Since starting my Macrobiotic course in London now 1 month ago, and learning more about its origins (Japan) and history, I have come to a realisation that once you start on a path of pure healthy eating, meaning eating foods in its natural form and saying goodbye to processed foods, your body starts to actually crave good wholesome foods and dishes.
I have spent the last 4 days with my brother, his wife and their 2 boys (8 and 10 years old). We got together because 1) it was my brothers birthday yesterday 2) it is school half term so I wanted to spend some time with the little munchkins 🙂
Since starting on the path of eating pretty much 80% Macrobiotic diet over the last month or so, I wanted to, as much as possible, continue on this path regardless of who I am with, where I go and where I travel. So this trip was going to be a big test for me and for the whole family.
However, I went fully prepared, kitted out with the right vegetables, my miso paste to hand, lots of different packets of sea vegetables (in different shapes and forms) and a couple of different types of whole grains to pad out any meal I would create.
On the first day of arriving at my families home, I made a big pot of miso and vegetable soup, using lots of seasonal veg (squash, sweet potato, beetroot tops, fresh red sea vegetable, red peppers and some kale) and adding a white bean and rice miso paste.
This was not only delicious, it was full of colour and had a little sweetness which my nephews loved. They did comment towards the end that it smelt a little fishy (down to the seaweed) however this didn’t deter them from eating it!
There are 2 types of miso pastes I primarily use. One is white miso (made from rice and white beans) and the other is red miso (made from rice and brown beans). They both have their own unique flavours and the white bean paste tends to be a little sweeter in taste.
As you can see from the picture below, there are so many fantastic benefits of eating miso and I know that eating it nearly every day for the past month and letting my mum enjoy it, we both love it and play around with the different vegetables we can use to fill out the soups and becoming more experimential.
So when making soup the key points to remember are as follows:
- Use seasonal vegetables and ideally organic (use at least 5 different vegetable combinations)
- Boil the vegetables in enough water to cover the veg and cook until tender, approx. 30 minutes)
- Add 1 type of sea vegetable (Arami, Nori, Kombu, Wakame, Hijiki plus so many other options)
- Add approx. 1/2 tsp of fresh ginger and 1/2 tsp of fresh turmeric
- Add approx. 2 tbsp of miso paste right at the end (as this paste is fermented it should not be overcooked as it will kill off it’s good properties) when vegetables are cooked, mix and turn the heat off and cover and simply let the soup come together for 5/10 minutes
- Sprinkle some fresh parsley and/or coriander when serving and serve with a slice of lemon/lime for that extra alkalising boost
- Eat mindfully and enjoy
Here are some additional benefits of some of the ingredients that I add to my soup, as well as adding to my fresh juices and savoury dishes.
- High protein content: from 20% in green algae to 70% in spirulina.
- High mineral content, especially: iodine, calcium, iron, magnesium.
- More vitamin C than oranges.
- Natural iodine maintaining a healthy thyroid function.
- Anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory properties.
- One of the richest plant sources of calcium.
- Polysaccharides: important in the prevention of degenerative diseases including cardiovascular and diabetes 2, increase the amount of feel-good chemicals in the brain, improves liver function, stabilizes blood sugar.
Seaweed is often eaten in Sushi (nori), you could eat the nori sheets as is (my nephews love making sushi and it is soon fun) or you can make a delicious salad or add to Miso soup.
It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. Most of the studies on this herb are using turmeric extracts that contain mostly curcumin itself, with dosages usually exceeding 1 gram per day.
Ginger has a long history of use for relieving digestive problems such as nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness and pain. The root or underground stem (rhizome) of the ginger plant can be consumed fresh, powdered, dried as a spice, in oil form or as juice.
Ginger is chiefly known as an anti-inflammatory agent, nausea reliever and digestive aid. Ginger is widely known for its digestive effects. For example, many people are familiar with the use of ginger ale for easing an upset stomach. This is also the area that has been extensively studied.
To save time (and money), the best tip I can share with you is the following:
- Buy fresh ginger and turmeric (turmeric can be found in Indian grocery stores or good whole food shops)
- Skin them and in equal quantities put them in a blender and grate them (step 1 & 2)
- Put them into an ice tray (or something similar) and freeze them until you want to use them in soup, savoury dishes or fresh juices (step 3).
- Advisable to wear gloves when handling turmeric as they will colour your fingers and hands (and work surfaces).
Anyone who knows me knows I love fresh juice.
Whenever I go out in London, I have my favourite haunts where I can get my fresh juice fix and enjoy it there and then.
There is a lot of controversy about drinking fresh juices and their benefits especially in terms of their sugar content.
However, the way I think of it is that if you make fresh juice and enjoy it there and then, the sugar levels are at their most lowest levels and the vitamin and nutrient levels are at their highest levels so you can only be enjoying ‘goodness’.
If you juice and keep it longer than 1-2 hours or even hours after, you will be having mostly sugars which have had the chance to develop in time and will not benefit much of the nutritional properties.
So enjoy juice using seasonal vegetable, Organic and as fresh as possible.
Here are some of the delicious juices I have enjoyed over the last few days.
So I hope that this post has given you some ideas into the different foods and drinks you can enjoying whilst still staying on the path of healthy eating. As the saying goes, enjoying a good diet is key to ultimate good health and if we can at least be ‘good’ 80/20 % of the time, then that is half the battle won. Of course healthy living is more than just eating and drinking well, it is a whole lifestyle change, however it is a great introduction to this wonderful journey to well being.
With much love and health xxx