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.
More than 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 more than just good for your soul.
Did you know?
- Chicken soup contains an amino acid that closely resembles a pharmacological agent called acetylcysteine, often prescribed for bronchitis. It is available under the trade names Mucomyst, Fluimucil and Parvolex. You can also buy acytylcysteine in the health food store as N-Acetylcysteine.
- Traditional ingredients in soup like garlic and pepper work as natural decongestants -- they thin out mucous and make breathing easier. Note that on the Body Ecology Diet we do not use black pepper since it is said to be irritating to the gall bladder but we do recommend cayenne pepper.
- Tests have shown that chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties. (Inflammation has been linked to chronic diseases like cancer, arthritis, and heart disease.)
- Drinking hot soup and breathing in the steam can decongest the respiratory system.
Soup is a healing and fortifying meal; you can even try it for breakfast!
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 into your diet.
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 8 -12 hours without food or liquids. Having warm soup in the morning stimulates digestion, igniting your "digestive fire" and prepares your digestive tract for later meals.
Fun Soup Ideas
The Body Ecology Diet has some delicious soup recipes and as you learn the healing Body Ecology principles, you'll also have fun experimenting on your own. Try these ideas the next time you crave a warm, delicious and nutritious soup -- for breakfast or anytime!
- Clean Out Your Fridge Veggie Soup - use the left over vegetables for a delicious, mineral-rich soup.
- Grain Soup - Add Body Ecology grains - see The Risks of Consuming Typical Grains & the Healthy Grains to Choose Instead -- to your soups for a hearty, filling soup.
- Protein Soup - Try a protein-based soup (chicken, fish or red meat) and combine with non-starchy vegetables.
- Pureed Soup - You can puree any soup to give it a creamy texture and a new look. The kids will never balk at eating their veggies again because they won't even know they're eating it!
A Few Important Tips from Body Ecology Founder Donna Gates:
I have 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 ten 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.
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