At this blog I'll be sharing with you some healing recipes from time to time-- food as medicine-- as well as the everyday kind of recipe. When the body goes into a healing crisis our food choices can mean the difference between suffering for weeks instead of a mere day or two, or in more drastic cases the difference between life and death. Today's recipe is for a soup that will help balance your body energy when you aren't feeling well. It is very simple and the blend of nutrients is near-perfect. I first made a big batch of this soup last fall and we had it for over a week every day-- a bowl of it at lunch, a cup with dinner. It was at a time when noses were sniffly, sneezes were sneaking up on us suddenly, and temperatures were running higher than normal. How did I come up with this recipe? Well, the truth is I channelled the recipe. Yep. Yogi Bhajan came to me in my kitchen and said, here is a soup recipe, go to the store and get these ingredients now, then come home and make it so you guys don't get too sick! I'm always up for a culinary adventure, in whatever form it may take, so I complied. He showed me how it was important to use the greens of the carrots and told me how long to cook everything. So, if you don't like the results, blame Yogi Bhajan, not me. And, yes, I did find a potato chip shaped like the Virgin Mary, how did you know?
A note about onions and garlic...
I don't use onion much in cooking, nor do I use garlic much, but I do use both of these occasionally in medicinal foods. My reason for not using them in everyday cooking is that they are highly-potent and can be disruptive to normal digestion. Good digestive processes are essential to bodily health. However, garlic is a powerful blood purifier and helps to regulate blood pressure and body temperature as well as boosting white blood cell production for immune defense. Onions are also purifying, they are good for the heart and detoxifying for the liver. Both onions and garlic help ward off infections because they contain chemicals that resemble antibodies (those little heroic germ-fighters in the body). One particular chemical in onions and garlic is called "allicin", which you can find studies online showing how it has proven more effective than penicillin and also is being used to team up with antibodies to target and destroy cancer cells. It is the allicin chemical in garlic that is said to increase white blood cell counts.
For this recipe...
- 4 quarts purified water
- 4 medium-large onions
- 5-6 carrots with green tops intact
- 4 turnips
- 1 head garlic (that's one whole head, not just a clove!)
- 3/4 cup chopped ginger root
- 1-2 tsp rock salt
- 1 TBSP cumin seeds
- 1/2 TBSP anise seeds
- 6-7 cardamom pods
Peel the skins off each garlic clove. Chop the onions in quarters. Put garlic, onion, ginger and water in a pot with some rock salt on medium-high heat for 30 minutes.
Turn down to simmer, add carrots and greens, turnips, and the spices (cumin, anise, cardamom).
Simmer 2 hours, turn off the heat and let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour. Serve warm.
Some additional notes on produce selection...
Medicinal cooking requires careful ingredient selection. In almost every recipe I create I am attentive to the ingredients I select, whether it is meant to be a particularly healing recipe or not. I would say that most of my recipes have a healing quality to them. They are all intended to work in harmony with (not against) your body, digestion, and overall well-being. That said, I wanted to give you some pointers on selecting some of the produce for this recipe. Look for turnips that have a vibrant root network coming from the base, and the top of the turnip where the stem was chopped off should still be green with life. What does this mean? It means the life-force energy in your turnip is greater and that it hasn't been sitting out lifeless and disconnected from the earth for months.
For the carrots, look again for vibrancy in the greens. I chose a bundle of different-colored carrots and the greens were shockingly deep rich green... you can almost feel the life-energy pouring off them!
More medicinal recipes to come, for now, please feel free to email me cold/flu remedy questions, or if you have a particular disease you're working through and want some medicinal foodie tips, send me a note. I love to hear from you and hear how you're inspired and what you're creating in your own kitchen.