Weekly Dish: Hot ‘N Sour Soup

This is an incredibly nourishing soup when made using the proper techniques and ingredients.

[One caveat: Soybeans are a SOMETIMES food. We avoid them almost entirely, in any form (soy milk, soy “meat”, tofu, etc… Although, I haven’t ever tried Tempeh, which is fermented soybeans and would be okay also as a sometimes food.) This soup is our soybean exception. And only because the soybeans are sprouted. All the anti-nutrients in the soybean itself have been removed, but the phyto-estrogen (plant hormones) still remain. Phyto-estrogen can wreak havoc on a body, especially on young children, teens, men, and women in their childbearing and menopausal years. So, basically everyone at all times. Limit soy and make sure it is sprouted or fermented!]

This recipe is my Nana’s creation. She was notorious for doing this.  She went home and figured out the ingredients for this recipe after liking it so much at a local Chinese restaurant. (This was before the internet.) She has been gone for a few years now, but I still give all credit to her whenever it is due, which is often. I quadruple this recipe and add a tad more vinegar and a tad less sesame oil. I also omit the cornstarch and I just have a thin brothy soup. Just taste preference and my husbands current food limitations/allergies.  It’s a very versatile recipe and a staple in our home.

All of the ingredients should be able to be purchased at your grocery store or local health food store.

Hot ‘N Sour Soup

4 cups homemade chicken stock
1 teaspoon Real Salt
1 Tablespoon naturally fermented soy sauce or Liquid Aminos
1/4 cup pork or chicken, julienned  (I use chicken but pork does give a little more flavor because of the added fat)
1/4 cup bamboo shoots, julienned
4 shiitake mushrooms, dried and reconstituted* or fresh
1 square (1 package) sprouted** tofu, firm or extra firm
1/2 teaspoon hot chili paste (Sambal Oelek brand)
2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Arrowroot Powder or Cornstarch
1 beaten egg
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 sliced green onions
Bring chicken stock, salt, soy sauce, pork/chicken, bamboo shoots and mushrooms to boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
Drop in Tofu and add chili paste and white vinegar. Bring to boil again.
Stir in arrowroot powder/cornstarch. Stir until soup thickens. Adjust cornstarch to adjust the thickness of the soup. Turn off heat and slowly pour in the beaten egg. Let stand for a few seconds, then stir to break up egg into soup.
Stir in sesame oil and garnish with green onions.
*Reconstitute dried mushrooms in hot water for at least half an hour.
**I found this at our local health food store (Whole Foods) next to the other tofu and soy products.

 

I am  sharing this at Real Food Wednesday.

Where Do YOU Get Your B12?

There is a myth going around: All the protein, vitamins and minerals you need can be found in plant foods.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. I would like to take some time to dispel the myth, using one small vitamin: B12.

Exhibit A: The new poster I just got for my fridge at the local health food store. I was so excited about it… after I cut off the fats and protein section, which told me to eat no meat but soy everything. Then, my eyes landed with devastation on the B12 column. Take a gander:

Unrelated to B12, let me go ingredient by ingredient by what they suggest we eat for B12.

  • Soy. Far too high in phytoestrogen (plant hormone) to be consumed at the levels in which we consume it, not to mention the anti-nutrients and phytic acid in the soybean.
  • Cereals are extruded and made in a factory. They aren’t real food. Don’t eat cereal, it’s not good for you.
  • Margarine. Again, made in a factory. It’s vegetable oil at its worst. (Vegetable oil is also no good for you. Along with Canola oil. Don’t ever consume either.)
  • Soy “meat”. Need I say more? Why are we making “meat” out of things that aren’t meat? Do you realize the processing that goes into something like this?Avoid processed foods, especially those with soy in them.
  • Yeast Extract. We’ll get to that in a few paragraphs.)

There is also some small type at the bottom which says, “It is important to ensure a good dietary source from fortified foods (3 mcg/day) or a supplement (10 mcg/day). Reduced amounts for children. Chew tablets.”

NO!

Really. God really made our bodies to need vitamin companies and cereal manufacturers to fortify our foods so that we aren’t B12 deficient? So you’re telling me that for the last however many thousands of years of human history, man was destined to suffer B12 deficiency because the fortification and synthetic vitamin science hadn’t yet been developed????

Let me tell you one bit of handy vital information: Usable B12 is found ONLY in animal foods. Let me rephrase in case you missed it. If you want to thrive, you need B12. If you want B12 in your body, you have to eat B12. You can only get B12 your body can use by eating animal foods. It is simply not absorbed from plant sources.

Why is B12 important?  It is needed:

  • for healthy blood (needed to prevent anemia)
  • for a properly functioning nervous system
  • to maintain fertility
  • to promote normal growth and development.
The skeptic or Vegan may now argue: B12 is found in plant forms. Spirulina, algae, tempeh, miso and tamari and nutritional yeast all contain B12. However, did you know that when blood tests were done on individuals eating these products, their B12 blood level showed no increase*? Also, nutritional yeast is a good source for the B complex– all but B12. For some reason, our bodies do not use B12 from plants.
B12 is also destroyed by pasteurization. So a vegetarian that drinks milk still needs to find another source of B12. Another reason it is so important to use Raw milk.
B12 is absorbed through the cells in your stomach. Vegans are often deficient if no supplementation is given. Even meat-eaters may sometimes become deficient because the ability to assimilate the B12 declines with age. Many elderly suffer from B12, even while continuing to eat meat.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can present itself in many forms. Some examples: depression, multiple sclerosis, dementia, Alzheimer’s, psychiatric disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolarity, anemia, cancer, and heart disease.

Early signs of deficiency include fatigue, tingling in hands and feet, sleep disorders and a tendency to irrational anger (one of the first clues).

Best sources: Liver, sardines, mackerel, herring, salmon, lamb, Swiss cheese, eggs, haddock, beef, blue cheese, halibut, scallops, cottage cheese, chicken and milk.

Go get some B12! And no, I don’t mean from the health food store. Unless that is where you buy your meat.

*from James F. Scheer, Health Freedom News