Healthy Eating Series Part 4: Your Personal Food Culture

This is Part 4 in my Healthy Eating Series – read all about it here.

My personal food culture is starting to include this Glorious Green Soup from the site, Grow Your Family Strong.

My personal food culture is starting to include this Glorious Green Soup from the site, Grow Your Family Strong.

Something people find shocking is that I like to eat miso soup for breakfast. Many times people think this is quite odd. But if you lived somewhere like Japan, or spent time at the wonderful Omega Institute in upstate New York, you’d know that this is not such a crazy thing to eat after sun-up.

But I’m not into racking up shock value. If I say something shocking, it’s to catch people’s attention in hopes that they’ll consider what I’m trying to share with them – teach them. Because once you learn to do something you really like, you can change your life. This is why I’m working in education, actually – to share tools that help people lead the life they want to lead.

I recently ran across an article about Teaching with Food, that shares how our food has a history with geography, trade, science, technology, global contact and more. Looking at recipes and food culture over time can reveal a lot about our collective and individual priorities for health, culture and life.

What do you want your personal food culture to be?

It can be anything you want it to be! And, well, maybe you want your personal food culture to include miso soup. The quirky idea of miso soup for breakfast gets less crazy when you know that its natural probiotics aid in digestion, especially after the hours-long fast the body has just undergone over night.

Miso soup is really easy to make. Get yourself a tub of miso from an Asian supermarket or Whole Foods. Boil some water (use a flavored broth like veggie or fish stock), add the miso in, and that’s really it. You can make it a meal by adding noodles, tofu and greens, but my morning miso is just miso and veggie stock in a mug. Even my daughter enjoys drinking it sip by sip in a porcelain mug – just like mama!

Perhaps you’ll examine and expand your personal food culture to include some of the savory items below – from morning miso soup to spices you can dash on throughout your meals. I’ve also added some of my favorite fats to use in cooking, to break away from the usual canola and vegetable oil (which can be quite processed).

Savory Foods and Oils for Cooking & Eating

Benefits How to Use Where to Find it in Vienna (and similarly elsewhere)
Tumeric Anti-inflamatory Meatloaf/ burgers, chili, soup Anywhere
Coriander Digestion aid Use like you would pepper – grind it fresh Aditi – whole for grinding, or powder
Miso Fermented (probiotics), maintains healthy digestive system Make soup, use a little to top a stir fry or fish. Never boil or microwave miso – it kills its benefits. Whole Foods or Asian supermarkets, refrigerated section, colors varry
Nutritional yeast B vitamins Sprinkle on salads, soups, meat as finisher Whole Foods in bulk aisle. Keep some in a spice shaker to shake on as needed!
Seaweed seasoning Trace minerals Sprinkle on top of stir fry as finisher Asian supermarkets. Trader Joe’s has seaweed sheets you can crumble, too.
Kelp powder Trace minerals Sprinkle on top of stir fry, salads as finisher; put in meatloaf/ burgers Wegmans, Asian supermarkets
Tamari sauce Fermented (probiotics), gluten-free Like soy sauce – marinate, saute, dip Whole Foods, Asian supermarkets
Braggs Amino Acids Amino Acids Like soy sauce – marinate, dip, top Whole Foods
Sunflower oil Better than canola and corn oil Put in oil mister and use instead of a Pam spray. Good for high heat frying. Anywhere
Olive oil Healthy fats Use in mister, use for saute, use for dipping Anywhere
Butter from grass-fed cows Healthy fats (to an extent!) Look for butter from grass-fed cows. This retains most if its health benefits like Omega 3s and CLAs (the latter help fight cancer) Whole Foods, Maple Avenue Market
Coconut oil Lauric acid in it may have antimicrobial benefits; adds variety to the usual oils you might use in cooking It can remain solid in the jar, so scoop some for your stir fry; can also use in baking. Use sparingly till you’re used to it – it’s quite sweet Anywhere

Note: The above information is offered as food for thought (pun intended), and I’ve compiled this information based on my learning gathered from places like and the Omega Institute. These are suggestions for healthy eating based on my personal experience. Readers should consult their own health care professionals and consider their own health situations when adopting changes to their eating and dietary lifestyles. In other words: I’m not responsible for anything bad that may happen to you as a result of you trying my suggestions! Be smart, live well.

2 thoughts on “Healthy Eating Series Part 4: Your Personal Food Culture

  1. I want to share this comment that was emailed to me. It’s really thrilling to know that this information helps people!

    “Yesterday I clicked on your blog and read through some posts and guess what I had for breakfast this morning? Miso! Hahaha. Since I have had kids it seems like I never want to eat in the morning. I will go all morning with no food which is NOT healthy so after reading your post about eating miso for breakfast I thought instead of thinking of breakfast food I should just eat whatever sounds good, as long as I am eating. So, it was miso this morning with a little tofu.”

    Funny, too, because yesterday I went to a local Asian grocery store and picked up some new ingredients, like kombu (dried seaweed) and dashi (seaweed soup flavoring). I will keep experimenting, too!


    • And a good friend of mine was staring at her fridge, trying to figure out how to spruce up her yogurt and thought, “What would Melanie do?” She didn’t have anything too fancy, but she did have walnuts and she put it in to make her snack a little more interesting. That’s the stuff! It’s that easy!


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