Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Week 6 - Soup's On!

     It's Fall and time for yummy, hearty soups! I made my favorite Fall soup this past weekend and shared with some neighbors.  It's a great feeling when someone tells you that something you made was the "most delicious soup they ever had in their life."  I can't take full credit though, I only reproduced a recipe given to me by my best friend, who is a chef. The recipe for Ribollita Soup follows today's blog.
     So last week I attended a Mom's Night Out program given by a Holistic Health Counselor.  She shared with us some basic things we all should do to clean up diets. Here's a summary:
  1. Get rid of foods containing High Fructose Corn Syrup. Why? Apparently, there's a compound in it that suppresses our bodies ability to realize we are full and thus, we overeat. Ever sat on the couch eating a bag of chips, cookies or sweets and couldn't stop - it probably contained gobs of HFCS!
  2. Eliminate Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils - Why? Well, that's the nasty stuff called Trans Fats. That's the stuff that'll clog your arteries! Even if your packaging says "Contains NO Trans-Fats" - there could still be .5 grams in there per serving. So, no more Pop-Tarts for our house. They have both HFCS and Trans-Fats in them. Boo!
  3. Pesticides! Our counselor gave us some data on kids today and the alarming number of them on anti-psychotic drugs, diabetes medicines, Ritalin, and a host of other meds. Scary! Plus, there's a new study that came out last week about the link between kids on ADHD drugs and pesticides on our produce. There are 12 fruits and veggies known as the Dirty Dozen. These are the worst offenders when it comes to foods that are sprayed heavily with pesticides. I grew some of my own veggies this summer and lost a bunch to grub worms and other pests. Someone told me to spray them with some chemicals and I responded with - that's exactly why I was growing my own produce - to stay away from that stuff! So, the Dirty Dozen are: celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, cherries, kale/collard greens, potatoes and imported grapes.
    If possible, try to buy the organic version of these. It's really not possible to wash away all the pesticides, especially with strawberries and peaches, which have such thin skin or none at all.

Our counselor also gave us two weight loss tips: eat 15 grams of less of sugar per day and exercise at least 30 minutes every day. The first is almost impossible - a medium sized apple alone contains 14 grams of sugar! The latter is easier to do, but do I do it?  Not so much.
I am down another pound. Probably has more to do with the fact that I have a horrible cold and haven't been grazing as much. But, I'd like to add #4 to the list of things to stay away from: MSG. I've noticed a severe drop in the number of migraines and headaches I usually get since starting this journey. I have also eliminated foods containing MSG. This nasty stuff has turned up in the oddest places - like my Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage! Really? Why? So, no more of that brand.
Keep up the good work guys! We can do this! Hopefully, if we can get the word out, the food manufacturers will take heed and get rid of this crap in our food! Till next week - enjoy this soup:

Ribollita Soup
4-5 stalks organic celery - diced
1 1/2 onions - diced
2 garlic cloves - minced
Place the above in a large stock pan with the bottom covered in a good EVOO. Put a lid on it and sweat the veggies down with 1 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes. Stir occasionally. When those are nice and translucent, add 12 cups of water or chicken stock (be careful about adding salty stock). I add water with 1 tbsp of chicken base. Bring to a boil, then simmer 30 min.
Meanwhile, slice a loaf of Ciabatta bread, drizzle the slices with EVOO. Save 1 large garlic clove to rub over the slices when the bread is done toasting.
Wash, clean and remove stems from 1 bag of Kale and 1 bag of Collard Greens (both Organic). Use about 1/2 to 3/4 of each bag. Add greens to the soup and simmer, Then add 1 can of butter beans and 1 can of Cannelini beans, and a little S&P. (You can use dried, but you'll need to soak them overnight). After the greens are completely cooked and soft when you test a bite, then add a whole Rotisserie chicken that has been shredded. Cook 10 more min. Toast your bread in the oven on broil till golden brown, then rub garlic cloves over each slice.
To serve:
Tear pieces of bread into the bottom of each large bowl. Add soup on top of bread. Then use a vegetable peeler to shave off large pieces of Pecorino Romano cheese on top. Add crushed black pepper. Enjoy!

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