Happy New Year to all of you! I hope you are enjoying a restful and peaceful start to 2015 and feel inspired with a renewed commitment to nourish yourself this year. I have a renewed commitment to myself as well, and I'm excited to continue supporting you with delicious, nourishing, and practical recipes and nutrition and wellness tips.
I strongly believe that each day provides another opportunity to hit the reset button both figuratively, with our choice in attitudes and perspectives, and physically. Consistent full nights of sleep reset our circadian rhythm, our biological clock, so that the natural rise and fall patterns of hormones that assist our body to fall asleep and stay asleep or to awaken are in sync and function properly.
This month I'll be sharing a series of cleansing recipes that I personally use to also help reset my body. These are recipes I like to weave into my regular meal rotation throughout the year to support my body's digestion and cleansing and detoxification cycles. Our kidney, liver, digestive system, skin, and lungs are constantly working to cleanse our body of toxins. So I'd rather assist these processes in a natural, sustainable way on an ongoing basis than rely solely on what can often be a rather harsh and abrupt once-a-year "detox" to mop up the mess caused from neglecting and taxing our bodies the rest of the year.
While a gentle whole food cleanse certainly has its place (I do one a few times a year and guide clients through one when requested), I encourage you to view a cleanse as a supportive supplement, a boost to an already balanced lifestyle when needed. As important is that we learn how to integrate basic cleansing principles into our everyday diet and lifestyle choices so that we're supporting our body's digestive system and cleansing cycles throughout the year. And this month's recipes will help you do just that.
This beet, ginger, and apple soup is one I make often because it's so, so good - bright, bold, and spicy with a nice body from the creamy beans. It's deceptively filling, especially when topped with toasted cashews, but sometimes I also like to make socca (a chickpea flatbread) to go along with it. Beets provide an intensely concentrated source of a phytonutrient that assists liver detox. They also provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection, both important for a healthy detox process. Additionally the type of fiber found in beets and carrots is great for keeping digestion regular and protecting against colon cancer. This soup serves a small army and leftovers, gently reheated on the stovetop, are even better. So get out your biggest soup pot and start your new year off with this fantastic soup.
Beet, Ginger, Apple Soup
Notes: I use a pressure cooker to make this soup, so I don't worry about cutting beets and carrots very small. But if you're using a regular pot, the smaller you cut the vegetables the quicker they will cook.
- Big knob extra virgin coconut oil
- 1 small bunch cilantro (with tender stems)
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 in./5 cm piece peeled ginger, grated
- 1 red chili (or jalapeno), sliced (remove seeds if you're sensitive to heat)
- 3 medium (~1 kg/2.2 lbs) beets, cut in small dice
- 4 small-medium carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 tart apple, chopped
- 2 tsp. salt
- 5 cups/1.2 liters water
- 1 1/2 cups/244 gr. giant white beans, cooked (or cannellini beans)
- Juice from 1/2 lime
- dry-roasted cashews
- cold-pressed sesame oil
- cilantro leaves
- lime wedges
- Add coconut oil to a pressure cooker or large soup pot over medium heat. Chop tender stems of cilantro (reserving leaves for garnish) and add to pot along with onion, garlic, ginger, and chili. Sautee for a few minutes until mixture begins to soften.
- Add beets, carrots, apple, salt, and water (the water should just cover the vegetables - too much and the soup will be too thin).
- Cover pot, bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and cook at a rapid simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. If using a pressure cooker cook 15 minutes at high pressure.
- Add beans and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Alternatively blend in batches in an upright blender (allow soup to cool slightly before blending this way). If soup is too thick, add more water (and salt) as needed.
- Ladle into bowls and finish with your choice of toppings.