Natural Living

By Laura Peterson

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Want a way to eat healthy, stay warm and lose weight? Try eating soup or stew for either lunch or dinner every day! There are so many different varieties of soup that you could never grow bored with the choices. Plus, many soups combine the perfect balance of protein, vegetables and grains to promote health and energy. Stick with soups that aren’t dairy-based, and you’ll also find weight melting off like a snowman in springtime. (Remember the Cabbage Soup Diet?)

As for the old wives tale about chicken soup fighting off colds, it turns out that is 100% correct. Chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine, which thins mucus in the lungs so it’s easier to expel. Forget about Campbell’s soup – homemade is the best. Add plenty of spices, like black pepper, garlic and onion for added benefits. Onion reduces inflammation, garlic is a great natural antibiotic, and pepper has anticonvulsant and antibacterial properties, as well as stimulating the digestive and circulatory system. Plus, it tastes a lot better than Dayquil!

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A simple recipe for Chicken Vegetable Soup:

Small organic/free range chicken or Cornish game hen
Filtered or bottled water
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 package of “Soup Veggies” (1 yellow onion, 2 carrots, 1 parsnip,1 turnip, 2-3 stalks of celery, 1 sprig of parsley) – cleaned and peeled but whole
Sea Salt
Whole Black Peppercorns

Rinse chicken inside and out. Place in large stock pot and add enough filtered or bottled water to cover the chicken, plus approximately ½ an inch. Bring to boil. While boiling, skim fat off surface until no more fat appears (will look like white froth) – at least 20 minutes. Reduce heat and cover to simmer for at least 30 minutes, until broth has some color and chicken pulls easily off the bone. Remove the whole chicken and put aside to cool. Add garlic, veggies, salt and whole peppercorns (to taste) into broth and let simmer for about 30 minutes longer. Meanwhile, cut chicken into small bite-sized pieces. When vegetables are very soft and the soup has gained enough of their flavor, to your liking, turn heat off and remove everything solid from the broth. Add chicken pieces back in, and add any cut up vegetable you would like to add back in. Serve.

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Another incredible soup worth its weight in gold is miso. Miso helps fight cancer, promotes beautiful skin, combats signs of aging, controls cholesterol levels and eliminate radiation levels. Soybeans, from which miso is made, contain linoleic acid, anti-oxidants and saponin (which scavenges free radicals), which is why this healthy soup is a staple of Japanese diets. Wakame seaweed is also loaded with minerals, so adding this healthy member of the kelp family boosts the nutritional value of this soup through the roof while keeping the calorie count way down.

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A simple recipe for Miso Soup:

3 cups filtered or bottled water
2 tablespoons of miso paste
2 green onions (scallions), finely minced
1/2 cake tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Wakame Seaweed
1/2 tsp. sesame oil

Heat the sesame oil in the bottom of small pot on medium heat. Add green onions and cook for about a minute, stirring frequently. Add 2 1/2 cups water. Dissolve miso paste in 1/2 cup water and then add to pot. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and add tofu and wakame. Serve

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For take-out, there are a few soup chain restaurants in New York, like Hale & Hearty Soup and Daily Soup, as well as numerous organic markets that make fresh soups everyday, like Westerly Natural Market and Whole Foods. Tabachnick’s frozen kosher soups, made with fresh well water, are another great alternative to homemade, and easy to stock in your home or office freezer.

Originally published January 2006
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