Happy 2017, dear friends! Whew… What a long blog break that was. I spent the most beautiful time with my family and friends and I feel refreshed and excited to welcome the New Year! I wasn’t sure about doing a detox post this year simply because it seemed so predictable and, well, everyone is doing it? I suppose that after the holidays everyone is dying for a quick fix that will help shed that holiday weight gain (it’s enough to see the jam-packed gyms in January!) and give them an excuse to abstain from drinking alcohol for a week or two. However, detoxifying the body is a serious undertaking and not something to rush into, especially if your diet has been… ahem… far from “perfect” lately. Going to extremes is not the answer. Dieting, fasting, or giving up food entirely, is an inappropriate path to take although it might seem so attractive.
Since we are in the colder months of the year here, it is important to keep warm when the winter is not, therefore our bodies need nutritious food to make this happen. I feel that this might be good news to some of you, since that water fast or buckwheat diet you were planning can now be put off. Forever. So instead of bringing you a very strict detox plan, I will encourage you to add few things to your daily regimen and make few little changes that will last far beyond January. Also, to keep your belly warm and to help you press that reset button, I am bringing you this delicious green pea soup thats both healthy and super tasty! In fact, it’s like eating a crazy-delicious hug and there’s no such thing as too many hugs in life, right? RIGHT! This minty zucchini and green pea soup is a lovely combination of flavors and is so creamy (without any cream!) that I can’t get enough.
The drizzle of Herb Hemp Sauce that is mixed at the end is worth the added step. Being a tahini everything girl, I haven’t considered much outside the sesame-based dressings, just until I saw some leftover hemp seeds sitting in the fridge! Hulled hemp seeds (also known as hemp hearts) are the nutritional powerhouses containing all 9 essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein, which our bodies cannot make) plus “good” fats that are wonderful for your skin, hair and nails, ladies! Making this dressing is a total breeze, you will see. It takes no time and while you will likely end up with extra sauce it’s great drizzled on salads, roasted vegetables, macro bowls, breakfast omelette, etc. Verdict – you will be happy to have some on hand all week long!
New Year is always a great time to make positive changes in your life. If you are looking for ways to get back in touch with naturally healthy eating, I recommend you to take small steps everyday and be gentle with yourself to make these life changes stick not one, two, or three weeks, but a lifetime. Whether you follow vegan or omnivorous diet, ideally the core of your nutrition should be focused on real whole foods, including a ton of fruit and vegetables. The health of the diet still comes down to the health of the diet, not the diet you are on. Limiting processed foods, sugar, tobacco, alcohol, caffeine intake is a really good place to start. You will certainly notice the difference and then maybe even feel inspired to continue making these positive changes throughout the year. If there is one thing that I want you to start doing, is drinking water first thing in the morning as you can easily become dehydrated overnight. My personal favourite is to drink lemon water, which simply is water that has been boiled then cooled down to comfortable drinking temperature, with about 1/4 lemon squeezed in (plain water is awesome, too!). Although there is no scientific evidence that it’s any better than a glass of plain tap water, it is believed that lemon-water flushes the kidneys and alkalises the whole body. True or not, but hydration by all means is important and lemon makes it really tasty! If you are looking for the ways to change your life, so this is it and it’s THAT simple – especially if you can squeeze it in before your morning coffee or tea! Small changes bring big results.
Along many things that you can do to support and enhance the natural cleansing processes of your body, there is dry skin brushing, which I’ve talked a lot about here on Healthy Happened. Dry skin brushing improves the surface circulation on the skin and keeps the pores of the skin open, encouraging your body’s discharge of metabolic wastes. It also helps to remove a bunch of dead skin cells, which allows the body to breathe just a little bit more easily and likely to result in a fresher appearance and healthier skin. Just do it really gently so that you don’t break the skin or cause irritation. Please see the full article I wrote about that here. Remember, January is really a time of rest and renewal, so it’s ok to give your body a break. Epsom salt baths is one of my personal favourites to do. You can read more about it here. Be gentle with yourself, but don’t forget to move your body! Physical exercise is essential for balance and overall health, because it creates conditions to breathe deeply, sweat and circulate the blood and lymph. While high-impact exercise is recommended at least 2-3 times a week, you can also enjoy other forms of lower-intensity exercises such as yoga, stretching or brisk walking. Any form of exercise counts!
MINTY ZUCCHINI AND GREEN PEA SOUP WITH HERB HEMP SAUCE
Serves: makes 4-6 servings (depending on how hungry you are!)
Knob of coconut oil (or ghee)
1 large yellow onion (200-250g), finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
A couple pinches of sea salt
3 cups (700-800ml) vegetable broth (depending on how fluid you like it)
3 cups (450g) shelled peas (frozen is fine)
3 medium zucchinis, about 500g
1 cup (10g) mint leaves
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to your taste)
Fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
Chilli flakes for sprinkling
Cold-pressed olive oil
Herb Hemp Sauce
Herb Hemp Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 cup (60g) hemp seeds, hulled
1 clove of garlic or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt, to taste (I used about 1/4 teaspoon)
1/2-1 teaspoon basil, dried
1/2-1 teaspoon oregano, dried
2 tablespoons (1/2 lemon) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup (125ml) filtered water
- For the Herb Hemp Sauce, blend all of the listed ingredients together. Add the water last. You may need more or less depending on the desired consistency. The dressing will appear thin at first, but it thickens up after being chilled in the fridge. Adjust salt to taste. This makes enough to serve 6-8, but feel free to double or triple it to use throughout the week. Store any leftover in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- For the soup, roughly chop onions and mince garlic.
- In a large soup pot heat a knob of coconut oil over medium heat.
- When melted, add onions and a couple pinches of salt, stir to coat and let cook until onions have softened, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add garlic, stir, cook 1-3 minute.
- Add chopped zucchinis, shelled green peas and 3 cups hot vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook until the zucchini is tender, about 12-15 minutes. Turn of the heat. Add lemon juice, cayenne and mint leaves and fold in to wilt leaves.
- In the meantime, toast the pine nuts. Begin by measuring out 1/4 cup. Place a dry, un-oiled skillet on the stove and set to medium-low heat. Place the nuts in a pan and shake the pan every minute or so to toast the sides evenly and avoid burning. It will take around 4-6 minutes to toast. You will know when they are done because they will be very fragrant and slightly browned. Set the nuts aside to cool completely once toasted.
- When the mint has wilted, transfer the soup contents in a blender. Blend on high until smooth (add extra vegetable broth if desired).
- Taste for seasoning, if needed add more salt and pepper.
- Transfer the pea soup to a larger cooking pot over medium heat to warm, if necessary.
- Serve with toasted pine nuts, a drizzle of herb tahini sauce and cold-pressed olive oil and some fresh mint leaves if desired.
- Store cooled leftovers in the fridge. Keeps for 3-4 days.
Notes: Feel free to switch up the vegetables if you like. Instead of peas or zucchinis you can opt for broccoli. Spinach or kale would be great additions, so consider this as well! If you would like your pumpkin soup thinner, then use more vegetable stock, maybe try 4-5 cups.
If you make this, let me see! Tag photos you post of my recipes with #healthyhappened on Instagram.
I hope you enjoy this nourishing soup as much as we do! Cheers to a New Year and lot’s of healthy (tasty) food!