Healing “Chicken” Noodle Soup
So we all have those traditional, favorite recipes that have been a staple in our culinary repertoires, right? The famous chicken noodle soup is one such recipe. It has been a go-to staple among many a household, especially for it’s supposed healing powers when the annual winter flu has got you spending your days dribbling on tissues in bed and craving soup and toast. But, have you ever stopped to ask yourself, why don’t I omit anything in this vegetable soup that could hinder my healing (i.e chicken) why not make this soup as healing and nourishing as is possible? Why not replace the chicken with MORE plants, making the plants the center point of the dish, because that’s where the real healing is at. This recipe was inspired by Hot for Food channel by the amazing Lauren and Jon who live in Canada, that I just changed up here and there.
ALKALIZING THE BODY:
One should really avoid anything that could inflame, aggravate or exacerbate whatever dis-ease is present in the body – at all times but particularly when you are trying to heal an existing ailment. Any foods that cause an acidic environment within the body (meat & dairy in particular) should be reduced if not eliminated especially during a time of trying to alkalize the body. It is highly important to ones’ health to have the right pH balance within our body systems. If you think about it, most of nature functions in terms of pH balance. For example, fish need to swim in water that is at the exact right pH level, and just as fish need the right pH level in their environment to not only survive but to thrive, so do plants. Plants need the soil to be at a specific pH level in order to survive and be healthy. Us humans, we’re no different! We need our internal world to have a sound pH balance in order for us to maximize our healing potential and minimize our susceptibility to dis-ease (which is in most part caused by acid and inflammation in the body). The acid/alkaline concept is not a new one. In 1933 Dr William Howard Hay said that “all disease is caused by “self-poisoning” due to acid accumulation in the body.” Acid in the body weakens the body, making it more susceptible to viruses and bacteria as well as having a negative impact on quality of sleep, digestion, physical energy and mental clarity. The body is an incredible thing – it always has your back. What do I mean by this? I mean that the body always tries to bounce back, it always tries to correct any disease or negative input by self-regulating and trying to reach homeostasis. The body wants to survive! It wants to be healthy. In order for the body to self-regulate in the case of the body being too acidic, it has to leach minerals from vital organs and bones in order to neutralize the acid. This is where food is introduced as one of the most effective healing tools out there. Foods are either alkalizing or acidifying and the sad thing is that the “typical” diet these days is generally highly acidifying (meat, dairy, refined sugars, caffeine & alcohol). The highly alkalizing foods such as fruits and vegetables are eaten in a much smaller quantity than the acidifying foods. By eating a highly alkalizing diet, you make the body’s job of maintaining health much easier. This is partly what I mean when I say, “we generally have to eat multiple times a day, so why not make every eating experience an opportunity to increase and encourage health instead of hindering it or making it more difficult for the body and mind?”. The body has a natural capacity for coping with negative impact foods, beverages and activities but it reaches its capacity like anything that is over-done in life and this is when dis-ease and discomfort arise in whatever the appropriate physical manifestation.
The acid/alkaline balance we’re talking about is different to that of stomach acid which is needed for digestion of food. We are discussing the pH balance of the body fluids. The alkalinity we’re talking about has more to do with the effects of certain foods post digestion rather than pre or during digestion. For example, when you think of a glass of milk and a lemon naturally you think that the lemon is the more acidic one. And in and of itself lemons are acidic, but actually in terms of their affects in the body, lemons provide highly alkalizing minerals to the body post digestion whereas something like dairy (which you think is not acidic) is highly acidic in the body. Hence why the concept, “milk makes your bones strong” is so off quilter. Due to the acidic nature of milk post digestion, the body has to leach minerals such as calcium from the bones in order to neutralize the acidity that's been caused by the milk as a means of self-regulating and this therefore weakens the bones. Diet is therefore one of the safest and easiest ways to alkalize the body. Some of the greatest benefits of having an alkaline body are:
· Increased energy and vitality
· Mental clarity
· Strong teeth, bones, nails and hair
· Quality sleep
· Increased digestion - and less acid reflux
· May lessen joint pain and risk of osteoporosis
· Less susceptible to colds and flu viruses
So, next time you’re feeling slightly under the weather or groggy, have a big green juice and then follow it up with a hearty, nourishing, healing bowl of soup. This way you can increase vitamin and mineral content in a very easily broken down form because soups make hard-to-digest foods more digestible. The lightening of the burden on your digestive system when you are sick is very important as this then frees up energy that your body would otherwise be using to break down food to assimilate nutrients and directs that same energy into healing, recovering and regenerating the body.
· 2 cup chopped celery
· 2 cups chopped carrot
· 2 ears of corn, kernels cut off cob
· 1 cup frozen peas
· 1 cup chopped broccoli
· 1 cup chopped kale
· 1 ½ yellow onion
· 1 block firm tofu
· 10 cups water
· 4 tablespoons vegan stock powder or 2 stock cubes
· 3 heaped tablespoons dark miso paste
· ½ tablespoon coconut oil (or omit this)
· 2 tablespoons dried mixed herbs
· ½ tablespoon dried oregano
· 1 teaspoon dry thyme
· ½ teaspoon pepper corns
· 2 bay leaves
· 2 tablespoons soy sauce
· 5 leaves of fresh sage
· 1 tablespoon lemon zest
· juice of ½ lemon
· 2 cups cooked rice pasta (or pasta of choice). Alternatively, choose your preferred grain (brown rice, barley, or the like) and add that in.
1. In a pot cook your grain according to packet instructions (or use leftover cooked grain/pasta which I did in this recipe).
2. In a big soup pot, place your coconut oil (if you’re using coconut oil) or a splash of water if you’d prefer to keep this recipe oil-free. Bring to heat and add in your chopped yellow onion. Stir well to break onion up. Add in mixed herbs, bay leaves, oregano, thyme (except for the fresh sage) and black pepper corns. Cook for 5 minutes until fragrant and translucent.
3. Drain your block of tofu and now crumble it into the pot into “chicken”-style chunks. Stir into the onions and cook for 3 minutes until slightly browned and sizzling.
4. Add in the chopped celery and carrot as well as the soy sauce and lemon zest and stir. Cook for 5 minutes.
5. Add in 10 cups of boiling water to the soup pot along with the vegetable stock. Bring to boil.
6. Add the corn and broccoli. Turn off the heat and now add in the peas, kale and the miso paste (it’s important to only add the miso paste once the water isn’t at a rumbling boil because this keeps the live enzymes that have grown as a result of the fermentation process alive which are essentially “the goodies”, or otherwise known as probiotics). Stir well to ensure the miso breaks up evenly. Add in the chopped fresh sage.
7. Add the fresh lemon juice and pasta/grain. Check the seasoning.
8. Serve with a loaf of beautiful crusty, homemade bread and ENJOY! Serves about 6 hearty bowls.