For my master's degree in holistic Health and Nutrition Education, I took a wonderful elective course called Nutritional Foundations for Individuals with Cancer. One of my textbooks was the cookbook The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery, by Rebecca Katz & Mat Edelson. For a school assignment, I made one of the recipes from the book... don't you love fun stuff like that?!? I chose to make this hot soup recipe, even though it was a steamy July day, because it looked so delicious. My daughter was flying home as I prepared the meal, and I knew it would be a great, wholesome way to welcome her back. Both she and my husband complimented me on the recipe, even without being asked.
If the recipes in this beautiful book are nourishing for individuals with cancer, they certainly are nutrient-rich and appropriate for most everyone!
The ingredients in this soup have potent anti-cancer properties. Asparagus is anti-inflammatory (inflammation can contribute to cancer proliferation). It also contains vitamins A, K, and folic acid, which are cancer fighting nutrients. Broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, cayenne pepper, celery, garlic, ginger, onions, limes, olive oil, rice, parsley are all also anti-inflammatory. Many of these same foods are also anti-microbial, and anti-bacterial, which support the immune system. The flavonoids in basil protect human cells from radiation damage. Its oils are also anti-inflammatory. The herbs basil ginger, black pepper, and parsley contain compounds similar to nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB), a protein complex involved in immune and inflammatory processes that may actually stop the “master switch” that turns on cancer gene activation (Katz, 2009).
Chicken Vegetable Soup with Ginger Meatballs
(From the book: The Cancer Fighting Kitchen, by Rebecca Katz, page 59)
To see the cooking instructions: visit Rebecca Katz's recipe webpage.
Rebecca's a Faculty Advisor at my alma mater, Hawthorn University. She's also a nationally-recognized "culinary translator" and expert on the role of food in supporting optimal health. I enjoyed reading the section in Katz’s book about the tool to enhance any dish where the flavors seem to stray off course: FASS, which stands for Fats, Acid, Salt, and Sweet. She says, “When they’re balanced and work in harmony, you’ll hit the bull’s eye.”
My notes on the soup preparation:
I find that measuring exact ingredients isn’t necessary when cooking with real, whole foods. I like to get creative and “doctor up” recipes to make them bold in flavor. This recipe was no exception, but it didn't need a lot, just more salt and pepper. I also added some snap peas from my dad’s garden, plus some frozen asparagus, red pepper, and chopped broccoli I had on hand. The recipe said it makes twice as many meatballs as needed for the soup and to save some for later, but I used all of the meat. Half would have been too few meatballs. I used a cookie scoop to form them instead of my hands. Simply dropping the meatballs into the boiling broth was an easy way to cook them; much faster than the stove or in the oven.
I cook at home from scratch for most meals, and I consider myself an experienced cook, yet I learned a few new things by making and following this recipe:
Enjoy the nourishing feeling you get from making and eating this wonderful soup! How did you alter the recipe to your liking? I'd love to hear your comments below. Thanks!
Jenny Yelle, MHNE Holistic Wellness Educator
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