Miso Happy!

Yes, I did just title this blog a cliche phrase! But it applies and it's true! 

I have been so happy lately. A lot of wonderful things are happening and I could not be more grateful. It's moments that come along where I stop for a second and think, wow, I'm so lucky to have this experience or this sunset, or this time with this person, or this meal. To actually self reflect and enjoy life is a valued principle of macrobiotics... and it's probably one of my favorite parts of its philosophy. 

And the food, of course. 

I have been making wonderful miso soups. There's so many benefits to miso, it's cray cray! I think of miso as a laser gun zapping away all my "sludge" as Jessica Porter appropriately calls it. Radiation zapper, acidity zapper, fatigue zapper, cancer prevention and healing including breast cancer zapper, alcohol/drug/tobacco zapper, the list goes on! But it's also a giver, vitamins, probiotics, active digestive enzymes! It's a living food! How cool is that?

"It is great when medical science confirms the medicinal properties of important traditional foods, but researchers are not even close to understanding the importance of miso. Miso is a nourishing, high energy, whole food that helps maintain health and vitality. And because of the magic of lactic acid fermentation, miso is much more than the sum of its parts. During fermentation, the complex proteins, oils, and carbohydrates of grains and soybeans are broken down into more readily digestible amino acids, fatty acids, and simple sugars. This is why miso is considered an excellent food for people with weak digestion and is still used by traditional Japanese women for weaning.

Even today, in some parts of China and Japan, drinking miso soup every day is associated with a long, healthy life. Starting the day with miso soup is said to alkalinize the body and help neutralize the acid condition caused by eating meat and sugar and drinking alcohol. Also, alkaline blood system helps maintain health by making it easier for the immune to fight off disease. For quick relief, miso is like a traditional alka-seltzer. Also, once established in the intestines, the acid-loving bacteria found in abundance in sweet, light, unpasteurized misos promote health and stamina. For smokers, miso is thought to rapidly clear nicotine from the body, and miso broth is still used in Japan to clean tar from smoker's pipes. Research aside, let long tradition be your guide. Miso is the world's most medicinal everyday food, and it tastes good, too!"
 -Natural Import Company

You can add miso to ANY soup! You name it, French Onion, Corn Chowder, Noodle Soups, Creamy Soups like Carrot or Squash or Leek or Mushroom! Or use it in salad dressings, sauces, etc. I use it in my pesto or alfredo sauces! It's amazing.

To make a quick, general miso soup for day to day:

2 cups of spring water
Wakame seaweed (3-inch piece, soaked and sliced)
1 small onion, thin half moon slices
1 carrot, thin slices
1 tsp of miso paste (I love South River Miso, they even have soy and gluten free miso for sensitive tummies!)
Fresh parsley or scallion for garnish
 
Place water, wakame, carrot and onion in a small pot. Bring the water to a boil over medium flame. Turn down the flame, take out a scoop of the hot water and place in a cup. Add the miso to the cup and stir to dissolve the lumps. Add the dissolved miso to the pot, then simmer for 2-3 minutes. Turn off your flame and serve with the garnish over the soup. 

**BIG NOTE: DO NOT BOIL THE MISO!! This is huge, because boiling the miso will kill all the happy probiotics and enzymes. That's why it's important to just add the miso at the end of cooking, it cooks off some of the raw salt in the miso, but overcooking it will take away it's power. Again, remember: it's a living food! :)

You can totally change it up with your veggie options though! Don't restrict yourself to just this recipe. There are tons of veggies out there that become sweeter with miso, like daikon radish, leeks, shiitake mushrooms, corn, squash, lotus root, celery, greens like kale or dandelion. Don't worry, be happy, and enjoy the benefits of magical miso! 

Be well, 

Janine