Friday, October 30, 2009

Keep Yourself Healthy with Soup

Let's not assume that we have to get the flu or a cold this season. Instead, let's put some effort into not getting sick. It is not inevitable.

Yes, just like you learned from you mother or grandmother, soup is good for you. Especially homemade. You don't have time to make soup? Do you have a crockpot? You can put all the ingredients in at night before you go to bed. Put it on low and voila in the morning....soup. Or, prepare all the ingredients the night before, then in the morning before you go to work, put them in the crockpot and voila2 ready when you get home from work.

Make sure the crockpot is in a safe place where it can stay on while you sleep or are away at work.

A good blend of ingredients that help with boosting your immune system are:

Burdock root, dry or fresh
Codonopsis root
Ginger root, dry or fresh
Astragalus Root (I like the powder for soups because it works as a thickener)
Medicinal mushrooms

Put them in water and cook for hours. I like to eat them, but you can take them out if you wish. I like to make a stock with these items, then add the vegies, including dry seaweed.

Rather than using salt, I use miso which deepens the flavor and is better for you than salt. If you eat meat, you would put the meat in before the vegetables. Chicken soup has been shown to be helpful when recovering from a cold. Yes, they have done research on it! Use the skin in the stock then remove if you wish (it gets kinda weird after a few hours and personally, I can't eat it). The oil that comes from poultry (chicken or turkey) is good for you, but it can be very hot...hotter than the rest of the soup, so be careful!

Culinary herbs such as rosemary, oregano, basil and thyme have healing properties and also add flavor. Best to use fresh herbs or recently dried from your garden. You can also use 1 drop of essential oil from these herbs in your soup. Remember, essential oils are HIGHLY concentrated. DON'T use more than 1 drop or you won't be able to eat it. TOO STRONG! Make sure the essential oils are of high quality and natural, not synthetic.

I like to add barley, beans, rice or 'pastini' (little pasta like orzo) to the soup to give it some bulk.

There are hundreds of recipes for soup. Experiment. Come up with your own recipe. Right now, I've got lentil with fresh chillies, onion, garlic, miso and astragalus powder in the crock pot almost ready to eat.

Soup is comfort food and these days, we need all the comfort we can get.

I buy my herbs locally when I can from The Sonoma County Herb Exchange Otherwise I buy in bulk for Mountain Rose Herbs (see ads and yes, if you click through the Mountain Rose ads and buy something, I do get a small commission. Believe me, these days I can use all the help I can get).
I also buy from Pacific Botanicals (where I do not get a commission) but I still recommend highly, Ha! Ha! Mark Wheeler, who founded the company is a great guy and was on the trip I took to Morocco in '07 with Rosemary Gladstar and a group of herbalists.

For the more ambitious types who want to grow their own, I recommend plants and seeds from Horizon Herbs. Some things can be planted now for next year. They have an incredible selection.

This post is about soup and some immune boosting plants and herbs to put in the crockpot. There are other immune boosting herbs that I will write about next time.
Stay well!