Hello Loyal Soup People! Last week I wrote about how diet and exercise can significantly reduce your risk of stroke. This week I learned about the connection between a healthy diet and lifestyle and breast cancer prevention. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), changes in diet and exercise could prevent nearly one in three cases of breast cancer occurrence. That is an extremely significant number.

According to AICR, a few lifestyle changes can have a major impact on your cancer risk:

– Eating vegetables. However, not only is it important to eat vegetables, but also to eat a wide variety. Many studies have shown that women with higher blood levels of carotenoids (compounds found in orange, yellow, red, and green vegetables) have a 25% lower risk of breast cancer than those with low carotenoid levels. Researchers don’t know if there is a specific type of carotenoid that is more effective, or if it is the total amount in your blood. Therefore, it is important to eat a lot of different types of produce. Eat the rainbow! Green spinach and kale, blue blueberries, red tomatoes, green, yellow, and red bell peppers… the list goes on and on. Cruciferous vegetables are also incredibly important. They include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, radishes, and cabbage.

– Eat a lot of fiber rich foods. Breast cancer usually develops over many years. The high fiber foods may begin protecting our system early in life and continue through middle age and beyond. Also, most high fiber plants are also abundant in protective nutrients, carotenoids, and phytochemicals.

– Embrace healthy fat. Many studies have shown that heart healthy fats can lower breast cancer risk. Don’t fear the olive oil and avocados! Add them to salads and sandwiches.

– Be wary of alcohol. Many studies show that women should limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day (12 ounces of beer / 5 ounces of wine / 1.5 ounces of liquor). Even such a small amount is linked to breast cancer risk. However, the more you drink, the greater the risk.

– Exercise. Even if your exercise isn’t resulting in weight loss, you should still keep moving. It affects hormones that can help lower the risk of breast and other cancers.

I’m not suggesting that diet and exercise will keep you healthy forever. There are so many factors that contribute to disease – genetics, environment, and much more! However, study after study shows that healthy eating and exercise can go quite a long way to help fight illness!

*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!

IMG_0576Free. Yes, we thought we’d start with that word. This summer, we’re all about customer appreciation. You, dear soup eaters, are incredible, so we want to say thank you. Many of you already know about Triple Point Tuesdays! Come in on Tuesday and receive three stamps on your loyalty card. Spend $25 or more and receive a free pint of soup. We’re now launching Gimme Three Thursdays! Stop by either Soupergirl store any Thursday in June and July, buy two items, and receive the third for free! Please note that the free item must be of equal or lesser value than the two that are purchased. Fan of gazpacho? Come load up on Thursdays! Do your shopping for the weekend on Thursdays. Every day is a good day for soup… but especially Tuesdays and Thursdays. Thanks, Loyal Soup Eaters!!

Hello Loyal Soup People! As most of you know, I’m a big proponent of eating a primarily plant-based diet. Putting aside the benefits for the earth and animals, study after study shows that filling your plate with plant-based foods provides incredible health benefits. However, there is a popular belief that eating a healthy diet filled with fruits and vegetables can be extremely costly. This could not be further from the truth. A new study conducted by the Miriam Hospital and the Rhode Island Community Food Bank proves the exact opposite.

This important study found that a plant-based diet that included up to four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil per day yielded an annual saving of almost $750 per person, versus the lowest cost version of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s My Plate diet. The plant-based diet used in the study included many more servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains than the My Plate version. The study confirmed that high consumption of fruits and vegetables was inexpensive, while high consumption of meat is considerably more expensive.

It turns out that eating a plant-based diet is good for your health AND your wallet! Great news all around!

*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! 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!