Miso Morning, Noon and Night

I believe that the most important changes a person can make in their diet are to eliminate meat, dairy and oil and to replace those foods with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts and seeds. That is the whole food, plant-based diet in a nutshell. So, if nothing else is done, that's the minimum that every person should strive to achieve in my opinion. And when I say a wide variety, I mean just that. We really know very little about the vitamins and phytonutrients contained in those fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts and seeds to know exactly what specific ones we should focus on are. We pretend to know, but we don't know. And as a consequence, I think that it's been well documented that vitamin pills do not have the same effectiveness, if any effectiveness at all, as does eating the foods that contain those vitamins.

So, I'm generally leery of power foods. I don't believe that adding a power food to our diet will necessarily make us healthier. That's too reductionist. Instead, I think we need to eat as many different kinds of plant foods as we can. And all colors of the rainbow too. Green plants are green for a reason. And red plants are red for a reason. Orange plants are orange for a reason. They each convey a different health benefit to us.

So, if nothing else, eat plants, lots of varieties of plants and lots of different colors of plants. And do it morning, noon and night.

But what if you want to optimize your diet? What if you want to heal yourself from certain diseases? Can you improve on an already excellent diet?

I believe there are a couple of foods that might do just that. And one of those foods is miso. I've begun to add miso to my oatmeal in the morning. I add it to my soup for lunch each day. And I add it to my dinner each evening, which is generally some kind of beans and rice dish. To start with, I love the flavor that miso adds to the dishes I eat.

But beyond the flavor, I've become convinced that miso, at least in the case of dark miso, has a lot of medicinal value. So, what is miso? To start with, miso is a fermented soy product, made from cooked soybeans and cultured grains such as rice or barley. Once cooked, koji, which is grain inoculated with a bacterial culture, is mixed with salt and water and is then left to ferment. Good miso may be permitted to ferment for years before being put into use.

There are different ways to manufacture or make miso. And one miso can vary in ingredients from another miso. In general, it's my understanding that the darker the miso the greater the healing powers are that miso has. The same is true the longer the miso is allowed to age. I generally look for unpasturized miso where soybeans are the first ingredient and rice or barley comes after soybeans in the list of ingredients. I also insist that my miso be organic, i.e. non-GMO. I think that's important because it's my understanding that most of the soybeans grown in the United States are in fact GMO.

Some of the healing powers associated with miso include:

  • Lower cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduction of breast cancer
  • Chronic pain reduction
  • Elimination of food allergies
  • Elimination of osteoporosis
  • Antacid
This list comes from The Miso Book by John and Jan Belleme. 

That is an excellent book not only for learning more about miso, but also for the great selection of recipes in the book. And from personal experience, I can safely say that there are some excellent recipes in the book.

I hope everyone is well, and if not, try incorporating some miso into your diet. And if well, try incorporating miso in your diet. I do it myself at least three times a day. It's not hard to do. I just add it to any dish after cooking, and then I stir it around and mix it in well with whatever it is I'm eating. It's a health food that tastes good too.