Hello Loyal Soup People! I’m writing this column on the 15th straight day of measurable rain. I’ve forgotten what the sun looks like! So, I’ve decided to write a column about sunscreen! I figure if I write about sunscreen, spring will return! Also, I annually write about this topic because I find it so important.

The first thing I want to do is direct you to the Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen Guide. This online resource provides tips for finding the sunscreen that is best for you, the science behind their recommendations, and my favorite, the Hall of Shame. Never buy sunscreens on that list!! Please note that this guide is from 2015. They’ll soon release an updated guide for 2016.

EWG provides a few basic tips when looking for sunscreen:

– Never use spray-on, towelettes, and powder based sunscreens. They are full of horrible chemicals and aren’t effective.
– Use a minimum of level 30 SPF
– Do not use sunscreen containing Retinyl Palmitate, Oxybenzone and other Endocrine disrupting chemicals.
– Avoid sunscreen that doubles as another product (i.e. bug repellent or tanning lotion)
– Reapply every two hours or more
– Wear sunscreen every day. Even when it’s cloudy!

Now that we’re all protected, maybe the sun will return!!

*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!

beetmeThe beet is back! Dance to the beet! That’s right, beet gazpacho is back on the menu. Pay no attention to the fact that we have been magically transported to Seattle where it rains all day every day. May is here, beets are in season, let’s make some gazpacho.

We’ll be sending out the gazpacho to stores and markets all over town. We’ll also have some at both locations beginning on Thursday. As many of you know, our gazpachos are, well, a bit addictive. The beet one… it’s as pretty as it is tasty! A deep purple color that should have a Crayola named after it! You *may* not want to wear a white shirt while slurping as it likes to leave its mark… permanently… on clothing!

In terms of the rest of our gazpacho flavors… we’ll start rolling them out soon. The cold rain that has dominated the region has not been great for summer crops. Everything is delayed a few weeks. We’ll keep harassing the farmers!!

Hello Loyal Soup People! This week I’d like to remind everyone to slow down! In particular, when it comes to food! The reality is that overweight people eat more quickly than their thinner counterparts. This was recently confirmed in a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

This study used a variety of means to test the rate that people ate – ranging from feeding people different types of food (softer foods are eaten faster than “harder” versions) to using different eating “mechanisms” (i.e. spoons versus straws). Regardless of the means, the slower eaters consumed significantly fewer calories than their speedy counterparts. The more slowly they ate, the less they consumed. The study confirmed what we have always said – the slower eaters felt satiated with less food.

As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, it takes the brain 15-20 minutes to send satiation signals to the stomach. If you eat feast, you’ll be consuming food too quickly for your body to respond to the signals that you are satisfied.

Another theory is that slow eaters enjoy all aspects of food more – smell, taste, texture, etc. and are therefore satisfied with fewer calories.

Other researchers think that the body pays attention to the amount we actually chew. So, if we chew 40 times on the same piece of food, versus 40 times over several bites, the body registers satiation based on the number of times you chew not the amount of food. So, if you eat slowly and chew more on less food, you’ll end up feeling satiated with a smaller amount.

This study ties directly into the concept of eating mindfully. Eat slowly. Enjoy every mouthful. Savor the flavors, the smells, the textures, and the taste of every bite. You’ll enjoy your meal more and will end up eating less!

*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!

soupersilasHappy birthday to us!! Happy birthday to our M Street location! Happy birthday to us! Two years ago this month we opened up our new baby (Not the baby in this picture. He’s just an awesome junior soup eater who is very photogenic). Our M Street location is our little baby. Our Soupergirl “express.” Our little Soupergirl That Could! We’re so proud of her!

To thank our wonderful customers who have supported our M Street baby, we’re giving out free stuff! To help us celebrate our birthday this week:

– Wish us a happy birthday and receive three stamps on your loyalty card.
– Wish us a happy birthday, spend $10 or more, and enjoy a FREE small salad with your meal.
– Tweet us a birthday message or retweet one of ours and receive 10% off your meal!

More birthday specials are coming next week with even BIGGER FREE STUFF! Note – these specials apply only at our M Street location. Our Takoma location is an old, boring, five year old. However, Triple Stamp Tuesday is celebrated each week at BOTH stores!!

Hello Loyal Soup People! This week, I’d like to talk about another food fad that has me worried – Detox Diets. The simple truth is that there is no scientific evidence whatsoever to back up the numerous claims that surround these types of diets.

Detox diets claim to rid your body of toxins. What, exactly, are “toxins?” Quite simply, toxins are types of poisons. They do indeed get into our body through a variety of means, ranging from snake bites to consumption (i.e. ingesting BPA from cans, etc.). Fortunately, our bodies have built in mechanisms to expel them. Primarily, our livers and kidneys “detox” our bodies all day! Unless your organs aren’t functioning properly, there is no need to take further action to remove toxins from your body.

Trans-fats, sugar, and salt are not good for you. They are not, however, toxins. Be cautious of any diet that includes claims to rid your body of toxins. Be wary of any diet that drastically reduces your caloric intake and requires you to take supplements of various sorts. If you do lose weight on a “detox diet,” you’re most likely just dropping water weight, not fat.

If you’d like to clean up your diet, focusing on “clean eating” is definitely the way to go. Remove processed food, excess sugar, salt, and other unhealthy foods from your life. Start by eating fresh, healthy food! Healthy eating doesn’t come in three-day packages. It takes a lifelong commitment. One that will serve you well for life!

*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!

An email from a customer!

“What a problem I have!  You left my order on the table in my garage and I just HAD to taste it before I put it away!  WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I was afraid to order too much of any one thing because I didn’t know what everyone would like.  HOW CAN YOU MAKE SUCH FABULOUS FOOD???

I called the store and got the very last large container of the Vegetarian LIVER … and I bought more of the small ones.  And I don’t like quinoa and sweet potato salad and yours was AMAZING so I had to order 4 more containers.  Almost everything was sold out… You obviously have found something special, especially for those of us who have only morning recipes for Passover.

What I can’t figure out is how I love EVERYTHING you make when I would never touch  (real)  liver (at least not in almost 40 years); don’t love sweet potatoes and could take or leave quinoa.  It must be that you combine in the most amazing way to make truly great food!”

Hello Loyal Soup People! Spring is most definitely here and with it comes beautiful greens. You’ll see kale, spinach, chard, and more popping up at area farmers markets. This week I wanted to provide a simple primer on how to properly clean salad greens. Cleaning your produce is really important to prevent food borne illness. The only two times Soupergirl has ever gotten food poisoning is from improperly cleaned spinach!

Cleaning greens takes a little more effort than simply running them under water. Ideally, you’ll need two big bowls, but the process can be done with one. Fill up one bowl with with cold water and your greens. Agitate the greens with your hands, giving them a good shake so the dirt and sediment falls to the bottom. Remove the greens and place them the in the second bowl, and fill it up with water. Empty the first bowl and rinse it out. Repeat this process until the water in the bowl is clear after you remove the greens. It usually takes about three cycles. If you only have one bowl, remove the greens and place them in a strainer in between each cycle.

A good salad spinner is great for removing all this excess moisture. Don’t clean your greens until you are ready to eat them because damp greens wilt quickly. Keep the greens in the crisper drawer in your refrigerator to further keep away moisture.

This cleaning process should be done with all greens – local, organic, and store bought. Even “triple washed” packaged greens should be cleaned! Better to take the extra few minutes to wash your greens then to end up sick!

Happy Spring, everyone!

*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!

Hello Loyal Soup People! The amazing weather we’ve been enjoying lately got me thinking about my favorite activity – walking! I like to go for a brisk walk every day as a form of exercise. I’ve recently learned how great this activity is for your health, and I wanted share some of this information with you.

– Brisk walking has similar benefits to running! It can help reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease. As long as your heart rate is elevated, and you’re breathing a little heavier than normal, you’re fighting these diseases!

– Short, five minute walks every hour can help stave off the risks associated with sitting for long periods of time at your desk. As we’ve recently learned, “sitting is the new smoking.” Going for small walks throughout the day does the body good.

– Walking can help control your blood sugar. Walking for 15 minutes after each meal has been shown to control our blood sugar levels over a 24 hour period. The benefits of this type of walking were even better than if you walked 45 minutes all at once.

– Walking gets the creative juices flowing! Going for outdoor walks can help lift your mood and stimulate your creative side. Experiencing writers block? Go for a short hike!

The benefits of walking are really endless. I also like walking because it requires no fancy gear, membership, or extensive training. I like to think of it as a “gateway” exercise. Once you get used to walking regularly, you might be tempted to start running or even more! What a great habit!

*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!

spinachgarnersAs you know, we are very committed to sourcing from local farmers. We take it pretty seriously (which is why we still don’t have gazpacho… no early tomatoes yet!!). This week, however, we’re really quite proud of our local sourcing for the Passover holiday menu. If you ordered from our Passover menu, or maybe just dine at Soupergirl over the next few weeks, you’ll be enjoying:

– Beets and potatoes from Tuscarora Organic Coop (organic!)
– All kinds of greens (spinach, collards) from Garner’s Produce
– Sweet potatoes and carrots from Twin Spring Fruit Farm
– Apples and butternut squash from Spring Valley Farm and Orchard
– Turnips from the Farm at Sunnyside (organic!)

Thank you for helping us support our fantastic local farms. We hope you’ll taste the difference!

And yes indeed, our Passover pre-order menu is now closed. However, we will try to keep our refrigerators stocked with Passover soups, salads, and seder items throughout the week. Call ahead to check availability! And we will be open next week from Monday through Thursday. Come dine with us!

matzoloveApril is here! As we mentioned last week, we are now accepting orders for our Passover menu! Place your order by using our online form and choose home delivery or pick up at either one of our stores. All orders MUST be received by noon on April 15th – so you have only two weeks left!! We have all that you need for a delicious, healthy, and souper Passover! Plus, our stores will be open during the holiday, so if you need a break from macaroons and matzo kugel, come by and visit! Please email with us any questions or to request the full menu and details.