February 6, 2013

Natural Foodie: A parting gift as the little guy beckons

By Avery Yale Kamila akamila@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

For the past several months, I've felt like a health-food version of the jock in the '80s Brat Pack film "The Breakfast Club."

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Natural Foodie miso soup with noodles and winter vegetables.

Avery Yale Kamila/Staff Writer

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A pregnant Avery Yale Kamila plates her popular pumpkin seed croquettes on Thanksgiving.

Photo by Brent Hill

Each morning after I arrive at the Press Herald's office in One City Center, I unpack a bag filled with two pieces of fruit, two lunches and at least one snack, plus a 16-ounce bottle of water to be refilled numerous times during the day.

My daily menu is ever-changing, but the extra calories remain constant. Miso soup, homemade veggie burgers, cashew kale salad, tempeh pizza, pumpkin seed croquettes, white bean lasagna, farmers market salad, spelt bagels covered in cashew spread, lentil barley soup, baked bean tacos, peanut noodles, sauted garlic and kale, lentil and rice roll ups, red cabbage slaw, baked potatoes, three-bean chili -- my appetite is seemingly insatiable.

But I'm not training for an ultra marathon or bulking up to become a weight lifter. Instead, I am getting ready to welcome a baby boy to my natural foodie family.

The past nine months have been filled with some of the typical aches and awkwardness, but except for a bout of extreme nausea in the first trimester (which my midwives assured me was a sign of a healthy pregnancy), I've been in good health and spirits for the duration.

In addition to prenatal yoga and walking regularly, I've eaten a diet of plant-based protein, leafy greens and whole grains throughout my pregnancy. And drank lots and lots of water.

As a vegetarian for more than 20 years, I've had numerous people ask me if I've had cravings for steak or ice cream or nacho cheese. The answer is no, no and no.

Instead, my only cravings center around savory home-cooked meals that I sometimes can't seem to get enough of. (Yes, I did go back for a fifth helping of black beans and brown basmati rice during a recent dinner.)

Since my due date arrives next week, this will be the last Natural Foodie column you'll read for a couple months. Should you be in need of a warming and nutrient-packed recipe while I'm away, here's a soup my growing baby and I have enjoyed many times during this cold and flu season. In the meantime, I hope you continue to seek out food that not only tastes good but is good for you.

Be well.


Perfect for a cold winter day, this soup overflows with nutrient-dense ingredients (ginger, garlic, miso, seaweed and kale) sure to help ward off colds and flus. Like all soups, the ingredients and their quantities are really more suggestions than hard-and-fast rules. One of my favorite things about this soup is that aside from the ginger, I'm able to purchase all the vegetables at the Portland Winter Market held each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Irish Heritage Center.

8 cups water

1/4 cup barley miso paste

2 cups water

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely diced

2 tablespoons garlic, finely diced (roughly 6 small cloves or 3 big cloves)

1 medium yellow onion, sliced into thin wedges

1/4 cup dried wild Atlantic wakame (Alaria esculenta), broken into very small pieces

1 1/2 cups firm tofu, cut into cubes

8 ounces soba noodles, broken into fourths

1 cup shredded red cabbage

1 cup shredded carrots

2 cups kale (any variety), cut into bite-sized pieces

Pour 8 cups of water into a stock pot and set over medium-high heat. In a dish or measuring cup, dissolve miso in two cups of water and set aside. Add ginger, garlic, onions, wakame and tofu to the pot of water. Cover and bring to a boil.

Once water reaches a boil, add noodles, cabbage and carrots. Cook until noodles are al dente, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in miso mixture and kale. Be sure not to boil the miso. Serves six to eight.

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at: akamila@pressherald.com

Twitter: AveryYaleKamila


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