soup for breakfast

Why soup is more than just a great winter meal

Whether you’re coming in from the cold or recovering from a cold, nothing is said to be as comforting as Mom’s chicken soup. Indeed, at Body Ecology we feel that a bowl of soup made with a variety of nourishing vegetables and a great stock, plus some fermented foods to aid in digestion, can be one of the most healing and fortifying of meals, especially in winter.

body ecology cookbook

Consider this your source for soothing soups: The Body Ecology Living Cookbook features a long list of soup recipes — like Broccoli and Fresh Fennel, Seafood Donabe, Basil Veggie Stew, Curried Celery, and many more — that you can enjoy for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Many other cultures eat soup for breakfast.

It’s not just food for your soul

Ancient cultures have long used soups and broths as home remedies for colds and flu, and even scientific data shows that soup has benefits.

Did you know?

  • Chicken soup contains an amino acid that closely resembles a pharmacological agent called acetylcysteine, often prescribed for bronchitis.1 It’s available under the trade names Mucomyst, Fluimucil, and Parvolex. You can also buy acetylcysteine in health food stores or online as N-acetylcysteine.
  • Traditional ingredients in soup, like garlic and pepper, may work as natural decongestants — they help thin out mucus and ease breathing.2 Note that we do not use black pepper on the Body Ecology program since it’s said to be irritating to the gallbladder, but we do recommend cayenne pepper.
  • Tests have shown that chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties.3 (Inflammation has been linked to chronic diseases, like cancer, arthritis, and heart disease.4)
  • Drinking hot soup and breathing in the steam may help decongest the respiratory system.

Whether or not you feel under the weather, soup is an excellent meal during the winter months when your body needs more warming food. Soup is a wonderful hydrator and gives your body much-needed liquid. On top of all that, soup is easy to digest, making it a great way to get valuable nutrients.

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Why not have soup for breakfast?

Though we Americans are accustomed to cereal and milk or bacon and eggs, soup makes a delicious, nourishing breakfast meal.

Actually, many other cultures eat soup for breakfast. In China, the children are sent off to school after eating a bowl of soup made with rice grains. Japanese kids do the same but sip their soup made with an ocean vegetable broth and fermented miso paste.

What people in these cultures know is that in the morning, warming broths are a great way to “break the fast” after eight to 12 hours without food or liquids. Having warm soup in the morning helps stimulate digestion, igniting your “digestive fire” and preparing your digestive tract for later meals.

The Body Ecology Living Cookbook has some tasty soup recipes, and as you learn Body Ecology’s principles, you’ll also have fun experimenting on your own.

Try these ideas the next time you crave a warm, nourishing soup — for breakfast or any meal:

  • Clean-out-your-fridge veggie soup – Use leftover vegetables for a hearty, mineral-rich soup.
  • Grain soup – Add Body Ecology grain-like seeds to your soup for a filling meal.
  • Protein soup – Prepare a protein-based soup (chicken, fish, or red meat) and combine it with non-starchy vegetables.
  • Puréed soup – You can puree any soup to give it a creamy texture and a new look. Kids will never balk at eating their veggies again because they won’t know they’re eating them!

A note from Donna: I’ve noticed that many people do not do well on the cooked fat in soup stocks made from animals like poultry and meats. Cooked fats are much harder to digest than raw fat, and many people simply do not digest fats, especially today.

To solve this problem, prepare your stock according to the recipe, then put your finished stock into the refrigerator for several hours until it cools. A layer of fat will have formed at the top of the jar or bowl. Skim this off and discard. You’re ready to enjoy the rest of the broth. The gelatin is excellent for you — it’s full of wonderful minerals.

Dried fish flakes can be purchased from your health food store and can be simmered for 10 minutes, then removed, to make a quick and nourishing animal-based broth. The Japanese do this and also simmer a piece of the sea vegetable kombu. It’s one of the most nourishing broths you can prepare, and it’s fast.

For a flavorful soup to start your day, try this Body Ecology creamy dilled cauliflower soup recipe.


  1. 1. Cazzola M, Calzetta L, Page C, Jardim J, Chuchalin AG, Rogliani P, Matera MG. Influence of N-acetylcysteine on chronic bronchitis or COPD exacerbations: a meta-analysis. Eur Respir Rev. 2015 Sep;24(137):451-61. doi: 10.1183/16000617.00002215. PMID: 26324807.
  2. 2. Nantz MP, Rowe CA, Muller CE, Creasy RA, Stanilka JM, Percival SS. Supplementation with aged garlic extract improves both NK and γδ-T cell function and reduces the severity of cold and flu symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled nutrition intervention. Clin Nutr. 2012 Jun;31(3):337-44. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2011.11.019. Epub 2012 Jan 24. PMID: 22280901.
  3. 3. Rennard BO, Ertl RF, Gossman GL, Robbins RA, Rennard SI. Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro. Chest. 2000 Oct;118(4):1150-7. doi: 10.1378/chest.118.4.1150. PMID: 11035691.
  4. 4. Hoiby N., Bjarnsholt T., Givskov M., Molin S., Ciofu O. (2010). Antibiotic resistance of bacterial biofilms. Int. J. Antimicrob. Agents 35, 322–332. 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2009.12.011Kanae Echizen, Keigo Horiuchi, Yayoi Aoki, Yoichi Yamada, Toshinari Minamoto, Hiroko Oshima, Masanobu Oshima. NF-κB-induced NOX1 activation promotes gastric tumorigenesis through the expansion of SOX2-positive epithelial cells. Oncogene, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41388-019-0702-0.

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