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A Hug in a Bowl: Sweet Potato, Carrot & Ginger Soup

February 16, 2012

This soup is amazing! It warms me when I’m cold, and makes me feel better when I’m sick. The onion, broth, and ginger are perfect for soothing cold and sinus symptoms, and the potatoes and carrots offer tons of vitamins to help boost your immune system. It’s easy to make (the veggies only need to be roughly chopped), and has a simple ingredients list. I always have something on hand to make a variation of this soup. This week, I used both carrots and parsnips, and I even added a spoonful of coconut oil to a warmed bowl of  soup to amp up the flavor and enhance the nutritional value!

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion (I use Vidalia onions for almost everything) sliced
  • 2 pounds of sweet potatoes (which is about 2 large potatoes) peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 pound carrots (you could also use parsnips, or both carrots and parsnips) peeled and sliced
  • 6 cups of low sodium vegetable or chicken broth (homemade broth is best)
  • 1 Tbsp.  freshly grated ginger
  • A pinch or two of black pepper

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot (or dutch oven) over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until the onions are tender (*Note – You may need to reduce heat to keep the onions from scorching).
  2. Toss the sweet potatoes, carrots (and/or parsnips), broth, ginger, and pepper to the pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Decrease heat and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the veggies are tender.
  4. If you have an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. If you don’t, allow it to cool off a bit and the puree in a regular blender. You may need to return it to the pot to reheat a bit before serving.
  5. Enjoy!

Oh My! Maya is 4!

February 15, 2012

Four years and 1 day ago, my Valentine’s day date got cancelled due to the early coming of my youngest child. Maya came into the world after a fairly quick and definitely easy labor. She is a sweet little girl, and one of the brightest and most independent little people I know. My children make me the luckiest mom in town!

Tiny one.

Adorable in her Blueberry diaper.

Sweetest face ever!

Happy Birthday!!!

I’m baaack!

February 12, 2012

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.

Wow! 2011 was a tough year for me. Last spring I started feeling sick a lot of the time, and just keeping up with our daily demands has become a struggle. I have been suffering from severe headaches, body pain, and extreme exhaustion. Initially I thought this was something that I could fix on my own. I’m a firm believer of the “Let thy food be thy medicine” school of thought, so I focused on my diet and tried to eat all the right things. I read countless books on nutrition, and spent hours online researching food and diet only to emerge more confused and overwhelmed with all the conflicting viewpoints out there. It seems that everyone is trying to sell a book or a program, and my bullshit detector is not so keen lately.

I have also been to several doctors over the past year; and I have been offered a number of drugs, all promising to treat one symptom or another. I started out refusing everything, but eventually caved due to the desperate need for relief; only to be totally disappointed or sickened by the adverse effects of the drugs.  I have taken tests and labs galore. All that I have come up with thus far is that I have elevated levels of inflammation in my body, and I’m allergic to everything (and I mean everything). I don’t know if the inflammation is causing the allergies, or if it is the other way around, but I intend to find out.

My primary care doctor seems to think there is nothing really wrong with me (hello, the inflammation) but that I’m in danger of getting sick later on in life. Whatever that means? I tried to argue with him, but he’s the MD. This reminds me of a YouTube video posted by my ND friend (and soon-to-be-healer), Dr. Peter Swanz, in which he discusses how we should  rate our health based on our vitality; and that the “absence of disease” doesn’t necessarily mean that we are healthy. Our health is totally connected to our quality of life, and feeling so awful for so long has definitely negatively impacted my quality of life.

I have high standards for my family, and tend to exhaust myself trying to meet them. I have high standards for myself, and can never live up to them. It’s the same for the blog. I want to give it my all, but I feel like a hypocrite for preaching about healthy eating and the health of the planet while feeling as sick as a dog. All these wants and needs I have are fine and normal. I think. The problem is that I feel the need to do everything amazingly, and totally beat myself up every time I fail. And with standards like mine, I fail A LOT. I absolutely love to write, but can’t do it with even the slightest distraction. My life is full of distractions, and I’m never alone. Never.

Enter the stress factor! Apparently, stress can make you really, really sick. In fact, Chris Kresser, licensed acupuncturist, integrative health practitioner, and amazing blog author believes that stress reduction/management is absolutely mandatory in achieving true health! According to step #6 of his informative series, 9 Steps to Perfect Health, “…no matter what diet you follow, how much you exercise and what supplements you take, if you’re not managing your stress you will still be at risk for modern degenerative conditions like heart disease, diabetes, hypothyroidism and autoimmunity. Geez, stress is a bitch!

So, I have to fight to keep doing this thing that I love! Why I am rambling about all this, you ask? Well, because my days of trying to be perfect are over. I’m sure I wasn’t fooling anyone (except myself) anyway, so I’m coming clean for my own sake. I will write this blog. Some posts will be great, and some posts will suck. Some days it will be about green living or some healthful topic, and others it will be about whatever it is I need to get off my chest. I begin my journey to wellness here and now, and I want to share it with you!