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Mind, Body & Soul (Miso) by Maili

Maili discusses Macrobiotics and Miso Soup for breakfast - recipe included

When I first apprenticed with a macrobiotic chef my life changed. We met on the set of a film and I became her assistant for some months. We started almost every day with a macrobiotic breakfast of soft grains, steamed greens and miso soup. In that time my food habits, my weight, my relationship to food, my energy levels, and my emotions all shifted and stabilized.

For the first time in my life food was truly alchemical to be utilized by me for what I needed. Did I need to feel energized? Relaxed? Artistic? More grounded, or maybe less rigid?

Macrobiotics put me in control of foods potential in a way that I had not known was possible. Macrobiotics is a philosophy that uses principles of yin and yang and the five elements to affect diet and lifestyle as the means to generate physical, mental and spiritual health.

Macrobiotics can be overwhelming for a beginner but one dish that is always easy is miso soup. And one meal that is always easy is a macro breakfast. There is no food that makes me feel as grounded and full of well-being as a bowl of miso soup.

Ibiza has a long association with macrobiotics and all the necessary ingredients for miso soup are widely available.

Miso is an aged and fermented Japanese seasoning paste. It ranges from mild (white or Shiro Miso) to very strong and robust (Aka or red miso). There are four main miso's Shiro, Genmai, Aka and Mugi. Miso is made from soybeans and the flavour and colour varietals come from additions of rice or barley and fermentation time.

This recipe is vegetarian but if you like to use bonito flakes you can. They are available in Santa Eulalia at Bambu and Arroz and, I am sure at some of the other well stocked markets in Ibiza.

Miso Soup for Two

2 cups spring water
1 stamp sized piece of Wakame seaweed
2 dry shiitake mushrooms
1 cup finely sliced vegetables composed of a ¼ cup of each such as leek, carrot, broccoli and watercress
1 teaspoon flat Miso paste per cup of soup
1 Tbs. finely sliced scallions garnish

Miso Soup can have any veggies in it. The trick is to make your dashi (stock) first. Soak a stamp sized piece of wakame and two shiitakes in 2 cups of water in a pot. You can turn the pot on and once the mushrooms have softened you may pull both out.

Slice the mushrooms, discarding the woody ends. Slice the wakame. Put it back in the pot.

Chop in a small dice or slice a quarter of an onion or some leek. Add to the pot and boil 5 minutes

Then small dice/slice something orange: carrot, kabocha or butternut squash, yam or parsnip. Add and cook for 3 minutes.

Add something hardier green like green beans, peas, snow peas or broccoli. Cook 2 minutes.

Then add something special like a few small bits of tofu, grated mochi, corn or glass noodles. Cook two more minutes.

At this moment will be when you will add your miso.
You can use shiro for a light, sweet taste.

Shiro and Genmai miso mixed together make a mellow, slightly richer sweet broth. Put your miso in a bowl, add some of the hot liquid from the soup and blend the miso into the liquid. Add this slurry to your soup, cook 4 more minutes and turn it off.

Garnish with: bean sprouts, arugula, green onions, cilantro, a slice of lemon, watercress or parsley for examples.

Try to use one or two roots, not including onion. One or two ‘round', being a hardy dense above grounder like cabbage or celery and one or two green leafies like collard greens or parsley.

I kept this breakfast routine up for a year. The one macrobiotic meal I was fully committed to preparing was my breakfast. Miso soup for a year. Try it. You might like it.

Miso is widely available in Ibiza, not only in the health food stores. As well, the other main component of miso soup, Wakame seaweed is readily available. The organic store in Santa Gertrudis (main road) has a great Japanese/macrobiotic section!

Maili Dinim is a Yoga Instructor and Natural Food Chef. She can be contacted via

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