Sunday, June 2, 2013

Ginger-Lime Soup with Scallops, Spinach & Carrots

A splash of fresh lime juice in this gingery seafood soup adds a welcome bright note.
What follows is a recipe for a very delicious Ginger-Lime Soup with Scallops, Spinach & Carrots. While anyone may enjoy it, this soup also has a special target audience in that it is appropriate for people following the GAPS Stage 1 Diet. 

GAPS, which stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, is a grain-free, anti-inflammatory, gut-healing nutritional program developed by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride that I currently am experimenting with to address IBS concerns. The GAPS protocol is also recommended for the treatment other conditions, including Autistic Spectrum Disorder. (Read more about GAPS here on Dr. Natasha's website.)

Stage 1 on GAPS consists of a very plain menu: bone broth (fish or meat stock), and soups made with bone broth, to which one may add well-cooked non-starchy vegetables, and fish or meat.

Fortunately, I love soup. I made this one using a cup of the 8 quarts (!) of homemade bone broth I made yesterday in a clearly productive, all-day endeavor. (You could say I was stocking up, yuck yuck.) Fish, chicken or meat stock made with bones is a major component of all stages of the GAPS diet, but only in the early stages does it completely dominate the menu.

You can learn about the numerous reasons for consuming bone broth (plus recipes) here, but to sum it up, the take-home message is this: Bone broth is abundantly rich in essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, glycosaminoglycans (cartilage building blocks) and collagen components, including gelatin. These elements are necessary for the healing and repair of any protein-based tissue in the body, such as an inflamed or "leaky" gut lining. So to heal the gut, heal inflamed or damaged joints, heal a wound, heal after surgery, etc, bone broth can be an extremely beneficial food.

This is why I have been recommending bone broth to my non-vegetarian clients for more than ten years. But I will admit that having spent the past year as a strict vegetarian (after following a high raw pescatarian diet since 2005), it took a lot of deep, painful self-searching and self-questioning for me to decide to start eating bone broth myself, and to decide to introduce seafood into my diet—not to mention chicken, an animal of whom I am quite fond. (A shout out to Mary Vance, west coast holistic nutritionist, who kindly shared with me her wise thoughts about considering the use of bone broth as a gateway food for recovering vegetarians.) This is my first post since evolving my nutrition in the GAPS direction, and I expect to write more about it in future, as well as to share further discussions on apostate vegetarianism and evolving one's own personal, nutritional diet-lifestyle over time, in accordance with one's needs vs beliefs (not always easy).

For now, let's talk soup. I used plump, sweet, wild-caught scallops in this recipe. Wild scallops are a shellfish species that passes the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch sustainability test but, surprisingly, the consumer awareness group gives farmed scallops an even higher score. Good to remember that although wild-caught is generally the preference for most edible sea species (think salmon), sometimes farmed fish is the better choice.

Ginger-Lime Soup with Scallops, Spinach & Carrots
Serves one.

3 thin slices of ginger, chopped
½ to 1 teaspoon coconut oil or butter
2 smallish carrots, thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
1 cup broth (chicken, fish or, if non-GAPS, vegetable), preferably homemade
1 cup packed, roughly chopped spinach leaves, stems removed
6 scallops, rinsed in cold water
1 scallion, greens only*, minced
juice of 1/2 fresh lime (about a Tablespoon)
pinch of sea salt and black pepper to taste

Heat oil or butter on medium heat and sauté ginger for about a minute, then add carrots, stir, and continue to cook for two or three minutes. Add broth to sauteed ginger carrots, bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for three to five minutes, until carrots are soft. Add scallops, spinach, salt and pepper and simmer for five minutes. Check scallops for doneness and simmer longer if necessary, but be careful not to overcook! (Center should be tender, white and almost flaky, not translucent or rubbery.) Add scallion greens last and cook until soft, another minute or so. Transfer to soup bowl, add fresh lime juice and a finishing sprinkle of black pepper. Stir and enjoy!

*It's fine to use the whole scallion if you can eat onions, in which case separate the white from the green, and add the white into the soup at the same time as you add the scallops and spinach. I'm avoiding onions due to FODMAPS (another story!), so I just used the greens.

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