A couple of weeks ago, I ended my binge on junk and sugar and went on a 2-week raw food cleanse. For one week I subsisted mainly on salad and plenty of raw vegetables and fruit. I transitioned to the Master Cleanse, which let me just tell you right now, was pretty challenging. Ideally you should stay on the cleanse for 10 days but I shortened it to 5 1/2.
Going through the Master Cleanse will change the way you look at and eat food. The Master Cleanse involves drinking “lemonade”: lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and water. I used the Asian lemonade recipe, which substitutes sugar cane juice for the water and maple syrup. Ideally one should drink 6-12 glasses a day for 10 days and drink a laxative tea at night. By the 3rd day I seriously wanted to kill someone, but I pulled through. It was such a good cleanse, though. It’s been about a month since I’ve ended it and I haven’t gone back to my old junk food ways. Now, I actually enjoy and embrace eating salads – something I used to abhor when I was a newborn vegetarian because I couldn’t stand the leaves-and-tomatoes combo. While quite extreme, it did feel liberating to have the power to resist temptation from food — difficult for someone like me who cooks food for a living!
I ended my 2-week cleanse with this warming and soothing bowl of miso soup, made more satisfying with wilted watercress and mushrooms.
Miso, a fermented soy food, is full of B vitamins and probiotics. High in zinc, copper, and manganese, miso supports immunity, energy production, bones, and blood vessel function. Some say that miso can help treat radiation sickness. You can find miso paste in Korean and Japanese grocery stores. Some regular grocery stores carry miso paste as well. I hear Ritual carries unpasteurized, homemade miso paste.
Watercress is part of the cabbage family and botanically related to mustard. It contains significant amounts of iron, calcium, folic acid, vitamin A, and C. Watercress is very strengthening to the thyroid gland because of its high iodine content. You can find watercress in most Korean grocery stores and in the Alabang Saturday market. Aside from putting it in soup, try using it in salads, sandwiches, and pesto.
The mushrooms I used for this soup are honshimeji mushrooms, or brown beech mushrooms. These little guys are great detoxifyers. According to The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, in nature, mushrooms draw upon that which is decaying; in the human body, mushrooms are said to absorb and then safely eliminate toxins, including fat, pathogens, and excess mucus in the respiratory system.
Mushrooms are a rich source of glutamic acid and enhance the flavor of any savory food that they are cooked with. They are also high in protein and a good source of vitamin B2 and zinc.
You can play around with the amounts of watercress and mushrooms to add in the soup. I like my soups hearty with loads of greens and mushrooms. If you want less greens, use less greens. Same goes with the mushrooms.
It literally takes 5 minutes to throw everything together if you have your watercress and mushrooms cleaned when you start.
5-minute miso soup with watercress and honshimeji mushrooms
Makes 1 large serving or 2 smaller servings
3 cups water
1 heaping tbsp miso paste, plus more for taste
1 large handful of watercress, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 small handful of honshimeji mushrooms, cut from the base and cleaned with a damp towel
- Bring the water to a boil, then take it off the heat.
- Place the miso paste in a large soup bowl. Pour in a splash of hot water and whisk it into the paste. Gradually pour in the rest of the water, whisking as you go.
- Taste the soup. If you’re good with the salt, then proceed to step 3. If you find it a tad mild, add in 1/2 tsp of miso paste or so.
- Throw in the chopped watercress and mushrooms. Let sit for a couple of minutes for the watercress to wilt and the mushrooms to soften.