Denny Waxman has been a macrobiotic counselor in Philadelphia since the 1970s. and one of the founders of American Macrobiotics. He has worked tirelessly to change the food narrative in this country by moving us from a diet dependent primarily on animal and dairy food to one based primarily on plants.
Susan Waxman is an internationally recognized macrobiotic teacher, counselor and health educator. She is widely recognized for her culinary expertise, as well as her understanding of the energetic properties of food. Susan’s innovative style and attention to detail shows through in the flavor and healing power of her food.
Patrick M. Riley has been an advocate of natural health care since 1978. A graduate of La Salle University in Philadelphia, Patrick pursued studies in Macrobiotics, shiatsu and related health subjects at the Kushi Institutes in London, England and Boston, MA. In 1982, following a brief employment in the natural food industry, Patrick co-founded the Bucks County Macrobiotic Center in Langhorne, PA. It was here at the community level that Patrick refined his skills as a teacher, therapist and counselor.
Strengthening Health Institute
Warren Kramer is an internationally recognized Macrobiotic counselor, educator and cooking instructor. For the past 23 years, he has studied and lived the Macrobiotic way of life. Warren teaches the Macrobiotic approach to health and wellness, including principles of food selection and preparation, exercise, work and personal relationships. For more than 10 years Warren had the unique opportunity to work on a daily basis with Michio Kushi. As Michio’s assistant, Warren helped guide thousands of people with a myriad of health concerns.
Strengthening Health Institute
Michelle Nemer has been involved with Macrobiotics since 1984. She was trained personally and certified by Michio Kushi, Shizuko Yamamoto, and Denny Waxman. She served as a core faculty member, counselor and program coordinator at the Kushi Institute in Massachusetts before joining the faculty at The Strengthening Health Institute. She is also a previous Director of Education at The Macrobiotic Center of New York. Michelle is based in Northern California.
Strengthening Health Institute
“Denny Waxman is a serious thinker and true visionary with a large world-view, working to promote personal and planetary health. He is the kind of inspirational leader of which the world is in short supply. He is uniquely poised to lead us through these troubled times, by showing us how we can rediscover our common sense and intuition to live to our full potential and create a more peaceful and joyous world.”
Stacey L. Cantor-Adkins, M.D.
I was born and bred in Philadelphia. It remains the place in which I have chosen to live and work. These days when the average person thinks of Philadelphia, what may come to mind are cheese steaks, cream cheese, scrapple, Will Smith, and Rocky Balboa. But look past these stereotypes and you will enter the arena of Ben Franklin, of the Liberty Bell, of the Declaration of Independence, and, in the modern age, of American macrobiotics. Historically, Philadelphia is known as the birthplace of American democracy, the place where a group of brilliant, idealistic, passionate, and politically sophisticated men, known as our founding fathers, gathered to turn their ideas, their intuitions and their dreams into a new reality fit for the new world they hoped to build. It should come as no surprise that, to this day, Philadelphia retains its place as an incubator for new ideas, a place where intellectuals, artists, politicians, writers, chefs, musicians, and dreamers still gather. I am one of those dreamers.
I have been a macrobiotic counselor in Philadelphia since the 1970s. I am one of the founders of American Macrobiotics. Since then I have worked tirelessly to change the food narrative in this country by moving us from a diet dependent primarily on animal and dairy food to one based primarily on plants. Over the course of my forty-year immersion in the principles and practices of the global macrobiotic community, I have developed my own unique approach to macrobiotic philosophy, healing and diagnostics.
Many of us know of macrobiotics solely as the healing, disease curing diet that it is. Macrobiotics, however, is a far more interesting and complex entity. It is a potent way of life that engages body, mind and spirit. I teach that health is a direction, not a fixed state of being, and that spiritual health is embodied in the endless expression of gratitude for all of life. It is this gratitude that propels us in the direction of mental, emotional and physical health. We come to understand that health naturally craves health so that as we develop habits that foster healthier choices, choosing health becomes effortless and we gradually evolve into our best selves.
I founded the Strengthening Health Institute in 2002. The SHI is a not-for-profit school born of my desire to teach people how to create lasting health. Macrobiotics represents an orderly approach to eating and living and the SHI is the place where we can learn at our own pace to create the healthy habits that characterize this orderly approach. Together with my wife Susan, we have introduced a new, more open and flexible macrobiotics appropriate for today’s world.
I founded Essene Market & Cafe, the first health-foods store in Philadelphia. In 1969, I began studying with Michio Kushi. In the early 80s, I gained international recognition by helping Dr. Anthony Sattilaro, a respected physician and CEO of Philadelphia’s Methodist Hospital recover from terminal prostate cancer. Dr. Sattilaro documented his recovery in “Recalled By Life,” published in 1982.
In the 1980s I earned directorship of the Kushi Institute and the Community Health Foundation in London, where I led the development of public and professional educational programs in macrobiotics as well as Oriental diagnosis.
I have appeared most recently on television programs including “The Incurables” and NBC. My first book published in 1997 entitled “10 Steps To Strengthening Health” with Ruth Ann Flynn, lead to a 2002 publication of the immensely accessible “The Great Life Diet.” In January 2015, Susan and I released an updated and expanded edition titled “The Complete Macrobiotic Diet.”
In 1997, I founded The Strengthening Health Institute in Philadelphia. The SHI, since 2002, continues to be an independent, non-profit school that integrates my teaching with the work of other like-minded macrobiotic instructors.
You may view my personal website at www.dennywaxman.com for more information on private consultations and my blog on health-related issues, which is updated regularly.
Growing up in rural Pennsylvania Dutch Country, my family was always important to me. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents and extended family. When I was in my teens, some of my relatives began to develop degenerative health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol. I became concerned that the same health problems could become part of my future, since science showed that many of these health problems were hereditary. While I led a very active lifestyle throughout my high school years, college food (and beer) caught up with me, and I began to be concerned about my own health.
Over the next few years, as I watched many of my close family members struggle with health problems and making healthy lifestyle changes later in life, I decided I would rather make changes to my own lifestyle while I was young. I knew that many health problems were diet-related, so I eliminated sugar from my diet. As I became more interested in eating for health, I also became aware of the cruelty involved in raising and killing animals for daily food, and subsequently stopped eating meat.
It was around this time that I enrolled in martial arts classes. One night after class, my sensei, Ralph, who was also a shiatsu massage practitioner, invited me to attend a lecture on macrobiotics given by his shiatsu teacher, Patrick Riley.
At this time, I was working in the social services field. I had a degree in Human Relations and was contemplating graduate school. Needless to say, going to that lecture changed my life. Macrobiotic philosophy made perfect sense to me. I liked the idea that we are all in control of our destinies. I was already eating brown rice, beans, and fresh vegetables, supplemented by the occasional miso soup, so for me to transition to the macrobiotic diet was just a matter of making a few small changes to my diet and lifestyle.
Going to this lecture was also my realization of what I wanted to do with my life. It was like a light bulb going off: I was going to study and become a macrobiotic counselor. I had known previously that I wanted to work with people, help them and do work that is meaningful in the world. I was already a counselor of sorts through my work in social services, but I realized I would really be able to help people with their health on many different levels through macrobiotics.
Shortly after this, I began my macrobiotic studies. I started reading books by Michio Kushi and George Ohsawa. I also completed a Level I Zen shiatsu class. The next step for me was to formally study macrobiotics at the Kushi Institute. After completing my Kushi Level One studies, my teachers encouraged me to teach cooking. At this point, I didn’t think I knew enough to teach, but I decided to follow their advice and taught some beginner classes from home. People seemed to enjoy my classes and it was a great way to gain confidence and experience for what would be my eventual career.
After finishing my studies at the Kushi Institute, I began advanced studies with my future husband, Denny Waxman. I found Denny’s insights into health, macrobiotics and food to be detailed and innovative, completely broadening my understanding of macrobiotics. I thought he was brilliant. Studying with Denny was my graduate school of macrobiotics. In 1997, Denny founded The Strengthening Health Institute (SHI) to train and educate teachers and counselors; I was part of the first graduating class. You might say that the rest is history, as I am currently the co-director of SHI.
I have dedicated my life to understanding the energetic nature of foods, cooking styles, and creating dynamic, healthful meal plans. All this has helped me to further develop myself as a person, my teaching, and my craft, macrobiotic cooking. Macrobiotics was one of the first things that kept my full interest; it never gets boring. As the world changes, as I change, we continuously evolve our practice of this art and way of life. I love sharing what I have learned with my students.