Mar 5, 2009

Mom's Soup

A warm cozy, surprisingly rich puree of lima beans, potato, and cauliflower. Served with generous chunks of roasted butternut squash.

The excitement and fun of my last post was definitely tempered by my concern for my mom. It's been 5 years since Mom was diagnosed with colon cancer, and she has outlived her doctor's prognosis by about 4 years. She is extremely strong-willed and usually does exactly what she sets out to do.

Until recently, she has remained active by playing a lot of golf, despite the chemo, and even managed to win a few tournaments at her club! But in just this past month, she learned that none of the various treatments have helped her tumors, and they have in fact spread to her lungs and are growing larger. Now, she is extremely tired all the time and has pains and some labored breathing and coughing due to the tumors in her lungs.

It's difficult to see her like that. The reason I became vegan was partially due to the research on cancer that I did when I first learned about Mom's condition. But despite my findings, and her own research on microbiotics, she chose not to give up her favorite foods. Like I said, she's very strong-willed. It also didn't help that one of her good friends, a medical doctor, was a huge proponent of eating lots of meat whenever you're sick. Sadly, his wife recently died of lung cancer, and he currently has kidney cancer, diabetes, as well as a host of other illnesses. He is now eating a lot less meat.

I tried to tell Mom that this guy was full of it, and now she believes me! Yes most doctors will tell their cancer patients to eat whatever they want. I understand to a certain degree, because if you're appetite is limited, it's good to get nourishment however you can. But I am a firm believer that diet plays a significant role when it comes to diseases. It just makes sense! Our bodies respond differently to different foods. It has been found that sugar increases tumor growth. So, it would make sense that other foods would inhibit growth, wouldn't you think?

Anyway... Mom finally made a commitment to eat better, and I have been cooking dinner for her every day. I am careful to use good whole foods and nothing processed, no white flour or sugar. I'm just not sure if her condition is reversible now. But I'm very willing to give it a try, and so is she!

Last night, she was feeling particularly tired and didn't feel like eating anything that required too much effort. I suggested soup, and she agreed.

This soup was so good! I loved the creaminess it had, but without the fat (or cream)! Mom was surprised too. The butternut squash was simply cut in half lengthwise and roasted in a 400 degree oven (open face down) until tender. Simple, sweet, and delicious!


2 medium russett potatoes, peeled
1 small-medium onion, roughly chopped
2 C. pre-soaked lima beans
1 veg bouillon cube
1/4 C. nutritional yeast
half a cauliflower (about 2 cups), chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped


Put onions, potatoes, and lima beans in a soup pot, and add enough water to cover + 1/2 an inch or so. Let it come to a boil, then turn down to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Dissolve one veg bouillon cube (I use one that has no preservatives, and organic) in a little water and the nutritional yeast. When the beans and potatoes are tender, add the bouillon mixture, garlic, and cauliflower. Let simmer for a few minutes until the cauliflower is tender. Salt and pepper to taste. Puree in a blender until smooth, serve warm.


  1. Your Mum sounds like an amazing person. And the soup, gosh, the soup looks totally delicious!

    Nom nom nom... so going to try it. I'll also try and include as much of the TLC you put into yours as I can :)

  2. your mom is such a strong person. and so are you!

    i think it's really admirable that you chose a vegan lifestyle for your health. although there may not be a direct correlation, it can't hurt to take care of your body!!

  3. Yeah, my dad has pretty much lived the same lifestyle as my mom, and eating the same foods- but he's still healthy and disease-free. I think a lot has to do with genetics, but a good diet will probably help someone who is prone to diseases. And, like you said (veggievixen)- it can't hurt!;)

  4. Your mum sounds like a strong person, and I hope she gets well, soon. I agree, diet has a lot to do with your health and illness. I used to eat huge amounts of meat until recently. Now meats are reduced to about 2 meals a week, as opposed to about 12.

    That soup looks and sounds quite nourishing!

  5. It's so nice to hear that you and your mom have such a great relationship! I've had to care for some members of my family with cancer, and I personally believe from my own experience that a change in diet can make a world of difference, both long term, by bringing on some positive health changes, and short term, by making them feel better and more energized.

    i'm new to your blog but LOVELOVELOVE all your recipes and photos! just wanted you to know that you've got a new fan out there sending you (and your mom) positive thoughts :)

  6. Jessie- Thanks! Mom and I have definitely gotten closer because of this.

  7. I hope your mom get's well really soon! I really like the soup you made for your mom!

  8. This looks delicious- i have put it in the recipe book!

  9. Your mom sounds amazingly strong. I have know two people who had frightening prognoses from the the doctor and outlived them by decades, I think so much of it has to do with your frame of mind. She is lucky to have such a caring and involved daughter to support her.

    That soup looks amazing and nutritious and I love any excuse to eat limas!

  10. Healing hugs to your mom! -- And yes, the soup sounds healing and delicious, more so as it is served with love.

  11. wow. what an emotional post. my best wishes are with you... i hope you both find some healing with your cooking for her now...

    i'm glad i've found your blog... i really like the foods you post, and it always seems fresh and new.

  12. Your mom will be in my thoughts. You might point her to Diana Dyer's site she's a local Michigan foodblogger I've had the pleasure of meeting a couple of times. She's also a cancer survivor and registered dietitian. Maybe there will be something in her blog or book that your mom can connect with.

  13. Thanks, Maggie! I'll check out her site.

  14. I have a pound of dry baby lima beans that I have been itching to use but just had no idea what to do with it. You have given me inspiration. I'm so glad you stopped by my blog because now I've discovered your wonderful blog!