In an earlier post, I served up my go-to recipe for a chocolate protein shake. I’ve since conjured up another lunchtime offering that favors nutritional value over tastiness… hence the name Astronaut Soup. While it doesn’t delight my sweet tooth, it still satisfies the palate.

Here are the ingredients that I whip up in a blender:

ingredients for a healthy chocolate1 cup bone broth (see earlier post)

.5-1 cup of coconut milk or goat milk kefir
(Note: Kefir is a natural source of probiotics.)

1 scoop of unflavored plant-based protein powder

1 generous fistful of fresh spinach

1-2 carrots

2-3 celery stalks

1 small avocado

A splash or two of apple cider vinegar to taste

ingredients for a healthy chocolateWhile the addition of an avocado may raise eyebrows due to its high fat content, it has several beneficial health effects. As a substitute for saturated animal fats, avocados have been shown to reduce triglycerides and cholesterol, especially the worst of the LDLs. They have been shown to have cancer-fighting properties as well as reduce the risk of leaky gut. They contribute a host of essential vitamins as well as dietary fiber. And, of course, it makes the soup a lot more savory.

For best results, serve at room temperature.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about dietary and lifestyle practices for optimal health. Bone broth features prominently in several authors’ writings. Here are a few of its benefits:

  • As a natural, easily-absorbed source of collagen, bone broth helps stem the tide of age-related joint cartilage degradation. It also promotes skin elasticity and moisture.
  • It strengthens the gut lining and supports growth of probiotics (i.e., good bacteria). A healthy gut contributes to proper immune system functioning.
  • Bone broth promotes cellular and liver detoxification. It helps eliminate heavy metal toxins while contributing to absorption of essential nutrients.

Here’s how I make it:

beef bones
Step 1: I purchase bones from a local rancher who raises healthy, grass fed beef and pork. I start by roasting the bones for 45 minutes at 350° to enhance flavor and get rid of some of the fat.
bone broth in crock pot
Step 2: I place the roasted bones in a crock pot with 9-10 cups of water, a sliced onion, 1-2 carrots, 2-3 celery stalks, and crushed garlic (with skins). I cook the broth for at least 24 hours on low.
bone broth
Step 3: After the mixture cools a bit, I pour it through a strainer into a large bowl and discard the bones and vegetables. When the broth reaches room temperature, I place it in the refrigerator for several hours.
bone broth
Step 4: The fat rises to the top and congeals. The oil residue in beef broth snaps into pieces for easy removal. The oil residue in pork broth has a creamy consistency that can be scraped off with a spatula.
bone broth
Step 5: I decant the fat-free broth into smaller containers for storage in the refrigerator or freezer.

For chicken bone broth, I start by roasting an organic, free-range chicken and serve it for dinner. We collect the bones from the meat we eat and de-bone the leftovers. A full set of chicken bones plus 8 cups of water, a sliced onion, 1-2 carrots, 2-3 celery stalks, and crushed garlic (with skins) yields a tasty broth after 24 hours of simmering.

While I generally use bone broth when making soup, it can be consumed as a hot drink. I find beef and chicken broth more flavorful than pork broth, although the latter tends to be more collagen-rich.

As a person who works from a home office, I like having the ingredients on hand to make a healthy, easy-prep, easy-to-eat lunch. I favor recipes that are tasty, rich in protein and complex carbohydrates, and satisfy my sweet tooth… just a little.

ingredients for a healthy chocolateHere’s what I throw together in a blender to do the trick:

1-1.5 cups of light vanilla almond milk

1 scoop of chocolate plant-based protein powder
(Note: Juice Plus’ Dutch Chocolate is soy-based and the tastiest brand that I’ve sampled.)

1 generous fistful of fresh spinach

1 ripe banana

1/2 cup fresh peaches or berries

ingredients for a healthy chocolateI generally add the ingredients one-at-a-time to ensure that they’re blended thoroughly and don’t strain the mixer’s motor.

By adding spinach to the mix, you get a gaggle of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients without really noticing its presence… other than the decidedly green color. To get a consistency like a soda fountain milk shake, use a frozen, overripe (“cheetah’d”) banana that you’ve thawed for 8-10 minutes and/or add ice cubes. If you’d like mint flavoring, add a few mint leaves.