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Have you ever experienced cold hands and feet, frequent urination, poor circulation, edema (swelling/inflammation), or joint pain? Maybe you have a congested nose, or don’t feel like you’re digesting food as well as you should be? I’ve had times where it just feels like my meals are sitting there.

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In Traditional Chinese Medicine, these symptoms are related to “cold” invading the body. Life is all about balance. We must make sure we are equally “yin” and “yang,” and we must take special care to preserve our yang (body heat) when the weather outside is frightful (fall/winter). No wonder soups and stews are seasonal!

Lucky for us, spring is right around the corner. However, depending on where you’re reading this (hi from New York!), the nights can still get a little chilly. This soup is absolutely perfecting for warming your stomach and banishing any cold/stiff symptoms on those crisp evenings.

Benefits

I’ll start with ginger, my favorite herb in all of history. Ginger (especially ginger tea first thing in the morning) is known to:

  • warm the stomach
  • remove cold from the body
  • reduce joint pain and arthritis
  • strengthen immunity
  • help regulate the menstrual cycle
  • help reduce PMS
  • improve circulation
  • help eradicate parasites and candida from the intestines

Ginger actually has broad-spectrum antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-parasitic action. There are 40 pharmacological actions associated with this incredible root. Research shows ginger is as effective as ibuprofen in relieving pain from menstrual cramps in women. Additional research shows promising anti-tumor activity that may be helpful in the treatment of lung, ovarian, colon, breast, skin, and pancreatic cancer.

What About The Sweet Potato?

Oh yes, the incredible edible sweet potato! I love the comfort I get from this warm root vegetable. Its orange color corresponds with our sacral chakra, which is right around our kidneys. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the kidneys represent the reproductive system. Not surprisingly, that’s exactly what the sweet potato is good at healing. Cooked orange foods such as sweet potato, ginger, and carrot will counteract a light flow and fatigue/listlessness during menstruation.

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Sweet potatoes can also promote skin health. Vitamin A, which is naturally anti-inflammatory, can help to lessen acne-causing bacteria and skin inflammation. Sweet potato extract is even reported to help reduce inflammation in brain tissue, as well as nerve tissue throughout your entire body.

Okay I’ve Heard Enough, Give Me The Soup Recipe!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds peeled raw sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large onion, cut into large dice
1 tablespoon organic grass-fed ghee (sub coconut oil to make this completely vegan)
1 pinch coconut sugar
3 large garlic cloves, thickly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups organic vegetable broth
1 can coconut milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Garnish: chopped roasted peanuts
Directions:
1. Heat your olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep pan until it starts to simmer.
2. Add the sweet potato chunks along with the onion. Saute them together in the oil for about 8 minutes until everything is a nice golden brown color.
3. Reduce your heat to low and add ghee or coconut oil, coconut sugar and garlic. Keep the heat going until all vegetables are a rich caramel color and the flavors meld (this should take 10 more minutes).
4. Add your ginger, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Continue to saute a minute longer.
5. Add in the broth as you increase your heat to medium high. Once you get it to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and partially cover the pan until the sweet potatoes are tender (another 10 minutes).
6. Using a blender, puree all ingredients until very smooth. (Vent it either by removing the lid’s pop-out center or by lifting one edge of the lid).
7. Return to pan (or even a soup pot if your pan isn’t big enough to handle more liquid). Add enough coconut milk so that your final product is souplike, but also thick and creamy enough to float peanut garnish. Taste and adjust salt/pepper if needed. Heat again until it’s perfect for serving and garnish with some roasted peanuts. ENJOY!

 

Sources

This recipe is slightly adapted with healthy subsitutes from food.com

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/can-ginger-beat-out-multi-billion-dollar-acid-blockers

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19216660

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17066513

http://vibrantwellnessjournal.com/2013/02/11/balance-the-reproductive-cycle-naturally-with-traditional-chinese-medicine/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/18/fall-foods-healthy-hair-skin_n_4118588.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21861722


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