The last 20 days have been an eye opener. For almost three weeks I have been on a fitness and nutrition program called the 21 Day Fix. You might have heard about it as BeachBody coaches are amazing in leveraging social media to inspire people. After my third FaceBook friend started posting non-stop, I finally reached out. I wanted to know what this was all about. And despite my fear (or hate) of exercising, I started it. I am loving it.
And (drumroll…) so far, I am loving it.
My Healthy Eating Wake-up Call
But it has been a wake-up call. I thought I was eating healthy. And I guess, compared to the average American, I did. I eat no junk food — not even popcorn — almost no processed food, we almost never go out and cook almost everything at home from scratch.
Before starting the program, I was sure, that I was getting enough fruits, vegetables, and protein to nourish my body. Oh, boy! Was I
Oh boy, was I wrong! I wasn’t getting even half the amount of vegetables in my daily diet that I am supposed to. I also learned that I was cheating myself into thinking that by counting carbs such as sweet potatoes, peas, and corn as a veggie!
I am starting to push the limits of my usual go-to foods like asparagus, spinach, mushroom, goat cheese omelet. And I am not the greatest fan of salads, so I needed to find ways better incorporate my new way of eating.
I have learned that one of the keys to success is food prep. I am not as religious as others are on making every Sunday meal prep day, but I am taking every week 1-2 hours to peel, wash, chop and roast vegetables. now that I am almost three weeks in,
Since you do a lot of food prep beforehand (e.g., Meal Prep Sunday), it also needed to be freezable or hold up in the fridge a lot.
Since today was a much colder day, we all felt like a nice warm soup and I decided to go for butternut squash. While it botanically is a fruit (seeds inside), it belongs to the family of winter squashes and counted as a highly nutritious vegetable when it comes to the 21 Day Fix meal planning.
Here are some tips:
- I am trying to buy all my fruits and vegetables organic whenever possible. If that is important to you, check Aldi and Costco. Aldi has organic butternut squash readily available and Costco’s organic carrots are amazing.
- I love pink Himalayan Salt – not only because it tastes better, but it also has tons of good-for-you minerals and elements!
- We make our own stock from older, left-over veggies and freeze them in quart-size bags. Fabio Viviano has an amazing recipe.
- You can add also cayenne pepper, ginger, or paprika if this is not spicy enough.
So without further ado, here is the recipe:
Orange Vegetable & Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
- 1 tbsp. of olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 quart of vegetable stock (low sodium)
- 2 cups of butternut squash
- 2 cups of carrots
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 1 cup of zucchini
- 4 grinds of Pink Himalayan Salt
- 3 grinds of Black Pepper
- ¼ tsp. of coriander
- In a large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil and add finely chopped onions and garlic. When translucent, add a little water. Add vegetable stock and stir. You really want to get the brown stuff off the bottom of the pot - that develops a nice flavor.
- In the meantime, peel the butternut squash and carrots using a vegetable peeler and cut them into small cubes of about the same size. Add to the soup and bring back to boil. Peel the sweet potato, chop and add to the pot. Add more water until everything is nicely covered. Once all vegetables are soft (about 20 minutes), turn off the flame and add the peeled and grated zucchini, salt, pepper, and cardamon. Stir and let sit for another five minutes or so.
- Carefully puree using an immersion blender.
- Serve hot.
This soup goes really well with a slice of toasted sourdough bread and goat cheese!
Based on the 21 Day Fix food containers, 3 cups of this soup contain about:
- 2 Green
- 0.5 Yellow
- 1/2 tsp.