Peasant Communities Survived On This Simple and Nutritious Food For Centuries

Peasant food, while simple and frugal, has been around for centuries – in every culture around the world. Using fresh roots, herbs, and foods available to them, households would whip up a soup the family could feast on for days. Soups such as pot-au-feu, minestrone, cawl, and Acquacotta would give the family sustenance during hard times. But why is this simple meal so nutritious?

The Health Benefits of Soup

During the winter months, one of the things we neglect is taking in an adequate amount of fluids.  This is understandable, as cold doesn’t make you feel thirsty the way hot weather does.  Nevertheless, the fluid dynamics and balance requirements are the same, and sometimes more: we expend more energy in the winter trying to stay warm.  Guess what?  We still need about a gallon of water per person, per day.

That being said, let’s discuss some facts of digestion.  Shunting is the term where, when you’re digesting, all of the blood in your periphery (arms, legs, and such) shunts inward to your thoracic cavity…where you’re actively digesting your food.  The term “food coma,” is a humorous description of lack of mental alertness while your body digests the meal.

Then again, we make it hard on ourselves.  The best time to eat a large, sit-down meal is for dinner when you’re able to be home and to digest your food and then turn in for the night.  During the day?  You’re running around and active…then you turn into a “stone” after that huge meal of chimichangas or gigantic beef brisket sandwich and fries.  Then you don’t understand why you feel as if you’ve been hit head-on by a train.

Take the Anguish (and guesswork) Out of It

Soup is a must from a dietary standpoint.  It is more easily digested, and the ingredients you need (protein and carbohydrates) are broken down faster without taxing your system as hard.  In addition, vital electrolytes (such as sodium and potassium) are more easily taken in.  In other articles, we discussed the thermogenic factor of food: how protein takes more energy to break down, but with greater return.  We also discussed how 10% of your intake is spent digesting the food.

Soups and broths make it easier on your body by giving you the nutrition you need in a form that is more easily digestible.  Do you remember that piece I did on the Thermos, and how it is worthwhile to pack your own lunch from a practical/economic standpoint?  There was more to it than dollars and cents.  You can give yourself the best of food, in a form that it is easier to handle.  Let’s talk about some steps to it…maybe I can give you some good ideas that you can use.

5 Tips for Making Soup as Nutrition-Packed as Possible

  1. If you’re going to buy your soups, then invest in high-quality material: organic, non-GMO, with some actual good statistics to it. Look for protein, look for your electrolytes, and stock up on these.
  2. Next, pick up some good meats…what is your favorite, in a high-quality (look for leanness, no additives, and organic if you can swing it financially. Grill them or broil them, and store them in your fridge. Here’s a tip: If you grill meat with garlic…as in fresh, sliced cloves, the garlic neutralizes cancer-causing agents in the meat that affect your colon…and garlic lowers your risk of colon cancer and stomach cancer substantially.
  3. Take your meats, chop them up nice and small…and add them to your soup, along with extra vegetables and herbs to your liking…such as onions, garlic, fresh carrots. Heat up your soup, and then add these after you’ve taken it off of a boil.  Throw it in your thermos.
  4. If you make your own? Stick with high-protein legumes, such as lentils, kidney beans, and such.  Legumes also lower cholesterol.  “Batch” up about 5 gallons at a time to make it cost-effective, break it down into quart containers, and freeze your excess.
  5. The Blender is your Buddy! Yes, you can go back to that article I wrote about using the blender to make that hamburger into a “puree,” then adding to the base, or just throwing it in some tomato juice.  Hi Ho Lycopene and Protein!  You’re only limitation is your imagination.

Not to mention the fact that if you’re packing it around with you, this decreases the travel time to obtain food, eat, and go back to the grind.  That thermos can be your best friend: pack it with good, reliable proteins, fluid, and electrolytes in the form of a hearty soup.  Who knows?  You might start a trend in your workplace.  Then after the winter, you will be able to start the spring in better shape, as eating healthy will prevent that transformation into the Michelin Man.  Bon Appetit, and stay in that good fight!

by Jeremiah Johnson

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