Hello Loyal Soup People! Raise your hand if you made a resolution to lose weight this year. I bet a lot of you just did! My first tip of the year will hopefully help you achieve this goal, while also eating healthfully. I just read another study about even more benefits of eating lots of fruits and vegetables. According to researchers at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, eating more fruits and non-starchy vegetables is associated with weight control and even modest weight loss. The study indicated that Phenolic-rich fruits (such as berries, pears, and apples), as well as citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens, tofu, and soy may have bioactive compounds that help our bodies achieve long term weight loss. Translation? A diet heavy in fruits and vegetables will yield permanent (not “yo-yo”) weight loss!

Basically, these types of foods are high in fiber and have low glycemic loads. This means that snacking on roasted Brussels sprouts and an apple will keep us full for a longer period of time and won’t cause our insulin levels to spike. We’ll stay satiated longer, won’t crave more food immediately because our sugar levels won’t spike and plummet.

Remember, this benefit is in addition to the myriad of others associated with a diet high in fruits and vegetables. Lower disease rates, longevity, better cardio-vascular health, and so much more. Plus, for every apple or kale salad you eat, you’re most likely eating less fried food, candy, etc. So, to get a head start on that resolution, start roasting that broccoli!

*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!

052914_soupergirl_0031A few scrupulous Loyal Soup Eaters pointed out that Souperdad was missing from our holiday greeting from the Souperfamily in last week’s email! What about Souperdad??  Sorry, folks! Sorry, Souperdad. So, the entire Souper-family wishes everyone a happy, healthy, and joyous new year.

We’ve had another crazy year, full of wild ups and humbling lows. Throughout it all, you, our kind and wonderful Soup Eaters, have supported us at every step. It might sound cliche, but you really are our inspiration. When we try new soups, think about expansion, and just ponder our every day business, we think of you. “What would our Loyal Soup Eaters want,” we ask ourselves. Please keep the emails, comments, phone calls, Facebook posts, etc. coming. We’re listening! We want to hear from you!! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Speaking of new things, we have something really, really cool debuting in 2016. It is going to be extremely souper. Seriously.

In housekeeping news, both stores will close at 4:00 PM on New Years Eve and will remain closed on New Years Day. Soup up early, folks!!

Hello Loyal Soup People! It has been a confusing year in the health world. Long held beliefs have been turned upside down. Fat doesn’t make you fat! Salt might not be quite as bad as we thought! Coffee is really good for you! The list goes on and on. People can find the varying health recommendations very confusing.

So what’s a Soupermom to do?? What tips and advice can I confidently pass along? In my opinion, while things do seem confusing, basic health recommendations haven’t changed too much. In short, trust your gut. Like Michael Pollan says, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

What does this mean? If you need a PHD to read the ingredient list of a particular product you’re eating, it probably isn’t natural. Not “food.” Listen to your body! If you’re body says you’re no longer hungry, stop eating. And lastly, most nutritionists, doctors, and health specialists agree that a plant based diet is one of the best paths to healthy living – for yourself and for the planet.

The debate about salt, fat, sugar, etc. all become noisy after a while. If you eat primarily plant based, unprocessed food and listen to your body, you’re eating healthfully. Add in a bit (or a lot) of exercise, and you are on your way!

Finally, thank you, everyone, for a wonderful year. It has been a challenging yet incredible time here at Soupergirl, and we have you to thank for so much. Wishing you all a very happy and healthy new year!!

*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! We’re often chatting about the benefits of eating a plant based diet. This week I want to  focus on plant based beverages! I’m just using a fancy name for tea and coffee! However, it is timely as many of us are probably drinking a little bit more “adult” beverages. Increasing your consumption of healthy coffee and tea can help add a bit of health easily back into your day.

In the past ten years, a lot of research has been done on the benefits of tea and coffee. We are learning that tea can help lower blood pressure, and decrease chances of coronary heart disease, kidney stones, and stroke. Coffee is linked to a lower likelihood of Type 2 Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, some cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke.  Both beverages contain anti-inflammatory agents.

Obviously, not all beverages are created equal. Highly processed “coffee drinks,” shakes, artificially flavored teas and coffees, and anything else that tastes too good to be true – don’t count! To be clear, coffee shakes are NOT healthy!! They are no better than a milkshake – if not worse!  As many people know, coffee is an acquired taste. However, drinking your coffee black will reap the most benefits. Same with your tea. If you have trouble with caffeine, stop drinking these beverages after 2:00 PM. Brew your tea for less time to reduce the amount of caffeine.

Who knew that starting your day with a fresh cup of joe was adding years to your life??

Happy holidays, 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! All this chat about holiday indulgence got me thinking about chocolate. I’m sure we’re all eating quite a bit of it this month! I wanted to write this week about sustainable chocolate. While that sounds a little… silly… the truth is that buying responsibly made chocolate can have a very big impact on the environment, labor practices, and more.

Chocolate is definitely “in” these days. Unfortunately, mass produced chocolate is linked to all sorts of unhealthy growing and production practices. Cacao trees normally need shade and rainfall to produce high quality beans for chocolate. However, as the industry tries to keep up with the demand, large chocolate producers have cleared rainforests and created hybrid trees which don’t need a lot of shade, but do require a lot pesticide. These chemicals, along with the associated deforestation, destroy wildlife and the sensitive eco-system. They also contaminate the soil and water.
Many large chocolate growers pay below-poverty wages and often employ child laborers. Not good at all.

The good news is that you can easily purchase sustainable chocolate and support small farms that commit to growing chocolate using traditional methods, while paying fair wages. The “bean to bar” movement has been wonderful in supporting these farmers. When buying chocolate look for a label such as “Rainforest Alliance Certified,” “Fair Trade,” or “Direct Trade” to ensure that your bar is sourced with responsibly grown cocoa. Some small companies cannot afford these certifications, but work with small chocolate growers. Read labels and contact the company! Most are proud of their sourcing and will keep you on the phone forever talking about the quality of their chocolate!

Little steps like these can have a large impact on the chocolate industry and beyond. When many people speak with their dollars, even the big players start paying attention!

*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! Right before Thanksgiving, I provided some tricks to stay healthy during the holiday season. While everyone jokes about overindulging during this time of year, the consequences of holiday weight gain can be pretty serious. The truth is, most of us don’t lose those extra two or three pounds that we gain during this time of year. Over the course of 20 years, that can add up to 40 or more extra pounds. The older we get, the harder it is to lose weight. So, it’s better to focus on not gaining weight in the first place! So, here are a few MORE tips to help keep your weight in check this time of year.

– Keep an eye on your alcohol consumption. Beverages – especially alcohol – are the sneakiest culprits when it comes to weight gain. Drinks don’t fill you up, but are full of calories. Also, after a few glasses of wine, we lose our will-power and end up having an extra serving (or two) of dessert. Try to alternate between wine and water when drinking. Have a glass of water after every glass of wine. Not only will you consume less alcohol and calories, but you’ll feel much better in the morning!

– Up your exercise. Why wait until January 1st to start your new years resolutions? A lot of gyms offer discounts and specials this time of year. Rev up your metabolism and burn more calories during the day to help compensate for the extra ones you are consuming at night.

– Go plant based! Make the side vegetables your main course, and you’ll consume many fewer calories.

– Vocalize your intentions. Let people know that you are trying to stay healthy with your eating and drinking choices. Not only will you find support, but people might be inspired to join you!

Happy Hannukah, everyone!

Hello Loyal Soup People! This week I’d like to discuss the most basic action we take when eating – chewing! Did you know that proper chewing can help with weight loss? It is something we do at every meal, so let’s pay a bit more attention to this action! Let me explain…

Chewing, as opposed to drinking and swallowing, forces us to slow down our pace of eating. The more thoroughly we chew, the slower we eat. This gives our stomach more time to signal our brains that we are full. Remember that it takes a full 15 minutes for our stomachs to send these satiation signals. When we eat too quickly, we overeat and end up feeling too full because we don’t give ourselves the time to listen to our bodies’ cues. However, when we take the time to chew slowly and properly, we allow our bodies to digest properly.

The act of chewing itself also stimulates our digestive system to start working – even before we swallow. Just simply chewing our first bite of food readies our digestive systems to start working. When we drink sweet juices or thick smoothies, we’re skipping this essential step and our digestive systems have to catch up!

If you’re looking for an easy way to cut calories this holiday season (and beyond) start with chewing! You’ll eat a little less, enjoy your food a little more, and might end up weighing a bit 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!

Hello Loyal Soup People! As Soupergirl mentioned seventeen times in this email, Thanksgiving is here! As I often do around this time, I’d like to provide some helpful tips on how to maintain a somewhat healthy diet at Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season. Keep these tricks in mind when approaching a big holiday meal:

– Drink water and/or green tea before the meal. You won’t feel famished when sitting down to a big meal if you fill yourself with a bit of calorie-free hydration.

– Use a salad plate for your main course. Many studies show that we tend to mindlessly clear our plates. We’ll finish whatever is put in front of us. So set yourself up for success by simply using a smaller plate! Even if you finish everything on it, you’ll eat nearly half of what you would have with a normal sized plate.

– Strategize your eating. Choose a few things on the menu that you love, and stick to eating those items. Don’t feel compelled to take a serving of everything that’s offered. I’m not sure why we all feel the need to cook four types of stuffing! One is enough!

– When you finish eating, take your plate to the kitchen and wash it. Looking at your empty plate in front of you tempts you to add second, third, and fourth servings! If you have no plate and fork, you can’t mindlessly pick at food.

Physical acts are also important. If you can, leave the table and help clean up! Go for a post-meal walk around the block. Any change of activity can distract you from over-eating.

However, most importantly, enjoy!! Everything in moderation… including moderation!! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, everyone!

Hello Loyal Soup People! This week I’d like to discuss food waste. It seems that this huge problem is finally getting some “buzz.” I’ve heard reports on the radio, read articles, and seen news bites about it. People are finally starting to pay attention to how much food we throw away every single day. I don’t want to shock you with all the depressing statistics. Just know that there is more than enough food in this country to feed everyone. No one needs to be hungry in our society. While the problem seems vast, the good news is that we can make small changes at home to reduce waste. When we start conserving more, we buy less, the stores throw away less, and we start to chip away at the problem. Here are a few tips to help you reduce waste in your home:

– Get friendly with your freezer! There are very few items that you cannot freeze. Some items freeze better than others (i.e. soup freezes REALLY well!). However, most things can be frozen when fresh and then thawed a few weeks later for a last minute meal. Plus, when pondering what to make for dinner, before calling in for delivery, check your freezer! A healthy meal might be ready in minutes!

– Keep track of perishables in your refrigerator. You’re more likely to eat highly perishable items if they are stored at eye level instead of hidden on the bottom shelf. Some people go so far as to have a list on the refrigerator door to let them know what they should be eating first.

– Have fun with your leftovers. If you don’t want to eat the same meal a few nights in a row, turn your leftovers into something new! Take a veggie stir-fry and put it in tacos! Toss beans into a new salad!

– Plan your meals. If you have the time, plan your meals for the week, and buy only what you need to cook for those nights. Cook a little extra and plan for a night or two of leftovers.

Not only do these tips help you reduce waste, but also, they help to train you to cook healthier and lighter! Everyone wins!

squash_pilgrimHow is it November already? It was 80 degrees last Friday and 50 on Sunday… but the calendar says Thanksgiving is just a few short weeks away. We’re here to remind you that you can indeed pick up lots of holiday fixings at Soupergirl. Of course we’ll have our Maple Syrup Roasted Butternut Squash soup on our online delivery menu the week of the holiday. We’ll also have a number of other pumpkin-themed soups and salads at the shops. We’ll deliver delicious holiday soups to various stores around town as well. But what we’re really most excited about is that we have an excuse to post a picture of a butternut squash dressed as a pilgrim. We look forward to November all year long. If we posted this picture in July, it certainly wouldn’t be seasonal, now would it??