The 'Puree of Asparagus Soup with Tarragon' Diet
Why Soup??? The science... I love soups… Filling... Comforting... Psychologically Satisfying. Here's why soups cause weight loss: Classic studies have found that as long as the volume of a food is high - even though the volume is created by just water or air and adding zero calories, people can feel full with fewer calories. In one study, researchers varied the water content in three different first courses to see how it would affect peoples’ intake at the main course. The study subjects were fed either 1) chicken rice casserole, 2) chicken rice casserole served with a glass of water, or 3) chicken rice soup – basically the casserole with water/broth added. The researchers found the subjects who ate the soup consumed 26 percent less, about 100 calories fewer, at the main course, compared to the other conditions.
Researchers surmise that a large food volume caused by water, even without added calories, helps us feel more satisfied for several reasons. It causes stomach stretching and slows stomach emptying, stimulating the nerves and hormones that signal feelings of fullness. Also, visually seeing a large volume of food can increase your ability to feel satisfied by it, even though the calories are relatively low. Finally, the larger a meal and the longer a meal goes on, studies show, your satisfaction declines and you lose interest in completing it. Water is the component in food which has the largest influence on how much you eat. This study, and many others like it, find eating a high-water-content, low-calorie first course, such as soup, enhances satisfaction and reduces overall calorie intake.
Bottom Line: Lose 20 pounds: Start lunch or dinner with a bowl of broth-based vegetable soup OR turn main courses into soups by adding water or broth. Save 200 calories a day! Do this every day and lose twenty pounds in one year... Wasn't that SIMPLE? And oh.... so painless!
Katherine's Puree of Asparagus Soup with TarragonThis sublime, pale green soup may be served warm or cold.
Serves 8 to 10
Ingredients:2 pounds Asparagus, cleaned, tough ends removed, cut into 1.5 inch pieces1 Tablespoon Canola Oil1 Leak, cleaned and sliced, white and light green parts only1 medium Onion, chopped1 clove of Garlic, mashedPinch of Salt and Freshly Ground PepperVegetable Broth (see recipe) or Chicken Broth2 Medium Potatoes, diced1 Bay LeafA few sprigs of Fresh Thyme and Parsley1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon JuiceGarnish: 1 Small Bunch Fresh Tarragon, chopped
Vegetable Broth:Use the cleaned tough ends and scraps of the asparagus and leek. Add 1 onion, 1 garlic clove (or more), and 2 quarts of water. Other vegetables you happen to have could also be thrown in, such as a carrot and/or a celery stalk. Let simmer about 30 minutes and strain.
Soup Preparation:Clean the asparagus, break off tough ends. If you wish, peel the stalks for a more tender vegetable. Slice the asparagus stalks into approximately 1.5 inch pieces.
Heat oil in heavy-bottomed pan. Add the leak, onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, the potatoes, and herbs and simmer about 30 minutes. Add half of the asparagus and simmer another ten minutes. Remove the herbs.
Using an immersible hand blender (ie, Cuisinart’s Smart Stick), puree the soup, add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, steam or broil the remaining asparagus for 5 minutes, until barely tender. Strain and cover in ice water to stop the cooking process and prevent limp, over-done asparagus.
Serve the soup, garnishing each bowl with the sliced asparagus and a pinch of chopped fresh tarragon.
Asparagus is packed with nutrients. Low in calories, it’s an excellent source of folic acid, Vitamin C, Thiamin, and Vitamin B6. Asparagus, like other fruits and vegetables, is sodium-free, and contains no fat or cholesterol. It is an important source of potassium and many nutrients for boosting your immune system, preventing heart disease, lowering blood pressure and even preventing cancer. Asparagus has the highest levels of Glutathione, a potent cancer fighter , according to the National Cancer Institute. Asparagus is also high in Rutin, valuable in strengthening the blood vessels.
Puree of Asparagus Soup with Tarragon is adapted from “The Vegetarian Feast” by Martha Rose Shulman, a cookbook I highly recommend.