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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Why Chicken Soup is So Good for You

There's no doubt that certain foods are more emotionally charged than others. The tastes, smells, textures bring back memories and conjure up feelings specific to when you had that dish for the first time. Even though "cozy" is not a spice in the cupboard, certain meals definitely have an extra dash of coziness in them. 
Mama's chicken soup. 
As I finished off a big bowl for lunch, I thought, "What is it that makes this soup so darn amazing??" 
Sure, the nutritionist in me thinks of all the nutrient dense vegetables and healing properties of the bone broth. Mom even throws in whole knobs of ginseng for an added stress-busting boost.
But, there's something more to this magical soup that just makes me feel oh-so-wonderful. 
Putting my nutritionist hat aside, I begin to realize why "Mom's chicken soup" is always the go-to comfort food for so many people. Yes, we can discuss the benefits of the added fluids, sodium, vitamins, protein, blah blah blah, but I think it would be doing the great soups of moms everywhere a great disservice if we overlook the most healing ingredient of them all: LOVE
::Roll eyes, scoff, "yeah, yeah, yeah"::
Ok, maybe this is a bit on the crunchy-holistic side, but hear me out!
When the weather is cold and rainy or if I'm just not quite feeling physically up to par, chicken soup off the supermarket shelf just won't do the trick. Something about the processed, uniform bits floating in a tin can doesn't make me feel like eating it will make me feel any better. 
But, sit me down in front of a steamy serving of the day-long, homemade, rustic stuff and relief is only a spoonful away! 
The difference, here, is knowing Mom had been in the kitchen chopping the vegetables, trimming the chicken, layering the flavors and tending to the pot. The amount of detail that goes in to even the simplest of soups is bolstered by the sentiment that time was put in to peeling every carrot, slicing each celery stalk and tasting every step of the way to ensure it comes out just-so. That is the love I was referring to. That is the love that completes every bowl. 
Yes, it is important to eat whole foods that are nutrient dense, take a multivitamin, etc and so on, but there are more things that feed us other than food, itself. The magical ability for Mom's Chicken Soup to lift my spirits and give me a hug from the inside is proof that food is not the only place we seek nourishment. 
Happy eating!

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