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.