Monday, July 5, 2010

An interview with a CCP Graduate

"An interview with a CCP Graduate" by Susan Beram
Susan Beram is a current CCP student, and recently interviewed a fellow classmate on how he got started in Macrobiotics

There are many fascinating people who are currently enrolled in the 2010 Comprehensive Certificate Program class. Each participant has a unique story about how his, or her, macrobiotic journey began. This column will help our readers to become acquainted with some of these interesting classmates.

Grant Goodwin's macrobiotic journey began in 1982 when his father was diagnosed with late stage prostate cancer. He had read the Anthony Sattilaro book, Recalled by Life, and was impressed by the doctor's amazing recovery from the same cancer. Grant traveled with his dad to the Kushi Institute where he learned the basics of a macrobiotic practice. Fast forward to November of 2006, and Grant, himself, received the diagnosis of early stage prostate cancer. He remembered his experience with his dad and decided to follow a macrobiotic diet and lifestyle to deal with his cancer. After consulting with a few different counselors, he met Warren Kramer in Austin, Texas, and, after a time, Warren suggested that Grant enroll in the 2008 SHI Cooking Intensive. He consulted with Denny and felt at ease as it reminded him of his dad's consults with Michio Kushi so many years ago. Grant continues to study and cook macrobiotically and his cancer is currently under control.

Susan: Grant, how has macrobiotics impacted your life?

Grant: I had a tendency to ignore my diet. I had not realized how stressed out I had gotten working long hours in a Management position. Now I have minimized my stress by working from home as an independent sales representative. I do all my own cooking and keep to the macrobiotic diet. I seldom eat out of the house. I am glad I was forced to cook for myself because now I am not dependent on anyone else. To do something this drastic, you have to change your whole life.

Susan: Was it hard to adjust to this new lifestyle?

Grant: It took me two and one half years to get comfortable with the cooking and preparation. At first, I thought I could not use any leftovers. Once I realized I could, things got a lot easier. That made a big difference.

Susan: What are you enjoying about the CCH?

Grant: It is great to come and connect with the other class members. Since there are no other macrobiotic people in Dallas, each month I look forward to talking with the other people in class and to having a support group. It is also a relief to not have to cook for a few days. I am learning from the lectures and cooking classes and I enjoy being around Denny.

Advanced Training Seminars

Here is a letter that we received from a recent graduate.

The graduate program on spiritual development and ki sounded like a wonderful luxury, but on a practical level my life had gotten so busy that to go develop diagnosis skills seemed almost decadent. After all, I don't counsel and this summer I probably won't teach cooking. A dear friend mentioned she was going and I thought "Wonderful, I can't wait to hear what you learn!" Then another dear friend had the wild idea that she might just come (five hours of driving, three children under the age of nine . . .) and I heard myself say "You must come! There is always a way!" The least I could do then was to try to make it, I decided, thinking it would be very interesting to attend.

Time passed and the day came and all three of us somehow arrived. The funny thing now is to remember that it was ever even a question. For each of us, the places in life where we had gotten stuck, spinning our own wheels, with varying degrees of comfort, resignation and despair, all got addressed on a very deep level. Where we felt heavy, we now feel light. The places where we felt locked in feel like open fields. I am speaking about aspects of daily practice which had gotten subtly off, and which we couldn't quite catch ourselves, but the results of which we certainly could feel (children falling out of high trees, splitting open their knees, irritable husbands, etc.) Eating Susan's sweet cooking, delicate, strong and light, opened up our eyes. The company of like-minded classmates was also very nourishing. One of us came home having decided to start dance classes, after years of taking care exclusively of her children and husband and home. Another is bursting with ideas about macrobiotics and how to grow this movement. I am looking into doing a kind of theater which I never would have considered but even the thought of which makes me feel energized and happy. Before the seminar I was happy but dragging my feet.

On Friday night we did introductions and reports of out macrobiotic practices and work, then heard a lecture by Denny on integrity and honesty in macrobiotic teaching and counseling. We explored questions such as whether integrity is innate or learned and whether or not it can be developed. We discussed what lies are and their different types: white lies (to protect others) and bigger lies (to protect the self) and the biggest lie of all, a life lie: living at odds with your deepest values and who you really are.

The next morning we had cooking class with Susan. Her accuracy and subtlety brought home the power of food. Again, in little ways, I had been slipping and sliding, but when I re-encountered her high standard, I saw new ways to grow my life. I also realized I have been oversalting our food and learned a lighter way of making sweet vegetable soup which was very delicious. We made our own maki rolls for lunch and it was wonderful to have all the ingredients prepared and laid out for us, and to see all how others made theirs.

Patrick Riley gave a dynamic and energetic class on tsubos, power points along shiatsu meridians, and how to use them to alleviate pain. We considered maladies in terms of the five transformations, as well as the parts of the body, and which tsubos correspond to them. The class was so hands-on that even after hours of non-stop and rather rigorous and original lecturing, Patrick went around to make sure each of us had the point correctly, and if we didn't he showed us. He gave so much to help us understand. We also discussed the need to bring esoteric macrobiotic philosophical or spiritual ideas into regular language understandable by anyone.

We had a beautiful dinner, and in the evening, Denny gave a lecture on the question of whether or not there is a "healing diet" in macrobiotics. It was decided that the word "appropriate" or "accurate" is far better. A healing diet implies that one must DO something in order to get healthy. It gives the wrong impression of macrobiotic food. A healing diet sounds like a problem, something strict, instead of relaxed, enjoyable and delicious.

Denny explained that the intention in recovery is to recover personal health, but once healthy, the point of daily macrobiotic practice is other people's health. We also spoke of how the uniqueness of macrobiotics is that what we do for ourselves also helps others. It was characteristically profound and life-changing.

On Sunday morning we had a beautiful do-in class led by Susan. We did maka-ho exercises and many of us expressed the wish to stretch in such a way in daily life. It was so good to feel and do these simple exercises again. Afterward, we chanted as a group, and then with Denny practiced our ability to diagnose auras. We took turns coming up before the group and practicing our ability to receive information and ideas. We came up with marvelous suggestions, which is how my friend came to be signing up for dance classes and I for this acting group, something I wouldn't have dreamed of doing but now can't wait for.

My friends and I came away more refreshed, inspired and invigorated than we could have imagined during those sleepy telephone calls. We are set right again, full of gratitude to Denny, Susan and the SHI.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Strengthening Health Institute (SHI) Graduate's Story

Sophia G.: Strengthening Health Institute (SHI) Graduate, 2010

Many SHI Comprehensive Certificate Program (CCP) students are relative newcomers to Macrobiotics. They have started eating well recently and want to learn more about the thinking behind the way of life or “diet” that has changed their health for the better. Almost all CCP students are adults with jobs and families who travel to Philadelphia to deepen their appreciation and understanding of something new and even a little strange to them.

Sophia G., who graduated from CCP in February, was decidedly different from most of her classmates. Sophia was only 16 when she started taking classes from Denny and Susan Waxman at SHI and Macrobiotics was not something new and strange to her. Her parents, John and Mary, have been eating a Macrobiotic diet for more than twenty five years. In fact, Sophia, the third of their seven children, was born in Japan where her parents lived for four years to study traditional cooking. Sophia has not only grown up eating this way but she also has been assisting her mother, an accomplished medicinal cook, since she was 12 years old.

So why did she come to CCP in Philadelphia to study?

Her family are Orthodox Christians who homeschool their children to foster their vocations or “callings” rather than to meet conventional education standards. Educational reformer John Holt called this cardiac intelligence focused parenting “un-schooling” and Sophia is a model “un-schooler.” Her two older sisters, one an athlete, the other a musician, are students at VMI and the University of Chicago.

Sophia, in contrast, hopes to be a nun in an Orthodox monastery. Her “studies,” consequently, are focused on her interests in music, church history and teaching, and on cooking. She makes pilgrimages to convents when she is not cooking for clients and studying the violin with her teacher at Philadelphia’s Settlement Music School.

She came to SHI because her mom and dad, both graduates of the Kushi Institute in the 1980’s, thought it the best place for her to learn the cooking skills and traditional thinking behind Macrobiotics.

As John, now a literary critic but once a teacher and the director of programs at the Kushi Foundation Berkshires Center, wrote us,

Mary and I urged Sophia to take SHI’s Comprehensive Certificate Program as part of her un-schooling because we believe that Denny and Susan Waxman are the best at what they do. The great improvement in Sophia’s cooking skills and her greater grasp of the Principle at the heart of traditional cosmology from her studies there is all due to the Waxmans’ unmatched experience and ability to communicate what they know.

Sophia says:
My parents have taught us for as long as I can remember that the right way to understand food is as an echo of the Eucharist. I certainly didn’t ‘get’ this idea of food and cooking styles, though, that they are transparencies of the Principle that creates us all, until my year studying with Denny and Susan. I will always be grateful to them for teaching me how to see people’s conditions in this light and for encouraging me as a young person and cook! I will be applying the lessons and using the skills I learned at SHI the rest of my life.

Mary, Sophia’s mother, wrote:
I was blessed to study with Aveline Kushi, Shizuko Yamamoto, and Wendy Esko when I started cooking years ago and I knew the difference these women made in my understanding of food and health. John and I recognized from our experience that Sophia, a good cook by nature, needed the formal instruction and experience she could only get with the best teachers and cooks if she were to begin reaching her potential. And there are no better teachers and cooks in the US than Susan and Denny and no better intensive program than CCP.

Sophia’s CCP classmates realized very quickly that this very friendly if barely five feet tall young woman with long hair and braces was not a child. Her skills in Susan’s classes and the questions she asked Denny, Susan, and the other SHI instructors reflected her intelligence, big heart, and keen interest in the subjects at hand. Sophia loved and was a big part of the lively discussions during class and over meals at CCP during her year there. Since graduating, Sophia has been cooking for clients in Florida, New Jersey, Missouri, New York City, and Southern California.

Every CCP class is made up of people with stories as different and interesting as Sophia’s. What they all have in common, what brings them to SHI, is a light burning in them to learn more about Macrobiotic cooking and traditional thinking. If you want to join the discussions, acquire the skills, and meet thoughtful, challenging people like Sophia, contact the SHI office today at 215-238-9212!

Sophia G. was a recipient of a CCP Scholarship

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Controlling HIV with Macrobiotics

“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 Now (or download)

Cancer of the Vocal Chords

James Kirman, 84, is a guitar player and singer, In 1997 James experienced a hoarseness in his vocal chords. He went to his Doctor who referred him to a specialist who examined him and suspected that it was leukoplakia, a pre-cancerous condition. James went into the hospital and had it removed and his doctor confirmed that it was indeed, leukoplakia.

6 months later he became hoarse again. This time he went to see Doctor William Lewis who said it was leukoplakia squamous cell carnicoma but not invaded and had it removed. 6 months later, again he had leukoplakia squamous cell carnicoma and again had it removed. 6 months again, he had it again and again had it removed. It would come back one more time and James would have a total of five operations to remove the recurring leukoplakia!

In 1999 and before the fifth (and last) time that James would go into the hospital to have the leukoplakia removed his daughter went to a health seminar conducted by renowned macrobiotic teacher and counselor Denny Waxman, founder and Director of the Strengthening Health Institute in Philadelphia. She told her father to go see Denny for a consultation and that’s when James changed his diet and began following macrobiotics.

Now, ten years later James is still eating macrobiotically. His leukoplakia has never come back and both and he and his doctor are convinced that it was because of macrobiotics. He now sings as good or even better than before and often performs in retirement homes to audiences younger than himself!

Listen Now (or download)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Program Dates


Our Advanced Training Seminars will now follow a new format; it will consist of 3 lectures, 1 Cooking Class, and 1 Shiatsu Class.
The following topics will be covered:

Macrobiotic Philosophy
Workshop on refining your cooking techniques
Developing Shiatsu
Macrobiotic Diagnosis

June 11-13, 2010
October 8-10, 2010

Read more about our Advanced Training Seminars.
Please call 215.238.9212 for details or to register.

The Comprehensive Certificate Program is an in depth seminar that builds upon the foundation of healthy living established during the Strengthening Health Intensive, and there are still a few seats available for the 2010 class.

The following five key areas will be covered:
Macrobiotic Philosophy and Theory
Shiatsu Massage and Do-In Self Exercise
Oriental Diagnosis
Macrobiotic Health Care for Oneself and Others

May 21-23, 2010
June 24-27, 2010
July 30-August 1, 2010
September 24-26, 2010
October 22-24, 2010
November 18-21 2010

Read more about our Comprehensive Certificate Program.
Please call 215.238.9212 for details or to register.

Register for July's Strengthening Health Intensive with a friend to get the second enrollment for half price and enroll by June 7 to save $100.

Let us do the cooking as our kitchen staff prepares 12 delicious meals while you learn The 7 Conditions of Health, Meal Planning, Cooking plus much, much more.

Be a part of this life-changing experience that has helped hundreds of people maintain and recover their health and well being through macrobiotics.

July 7-11, 2010
August 25-29, 2010
November 3-7 2010

Read more about the Strengthening Health Intensive.
Please call 215.238.9212 for details or to register.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Standing Ovation

Check out Standing Ovation! It was made at the Jersey shore and Susan provided macrobiotic snacks and lunches for the cast and crew.

Through original songs and dance numbers, Standing Ovation delivers an optimistic tale of perseverance and passion that inspires the American dream in all of us. The film showcases a talented cast of kids as they learn the importance of friendship and family on a journey to fulfilling their dreams.