Thursday, October 1, 2009

October 1, 2009: Chicken Soup for the Bowl

So Grace and Mia are home sick today with colds and coughs. Fortunately, they haven't developed fevers yet which means they are probably just experiencing a seasonal cold. Never-the-less, as sickness strikes the household after a few months of health, I started to search on the internet on what kinds of foods can naturally boost the immune system. I'd like to do everything naturally possible to help my family stay healthy. So what have I found out?

Well, after years of trying this and that to better my own personal health (once it was TONS of soy, then it was no diary, then it was no soda or coffee, etc...) I have come to the obvious conclusion that we would all be very healthy and closer to disease-free if we didn't do so many detrimental things to our bodies and enviornments every single day of our lives. It is a mystery to me that our bodies don't just implode!

I would love to see a case study done on a newly created planned community that only eats a varied diet full of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables that are grown by it's own community without pesticides, eats it's own naturally raised beef, poultry and other meats, eats eggs from it's own chickens, doesn't use bleaches for it's flours or sugars, but rather eats whole-grains and natural cane sugars, no soda was drank and the only candy known was an occasional lollipop etc... you get the point. I would also like to see this community only be at the size where bikes or walking are ample for traveling to work or a rowboat or paddleboat could scoot you across a lake where you also catch your fish for meals. I'd like to see natural beauty promoted and physical activity embraced by people of all ages. I'd like to see a community where adults work well and with pride but only within their planned working hours and spending time with their families and spouses and friends happens frequently and often. I'd like to see everyone get a
good nights sleep. I'd like to see the community members relax, meditate, and cherish the quiet instead of needing constant music in their ears, a T.V. in the background or a heavy workload to keep them going. Then, I would want to compare, over time, statistics from how a majority of us live our lives today to that of the planned community. How would our health be if we didn't have boxed and canned foods? How would our health be if we exercised everyday and we actually had the time and desire to do it? How would our health be if we were not surrounded by pollution and work-related stress? How would our lives be if we didn't take medications that solved one-problem but caused another? I am no scientist, but I think we would see less diabetes, less heart attacks, less immune-system disorders, less work-related freak out sessions, etc... It is a sad cycle, really.

So what CAN we do, knowing this planned community will probably never exist and the prospect of turning back the clocks to the times of Little House on the Prairie are quite slim?
I guess you just try to make your own personal healthy choices - hoping they will rub off on others - as often as you can. Magazine and internet articles tell you to consider so many things (take the stairs - not the elevator, add lemon to your water - don't get the lemonade, ask for salad dressing on the side, eat a piece of meat the size of a deck of cards, get more fiber in your diet by drinking this disgusting cup of orange slim, etc...) and it is so difficult to keep doing one good habit changing thing because something seemingly better comes along and knocks you off track when you receive your next magazine in the mail.

So what am I doing? Not as much as I should or could, that is for sure. But for starters I am trying to feed my family healthy and nutritious food in hopes that it will help keep them healthy in the short term and the long term. I am trying to teach them that a batch of homemade apple sauce is not only better for you nutritionally, but it is also better for the environment in so many ways. And that they see how easy it is to make so hopefully when they grow up they will want to do the same for their own children.

And what am I doing today in my quest? Well today, I discovered that Chicken Noodle Soup really is supposed to help a cold clear up quicker. I can't really get my head around what elements of the soup consumption would help your sickness resolve in a speedier manner, but as it is a natural remedy and a food that my children like to eat, why not feed it to them? Now you might suspect that I buy canned soup as much as I buy gallons of high fructose corn syrup to add to my home cooking. And you would be right. I absolutely hate canned soups for SO many reasons. And today, I plead with you to not buy them, either. At least as a small step, don't buy Chicken Noodle Soup.

The next time you are at the grocery store, skip the canned soup section. Instead, make your way over to the spices section and buy some organic low sodium chicken boullion cubes. Next, head over to the fresh vegetables section and grab a bag of baby carrots. Head over to the pasta aisle and grab some favorite whole grain noodles. Finally, buy some chicken breasts. Now you have all your ingredients for your soup.

Chicken boullion cubes take up NO space in your pantry - they should be a staple in your cooking spices. It doesn't hurt to have baby carrots in your fridge at all times. They're a good snack raw, a good easy side dish cooked at night, and a quick appetizer with a dip at the last minute. As far as chicken breasts, the next time you prepare them for dinner, make one or two extra and freeze them. Or if you are like me, just keep a few extra in the fridge and use them for sandwiches or salad toppers. Then, when the day comes that you want soup or need soup you can have your own fresh bowl in under 20 minutes.

Steps for 4 servings of Chicken Noodle Soup
Put 2 pots of water on the stove and bring to a boil - one for the pasta and one for the chicken boullion.

Take chicken out of freezer and thaw in microwave.

Make 2 servings of chicken boullion (see instructions your container but I think it should be around 1 L of water). Add the chicken boullion cubes to the boiling water and stir occasionally until dissolved. Once they are dissolved, cover with lid and let boullion simmer.

Make 2 servings of pasta. Once water is boiling in the other pot, add pasta to water, slightly salted, and cook. When pasta is finished cooking, strain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

While waiting for the pots of water to boil:
- dice up about 10 - 15 baby carrots. Add the diced carrots to the chicken boullion water once the cubes have dissolved. Let simmer for 10 - 12 minutes.
- While the carrots are simmering, dice or shred up the chicken into small pieces.

After the carrots have simmered for 10 - 12 minutes, add the pasta and the chicken and simmer for 5 more minutes.



  1. We have really seen a difference in our health over the last year as we switched from store bought veggies to fresh from the farm. I think I told you before that what we don't finish at the end of the week, we freeze and use all winter long. I spent days stewing and roasting almost 60 lbs of tomotes a week or so ago.

    The one thing I would also suggest is to skip the bouillon cube. I don't see it as any different than the canned soup as it is still processed - even the organic and low sodium - and has to be reconsituted.

    Every time we have a chicken or turkey we save the bones in the freezer to make stock later. It tastes far better and is SOOO much better for you than the bouillon.

    If you don't have saved bones, chicken wings are an inexpensive alternative. They make awesome broth.

    Instead of the boullion try demi-glace. It is not dehydrated, but reduced. Less sodium, more flavor. Better for you. And I bet available in France.

  2. Good suggestions! You are way ahead of some. Bouillon is a baby step away from the can - chicken/turkey bones is like the big daddy and for sure the best. I bet you make some great soup!

  3. I do make great soup. (if I say so myself) Unfortunately, Abby does not like soup. She is one of those kids who doesn't like food to touch and well, that is the definition of soup. ;-)