It’s finally summer, and my life starts to feel like a giant whirlwind again – kids’ activities, work travels, unavoidable dinners out, cookouts.. During times like this I crave simplicity and moderation more than ever. That’s when I turn to my tried and true fermented oat kissel, kefir flax seed and simple buckwheat porridge.
Another favorite remedy during the farmers market season is a nourishing and cleansing vegetable soup, also known as Bieler’s broth. Something about seasonal vegetables, grown right here, that make this soup taste and feel so right!
I would make a double batch of Dr. Bieler’s soup and eat it for 2-3 days. During that time, following Dr. Bieler’s recommendations, I avoid proteins other than raw milk, kefir(my personal staple) and raw eggs, bake only with naturally leavened whole grains, take a break from coffee and tea, and also avoid all salt, spices or sugar. I don’t advocate it as a way of life, but I always feel rejuvenated after a couple of days of such moderation.
Who is Dr. Bieler?
Dr. Henry Bieler is an American physician (1893-1975) who believed that most diseases can be treated with food, rather than medication. From young age, he suffered from severe asthma, and none of the professors during his medical training could do much to help him. Then he came across a physician interested in the topic of human diet habits who suggested Dr. Bieler can completely get rid of his asthma if he changes the way he eats. That diet cure worked, and that’s what ignited Dr. Bieler’s passion to study food as medicine.
He went on to practice medicine for more than 50 years, and gained reputation of a miracle healer. By all accounts, he was a remarkable physician and man, living what he preached. He treated prominent people, like actors and politicians, but also traveled great distances to visit remote farmers who asked him for help after conventional treatment failed them.
Dr. Bieler’s Soup
In his book, ‘Food is your best medicine‘ Dr. Bieler provides his reasoning behind how he diagnoses diseases, and how he determines a course of treatment. He does not prescribe one particular diet because ‘everyone is different’. That’s why we don’t have an actual collection of his recipes. He does however mention this soup on multiple occasions. He believes the combination of lightly cooked zucchini, string beans and parsley is a natural, easily digestible source of minerals and vitamins. It restores natural balance of sodium and potassium within our endocrine system, liver and kidneys.
Dr. Bieler believed that most folks eat excessive amounts of proteins. He said that milk and eggs lose their nutritional value after being pasteurized/cooked, and that meat cooked to temperature above rare becomes hard to digest. According to him, salt is a stimulant providing only a temporary sensation of well-being, and over consumption is detrimental to health. The best way to obtain necessary sodium is from plants (vegetables), not addition of salt. He gave a number of examples of disease-free cultures that do not have access to salt.
Dr. Bieler’s soup – what does it taste like?
As you could tell from the ingredients, this is a medicinal soup first, so you shouldn’t expect a culinary fiesta. That said, I actually love the taste, it’s mild, with sweetness from green beans and pleasant creamy texture. I don’t mind the absence of salt at all! A pat of fresh butter or a splash of homemade coconut milk make it even more satisfying.
HOW TO MAKE DR. BIELER’S SOUP
2 pounds zucchini
1 pound green beans
Handful of parsley
1-2 stalks celery (optional)
My personal addition: a couple of sprigs of dill (optional)
Enough boiling water to cover the vegetables (from tea kettle)
Roughly chop vegetables and place in a pot.
Pour boiling water from a tea kettle into the pot, just to cover the vegetables without submerging.
Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes, or until vegetables soften.
If you like thicker soup, discard some of the cooking liquid.
Transfer the cooked vegetables with liquid into a blender (I can fit the whole batch in my BlendTec).
Blend until smooth. Serve right away.
- 2 pounds zucchini
- 1 pound green beans
- Handful of parsley
- 1-2 stalks celery (optional)
- Enough boiling water to cover the vegetables (from tea kettle)
- Roughly chop vegetables and place in a pot.
- Pour boiling water from a tea kettle into the pot, just to cover the vegetables without submerging.
- Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes, or until vegetables soften.
- If you like thicker soup, discard some of the cooking liquid.
- Transfer the cooked vegetables with liquid into a blender (I can fit the whole batch in my BlendTec).
- Blend until smooth. Serve right away.
Sometimes I add a small head of broccoli, or a big handful of spinach. I think kale also works well in it.