Approach to Macrobiotics

Coming up with a definition of macrobiotics is not an easy thing. Practically speaking, macrobiotics is a guide to living a great life. Macrobiotics offers an approach to daily life that nourishes and sustains us as well as our families, societies, and the environment. Macrobiotics has been misinterpreted and misconstrued in the past as a diet that is rigid, restrictive, and intended for recovery from cancer and other illness. The Strengthening Health approach demystifies and clarifies these misunderstandings.

Macrobiotic Guide

The Strengthening Health approach expresses macrobiotics as more than a diet. Most diets today are based on avoiding certain foods and certain behaviors that we’ve grown to feel comfortable with and enjoy. Basing any diet on what should be avoided, or what is perceived of as unhealthy, automatically sets a person up to fail. A negative approach, or “giving things up” inevitably leads to a kind of dissatisfaction and a sense that we lose something that is valuable to us, be it a food or a habit. However, when we approach making dietary changes through adding foods and habits, a whole world opens up to us. The Strengthening Health approach is based on adding, as well as going at our own pace. When I began to incorporate healthy foods and lifestyle practices into my life, each day became an adventure in discovery. I never thought about what I was giving up, but what I was learning. I still remember my last cheesesteak as a day not of sadness, but celebration. That day symbolized the beginning of my new life.

The issue is that currently, there is still no agreement on the healthiest way of eating. However, it is becoming more widely accepted that a healthy diet centers around complex carbohydrates (grains, beans, starchy vegetables, tubers, etc). There is also the belief that there is a philosopher’s stone for health: some magical food or practice that is going to automatically make us healthy. Simply speaking, the interaction of good diet, good activity, and a good attitude allows us to create a healthy life over time. These three things are all within our ability to choose, interact with, and change day by day.

An imbalance in our condition begins when we lose our natural sense of taste for healthy foods. Often, this happens at a very young age. The imbalance increases its momentum over time, so that we begin to crave the worst foods for our health and life. Imbalance moves us towards illness. This sense of imbalance extends to every aspect of our lives in the forms of other patterns: unsatisfying working situations, unhealthy relationships, etc. However, the same is true for creating a sense of balance. We can regain a sense of our center and move in a positive, healthy direction, but it does take time, effort and oftentimes guidance in the beginning. The Strengthening Health macrobiotic guide is a unique set of practices that helps us reestablish a relationship with our sense of taste, balance, and health. The process of recovering a sense of balance begins with incorporating good eating habits, healthy foods, and activities.

Distinguishing Characteristics of the Strengthening Health Approach

-Based on a positive approach to health, where adding things recreates our natural sense of balance
-Recovers and develops our natural sense of curiosity and adventure
-Based on adding; we let go of other foods and practices when they no longer serve us
-Helps develop that the key to healthy eating is to have healthy eating habits and activity
-Encourages the incorporation of natural, daily activity
-Establishes habits and patterns that open and grow over time
-Provides multiple points of entry through eating habits, diet, activity, or lifestyle practices
-Adopts nature’s model of order, diversity, and variety
-Provides general guidelines that help us create habits that work for us
-Helps recover digestive, immune, and nervous system health
-Draws inspiration from a variety of traditional global cuisines such as Italian, Middle Eastern, Mexican

Author: Denny Waxman

Denny Waxman has been a macrobiotic counselor since the 1970s and is one of the founders of American Macrobiotics. He has changed the food narrative away from a diet dependent upon animal & dairy foods. From the Mid-Atlantic Summer Camp, to opening Essene Market, and directing the Kushi Institute, he has been a pioneer of macrobiotics. His notoriety came after Dr. Anthony Sattilaro overcame cancer and credited Denny for saving his life in his book, Recalled by Life. Denny has written several books and teaches globally.