Big hearty filling soups are great in the cold weather. I can’t think of anything more nourishing than a bowl of freshly made steaming hot soup. Barley is a fabulous ingredient to use and offers many health benefits ranging from balancing blood sugar, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, to boosting energy, combating stress and protecting against heart disease and cancer.!
Its an excellent source of essential minerals magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron and selenium to name but a few and also high in B vitamins and soluble fibre.
It makes a delicious creamy soup and doesn’t require soaking overnight, though you can soak it if you are that organised!
Remember to use local organic vegetables if you can for maximum nutrition. Locavore deliver locally grown organic vegetables weekly to Glasgow and surrounding areas. They offer great quality produce and the best prices you will find so please consider signing up for a delivery then you will have less excuses for eating more vegetables!!
So what are you waiting for, go make yourself some deliciously creamy, extremely nutritious Barley Broth!
Here is the recipe, feel free to add whatever other vegetables you have and just add more stock if the broth is too thick! Enjoy!!
1 leek, finely sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely diced
2 parsnips or ½ small turnip, finely diced
½ cup of barley (about 100g), rinsed
1.5 litres vegetable stock(Marigold Bouillon or Kallo Organic Stock Cubes are good)
Big handful of finely shredded greens, kale, cavolo nero, spring cabbage are all good
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bay leaf (optional)
Big handful of parsley, finely chopped
I season mine with seaweed flakes to boost the mineral content and add unique umami flavour which gives the soup a real depth of flavour.
For 1 generous serving
Put the oats, milk and water in a pot, bring to the boil, give it a good stir then turn the heat down to a gentle simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. I usually go for a shower leaving the porridge simmering on low heat. Then add a good spoonful of coconut oil to boost your metabolism and add your preferred toppings from the list. Serve with oat or almond milk.
If you are short of time in the mornings then try this overnight method instead.
Bring to the boil 2 cups of water and one cup of oat milk in a small pot, add ½ cup of oats, simmer for a minute then turn off the heat and put the lid on. Leave overnight.
In the morning, just simmer gently for 5 minutes, add coconut oil and serve with chosen toppings!
This is my absolute favourite winter breakfast, so versatile, filling and nutritious. It absolutely ticks all the boxes and supports every system in your body. Your bowels will be regular as clockwork, your immune system will be strengthened, your brain will get a good kick start with all the omega 3 fatty acids from the nuts and seeds, your metabolism will be boosted by the coconut oil, you will have lots of energy and you will be full until lunchtime!
I prefer the texture of Pinhead oatmeal for my morning porridge so I use that but you can use normal porridge oats if you prefer, just don’t use the sachets of instant porridge, they are full of refined sugar! I use Oatly organic oat milk which is full of soluble fibre and can help to lower cholesterol. Hemp milk and almond milk are also good alternatives. Most supermarkets stock a good range of non dairy milks.
If you use dairy milk you will be adding cholesterol, saturated fat, antibiotic residues and a good dose of hormones, which your body most definitely does not need!
If you need any more reasons to start eating porridge then check out this recent research at Harvard University here which proved that eating porridge regularly could be the key to a long and healthy life!
The possibilities are endless so get creative with your morning porridge and leave me a comment if you come up with any winning combos!
As we step into a brand new year, I’m sure most of us will have started out full of good intentions to lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, be a better person and a million other things. We set our sights too high then beat ourselves up when we fail.
Good health is not about restrictions and guilt, its about developing new habits; habits take a long time to form so don’t expect to create new ones without a bit of time and effort.
Our health is our biggest asset and without it, nothing else matters. We all know someone whose life has been devastated by cancer or is suffering from some awful chronic disease.
How many of us can honestly say that we do our best to maintain our bodies in good shape?
I don’t take my good health for granted, I take steps daily to stack the odds in my favour by eating real food, staying hydrated, enjoying fresh air, doing things I enjoy, spending quality time with my family and friends and being grateful for the many blessings in my life.
Its a true saying You are what you eat, so what are you made of and how well does your body function?
Have you ever stopped to think that your body needs the proper fuel to work well, foods that your body can actually recognise, break down, absorb and use. Protein, fibre, good fats, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, trace elements all essential if you are to be the best you can be, firing on all cylinders.
Its an old analogy but one that still holds true, you wouldn’t expect your car to run efficiently if you put the wrong fuel in but sadly that's what many of us do daily by drinking fizzy drinks, eating refined, processed food products that have no nutritional value, full of artificial colours, artificial sweeteners, flavours and preservatives that our bodies can’t recognise so end up being stored in our fat cells and making us ill.
The food industry is profit driven, with no concern for our health. If we want cheap food we can buy it but its full of cheap ingredients like trans fats, sugar and salt along with all the chemicals. It is making us ill, fat and driving chronic disease at an alarming rate.
Scotland is now right behind America in the obesity stakes with all the associated chronic health problems.
It doesn’t take a genius to join the dots………... a junk food diet does not support good health!
The good news is it’s not all or nothing, small changes can have a big impact on our health, so why not make 2015 the year you start making lasting changes towards a healthier life.
Are you not worth it?
Here are some simple suggestions to ease you gently onto your path to renewed health.
Soups are the most basic food and are prepared and eaten all over the world for their well known health benefits. From our own nourishing potato and leek to healing Miso from Japan to French onion and big hearty bean and pasta soups from Italy, every country has their favourite. Many recipes are handed down and closely guarded but I'm prepared to share mine so you can all benefit from the many wonderful qualities good soup brings to your life!
Soups are one of the easiest ways of getting more nutrients into your diet and vegetables are where its at in terms of health benefits! The more you eat, the more benefits you get. Every colour has different antioxidants and phyto-chemicals so mix it up and eat a rainbow of colours for maximum health benefits. The addition of lentils or beans adds another dimension with fibre, protein, B vitamins and minerals supporting literally every system in your body. Soups are also easy to digest, warming, nourishing and simple to make.
Puréed soups are great for fussy kids, or adults, for that matter and can taste deliciously creamy and disguise a multitude of vegetables! Home made soups bear no comparison to shop bought, even the so called upmarket brands bear no resemblance to the ingredients they are made with and often the only flavour you can taste is salt, which is neither good for our health or our taste buds. Its always best to make your own then you know exactly what you are eating.
The key to a good soup is to start with good quality ingredients and stock. Don’t worry I’m not going to suggest boiling up lots of vegetables and herbs to make your own, I use Marigold Bouillon powder or Kallo organic vegetable stock cubes both of which have a lovely flavour. Always buy the best quality vegetables and that's locally grown and organic. I have a weekly veg box delivered from Locavore full of gloriously dirty, just pulled from the ground seasonal vegetables! I actually really enjoy scrubbing them all in the sink and getting my hands dirty, good honest dirt never hurt anyone and actually boosts our immune system! No comparison to supermarket bought, tasteless, chemically cleaned wrapped in plastic with pesticide residues for good measure. I'm all with Jamie Oliver in his promotion of ugly, misshaped fruit and vegetables grown locally and organically. Looks can be deceiving!! Often the most perfect looking will harbour a not so lovely inside, the same can be said of humans! So don't walk past the gnarled dirty organic produce, buy it and be pleasantly surprised by the superior flavour and nutritional profile.
I have started my blog with my three simplest but most colourful soup recipes, whether you try the detoxifying, immune boosting purple beetroot and coconut, the healing, calming green and bean or the energy boosting lentil and turmeric, know that you have started the process to a healthier 2015 and make soups a regular part of your diet.
So get your apron on, get into your kitchen and try out these incredibly simple, nutritious and delicious soups!
Brilliant Beetroot & Coconut Soup Recipe
This soup couldn't be simper. Its a stunning colour and tastes delicious. Beetroot is a great detoxifier, coconut milk is full of good fats and butter beans provide protein, fibre and vitamins.
Serve with chia seeds for a lovely contrast and a nutritional boost.
Broccoli, Spinach & Bean soup
Broccoli and spinach are nutritional powerhouses, packed full of cancer fighting phytochemicals, vitamins, iron, zinc, B vitamins, protein, calcium and magnesium to name but a few. Green vegetables are highly alkalising and oxygenating due to the high levels of chloropyll so are just good news all round. We should be eating dark green vegetables every day and this soup is an easy way to do just that!
1. Simply put the chopped onion, broccoli and drained beans into a pot
2. Add the stock
3. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes
4. Add the spinach and allow to wilt
5. Puree with a hand blender
6. Serve and enjoy
Nice served with a swirl of soya cream and pumpkin seeds for an extra vitamin and mineral boost.
Lentil & Turmeric Soup
The addition of turmeric to this basic lentil soup adds all sorts of health benefits from relieving joint pain to reducing inflammation to protecting the heart and brain. Turmeric has beaten drugs in numerous trials and is the new superfood to add to your diet!
1. Simply add chopped peppers, onions, carrots and turnip to a large pot.
2. Add the stock and turmeric
3. Bring to boil, simmer for 30 mins until veg is soft and lentils cooked.
4. Blend, season and serve
A healthy lifestyle blog with green living tips, plant-based recipes and natural health magic.