I LOVE this soup. It is easy to make, it is a great mix of sweet and savory flavours and it works for breakfast with eggs or as a stand alone at lunch or dinner. I use it on my plate as a garnish at breakfast in which to dip my eggs and avocado. At lunch and dinner I eat it as a meal - either with some brown rice or quinoa boiled up and stirred in, or with a salad on the side to round out the meal with additional colors of vegetables for a wider nutritional profile. Bubs and I usually make it together - he sits at my side while I chop up carrots and red peppers and throw pieces down to him to sample. Once it is cooked and ready to eat, he always receives a little bowl as a snack alongside my big bowl and then we store the leftovers for remaining meals, snacks and garnishes throughout the week.
The two main vegetable ingredients in this soup are known for their high, health-boosting carotene content and their fantastic reputation with regard to eye and cardiovascular health. As a result, I always announce to Bubba that I am making Night Vision Soup when we are in the kitchen chopping away at our vegetables in preparation. He just nods with encouragement and waits for me to hand him down a piece of carrot for his trouble. I’m only guessing here but I imagine that if you tell kids that you have made ‘See in the Dark Soup’ for dinner, it might be motivation for them to eat as much of it as they possibly can get down their throats.
Where do I begin with the amazing, nutrient rich ingredients of the vegetables in this soup? Let's start with the gorgeous carrot.
So delicious, incredibly nutritious and super easy for a quick snack. They are a staple in our diets and a regular ‘go to’ as a hummus delivery system, a side-dish at dinner and a fun food to share with my furry friend as he seems to love them as much as I do. A recent 10 year study completed in the Netherlands concluded that vegetables and fruits with orange/yellow shades of colour are protective against cardiovascular disease. Best of all, carrots and their incredible shade of orange were found to be the most protective against cardiovascular disease within the orange/yellow group of vegetables. Those in the study who ate at least 25 grams of carrots daily (less than 1 carrot) reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease, AND those who ate 50-75 grams of carrot daily (about 1 carrot) had an even greater reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Furthermore, research done with regard to the antioxidant benefits of carotenoids and other phytonutrients found in carrots, has shown that ingesting carrots on a regular basis might help prohibit the growth of colon cancer cells, an incredible potential benefit for all of us.
The old wives tale about eating carrots and seeing in the dark may also have some truths to it. A few small studies have been completed on the benefits of carrots and eye health. A study at UCLA determined that women who ate carrots at least twice a week, in contrast to women who ate carrots less than once a week, had lower rates of glaucoma. Additionally, another phytonutrient found in carrot seeds has been associated with a reduced risk of cataracts in animals.
The other colorful ingredient in this soup, red pepper is also an incredible powerhouse food full of nutrients and flavour. It is another favourite in our family - four-legged and two-legged - and again, we love it because it tastes delicious but also due to its amazing nutrient-rich properties. A member of the nightshade family, which also includes vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant, bell peppers and in particular red bell peppers are an extremely good source of vitamin C, vitamin E and contain a wide variety of carotenoids. Carotenoids like beta-carotene and zeaxanthin have been singled out for their anti-inflammatory properties. Zeaxanthin in particular has been studied for its help in supporting eye health and as a macular degeneration preventative. Zeaxanthin is found naturally in high concentrations in the macula of the eye and is believed to be a protectant against age-related macular degeneration.
For those of us who are not wild or cannot digest sulfur containing foods like onions and garlic but would like to ingest some of the health supportive benefits of the allium family, bell peppers are a good source of the sulfur compounds found in this group of foods. These sulfur containing compounds are currently being studied for their ability to lessen inflammation in the body and the way that bell peppers metabolise the sulfur-containing amino acid cysteine is quite unique and may be part of the reason why scientists believe bell peppers have some cancer preventative properties, particularly when it comes to gastric, digestive and esophageal cancers.
AVOCADO & PUMPKIN SEEDS
I usually finish off this meal with a bit of garnish in the form of mineral rich toasted pumpkin seeds which may be prostate friendly and diabetic supportive. They are also dog friendly.
I ALWAYS finish the soup with avocado, full of ‘healthy fat’ which has been shown to increase the absorption of nutrients, in particular carotenoids (what a coincidence!) into the body. The avocado works with the nutrients in the soup to make them even more available for your body to absorb their amazing benefits.
Any of the liquids listed in the ingredients for this soup will work great from a flavour standpoint. If you choose to use bone broth or vegetable broth as the liquid base for this soup, it will also add an additional nutritive boost to the quality of this dish.
This soup is pure nutritional gold...for all of us. It is low in fat, high in flavour as well as nutrients and has 8 natural, wholesome ingredients. It is simple to source, simple & quick to make and is clean eating at its best. It gives me great pleasure to know that the soup I am making is healthy for me, but I also love that when I give Bubs - a dog of advancing age - some soup for snack or drizzled over his meals, I may be helping his eyes to stay in good health for a longer period of time AND keeping that huge, loving heart of his beating strong.