Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Healing My "Little" Boy

I believe this is the best miso soup I have ever made. Necessity being the mother of invention, I invented this soup out of necessity this morning. Miso soup is just about the only healthy food my 16 year old son eats (more on that later) and it seems to be the only calming, soothing thing for him when he suffers from migraines,  which has unfortunately turned out to be far too often lately. Hans missed school on Thursday due to a migraine and began suffering from his next one on Sunday morning. He has not recovered from Sunday's headache even now, two days later! I am doing everything I can for him, another primary care appointment, meds adjusted, neurologist referral, e-mails to teachers, a nice quiet, dark room for him to sleep around the clock for days on end. Clearly, as you can see, being a stay-at-home mom this late in the game has its advantages.

Hans' favorite brand of instant miso soup was not available the last time I shopped, so I bought another brand which he did not care for (yes, he prefers instant -- the simpler the better -- he's that kind of kid) so this morning when I optimistically woke him for school to find that he was still in misery, I had to scramble to come up with a reasonable facsimile for the soup he loves.  I did all this in a major hurry, as I was also readying my daughter to meet her bus, so I didn't measure, but here's what the soup contained:

Healing Miso Soup
a couple of cups of organic veggie broth
silken firm tofu, about an inch sliced off the end, then diced small
nori, snipped with kitchen shears, about a tsp.
1 scallion, sliced thin
a small handful of fresh baby spinach, stems removed and sliced into slivers
mild light miso paste, about a Tbsp.

I warmed the broth, tofu, and nori over medium heat for a few minutes. When the broth was almost hot, I removed a small amount to a pyrex bowl, where I mixed the miso in thoroughly. I then added the miso mixture back in, along with the scallion and spinach and let warm for a minute or two. Then I took the soup off the heat, so as not to kill the beneficial enzymes.

Hans had not much of an appetite, but managed to finish a bowlful, which instantly imparted a calm sleepiness instead of the phrenetic misery he had been enduring. He is upstairs sleeping now.

Hans with two of his aunts, Liana and Sabrina, on our summer visit to see them in Miami Beach
 Look at the sweet boy with my wonderful sisters-in-law -- all great kids, they are more like cousins than aunts and nephew. As a mom, I am here to tell you that worrying about the kids is a life sentence. They are so dear to me and if something is not quite right with them I can think of nothing else. I am working on three hours of sleep currently.

Now for the guilt part :  I was a very immature 28 year old when Hans was born, and besides a year of breastmilk, was not too careful about what I fed him. He was a very picky eater, for good reason, with multiple food allergies, and I was frankly happy to get any food into him at all. I still am, to a point.  Towering 4 inches over me, he only weighs the same as his little ole' vegan mom! But now that I am more aware of nutrition, I can guess that the sugar, white flour and dairy that make up most of Hans' diet are not doing him any favors when combined with a genetic predisposition for migraines.

So now my next challenge as a mom is becoming more clear -- I need to create close vegan replicas for most of Hans' favorite foods!  I have already managed this with the miso soup, but what will I do about the Frosted Flakes? Any suggestions any of you have would be most appreciated. The simpler, the better.  The kid doesn't even like breadcrumbs on his mac and cheese!

Thanks for indulging me today. Putting it all down in blog form does help.


  1. Wow Cheryl - this is such a wonderful post. I feel for you and your boy, and I love that miso soup seems to help him. I think you are right to question and want to adapt his diet to including healthier options, and I think dairy and sugar could definitely be culprits here. I would suggest looking up vegan family websites - I'm sure there are plenty out there if you google them, for tips on how to handle this delicate situation. The thing is, if your son is suffering and part of that may be because of his diet, then making changes seem more necessary than not. If you need any more help, feel free to reach out to me, and I'll be happy to brainstorm options with you. Thank you for this beautiful post Cheryl and I'll be sending positive vibes to you today!

  2. Lindsay, thank you for your wonderfully thoughtful post! That's a great idea you have about vegan family websites! I'm going to do that. At Hans' age, it's harder to make him eat certain things, but easier if I can help educate him about the direct effects of what he is eating. I will just need to be a bit creative. I want him to enjoy the food so he sticks with it! Thanks so much!