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minestroneAs most of the country experiences frigid temperatures this winter, I suspect many people gravitate toward warming comfort foods like soups to take the edge off the chill in the air. But the store-bought cans of soups are loaded with sodium, often busting your recommended daily allotment of the salty seasoning in just one or two servings. That’s why I make my own soups with fresh ingredients, loads of nutrients, low sodium content, and almost no fat. One of my favorites is a chickpea and cannellini minestrone that takes about 30 minutes to prepare, but tastes like it has been cooking all day long.

 

Chickpea and Cannellini Minestrone

 

Ingredients:

Extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. dried rosemary

1 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 bay leaf

1 14-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 14-oz. cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 medium carrot, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes

8 cups vegetable broth

1 lb. kale or spinach

Salt and pepper

1 cup ditalini or tortellini pasta

Romano cheese

 

Directions:

Heat oil over medium heat and add rosemary, onion, garlic, and bay leaf over medium heat. Add beans, carrots, celery, tomatoes, broth, and kale. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Stir in raw pasta and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and cook for 10 minutes (or until vegetables are tender and pasta is al dente). Remove soup from heat and adjust seasonings, as needed. Sprinkle servings with Romano cheese.

 

Note: This soup freezes well, so you can make it once and enjoy it for dinner several times!

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salt-deodorants2When people think of salt, they usually conjure up images of salty foods like chips and pretzels or they think of the ubiquitous salt shaker always within arms’ reach on the dinner table. But salt also has a dirty little secret – it can be used as a natural deodorant.

I prefer to eat natural foods, use natural products to clean my house, and apply natural products to my body. So when my dad mentioned that salt was an effective odor killer, my interest was immediately piqued. I had already been experimenting with natural deodorants, all of which, annoyingly, left me smelling a bit ripe (I hate to admit it, but it’s true), so I started researching salt as an effective alternative deodorant.

Natural salt contains no aluminum additives, which is suspected to contribute to health problems like cancer, and it has no artificial or chemical ingredients. Aluminum-based compounds are frequently used as the active ingredient in mainstream antiperspirants, but some research has found the skin might absorb these compounds, causing hormonal imbalances that can lead to cancer. The research findings have been inconclusive, however.

If you want to err on the side of caution while researchers decipher the deodorant/antiperspirant-cancer link or if you just prefer natural products, I recommend checking out salt deodorant. Another bonus to salt – it is inexpensive and extremely long lasting. I  have been using the same salt deodorant for more than a year and I’ve barely made a dent in that rock. Plus it doesn’t leave a yellowish residue on your clothes.

Want to give salt a try? To use, slightly dampen the rock salt with water and apply as you normally would any regular deodorant. Salt deodorants are available at health food stores and most drugstores. My only warning associated with this uber natural odor eliminator is that it interacts with marble and other natural stones, leaving permanent marks. So if you have marble or granite anywhere in your bathroom like I do, you might want to place a towel over the counter. (I am quite clumsy and already damaged parts of the countertop before I discovered this little trick!)

Who knew a solid rock of salt is all you need to naturally keep the stinky body odors away?!

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