I’ve been making soups all winter and now I continue as Spring has sprung because I found it makes me feel good – really good in fact – and happy. Is this why my mother likes to cook so much? Maybe, although she never told me these additional benefits beyond the wonderful taste of her creations and sharing your favorite foods with loved ones.

So now I find myself cooking soups not only for their consumption but for my spiritual health. For me, spiritual health is body, mind, spirit and social wellness that I try to practice daily.  And interestingly enough – making soup balances these spiritual health practices in a meditative way.

I enjoy the physical aspects of soup-making such as the grocery shopping the healthy aspects of consuming a good vegetarian meal that warms up my body and the aroma in my home makes me smile. My mind enjoys developing my shopping list. I take in the grocery store and instead of rushing through I take notice of my fellow shoppers, grocery staff and the wonderful shapes and colors of the vegetables.

The cleaning, chopping and simmering of the soups trains my mind be in the “now.” I recently added music in the background as I cook and put on classical music and it really added to all my senses in the kitchen (and I’m not a big classical music fan!) and makes my spirit happy. Sharing my soup creation with my husband and friends rounds out the spiritual health balance.

For those that say they don’t like to cook, believe me, this recipe below is pretty easy…so no pressure! Try this out if you are feeling out-of-sorts, lonely, overwhelmed, in a standstill on decisions, stressed, bored, etc.

Below is my favorite go-to soup. Easy to make, healthy and satisfying. I happen to concentrate on vegetarian soups since I’m trying to slowly go 100% vegetarian (not there yet but almost – more on that in another blog).

I make my soups salt-free and have been experimenting with various spices (turmeric, curries, and some old standbys). This vegetarian soup with green lentils recipe listed below cooks in about 1 1/2 hours (90 mins). Try my recipe below and send me your thoughts. Oh – and send in your favorite soup recipes and how they make you feel in the comments section!

Vegetarian Spiritual Health Soup Recipe:

Planning: Spend some quiet time deciding what kind of soup you want to make, develop your own soup or grab an interesting recipe. Oh, don’t forget your reading glasses when you go to the store (that’s really a reminder for me!).
Shopping:  Take your time driving to the store. Really take in that this is part of the creative process. Have your shopping list in hand and take your time finding your vegetables. Enjoy the colors and say hello or smile to your fellow grocery shoppers and shopping staff (hey, the staff should be our friends!), if you want to throw in a different vegetable not on your list then do it.  Continue on to your beans, spices, etc. Read the ingredients. Try to buy organic if you can afford it – but it’s understandable if you can’t afford it financially. Enjoy the process. Take your time.
Kitchen Prep:  Find your bowls, knives, pots, cutting board and spice ingredients. Lay them out in an orderly fashion. Don’t forget to grab some clean towels.
Music:  I’ve played all different types of music when I’ve cooked soup the past few months – lately classical music (Bach) really has been enjoyable – give it a try!
Ingredients (chop the veggies):
– 1 Onion (I like yellow)
– 1 Leek
– 6 Carrots (2 cups)
– 1 Bunch of Celery (about 6 stalks)
– Broccoli (1 or 2 cup)
– Cauliflower  (1 or 2 cups)
– 3 small Yellow Potatoes
– 1 Turnip (optional)
– 2 small yellow or green squashes
– 1 cup of green beans
– 1 small bag of frozen Peas (optional)
– 1 cup of Green Lentils or Quinoa
Spices: Experiment with spices that you like – I add a 2 tablespoons each of: Turmeric, Yellow Curry, Mrs. Dash
Cooking Instructions:  Add 7 pints of water to all of these chopped veggies, lentils and spices in a large pot (but use your judgement on the amount of water as you look in your pot if you need more water). Cook at a medium heat for 30min then simmer on low for an hour. I generally simmer on low for another 30min but have a taste and see what you like! Don’t forget to put your timer on. I don’t add additional soup stock since this recipe makes the stock!
Clean Up:  I practice the clean-as-you-go method. Be in the now as you clean and put away your cooking utensils. The soup should be simmering now and giving a lovely aroma.
Eat & Share:  Enjoy your soup over the next few days with a family member or share your soup creation if you live alone (or call a friend to discuss making your soup or throw a soup party).

Wishing you Light on your Path,