Not only am I not mentally ready for the winter months, but neither is my body! Every time the seasons change, I experience a little dose of allergies, but when it comes to winter these allergies escalate to a roaring cold. As if the extra hours of darkness aren’t enough!
There are plenty of ways to fight a cold beyond your pharmacy’s suggestions. Among natural antiseptics are powerful herbs and spices like ginger, garlic, and turmeric (among many others). Vitamin C rich fruits like kiwis (which boast the daily recommended serving!), oranges and seasonal veggies are also great natural remedies. Personally, I’ve been sucking down ginger teas with honey for the past couple days and tonight I had to step it up a notch. It was time for Lentil Vegetable Soup.
Lentil Vegetable Soup:
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, diced
4 Garlic Cloves, chopped
4 Stalks Celery, diced
1/2 Cup Yellow Squash, chopped
6-8 Baby Bella Mushrooms*, sliced thin
4-6 Kale Leaves, stem removed & diced small ( I did not dice small and it’s a little more difficult to eat, so I highly suggest taking the extra step)
1 Cup Dry Lentils, rinsed and sorted
4 Cups Vegetable Stock (Low Sodium)
2 Cups Water * This combination was mostly because I only had 4 cups of broth, feel free to go for 6 straight cups of the stock!
2 Bay Leaves
Pinch Ground Ginger
Pinch Ground Turmeric
Pinch of Pepper
*Clean mushrooms by wiping down gently with a damp paper towel.
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook down until translucent. Add the garlic, celery and squash and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and kale and cook for another 2-4 minutes. Add the total 6 cups liquid and the lentils, stir to combine.
Add the two bay leaves, pushing them down into the liquid. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. With about 15 minutes left, add the spices and stir.
Remove the bay leaves before serving/eating and eat up to fight away the cold weather blues!
I started this recipe in a crock pot, but soon realized I was a little too impatient to wait for this to cook. Any healthy crock pot recipes are graciously appreciated!!
Quick Science Lesson:
Make sure to choose low sodium vegetable broth when shopping. As a side note, when checking out the sodium on the label of any food, take a look at the potassium levels too. If you’re worried about the sodium levels, but there is a generous portion of potassium, rest assured that your body will take care of it from there. Recalling (surprisingly) one of the lessons written in chicken scratch on the board from freshman year biology, I remember that our bodies have a working pump that maintains the balance between sodium and potassium levels in our cells. As the pump pulls potassium in, it pushes out the sodium. Be conscious of the sodium content of your meals and balance it out with added potassium to keep the pump moving smoothly, maintain healthy kidneys and produce energy to your body throughout the day.