Denny Waxman's Letter-to-the-Editor
I want to begin by saying that Michael Rossoff (“Macrobiotics at a Crossroads” January/February 2005) is either unaware of the reality of my current teachings or else is seriously misinformed.
Additionally, it’s hard to understand why he finds it necessary to criticize others in order to validate his own point of view. Sadly, this appears to be an increasing trend among longtime teachers and counselors of macrobiotics. If our thoughts have validity we ought to be able to present them to the public without having to diminish the work of others. If Michael Rossoff’s true intention is to create a dialogue among the longtime teachers and advocates of the macrobiotic way and to help macrobiotics move more effectively into the future, I am all for it. However, in that case, wouldn’t openness to (rather than criticism of) the teachings of others be more effective than direct public criticism?
– Denny Waxman
Michael Rossoff's Responds
Denny Waxman has responded as though I have attacked him on a personal basis. Rather, my intention is to begin a long-overdue public dialogue about the present and future of macrobiotics. For too long, teachers have functioned as independent spokespersons without real efforts to explore differences constructively. Our teachings and writings deserve scrutiny otherwise we have no mirror to see how we are understood. If we don’t want to narrow the viewpoints by creating Waxman’s macrobiotics or Rossoff’s macrobiotics, then we must grow by debate and by clarifying our understanding and expression. That was my aim with this article. I would still like for Denny to address my critiques about protein (quoted from his article in the November/December, 2003 Macrobiotics Today) and about potatoes (from his article, “Meat & Potatoes,” that is currently, 2005, on his website). This could begin a genuine dialogue between peers.
Macrobiotics is built upon the premise that the dynamic of yin-yang philosophy has practical and powerful implications for helping us live healthier and saner lives. Everyone’s interpretations will be somewhat different, based on his or her experiences, studies, and biases. Macrobiotics is not one person’s belief versus another’s. If so, then one is absolutely right, and the other must be totally wrong. This becomes the very dualism that the Unifying Principle was meant to raise us above. So while every long-time teacher has his/her understanding and interpretation, the greater goal is to grow as a community by exchanging and challenging each other’s ideas. This can be creative and energizing for everyone.
– Michael Rossoff
Personal Choices Concerning Protein
By Denny Waxman
I am responding to Michael Rossoff’s request (Letters column in the March/April 2005 issue) to clarify my views on protein. Let me begin by stating that although I see macrobiotics as an orderly approach to both diet and lifestyle, in this response I am going to focus on diet.
Grains and vegetables together at every meal provide the basis for complete and healthy nutrition. Soup further enhances our nourishment and digestion. All other foods complement and enhance the nourishment we receive from the grain and vegetable basis of our diet. I am not suggesting that we limit our diet to grains, vegetables, and soup. I am proposing that we follow an orderly progression in planning our meals. Do we want to include fish or other animal protein as part of our diet? In my view, that’s a personal choice.
All food has protein. Is it necessary to emphasize protein in every meal? I would say no. We include protein dishes on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis depending on our needs and desires whether or not they are of vegetable or animal quality. Through the varied selection of foods and methods of preparation, we can derive complete and balanced nutrition from a vegan style of macrobiotics. For a variety of reasons, many of us may want to include fish or other animal protein as part of our diets. I want to state clearly that the choice is ours.
I recommend the following guidelines for planning healthy meals at home or away:
Questions to consider before planning the meal itself:
1. What is my grain or grain product? Grains are the basis or centerpiece of the meal.
2. What are my vegetable dishes? Vegetables balance, complete and harmonize grains.
Questions to consider every day:
1. What type of soup will I have today? Soup activates and harmonizes the digestion.
2. What other foods, dishes and cooking styles do I need to feel satisfied and be well nourished? In this category we can choose from beans, bean products, sea vegetables, nuts and seeds and their butters, oils, condiments, seasonings, fruits, healthy snacks, sweets, desserts, and beverages. We can also include high quality animal and dairy food, if we choose.
Is it necessary to include animal and dairy food for the long-term practice of macrobiotics? I would say no. I do think it is easier for many of us to include them. To practice a vegan style of macrobiotics takes more time and effort in food selection and preparation.
Whatever your choices, remember to sit down to eat without doing other things and to chew well.
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