Time to clean out the old system; easy-breezy tomato-vegetable-beef soup

Day 7 of a 21-day challenge that looks like this: No chips, no sodas, no diet sodas, no chocolate, no candy, no white bread, no cookies, no fast food, no cakes, pastries or muffins. Right this minute I’m feeling really good because until I looked it up just now to copy the list, I’d thought I was doing it for 28 days! Hah, 14 more should be a snap. Well, except for the chocolate, fast food and chips part (and, believe me, kale chips do not fill in here in the way you wish they would).

My tummy’s been rumbling and tumbling for these 7 days, and I’m honestly not sure if it’s a bug or withdrawal. I kind of lean toward the latter since for the entire month of December, I ate nothing but sugar. Suddenly, it’s pretty much gone from my diet. About time. Most of us accept the fact that sugar causes inflammation; more people are coming around to the ideas that inflammation can travel to the pancreas and cause diabetes or to the brain and cause Alzheimer’s.

I felt so lousy by the time New Year’s rolled around, I was, if nothing else, curious to see how much better I might feel with these foods gone from my diet for 3 weeks, the time it supposedly takes to establish a new habit or break and old one.

So far, I notice my skin feels less crawly. I feel less gloomy than usual for the time of year even though it seems as though we haven’t seen the sun in weeks. I did 12 minutes on the treadmill and 13 on the recumbent elliptical machine at the Y this morning without dying — that seems like progress. I’ve had this new hip for just under 3 months, and it doesn’t hurt at all.

The other, older hip would like me to take off (again) the weight I lost for my 50th high school reunion 2-1/2 years ago. Me, too. So we’re working on that with tonight’s supper of my mother’s jiffy tomato-beef-vegetable soup, whole-grain rolls, applesauce and Greek yogurt. Perhaps a little Predator red zinfandel to settle the tummy.

Josephine’s jiffy tomato-beef-vegetable soup for murky weather like this

2 onions

1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef

1 large bottle or can original V-8 juice

2 can condensed cream of celery soup

2 soup cans water

2 beef bouillon cubes, softened in the hot water

Frozen vegetables to taste — today I used  about 1-1/2 cups carrot slices, 2 cups peas and 1-1/2 cups corn, roughly, this is a very approximate soup

Italian seasoning or salt and pepper to taste

Brown beef and onions together. Drain. Put beef, onions and all other ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low until hot through (several hours at least). The vegetables are entirely up to you. I used what I had today because I was too lazy to go back out to the grocery. My mother always said use whatever vegetables are in your freezer or that the kids will eat. If you make 6 servings from this and use the 1-1/2 pounds meat, that’s 4 ounces per person. You might want a little less or you might want to use sausage for some of the meat. Green beans and shredded carrots both work for the veggie choices.

A bit of fat from the beef shimmers on top of this lovely, fresh-tasting and healthy soup.
A bit of fat from the beef shimmers on top of this lovely, fresh-tasting and healthy soup.
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