Happy New Year! Did you have a nice holiday season? We are finally back home and getting into the swing of it being a new year. It feels really good. 2012 was a good year for both of us, but I am excited to start over fresh. I have emerged the last few days into wrapping up loose 2012 ends, clearing my desk to make room for new tasks, and cleaning out the studio space to begin shooting new shiny things. As well, I have been making pots of this healthy detox soup. It really makes me feel so much better, and lighter. Definitely a good way to get rid of the post holiday toxins.
Every new year we talk about our goals. I am completely behind on setting any, as of yet; but, Lenny is great at it. He has a whole slew of them. I admire him for that. I feel like a lazy lump. We did talk about how we really need to get fit this year. We feel that being over our 40s puts us at a bigger disadvantage. I feel like with 46 years itching up on me, I really need to get into better shape. And it is harder for both of us; going thru menopause (already) makes it a huge struggle, and Lenny finds it is tough to get that “climber’s body” back being mid-40.
We have both tried some of the “fad” diets but the pounds always creep back, and at times even harder. We are not big dieters as we feel there is a better way of doing it. Instead, we eat good food (healthy, not processed) in moderation, are accountable for what we shove into our mouths and we move our asses. Then the pounds do come off. That being said the holiday put us into sloth mode – so ashamed! We just got Fitbits and an Aria Scale, both have been a great tool, to push ourselves to move a little bit more. Maybe it is the competitive part that pushes or maybe being accountable in a sort of public way. Either way, it has been fun. Are you Fitbiting? Or as Lenny likes to say “fitbitching”?
To jump-start the “eating right” part of our “healthy” living we have been doing a detox after the holidays. I have been doing it for 15+ years. Even before Lenny, I use to do it with my coworkers. Now, for us, it is a great way to rid our bodies of overindulgence. By detoxing, I mean that we cut out sugars, wheat, meat and alcohol for two weeks (great read on that). We use to do it for a month, but it made me insane. It is pretty simple to follow and we feel great at the end of two weeks. I simply make a big pot of detox soup and we eat it for lunch and dinner. Detox soup is low in fat as I do not use any oils, instead it if full of fresh vegetables that are loaded with all sorts of great vitamins that happen to be good for us. For breakfast, we normally eat fruit such as apples. This year I am adding quinoa with apples as I crave protein after spin class. We drink lots of water and green tea all day. And we move!!!
I have been using the same recipe forever. This year I decided to change it up a bit, by adding more of this and that. As well, I have received a few different suggestions from readers, so I took their suggestions and tried it out. The original recipe is good, but the new version is really good as it is bursting with even more flavor!! A side note, one of our readers said she makes it in a slow cooker and that it comes out really well.
Serving: We have a 1 – 1/2 cups for lunch and for dinner for 2 weeks. This recipe will last a couple of days (when two people are sharing). I add about 1/2 cup water every time I reheat it. As well I may toss in my chopped kale to add more texture. When I run out, I just make a fresh batch.
** Health Benefits of the veggies used in this soup:
Leeks: supply plenty of potassium, some folic acid, beta-carotene (in the green stems) and vitamin C. Although less beneficial than onions, leeks may help to reduce cholesterol levels and may offer some protection against cancer. Leeks also assist the body to dispose of uric acid and so are beneficial to those who suffer from arthritis.
Garlic: The allicin in raw, crushed garlic has been shown to kill 23 types of bacteria, including salmonella and staphylococcus. Heated garlic gives off another compound, diallyl disulfide-oxide, which has been shown to lower serum cholesterol by preventing clotting in the arteries. Vitamins in garlic, such as A, B, and C, stimulate the body to fight carcinogens and get rid of toxins, and may even aid in preventing certain types of cancer, such as stomach cancer. Garlic’s sulfur compounds can regulate blood sugar metabolism, stimulate and detoxify the liver, and stimulate the blood circulation and the nervous system.
Carrots: Carrots are actually considered a vessel for Vitamin A. It has a large amount of Vitamin A. Apart from that it is also rich with Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K and many more.
Celery: This veggie provides an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber. It is a very good source of folic acid, potassium, and vitamins B1 and B6. Celery also offers a good source of vitamin B2 and calcium. Even though celery contains more sodium than most other vegetables, the sodium is offset by its high levels of potassium. Celery contains phytochemical compounds known as coumarins. Studies have shown that they are effective in cancer prevention and capable of enhancing the activity of certain white blood cells. Coumarin compounds also lower blood pressure, tone the vascular system, and are possibly effective when used in cases of migraines. Due to the high levels of potassium and sodium, when celery-based juices are consumed after a workout they serve as great electrolyte replacement drinks. Studies have also shown that celery may help to lower cholesterol and prevent cancer by improving detoxification.
Rutabagas: This peculiar veggie is a good source of vitamin C, folate and fiber.
Tomato: They are rich in vitamin C and contain appreciable amounts of vitamins A and B, potassium, iron and phosphorus. A medium tomato has about as much fiber as a slice of whole-wheat bread and only about 35 calories.
Pinto Beans: These beans are a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. One cup of pinto beans provides one-quarter of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance of protein for adults. Supplementing the protein of pinto beans with a little meat, dairy products, rice or corn will provide all the essential amino acids. Because beans contain soluble fiber, they can lower blood cholesterol. Pinto beans are a good source of energy and the B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin and niacin-which are necessary for growth and tissue building. Minerals found in pinto beans include calcium, phosphorus, potassium and iron, all essential to good health. One-half cup of cooked pinto beans furnishes 118 calories. Beans are good for low-sodium diets as they contain only the salt added by the cook.
Kale: This is considered to be a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful antioxidant properties and is anti-inflammatory. It is high in beta-carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin and rich in calcium.
Maldon Salt: Salt is essential for life and an important component in the human diet. Sodium is a nutrient that the body cannot manufacture but which is required for life itself. Sodium is easily absorbed and is active in the absorption of other nutrients in the small intestine. It helps regulate water balance, pH, and is important in nerve conduction.
Black Pepper: Black pepper stimulates the taste buds in such a way that an alert is sent to to the stomach to increase hydrochloric acid secretion, thereby improving digestion. Hydrochloric acid is necessary for the digestion of proteins and other food components in the stomach. When the body’s production of hydrochloric acid is insufficient, food may sit in the stomach for an extended period of time, leading to heartburn or indigestion. Black pepper has demonstrated impressive antioxidant and antibacterial effects–yet another way in which this wonderful seasoning promotes the health of the digestive tract. And not only does black pepper help you derive the most benefit from your food, the outer layer of the peppercorn stimulates the breakdown of fat cells, keeping you slim while giving you the energy to burn.
Serrano Peppers: These little peppers not only pack heat; but, they are loaded with Vitamin C. Whenever we feel a cold coming on we enjoy a big bowl of spicy soup! These little guys also help kick up your Vitamin A, which is essential for great skin and eyesight.
Zucchini: This summer squash is rich in vitamin A and C, as well as potassium. It helps promote a healthy heart, lungs, and eyes. It is also said to help your respiratory system.
Lemon: Besides being a good source of Vitamin C, lemons have strong antibacterial, antiviral and are immune boosting. They are also said to aid in weight loss as their juice is a digestive aid and liver cleanser.
Healthy Detox Soup
*serves 8 – 10 depending on bowl size
2 medium leeks, cut in half, cleaned well, and cut into small pieces
4 cloves of garlic, crushed into a paste
1 serrano pepper, half the of seeds removed, thinly sliced
4 carrots, scrubbed clean, skins on, cut into rough chunks
4 celery stalks, cut into rough chunks
3 small rutabagas, peeled and cut into medium dice
3 small zucchini, diced
8 cups of water
3 Roma tomatoes, with seeds and skin, diced
2 cups pinto beans, I used dried ones that I cooked beforehand, used cooking liquids in soup
2 bunches of kale, thinly sliced
1 juice of 1/2 lemon
Maldon salt, to taste
fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
Heat a large pot over medium heat.
Add the leeks, garlic, and serranos.
Sweat over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring often.
Add carrots, celery, and the rutabagas. Cook for about 3 minutes.
Add the water, tomatoes and pinto beans, simmer over low heat for at least 30 minutes.
The longer, the better the flavor is.
15 minutes before serving stir in the kale and zucchini
Cook for 5 minutes.
Stir in lemon juice.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.