I love this bean soup especially in the winter when you need something to warm your soul!  It comes together in no time once the beans are prepped overnight.   I often make this mid-week after cooking all day for a client!   I love to add kombu (sea vegetable) because it helps the beans to be more digestible.  It also is an excellence source of iodine which is essential for thyroid health.  If you have a sluggish thyroid, adding seaweed to your diet can help nourish your thyroid.   It’s also loaded with nutritional goodies!  It also tastes good believe it or not using a mixture of beef stock, chicken and vegetable stock.  It gives it depth of flavor but I kept it strictly vegetarian/vegan in the recipe using vegetable stock.  Please let me know in the comments below if you try it and how you liked it!

16 Bean Soup with Kale & Quinoa

The beans need to be soaked, so plan on this and soak them overnight for best results.
1 bag of dry 16 beans (soaked overnight)
1 onion, chopped
6 carrots, sliced
3 celery stalks, sliced
1-2 garlic cloves (grated)
1 bunch organic kale (stems removed and chopped)
1/4 cup of dry sherry (real sherry not the one in the supermarket)
2 tsp hot madras curry powder
1 28 oz can of petite diced tomatoes (Redpack)
1 Strip of Kombu (Whole Foods or health food store – optional)
1-2 containers of vegetable stock (prefer saffron road or nature’s promise)
1 3” piece parmesan rind (leftover if you have)
Himalayan pink salt (to taste)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
3 cups of cooked quinoa
Crushed Red Hot Pepper (to taste, at the table)

Rinse beans.  Soak beans in enough water to cover beans about 3-4 inches over beans overnight.  When you are ready to make the soup, drain and rinse the beans.

Sauté chopped onion, celery, carrots in extra virgin olive oil for a few minutes.  Add grated garlic.  Add beans, vegetable stock (add enough to cover the beans initially, may need more later if it gets totally absorbed), can of tomatoes, kombu and parmesan rind (if you have left over).

Bring to a boil, add curry powder, sherry and simmer for approximately 20 minutes.  Add chopped kale.  Season to your taste with Himalayan pink salt.  Continue to cook until beans are done.  Approximately another 10 minutes. Take out the piece of Kombu before serving.

Prepare the quinoa separately, according to package directions.  Add quinoa in a bowl and ladle in soup, sprinkle with crushed hot pepper.  Enjoy!

Note: adding Kombu (dry sea vegetable) to this soup would be an excellent source of iodine which is essential for thyroid health – it generally has no flavor and can be taken out after its done.  Kombu has the ability to render beans more digestible and less gas-producing.

10 Common Symptoms that may be Related to Silent/Chronic inflammation

  1. acne
  2. allergies
  3. acid reflux
  4. asthma
  5. obesity
  6. depression
  7. joint pain
  8. eczema/psoarsis
  9. high blood pressure
  10. colitis 

Often chronic inflammation is referred to as “the silent killer”.  It sounds dramatic but it’s the cause of many chronic and/or debilitating diseases such as autoimmune, heart disease and  cancer to name a few.   It’s quite different than acute inflammation (ie. abscess) where your body’s immune activity is aggressive but short term.  In the case of an abscess, an infectious organism or foreign material may cause an inflammatory response in the body, which triggers the body’s immune system to form a capsule to contain the infection and prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body.  Chronic inflammation happens over time and you may not notice it until a symptom that you think is totally unrelated pops up.  Something such as a migraine headache from time to time or high cholesterol levels and even weight gain.  Your immune systems top priority is to defend against outside threats and keep you balanced.  Chronic inflammation is a continued response and there is no resting because it’s job is never done like an acute response.  Chronic inflammation processes can be the bronchial wall in chronic bronchitis/asthma or the debilitating destruction of the joints associated with rheumatoid arthritis. 

Chronic disease is a serious problem here in the United States.  The Center for Disease Control reports that nearly half the population in the United States of America lives with at least one chronic disease.  The pharmaceutical industry is a billion dollar business in the U.S. alone and it’s only growing.  To matters worse, a lot of the side affects from prescription drugs cause more illnesses especially statin drugs or medications for acid reflux.  All those illnesses that end with “itis” are all related to chronic inflammation.  

It has become a serious problem and is only going to get worse unless we take control of our health.  The very food you are eating could be making it worse as well as the right food can make you feel better.  Which is why bio-individuality is so very important.  What’s good for one might be bad for another person. Good nutrition can make all the difference in getting you there. Getting healthy takes time and patience is a virtue ~ you didn’t get sick overnight and it may take a while to regain your health depending on the cause.   There is no magic pill or potion that is going to make it all disappear so why use a band-aid approach to cover symptoms.  

Research shows it’s preventable so eating an anti-inflammatory diet is a start in the right direction!   You need to turn off the inflammatory response!  A lot of these diseases are thought to be normal as we age.  There is nothing normal about joint pain.  Yes, if you are sedentary for most of your life you might expect to be stiff but it’s never too late to add movement to your life.  Yoga is an excellent practice to add to your life at any stage.  The benefits of yoga go far beyond the exercise.  It’s a mind, body and spiritual practice that can also bring lots of peace to your life. Stress itself is another issue that adds to inflammation in your body.  The list goes on and on.  Let’s take control of our health, you know your body better than anyone else.  Listen to it!  

Please leave a comment below if you have any questions or contact me directly.  And, of course never discontinue a medication unless consulting your physician or medical provider.

This is just about the time when I’m starting to crave some delicious clean eating grilled chicken! Especially after all the indulgences of holidays!  January is known as diet month ~ but this is anything but “diet” food.  Try not to associate food with the stigma of dieting.  When you do that is when you start craving foods that you know aren’t good for you.  Eat well and eat clean and you’ll never have to “diet.”  This chicken is not only clean but flavorful and light!  We enjoyed this last night along with some grilled asparagus and a big green salad.  It was cold and rainy last night but I was still fired up the grill.  Of course, you can use a grill pan for the stove top if you don’t want to venture out in the cold.   I usually grill year round if the grill isn’t covered in 3 feet of snow!  It’s a favorite grilled chicken amongst my clients as well. Try it and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.   

Stacey’s Marinated Grilled Chicken

2.25 lbs Boneless Organic Chicken Breasts (trimmed/cleaned and sliced about 1/2″ thick)

Marinade for Chicken:
1/2 cup Fresh Basil – chopped
1 tbs Country Dijon Mustard
4 cloves Garlic – finely grated
2 tbs Raw Honey – optional
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp Himilayan Pink Salt

2 cups Grape Tomatoes (quartered or chopped)
1/4 tsp Garlic – finely grated (microplane works great)
6 leaves Fresh Basil (chopped)
1/2 tsp Oregano
1/8 tsp Himilayan Pink Salt
3 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar

Mix the ingredients for the marinade. Marinate the chicken for about a 1/2 hour making sure all the chicken has been coated.
Meanwhile, prepare the the bruschetta and let it sit in a separate bowl until ready to serve.
Preheat your grill on high. Place chicken on grill over high heat and lower just a bit. Grill chicken approximately 2 minutes each side (depending on the thickness) – not turning until it’s ready to turn which prevents sticking to the grill. You can 1/4 turn the chicken mid way (on the second side) if you like the criss-cross grill marks.
Let sit for approximately 10 minutes before serving. Top with bruschetta.

The key to having a juicy grilled chicken is not overcooking it. You can tell when it’s ready when the chicken still has a little tenderness but firm when touched but not jiggly or rubbery. Not turning it over and over also prevents the juices from escaping so be patient. Start with a nice clean grill as well as oiling it a little. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165.