Homemade soups teem with power and good will.
In the Functional Medicine world we believe that food is energy, information, medicine and connection. Homemade soups are a great example of all the positives in life. They're not loaded with unsavory characters like chemicals and preservatives; instead, they are full of nutrients, happiness and love. One of the ways I show my love to my boys is through the wafting smells of something cooking in the kitchen.
Soup is a lot like a family. Each ingredient enhances the others; each batch has its own characteristics; and it needs time to simmer to reach full flavor. Marge Kennedy
Really, is there anything better to eat on a cold dreary day? Soup is incredibly nourishing. Even with the first spoonful I can feel the soup traveling through my body nurturing me wherever I need it. I made a creamy rich butternut squash soup the other day that my overworked and exhausted husband Randy told me tasted like dessert. I think he needed a hug and he got it through the soup. Cole didn't completely agree with him, but convinced Will Riley to try it by sweetly exclaiming, "hey, this isn't bad! Will Riley, try it, you should!"
I didn't pay Cole. I swear. So as a parent, I'll take that as a win.
So did I eat the delicious creamy tomato soup pictured above?
No. No way. Not even a tiny taste.
Ever heard of nightshades? And no, I am not referring to my cool new Knockaround sunglasses.
I used to eat nightshades daily—these are seemingly unrelated things like tomatoes, peppers, and white potatoes. I remember a day hike I did in the Italian Alps with a close German friend back in my early 20's. Once Melanie and I got to the top of the mountain she pulled out a tomato and salt, not a bar, for fuel. As we took in the beautiful view we slowly ate our tomatoes like apples—shake a little salt on top, take a bite and savor, shake some more salt on the newly exposed goodness, take another bite and so on. It was delightful and it felt like a natural fit to our celebratory mood.
Now nightshades make me shutter.
If I consume nightshades my body will freak out. My joints will become painfully inflamed and swell. Something as innocent as that tomato I ate on the hike years back will today knock me out for at least two days. And unfortunately it is not just me being impacted negatively. Other folks with chronic arthritis, joint pain and autoimmune disease—especially those with Rheumatoid Arthritis should consider steering far away from this family of plants.
Most are toxic to humans.
The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) describes Nightshades in the following way:
Nightshades are a botanical family of plants known as Solanaceae. This family has more than 2,000 plant species, most of which are inedible or poisonous. The edible plants can cause adverse food reactions in individuals with certain autoimmune diseases and are especially troublesome for people who are sensitive to lectin, saponin, or capsaicin. Common edible nightshades include the following and their varieties: ashwagandha, bell peppers, cape gooseberries, eggplant, garden huckleberries, goji berries, hot peppers (e.g., chili, jalapeno, habanero, and scotch bonnet, as well as chili- based spices like cayenne, chili powder, crushed red pepper, and paprika), naranjillas, pepinos, pimentos, potatoes (except sweet potatoes), tomatillos, and tomatoes.
Should you avoid the handful of edible ones?
My opinion? No—not if you don't have chronic pain, stiffness issues or an autoimmune disease. But treat them like a delicacy versus a staple. Appreciate their goodness. Our bodies are in a constant state of change and knowing that more and more folks will be diagnosed with autoimmune diseases over the years to come (more due to the constant influx of environmental toxins rather than genetics) listen to your body and if you notice any stiffness or pain, give your body a break.
Not sure if you can attribute your symptoms to nightshades?
Do a 3-week experiment.
Take them out of your diet for 3 weeks. Completely. And then reintroduce the nightshades one at a time every 48 hours. Follow the instructions on the IFM's Food Reintroduction-Symptoms Tracker.
Listen, what is at the end of your fork is usually connected to driving inflammation. Inflammation is connected to body stress and body stress is connected to disease. Experiencing symptoms like painful joints, stuffy nose, headaches, diarrhea and constipation? Then you could have a nightshade intolerance—or perhaps it is gluten, dairy or soy. If you determine that it is indeed nightshades that are giving you a hassle, thank them for being a delicious part of your life and move on. Yep. Move on. There are better, more delicious things waiting for you. Like instead of Wendy's french fries, make your own sweet potato fries. And instead of eating catchup—try cinnamon and sea salt.
Don't need to substitute? Lucky you and please enjoy my creamy tomato chicken soup.
I remember that this soup tastes amazing. It has been a few years since I have had it. So now I rely on my kids to let me know whether it hits the spot or not. My boys like it so much that there is usually not any left for my husband.
This creamy red soup takes about 15 minutes (of your time) to make. And it makes between 6 - 8 servings...as always, depending on how big your bowls are. :)
- 4 organic chicken breasts
- I can of organic tomato sauce
- I can of full fat coconut milk
- 1.5 cups of bone broth
- 3 tablespoons LIME JUICE (in caps, because this is the secret ingredient!)
- 2 fresh tomatoes, diced (if you have them)
- 15 shakes of oregano
- 10 shakes of parsley
- 10 shakes of cumin
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Place chicken breasts into crock-pot. I like to generously salt the breasts.
Pour in the full can of organic tomato sauce and full fat coconut milk.
Add in 1.5 cups of bone broth.
Add the three tablespoons of lime juice.
Add the spices. Don't be timid with your shakes.
Set crock-pot for low and 6-8 hours.
Once done, use two forks to shred up the chicken breasts. The meat should fall apart easily. Add the diced tomatoes and give the pot a few swirls with your spoon for everything to mix together.