in touch and we hope to see you soon at SHI.

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Sharing the good news of Macrobiotics!

Posted on by Denny Waxman

Susan and I just returned from a trip to San Diego and Seattle. It was my first time in both cities. People have told me that San Diego has a similar relationship to LA as Philadelphia to New York.  I was totally able to relate to this analogy, well except for the beaches and weather of course.


In San Diego we got a chance to visit and stay with our two daughters who live there, Natasha and Madeline and our future son-in-law Ivan. That was actually our inspiration for planning our first West coast teaching and counseling tour in years. We had a number of meals and held our classes and counseling at the San Diego Casa de Luz, a macrobiotic restaurant and educational center. We had been to the original Casa de Luz in Austin in the past and it was fun to see their expansion.  A big THANK YOU! goes to Kathy Swasey for her generosity, kindness, and friendship in helping Susan and me.  The trip would not have been the success it was without you.


We also had a chance meet and renew some friendships. Gordon Saxe, M.D. is a long-time friend from Baltimore originally. He heads an Integrative Medical Center at UCSD. They have great plans for spreading macrobiotic education and practice. Gordon’s project is truly groundbreaking. As far as I know it is the only hospital based Integrative Medical center based on macrobiotic principles. I was very happy to learn from Gordon the effect that I and macrobiotics had on his medical career. It was also good to reminisce about the Mid-Atlantic Summer Camp that ended in the mid eighty’s.


We also had a chance to meet with Jean Richardson, the owner of Gold Mine Natural Foods. It was great to see that she and her business are doing well. Jean also sponsored nine of her employees to attend my lectures and Susan cooking classes. It was rewarding to see a business owner sponsor macrobiotic education for her employees. Jennie, Jean’s daughter assisted Susan in her cooking class and took extensive photos.


Our next stop was Seattle, a truly beautiful city. We were totally inspired by the natural beauty within and around Seattle. They told us not to tell anyone that we didn’t see a drop of rain while we were there. I came back with a tan! We were sponsored by our good friends Sophie and Pavel Dolezel in three lectures, two cooking classes, and a packed counseling schedule. We also had a chance to reconnect with some old friends.


This was an amazing trip for us to see new cities, make many new friends, and to spread our open and adaptable style of macrobiotic practice. I am excited to see many new people at our seminars at the Strengthening Health Institute.

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Pertinent Info about your Health and Breast Cancer

Posted on by Denny Waxman

In my last post, I was trying to help others understand about Macrobiotics and disease.  The recent news of Angelina Jolie’s preventive double mastectomy concerned me because women look to her and could repeat this procedure.  I hope that someday everyone can understand that there is another way to prevent disease, especially breast cancer.  I see illness as direction, rather than a static state.  Diet and lifestyle lead us towards health or sickness, and as we can see, the modern diet and lifestyle together lead the majority of our population towards sickness.  Breast cancer is becoming an epidemic and effecting younger and younger women, and the same is true for diabetes.  I believe the answer is our open and flexible approach to Macrobiotics, as a lifestyle, not just a dietary change.

Most people who develop serious illness have already made an attempt to improve their diet and lifestyle, which makes it even more shocking that they end up with disease.  I often have the opposite opinion as the mainstream on how behaviors and food contribute to health, and how to prevent problems.  Just about all cancer relates to our diet.  Cancer may lie in our DNA, but it will not activate or express itself unless we tell it to with our diet and lifestyle.  We have the power to increase health IF we know what to do.

Breast cancer is another result of deteriorating health.  From my research and experience, I have listed below what factors contribute to illness in the breast.

Physical Factors:

Irregular menstruation and digestive issues including irregular bowels, indigestion, constipation, and irregular periods.  When we have a healthy hormonal balance, we will eliminate effectively through urination and our bowel movements, and women through menstruation.  In oriental medicine, our body is seen as complimentary systems.  The intestines are complimentary to the lungs (and the breasts).  This is the connection between bowel health and breast cancer.  Making sure that these two systems eliminate excess promotes a positive direction for breast health.

Emotional and Spiritual Factors:

The heart chakra is our center of emotion.  We give and receive feelings from a passionate center in our chest.  Too much passion can be dangerous as well as the lack of emotion and the inability to create expression.  Both can create stagnation and difficulty connecting to emotions.  Many people, especially women, perform their lives under high stress because they do not live a lifestyle that allows for healthy limits of passion.  When we operate on stress, we move in the direction of disease, which can manifest in our body as breast cancer.  When I think about this spiritually, I think of breast cancer as a disease of excess located in the fourth chakra.  Since this is our center of passion, I don’t find it difficult to draw the connection that most of my breast cancer clients tend to over nurture others.

 OK- What can we do about it?

Regular meals are crucial to maintain regularity in the body.  Try to sit down and eat at regular times.  Please stop what you’re doing to allow space for self-reflection.  Eating can help us to readjust our minds in the same way that meditation allows us to create space and become more open.  Also of immense importance: WALK OUTSIDE.  It settles the energy down, balancing both sides of our body, and creating healing vibration through the reproductive and digestive organs.  Spiritually, a steady and comfortable walk allows us to eliminate any energy imbalance we harbor inside.

Other tips: Try rolling a ball on the bottom of your foot and walking barefoot through the grass.  If you can, take a stroll at the edge of the ocean just where the sand and ocean meet.  These habits further allow us to settle our energy down and eliminate what we don’t use.

 *Please remember that if you do the right things for health, your body will naturally respond with health.  This is where a practical understanding of diet, lifestyle, and health becomes important.  Regular meals and walking needs to be an active member is your team of healthcare modalities.

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Upcoming Trips! San Diego & Seattle

Posted on by Denny Waxman

Susan and I will be visiting San Diego and Seattle next week to spread the word on our unique approach to macrobiotics. In teaching about the openness of macrobiotics, we are giving people the best tools to use to maintain healthy bodies and emotions.

I’m also very excited to visit two of my daughters who live in San Diego and see two good friends in Seattle.

In San Diego, I will be at Casa de Luz in at 2920 University Ave on June 4-6, offering two lectures:

Tuesday, June 4th at 6-7:30pm on my book The Great Life Diet (FREE)

Wednesday, June 5th from 6-9pm on Hypoglycemia. This lecture includes a cooking class by Susan from 6-8 on how to make Delicious Summer Salads ($75).

Casa de Luz is an awesome organization, and I’m proud to be working with them. They emphasize macrobiotics and teaching about health.

We’re then moving north to Seattle from June 7-9, hosted by Sophie and Pavel Dolezel. The schedule for Seattle has the same lectures, but with one addition to include health and families.

Friday, June 7th at 6pm on The Great Life Diet at Lake Hills Library in Bellevue, WA. (FREE)

Saturday, June 8th on Hypoglycemia at 10:30am to 3pmat 21 Acres in Woodinville, WA. This lectures includes a catered lunch and a cooking class by Susan on balanced everyday dishes ($70).

Sunday, June 10:30am to 3pm on Family, Health, and Vibrant Children at 21 Acres. This class includes a cooking class on quick family dishes ($70).

We’re looking forward to the travel, but most importantly eager to share our findings and approach to macrobiotics with interested people.

Please Contact me at if you’re in the area and would like to schedule a consultation.


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Dead Food

Posted on by Denny Waxman

I just watched an alarming video about a hamburger that is older than some people’s pets.  It hasn’t changed shape, grown mold, or even rotted after ten years.  This is just an example of how our modern food industry doesn’t prepare food because change should be a property of food.  Age can enhance the quality of foods; think about cheese, wine, and miso.  Also, the way in which food is prepared can provide different nourishment.  Sauerkraut is more than just cabbage and sea salt because fermentation magnifies the bioavailabilty of the nutrients to our bodies.  Pickling, sun drying, cold storage, smoking are other examples of processes that bring a unique aspect to the food we eat.

Modern food processing, which was developed during WWII, takes away the enhanced quality that food could contain.  During WWII, we tried to create foods that would last indefinitely for soldiers overseas, but now we have a problem because we’ve continued on dead-food-track.  Modern food creation destroys enzymes, bacteria, oxidation, or other changes that should naturally occur within food.  To take it a step farther, the fast food industry has mastered this art of food preservation, as shown in the video, to create food that may outlive cockroaches.

In complete food, we have three types of nourishment: physical, energetic, and spiritual.

1. Physical nourishment is the gross nutrients: minerals, protein, carbs, vitamins, fats, etc.

2. Energetic nourishment is the quality of the soil and seed, how it was grown, how it was harvested, processed, stored, and prepared.

3. Spiritual nourishment means the health, attitude, and care of the person preparing the food.

All three types of nourishment are linked of course.  You cannot ingest nutrients without combining other aspects such as how the food grew, and how you received it.  When our manufactured food is created from genetically modified organisms (GMO), in unnatural soil, and prepared by a person that does not like his or her job, we are not properly nourishing ourselves.  Even though on paper the gross nutrients of our food may be the same as a meal prepared with our family, it is not the same.

Ask yourself which type of nourishment gives you the greatest satisfaction through food.


Most people respond knowing that spiritual nourishment leaves them most satisfied.


 This is real food, prepared by my lovely, hardworking, and brilliant wife: Susan Waxman.

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Metabolism Basics

Posted on by Denny Waxman

This article in the Huffington Post struck my interest.  The time is now for macrobiotics because as this articles explains, people are exposed to obesity for longer periods of time. Simply stated, westerners are becoming fatter, earlier in life.

My definition of metabolism is the ability to digest food, absorb nutrients, and eliminate waste.  Two factors control metabolism: what we eat and when we eat it.  What we eat is obviously important, but when?  Why is that a key factor?

The digestive system, contrary to most beliefs, is not “on call” for all hours of the day and night.  It has highest capabilities in the mornings between 5am and 8am, 11am to 1pm, and in the evenings between 5pm and 7:30pm.  These are meal times:  breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  If you eat the right foods at the right times, it activates your metabolism.  Remember that one component of metabolism is elimination of waste.  If you give yourself nutrition at these meal times, you can most effectively get rid of what you don’t need.  If you eat the right foods at the right time, your body processes what you will use and then can detox the rest.  Weight cannot build up on the body.

Think of it like this: In a three bedroom house, you have ten people and everyone must leave.  People grab their stuff and go out the door easily.  Bump that number to 100 people, and it gets tougher to leave the house.  And then, what about 500 people?  If you’re in the back, you’ll be waiting a long time until you see the door.

Obese people have a slow metabolism and experience this sort of back up with their food intake.  But there is hope because everyone, even the morbidly obese, has the ability to improve their metabolism.  The health of the western world concerns me greatly, and I’ve been thinking about what caused this epidemic of obesity in the first place.  Generally speaking, the contributing factors that changed are food quality, adherence to meal times, and activities that connect us to our natural surroundings.

Through the industrial revolution and the aftermath of World War II, our food quality diminished with pesticides and modern food preservation.  Fast food restaurants, two working-parent households, children uneducated in proper nutrition, and many more factors have lead to what is now an eradication of regular meal times.  Lastly, activities that connect us to our natural surroundings are not mainstream either.  Working on a computer and staying seated all day can not be undone through scheduled exercise.  Higher levels of outside activity would prevent this obesity problem for the majority of people that suffer from this condition.

Here are my simple rules to activate metabolism:

  1. Eat exclusively when you sit down.  Pay attention to the food that you put in your body.  Make sure you’re not doing anything else because you won’t remember you ate and will want to eat again.
  2. Never skip breakfast or lunch.  It will be answered with weight gain.  Within these time frames, your metabolism can be activated, so you don’t want to miss it.
  3. Eat a comfortable amount of grains and vegetables and a variety of other plant-based foods at your meals.  Hold no restrictions to how much healthy food you want to eat.


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A Good Night’s Sleep

Posted on by Denny Waxman

We all know the value of a good nights sleep. We are told about it from when we were young and the value of a good nights sleep just appeals to our common sense. Unfortunately, an ever increasing number of people have difficulty sleeping, difficulty waking up and getting out of bed or just not feeling refreshed and ready for the day upon waking. There is mounting evidence that our diet affects our sleep.

A lack of sleep is associated with an increased number of accidents while driving or at work, chronic degenerative illnesses and obesity. When we feel tired even our food does not taste the same and we are likely to eat foods that we would not think of eating when we are well rested. When we feel tired our memory is not as sharp, we get irritated more easily and often do not experience the same degree of appreciation for life as we usually do. Sleep affects all aspects of our life and well-being.

In Oriental medicine and diagnosis, which is the basis of my macrobiotic counseling practice for more than 40 years, opposites show each other. The day shows the night and the night shows the day. In other words, the combination of our diet and eating habits during the day regulate the quality of our sleep at night. One of the most common things that I hear from my clients is how much better they are sleeping from following my recommendations. They also report on better energy, mood and a sense of well-being.

Please follow these steps to steadily improve the quality of your sleep and overall well-being.
Eat at regular times without skipping meals. See my previous blog.
Stop eating three hours before getting into bed.
Eat a plant based diet including a variety of unrefined grains and grain products, beans, vegetables, soups and other foods. This will help even if your diet is not exclusively plant based.
Walk outside for at least a half hour a day. It can be a combined half hour. All outdoor activity is helpful especially when surrounded by nature.
If you have a sedentary job, take regular breaks from sitting to walk around and stretch.
Keep green plants in your bedroom.

Even small steps can start to make a difference in your sleep. Just get a start in the areas you are comfortable with.

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Creating Order Out of Chaos

Posted on by Denny Waxman

After Superstorm Sandy has slammed the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, it is hard to imagine that nature alone is responsible. Even if you deny that there is global warming and that we are at least part of the cause, it is hard to miss the fact that the severity of storms and earthquakes is steadily increasing. The five most expensive natural disasters in history have occurred in the the last 18 years, since 1994. Two of these disasters have been in the U.S. It is still too soon to say which number Hurricane Sandy will be on the list.

It seems evident to me that our excessive diet and lifestyle, together with our complete disregard for nature are strong contributing factors to the recent changes in weather. Some people think that the weather is a reflection of our inner feelings, thoughts and turmoil. Everyone knows that a happy person brightens a room when they enter and that happiness and laughter are infectious. The opposite is also true when someone who is upset or tormented shows up. We influence our environment in the same way that our environment influences us. We usually feel more uplifted on a bright, sunny day.

They say that people with a green thumb talk to their plants. I know my wife does and we have a house full of beautiful, happy plants. It stands to reason that nature is a reflection of our overall health, including our innermost thoughts and feelings. From this subtle to a more gross reality, our daily choices of what and how we eat can have an enormous impact on the health of soil, waterways, ecosystems and the global climate. Part of one whole, it is not a coincidence that the general public and environment simultaneously face ill-health on catastrophic and pandemic proportions.

In health, our energy, thoughts and emotions go through a range of ups and downs that are not overly extreme. Some days are better than others but we generally feel and act okay. As we start to loose our health, these physical, emotional and mental extremes start to increase. We experience more physical, emotional and mental ups and downs. Nature is loosing it’s health and these extremes between hot and cold, floods and droughts are increasing worldwide. These extremes are also causing storms and earthquakes to become more severe.

As nature looses it’s healthy order it is increasingly more important to bring order into our daily life. Order and chaos balance each other. Try to keep you mealtimes, daily activities, rising and sleeping times as regular as you can. Go outside for a walk, meditate or do your yoga at the same time each day. Try to be as regular and consistent as you can in a comfortable way. Life pulls us in different directions so it is not always possible to be as consistent as we would like, but having an intention of such a routine will always pull us in the right direction.

At the Strengthening Health Institute we teach people how to create lasting health and personal fulfillment through order in diet, eating habits and lifestyle practices. I am always amazed to see the power of these simple practices as I watch people transform each day of our seminars and into their daily lives. I hope to see you here soon to help bring some order to the mounting chaos around us.

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