Healthy Living with Jilisa Ghareeb: Soup’s On!

Happy Fall Ya’ll!!

If you have been around for a while, you may know that Fall is my favorite season. I love everything about it. What I do not love this year is how wet it is. Honestly right now though I cannot believe we are 2 months away from the end of 2021. And I am pretty sure I have said this every month, “I can’t believe it’s (fill in the blank)”. Can you believe it is November? I am still in shock.

Did you know that yesterday October 31st is more than just Halloween? It is the unofficial kickoff to holiday eating. Basically, from now until New Year’s it is party after party WITH ALL THE FOOD. When you are on a health journey this can seem a bit daunting. You want to see people and have a good time; you just wish there wasn’t a table full of temptation.

The big get together this month is obviously Thanksgiving. It is the cornucopia of mouthwatering food that immediately takes you back to childhood. You want a taste of everything but typically, those little bites lead to an overindulgence that spins out of control and throws you across the room to the couch where you lie in a food coma while you watch the Lions lose yet another game. And about the time you start showing signs of life…the desserts are out, and you start the cycle again. If you are blessed with an abundance of family and friends to visit you may do that a few times in one day.

Normally I would take this time to bestow upon you a list of tips and tricks to help you conquer that day by eating lots of salad, filling your plate with more veggies and less mashed potatoes and gravy, drinking 16-24oz of water 20 to 30 minutes before you eat, bringing a healthy dish to pass and taking just a small piece of pie but I’m not going to do that (see what I did there!). Today I am going to tell you to throw that out the window. A good rule of thumb for nutrition is 80/20 (for a whole week). Have that day be your 20! Eat and enjoy it to the fullest. If you do not like the overfull feeling just remember to take it easy (this is not your last meal). Eat the mashed potatoes with butter and gravy, eat all the dessert. One day is not going to undo your hard work. You will be bloated and if you step on the scale the next morning you will see a different number. But if you step right back into your nutrition plan, that bloat (and number) will be gone in a day or two. I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and this year I may skip the dinner food and just eat all the desserts.

Really what I want to talk about is leading up to Thanksgiving. How about instead of me saying Happy Thanksgiving to you, I say Thanks for giving five pounds (or any number). Wouldn’t it be a great feeling to give away 5, 7 or even 10 pounds. Not just getting rid of it off your body but literally giving the equal amount of food to a food pantry. What an awesome challenge and end result for more than just you.   From November 1st to the 30th, whatever amount in pounds you lose you donate that much food to a family in need or a food pantry. Who’s in with me?

This time of year is my favorite time to eat soup. Oh, who am I kidding I love to eat soup all year. It is a great way to get a lot of veggies in and warm up. It is also a great food to aid in weight loss, because you can eat large volumes of it for little calories with big nutrition and be full for a long time. I made this soup below with veggies that were going to go bad if I left them in my fridge any longer. Soups are dump recipe for me, so I have no measurements, just start adding stuff until it looks good.

This time I added:
Minced Garlic
1 whole yellow onion
Lots of chopped celery
4 large carrots chopped
Brussel sprouts (yes, I added those)
Green beans
2 cartons of organic veggie broth
Pepper (which ended up being too much, so I have spicy soup)

I literally dumped everything in my Power Pressure Cooker XL, pushed the soup button and set it for 30 mins.  I have soup for days!! It is something that does not make me feel bloated or ill. And I love that I get full and warm.

Another way I am combating bloat and inflammation is with turmeric. Have you ever heard of turmeric? It is an herb that has been linked to help fight inflammation, boost skin health, slow and/or stop blood clots and build your immunity. It is packed with over 300 natural plant compounds and nutrients including vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and lots more.  One way that many people like to ingest turmeric is in Golden Milk. I have just recently started drinking Golden Milk, mainly to fight inflammation and help my immunity.  I have not been sick in a long time, and I want to keep it that way. This recipe is from the minimalist baker website it is gluten free, vegan, simple and takes about 5 minutes to throw together.

1 ½ cups light coconut milk (canned is best, but carton or homemade works too)
1 ½ cups unsweetened plain almond milk (DIY or store-bought)
1 ½ tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground ginger (or 1 tsp freshly grated ginger)
1 whole cinnamon stick (or 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon)
1 Tbsp coconut oil (optional for richness // see notes for oil-free)
1 pinch ground black pepper
Sweetener of choice (i.e., maple syrup, coconut sugar, or stevia to taste)


To a small saucepan, add coconut milk, almond milk, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, coconut oil (optional), black pepper, and sweetener of choice (I usually add 1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup // adjust amount if altering number of servings).

Whisk to combine and warm over medium heat. Heat until hot to the touch but not boiling – about 4 minutes – whisking frequently.

Turn off heat and taste to adjust flavor. Add more sweetener to taste or more turmeric or ginger for intense spice + flavor.

Serve immediately, dividing between two glasses and leaving the cinnamon stick behind. Best when fresh, though leftovers can be stored covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat on the stovetop or microwave until hot.

I did not have any light coconut milk, so I used organic full fat coconut milk and omitted the coconut oil.

Are you brave enough to give it a whirl?

And while you are whirling…whirl around and take a look at your back, if only that were possible!  For a while now I have been concentrating on my shoulders and back. As you may know I had to take a couple months break from lifting weights because of an injury to my elbow and shoulder. It healed and I have been lifting weights for a couple of months now and really listening to my body, so I know when to stop, lift lighter or rest. In concentrating on my shoulders, I have begun noticing how much I do not use my back or my shoulders properly. I want to keep my shoulders working so I have started incorporating moves that strengthened and help the mobility in my rhomboids, rotator cuffs, rear deltoids, and trapezius muscles. One such move is called the DB (dumbbell) Pull Apart. To start I suggest using no weight at all, as that is the only modification, light to no weight. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold the weights with palms up, elbows bent and tucked to your sides. From here rotate your hands out. Go as far as your shoulders will allow you. The goal is for you to be able to rotate 90 degrees with no pain. Add this move into your weekly rotation to keep those shoulder fluid!

Let me know if you have any questions about soups, turmeric, nutrition or exercising. I love sharing what I know! Happy Thanksgiving to you. I truly hope you have an amazing month and can give thanks everyday!

Jilisa Ghareeb has been a Beachbody coach for 6 years.  Her favorite part of being involved with fitness and nutrition is watching her clients change and open up a whole new world.  As a coach, she is able to help others by introducing them to a change that is often scary, intimidating, and full of “what ifs” to an encouraging and inspirational lifestyle full of “I cans”. She uses her own story to show others that everything is possible with hard work and determination.  If you’re interested in reaching out to Jilisa for more information you can contact her via email, on Instagram, or Facebook.

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