Body, Mind and Spirit

Posted on by Denny Waxman

It seems common sense to me that food nourishes us on many levels including our mind, and that a healthy body and mind are the prerequisites for developing a strong and effective educational system. There has been a lot in the media recently about how Americans are comparing unfavorably with many other nations in both health and education. There has been a steady decline over the years in these areas. The decline seems to reflect our poor diets and lack of natural outdoor activity. We hear about and can even see the alarming rates of overweight, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. I find our decline painful to watch in so many ways.

Food is energy or spirit. When we eat physical food it breaks down to liquid and then energy. Most of the food we eat goes to nourish our energy on physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual levels, rather than maintenance and repair of our bodies. If this does not make sense to you, try meditating after eating a meal of brown rice, miso soup and sautéed vegetables. Then try the same meditation the next day after eating fried chicken or pizza and a soda. Doesn’t it seem that there would be a difference in these two meditations. Would you even want to or be able to meditate after the fried chicken or pizza meals?

I was a terrible student growing up. I had no interest in school other than recess. I was also a total junk food eater with a steadily declining diet. It was only after I discovered macrobiotics and started to eat a primarily grain, bean and vegetable based diet that I wanted to sit down and read books. As time went on I wanted to know about and study everything! I became a wonderful, self-motivated student on my own. When my body was open to real nourishment, so was my mind. My children are all interested in education, the children of my friends and clients are as well. The common point is healthy foods create a healthy body and mind. Health craves health on every level, diet, activity and education.

The combination of a healthy diet and healthy activity helps us to develop a strong nervous system and a powerful memory that enables us to understand and figure things out. Healthy food gives us this kind of mental clarity. This sounds like a bold statement, however, it is based on my observation of myself, friends and clients over many years. A plant based diet helps us create connections. It naturally encourages us to connect with each other, nature, the environment and most importantly our life dreams.

It is time to realize the connections between body, mind, spirit, society, nature and environment and that the solutions my be right in front of us, on our dinner plates.

No Comments | Tags: Cancer, Diabetes, Macrobiotic Diet, Macrobiotics, Uncategorized

Helen Stevenson Memorial

Posted on by Denny Waxman

Helen Stevenson was a dear friend for many years. She passed on July 16 and she is missed already. Helen had a gentle smile and a wacky sense of humor. She also had a sharp tongue when needed and an ability to just shrug things off after.

We became friends when we sat next to each other on an Amtrak train to Harrisburg to fight the Dietician’s Licensure Bill around 1986. Being a Number 6 like me in 9 Star Ki Astrology, I found her a little intimidating at first and was a little nervous about sitting next to her on the train for the next hour. They say that Number 6 is the most intimidating number. By the time we arrived in Harrisburg, her warmth, gentleness and humor had shown through and that train ride was the beginning of a long and close friendship for the next 25 years.

Helen was more than a friend. She was a member of my family and was designated as the “surrogate granny” of my children with Melanie. She was part of birthdays, holidays and vacations. Helen was also a good listener and a good advisor. She was my client and student and also my friend and mentor at the same time. I found her common sense and calm guidance invaluable over the years. My love and admiration for her will be shared by many.

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True Nourishment

Posted on by Denny Waxman

Susan and I are still feeling the peaceful effects of Saturday’s “Day of Mindfulness.”

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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.

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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

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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

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Emotions and Health

Posted on by Denny Waxman

If we get nervous or angry we influence our health! Happy and unhappy emotions have an effect of either improving or weakening the quality of our blood. The same dynamic exists between emotions and our organs. If we feel calm and peaceful, this nourishes the liver. This is the same kind of energy that creates the liver and returns it to balance. If we feel courage and security, this type of deep energy nourishes our kidneys. On the other hand, if you experience strong fear, that can weaken your kidneys. If you become very angry, the opposite of calm and peaceful, that harms your liver; weakens it. And the more you experience an emotion, the more your organs are damaged by that. The balance works in both directions.

Emotions exist to make balance. Emotions have a natural state. That natural state is something flowing and changing. Healthy emotions are constantly changing. Some days we feel a little bit more up, some days more down, more tense. It changes from day to day and this is a natural state. It is something like the weather, which changes from day to day. We can tell when there is a problem with our emotions when we experience the opposite; when our emotions start to surge; to become too strong, forceful or extreme, or stuck, rigid or one-sided.

There are many ways to read and influence our health.

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Emotions and Blood Quality

Posted on by Denny Waxman

\In macrobiotics we look at illness as a developmental progression. The first major stage, which is not really an illness itself in many cases, is our blood starting to become imbalanced. Our blood, which has hemoglobin, iron containing protein at the center, is important for maintaining our direction in life. When our blood quality is strong, it is easier to maintain a good direction. When our blood quality starts to become weaker, it is easier to lose our direction. Also, our sensitivity is affected. Once we have a disorder with our blood, which includes allergies and skin diseases, we become much more emotional than we were before and emotional sensitivity starts to change. We start to become more sensitive, overly sensitive, or start to lack sensitivity in certain areas. It can go from one extreme or the other.

From there, illness passes to the next level, emotional disorders. Here, emotional imbalances, which started on a previous level of blood, start to become more fixed or deeper. This then becomes our state of being, where we have free-floating fears or anxieties and become more depressive or angered. Our view of life or our approach to life starts at this point to be affected, in the area of so-called emotional disorders. Finally, from emotional disorders, we develop organ or gland problems. This is the area where most modern problems fall, heart disease as well as diabetes and chronic hypoglycemia. Intermittent hypoglycemia we can classify on the level of blood.

It is not by accident that emotions are between our blood quality and our organs or gland quality. Emotions play a kind of balancing or harmonizing role in our lives. We will look at this more next week.

No Comments | Tags: Adjusting Your Diet, Events, Macrobiotic Philosophy, Uncategorized

Bonsai Dreams

Posted on by Denny Waxman

From Phiya Kushi’s Blog: Musings on life and macrobiotics

Below are a list of ideas that have come to me and have remained undeveloped until now. They will be removed when it is discovered that either someone has already done it or it deserves to be in the dustbin and forgotten.

1. Supermarkets With No Packaging
Here, I envision a grocery store where everything (and I mean absolutely EVERYTHING) is sold in bulk and where you bring your own containers, or you can buy recyclable ones on the premises. There would be no presence of any packaging anywhere; no brand names, no colorful designs, and no sensational words to entice you. Each food section would have their own wait staff who would take your containers and fill them up with the desired amount of product and then give you a ticket which you would then take up to the cashier. What this idea does is eliminate the excessive expense of creating, marketing and distributing all those packages that one sees the moment one enters a supermarket which is wasteful (look at what’s in your kitchen garbage) and can be deceptive. Food marketing should be based on integrity and transparency and not flash, “bling”, and other gimmicks, that are intended to mask or hide what’s really behind or in the products. (Where advertising expense could go is in future food product “descriptions” which would be online.) If successful, this idea could also eliminate the heavy environmental burden involved in repackaging and transporting goods in “throw-away” packaging (which never really go away, anyways). It also prevents customer spillage and potential fraud at bulk areas as well adds a new desirable level of customer service. If we are to truly go environmental friendly then supermarkets will have to go this way.

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Alejandro Aguilera – Controlling HIV with Macrobiotics

Posted on by Denny Waxman

“I am HIV positive. Macrobiotics chose me to follow its Path and not the other way around. I was diagnosed in May 2006, two days after my birthday. I was devastated. Fortunately macrobiotics found me, and I have never had to take anti-retroviral medications.” – Alejandro Aguilera

Alejandro’s HIV symptoms began while on a trip to Turin during the 2006 Winter Olympics. It started as night sweats and a viral rash. Shortly after returning to the US, he caught a cold which kept getting worse. He had to change his shirt at least five times in one night because he was soaked in sweat. As symptoms progressed and being knowledgeable of HIV, he feared the worse. He wept. He had doctors test for everything else and went to three anonymous testing centers. Finally, he was running out of options and while waiting for the anonymous results, he agreed to be tested by my doctors twice. He had no insurance at the time. Out of the five tests, three came back positive for HIV. He then decided to accept the virus now living in my body. He contacted his attorney and closest friends to share the diagnosis. Eventually, in time, he would contact his family.

Alejandro recalled a young Minneapolis bartender suggesting macrobiotics. The bartender had tried it with much success in regards to his condition but had given it up. He also mentioned a homeopath and a bookstore in South Minneapolis.

Alejandro’s soul sister in Minneapolis, Daniella took him that weekend to see the homeopath. It was at “Present Moment” bookstore that Daniella bought his first macrobiotic text for his birthday: Michio Kushi and Alex Jack’s “The Macrobiotic Path to Total Health”. He went home and devoured the entire section on AIDS and found himself agreeing with the precepts and principles. He proceeded to empty his pantry into brown grocery paper bags, and recycled his teflon and aluminum cookware. The next day, he returned unused groceries back to the neighborhood convenience store and then went to Target to buy stainless steel cookware. His next stop was the Wedge Community Coop to buy “MACRO” food. The cashier turned out to be macro and this was the beginning of a mentoring relationship. She would give him first pressure cooker and his first Le Creuset pot. She would eventually take him to Philadelphia to see renowned, Macrobiotic Counselor, Denny Waxman.

Alejandro witnessed his viral load diminish from over 300,000 copies per milliliter of blood down to a bit over 9,000 copies per milliliter. He also has a fluctuating immune system, CD4 count that keeps him in very good health. He has only had the flu once since becoming macrobiotic, and the only symptom which reminds him of his condition (and his humble existence) is the hairy oral leukoplakia on his tongue.

Emotionally and spiritually, Alejandro moved from anger and punching walls, to fear and endless tears, to a place of peace, light, service and redemption. He now suggests to others that: “If you want to LIVE and fully embrace your purpose in Life, then give macrobiotics a chance to change your point of view. It did that for me.”

Listen to Controlling HIV with Macrobiotics

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