Healthy Horizons: Savoring Nourishing Meals with Hearty Vegetable and Lentil Soup

by Donelle Gregston

Healthy Horizons - Health & Wellness Lifestyle Mindful Eating is a regular column feature in The Marlow Review.

Sometimes we find ourselves caught in the habit of rushing through meals, barely tasting the food we eat. Mindless eating can lead to overindulgence and a disconnect from the true pleasure of nourishing our bodies. One way to combat this is by practicing mindful eating, a simple yet transformative approach that encourages us to savor each bite, engage with our senses, and appreciate the nourishment our meals provide.

Mindful eating is not just about what we eat but also how we eat it. When we eat mindfully, we are fully present in the moment, allowing us to enjoy our food more and make healthier choices. It can be especially helpful in cultivating a deeper connection to the recipes we create in our own kitchens, better yet when we are using herbs and vegetables from our own garden.

The journey to mindful eating begins with paying attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues. A question to consider is whether or not we are eating because we are hungry or is it a response to emotional triggers.

Before taking a bite, maybe pause for a moment and do a self-check-in, this can help you make conscious choices about what and how much you eat. During mindful eating the best way to connect is by engaging the senses.

Taking in the vibrant colors, enticing aromas, and appealing textures of the dish. From the first bite, notice the flavors dancing on your taste buds. Is it savory, slightly sweet, or perhaps a bit tangy? Savor each bite slowly, appreciating the intricate combination of ingredients. While taking the time to enjoy your food you are allowing it to nourish not only your body but also your mind. Reflect on the ingredients' origins, the effort that went into preparing the meal, and the love and care you put into selecting nutritious foods. In doing so, you'll find a deeper connection to the food you consume. Mindful eating helps us become more aware and find a deeper gratitude for the foods we choose to eat.

This week’s recipe is Hearty Vegetable & Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

● 1 cup dried green or brown lentils, rinsed and drained

● 2 tablespoons olive oil

● 1 onion, diced

● 2 carrots, diced

● 2 celery stalks, diced

● 3 cloves garlic, minced

● 1 teaspoon ground cumin

● 1 teaspoon ground coriander

● 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

● 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

● 6 cups vegetable broth

● 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes

● 2 bay leaves

● Salt and pepper to taste

● 2 cups chopped kale or spinach

● Juice of 1 lemon

● Fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté for about 5 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.

Stir in the minced garlic, ground cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika, and dried thyme. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until the spices become fragrant.

Add the rinsed lentils, vegetable broth, diced tomatoes (with their juices), and bay leaves to the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir everything together.

Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the lentils and vegetables are tender.

Remove and discard the bay leaves. Stir in the chopped kale or spinach and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until the greens are wilted.

Finish the soup by adding the lemon juice for a fresh, citrusy kick. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Serve the Hearty Vegetable and Lentil Soup hot, garnished with fresh parsley or cilantro if desired.

Enjoy your mindful meal, savoring each spoonful of this delicious and nutritious soup!

Donelle Gregston is the founder of Sunkissed Studios and can be reached by email: donelleyogi@gmail.com



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