What’s your ideal comfort food? You know, that dish you come back to, time & time again, when both your body & soul are searching for nourishment?
For years, my go-to comfort food was macaroni & cheese. No, not that orange, powdery “food” from a box—this was the real deal. Pasta shells with a blend of cheeses, milk & butter, baked to perfection with a crispy breaded top. I piled it high on my plate and stuffed my belly as often as I had the chance.
There came a day when I realized I couldn’t touch this dish anymore. I spent my early 20’s kicking a major case of candida, and through that journey, I gained massive insight into all aspects of my life. As I played around with my diet, I discovered something that I almost couldn’t believe—or didn’t want to believe. It turns out, I’m highly intolerant to dairy.
Those 3 day, vomit-inducing migraines I’d been suffering from my whole life? Dairy. That acne I’d been dealing with since I was 12? Dairy. All it took was a simple elimination diet to wake me up.
I didn’t need any convincing to eliminate dairy from my diet. Nothing tastes good enough to endure the pain of a migraine. Not even that luscious mac & cheese.
Since then, my diet has has dramatically shifted and my idea of comfort food has been redefined. Comfort foods are those that offer both instant body & soul satisfaction as well as long term nourishment.
These foods vary for me from season to season, but in winter, comfort foods seems especially necessary. I search for foods that warm me to my core and provide me with energy to roll through those days when I’d rather be hibernating.
Currently, I find deep comfort in a hot bowl of miso soup. It couldn’t be simpler, but it provides my body with that same feeling I used to get from my mac & cheese—warmth, coziness and nourishment.
You can enjoy this as a simple broth or add some heartiness with quinoa, brown rice, kelp noodles, or veggies. It’s important not to cook the miso or you’ll risk killing the beneficial probiotic cultures. I also prefer the garlic and ginger to remain raw, which helps to keep our immune systems strong during the winter months.
Miso Soup for One
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic-ginger blend*
- 1 tablespoon miso (I love South River Chickpea Miso)
*Place 4 cloves of garlic and a 1/2″x3″ piece of peeled ginger in a food processor. Process until finely chopped. Keep in the refrigerator to make miso soup whenever you need it! Makes 2 tablespoons.
- 1/2 teaspoon dulse or kelp flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped cilantro leaves
- 1 teaspoon sliced scallions
- 1/4 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice
- 1/4 cup veggies of choice
- 1 handful kelp noodles
Heat the water on the stove (never microwave). Do not boil. You’re aiming for the temperature that makes tea perfectly sip-able but still hot. Pour into a bowl and stir in the garlic-ginger blend & miso. Whisk a bit with a fork until there are no miso clumps remaining. Stir in any other desired ingredients and serve immediately.
What’s your go-to comfort food? Has it evolved over time? Share with us!