Written by John Immel,
Soups and sandwichesSoups are warm, soft, supportive, hydrating, and generally easy to digest. That's why a grandma cooks soup for her grandchildren when they are sick. Soups are made with love and are a symbol of grandma's nurturing touch. Whenever life seems difficult or your body is run down by stress, emotions, or ailments, soups are the fall-back food. Soups are home base, providing restoration for stress and sickness. If your digestion is compromised, soups are essential. Soups are part of a simple, wholesome "poor man's diet," enjoyed by billions of people on earth every day.
Soups are the opposite of sandwiches. Sandwiches are dry, quick, convenient food. They usually have bad food combinations, are served cold, and are difficult to digest. Soups are also convenient in their own way. They are very easy to cook, and although soups can simmer on the stovetop for hours, the time investment can be as quick as the time it takes to chop a carrot. Chopping a carrot takes even less time than buying processed food at a restaurant or grocery store.
Immunity & Resting the Digestive TractGrandma's chicken soup doesn't have any high-tech chemicals, compounds, or derivatives that prevent the common cold. So how does it work? The answer is that chicken soup pulls less blood to the GI tract while providing balanced nutrition. More blood in circulation means more blood is available to fight disease. Digestion is a metabolic monster that saps a whopping 60 percent of our daily energy.
Releasing the power of that 60 percent is the key to Grandma's magical, immune-boosting soup. Resting when you are sick means resting your muscles (on the couch) and resting your digestive tract with simple, nourishing, easy-to-digest food choices.
Why Grandma Likes Chicken SoupWhether between nations or organisms, war is costly. Fighting bacterial invasion for long periods of time eventually depletes strength. Ojas is the Ayurvedic word for fuel. Meat closely resembles our bodily tissues and is the best way to replace depleted ojas. Chicken is preferred for sick patients because it is easier to digest than red meat.
If you're a vegetarian, choose kitchari. Kitchari is Ayurveda's vegetarian version of chicken soup and has been used by convalescing patients successfully for thousands of years. Kitchari's ingredients are medicine - carrots and rice digest in a snap while black pepper stimulates circulation. Circulation is great for immunity because our immune system is in the blood. Broth keeps the body hydrated and is readily assimilated.
Served warm, chicken soup opens the sweat channels and improves circulation. Chicken fat is oily and keeps the digestive tract lubricated. Carrots contain lots of fiber. Together, chicken fat and carrots assist in elimination of the bowels.
Click here for our version of chicken soup
About Making Soups
Basic Soup Recipe (for 6 servings)
Mistakes When Making SoupIf your soup doesn't taste good, it's usually one the following reasons:
Optional ingredientsYou may add one option from each line without ruining the soup:
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About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
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Dear John, thank you for the truly precious information on this website! A question about food preparation; you write that "In my kitchen, by 8:30am all three meals are cooked and I'm free for the rest of the day." As I understand, Ayurveda discourages reheating foods as such reheated foods will be lacking in prana; how do you prepare all three meals in the morning without the necessity of reheating for lunch and dinner? This interests me very much since I am eager to save time! :) I cannot eat cold foods since I am currently on a Vata-pacifying diet. Thank you in advance and warm greetings! Aaron
You are correct that reheating foods destroys prana. However, cooking all day destroys prana as well! There are always trade-offs. Also, techincally if the soup is hot all day it is not reheated - but prana is still diminshed. Thanks for asking!
My little opinion on this issue of reheating foods. Ideally, foods will always be served hot and fresh! Yum! However, in the "real" world, maybe I should say the Western World, we do have to reheat foods. My stance is that we are powerful co-creators who have the ability to work with Life-force to create magnificence on all levels. We have the ability to direct life-force through our intention, and to re-energize foods that have been sitting a bit through our intention and focus (prayer, too!) Thanks!