When I met Elina it was instant inspiration!
Born and raised in Russia, Elina is an award winning journalist, turned chef, soup guru. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Elina totally revisited her diet, became vegan and started to create the most amazing soup, integrating ancient healing traditions to heal herself.
Elina is now is a mission to make our world a healthier place, one cup of soup at a time. Her book is on the NY Times best selling list and her company, Soupelina delivers soups to your door that are both delicious and healing.
I had the lovely opportunity to chat with this wellness warrior herself and am so excited to share with you her story which includes how to enjoy soups all year round and a natural energy boosting soup recipe!
Tell Odacite beauty lovers a little bit about yourself and what inspired Soupelina.
My delicious soups began as a way to heal myself when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and changed the way I eat. At the time I was seeing a Chinese Medicine doctor, a naturopath and an Ayurvedic therapist and they were recommending various herbs and spices I needed in my diet to boost my immune system, heal the gut and restore vitality. It was overwhelming because I just couldn’t imagine taking all those herbs as supplements, so I found myself drawn to spending days in the kitchen, combining all those herbs and spices with veggies, mushrooms and lentils. I was also doing a lot of research on the medicinal properties of plants and learned that slowly simmering veggies with spices and herbs creates a healing potion. Putting the love I felt into every pot was also important because I very much believe in the energy of the ingredients and a healing soup needs love. Soups truly became my magic potions; they were healing and delicious at the same time.
When my friends asked to buy my soups, I conceived all-natural sustainable packaging and launched the Soupelina (soup+Elina!) brand in 2013. Isabelle (my younger daughter and actress) actually drew the Soupelina fairy and Madeline (my older daughter and singer/songwriter) designed the brand look. And it was Valerie who suggested I call my new soup company Soupelina! Soupelina soups were my gift to the like-minded people, a way to share the gourmet magic and what I learned about wellness and healing. But I had no clue that Soupelina would open the door to a growing community of people who are passionate about plant-based food that is not only healthy but lip-smacking delicious as well. As the emails from happy customers began flowing with stories of healing, lost weight, increased energy and better mood, I knew this was no longer my own passion project; I realized that I could help people heal themselves. With names like LENTIL ME ENTERTAIN YOU, KALE-IFORNIA DREAMIN' and I YAM WHO I YAM, I love when people have fun while eating healthy.
What makes Soupelina stand out among other soups?
What’s special about Soupelina’s soups + soup cleanse are the patented soup compositions that include ingredients uniquely selected for particular nutritional benefit and to maximize the nutritional benefit. This holistic combination of herbs and spices with specific veggies and legumes in my soups create a natural balance and cleanse your body’s purification systems at once.
Soupelina’s Soup Cleanse is also the only soup cleanse on the market that’s 100% good for you: it’s vegan made from local ingredients, organic and doesn’t use fruits, nuts, soy, grains, gluten, GMO’s and additives such as honey, agave or table salt. Because of this, you are truly able to heal, boost your immunity, clear your skin, not to mention, strengthen your nails, hair and get that beauty glow we all want.
Could you share with us how your soups helped you cure yourself of breast cancer?
According to doctors, I was able to change the epigenetic expression of my genes by overhauling my diet and healing my gut. Soups were a huge part of it because not only they provided the nourishment and love, they also helped cleanse my body.
Winter hardly exists for all of us in SoCal. How do you make a soul warming food like soup, just as enjoyable all year round?
That’s what’s so great about Soupelina’s soups, you can enjoy them year round! My KALE-IFORNIA DREAMIN’ soup (I think it’s one of Valerie’s favorites) is a light Kale soup with lemony flavor from Sorrel – a gourmet leafy green from the spinach family that is just being discovered in the US—it’s elegant, light and perfect hot for cold days, but it’s just as great chilled. Soupelina’s raw soups like THAI ME UP THAI ME DOWN GAZPACHO are so refreshing at lunch or as an afternoon snack in the summer. In the fall, I crave I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S BUTTERNUT, it’s creamy, filling and has a little kick from the ginger-infused lentils. Winter is all about THE FENNEL HURRAH and TURMERIC BROTH for me…so yum!
It is 3PM on a Monday, I am feeling pretty low on energy and definitely reconsidering my scheduled after-work gym session 😬. What soup do you recommend that is light, low on sodium, and gives a natural energy boost?
All Soupelina soups are low sodium. I say, why mask perfectly great veggies with table salt, sugar or anything else that changes their flavor? All the ingredients are fresh and bought at local farmers markets from farmers that are just an hour or two away.
For a great natural energy boost, I would go for SWEET COCONUT THAI OH MY! (my take on a modern vegan Thai soup) or I YAM WHO I YAM ( soup with Indian spices and fennel). The main ingredient in both soups is sweet potato, a complex carb that is known to provide long-lasting energy. It breaks down slowly in your body because of the long molecule chains, keep you energized and reduce feelings of hunger. It is also chock-full of Vitamin C, an important energy nutrient.
I really love Odacite’s Jasmine Mimosa Body Scrub, it makes my body feel baby-soft and it smells so yummy! And it has one of my all-time favorite ingredients-lemongrass. I’m also dying to try A Winter In Paris intense hydrating serum…I heard so much about it and feel that it will be a game changer for me.
See below for an exclusive recipe Elina shared with us that aids in digestion and detoxifies the liver!
I'M ALL ARTICHOKE-D UP
Spiky artichokes are not only pretty but a delicious treat as well. This is the type of vegetable I call a conversation piece…and there is a lot to talk about! The member of the thistle family is a powerful liver cleanser! It contains a number of phytonutrients (apigenin, cynarin, silymarin, and luteolin) that have diuretic properties, detoxify the liver, boost gall bladder function, and improve bile flow. Artichokes are even used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a remedy for water retention and liver ailments; they also aid digestion and help people who experience stomach acidity. Combined with garlic, thyme, and a blend of potent herbs and spices, this soup is one of the best cleansing potions you can have.
+ Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat, add the leeks and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes, or until the leeks are translucent.
+ Add the artichoke hearts, potatoes, thyme, and boiling filtered water. Simmer over medium-low heat until the leeks and artichoke hearts are soft, 30 to 45 minutes.
+ Remove the thyme sprigs and strip the remaining leaves into the pot.
+ Transfer to a Vitamix and blend until silky.
+ Add the lemon juice to the soup.
+ Serve with a swirl of green harissa for extra nutritional and medicinal benefits, plus a dose of oomph.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium-size leeks, roughly chopped
2 cups fresh or frozen artichoke hearts (thaw if frozen)
2 medium-size potatoes, cubed
4 cups boiling filtered water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Green Harissa Topping, for serving (recipe follows)
GREEN HARISSA TOPPING
+ Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
+ This will keep for up to a week stored in the fridge.
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Himalayan pink salt