Friday, May 30, 2014

The Power of Asparagus

Spring brings with it a specific vegetable that is great for detoxification! Asparagus (like avocados) contains an important molecule called glutathione which is needed to help the body detoxify and also contributes to a healthy liver. Although glutathione is produced naturally by our body it is when the toxic load becomes too great that can lead to problems. What exactly is glutathione? It is a combination of three simple building blocks of protein - cysteine, glycine and glutamine - and it contains sulfur chemical groups. Sulfur is a sticky molecule that acts like fly paper in the body so that all the bad things, free radicals and toxins such as mercury and other heavy metals, stick to it. Asparagus also contains very good amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid and potassium and is high in fiber.

I don't think it's any coincidence that asparagus, with its wonderful antioxidants and detoxification properties, is a SPRING vegetable. Spring and fall are both great times to think about doing some internal cleansing. I found a great recipe for cream of asparagus soup that I adapted from and wanted to share it with you. It's so easy to make and you can use your bone broth recipe to make it extra healthy. It also fits well into the GAPS diet protocol.

Cream of Asparagus Soup: 

  • 2 pounds green asparagus 
  • 1 large onion 
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons butter 
  • 5 to 6 cups chicken or beef broth 
  • 1/2 cup sour cream 
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste 
  1. Cut tips from 14 asparagus (1 1/2 inches from the top and halve tips lengthwise). Reserve for garnish. 
  2. Cut stalks and all remaining asparagus into 1/2 inch pieces. 
  3. Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy pot over medium heat, stirring until softened. Add garlic and asparagus pieces and salt and pepper to taste, then cook, stirring for 5 minutes. 
  4. Add 5 cups of broth and simmer, covered, until asparagus is very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. 
  5. While soup simmers, cook reserved asparagus tips in boiling water until just tender, about 4 minutes and drain. 
  6. Puree soup in batches in a blender until smooth and return to pan. 
  7. Stir in the sour cream and add more broth to thin soup if needed. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and bring to just under boil. Add lemon juice (lemon juice can replace salt in some recipes) and garnish with asparagus tips. You can also add some freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

p.s. The unusual smell that our urine may acquire after eating asparagus comes from the amino acid, asparagine, which actually acquired its name from this springtime plant. 

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