Eat this Soup if: You Are Active
If you’re exercising on a regular basis, you need protein in your diet to repair and rebuild muscle that is continually being broken down after each workout. Red Lentils are an excellent source of vegan protein, containing 18 grams per cup, or approximately 20% of your daily protein requirement.
One serving contains most of the essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein) that you’re body requires from food, but does not quite provide them all. This is why it is important to pair red lentils, and all legumes for that matter, with other protein sources, such as whole grains or dairy products, to make it “complete”.
Serving this soup with a piece of good quality whole grain toast such as ‘Silver Hills’ sprouted bread (or ‘Organic Works’ gluten-free bread) would provide all essential amino acids. Oh and it would be one tasty spoon replacement!
Sprinkling a tablespoon of hulled hemp seeds on your soup as a garnish will also provide a hit of protein and some good quality fat.
“Madras” curry powder is a fairly hot, yet flavourful blend of spices. Two of the major health enhancing ingredients in this mix, chili powder and turmeric, are touted for their anti-inflammatory characteristics.
Although exercise is super important to overall health and wellness, it can cause inflammation in our body resulting in soreness and pain, especially in the knee, hip, elbow, and wrist joints. Chili peppers contain the active ingredient ‘capsaicin’, which helps to inhibit the inflammatory process.
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties come from the active ingredient ‘Curcumin’, which interferes with multiple steps in the inflammation process, stopping it in its tracks. Although short-term inflammation is beneficial, chronic (or long-term) inflammation can be problematic, especially for athletes who are regularly putting stress on their body.
Oh and one more thing! Not only will a few grinds of black pepper enhance the flavour of this soup, but it will also enhance the absorption of curcumin and make it more effective, so throw some pepper on there. BAM!
Red lentils and sweet potatoes are both fairly low glycemic carbohydrate foods, meaning that they slowly release energy (in the form of glucose) into our blood stream, making it an excellent source of sustained fuel for our bodies. Ideally, eat this soup a few hours before your workout, so at lunch if you exercise in the evening, or for dinner if you get your sweat on in the morning!
Alex Comrie, B.Comm, Registered Holistic Nutritionist (R.H.N.)
Nutritional Consulting www.realhealthworks.ca
Holistic Catering www.sassandalex.com