Spring Soupalad

by Maria Theresa Maggi on May 17, 2013

brown rice, broccoli, zucchini, carrot, white beans, veggie broth, poultry seasoning

Of all the wonderful plant-based doctors we can learn from on the internet and in books, I confess that Dr. Fuhrman’s work is the one I am least familiar with. An incurable bookworm, for some mysterious reason I have yet to even read Eat to Live. However, I do believe that sometimes such lapses are filled by the simple grace of stumbling onto a distllation of what ends up being most relevant. So even though I haven’t read a lot of Dr. ย Fuhrman’s words, this simple paragraph on his site, which can be read by members and non-members alike, has made a significant difference in managing my fibromyalgia. On his site, Dr. Fuhrman How to live, for life, he writes about fibromyalgia that:

“I have been utilizing a high antioxidant, acrlyamide-free diet for many years with marked success. Acrylamides are toxic substances produced by baking and frying carbohydrates. The diet-style I recommend for fibromylagia patients is rich in natural plant foods especially organic berries and green vegetables and restricted in animal products and baked grains. Vegetable soups and steamed vegetables are encouraged. Fibromyalgia patients routinely get well, and they get well quickly.”

Perhaps the most controversial part of these recommendations is the caution about acrlymides. ย But his caution about their health effects made sense to me because I had begun to notice a sensitivity to toasted grains like rice cakes and breakfast cereals, and anything that was grilled to the point of having deep dark blackish creases on it. So I decided to do one of my “science experiments” and see if I felt better by avoiding puffed and toasted grains, even gluten free ones. I did.

Whether this is an issue or not for you personally, there is plenty of elegantly simple and sound advice in the rest of the paragraph. The injunction to eat berries and dark leafy greens, to mix color metaphors, is “gold.” And then there’s this sentence: “Vegetable soups and steam vegetables are encouraged.” I love the passive voice so classicly characteristic of “doctor talk.” At first read it sounds pretty darn bland and boring. But then I tried it. There is a world, a WORLD of brightly colored vegetables and starches that get even brighter when you steam them or warm them in broth. They ย beckon like a green lawn or a rose in spring after rain. The steaming saturates colors and heightens essential flavors. And another plus is the after effects are pain free, in terms of both connective tissue sensitivity and digestive tenderness. In fact, I even feel stronger when these kinds of dishes are the mainstay of meals.

I have to admit my Spring Soupalad was born from a spur of the moment decision. It was one of those days when the sun felt warm enough for me to throw off my sweater and kick off my shoes. Then it would duck behind a cloud, and I’d shiver and put everything back on again. Just as suddenly, warm lunch-in-one-bowl seemed like the way to go. Instead of heating the salad in the skillet, I dressed it, heated a small amount of leftover Everything But The Kitchen Sink Broth until it was really hot, and added a big scoop of brown rice to the broth. Then I dumped the rice and broth mixture on top of my salad. The result was a warm, tart, slightly sweet dish of starch and veggies made bright and a bit soft by the hot broth. I was plesantly astonished at how good it was. Good enough to make it again and tell you about it.


Maria (moonwatcher)



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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kate Bruski May 18, 2013 at 8:32 am

I put hot food on top of salad almost every day for dinner. Started doing this when my kids were young and put whatever I’d made my family for dinner on top of a big bed of greens for my serving. It made the greens more palatable, avoided salad dressing, and made the serving good further ๐Ÿ™‚ I love it and have for years.

I’ve always been interested in healthy eating, but Dr. Fuhrman’s book was the first book I read on the subject since Diet for a Small Planet back in the 70’s! He revolutionized my eating and I’m slowly bringing my husband on board. Two of my kids are now vegetarian, also.

Great website – thank you!



2 moonwatcher May 18, 2013 at 8:51 am

Hi Kate, welcome, and thanks for posting! Nice to hear you use the same technique. I have put extra greens in my bowl for years before putting soup or stew on top of them, but I never made a whole salad first and then poured the soup over it until now! So glad you joined me here!


3 Jodi May 18, 2013 at 9:15 am

Hi Maria,
I have recently started following your blog. Love it! I have been disabled with Fibro and all the symptoms that accompany it for many years now. I actually am a big fan of Dr. Fuhrman and his plant based diet but not until recently learned about the acrylamides. It makes sense as with my food sensitivities, I seem to react to baked grains bread and cereals and such. They were my hold out with going plant based. The cleaner I eat , it seems the more I react to these foods. So maybe my answer is to give them up for good. I noticed that my rosacea is triggered by them too. Something I thought was from skincare products. Live and learn. I look forward to learning more about going fat free from you and saving flavor. Nice to meet you!


4 moonwatcher May 18, 2013 at 9:38 am

Welcome, Jodi!! Thanks for your comment! It’s really helped me to steer clear of those things–and it’s helped my rosacea tons not to eat them regularly too. Going plant-based improved it significantly, and avoiding the crispy toasted grains has improved it another notch. All good, and glad to have you aboard!-Maria


5 Nicole O'Shea May 25, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Just a thought, but you can also make steamed bread, adapting recipes as desired. http://www.breadexperience.com/steamed-bread.html


6 moonwatcher May 26, 2013 at 9:11 am

Nicole, I forgot all about this option, which I remember vaguely from my youth and crazy bread baking days. You have unleashed the baking adventurer in me!! Who knows what I will come up with in my slow motion way! Thanks!!xoxo


7 Nicole O'Shea May 26, 2013 at 10:31 am

Ooh, looking forward to hearing about what you come up with!!

8 Michelle May 18, 2013 at 10:42 am

Really, Read It!!! It inspired me three months ago… Since then I’ve gone mostly plant based… Lost more than twenty pounds… Ditched eight meds so far.. Including two for RA.. And I have NO pain… None. After thirty years of daily fibromyalgia/RA/Ankylosing Spondylitis/gastric reflx/hiatal hernia pain… It’s all gone… Read the book ๐Ÿ™‚


9 moonwatcher May 18, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Welcome, Michelle! Yes, will do, it’s on my “to read” list!! Glad things are going so well for you. They are going great for me, too!!


10 Nicole O'Shea May 26, 2013 at 10:32 am

Srsly, Maria. Michelle is right. Read it already, wouldchya?



11 moonwatcher May 26, 2013 at 5:07 pm

I’ve requested it from the library and it is on its way.


12 Deborah May 18, 2013 at 7:04 pm

I read your post and went off and research some more…

20 plus years with fibromyalgia, over 10 months living as a health focused vegan. 30kgs lost and of course I can move better but really the fibro pain hasn’t lessened and have been wondering….
so I need to see what cutting out roasted potato and beetroot and my adored rice cakes will do for me…
another sigh and wry smile


13 moonwatcher May 19, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Hi Deborah, thanks for the great comment. I really got where you’re at with this. I don’t have problems with roasted potatoes or beets myself (as long as there’s no oil), but the toasted puff rice cakes and cereals don’t do me any favors. Think of it as an experiment? And know everyone is a bit different. ๐Ÿ™‚ all best to you.


14 Nicole O'Shea May 25, 2013 at 2:16 pm


I do better without baked or toasted grains too. But everything steamed or pressure cooked with water or baked with water is just fine and tasty! Even potatoes, sweet potatoes and beets.

I’ll only eat a rice cake on a holiday, as a treat. ๐Ÿ™‚




15 Nicole O'Shea May 25, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Oops forgot to add, thanks for posting this; it reminded me about the acrylamides. Good stuff to keep in mind, easy to forget over time…




16 moonwatcher May 26, 2013 at 9:12 am

Cool! I thought you might have similar experience. And you’re welcome about the acrylamides. ๐Ÿ™‚ xoxo


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