They say marriage is hard, but fortunately for Trevor and me we have not found this to be true (yet – we’re still newlyweds without kids). In fact, there’s not much we don’t agree on, although this could be because he is so easy going and I usually get my way (which I believe to be the key to a happy marriage, ladies). However one place where we disagree entirely is on the subject of tomatoes, more specifically the act of eating them raw. While he is in the “raw tomatoes are gross camp”, I am firmly planted in the “you’re effing crazy, raw tomatoes are delicious” camp (aka. the right camp – which coincidentally is filled with other wives. Hmmmm….). Fortunately, we both agree that cooked tomatoes are delicious, especially when enjoyed in a hot, steaming bowl of freshly pureed tomato soup. This is why this week I decided to do something nice for my amazing, easy going husband and make him a batch of one of his favourites – my Tomato Fennel Soup.
I get asked a lot to post more soup recipes – so here you go! Don’t say The Natural Blonde doesn’t deliver – and this one’s a doozy. What makes this one so special? Well not only will this soup fill your belly, it will help soothe it, too. As I am learning in my studies pretty much all people’s healing starts with addressing their digestion, which pretty much everyone has a problem with due to our processed food-laden diets, toxic environments and pharmaceutical drug use. When digestion breaks down, all the body’s systems start to go awry – kinda like a game of dominoes that starts in your gut and ends with you feeling like complete crap wondering how the hell you get out of this diseased mess. So in the interest of doing all ya’ll a digestive-aiding solid I am introducing you to my good friend fennel. For those of you who aren’t familiar, fennel is a Mediterranean vegetable with a slightly sweet, licorice flavour that looks kinda like a bulb of celery (with a similar crunchy texture). It’s also a digestive wizard. So take a seat and relax while I explain these five amazing benefits of fennel and what they can do for your digestion:
1. No more pregnancy belly (when you’re not pregnant…)
Unlike some vegetables that cause you to bloat (looking at you, broccoli), fennel does the opposite, helping to relieve gas and bloating quickly by acting as an anti-spasmodic agent in the colon. In fact, historically fennel seeds were used throughout Greek, Egyptian, Chinese, and Indian civilizations to relieve flatulence and other gastrointestinal woes.
2. Reduces Cramping
Fennel seeds and fennel bulb are excellent for reducing cramping in the stomach. They help relax the smooth muscles of the digestive system, which stimulates bile flow (the liquid that helps break down your food) and reduces pain associated with digestion.
3. Vitamin C and Anti-inflammatory Properties
Fennel contains a large amount of Vitamin C, which helps keep your bowels regular, treats inflammation, and also enhances your immune system (just in time for cold and flu season!). Vitamin C can also help you absorb iron better, which occurs during the digestive process.
4. IBS Relief
One of the biggest benefits of fennel for digestion is the volatile oils it contains. These oils help relieve gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea, which is one reason fennel is so highly recommended for those with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome.) Fennel’s main volatile oil is known as anethole, which is known as an effective preventer of cancer.
Which leads me to…..
5. Colon Cancer Prevention
Fennel has been found to remove carcinogens from the digestive tract, which can help prevent colon cancer. Because fennel helps to enhance regularity and is a good source of fiber, it can also reduce cholesterol, another co-existing factor in those with colon cancer.
So there you have it – I think we can all agree that fennel is pretty darn awesome. As for you raw tomato haters I guess we can agree to disagree. Even though you’re wrong.
The Natural Blonde
P.s. Not that I EVER break wind (insert best Victorian female giggle) but chewing fennel seeds post meal can also help with this embarrassing little problem.
Tomato Fennel Soup
- 1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large bulb fennel, diced
- 2 cans diced tomatoes (preferably organic and no salt added)
- 3-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (preferably organic and no salt added)
- ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp. dried basil
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
In a large stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add in the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Next, add in the garlic and sauté for another minute. Add in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil before reducing heat to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 35 minutes. When ready, remove the soup from heat and puree with an immersion blender (or allow to cool slightly and puree in batches in a standing blender) until fairly smooth. Transfer to bowls, garnish with a little fresh basil if desired and enjoy!
Can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.