Jun 4, 2012

BED: Moroccan Fava Bean and Vegetable Soup

Two and a half years ago, not long after the vegetarian and I started dating, I came down with mononucleosis. Being over 21, and therefore past the age at which people normally contract this disease, I was hit particularly hard and all-but confined to bed-rest for the next eight months. What a way to start a relationship!

Once I was allowed to resume my normal life, I did so with my usual gusto. Much to my chagrin, however, I found that my energy stores were much lower than they'd ever been before. Not to mention the fact that my immune system was now totally shot. So I experimented with different things -- vitamins, vegetarianism, a higher protein diet -- and, while there were glimpses of more energy, nothing worked long-term.

About a month ago, I was killing some time in Barnes & Noble and happened upon a book that promised to "rebuild my immunity": the Body Ecology Diet book. A skeptic, I nevertheless began reading the introduction and, much to my shock, I felt as though Donna Gates was describing my very symptoms. So I've put myself on the Body Ecology Diet, at least as well as it can fit into my hectic life.

The basic tenets of the diet are no sugars (including most fruits, some vegetables, no dried beans, no dairy and no gluten) and 80% of your plate should be non-starchy vegetables. Obviously some days (and meals) this is easier to follow than others. And living with a vegetarian who prefers grains and beans to vegetables has made cooking and meal-planning a challenge.

The good news, however, is that, frustrating as this has been, I've felt more consistently stronger and happier in the past three weeks than in the past two years. So, at least for now, this is the way to go. And don't worry -- our monthly cooking adventures will still be my monthly permission to myself to venture off. But for now, enjoy this soup with a Lemon-Chive Potato Salad and bon appetit!

Moroccan Fava Bean and Vegetable Soup

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot until it glides like water. Add leeks, onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Add radishes, potatoes, fava beans, water, 1 teaspoon salt and parsley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes.

Puree using an immersion blender. Add 1/4 teaspoon pepper, turmeric and cilantro and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring, 30 minutes. Add remaining salt and pepper. Serve warm, garnished with cilantro and remaining olive oil. Enjoy!

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