Hi, I'm Kim

Hi, I’m Kim Christensen, M.Om., Dipl.OM, L.Ac. I’m a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and owner of Constellation Acupuncture & Healing Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Back before going to school and becoming a healthcare practitioner, Affairs of Living was my creative outlet while healing from chronic health issues. These days, I'm in a new phase of life, and this website is no longer updated.

Want to stay up to date? Check out my new website www.constellationacu.com.

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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Warming Azuki Vegetable Stew (gluten free, vegan, ACD-friendly)

It is 6º F outside right now.  This is an improvement; yesterday morning when I left the house it was -21º F with a windchill of -33º F.  For those of you unfamiliar with windchills (lucky you), it is what the temperature feels like due to the added factor of wind.  These kind of temperatures are completely and totally insane, and somehow manage to shock me every year.  I think that our bodies block out the memory of cold weather, kind of like when many women say that can't really remember the actual moment of childbirth.  Adrenalin kicks in and takes over our brain, making our memories glaze over the pain.  If we could remember how trying it is to survive through this kind of cold, we would never stay.

It is almost impossible to get warm in weather like this.  I keep my hat and scarf on inside almost all the time.  Sometimes I even sleep in them.  I'm not joking!  Granted, I tend to run a little cold, but still.

The best solution is to make hearty soups and stews flavored with warming spices, like this one.  I have literally been like an ice cube all day, and after a bowl of this soup, I was finally able to take off my winter hat, scarf, and third layer of shirt.  My nose started running.  I even started sweating.  Thank you cumin, coriander, and ginger!

Quick to throw together and completely delicious, this soup is a great way to warm up on a chilly day.  It is also a perfect soup to make if you are starting a detox or cleansing cycle for the New Year!   Azuki beans are a very detoxifying bean, helping to clear phlegm and dampness from the body, and the rest of the vegetables and seasonings all have incredibly health supporting qualities.  If you are choosing to undertake a cleansing regimen, it is helpful to seek out resources and research different methods. There are a many different ways to approach cleansing diets, and it is important to consider your body's specific nutritional needs and your health situation when selecting a program.  Many cleanses can be very severe, and can be too much a shock on the body, especially if you are battling chronic illness or a compromised immune system.  Instead of providing a good, solid space for healing, these severe regimens can often throw your body into survival mode instead, making it hard to build your immune system!   It is also important to consider seasonal needs in regards to your cleansing diet.  If you live in a cold climate - like here in Minnesota, for example - January is probably not the best time to undergo a raw foods fruit cleanse.  Why?  It is completely counterintuitive to the cycles of seasonal foods and our body's corresponding cycles.

I've done a number of different cleansing regimens (multi-day fasting included!), and have found the most success to be with programs that focus on eating simply prepared, anti-inflammatory, whole foods.  Last winter I did an 6-week cleanse with the help of my naturopath, and found it to be incredibly supportive and helpful; I'd like to do that program again this year.  By taking a more gentle approach to cleansing, the body is given time to adjust naturally and slowly.  It is also more approachable from a psychological perspective, and therefore, easier to commit to.  If you view your cleanse as a struggle or some kind of terrible process, it will never work;  while you may be eliminating some toxins with your diet, you will be adding emotional toxicity.  Your cleanse choice is very important and very personal.

Ali and Tom over at Whole Life Nutrition are a great resource for starting an elimination and cleansing diet - check out the latest post!  This soup, if I'm not mistaken, should fall in line with all phases of their elimination diet, so eat up.

Full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein, this soup will warm you up and start you off on the right foot for a healthy - and warm! - 2010.


serves 4

4 cups Butternut squash, peeled and cubed (or other winter squash)
4 cups broccoli florets and stems, chopped (fresh or frozen)
2-2 1/2 cups cooked azuki beans
2 shallots or 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground ginger
optional: 1 Tbsp chickpea tamari
1 quart water, broth, or leftover bean cooking liquid
1-2 Tbsp ghee, olive oil, sesame oil, or coconut oil

garnish: 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Prepare vegetables as directed.  In a large soup pot, heat oil until hot, then add cumin seeds.  Heat until fragrant, turn heat to medium-low, and add scallions.  Saute until tender, then add coriander and ginger, and stir.  Add butternut, and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Then add liquid and cook until butternut is almost tender.  Add cooked azuki beans and broccoli, and simmer until all vegetables are tender.  Add tamari, if using, and adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve hot, garnished with thinly sliced scallion.

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Reader Comments (6)

Looks great Kim, think I will make it this week using coconut oil or olive oil and that delicious adzuki bean tamari! -Ali :)

January 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAli

HI! first I love the blog! Your Ma sent me :) She stopped by mine :) Second this recipe looks soooo yummy! I love Aduki beans, we only just discovered them a few months ago... yummm.. but now that I know I have lyme, they are off my diet... (at least for NOW), but I will be BACK to make this one! :)

January 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranika

Ali - I hope you like it :)

Anika - my mom is a great advertiser for me! i love azuki beans too, still eat them, even with my Lyme, I tolerate beans well in moderate amounts. why no beans for you - is the concern over carbs feeding bacteria? just curious, there are so many ways to approach the lyme diet.... i hope you can bring them back soon and make this soup :) good luck! i have a feeling we'll be in touch.

January 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterKim

I think my doc was just UNaware of the absolute beauty of the aduki bean :) We had a great chat yesterday and have altered my diet! So now I can RE introduce this beauty, and I'll be adding lots of other nourishing, healthful things as well. Hopefully this way, my weightloss (which is always nice) won't be quite so sudden... a bit more... slow and steady... rather that rushed & rapid :)

DID you used dried & cooked beans? do you think canned aduki beans would work for this recipe? I am eager to try it next week now that i can :)

January 22, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranika

Anika - Hooray for adding back beans! Congratulations! Rushed weight loss is never good, it adds a whole host of other problems! The recipe calls for cooked beans, so whether you use canned (Eden Organics makes canned organic azukis) or cook 'em yourself (soak them, then cook them), it will work either way. I generally try to cook my own, just because it is cheaper than buying canned - especially with the azuki beans. Plus I am getting increasingly paranoid about can liners. But I totally use canned beans just like everyone else from time to time :) Good luck with your bean introduction! Do you like mung beans? Split mung dal is one of my favorites - also very detoxifying and easy to digest like the azuki. It cooks up fast like lentils, it is peeled and split mung beans. Awesome. I have a couple recipes calling for mung beans in my archives. Have fun!

January 22, 2010 | Registered CommenterKim

Sounds good.Butternut squash is one of me favorite things I like to eat.This recipe looks good and hearty.I will copy the recipe down and give it a try. thanks.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjoanne
Sorry, no comments/questions allowed right now.
Hi reader! My schedule as full-time grad student with two part-time jobs doesn't allow me the time to manage comments. I hope you enjoy what you find and can figure out answers to any questions you may have. xo