Soup is not only a great food for the early part of recovery when the body’s fluid balance may be depleted and the gastrointestinal tract is often impaired but soup is also a great food to be added to all stages of our recovery journey. Soups, be they hot or cold, are an easy way to obtain needed nutrients without stressing the digestive tract or spending lots of time in the kitchen.
Another benefit of soup in our recovery is that soup is a comfort food and comfort foods bring up associations of positive times and relationships in our life and helps us feel less lonely. Some other comfort foods that we often think of are mashed potatoes, oatmeal, and the wonderful warm chocolate chip cookie. These comfort foods not only fill our bellies but also our need to belong, as reported in a recent study.
Grandmothers and Mothers around the world have had their own version of comforting and healing soups. Think the Jewish Chicken Matzo Ball Soup, the Japanese Dashi, the Scotch Broth, the Vietnamese Pho’, the Spanish Gazpacho, the Hungarian Goulash, the Creole Gumbo, the New England Clam Chowder, and the Finnish Karelian Borscht to name a few.
But the special power of soup goes beyond the need for comfort food for those of us in recovery. Soup also provides us with the chance to add more fiber, vegetables, grains and other nutrient dense superfoods to our diet. And a study done twenty-five years ago by Dr. Stephen Rennard, M.D., who brought his own grandmother’s soup to the lab and studied it; discovered that chicken soup does actually help us to fight off a cold. Researchers believed that the individual components of the broth, chicken, and vegetables together had an anti-inflammatory effect on our bodies which is a positive thing in our recovery process.
In my last blog, I shared three great stock recipes from our book, “Food For Recovery” that you can add to your favorite soup recipes. In this blog, I want to share one of my favorite recipes that will not only be good for your recovery, but be a great addition to your holiday table too.
Health and Happiness,
Mary P. Cheney, CHC
Butternut Squash Soup
This soup is buttery but dairy-free. Squash soup has been popular for generations in South America. It’s a great source of vitamin A and potassium, as well as vitamin C, calcium, and fiber.
Serves 6 to 8
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 large carrots, diced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 to 8 cups stock (see previous recipes) or water
2 red bell peppers, seeded and minced
- In a large stockpot, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until golden. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add the bay leaf, cumin, and oregano and stir to combine flavors.
- Add the carrots, potatoes, squash, salt, and pepper. Cook 5 minutes, then add the stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, 1 hour.
- Remove the bay leaf and puree the soup in small batches in a food processor or blender. Sprinkle the top with minced red peppers and serve.