Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lentil Soup for the Soul

I have read that pregnancy cravings can reflect a nutritional deficiency in the mother: a craving for steak means mom needs protein and iron, while a sudden desire for strawberries can signal a lack of Vitamin C. If such reasoning is true (and I am not convinced that it necessarily is), apparently my body is short on sleep and sugar.

You may have noticed my lack of posting lately, which is thanks to the early pregnancy fatigue that leaves me struggling to stay awake during my usual evening blogging time. Even with a daily nap, I find myself too tired to type a coherent blog post. And while fruit and meats have gained little appeal to me, I have been consuming gingerale and chocolate chip cookies in never before seen quantities. Normally, I bake with honey rather than sugar, and avoid any products with high fructose corn syrup, but lately those very items seem to be the only ones that will settle my pregnant stomach.

Since I am slightly nauseous and growing a baby, I feel comfortable giving in to the sugar cravings - in moderation. I am realizing, though, how quickly giving in to desires becomes habit, and habits become expectations. This can happen with a cookie (or two, or three) to quell queasiness, or with a destructive and sinful habit (such as, say, self-centered thoughts that revolve around one's own physical comfort). Yet the reverse can also be true: good deeds become habits, which in turn become expectations. I have a habit of daily Bible reading, so reading two chapters every morning has become my expectation.

Even with good habits in place, though, I have been convicted that I am craving cookies more than I am craving God's Word. I am ashamed to think that I set temporal pleasures - even those as innocent as snacks - above the desire to know my Savior. Shouldn't my greatest longing, the one that consumes my thoughts, be to know and love the Lord my God? Why does my mind desperately seek ways to comfort my flesh instead of ways to nourish my soul? The Lord Jesus said, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled (Matthew 5:6). If I allow Him to fill me with righteousness, maybe I can stop thinking about myself for long enough to experience a truly satisfied hunger.

As far as my eating habits, thankfully I have managed to sneak a few nutrients into my sugar-laced pregnancy diet, even beyond the whole wheat flour I used to make cookies. While browsing through my recipes this week, I found some ideas for lentil soup, and the vision of a hot bowl of soup on a chilly fall day inspired me to break out the bag of legumes I had nearly given up on. My prior experiments with lentil recipes have sometimes been edible, but never anything the other members of my family would touch. This time, though, I managed to concoct a meatless soup that actually tasted good enough to share the recipe.

Lentil Soup
  • 16 oz. Kitchen Basics chicken stock
  • 16 oz. water
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 cup long grain brown rice
  • 1 chopped onion (I used frozen)
  • 1 cup chopped baby carrots
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. sea salt

Combine ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, and then simmer until carrots and rice are tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. In my soup, the lentils broke down to become a protein-rich broth, leaving me with a tasty chicken and rice soup, with some carrots thrown in for variety. Yum!

And it wasn't just Mumma and baby number three who enjoyed the soup; my picky boys - including Donny, who refuses any normal meal that could be classified as dinner - ate their entire servings too. Even my picky husband managed to choke down a few bowls without complaint. A nutritious, inexpensive, and easy meal the whole family will eat? I think this is a first - and definitely a meal to make again!

Well, I'd like to write more, but it is 9:00pm and I am just about ready for bed. First, though, I need to update my grocery list: we need flour, raw sugar, and red lentils. And I need to spend some time with my Bible, too. In spite of my drooping eyelids, I'm hungering for a few more morsels of God's precious Word.

1 comment:

  1. I hear you! I'm 12 weeks into my 5th pregnancy and have had the most absurd cravings. And they're not just cravings. With crazy morning sickness there have been few things that will settle my stomach (and I learned the hard way not to eat something just for its nutritional value -- I throw up immediately afterwards). Sugar has been settling, as well as tough white bread and greasy foods!

    So far, I have had aversions to multi-grain bread (which prior to being pregnant found its way to my plate everyday for lunch in the form of a sandwich) and salads (which were my favorite way to each veggies). Also, in my last pregnancy I absolutely could not drink water, or anything that wasn't carbonated, it was only soda for me, which wasn't a normal drink of mine. This pregnancy thankfully it's been ice water. I will never understand the quirks of pregnancy!