Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chicken and Rice Soup

It's been a long time since I've eaten anything from a can or a box or a package. I think once you have been fully weaned off of the preservatives and additives and artificial junk, there is just no going back if you can help it! Real food just tastes SO much better.

This chicken soup I am about to share with you is one of those "real foods" that my doctor told me about. Yes, my doctor. One of my doctors works with hormones and nutrition, and part of the money we spent on her was for me to learn how to cook. No, she didn't teach me how to cook; she motivated me to cook. She explained the effects that foods, and what I now call "pseudo-foods" have on my body (based on my blood tests and general nutritional science). Then she gave me simple ideas and rules to get me started.

One of the rules was "real, whole foods" -- nothing prepackaged. I also needed to stabilize my blood sugar levels by eating protein in small quantities throughout the day, so one of the ideas was to cook and freeze large quantities of meat. "Cook a whole turkey, a whole chicken, or a roast. Freeze portions of it," she said. "You can thaw the meat later and use it in another meal. And freeze other meals that you cook, too."

This might sound too simple to you, but for someone like me who thought big hunks of meat were only cooked for holiday meals, it was revolutionary. It took health problems and a doctor to get me to do this simple thing -- cook real food -- because it just wasn't my habit.

Now that I am literally making everything I eat, I simply feel better. I wouldn't do it any other way. It is worth the time and I have learned ways to save time by cooking what I eat.

I want to be clear that my diet has not been the answer to migraines or any other life problems. For many people, diets are a be-all-end-all miracle. Not for me. God has not chosen to use a special diet to save me from worldly perils... at least not yet. But on the days without migraines, I have energy, and I can think more clearly, and I feel better in general. That unexplained low fever I had for over a year? It's gone. I don't know how much of that was diet-related or not -- I just know that I'm not putting all that junk in anymore, and through all this I have learned a better way to take care of myself and my family.

So, if you are so inspired, take an afternoon to cook up this simple soup. For my small family I am able to freeze two-thirds and get three total meals out of it. And of course there is nothing so delicious as homemade chicken soup.

4 chicken leg quarters
2 onions, chopped
6 celery ribs, chopped
2 tsp dried thyme
1 c brown rice, uncooked
4 carrots, sliced thin
6 tsp salt

In a 12-quart stock pot, place chicken, onions, celery, and thyme.
Cover with water to the 6-quart level.
Simmer, covered, for one hour (1.5 hours if chicken was frozen).

Spoon out solids and allow to cool. 

Add rice and carrots to the pot, and cook 45 minutes more, covered. 

When chicken is cool, remove meat from the bone, chop, and add it to the pot. 

Stir in salt...

...and serve.

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