One of my son’s favorite foods is Campbell’s Healthy Request Italian Style Wedding Soup. I used to keep my pantry stocked with this soup at all times and fed it to him at least twice a week because I thought it was healthy. I have since learned differently, see ingredient breakdown of this soup below (items in red are at-risk of being genetically modified). Thus, I set out to find a gluten-free, canned-free replacement for this soup my son loves so much.
CHICKEN STOCK, MEATBALLS (BEEF, PORK, WATER, BREAD CRUMBS [WHEAT FLOUR, NATURAL CANE SUGAR, YEAST, SEA SALT, CANOLA OIL], SEASONING [SALT, NATURAL FLAVOR, SUGAR, ONION*, SPICE, GARLIC*, BEEF FAT], SALT, SPICE EXTRACT), SPINACH, MACARONI PRODUCT (WHEAT FLOUR, EGG WHITES), CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF: LOWER SODIUM NATURAL SEA SALT, ONIONS*, GARLIC*, MODIFIED CORNSTARCH, FLAVORING, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, CARROT JUICE CONCENTRATE, SALT, CHEDDAR CHEESE (MILK, CULTURES, SALT, ENZYMES), PARMESAN CHEESE (MILK, CULTURES, SALT, ENZYMES), CHICKEN BROTH*, SUGAR, FERMENTED WHEY (MILK), CHICKEN FAT, YEAST EXTRACT, TURMERIC EXTRACT, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), SOY LECITHIN, TOCOPHEROLS, SPIC *DRIED.
Why avoid canned foods?
Most canned foods have a plastic coating inside the can to keep the food fresh inside. The inner plastic lining is Bisphenol or BPA, and it is a harmful poisonous coating that has shown to kill rats in laboratories even at concentrations 1000 times lower than what an average American consumes per meal. BPA is a toxic chemical that causes hormone imbalances and a wide variety of other health issues like hypertension, obesity, aggression, cancer and heart disease. The Environmental Working Group conducted a study and found that more than 50% of cans with brand names have toxic BPA in them. Cook your beans and veggies from scratch if you can!
Here is a great reference for BPA free canned food brands: http://bpafreecannedfood.wordpress.com/bpa-free-canned-food-brands/
Here is a BPA Canned Food Pocket Guide to take with you to the store: http://bpafreecannedfood.wordpress.com/bpa-free-pocket-guide/
Canned foods have around 80% less nutrients than fully ripe fruits and vegetables, and have about 15 times the amount of sodium you are required to eat for the day. This, of course, leads to nutrient deficiencies and heart and blood problems.
Aluminum cans leak (just like aluminum pots and pans). Most people are unaware that when food is packaged in a can, it is then heated up again to supposedly retain freshness. Heating up these aluminum cans actually leaks aluminum free radicals into the food. Over time, too much aluminum in the body can cause memory problems like Alzheimer’s. More than 5000 million pounds of aluminum is used every year for making aluminum cans – they are more light weight, and are a cheaper material to use for big corporations. Most canned foods like soups, vegetables, chicken or beef broth as well as tomato sauces are made out of aluminum because it is cheaper for the company. Even though these cans are lined (with BPA lining), this lining does not completely protect the food from leached aluminum particles during the can heating process.
There are so many preservatives in canned food, and all are referred to as something different. Every few months a new name is established for the same ingredient to come up with names that are more friendly-sounding. To counteract the effect of preservatives rotting the canned food, manufacturers add in copious amounts of salt (sodium).
The quality of food inside canned goods is really not that great. Companies will do anything to save a dollar, and this means packing in the lowest quality foods at all costs.
This recipe comes from The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking by Hayley Mason and Bill Staley. The meatballs were a tad time intensive because I rolled them small, however you can roll them as small or as large as you prefer. My local grocery store sells organic ground pork, which is a bonus if you can find it. This soup was a hit with my son and everyone else who tasted it and the noodles were not missed. You can double the recipe and freeze for later use.
Real Italian Wedding Soup
- 2 pounds ground pork (preferably organic)
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 head escarole
1. Place the ground pork in a large mixing bowl, and season with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano. Mix thoroughly to evenly combine.
2. Roll the ground pork into 1/2-inch meatballs. Set them aside to add to the soup later.
3. In a large soup pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil.
4. Add the chopped carrots and celery.
5. Once the broth has reached a rolling boil, add the meatballs slowly and carefully. Adding too many cold meatballs at once will cool the soup.
6. Allow the meatballs to boil for 10 minutes.
7. Lightly chop the escarole, and add to the soup.
8. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
To receive daily health tips and gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and sugar-free meal/snack ideas, like us at www.facebook.com/wholefoodrealfood.
“When you know better, you do better.”