Lack of sleep, personal and professional stress, juggling entirely too many responsibilities on a pauper’s salary which only led to more financial stress. Ah, the spoils of working in academia. I don’t regret all that I learned and experienced during my college and graduate school training, but I hope I never have to go back to living such a stressful lifestyle.
Now that I have a 9-to-5 job and a more balanced personal life, I make a concerted effort to do all those “old people” things my high school health teacher once lectured me about. I try to get at least eight hours of sleep a night, exercise in some fashion every day (even if it’s just a walk), lower my stress levels, and eat well. Sounds boring, but it actually works. For the last two years, I’ve managed to ward off other people’s germs by helping my immune system stay as strong as possible.
While rest and lower stress are the two biggest lifestyle changes I’ve made, avoiding foods and beverages that tax the immune system has transformed how I cook and how I feel throughout the day. I can’t always follow an anti-inflammatory diet, but I try my best to limit the kinds of foods that make me feel less than stellar.
Fortunately, Andrew Weil’s True Food: Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure cookbook shows readers and cooks that following an anti-inflammatory diet is not only good for you; it can also be delicious. For anyone dealing with an auto-immune disorder, I can’t recommend this book enough.
Below you’ll find an autumnal soup recipe that’s filled with flavor and also happens to be vegan and gluten-free. The secret to the soup’s creamy texture comes from homemade cashew milk. I didn’t even daydream about heavy cream while I was slurping down a bowl of this soup. And don’t worry. Cashew milk is a lot less labor intensive than milking a cow. I’ve included his recipe below the soup recipe. If you’d like to try another great recipe from this cookbook, click here.
Butternut Squash-Apple Soup (True Food cookbook recipe)
Makes 12 cups or 6 servings
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 12 cups)
4 or 5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into wedges (about 5 cups)
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, mashed
2 tsp expeller-pressed canola oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3 cups cashew milk (recipe follows soup recipe below)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. Put the squash, apples, onions, and garlic in a large bowl and toss with the oil, salt, and cayenne. Arrange mixture in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and roast until tender and lightly browned, about 45 minutes.
3. Allow the ingredients to cool for 20 minutes, then transfer to a standing blender (or use an immersion blender). Hold the lid down firmly with a clean, folded, towel over it. Start on low speed and blend until smooth. Add up to 1 1/4 cups room temperature water, 1/4 cup at a time, until the soup has the desired consistency.
4. Return soup to the pot, whisk in the Cashew Milk, reheat if needed, and adjust the seasoning. Ladle into bowls and serve hot.
Cashew Milk (True Food cookbook recipe)
Makes 3 cups
- 1 cup cashews, whole or in pieces
1. Grind the cashews to a fine powder in a blender or food processor, stopping and stirring occasionally to ensure uniform grinding. This may take anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes. Stop before the nuts turn into a paste.
2. Add 2 cups room temperature water, blend on medium speed for 30 seconds, and then stop and stir up any nuts that stick to the sides of the container. Blend on high speed for 2 minutes. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Shake well before using.