Year End 2012

Posted on by Denny Waxman

At the end of every year I like to write a list of the ten most important social, environmental and personal events of that year. It is a practice that I learned from my teacher, Michio Kushi, many years ago and have found it to be a valuable practice. It serves as a basis for personal and social reflection and helps us clarify a direction for the future. The second part of this practice is to write your own list of goals for 2013.

Interestingly, nature had different plans for me this year. I was under the weather with a cold or flu for nearly three weeks. This was very unusual for me considering if I ever get sick it is for two to three days, not weeks. As a result I missed the holidays and years end for the most part. Most of these year end events remain clouded in mist for me. It is only now, a week into the new year, that I am trying to catch up and regain some clarity in my life.

The events that come to mind immediately are a bit staggering, Super Storm Sandy, the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and California Proposition 37 that called for mandatory labeling of GMO foods.

In Oriental Diagnosis, which is an integral part of my healing practice, the small or part shows the large or whole. Our hands, feet, eyes or tongue can show great detail about our overall health condition and direction. This principle applies to social and environmental situations as well. I think that Super Storm Sandy and Sandy Hook Elementary School are indications of the conditions brewing socially and environmentally. It is unfortunate that these type situations will probably worsen for the foreseeable future, as they have continued to in our recent past.

I also find it amazing that Proposition 37 almost passed despite enourmous opposition from Monsanto and related companies. This indicates a change in society that will become an enourmous power over the next several years. Our right to know and our ability to choose health will become paramount.

The most important change that I have observed in society is not limited to 2012. These ideas became more observable a few years earlier and now are in the mainstream. I am referring to the relationship between diet and health. It is now widely accepted that our diet is the number one factor affecting our health and now trumps environmental and genetic factors. The second change is the relationship between food and the environment. It is finally becoming known that our daily choices in diet and lifestyle have an enourmous affect on society and the environment. The power of change is in our hands with every meal.

What is not widely known is that these ideas developed out of Boston, Mass from the macrobiotic teachings of Michio and Aveline Kushi. These ideas of local, organic, unrefined and plant based foods combined with having the ability to create our own health changed and fueled my life since 1969. They are more relevant today that ever. Now that 2012 is behind us we can start to live the lives we would like to see with renewed passion in 2013.

No Comments | Tags: Macrobiotic Diet, Macrobiotic Philosophy, Macrobiotics

My Most Important Discovery of 2012

Posted on by Denny Waxman

I find it interesting that everything that I thought was healthy for more than forty years is now reported to be harmful or at least not beneficial to our health. These are the same things I have been consuming personally and recommending to my family, friends and clients during this time. I am not much of a conspiracy theorist, but this seems to be too much of a coincidence for my natural skepticism.

Grain is the most important food on the planet for so many reasons. I will not explore all the reasons at this time. All of the world’s long-standing civilizations developed around grain cultivation and are also synonymous with the grains that they ate. You cannot separate rice from Asia, corn from the Americas or bread from Europe, for example.

The gluten grains, wheat and barley, are two of two world’s principal grains and have been cultivated and consumed for more than 10,000 years. Now, an increasing number of people have gluten sensitivity or gluten allergies. More recently modern wheat has come under attack because it has been overly hybridized.

I cannot argue that many people have various types of reactions from eating these grains in many forms and feel better by avoiding them. It may be that these grains alone are not the problem. It is more likely that our food combinations and methods of preparation are the real causes of the reactions.

I have used these grains in my macrobiotic healing practice for many years with positive results. I have also witnessed many people loose their food sensitivities over time. It has been my long-time observation that the combination of dairy foods and fructose is behind most allergies. Any type of dairy from cheese to yogurt together with fructose in the form of concentrated fruit sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, agave nectar or honey are the basis of these allergic reactions. Tropical fruits and animal foods, especially poultry, tuna and shell fish compound these problems. Cold dairy such as cold milk, yogurt and ice cream together with cold drinks also seem to worsen the harmful effects.

I have also found out that when these grains are refined, baked or toasted they cause stronger reactions than when they are consumed in their whole or cracked form. When grains, including whole grain products, are exposed to dry heat through baking or toasting they react more like simple sugars in our body and worsen the reaction from these grains. Many people with gluten sensitivity can eat whole wheat or barley without an allergic or inflammatory response if they are cooked together with brown rice.

It now turns out that brown rice, another of the worlds principal grains is not safe because of arsenic contamination. I have already published my thoughts on this in three previous blogs and I hope that you will continue to enjoy organic brown rice as part of your healthy way of eating.

Soy has been under attack for quite some time now and I will write more fully on this subject in a future blog. I have also regularly used the traditional soy products, miso, shoyu, tofu, tempeh and natto in my macrobiotic counseling practice with excellent results. These products actually have a balancing and protective effect on our hormonal systems. They protect against harmful estrogens. On the other hand, texturized vegetable protein (TVP) and other non-traditional soy products do not have these same benefits.

Finally, the Stanford study that claimed organic foods are not more beneficial than commercial foods has been discredited. Common sense tells us that foods grown naturally in healthy soil are beneficial to those not yet born, babies, children, adults, animals, plants and the environment.

It is my hope that common sense and collective human experience will guide science in the coming years and that respect for local and sustainable practices will continue to grow and prosper.

No Comments | Tags: Allergies, Immune System, Macrobiotic Counseling, Macrobiotic Diet

Ending Breast Cancer, Part 2

Posted on by Denny Waxman

Yet another blog has got my attention. It is amazing how many doctors choose to ignore or disregard current and life-saving research. In this case, the dangers of serious harm caused by early detection for breast, ovarian and prostate cancer.

The end of breast cancer can be in sight with the Strengthening Health Institute taking the lead. It is widely known and accepted that cancer, including breast cancer, is diet related. The combination of diet and varied activity or healthy lifestyle practices is even more powerful. When these factors are combined with an open and positive attitude the results are even better. Give yourself the gift of health and life by attending an Intensive Seminar at the Strengthening Health Institute. Under the direction of Denny and Susan Waxman, you will begin a journey towards health. This is a life-enhancing seminar that will give you the tools and inspiration to create lasting health for you and your family. It is a perfect gift for this time of year.

No Comments | Tags: Cancer, Macrobiotic Diet, Macrobiotics and Medicine

Brighten Up Your Winter!

Posted on by Denny Waxman

The winter solstice is less than one month away. This year it will be on Friday, December 21. The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year in contrast to the Summer solstice, the longest day of the year. On the winter solstice in Philadelphia the sun will rise at 7:19 am and set at 4:39 pm. This only gives us 9 hours and 20 minutes of sunshine as opposed to about 16 hours of sunlight on the longest day of the year. This is almost a seven hour difference.

This huge difference in the amount of sunlight we receive can make a dramatic difference in our energy and moods. It is natural to feel more energetic and uplifted on bright and sunny days, whether it is summer or winter. We also feel more energetic in the summer, provided it is not too hot and humid!

During the winter, when sunlight is low, we can take steps to pick up our energy and moods. These are some suggestions to adapt into your diet and home or work environment.

Most of the food we eat is converted into physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual energy. During the winter months we need more warmth and energy from our foods and cooking. Grain, bean and vegetable stews are always a good choice. Hearty soups can also make a difference. Try to use sesame or olive oil daily in cooking and don’t forget some mild spice from ginger, garlic or pepper. It is also important to also have some light and refreshing dishes in the winter to complement the hearty, long cooked dishes.

We also absorb food, in the form of energy, from our environment. This includes our home and work environments, the area we live in and season. Our home and work environments can either nourish and charge us or have the opposite effect of draining us. It is easy to feel exhausted in stagnated and synthetic environments without fresh air or natural light. Try to keep these places clutter free, well ventilated and let in natural light when possible. An abundance of green plants can also make a noticeable difference in our energy and moods, especially during the winter. During the summer, when there is abundant sunlight we get more energy from the environment and need less physical food. These things are less of a concern during the warm summer months.

Try to get outside more even if you are not a winter person. Build up your resistance to the cold little by little with short walks until you feel that you can get a half hour a day in. You will feel better if you have more contact with the brisk outside air and natural light. For those of you who are a little more hearty, try finishing your hot shower with cold!

Even thought the winter solstice is the shortest day, the coldest time is still to come in January and February. Early February is when nature’s energy starts to shift and is actually the real beginning of spring. I hope these suggestions help you through the cold winter months until the spring and increased sunlight appear once again!

No Comments | Tags: Adjusting Your Diet

Your Brown Rice and Arsenic Safety Checklist

Posted on by Denny Waxman

In a previous blog I made some recommendations to help protect against any possible harmful side effects from arsenic in brown rice. I wanted to post an expanded list since I have received some new information. A friend sent this article to me that was published in The Chicago Tribune. This article contains valuable information that has caused me to rethink the best ways of getting the enjoyment, satisfaction and value from eating brown rice while avoiding any potential harm from arsenic contamination. Please take the time to review the Chicago Tribune article. I have included the suggestions below that I found most helpful.

Try these recommendations to mitigate any potential harmful affects from arsenic in brown rice.
Choose organic brown rice from California. It is reported to have lower levels of arsenic than rice from other states.
Rinse your rice thoroughly before cooking it to help reduce arsenic contamination. This will help unless local water has hight levels of arsenic.
Check your municipal water report. This is a link to the Philadelphia Water Department.
Soak your brown rice overnight and cook it in fresh water rather than the soaking water.
Eat brown rice once a day, or almost daily, and not at every meal.
Cook brown rice with other grains such as barley, millet, wheat, faro or bulgur, etc.
Cook brown rice with beans or a combination of other grains and beans.

There are a number of natural chelating foods that we recommend as part of a varied macrobiotic lifestyle. Try to regularly consume miso soup and incorporate sea vegetables like wakame and kombu into your meals. I hope this helps you to continue enjoying your brown rice.

1 Comment | Tags: Adjusting Your Diet, Macrobiotic Diet, Macrobiotics

Further Thoughts on Brown Rice and Arsenic

Posted on by Denny Waxman

I just read Chuck Lowery’s response to my thoughts on arsenic in brown rice with great interest. I can understand his points and also wonder if he is underestimating the power of brown rice. I have no desire to start a long debate on the merits or limitations of brown rice within macrobiotics or any healthy lifestyle. My desire is only to express my personal reasons for continuing to eat brown rice and why I also continue to recommend it to my family, friends and clients. At home we have implemented the recommendations from my blog except that we still use the soaking water from the brown rice.

Brown rice has a number of qualities that I find endlessly fascinating. From my personal experience brown rice is the only whole grain that we can eat on a regular or daily basis and never get tired of it. In my early macrobiotic days I tried eating a number of other grains exclusively without any brown rice and found that I grew tired of them quickly and could not wait to get back to my brown rice. When I cook any of these other grains with brown rice I never get tired of them. The other grains I tried eating exclusively included barley, millet, bulgur and oats.

Brown rice can grow in both water and dry land. When including short, medium and long grain rice, it also grows in a wide variety of different climates.

Anything that you cook with brown rice cooks in about the same time as the rice, even if that food takes a much longer time to cook on its own. For example chickpeas can take up to three hours to cook on their own and cook in about an hour with brown rice. It seems that most other foods align with brown rice. It is not the same with other grains.

More importantly, brown rice enhances the taste of all other foods. This is completely unique. Any other food cooked with brown rice tastes good. Brown rice combines well with all other grains, beans, vegetables, seeds, nuts, fresh or dried fruits, sugar, rice syrup, maple syrup and other sweeteners, poultry, eggs, fish or shellfish, cheese and other dairy products, herbs, spices and seasonings. In all of my years in practice, I have not been able to find an exception, though some are likely to exist. Brown rice has the ability to complement, embrace and harmonize with all foods and seasonings. I find this truly amazing!

It has been my observation over many years that eating brown rice gives us the ability to see the relationship between the part and the whole and to understand how they relate to each other. This relationship between part and whole is the basis of macrobiotic cooking, healing and lifestyle.

It seems natural that we would receive these unique qualities by eating brown rice on a regular basis. The situation with arsenic in brown rice is not new. I find it concerning that many people may choose to stop eating brown rice out of fear without understanding the situation fully.

No Comments | Tags: Macrobiotic Diet, Macrobiotic Philosophy

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.

No Comments | Tags: Uncategorized

Eating Day and Night

Posted on by Denny Waxman

I just finished reading a blog about many people needing to eat at night. I wanted to express my thoughts to help create more of an understanding to help people overcome this growing problem. There is a natural order between day and night. Under normal circumstances we eat and are physically active during the day. At night we settle down and while we sleep we use the food we ate during the day to clean, maintain and repair our bodies. After rising in the morning, we eliminate the physical and energetic excess gathered during the night through our morning routine of stretching, washing, urination and bowel movement, etc. Then, we are fully ready for the day.

We can have the best activity during the day while the sun is up and the deepest and most refreshing sleep during the night when the stars are out. Our digestive system is not on-call 24 hours a day as we would like. It is only fully ready to receive nourishment at certain times. These times have come to be know as meal times, breakfast, lunch and dinner. When we eat at regular meal times our digestion is quick and efficient. For example, if you start eating your dinner at 5 pm you digest your meal very quickly. The same meal takes a little longer to digest if eaten at 6 or 7 pm. If we start dinner at 8 or 9 pm it takes even longer to digest. When we eat in between meals as in brunch, it has the opposite effect and actually stagnates our digestion. The purpose of brunch is to be able to lounge around all day and accomplish very little. When we get up early and have a simple breakfast we are ready to be active and accomplish something. It is not very easy to lounge around.

This concept may make more sense when we look at it from the sleep perspective. If you sleep for six hours from midnight until 6 am, you can accomplish a lot even if you may want a little more sleep. However, if you sleep six hours from 3 am to 9 am you do not get the same restful and replenishing sleep. You wake up feeling groggy and do not feel motivated to accomplish much. The time you sleep determines the quality of your sleep in the same way the time you start you meals determines how well you digest and feel satisfied from your food.

Our blood sugar follows the sun’s movement. After noon, our blood sugar starts to gradually fall so that we can settle down in the evening and go to sleep before midnight. After midnight our blood sugar stars to gradually rise so that we can get up quickly and easily in the early morning. Eating our meals at the proper times helps to regulate and stabilize our blood sugar. Lunch is the controlling factor. It is important to start eating you lunch no later than 1 pm to stabilize your blood sugar.

When we eat grain, bean and vegetable based meals at the recommended times, we do not want to eat before bed or at night when we should be sleeping. When we eat two or three satisfying meals at the proper times we do not desire to eat after dinner because this late night eating makes us feel worse and not better. When we eat chaotically or eat unhealthy foods at the wrong times our blood sugar looses it’s natural balance. If our blood sugar is too low or too high, we cannot fall asleep easily. If our blood sugar is too low when we are sleeping, we need to wake up and eat to raise our blood sugar enough to sleep.

These ideas are tried and true and are based on my approach to macrobiotics. One of the most common comments I hear from my clients is how well they have been sleeping and how easily they get up in the morning after implementing my recommendations.

No Comments | Tags: Macrobiotic Diet, Macrobiotics

Ending Breast Cancer

Posted on by Denny Waxman

I just finished reading a blog that was very hard for me to read for so many reasons. It is beyond my belief how many woman suffer from breast cancer with no end in sight. The fact that this situation, despite all of the time and money spent and lives lost, has not improved in 25 years, defies all reason and common sense. My frustration is hard to contain that so few laypeople and medical people alike are willing to look at recent recent research and discoveries that align with our common sense and can reverse this debilitating crisis.

T. Collin Campbell in his groundbreaking book, The China Study, presents his research and discoveries in a clear, readable and concise manner. His research documents every word I say in my book, The Great Life Diet. My book is the practical handbook for applying and implementing Dr. Campbell’s research in your daily life.

According to Dr. Campbell, the consumption of animal and dairy protein are the main cause of our epidemic of degenerative diseases including cancer. His research is compelling. When the combination of animal and dairy protein reaches 10 per cent or more of our diet, cancer genes are turned on. When we decrease the consumption of these foods below 10 percent, these same markers are turned off. Casein, or dairy protein present in cheese, milk and their products is the most harmful. In other words, diet can cause or reverse cancer, all types of cancer, not just breast cancer. The main cause of our epidemic of degenerative diseases is on our dinner plates and most of us just simply choose to ignore this fact. The dietary causes of breast cancer are also within our ability to control.

Health is natural. It is not the result of science or medicine. Health is the natural result of a healthy diet, activity and attitude. A healthy diet is plant based together with good eating habits. Healthy activity means a variety enjoyable and challenging activities. It includes all life related activities, such as walking or carrying things, especially outdoor activities. A healthy attitude is open, curious and full of gratitude.

From the macrobiotic viewpoint, cancer is caused by a chronic imbalance in our diet and activity. Our attitudes and even our view of life affect our daily choices. It is the combination of these factors that can change our direction towards health or sickness. I have used this multifaceted approach of diet, activity and attitude, with my clients over many years with great success.

I think it is time to take a new and open approach to our ever increasing number of health problems. It is time to do the things on a daily basis whether our choice is to include modern medicine or not. A healthier diet and activity together with an open, flexible and appreciative mind will support all areas of our health and life.

No Comments | Tags: Cancer, Macrobiotic Counseling, Macrobiotic Diet, Macrobiotics

Achieve a Healthy Weight Naturally!

Posted on by Denny Waxman

I just finished reading this blog on metabolism and it brought a number of things to mind for me. I have heard many people’s stories about exercising on a regular basis and loosing little to no weight. I have also heard stories about personal trainers who could not loose the bulge in their mid-section. There seems to be a contradiction here or maybe something is missing. In most cases, exercise alone is not enough to regulate our weight or trim our waist lines. If this is due to our sluggish metabolism then how can we remedy the situation and maintain a healthy weight?

Having a problem with our weight is a symptom of an imbalance in our diet and activity. Carrying excess weight is not the problem, it is the symptom of an overall imbalance. We have created this imbalance because of a lack of understanding about the relationship between diet, eating habits and activity in our life. This is why attempts to loose weight do not work in most cases. Weight loss techniques or methods are temporary at best for most people.

A healthy metabolism, our ability to digest foods, absorb their nutrition and eliminate the excess efficiently, is the key to maintaing a healthy weight. Diet is the missing link. Our metabolism is regulated by the two factors, the time we start our meals and what we eat. In addition to a healthy diet and eating habits, exercise helps as long as it does not make us overeat or crave more rich foods and sweets. The wrong exercise or pushing to hard can backfire and actually make us gain weight. I like to encourage a variety in daily activities before implementing a structured exercise program.

Through my macrobiotic counseling practice, I have helped many hundreds of people loose weigh and keep it off with these simple health practices. Finding a healthy, satisfying way of eating is the key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. I would like to make a few suggestions that can help you solve your weight problems once and for all.

Plan your meals around cooked whole grains and vegetable dishes.
Eat a serving of steamed greens daily.
Sit down to eat your meals or snacks without working, TV or reading.
Start eating your breakfast by 9 am at the latest.
Stop eating 3 hours before going to bed.
Walk outside for at least 30 minutes a day.

No Comments | Tags: Macrobiotic Counseling, Uncategorized, Weight