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Network : Fresh Tastes
: June 2001
A Soup For Summer Meals
Who has time
to cook in June? Graduations, conventions, weddings, vacations,
kids' summer sports programs... everyone's so busy. And Lord knows
most of us would like to slim down and once again fit into those
itsy bitsy summer outfits. It's no wonder light meals are the order
of the day in many families. But when we lighten up on the food,
we need to make sure we don't skimp on the water and fluids. For
many people with IC, particularly those whose symptoms are more
pain than frequency, dehydration can provoke bladder pain. Soups
for supper are one tasty way to keep well hydrated.
If you're like me, all the warm weather activity can bring on a
stress induced bladder flare. So I have to watch the menu pretty
carefully. We have light meals on these sultry summer evenings and
a homemade soup with a small salad are just perfect. A bit of finely
chopped fresh chives, fresh basil or fresh oregano flavors an undressed
salad of moist garden greens (see Fresh
April 2001, "It's Salad Season!"). Bread sticks
complement homemade soup as do soda crackers, baked tortilla chips
or Pringles potato chips (no preservatives and less fat than potato
chips). If you can't find commercially made bread sticks that your
bladder enjoys, try the homemade version (see Fresh
Tastes, September 1999, "Vitamin E and the IC Diet").
soups are quick to fix all the popular brands are a minefield of
additives. Organic pea soup (made by Amy's Kitchen) is available
at Whole Foods Markets (a national chain - check your local phone
book). It's free of preservatives, hydrolyzed proteins and protein
isolates that can trigger bladder pain. Best of all, for those with
IBS who are sensitive to gas-forming foods, this manufacturer appears
to have mercifully made the product the old-fashioned way. Even
if most canned pea soups cause horrible gas and flare up your IBS,
this one may be tolerable.
Can't find good
canned soup that your bladder likes too? Homemade soups are so much
tastier anyway and this month's feature is a healthful and easy
to make light meal.
Barley and Lentil Soup
Oh soup, how
do I love thee? Let me count the ways: First, and most importantly
of course, I can count on this basic mild recipe to not upset my
finicky bladder on stressful days! It's flavorful, low-fat, and
protein-packed too. It freezes well and it's just the thing to heat
up for a light summer dinner when I don't want to heat up the kitchen.
Best of all, my husband really enjoys it. (No cooking one recipe
for him and another for me just because my bladder is flaring!)
Then too, if
my bladder decides to behave for awhile or I'm expecting company
for dinner, this soup is so versatile that I can give it real pizzaz
by simply adding a few more ingredients. But wait! There's more:
I can make a large batch and refrigerate portions for use the next
day or two what a time saver for an activity packed summer! Friends
and relatives with special diets can eat it too. This recipe's got
vegetarian, low-sodium, or low-oxalate variations to please just
about everyone, so enjoy!
2/3 cup dry
1/3 cup dry kidney beans
1 Tablespoon barley, hulled or pearled
2-1/2 cups water
2 cups Health Valley low-fat chicken broth
2 pork loin chops, trimmed and chopped in 3/4-inch chunks
1/3 cup sliced carrots
2/3 cup sliced celery
1-1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon onion salt
Cover dry beans,
barley and lentils with at least two inches of water in a large
pot. Let soak for 6 to 8 hours (overnight, while you do Saturday
morning chores, or while you are at work). Pour off the soak water
and rinse with fresh water. Drain, then add 2-1/2 cups of water
and the 2 cups of broth to the beans. Cover and bring to a boil.
fat off the pork chops and cut in chunks. Then brown the pork in
a skillet with a little vegetable oil. Add browned pork, carrots,
celery, marjoram, fennel seed, and onion salt to the boiling pot
of beans. Cover and let boil about 2 minutes. (At this point you
can take it off the stove, refrigerate, and continue cooking later
in the day.) Reduce heat, cover, and gently simmer for 3 hours.
With back of a spoon, stir and crush a few lentils to make a creamier
consistency. (Serves 4)
Add black pepper to taste, 1/2 cup sauteed onions and 1/8 teaspoon
garlic powder. Throw in some cooked mild or spicy Italian sausage.
(Even mild sausage that lacks cayenne pepper tends to have some
drawbacks for the IC patient: MSG, benzoates, and paprika or worse
yet, oleoresin paprika. If you have to avoid all those ingredients
but can have a bit of nitrates in the sausage, try Aidell's Chicken
and Apple sausage (Aidell's Sausage Company; www.aidells.com). Or
make a trip to your local natural foods store. As your bladder improves
with medical treatment you might find that spicy is occasionally
okay for you but preservatives still bother your bladder. Check
out Whole Foods, Wild Oats or Trader Joe's markets. These
stores sell preservative free Italian sausage).
Low-oxalate: You may want to avoid the oxalates in
celery. Try using broccoli instead.
Natural food stores sell a variety of vegetable broths that can
substitute for the chicken broth. But be careful about adding tofu
or other vegetable-based meat substitutes. The protein in them has
been hydrolyzed and as a result they often contain quite a bit of
pain provoking glutamates.
Low-sodium: Health Valley makes a low sodium version
of their MSG-free chicken broth. Also, substitute 1/2 to 1 teaspoon
of onion flakes or 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives for the onion salt.
Serving suggestion: Warmed bread is great with just about
any soup. My local Trader Joe's store carries a wonderful wheat
and potato flour bread I enjoy (Trader Joe's brand Shepherd Bread).
Trader Joe's is a national chain, so check your phone book for local
stores. The only drawback to this preservative-free bread is that
in the warm weather it molds quickly. One solution for small families
is to keep the loaf in the freezer and only take out slices as they
are needed. Slices defrost in about 10 or 15 minutes when left on
the kitchen counter).
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