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Raising the bar on nutrition with immune-boosting soup

Sweet potato and coconut immune-boosting soup!

Well, I was all set on my two girls and two girls only, until the adorable Freddie Jones came round for a visit. He’s a dream baby; full of smiles, lots of chat and cute enough to shake my resolve. I mean, how hard can three be? Ha ha! This new development has thrown the LH into a mild panic. He has reminded me that I am not very good at sleep deprivation. He also brought up that my first words after delivering our youngest were not “isn’t she beautiful?” (she was), but rather, emphatically, “I am NEVER doing that again”. To be fair, having decided upon pain relief the moment the test turned positive, and having been denied an epidural on the day because the anaesthetist was “tied up”, I was in shock.

Nevertheless, whatever that process is that makes us all crazy enough to do it again, it’s been at work. And it was working pretty well right up until last night. But last night Belle came crashing into our bed after a bad dream and I opted for the path of least resistance and let her stay. If she had just nuzzled in and drifted off, all would have been well. However, wide awake, she performed a series of bed gymnastics for half an hour. Just as I was drifting off, she punched me in the face (accidentally, I hope). At some point, Chloe was woken by the kafuffle. By 7am we were four-in-a-bed, the kids stretched out like starfish, with us, clinging onto the sides.

That’s all it took…. just one night of poor sleep to remind me that although I love my kids immeasurably, I am not sure we need to do it again. At school this morning I met a few other exhausted parents… this time knocked down by the flu bug. It seems as if this particular gem has roared through every house in Bermuda, leaving a sea of worn out parents and kids in its wake. The problem with this type of exhaustion is that it leaves us with very little energy to cook or prepare healthy food. And yet it’s nutrient-rich meals and snacks that will build us up.

As hard as it is, try and go for nutritional gold when you get sick. It might be tempting to eat chips and sip sodas, but try swapping those out for something better fresh fruit and coconut water or a smoothie. If you can’t face cooking a full meal, then try something simple like this recipe for immune-boosting soup. It’s packed with vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and anti-inflammatory ingredients like ginger, garlic and turmeric. As it’s mild, it’s good for the whole family but you can always add some chili to give it a bit of a kick. I skipped the stock and just used water and it was still delicious. Keep the skins on the veggies as you get more nutrients that way just give them a good scrub first.

Sweet potato and coconut soup–Serves 4


1 tbs coconut oil

1 small red onion, roughly chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 carrots, washed (not peeled) and chopped

1 large sweet potato (orange), washed (not peeled) and chopped

1 heaped tsp freshly grated root ginger

¼ tsp turmeric

Water or low-sodium, organic chicken/vegetable stock

½ red pepper, washed, deseeded and diced

½ c coconut milk (cooking variety) well mixed

A little white pepper and salt


1. Melt the coconut oil over a medium heat and gentle sauté the onions and garlic til they soften (don’t brown them).

2. Add the carrot, sweet potato, ginger, turmeric and salt (a little!) and pepper. Stir, then cover and let the veg “sweat” for a few minutes.

3. Pour over water or stock and bring to the boil. Then simmer gently til all the veg are very soft (about 20 mins but up to 45.)

4. Add the red pepper and coconut milk, stir through and turn off the heat. When the soup has cooled enough, blend until smooth. If too thick, just water down a little.

The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns BA Hons, Dip ION is the managing director of Natural Ltd and a fully qualified nutritional therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. Please note that she is not a registered dietitian. For details, visit www.natural.bm or call 236-7511. Join Catherine on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nutrifitandnaturalnutritionbermuda

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Published January 25, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated January 25, 2013 at 2:52 am)

Raising the bar on nutrition with immune-boosting soup

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