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I’ve been making healing soups for many years, and yes, I am actually still slowly working on that soup cookbook that many of you ask me about! 🙂 But today I learned something new, a new way to make a beautiful, nourishing GAPS Diet soup, and it’s so special (because of that secret ingredient) that I want to share it with you now.
The Secret Ingredient
This recipe post could also be called Ode to Lemongrass Essential Oil. As you may know, I can’t eat fruit. You can perhaps imagine how much a girl misses something like the flavor of lemons when she cooks. It’s one thing to not be able to eat sensual fruits like figs. But it’s another thing entirely to not be able to use lemons, because they’re so versatile, especially in savory cooking.
Living in Oregon, there is no such thing as locally grown lemongrass. But my friend May Ly who lives in Vietnam often posts amazing and beautiful GAPS Diet soups on her IG account which regularly use ingredients like citrus and lemongrass. And then it occurred to me! Why not lemongrass essential oil?!
This changed my life. I can now enjoy the flavor of lemons! But, of course, lemongrass is more than lemons. It’s super nuanced and transporting, soo special! It gives that je ne sais quoi to your broth or to your soup. The first time I made the broth that I share below I drank two mugs of it in a row. It tastes so good. And it tastes healthy in an immune-supporting way. Like ginger, but different.
My teenage daughter even requests this broth! and waxes eloquent about its merits…
In the soup I share here, your family will just love the flavor. They won’t know what they’re tasting (the je ne sais quoi), but they won’t feel like they’re on a restricted diet. Lemongrass is often used in Thai cooking. If you took a poll, most Americans would say that Thai food is among their favorite kinds of food. So, too, with this soup or its broth alone– it’s favorite-quality.
Why It’s Nourishing
In this recipe I show you how to combine a beautiful, fresh, gelatin-rich broth with this incredible essential oil. And here are among the many benefits of doing so!:
- It tastes AMAZing!!!
- Lemongrass EO is perfect for the GAPS Diet because it’s a gastric stimulant! Yes, it stimulates digestion!
- It regulates the parasympathetic system, the portion of the body’s nervous system responsible for unconscious actions: sleep, digestion (from the production of saliva all the way to defecation), sexual arousal, and the fight or flight response.
- One of the nerves included in the parasympathetic system is the vagus nerve. Lemongrass supports the vagus nerve, which helps prevent this: “Now one of the earliest signs of the brain not firing well is poor vagal activity, which will manifest as decreased pancreatic enzyme secretion, poor gallbladder function, and poor gut function overall. And it basically works like this, you have decreased activity in the brain…and that decreases the activation of the vagal motor nuclei, which in turns suppresses the intestinal immune system and decreases intestinal blood flow. And when that happens you get an increased growth in pathogenic yeast and bacteria, that cause intestinal permeability or leaky gut…and leaky gut causes a state of chronic low grade inflammation. Then the inflammatory cytokines produced in the gut travel through the blood and they cross the blood-brain barrier. One of the problems with inflammation is that it makes the blood-brain barrier leaky so you get leaky brain.” (source) Whew! The good news? This EO is healing for those of us with leaky gut! or leaky brain!
- The vagus nerve stimulates the secretion of digestive enzymes and the workings of the intestines. An essential oil that supports the vagus nerve can be transformative for those suffering from SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), which results in part from sluggish digestion. (source)
- Lemongrass essential oil is not only safe to use internally, it is suggested to heal the digestive tract! (source)
- It reduces inflammation, helps the body to detoxify and is a potent source of vitamins.
- Lemongrass boosts energy, relieves headaches, and kills germs!
- It fights fungal infections and yeast overgrowth.
- It’s convenient! Unlike most grocery items needed to make food taste special, like fresh herbs, essential oils are ready and waiting. They add an amazing flavor and subtle complexity to food, without any forethought or extra work!
Really the list goes on and on. One warning: lemongrass can stimulate menstrual flow; so it’s not advised for pregnant women. Lemongrass is also not recommended topically for children, by some sources. Sources vary in their safety recommendations; so use your own discretion. We do feed this soup to our kids; and they love it! But be aware, and make a wise choice for your family. Also, while my research shows lemongrass essential oil taken internally aids in the healing of one’s digestion, lemongrass EO is not officially on the Yes or No list of GAPS Diet-approved foods. So again, use your own discretion.
You don’t have to make the full soup recipe shared below. You can just blend your beautiful broth with lemongrass essential oil. This brief blending totally transforms plain old broth into a white, frothy treat. (Adding fresh ginger and garlic are two other delicious components for wellness.) To make a small batch, place 3 cups very warm broth into blender. Add 1 shake (1-2 drops) lemongrass essential oil. Blend on medium speed 12 seconds. Reheat to hot. Serve. Enjoy.
Looking for more recipes that use essential oils? Here’s a roundup of 27, all of which use whole foods and many of which are catered to healing diets, including GAPS. Concerned about using essential oils in cooking? I wrote a post on this topic here.