Miso soup saved my life

I just ate fish for breakfast. It didn’t bother me at all.

Breakfast has always been a hard thing for me to stomach. Not kidding, and not a pun. I remember days when I would just struggle to eat anything in the morning, because I would either feel like throwing up, or be writhing on the floor in pain. When I was younger, Weet-Bix was easy, two pieces with milk, strawberries if I was lucky. To this day, I still struggle to eat more than two. You’ll find people grinning about how they can eat six, ten, twelve, fourteen.

When I found out I had a high cholesterol at ten years old, I stopped drinking full cream milk, and moved to soy. I dare say I’ve probably developed an intolerance to lactose because of it. I started drinking milk more regularly this year, when I began eating breakfast at work, but my body hated it.

“What is ‘carbs’?”

At some point in my primary school years I moved onto bread. I liked toast a lot better than regular bread. But every time I ate it, made me want to throw up. It felt like too much for my body to actually be able to digest. After some time I ditched white bread and went for wholemeal, wholegrain, and other types. I tried rice for a while, but eventually, it was apparent that nothing that starchy was working well for me. I gave up, and to this day, I still very much dislike bread.

There was a period of time I ate fruit for breakfast. A banana was alright most days, until I realised bananas made me constipated. I usually grabbed a peach or an apple and ate it before, or on my way, to school. In 2004, when I was about fourteen, I went through a phase where I would eat about eight apples a day. It was ludicrous. Everyone said they never saw me without an apple; I would eat throughout my English class; science teachers told me I couldn’t have an apple on my desk, much less eat it. There were a few things that sparked my obsession, and it was not “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, but I will write about that another day.

After eating a handful of grapes one morning and feeling completely terrible, I decided that fruit wasn’t for me. The sweetness of most fruit isn’t something I can handle first thing in the morning. I’m not sure how I managed it for the better part of a year.

It’s all downhill from here…

During winter I could make do with vegetable soup. Sometimes instant coffee, even though that was not the best. It was during a stressful, busy time during my first years of university where breakfast wasn’t even something I took seriously.

Before I took antidepressants in 2011, I recall what I ate for breakfast and it almost disgusts me. Of course, this also came from a time when I used to eat meat from land animals. I went to McDonald’s every morning and I bought their famous bacon and egg McMuffin. I got to university just after 7:30am and on the way, before sitting down on a couch or at a desk to do some work (or just do nothing on the internet…), I would stop by McDonald’s and get one. Maybe fries, if I felt like it. Maybe an apple pie. In hindsight, and from my own point of view, I can’t even fathom how I ate that for breakfast.

It took a toll on me at some point, I’m sure. Also, my clothes from that “era” are a too big for me now…

Revisiting an old, horizon-broadening friend

I think I know, however, what the dealbreaker was. I had started studying Japanese in high school, and when asked to choose between Japanese or French, I reluctantly chose Japanese. I’ll admit there was a bit of peer pressure involved. I was awful at it, and it didn’t make sense to anyone that I chose to continue studying Japanese over getting 100% in French for a whole year, as well as topping the entire year group.

But it was studying the Japanese language and culture that warmed me up to their cuisine. I was enthralled, amazed, curious and just blown away, all at the same time. I remember drinking miso soup for the first time, in my first time at a Japanese restaurant, eating a bento box. I don’t even think I remember much about the box itself, just that I had trouble finishing it because, by golly, it was huge, and larger than any meal portion I had ever dealt with. But when I drank the soup, I remember thinking it was honestly, seriously, the best thing I had ever tasted.

After the McDonald’s-for-breakfast era, I drank simple, plain miso soup almost every day, for breakfast, for over three years.

It felt great, and just a little cup of miso would do me until lunch most days. Sometimes I would have seaweed as well. I think ultimately, I realised that something slightly salty was a lot friendlier to my stomach than anything else.

The universal reaction to “I just skip breakfast”

I started eating oats and cereal recently, but after some time my body sort of rejected it. I’ll admit that I haven’t eaten “breakfast” for a while now. I find it extremely hard to eat something first thing in the morning, and I’ll just go to work, get started, and not eat until lunchtime, or at least 11am, and I’ll live on tea for most of the morning. I mean, breakfast is breaking fast – right? So if you skip breakfast, technically you’re just having breakfast at lunchtime. I’ve had people tell me off for it, but after years of arguing and fighting with – eventually getting to understand – my body, I find what works the best for it.

This was a hard thing for me to come to terms with writing about, because over the years I have had people try to tell me what to eat and how to do other things regarding my health. Every person is different and every person has different reactions. I’ve had many suggestions about what to eat, and never shot them down, but in most cases – well – I had already tried.

I sometimes wish I had a proper excuse, but for now, I’m just going to say: breakfast is relative.

Comments on this post

I’ve never heard of such a thing before! You poor girl. I’ve always enjoyed my breakfast. I would try at least new cereals. The only one that I tried and did not like was KIKS (KIX?). It was awful! I liked the sugary cereals. After awhile, I started to stop eating breakfast. I’m not sure why. I guess I just hated it and did not know a thing or two about the human body and how it works. Now I know that when you’re sleeping you are fasting. As they say “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. What about those that can’t have breakfast? You do what you can, forget those that don’t understand or tell you what to do. Listen to your body, and you are. That’s the most important thing.

Sugary cereals can be very bad for you! There are some that are really sweet and others that are not so sweet, but enough to provide a bit of flavour. I am actually a bit surprised that some cereals exist because they are practically candy, given their sugar content.

Hm…I think that you summed up the whole eating thing best in the second to last paragraph. Eating is relative – what works for one person may not work for the next. As for myself, I really don’t eat breakfast unless I take my medicine. And I’m going to end this comment now – as I’m getting sleepy and I totally forgot what else I was going to say.

There was a time in my life where all I eat for breakfast was double chocolate chip muffins. This was mainly because I was too lazy to get up and make proper breakfast. I now have toast or cereal, depending on what’s in the cupboards.

Of course, my ideal breakfast is a full English, but I only have them on the rarest of occasions. It’s not a particularly healthy option. :P

I wish I ate more fruit for breakfast but we only do a food shop once a week, and by the end of that week the fruit has usually gone off. :(

There was a time I personally ate chocolate cookies because my dad kept buying them because they were cheap. They were supposed to be for snacks but they were just so easy to eat, haha.

I never realised how quickly fruit could go off until I started working where I currently work. They keep fruit on the table and it goes bad within a few days. At home, we keep some fruits in the fridge and they tend to last longer.

I had similar issues with breakfast when I was younger. I didn’t realize I was lactose intolerant, so having cereal and milk made my stomach hurt (I use soy milk now). I had the same issue with carbs. It was when my mom would make me Chinese buns for breakfast, and those didn’t make me feel good either. I skipped breakfast for most of college since I didn’t have anyone to force me to have it. I might drink a shake or something in class and that was it.

I think that’s great that you found something that worked for you though! Miso soup is tasty, and it sounds like a nice way to start the day :) I don’t think people should lecture you on skipping breakfast or trying to tell you what to eat. Like you said, every one is different!

I’m fine with eating ~non-breakfast~ things for breakfast. Might as well start the day big, you know? XD. But on a serious note, I feel you about eating those breakfast items ;x (especially milk tooooo). I dislike bread/most baked stuff myself too, it must be something in the ingredients that makes me dislike it :I. It feels “weird” eating them.

Would it be, if you eat the same thing for an extended amount of time repetitively, your body would dislike it? I mean that’s how I started disliking fried chicken, burgers, chocolate, quesadillas, and rice krispies for a while ;~;. Hopefully your body will start accepting things. At least miso soup did the job! And it’s really delicious :3

I’m exactly like you! I’ve struggled with breakfast my entire life. I’ve also had problems to eat in the morning, always, and especially since I started working as a nurse, and get up crazy early the days when I work the early shift. In the past I tried to eat bread, or porridge, and it always made me want to throw up too, I was able to eat toast during the time when we lived in Ireland. In 2010 I found out I’m coeliac, so that may have a role in all this. Now I usually have a cappuccino and some (gluten free) porridge or crisp bread. If I work early I have a break again at about 9, so that’s ok.
But you know, you don’t HAVE TO eat those typical things for breakfast.. miso soup is fine, and even a piece of meat.

I’ve never been able to eat breakfast, and during the years I realized it’s actually something my body won’t tolerate no matter what. Honestly, I don’t see anything wrong with it. Eating habits are so personal, and no one has the right to tell our body (and minds, sometimes) when and what to eat.

I never have an appetite in the morning. I try to have a real breakfast before work but I’m lucky to down two bites and half my coffee. I usually end up stuffing them in the fridge and finishing them when I get home. I don’t know how people manage a big breakfast. I do love breakfast food later in the day though.

I’m the exact same when it comes to breakfast! It’s so hard for me to stomach anything in the morning when I haven’t eaten or exercised for 8+ hours. The only thing I like eating are Chinese steamed eggs, oatmeal, or bananas. I hate anything cold, anything too filling, anything sweet, anything dry… I basically can only eat warm mush for breakfast. O_O

Why don’t you go back to miso soup though? That seemed to work for you well!

I forgot the age I found out I had high cholesterol.. I think it’s about there too – 10 or 12 year old and it went on for quite a few years until I was …. 13-15? couldn’t remember but yeah I was like a breathing mini pumpkin-rhino hybrid (and my father called me his little piglet all the time). I’m happy I lost 10 kg in a year when I hit 16 year old, phew… and now I’m always so weight conscious and scared about gaining even a kilo. 😰

And like you, back then, I had trouble eating breakfast too. I’d drank milk every morning but I felt like throwing up. It’s always just a glass of milk though, sometimes with coco crunch or corn flakes but never weetbix. I hated wheat / oatmeal back then. weird enough, now I can’t live without milk and I love weetbix and oatmeal so much and the sick feeling during breakfast has stopped…though I still have bad digestive system that gets nauseous out of the blue from time to time.

hm, have you tried rice milk? like soy, rice milk is good for people who have lactose intolerance. there’s this australian organic rice milk I always buy in the grocery store that tastes kind of salty(?) but I like it nonetheless. I’m not sure if skim milk is alright — is it? hm, it’s been ages ever since I drank whole milk. oh, goat milk also works for people with lactose intolerance! goat milk smells a lot nicer too ehehee 🤤

i feel like a salesperson promoting dairy product. O_O

i love wheat / grain bread XD my breakfast/brunch is 98% bread now and i barely touch rice anymore. i honestly don’t get people who eat rice for breakfast but that’s just me.. i’d throw up if i eat rice for breakfast, to be honest. it feels weird and i’d feel too bloated. my mom likes to eat noodle for breakfast too, like chinese or hong kong locals….i can never understand how she digests that.

ah, i guess it’s true that bananas cause constipation.. some doctors said so while others said bananas help with constipation?? i’m confuse. i love bananas though and sometimes i wait for them to fully ripe and blend them with milk — a banana smoothie. it’s my favorite kind of breakfast, accompanied by wheat bread with kraft cheese or fruit jam. otherwise i settle with boiled veggies and poached salmon mixed together with sesame dressing.

miso soup is a great comfort food. i don’t eat (drink?) miso soup for breakfast but sometimes, i eat it for afternoon snack. i mostly buy the instant miso soup one though because we don’t have miso paste here and i can’t cook LOL
though i don’t like eating rice for breakfast, i like seeing japanese who eat rice and miso soup and fish for their breakfast. it’s so traditional and feels “homey” :) it has that warm feeling…odd, i know. /ho

are you warming up to oatmeal now? haha i remember you said James liking it XD oatmeal is like my savior and i’d eat it every day instead of rice :P
everyone says breakfast is the most important meal of the day — for some people, yes it is. i find myself getting dizzy if i skip breakfast so i can’t not eat in the morning. nonetheless, i think you’re the only one who understands how your body works so you’d know about it. if you can handle no breakfast then it’s cool. just don’t overdo it, i guess? /ehh

I’ve never had an issue with being big or needing to lose weight. My cholesterol is genetic, even though I didn’t find out until a year or so ago. It’s more stable now, but it was upsetting thinking for years that it was due to my diet, especially when I had other issues related to eating.

I don’t have that nauseous feeling, but that sounds awful! I get stomach pains but never feel like throwing up. I think my digestive system is pretty messed up too. It has taken a while for me to find out what is good for it. :)

When I didn’t drink milk I often drank soy milk instead, so I drank it for quite a few years. I have started drinking it again as a substitute for coffee (I put soy milk in my tea instead). I love soy milk, it keeps me quite full. Skim milk is alright, but people keep telling me it’s just whole milk and water. I try to avoid milk now, but some cheese and ice cream is alright for me.

I have heard that bananas cure constipation too, but for some people it seems to do the opposite.

I usually buy instant miso too. :P When I went to Japan, they all had rice for breakfast. It was alright, I didn’t really like the idea of eating it in the morning. Even though I eat breakfast later, it still feels more like a dinner food.

I don’t like oatmeal that much anymore, I guess it’s alright. :)

When it was still school days, my mum used to give us those cup instant noodles for breakfast, or I would eat a stupid “health” yoghurt and strawberry bar which wasn’t right.

I never used to eat much cereal because like you, I felt like throwing up. A small bowl is okay but now that I’ve tried soy milk with cereal, I’ve felt much better.

For breakfast these days, I just eat 2 eggs?? Sometimes with a piece of wholemeal toast. I’m quite a healthy person haha!

and yes, I understand the rice/noodles for breakfast Asian thing. Urgh! Well my grandmother used to eat rice with leftover food for a late breakfast, and I used to be fed a fried egg between two pieces of soft white bread. I’m not really that kind of person…!