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Add ‘dash’ to your New Year’s diet pledge



With the New Year come new promises to eat better, lose weight, exercise and improve our health and well-being. The gluttony of the holidays combined with our good intentions for a new year have us redoing our grocery lists, our pantries and our diets. Some people are disciplined enough to eat modest amounts of whole foods. Others, however, appreciate more guidance, and that is when a structured meal plan can be of great value.

The DASH Diet (which stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension”) was developed through research funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health as a way to lower blood pressure and reduce the use of medications. Studies dating back to its start in 1993 show that it’s an effective way to lose weight and reduce the risk of many diseases.

My recipe for The Kitchen Diva’s Detox Soup is a nutritionpacked bowlful of goodness that’s based on a DASH diet recipe. This soup has a high amount of potassium, iron and calcium, and is wonderful for cleansing your digestive system and flushing out toxins to kick start a healthier new year. It contains plant-based proteins, antioxidants and healthy fats, and best of all, you can eat it several times throughout the day, if desired.

Soaking the chia seeds in water
makes them easier to digest, and
their nutrients are better absorbed
and assimilated in your body as
they “sweep” through your intestinal system to eliminate the
buildup of waste.

1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive
oil or coconut oil
1/2 medium onion, peeled
and diced
2 tablespoons poultry season

1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 cloves of garlic,
3 cups broccoli (fresh or
frozen and thawed)
1/ 4 pound spinach
leaves (fresh or frozen and
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 carrots, trimmed and
2 ribs of celery, trimmed,
1 handful fresh flat leaf
parsley, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lemon or
lime juice or organic apple
cider vinegar
Spiced Roasted Chickpeas for topping, optional,
see recipe below

1. Pour the water into a
jar with a tight-fitting lid or a
drinking glass. Add the chia
seeds and shake the jar or
stir the seeds with a spoon
around in the glass for about
5 minutes. Set the seeds
aside to soak and proceed
with the recipe.
2. Using a large pot, add
the oil and heat over medium high heat. Add the
onions, poultry seasoning,
cumin and cayenne pepper
to the stockpot and stir to
combine. Cook the onions
for 1 to 2 minutes, and add
the garlic, broccoli, spinach,

bell pepper, carrots and
celery. Cook for 3 minutes,
stirring occasionally.
3. Stir in the chia seeds
and water, and turn the
heat to high. Bring the soup
to a boil and then turn the
heat down to a simmer,
stirring occasionally, for
8 to 12 minutes, until the
vegetables are soft. Stir in
the parsley and the lemon,
lime or apple cider vinegar.
4. To puree the soup,
remove the lid completely
from the blender. Start the
blender on low with nothing
in it. Slowly add the soup,
one ladleful at a time to the
uncovered, running blender
on the lowest setting, until
the blender jar is half full
and that batch of the soup
is smooth.
5. Pour the pureed soup
into a large bowl and repeat
the pureeing steps until
all of the soup is a smooth
consistency. Pour the soup
back into the pot to re-heat,
if needed. Top with Spice
Roasted Chickpeas, if desired.

Chickpeas are high in
protein and seasoning, and
roasting them adds a spicy,
crunchy texture for this
soup or as snack.

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Spanish
smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Rinse and drain the
chickpeas, and dry by rolling them around in a kitchen towel. Combine the paprika, cumin, cayenne and
salt in a large bowl. Add
chickpeas and the oil; toss
or stir to coat evenly.
3. Transfer chickpeas to
a parchment-lined baking
sheet and spread them out
in a single layer. Bake 15
minutes, and then shake
the tray so chickpeas will
bake evenly.
4. Continue to bake
chickpeas for another 10 to
12 minutes or until crunchy.
Sprinkle some of the chickpeas on each bowl of soup.
Allow any remaining chickpeas to cool on the pan and
transfer them to a resealable
plastic bag.
Angela Shelf Medearis
is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of
seven cookbooks. Her new
cookbook is “The Kitchen
Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.”

©2017 King Features Synd.
and Angela Shelf Medearis

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