Ditch Your Smoothies For Soups: Here’s Why (And How)

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If you haven’t entertained soup as a part of your diet, it might be time to start. Take Elina Fuhrman, owner of vegan soup company Soupelina and author of Soupelina’s Soup Cleanse: Plant-Based Soups and Broths to Heal Your Body, Calm Your Mind and Transform Your Life , as an example of their power: Soup helped heal her from breast cancer and her experience caused her to recognize how nutritious soups can truly be. Intrigued by the notion that such a decidedly simple meal could be so enriching, we tapped Elina for more information about its benefits. Here, she shares an introduction to how soups can aid in one’s diet—plus two delicious recipes to kickstart your liquid journey.

Elina (middle) in the kitchen with her daughters. Photo: Pär Bengtsson

How To Create A Soup That's Actually Nutritious

"We've all heard the famous words from Hippocrates—the father of modern medicine—that food is medicine, but soups take it up a notch. It's not just veggies, but also herbs and spices that combine to impart medicinal value. To make a healing soup, you have to handpick your ingredients, using the freshest veggies rather than last week's sad produce buried in your fridge crisper. It's so much larger than a bowl of soup. By adding just the right spices and herbs, you won't be just blending the cooked veggies, you will be creating a medicinal potion that could heal you."

Reference Elina's book for more recipes and tips on creating healthy, nutritious soups.

Elina and daughter Madeline prepping soup ingredients. Photo: Pär Bengtsson

What Benefits Can People See From Adding Soups To Their Diet?

"If you are doing a cleanse, you will see benefits almost immediately. Your skin will be glowing, your hair will be shinier, your nails will be stronger, you will feel more energy and, at the same time, you will feel calmer and more content. If you incorporate soup into your lifestyle, along with meditation and breathing exercises, you will improve your digestion and eventually heal your gut, sharpen your mind, reduce inflammation and eliminate stress. Oh, and your body will be leaner, you will be happier and you'll look younger, too."

Elina roasting vegetables for her soup. Photo: Pär Bengtsson

Why Are Soups Better Than Smoothies?

"Soups—so long as they are pure and organic without dairy, gluten, nuts, fruits and any sugars—are more filling, lower on the glycemic index and make nutrients easy to digest and absorb. Soups don't require as much energy to digest, freeing your body to heal and at the same time providing you with all the necessary fiber and nutrients. Smoothies, on the other hand, are cold, which requires your body to work harder while digesting them, and the combination of fruits and vegetables causes your glycemic levels to spike and dip."

Pär Bengtsson

Easy Peas-Y

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coconut oil 1 large onion, chopped 1 pound green peas 2 celery stalks, cubed 5 cups boiling filtered water Generous handful of mint, finely chopped Himalayan pink salt

Instructions:

  • Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat, add the onion and sauté until soft.
  • Add the peas and celery and mix everything together.
  • Add the boiling filtered water, cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 45 minutes.
  • Stir in the mint, add salt to taste, transfer everything to a Vitamix and puree until a smooth and light consistency. Add more previously boiling water if the soup is too thick to achieve the light, brothy texture.
  • Taste and adjust the salt to your taste.
  • Serve hot or cold.

Serves 4.

From Soupelina’s Soup Cleanse: Plant-Based Soups and Broths to Heal Your Body, Calm Your Mind, and Transform Your Life by Elina Fuhrman. Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books.

Pär Bengtsson

The Truffle With Asparagus

Ingredients:

5 cups filtered water 2 bunches white asparagus Juice of 1 lemon Himalayan pink salt 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 large leek, white part only, roughly chopped 1 teaspoon truffle oil

Instructions:

  • Bring the filtered water to a boil over high heat.
  • Meanwhile, trim about 1 inch from the end of the asparagus, peek the skin from each spear, reserving the peels and cut the spears into 2-inch pieces. Gather the asparagus into two bundles and tie with kitchen string.
  • Add the reserved peels to the boiling water along with the lemon juice and salt.
  • Lower the heat to a simmer and add the asparagus bundles. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to overcook.
  • Remove the asparagus and drain on paper towels. Strain the asparagus stock and place it back on the stove on the lowest heat, to remain hot.
  • Heat the oil in a soup pot, add the leek and sauté until tender. Then pour in the asparagus stock, add the untied asparagus bundles and simmer together for a few minutes.
  • Transfer the soup to a Vitamix and puree until velvety smooth.
  • Taste and adjust the flavor with salt and lemon juice.
  • Serve immediately with a drizzle of truffle oil.

Serves 4 to 6.

From Soupelina’s Soup Cleanse: Plant-Based Soups and Broths to Heal Your Body, Calm Your Mind, and Transform Your Life by Elina Fuhrman. Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books.