Could soup be our perfect food? The old adage of chicken soup is good for the soul has many truths in the fact that a good broth has substantial nourishing components that far outweigh its known importance when used only if sick or having a cold. Soup by good measure may be the world’s perfect food by the many benefits which range from cleansing the body and maintaining good health to even restoring health. It is recommended to have 1 cup of broth per day for long-term health and prevention of many chronic diseases especially inflammatory in nature. There have been some recent studies showing the positive effects of bone broths for chronic illness to help ensure optimal immune system function by supplying various amino acids, minerals, and many nutrients over a course of three to six months. Bone-based soups have been known for centuries and across various cultures as a healing remedy.
Some of the more common broths used around the world are chicken stock, vegetable stock, shrimp stock, beef stock, and seaweed with mushroom stock. With the chicken carcass you can simply add 3 pints of water. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for about 3 hours. Then strain and then reboil the liquid again and season with some sea salt and one teaspoon of Dijon mustard. A touch of apple cider vinegar can further help dissolve the bone to release the marrow. A good vegetable stock can be obtained by using root vegetables like parsnips, sweet potatoes, garlic, beets, onions, ginger, carrots, turmeric, rutabaga, and white potatoes. Root vegetables are effective for reducing oxidative stress and preventing chronic disease. Other additives which I prefer are leeks, celery, lemongrass, fennel tops, and many aromatic herbs like rosemary, dill, thyme, and curry leaves are all delectable. Don’t forget a little sea salt for bringing out the tasty flavors. With beef stock, you can choose various marrow bones and choose to roast in the oven or use a pressure cooker. One of my favorite seaweed stock recipes uses kombu seaweed with a handful of dried cremini or oyster mushrooms with a small piece of ginger.
So to incorporate the power of healthy soups in this new year, let’s make sure you have the proper essentials to begin this wonderful journey. I recommend that you revamp your spice cabinet to ensure fresh favorites. Some of soup spice favorites are pink and black peppercorns, turmeric, ground finger, black sesame seeds, Chinese five-spice, sea kelp seasoning and black onion seeds. But the choices are endless depending on your individual palate. Choose some favorite grains whether rice noodles, pearl barley, farro, quinoa, or thai black rice. Pastes can be tasty soup additives like miso, tamari, or coconut milk. Choose a favorite healthy oil like sesame or olive and a vinegar like apple cider or even a sherry or balsamic. These are some suggestions but there are so many choices out there. Don’t forget the soup toppers like nuts and seeds and parmesan cheese. My favorite toppers are green onion bits, alf alfa or bean sprouts, flax seeds, and crumbled walnuts.
Beside bone broth soups, my dear favorite are miso soups. They come in a variety of white, reds, and browns. Miso is a fermented paste that can be derived from soybeans, brown rice, legumes, chickpeas, and many other grains. It is a great source of B vitamins, E, folic acid and vitamin K. It acts as a probiotic to maintain a healthy gut and has essential minerals to boot. In Japanese tradition, miso is added to the end of the soup making process to preserve all the healthy enzymes. Some favorite additives for miso soup are enoki mushrooms, thin sliced radishes, watercress, fresh baby green peas, and kale. Miso is so flavorful, no salt is generally needed. I like to serve it with a favorite soda bread recipe that is quick and rise time not needed. Don’t forget the pumpkin seeds or sprouts to top and enjoy!
I highly recommend reading Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World by Sally Fallon Morell and Kaalya T. Daniel, PhD, CCN and Magic Soup by both Nicole Pisani and Kate Adams. You will find some amazing recipes that are both ancient traditional soups and modernized soups that are not only delicious but easy to make. Let’s make soup a New Year’s tradition that lasts all year long.
So if you are looking for a life long diet that is sustainable, delicious, and nutritious then soup is perfect. Or if you are looking for a simple way to manage weight, cravings, and stay supplemented with many nutrients than again soup is a great choice. Lastly, if you are suffering from a chronic disease or disorder and need an optimal immune system, bone broth soups should be your staple food. Please call today to fully optimize your health by a Board Certified Eastern Medicine Practitioner in Acupuncture, Herbology, and Food Therapy: 772-626-6419