"Life is actually really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." ~ Confucius
We live in a society of abundance where most people have enough to eat (sometimes even too much), can afford to buy new clothes, and live an a cozy apartment with a soft bed and a TV. Nevertheless, a big chunk of the population is unhappy or even depressed. How can it be? We have what others can only dream of and we're still not happy!
Many of us browse through our closet in the morning, choosing among 5 different jeans and 10 blouses and we end up being late because it took too long to choose the perfect set. It gives us anxiety.
We skip through a 5-page take out menu and can't decide between a chicken dish or a shrimp one, Chinese food or pizza, chocolate cake or ice cream. It can easily take 30 minutes to decide what would nourish us best. A long menu also gives us anxiety.
Every day we face many choices that were create by the society of abundance. We have a choice in most things that we do. These choices, whether you realize it or not, are a luxury. Most people in the world don't face a hard choice between Chinese, Indian, or Italian cuisine for dinner. They don't have to waste precious time going through 10 different outfits or eyeshadow.
It might sound surprising, but over-abundance of choice is one of the reasons our stress levels are so high. It's too much self-inflicted decision-making.
Having something to choose from is amazing and we should all be grateful for it, but on a busy, stressful day it is helpful to find simplicity. Simplifying one's life can go a long way to reducing anxiety caused by too much choice.
There are several benefits to simplifying things:
- it reduces anxiety created by too much choice
- it creates a sense of contentment
- it will free up a lot of your time and energy
- it can help to save money- and, surprisingly, it can even help to lose weight if your body needs it
One of the easiest ways to simplify life is to simplify the menu. On days when your calendar is packed and you are more likely than usual to be stressed, choose to simplify your menu to reduce anxiety level. As adults one of the area where we have the most choice in and the most control of is food. 3-5 times a day we are facing a choice of what to put in our body. A favorite quick-to-make, easy-to-digest staple meal can go a long way to create a more peaceful life.
You might be browsing in your head through all the possible dishes that could be turned into a family anxiety-reducing staple food and have trouble finding one... Slow down. Let’s do it together! :)
Ancient cultures and countries still following old cultural traditions have a lesson to teach us about staple foods.
In most countries soup is a staple food - a food that is being served on most days of the week and supplements the largest chunk of nutrition. In India, Sambar and different varieties of Dhals rule the kitchen. In Russia everyone loves Borscht. Thai and Vietnamese kitchens boast of yummy coconut stews and soups. Japanese seem to live on miso soup and its varieties. And Koreans enjoy congee regularly. What is it about a warm, liquid-based meal that ancient cultures know and that sandwich-eating Americans are missing? There are a few things that make soup an ideal staple meal that can boost your diet with vegetables and minerals while reducing “what to eat fast and healthy?” anxiety:
- Soups provide easily available nutrition - soups are easier to digest than most other forms of food. Liquid food limits strain to your digestive system. Your body absorbs liquids easily and they don't over-stimulate the digestive tract.
- Soups stimulate elimination - warm food increases blood circulation to your abdominal organs and helps to stimulate elimination. Most vegetarian soups, especially if bean or lentil based, will provide a lot of fiber that many of us are lacking.
- Soups are easy and quick to make - what’s easier than just throwing everything in one pot and letting it simmer? Soaking beans, grains, and lentils overnight will speed up the process even more!
- Soups will let your digestive system recuperate -- liquid-based meals let digestive systems rest, help to eliminate toxins, and help to clear heavy food-induced mental fog. The reduction of stress or strain on the digestive system can often alleviate nausea, constipation and diarrhea in people dealing with digestive conditions.
I bet if you ever paid attention to your body after having a warm vegetarian soup, you noticed that your body gets a boost of energy, your tummy feels warm and happy, and if you eat it often enough there are no issues with irregular elimination (sorry for the language but it is crucial for a healthy being).
Soup is one of my favorite things to cook and to eat. It's easy to make a power food with soups by using all kinds of seasonal vegetables and spices. It will never get boring if you use your creativity and try new ingredients. Soups also last for a few days in the fridge and will provide a wholesome meal when you are short on time.
If you need to reduce your anxiety levels, and along the way would like to improve you health, having a vegetarian, fiber-rich soup 5 times a week is an easy way to do it. Make it part of your family's weekly routine and you will notice the benefits very soon. Besides not having to think about what to make for dinner and what to pack for lunch, you will notice that extra pounds (and cholesterol) will start to melt off.
Bean or lentil soups are the best choices. Whether you make a vegetable chili or a hearty lentil soup, you will get a necessary dose of protein and fiber, along with iron, while keeping fat levels in check.
- Soak beans and lentils to cut down the cooking time.
- Some beans can cause bloating and stomach discomfort if not soaked. Use spices such as asafoetida (hing), ginger, turmeric, onions, and garlic to improve the digestibility.
- If you're not used to eating beans, start with small servings and increase the servings gradually as your system gets better at digesting them.
Here are some recipes to get you started:
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