As many of you know if you’ve been hanging around here a while, I have an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. While it’s not immediately life threatening or even that debilitating (for me personally – it can be for some), it still affects me on a daily basis. I often get fatigued in the middle of the day, I lose clumps of hair when I brush my hair sometimes, I have a hard time exercising because my body just can’t rally sometimes, I get frequent headaches, and so on.
Since I was diagnosed, the severity of my symptoms has ebbed and flowed depending on what’s going on with my medication, how well I’m taking care of myself, and any stressors in my life. Whenever I start to see more hair on my hairbrush and notice the achy head and foggy brain returning, I know it’s time to start making some changes to my diet and lifestyle (and/or medication dosage) in order to get myself back on track. Now is one of those times…
My husband has been deployed for the last 9 months and is due to return sometime real soon. And while this is obviously really exciting news and I’m thrilled to see him, this also comes with a lot of stress and anxiety. Anything new and different, no matter how good, is always anxiety inducing, right? And as weird as it sounds, being with my husband again is going to be new and different. So between traveling a lot recently and all the emotions surrounding my husband’s return, my thyroid is way out of whack.
Because of this, I know that I need to take extra good care of myself. This means getting extra sleep, practicing meditation, and eating the most nourishing, anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense foods out there! And that’s why I was so excited when the new book, The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook by Mickey Trescott and Angie Alt, couldn’t have shown up on my doorstep at a better time! This book is a DIY guide to help you live vibrantly, even with a chronic illness. It covers everything from how to be a proactive patient and partner with a doctor who can help you manage your disease to how to nourish your mind, body and soul with the right kind of food, rest and movement. I’m most excited about the 90 day lifestyle plan because it’s a lot easier for me to adjust the way I eat than it is for me to incorporate better sleep, stress management, and exercise habits.
Also included in this book is 30 delicious, autoimmune protocol compliant recipes. And I get to share one of them with you today! While it may not look, or maybe even sound, like the most appetizing thing in the world (at least that was my first thought), I promise you this soup does not disappoint. It is seriously SO flavorful! And it’s really easy to make too since everything comes together in one large pot. Hooray for less dirty dishes! Mine came out more brown than green because I used an immersion blender to blend the soup rather than a regular blender. A normal blender tends to get things a little smoother and more well blended than an immersion blender, but since it’s a soup and it’s going to taste the same regardless, I went with the ease of the immersion blender.
- 1 large, whole pastured chicken (5-6 pounds)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbs sea salt + additional, to taste
- 2 Tbs solid cooking fat
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ⅓ cup peeled and minced fresh ginger (3-4 inch piece)
- 2 large sweet potatoes, chopped into 1½ inch chunks (about 6 cups)
- 2 large zucchini, chopped into 1½ inch chunks (about 2 cups)
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems and leaves divided and chopped
- 2 cups button mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch green onions (ends removed), thinly sliced, for serving
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
- Begin by cleaning the chicken (rinse it under cold water and remove loose bits of fat and other tissue). Place it in a large stockpot.
- Add the bay leaf, vinegar, and 1 Tbs sea salt. Fill the pot with cold water until the chicken is just covered. Bring to a boil, and then cover tightly and lower the heat to a bare simmer. Cook until the meat is tender and falling off the bone, 60 to 90 minutes. Skim the surface of the broth to remove any scum that may appear during cooking.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool. Pour the broth through a fine-mesh strainer, being careful to save the broth in another pot! Discard the bay leaf.
- Place the empty pot back on the stove, add the solid cooking fat, and turn the heat to medium. When the fat has melted and the pan is hot, add the onions and cook, stirring, for 7 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for another few minutes, until fragrant.
- While the onions are cooking, remove the meat from the chicken carcass, shred it with two forks, and set it aside in a bowl.
- Add the sweet potatoes and broth back to the pot, bring to a boil, and then cover and turn down to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the zucchini, chard stems, and mushrooms, and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Turn off the heat and stir in the chard leaves.
- Carefully transfer half of the soup to a blender, blend for 30 seconds, and transfer back to the pot. Alternately, you could use an immersion blender to blend about half of the vegetables.
- Return the blended liquid to the soup pot, with the chicken. Add salt to taste.
- Serve each bowl garnished with green onions and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
If you have an autoimmune condition, or just would like to take better care of your body, I definitely recommend you pick up The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook. Or at least make this soup! Your body will thank you!