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Chicken soup on the run

March 17, 2010

Being such a busy family, mealtimes are often prepared in a rush. This is the case for most modern families I would imagine – especially those of us currently stuck in the rat race with both parents working just to make ends meet. This is when people resort to quick and easy, processed foods, food in a packet, just add hot water and it’s all done for you. The problem is that industrial food is not nutritious and in the long-term is dentrimental to our health and well-being. I heard a nutrition expert in an interview the other day saying that our bodies can cope with about 40 years of abuse and under-nourishment but then the diseases start to kick in. Hence why heart disease, cancer and other modern day illnesses really increase after the age of 40.

For me, health is paramount. If we don’t have our health, what quality of life do we have? Not great. And the health of my family, especially my kids is one of my highest priorities. I keep my kids healthy by feeding them whole unprocessed foods, hardly anything that comes in a box or a packet and nothing that has been through any kind of industrial processing (like weetbix and cornflakes – Aussie kids’ favourite breakfast foods and one of my pet hates because parents still seem to think they’re healthy!).

Dinners can be quick and easy but still nourishing. Chicken soup is a good one. Here’s last night’s dinner prepared in about ten minutes:

I just boiled up whatever vegies I had in the fridge that I knew the kids would eat without having to disguise them (like mushrooms! they always get blended up and “disappeared” into bolognaise sauce). Then chopped up chicken thigh meat, salt, a bit of soy sauce and some leftover rice. Other times I add rice noodles and mostly I make it with home made chicken stock which I usually have sitting in one of those old orange crock pots picked up from a garage sale for $10. Bone broth is so nourishing and is the reason why chicken soup is called Jewish penicillin and is traditionally given to people when they’re sick or recovering from illness. It’s got loads of minerals and the gelatin aids the body in assimilating all the goodies in the broth.

And the proof is in the pudding – my kids hardly ever get sick and when they do, it’s usually just a sniffle.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. Judy Harvey permalink
    March 17, 2010 7:50 pm

    Very nourishing and can be frozen for a quick meal at a later time. I love to add lots of ginger and tumeric which I believe grow very well at the Eco Village.

    • March 18, 2010 7:20 am

      Oh for the day when Taiji’s palate matures enough to handle ginger! I love ginger too. Haven’t tried tumeric but it sounds good!

      • Derek Steel permalink
        March 29, 2010 11:45 pm

        My understanding of turmeric is that it helps build a platform for other spices and flavors. It doesn’t taste like much itself (although if you use too much it can give dishes an unpleasant “dusty” flavor), but helps everything else shine, including something like ginger. It also turns everything (including your fingers and clothing if you spill it) yellow. Indian cooking seems to use it mostly in powdered form, but I’ve seen it used fresh in Thai cooking. The fresh stuff has been showing up in certain upscale supermarkets lately.

  2. Bec permalink
    March 17, 2010 8:01 pm

    Yes Yes. I agree. I always have the statutory frozen chicken broth in the freezer. Ha Ha funny enough, I actually have one in the slow cooker this moment that I better check on.

    This the perfect most extremely nourishing 10 min meal. My trick is…I have it in portion sizes frozen. I always have a packet of spelt soup noodles. My bone broth is made with three hormone- free chicken frames from my butcher for $3 a bag. I throw them in with garlic, celery, onion and water. I leave it simmer for hours. Once cool, I put it in containers in the freezer. Then presto, a meal in a hurry. When I am craving it or need a fast meal, I pull it out and tip it into a saucepan for a slow warm up, I have spelt noodles boiling on the side for about 10 mins. Then I combine the two. Yahoo! I am addicted.

    Another combination is…with the broth on a rolling boil, whisk in two beaten eggs with some grated parmesan cheese. This is a Nourishing Traditions recipe if I remember correctly. MMM! This is another perfect meal in a bowl in 15mins. Enjoy!

    I grew up knowing a Yugoslavian grandmother. I never forgot the taste of her soup and could not work out how she taste so good. Aha! this is it. Real chicken bones.

    • March 18, 2010 7:22 am

      And once you get used to the flavour of real stock in food, you can’t go back! I grew up on stock cubes and gravox but real broth and real gravy. Yummmmmm. Your food cravings disappear because you’re eating real food and really being nourished.

  3. Derek Steel permalink
    March 19, 2010 10:51 am

    Is it true that gelatin aids the body in absorbing nutrients? How does that work? And if it’s true, won’t vegans’ bodies find it difficult to get what they need?

    • March 19, 2010 3:25 pm

      Yes which is why bone broth is such a traditional ingredient. And I don’t know how many long term vegans you know but every single long term vegan or was a long term vegan I’ve met has health problems. Chronic fatigue, allergies and depression are pretty common. I highly recommend reading The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith. Apologies to any vegans. I certainly caused myself lots of health problems with my on and off veganism. I’m sure there are vegans out there to prove me wrong but I would say it is not right for the majority.
      Here’s an article on gelatin: Why-Broth-is-Beautiful-Essential-Roles-for-Proline-Glycine-and-Gelatin
      (hi Derek!)

      • Derek Steel permalink
        March 23, 2010 11:49 pm

        I definitely agree on the unhealthy vegan thing. I’ve seen that many times, and it ends up being a vicious cycle, with people eliminating more and more from their diets because their gradually weakening state starts preventing their systems from handling more and more foods. I understand the moral motivations for being vegan, but it seems really difficult to make it work nutritionally. Both vegetarianism and veganism require a lot of study and understanding to keep them as truly healthy options.

  4. March 24, 2010 10:34 pm

    I particularly experienced that from living on a low fat low protein vegetarian diet for so many years. I ended up with low stomach acid (amongst other things) which meant that my body couldn’t break down and digest meat or other proteins such as fish very easily. When I tried fish, I got constipated so I decided that I was naturally meant to be a vegan. It wasn’t until several more years of gradually worsening health that I finally learned that the reason I found meat and fish so difficult to digest was from low stomach acid. I took Hydrochloric acid supplements with my meals for a while – and hey presto, all of a sudden I could digest and I felt fabulous!!

  5. Derek Steel permalink
    March 24, 2010 11:51 pm

    Those are great observations of your experience. It just goes to show, nutrition is not necessarily intuitive. Intuition needs to be balanced with solid scientific and medical knowledge of causes and effects, and also of the rather complicated interdependent relationships between your body and the combinations of foods you put into it. These things are much more complex than we would like to think. Regrettably, ideological nature of veganism, etc. tends to obscure people’s understanding of what their bodies and health really require.

    • Derek Steel permalink
      March 24, 2010 11:54 pm

      Oh, by the way, I just made THE BEST chicken stock! It is positively gelatinous when refrigerated, and rich and tasty, too! I usually buy whole chickens and break them down myself, freezing the parts and using the bones for stock. Or if I roast a whole chicken, I always make sure to toss the carcass in the freezer until I’m ready to stock it.

      • March 25, 2010 7:07 am

        Yum! Yes that’s what we do too – keep the bones whenever we have roast chicken or other meat and throw them in the crock pot. I think traditionally a stock pot was kept over the fire and all the bones from meals were thrown in. It adds such flavour and you feel so good. It’s also a great way to get more nutrients into kids – we often cook our rice in stock instead of water (with a bit of salt). it’s divine.

    • March 25, 2010 7:14 am

      The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith is one of the best books I’ve read. Lierre was a totally devoted vegan (and radical food and environmental activist) for 20 years. She ended up with severe health problems (some incurable). She explores vegetarianism/veganism from every angle: environment, politics, animal rights, spiritual, health – it covers every argument I ever used in favour of giving up meat. I don’t believe it’s possible to be a healthy vegan. I do believe you can be a healthy vegetarian but ONLY if you’re eating RAW dairy products of the highest quality from GRASS-FED animals. Otherwise, your body cannot produce the hormones that you need amongst other things. And yes I agree – it is not as intuitive as we think. I hated meat, I never craved it and I had no desire for it. it took me 6 months to train myself back into eating it – it was very hard but thank goodness I did as I feel like a different person today.

  6. christina Houen permalink
    March 26, 2010 4:04 pm

    I love chicken soup made from real chicken frames slow-simmered. Another wonderful use of it, if you have some frozen or keep it simmering in your slow cooker as Filippa suggests, is to make risotto. I find this dish so soothing to make and easy and delicious to eat. If you’ve got left-over free range chicken from a roast, even better. Just saute (in olive oil and butter) an onion and some garlic and add a handful of arborio or short-grain rice for each person + a couple extra; saute till semi-translucent. then add a splash of white wine if you like, or just a ladleful of chicken stock. There’s a myth that you have to keep stirring risotto all the time. Not so; keep it simmering on gentle heat and stir occasionally. As each ladleful of stock gets absorbed, add another one, until the rice is tender and the mix is creamy and moist, not dry. Add your shredded or chopped cooked chicken if you have any, and seasoning, herbs, chopped spring onions; then stir in a handful of grated or shaved parmesan or romano and turn off the heat. YOu can enrich with extra parmesan or serve it in a bowl on the side. The whole process takes about 20 minutes and can be done while you’re chopping additional greens to go in, or interacting with your kids, or washing up the day’s dirty dishes, or whatever. And a variant would be to add chopped raw chicken half way through, so it is cooked through gently while the rice absorbs that lovely stock,

    • March 26, 2010 9:24 pm

      Oh yum! I think I’m going to try that this weekend! Thanks. 😉

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