This is a great day to talk about soup. In Minnesota, it is currently 42 degrees fahrenhiet below 0 wind chill...two of the best things that you can do for your diet are to eat a huge salad each day, and have some healthy soup!
Soup is healthy, convenient and it tastes good. Soup is actually simple to make homemade, and there are endless options, so it is never boring.
There is truth to drinking soup when you are under the weather. Depending upon what you put in your soup, there are benefits to the immune system. There are benefits to getting extra fluids in your system, also. If you eat a light soup before you eat a meal, you will most likely eat less due to the extra liquids in your stomach.
There have been many improvements in store bought soups, but it is still a much better option to make your own. Store bought soups generally contain a lot of sodium and chemicals. There are many soup commercials on television lately that talk about how they have taken monosodium glutamate (MSG) out of their soups. Unfortunately, there are many that still contain MSG. Look for soups in a box, rather than a can, to avoid BPA that can leach from the can.
When our parents made soup, they boiled bones to make the broth. This leeched the bone marrow from the bones, which provided us with chondroitin for our joints. Now, many people have to supplement this nutrient for their joints.
The list of different kinds of soup are endless – I like to see what I have in the house and start throwing it in the pot. The more vegetables the better! My kids call it mystery or garbage soup.
I quite often will buy a rotisserie chicken to use as part of a meal or to have chicken meat for sandwiches. I know that the skin is the best tasting part, but it is healthier to get rid of the skin – the cooking process creates toxins on the skin. Many times I will then boil he carcass of the chicken to make a stock for soup. Making homemade broth is a great way to save money and get the most bang for your buck. It is also a healthy option for cooking. Making your own broth lets you avoid all the sodium that can be added to canned broth.
The soup shown above is a vegetable soup - it has celery, potatoes, onions, garlic, mushrooms, red pepper flakes, garlic pepper, peppers, and carrots. I saute the veggies in some olive oil and chicken broth before I add it to the main broth. I made this one creamy by adding some almond milk and about the equivalent of a half of slice of pepper jack cheese per serving. Clear broths are best to eat on a day to day basis, but once in a while, a creamy soup is great for a comfort meal. I rarely put meat in my soups - but I do use chicken broth for more flavor. Stay warm!
This is a typical lunch for me - chicken soup, salad and a protein...Yep - I eat that much at one sitting. When you choose real food - it doesn't matter how much you eat...
I have been thinking more about eating salads. If we add a salad to our diets each day, we take care of a few servings of the vegetables that we need each day. Most nutritionists would say that the majority of our food should be vegetables. Half of the vegetables should be raw, the other half cooked, because there are nutritional benefits to both. I read a couple of diet books each week... some will tell us to go raw, some paleo, some vegetarian, some mostly protein, and the list goes on. The one thing that stays constant with all of the books I read is that we need to eat more vegetables. Fruits can be controversial because of their sugar content which effects fungus, parasites, and some blood sugar issues, but no one questions the need for vegetables. People with thyroid issues may need to monitor their intake of cruciferous vegetables, and potatoes can affect blood sugar, but otherwise, every diet says that you can eat as many vegetables as you want. This is a fabulous reason to getting used to eating a huge salad every day. Another item that I add to salads that I didn't mention before is sauerkraut. I eat Bubbi's sauerkraut that is fermented only in water and salt and is found in the refrigerator section of the grocery store. This kind of sauerkraut can have trillions of friendly bacteria in it. Just a few tablespoons a day can assist with digestion and warding off fungus and parasites. This is a great time of year to up our probiotic consumption to help with our immunity during cold and flu season. If you don't like sauerkraut, and you don't make your own yogurt, I recommend organic as another option for a dietary version of probiotics. I also recommend a probiotic supplement at this time of year. There are very few people that I do EDS testing with that come up balanced in the area of bacteria. So this week, keep working on adding salads to your diet everyday - one meal a day will replace fast food options and other processed foods, so it has a double benefit - stay healthy! Shanna
On my last blog post, I had a comment about how to choose veggies for a salad, and how to add more veggies to menus for those resistant to eating them. I try to keep salad making as easy as possible, but still loaded enough with good stuff to make a full meal. My typical salad would start with an organic spring salad or kale mix. This way I get different flavors without having to buy separate varieties. I rinse the lettuce and put it in a large ceramic serving bowl. I usually add onions, carrots, celery, peppers, tomatoes, and any other fresh vegetables that I have on hand. I cover it lightly with tin foil, and it stays in the refrigerator for many days. I usually take a salad for lunch -so in the morning I put it a pyrex bowl and add olives, red pepper flakes, and many times a protein like chicken, turkey or a hard boiled egg. I may put a small amount of dressing or salsa on it in the morning. At lunch time, I would add avocado, sunflower seeds, and warm rice and beans. Salads are so versatile - you can add warm or cold toppings to them - even put the salad over a baked potato. I also recommend using a lot of spice if you are not a big fan of vegetables. I like garlic pepper, celtic sea salt, red hot sauce, and more. If you need to start by using extra dressing to get used to the taste of the vegetables - that works - just try to cut back over time. If you can make your own dressing out of flax oil or olive oil with lemon and a splash of apple cider vinegar, that is ideal. For a creamy dressing, avocados work great. There are more and more good dressings out there now - look for ones that do not have soy or corn oils in them. When trying to get used to the taste of any veggies, it is sometimes necessary to begin by adding butter, cheese, or other sauces to begin with. As you ease into the flavors of the vegetables, you can cut back on the fats. Use lots of spice - Check out my salad page for even more ideas. I will try to add more tips and pics as time goes on. Have a great day!
I know it hasn't been a week since I blogged, but I am home on a "freeze" day, so I decided to blog. Hopefully you have been documenting what you have been eating and drinking. Are you seeing any patterns of foods that you may not tolerate well? It can be difficult to figure out without doing a total elimination diet. Electrodermal screening takes a lot of the guesswork out of the process. Sometimes it is not the foods that we are eating, but rather the preservatives in the food that cause us problems. With food sensitivities, the signs may show up a day or two after eating a food that doesn't agree with you. Rotating foods is a great way to give your body a break and be able to tolerate foods better. As an example, if you have gluten today, wait three or four days to have gluten again. Alternate the grains that you eat, and hopefully you will feel better. There are so many options available now that taste good, this is an easy option. Try brown rice, quinoa and corn, or other types of pastas. There are numerous breads made of alternate grains. Quinoa is a great and versatile grain that can be eaten for any meal. A goal for this week would be to try to stick to whole foods. If you see ingredients on the label that you don't recognize, don't eat it this week. Even better, buy whole ingredients, and create your own meals... if you are able to buy organic, you will be able to avoid pesticides, herbicides, additives, hormones, chemicals and more! Clean, simple eating will give your body a break, and hopefully improve your energy level and mood. Have a great week!
I am excited to start a new year. I have a good feeling about 2014--if you live in Minnesota, we are starting the new year with frigid temperatures, so it is a great day to hunker in and make a plan for the year. I was going to have my first blog about food sensitivities, because I believe that we aren't going to improve our energy, health, and weight issues without addressing foods that don't agree with us. I came up with a different idea to get an idea of how foods make us feel, and to document how we are currently eating. Here is the idea: Throughout the day, anytime that you eat or drink something, take a picture of it with your phone. On the notepad of your phone, document how you are feeling throughout the day - when you get hungry, if the foods you eat make you tired, energized, or overly full. Make notes on exercise that you do, and activities that make you happy. Write down anything that may play a role in the food choices that make you feel good or bad. At the end of the day, text or email the pictures and notes to yourself, so you have documentation of what your day looked like. Do this for a week, and then evaluate what choices are the best for you. If foods make you tired or crabby, it may be worth eliminating them from your diet, and see if you find your energy level improving. Also, weigh yourself each morning when you wake up. Document your weight each day. If you find that you have days that you gain weight, even though you were eating healthy, there is probably a food in your diet that you are sensitive to. Other reasons for weight gain might be not drinking enough water, not eating enough, or having too much salt. For this first week, try to pack in vegetables - make them the main part of your meals, but also include good proteins and healthy fats - and don't forget the fiber! Hopefully this first week of documenting will help develop the perfect plan for you. Everyone has their own specific needs - whether it be more protein, smaller meals, eating frequently, or eating only a few times a day. Also, if you have a pedometer, wear it this week and get a baseline of how much activity you are Find out what works for you! Happy 2014!
Shanna Seguin is a wife and mother of two. She is currently an Electrodermal Screening Technician with a background in Classical Naturopathy. She also is a high school special education teacher, and a nature enthusiast.