Recent nutrition research on fruit & vegetable ('f&v') intake by Imperial College London has been much broadcast the last few weeks by mainstream media. Forget your '5-a-day' it says, it's '10-a-day' that'll really help keep the doctors away & help ward off early death through the usual main culprits of heart attack, stroke & cancer.
"Researchers from Imperial College London, who analysed data from 95 studies concerning fruit & vegetable intake, said they wanted to work out exactly what a person would need to eat to gain the maximum protection against disease."
As a cancer survivor & someone who teaches Yoga at two cancer support centres, this topic is ALWAYS of interest personally but is also a recurring topic that greatly takes up time in our 'chat & check-in' time together at the centres. It's understandable of course; people who have been through the mill of cancer diagnosis, treatment & beyond or those currently going through it are even more invested than your average 'Wellness Warrior' in the latest health & nutrition information.
Some glib media coverage of nutrition information & research can have a counterproductive effect though; reactions can often fall into the 'what now'?, 'what else'?, 'how can I even do that'?
My own approach has, for many years, been one of cautious & reserved interest; I read only reputable newspapers & always, ALWAYS go for further information. That is, seek out & find the source; I don't just scan the news article & take it as verbatim. I'll look for the actual original research piece, see who was involved, what research institute it was conducted in & also see if it was 'industry-sponsored' ( these are just a few of the checks that one can easily do to try & get some 'comfort' as to the purpose & veracity of any research). I'll then also take a common-sense approach to it; there is no 'magic bullet', 'perfect diet' or 'food cure'. However, we can all do a lot for ourselves; help keep our energy levels up, keep our blood sugar level, our skin clear, our cholesterol levels reasonable & our digestive systems working well by simply eating well; we all, at heart, know this I believe.
In this recent case, I know from chats in class that getting up to 10 'f&v' a day can initially seem like a Herculean task; this is where my (or any multi-veg) soup comes in as one great easy step towards achieving this.
For me, cooking, well, it has to be easy, it has to be tasty & it has to be good for me - that's my lil 'Lili Rule of 3'. There are other caveats too; I shouldn't have to learn new skills, buy new equipment or spend a ridiculous amount of money on fancy, exotic &/or imported ingredients. Think local, in-season & reasonable.
This soup is so easy to make. it will, in one portion, give you c. 5 servings of veg & is actually (yes, really) tasty to boot. Full of nutrients & fibre, it also can be a great source of protein through the addition of plant-proteins like peas, beans or legumes like lentils.
You can tweak it & season it to taste; add different fresh or dried herbs & if you're not vegan, or averse/allergic to dairy, you can add in a cup of milk at the blending stage too (or add your non-dairy milk of choice too). You can also feel guilt-free at using up those less-than-fresh veggies that have been lurking in your fridge crisper! This soup recipe, like a lot of soup recipes, is also very 'forgiving'; unlike baking say, you don't have to be precise with your measurements. I make a double-batch & freeze in '2-portion' containers & 'future Lili' is always so grateful to past 'soup-making Lili' when she finds this in the freezer on a cold night when the cupboard is bare!
Give it a go; & then give yourself a pat on the back; in one bowl of soup, you're '5-up'; add in some berries with your porridge, an apple mid-morning & then some veg with your dinner & you'll be hitting 8, 9 or even that 'magic 10' in no time.
"...results suggest that although five portions of fruit & vegetables is good, ten a day is even better."
Green Goddess Soup
Heat 2 tblsp Rapeseed Oil on medium heat in a heavy-bottomed large saucepan or stockpot.
2 Red Onions peeled & diced finely; sweat 5 mins on their own in the oil.
4 Organic White Potatoes peeled & cubed; add to the onion, season with salt & pepper & sweat 10 mins.
4 Celery stalks washed & then finely chopped; add & sweat for 5 mins.
2 Leeks washed well & chopped; add & sweat for 5 mins.
1 Courgette (medium) washed & diced; add & sweat few mins.
2 Kale large handfuls washed very well & with tough stalks removed; tear into smaller pieces & add; sweat few mins.
1 Spinach (small bag or 3 large handfuls) washed well & add; sweat few mins
Add 3 sprigs of fresh Thyme (or tsp of dried Thyme) & season again with salt & pepper & stir well.
Add 2 litres of vegetable bouillon or vegetable stock. Bring to boil slowly. Cover & simmer for c. 30 mins.
Turn off heat. Cool. Then blend with stick blender (add milk now if adding).
Add frozen Peas & reheat gently (or sub in edamame or other cooked beans/legumes of choice).
Serve with fresh chopped herbs like parsley, basil &/or chives & 'nooch' (for vegans, adding Nutritional Yeast aka pooch helps keep B12 levels up & adds a nice savoury, deep flavour) .