At the last meeting of The Carolina Preppers Network, we were discussing the recent escalation of threats from Russia to use nuclear weapons against US interests. During that meeting the question came up about what kind of natural defense there was against radiation poisoning. I fielded a short answer and promised a blog post on the subject, so here it is!
There are several natural treatments for protection and elimination of radiation from the body. Today I will talk about Miso, a very effective and nutritious way to protect your body from the harmful effects of radiation. If there is enough interest in this subject, I can write another post on the other treatments in the near future. Please tell me if you are interested.
Miso has been a staple in the Japanese diet since 4th century B.C. You may have had it if you eat in sushi restaurants that serve a soup with the meal. Miso is a salty tasting paste made from cooked soybeans that have been inoculated with the Aspergillus oryzae fungus, and then fermented for a year or more. The fungus completely breaks down the soy beans, changing their composition from a potentially unhealthy estrogen mimicking food to an very healthy anti-estrogenic food. The property changes of the soy beans during the fermentation process are actually responsible for miso's radiation protective capabilities.
The discovery of the radiation busting properties of miso came after the bombs were dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Here is the story as it is documented in the medical journal, Toxicologic Pathology, *1
"When the 2nd atomic bomb was dropped in Nagasaki on August 9th, 1945, physician Tatuichiro Akizuki, along with 20 employees, were taking care of 70 tuberculosis patients at "Uragami Daiichi Hospital" (St. Francis Hospital) about 1.4 km away from ground zero. However, these people including Dr. Akizuki did not have any acute radiation disease. Dr. Akizuki considered that this was the result of consuming cups of wakame miso soup (miso soup with garnish of wakame seaweed) every day. Later, his hypothesis was translated into English and became known in the West. Years later In the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident on April 26, 1986, in the Ukraine, many Europeans consumed miso soup as a preventive measure for radiation diseases.
In 1972, Akizuki's theory was confirmed when researchers discovered that miso contains dipilocolonic acid, an alkaloid that chelates heavy metals, such as radioactive strontium, and discharges them from the body. However, the most convincing evidence demonstrating the protection miso offers to those exposed to radiation was published in Japan in 1989. Professor Akihiro Ito, at Hiroshima University's Atomic Radioactivity Medical Lab, read reports of European countries importing truckloads of miso from Japan after the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.*2
Since Dr. Akizuki's initial realization and publication of his findings, there have been multiple well documented studies done trying to pinpoint the exact properties that provide the radioactive protection and at what point in the fermentation process is the miso at the optimal radiation fighting strength. In one study laboratory rats were fed miso that had fermented for different amounts of time, 30 days, 90 days and 180 days. each rat was fed a different strength of miso for two weeks and then exposed to radiation. The studies showed that miso that had been fermented for at least 180 days had a protected the rats from the harmful affects of radiation exposure, those miso that were less mature than 180 days had no gave no protection from radiation. *Read the whole study here Although miso has been scientifically proven to protect against radiation exposure, it has its limits. It cannot protect from the blast, from radiation burns or from extreme amounts of radiation exposure. Also, it is most effective when in the system prior to radiation exposure.
Since miso is most effective when in the body prior to exposure, it is probably a good idea to begin proactively using miso, by incorporating it into your daily diet. Which is a good idea anyway, since miso is also very effective in protecting against several kinds of cancer including breast, liver, intestinal and stomach cancer as well as hypertension, (Even though miso is high in salt, it has been shown to actually have a positive affect on hypertension. Instead of causing a rise in blood pressure, it actually reduces it).
There are many kinds of miso, some made with soy and rice, some with soy and barley, even one made from chickpeas instead of soy, but for the purpose of protecting against radiation, the miso of choice is the red miso. Red miso is made from soybeans and barley which is fermented much longer than white or yellow miso and has the highest quantity of soybeans. The radiation protecting properties don't develop in miso that is fermented for less than 180 days. Red miso is fermented for 18 months. Although I use all the different kinds of miso in my kitchen, depending on what I am using it for, but my absolute favorite is the red miso. It has a meaty, rich flavor and adds a depth of character to the foods I prepare with it. (I am giving away one of my kitchen secrets here... wink, wink).
Miso is available at most natural food stores, Earth Fare in Charlotte carries it so does Whole Foods and Healthy Home Market. I use Miso Master for several reasons: it is made from organic soy beans and organic barley, so you can be sure it isn't GMO, (most non organic soybeans are GMO), it is an unpasturized, vital living food, (pasturized miso is dead, it won't be any use as a protection against radiation). It is also gluten free, kosher and is made locally, for almost 30 years in Asheville, NC. Most other brands I have tried cannot compete in quality or taste and I always buy local if possible.
Miso is a fermented food, so if you are making your own, it can be left in its crock at room temperature while fermenting. Once fermentation is complete and you start using it and exposing it to the air, it is best to store in a cool dark place. I keep my collection of Miso Master miso tubs in the back corner of the fridge in a stack that is easy to get to. In a grid down situation, it is possible to store miso at room temperature as long as you are sure it is unpasturized. If you keep a layer of plastic in contact with the surface of the miso, and keep it in the coolest darkest place you can find it will be fine. It may form a thin layer of mold on top, but it is a harmless kind of mold, so just scrape it off and use what is underneath. For Long Term Storage I have located a source of freeze dried Red Miso. It comes in a 3.5 oz. size, in a bag, and a 45 oz. size in a can ,(click blue letter to follow link). Here is some info from the package of freeze dried miso: Our red miso powder is produced in a USDA Certified Organic Facility. It does not contain any gluten or wheat. It's certified kosher, vegan and of course non-GMO. We've also laboratory-verified this miso powder to meet our A+++ high standard for purity. Importantly, this miso powder is freeze-dried to preserve its freshness and nutritional qualities. The cost may seem high, but it goes a long way and having a supply on hand of fresh miso for daily use and freeze dried for emergencies could save your life.
I use miso almost every day. I am vegan so there are a few dietary challenges that miso helps solve. It is hard for a vegan to get enough Vitamin B-12, (which is necessary for brain function, and for a healthy nervous system and blood cells. Miso doesn't have a complete daily requirement but it helps me get there). Miso is also a complete protein so if I am getting my miso daily, I don't need to think about protein intake. I tell you this because in some SHTF situations it might be very difficult to find enough sources of B-12 or a complete protein. So miso could be a solution to not having the availability of your usual protein sources.
So what do you do with Miso? I make a simple miso soup for lunch, that has fresh chopped garlic and ginger, a pinch of wakame seaweed, (I will do a whole post on why you should have seaweed in your preps... your life could depend on having it), and an ample tablespoon of red miso. I put all the ingredients except the wakame, in a bullet blender and add 1/4 cup of water and blend. Then I pour the contents into a large soup bowl and pour in boiling water to fill about 3/4 of the bowl. I add the wakame, then leave for 5 minutes so the it can rehydrate. It is delicious! Miso can be added instead of salt and bouillon to soups, casseroles, meatloaf, chili, taco filling, really any food you want to give a rich, deep flavor. I use it in homemade salad dressings, in marinades, I brush it on grilled vegetables or use instead of butter and salt on corn on the cobb... yum! However I use it, I try to make sure that everyone in the house gets at least 1 tblsp. of miso a day, to protect from possible radiation exposure, heavy metals and other free radicals. The world we live in on a regular day exposes all of us to higher than safe levels of radiation, toxins and exposure to heavy metals. The use of miso is part of our cancer prevention program, so it isn't only good for protection against a nuclear event, it can help protect you in every day life from cancer causing toxins.
I know this is running long and I still have a few things left to say, but I think the info is important so hang in there I will be done soon!
I have had this book on my book shelf since it was published in 1976... I guess I classify as a hippy... or at least that is what my kids and the leader of my Prepper's group who assigned me this post call me... This book is priceless for a couple of reasons, it has boo-koodles of really tasty and useful recipes, (400 recipes), provides invaluable information on the types of miso, its history and even how to make your own miso. Both the first edition which came out in 1976 and the second edition which was published by Ten Speed Press in 2001, are available on Amazon.com
|This well worn copy has been on my shelf since 1976|
I have found a source for the Aspergillis Oryzae and some other fun cultures for making other similarly healthful fermented foods.
|Fun to be had now that I have my cultures!|
I have been searching for just the right kind of containers that will serve to house the miso I am going to make. It will be living on my counter for at least a year while it becomes its best self, so the container needed to be both specifically appropriate for this purpose and pretty enough to be taking up precious space on my counter for a year. I finally found them! I bought two to start with but am on the look out for more.They are really kimchee pots but will serve the purpose perfectly!
|This will hold enough to keep us in miso for a year.|
The outer lid protects the contents from dust, insects
and unwanted airborne spores.
|The inner lid is a second layer of protection from the elements. |
After filling the inner lid will be put on and sealed shut with wax to
prevent contamination. In other words... no peeking!
And finally, here is a sneek peek into a future post on alternative sources of protein and how to store and use organic soybeans...
*1. Toxicologic Pathology "Beneficial Biological Effects of Miso with Reference to Radiation Injury, Cancer and Hypertension"