Friday, September 28, 2012

Asian Onion and Lentil Soup with Seaweed and Shitake Mushrooms

     You are what you eat and you eat what you are.  For whatever reason we have gotten away from eating foods that are alive.  The more foods you eat that are alive the more you will be alive.  Easier said than done right.  It is easier said than done because in our busy society everyone just picks up a burger, a bag of chips, a pastry, sandwich, taco, whatever and away you go.  You fill up for gas and want a bite of something.  There ain't no apple, carrot, fresh smoothie lying there on the counter waiting for you to pick it up.  Hell no.  But you got your chips, ice cream, candy bar, coke and microwave burrito just sitting there looking pretty.  So you grab it and away you go.  And that is why America is so unhealthy.  Over 50% of Americans will have heart disease or cancer.  And I believe the reason for this is the American diet.
     Something the majority of people do not even consider about health is the pH factor.  Your body wants to be slightly more alkaline than neutral. Your body is always working to get rid of acidic waste.  Some foods actually contain acids or alkalis (soluble salts) and other foods create acidity or alkalinity in the body when combined with juices and digestive acids.  A diet rich in alkali-forming foods is a key to ongoing good health.  These foods help with detoxification of the body.
     A huge problem right now in the USA is that more and more women are being diagnosed with osteoporosis.  The doctors give them a calcium supplement and tell them to eat more dairy products.  The problem being that dairy is acid forming and the body tries to correct this by pulling salts from the bones in an attempt to alkalinize blood that has become chronically acid.  The bones start to dissolve because the blood is already acidic and then dairy, an acid-forming food is prescribed as a treatment.  And then for the calcium to be absorbed in the bones the body must have sufficient amounts of vitamin D but a test for vitamin D is usually not ordered.  The doctors need to find the source of the problem then fix it.  So for this case it would be to test for an acidity and the first response should be a life building procedure not a life threatening treatment.
     But hey I am just a cook who reads a lot, an awful lot.  And just about everything I tell you I get from the internet or from books.  So when you do become sick, read, read, read until you find your cause and your cure.  So when you visit your health care professional you have knowledge about your own illness.  And then you can decide if their cure coincides with yours.
     One of the best ways to eliminate illness is by eating healthy.  And this delicious Warm Asian Onion and Lentil Soup I made yesterday will pump your body full of minerals and vitamins to make it just that much harder for illness to occur.  This soup is a great autumn dish that will warm your body through and through.

Why it's good for you!
Onions  They contain chemicl compounds believed to have anti-inflammatory, anticholesterol, anticancer and antioxidant properties, such as quercetin. 
Lentils  They are high in protein. If mixed with rice becomes a complete protein.  They contain vitamin B1, iron and dietary fiber.  They have enzymes as well.
Kombu  It contains dietary fiber and a good source of iodine.  Iodine is an important mineral for the thyroid gland to function properly.
Wakame  Is a high source of calcium, iodine, thiamine, niacin and Omega-3 fatty acid.  It also has a compound called fucoxanthin which helps burn fatty tissue.
Shitake Mushrooms  Contain dietary fiber, protein, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, D and iron.

Asian Onion and Lentil Soup with Seaweed and Shitake Mushrooms
by Jeff Harter
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 2 hours
Keywords: appetizer soup/stew gluten-free low-carb sugar-free vegan vegetarian kombu wakame onions shitake

From our garden we have tons of onions that need attention. The onions are the real star of this dish. You slowly cook them for about 45 minutes until they are just starting to turn brown.
Ingredients (serves 8)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large onions, peeled, halved, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 8 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 nora pepper, cut in half(dried smoked pepper of any kind)
  • a bit of dried spicy pepper (how hot do you want it)
  • 8 dried shitake mushrooms
  • 1 piece kombu
  • 1/4 cup wakame
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp miso
  • 1 tsp sesame seed oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Place a large sauce pan over medium heat add olive oil and heat for 2 minutes while slicing the onions. When oil is hot add the onions and cook over medium heat for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes when just starting to brown. Then add tomato paste and cook another 5 minutes stirring frequently. Then add vegi stock or water, lentils, bay leaf, nora (dried pepper), spicy pepper if using and bring to a boil and let simmer for about 1 hour or until lentils are soft. When lentils are soft then add the rest of the ingredients and stir well then let stand for 1/2 hour. Take out shitake mushrooms and slice and throw back in. Take out kombu and do the same thing or omit. Reheat slightly and serve. Can be served with freshly sliced green onions.

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