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kale and veggie soup

Searching for the Rainbow?

By Mackenzie Cary, RDN

Vegetables and other plant foods provide a wide variety of nutrients for the body, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber. Plant foods are also very important for the body from a gut health standpoint. In fact, according to the American Gut Project (the largest published study to date of the human gut microbiome), it is optimal to consume a minimum of 30 plant foods per week! Those in the study who ate more than 30 plant foods per week had a more diverse microbiome and fewer antibiotic-resistant genes than those who ate 10 or less plant foods per week. Evidence shows that maintaining a diverse microbial environment in the gut is associated with many health benefits, including a healthy immune response, lower levels of inflammation, and reduced risk for many chronic diseases.

Now that was a mouthful, pun intended, and you may be wondering how to get 30 different plant foods into your diet on a weekly basis. Here at Cal-a-Vie Health Spa, we encourage you to eat the rainbow and aim to get a variety of colorful plants in your diet throughout the week. One way you can do this at home is by trying this delicious, colorful Kale and Veggie Soup from our Beautiful Living cookbook (see recipe below). Prepare a mixed green salad and try to add at least 3-4 different colorful veggies. Toss a big handful of spinach and some colorful berries into your smoothie. Get creative! There are lots of ways to ensure that you are getting (and enjoying) that beautiful rainbow. Planning in advance is a useful tool as well.

Now that you’ve mastered your veggies, let’s talk about how to supplement. We understand that life can be busy, and getting all of our nutrients from food can be a challenge. While we always recommend to put your focus on food first for the majority of your nutrition, supplements can be a necessary tool in achieving and maintaining optimal health. To cover all of all the bases in terms of vitamins and minerals, I recommend Mitocore daily that also includes added antioxidants like resveratrol, NAC, broccoli seed extract, and even inositol for blood sugar support. Another must-have everyday in the toolkit is Orthobiotic, a high quality probiotic with 7 beneficial strains of bacteria to promote healthy digestion and a well-balanced gut microbiome. Lastly, I can’t go without my Reacted Magnesium, a crucial mineral for every organ and system in the body. Magnesium mainly comes from the soil plants are grown in, but with monocropping and pesticide usage much of our soil today is depleted of this vital nutrient. I take magnesium with a warm cup of water every night before bed. It helps hydrate my body, relax my muscles and calm my nervous system down for a better night’s sleep.

      

Kale and Veggie Soup

Serves 8-10

Over the years, kale has made it up the ranks from merely a garnish to a staple in every health-conscious cook’s kitchen -- and for good reason: It is a superfood in the brassica family, chock full of beta-carotene and fiber.  Paired with butternut squash and black-eyed peas, this soup makes for a hearty first course at dinner or a delicious lunch the next day.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • ¼ cup diced celery
  • ¼ cup diced fennel
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 cup cooked black-eyed peas (if using canned, rinsed and drained)
  • 1 cup diced butternut squash (or any root vegetable)
  • 2 cups kale, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions:

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, celery, fennel and carrots, and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer. Add the black-eyed peas and butternut squash and continue simmering for 3-5 minutes. Add the kale, salt and pepper and simmer for an additional 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Tip:  Most grocery stores now carry butternut squash already cubed, making this soup easy and fast to prepare.  If using fresh black-eyed peas, soak them overnight in water, then drain and rinse.  Boil for 30-60 minutes depending on how soft you like them. Drain again and use in our Kale and Veggie Soup.

 

   

Source:

McDonald, D., Hyde, E., Debelius, J. W., Morton, J. T., Gonzalez, A., Ackermann, G., Aksenov, A. A., Behsaz, B., Brennan, C., Chen, Y., Goldasich, L. D. R., Dorrestein, P. C., Dunn, R. R., Fahimipour, A. K., Gaffney, J., Gilbert, J. A., Gogul, G., Green, J. L., Hugenholtz, P., … Knight, R. (2018, May 15). American Gut: An open platform for citizen science microbiome research. mSystems. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://journals.asm.org/doi/10.1128/mSystems.00031-18

 

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