My journey from cupcakes to Natto...and how I eat it now

My acupuncturist made long-term efforts to induce me to eat NATTO. So, I heard about this (to me) HORRIFYING food item for many, many years, as she casually brought it up (without pressuring me) from time to time. 

Note: Don't ever pressure anyone to eat NATTO! The interior fortitude required to face and eat the NATTO must be conjured from within. 

My diet had a fair amount of Sweet Mandy B's cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, and other tasty treats in it. With a sweet tooth like that, what were the chances my mouth was going to adjust itself to NATTO? Ummm...ZERO. I just wasn't ready. 

But in June of 2016 everything changed. My acupuncturist told me she had to close her practice to address serious health concerns. I was SHOCKED! She looked completely healthy! This re-wired my brain: if she could be harboring deep health imbalances despite looking healthy, SO COULD I. 

On that very day, I QUIT EATING SUGAR. I had been working on quitting for probably a decade. I had quit and started, quit and started, probably dozens of times. But — every time you quit, you come closer to quitting for good. And this was the case for me. This time, it was for good.

My palate gradually recovered its natural capacity to appreciate real food. Month by month, I was eating healthier food. Finally...I was ready. Ready to face the NATTO. 

I went online to Meguminatto and placed my first order in a fit of courage. 

When I received it, all my fears were CONFIRMED. It smelled like ammonia + coffee (winning combo!) and looked like spider web-wrapped beans. 

I was as horrified as I always thought I would be, but I persevered, because I was READY. I devised a method to hide the taste: 

Melissa's Natto taste-hiding Natto-Ginger-Sweet Potato recipe
6 g fresh ginger (bottled ginger doesn't mask the taste as well, I tried and cried)
40 to 50 g mashed sweet potato (baked, boiled or steamed, whatever works)
Natto — amount dependent on taste tolerance (I started with 10 g, and have worked up to an astounding 24 g!!)
* optional — if you eat dairy, add 1 tsp of ghee. It really helps cut the taste! Also adds a little extra K2 to your recipe

Sweet Potato Ginger Natto

This recipe alone does not hide the taste enough, so I also have two further taste-disguising methods: 

1. Eat it with broccoli sprouts
The sprouts are slightly spicy and this helps mask the taste. 
2. Eat it with guacamole / some kind of avocado dressing
I can't eat tomatoes so I make mine without, but avocado and garlic go a LONG way towards masking the natto taste. In fact you could probably make natto guacamole! 

Melissa's No-Nightshade, Simple Avocado Dressing
Flesh of 1 avocado, mashed
8-12 g of fresh squeezed lemon juice (I squeeze weekly & keep a bottle in the fridge)
20 g of sauerkraut juice (I eat Bubbies sauerkraut daily, you could use your own or just add some salt here) 
• optional — fresh pressed garlic to tolerance (I do 1 tsp) 

That's it! It's seriously simple, like all my cooking! 

Ultimately, I ended up creating a natto taste-disguising, high-nutrient meal which looks like this: 

Natto lunch:

Natto-Ginger-Sweet Potato recipe
2.5 ounces broccoli sprouts
Greens & Mushrooms Cooked Salad
o-Nightshade, Simple Avocado Dressing

Natto Lunch

Melissa's Greens & Mushrooms Cooked Salad
106 g kale • or around 78 g kale, 45 g dandelion greens. 
95 g mushrooms (any kind)
No-Nightshade, Simple Avocado Dressing

Wash greens in filtered water. Soak in apple cider vinegar for 10 minutes. Boil large pot of water on stove. Throw greens into boiling water, boil for 7-8 minutes. Strain off excess water. Use same water to boil mushrooms to taste — anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. 

Keep the lid OFF the pot when you cook the greens and mushrooms. If you want to create Mt. Vesuvius in your kitchen, put the lid on the pot with the mushrooms and watch it explode!! Fun times. I don't know why mushrooms do that, but, yeah, cook them with the LID OFF. 

Here is the nutrient breakdown of my Natto lunch:

Natto lunch nutrition

When the time is right, I have confidence you, too, can eat Natto!

This is my method of incorporating it into my body — both for my taste buds and my nutrition needs. I know you will come up with awesome ways to make it work for you! 


Vitamin D from Mushrooms

How are mushrooms like humans? We can both convert sunlight to vitamin D in our skin!

So if you eat mushrooms, you can get all the Vitamin D you need!

Method 1: Sun Exposure 

Key fact to know: Not all sunlight is the right wavelength to create Vitamin D. Sometimes the sun is out, but no Vitamin D synthesis can happen, either because it's too early/late in the day, or during the "Vitamin D winter" between around November - February (in the Chicago area).

So Method 1 only works when the sun is high in the sky in the full sun hours of the day (between around 10 am- 4 pm), between April and November (for folks as far north as Chicago). 

Mushrooms can convert sun to Vitamin D AFTER THEY ARE HARVESTED. So you can buy regular, packaged or unpackaged mushrooms in the store (any kind my friends!) and this will work. 

Simply spread them out on a tray and put them in full sun. I do it on my window ledge. Leave them for as long as you can/want-- 30 minutes, 2 hours, 6 hours, you name it. 

If they are cut, great--that increases surface area for Vitamin D conversion. If they are not cut, put them GILLS UP. 

The longer you leave them out, the higher the Vitamin D will rise. Even 30 minutes is worth it! 

Method 2: UVB Light

You can't make Vitamin D on days when it rains. Or at 10 pm. Or in December in Chicago. But you CAN make Vitamin D from mushrooms any time, day or night, if you have a UVB light! 

Lizards need UVB light exposure. You can take advantage of this to buy a UVB lizard light to use on your mushrooms. They come in all sizes and shapes. 

You could attach one to something in your kitchen and create a permanent "mushroom irradiation" station. I couldn't find a good spot in my kitchen, so I decided to buy the absolute smallest UVB light I could find, keep it in a drawer, and take it out three/four times a week to shine on my mushrooms. This is what I bought on Amazon: 

Reptile T5HO 12″ Standard Fixture & Reflector

Zoo Med 26396 Reptisun 15W 10.0 T5-Ho Uvb Fluorescent Lamp, 12″

Note: You can purchase cheaper fixtures and lights. I wanted something extremely small and compact, so I was willing to pay extra for it.

Note: If you have never attached a UVB light into a UVB fixture, you have to TURN the ends of the light to click in to the fixture. Don't break the light. This video showed me how. 

I shine it right over my mushrooms at a distance of about 4-5″ for five minutes. I prop it up on tissue boxes to position it over my mushrooms. Super easy!

Want more info? Google "Vitamin D mushrooms" for links like these:

Final note: some people say the Vitamin D you get from mushrooms, Vitamin D2, in inferior to Vitamin D3, which you get from your own skin. So perhaps try to get as much Vitamin D from the sun as you can, and when you can't...use mushrooms! 

Science / Proof?