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Blog | Cobblestone Soup

Immunity Boosters in your Soup Bowl?

Is it better to boost immunity with real whole food or supplements? Do supplemental Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc improve disease outcomes or prevent disease altogether? Are there herbs and spices or fruits and vegetables which contain compounds that improve immune function?

Base Image by Seksak Kerdkanno from Pixabay

There are many questions about the efficacy of natural compounds found in food and supplements as immunity boosters and honestly, we at Cobblestone Foods don’t the answers. But, we do know our plant-based soups are made from clean whole food ingredients and are delicious.

Although there is limited research to support the efficacy of dietary supplements to treat or prevent disease, using ‘food as medicine’ is something natural medicine practitioners have been doing since long before the pharmaceutical age came into being. Drug developers look to the research journals for research on potential natural compounds which can be tweaked, tested, patented, and used to create drugs prescribed by conventional medicine doctors. (1)

Building a diet around clean whole real food and food products is an action that we can all take in an effort to maintain or improve our health.

Listed below are food items, known for their anti-viral and immunity boosting properties, including those shown in bold found in the Cobblestone line of plant-based soups.

Vitamins C: Vitamins C is an antioxidant that helps to destroy free radicals and support the body’s natural immune response. Research has also shown Vitamin C to be a powerful anti-viral compound. (2)

Vitamin C-rich foods include broccoli, cauliflower, grapefruit, leafy greens (turnip, mustard, beet, collards), mango, honeydew, kale, kiwi, lemon, orange, papaya, snow peas, strawberries, sweet potato, tomatoes, and bell peppers (especially red).

FUN FACT: The pith of an orange contains just as much vitamin C as the fruit sections!!! So, stop peeling off the flavorless pith and get more vitamin C from your orange! 🙂 (3)

Natural Compounds in Plants: Research on the compounds found in herbs, spices and other plants show they can inhibit the development of viruses within the body. (4)

Immune Boosting Anti-viral plant compounds can be found in oregano, sage, basil, fennel, lemon balm, peppermint, rosemary, turmeric, echinacea, sambucus, licorice, astragalus, ginseng, dandelion, ginger, garlic, onion, and cinnamon.

Zinc: Zinc is a mineral that can help boost white blood cells, which are an integral part of the immune system. Research has shown that populations deficient in zinc are more susceptible to poor disease outcomes. (5)

Zinc-rich vegan foods include beans and lentils as well as seeds and nuts, such as cashews, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.

FUN FACT: Vitamin D…. is really a hormone!!! And, the best source is FREEEEEE!!!!!!! 🙂 (6)

Vitamin D: Research shows vitamin D may reduce the risk for viral infections, including respiratory tract infections, by reducing production of pro-inflammatory compounds in the body. (7)

Vitamin D is predominately obtained from the sun and through supplementation. Foods containing Vitamin d are sparse, but include mushrooms.

FUN FACT: Mushrooms are classified by the USDA as a vegetable…. but they are really fungi!!! You already knew that though, right? 🙂 (8)

Choosing clean whole real plant-based food at the grocer, farm stand, when preparing meals at home, and when eating out, has been shown to contribute to overall good health and wellness. (9)

Cobblestone vegan plant-based soup
Cobblestone Soups can be found fresh in Select Southern California Grocers including Jimbo’s, Mother’s, Clark’s and Erewhon and freeze dried online at https://cobblestonesoup.com/products/

It is easy to feel powerless during uncertain times, but with a little bit of information and by making positive changes in diet and lifestyle, YOU can feel empowered and quite possibly make a difference in your health and disease outcomes.

Note: If you are experiencing symptoms of a viral infection and before self treating at home, it’s important to speak to your doctor. The information contained in this post is not intended for use to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.

(1) www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3901206/
(2) ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
(3) www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/food-safety/is-eating-the-orange-pith-healthy/
(4) www.healthline.com/nutrition/antiviral-herbs#The-bottom-line
(5) www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3514057 & www.pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3896271/
(6) www.medpagetoday.com/primarycare/dietnutrition/47012
(7) Grant WB, Lahore H,. McDonnell SL, et al. Vitamin D supplementation could prevent and treat influenza, coronavirus, and pneumonia Infections. Preprints. 2020;2020030235; Chung C, Silwal P, Kim I, Modlin RL, Jo EK. Vitamin D-cathelicidin axis: at the crossroads between protective immunity and pathological inflammation during infection. Immune Netw. 2020;20:e12-38.
(8) www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/scbgp/specialty-crop
(9) Haddad EH, Berk LS, Kettering JD, Hubbard RW, Peters WR. Dietary intake and biochemical, hematologic, and immune status of vegans compared with nonvegetarians. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;70(3 Suppl):586S-593S.

Gluten free soup and the relationship to Longevity

Gluten Free Soup can be made with a variety of ingredients but using nut milk/cream not only provides a high protein, vegan, and low carb option, but nuts provide a powerful support mechanism for achieving longevity.

To understand this support mechanism, it is helpful to know about free radicals, antioxidants, and the role that fiber plays in combating disease (Rahman, 2007).

Free radicals, also known as “reactive oxygen species” (ROS), are a reactive type of chemical with a single unpaired electron; this combination creates scavengers in the body that damage cells, proteins, lipids, and DNA (Rahman, 2007; Szalay, 2016). ROS are created through the process of digesting food, ingesting external pollutants, and can accumulate over time, which accelerates physical deterioration to include cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurodegenerative disorders and other chronic conditions (Szalay, 2016; Amin, Bano, 2019).

Antioxidants are the defenders against ROS in that they redistribute electrons and repair damaged cells; common antioxidant substances include minerals – selenium/magnesium/zinc, Vitamin C, E, and Beta-carotene, lipoic acid, flavonoids, phenols, and polyphenols, most of which are naturally occurring in food (Chan, nd). While supplements as an antioxidant source is inconclusive, getting antioxidants from a plant-based diet is beneficial (Chan, nd). Harvard’s School of Public Health offers the following list of antioxidant sources (Chan, nd); ingredients in bold are routinely used in Cobblestone Soups:

· Vitamin C: Broccoli, cauliflower, grapefruit, leafy greens (turnip, mustard, beet, collards), honeydew, kale, kiwi, lemon, orange, papaya, snow peas, strawberries, sweet potato, tomatoes, and bell peppers (all colors)

· Vitamin E: Almonds, avocado, Swiss chard, leafy greens (beet, mustard, turnip), peanuts, red peppers, spinach (boiled), and sunflower seeds

· Carotenoids including beta-carotene and lycopene: Apricots, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, bell peppers, kale, mangos, turnip and collard greens, oranges, peaches, pink grapefruit, pumpkin, winter squash, spinach, sweet potato, tangerines, tomatoes, and watermelon

· Zinc: Sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, lentils, cashews

In addition to the nutrient rich vegetables used in Cobblestone Soups, nuts and seeds are used in place of dairy and traditional starches such as flour, potato, and rice (as thickeners).

Researchers from Harvard Medical School have examined the effect of eating nuts – “Their work shows that nuts really are healthy as they may help lower cholesterol, they contain mono- and polyunsaturated fats known to benefit the heart, nuts are rich in arginine, a substance that may improve blood vessel function, and other nutrients in nuts (such as fiber and vitamin E) may also help lower cardiovascular risk” (Simon, 2005).

In addition to having antioxidant Benefits, nuts have a high fiber content, which is important in the transport of antioxidants within the body. Anneline Padayachee, through a study at the University of Queensland and CSIRO, found that fiber acts as an antioxidant trafficker by transporting antioxidant nutrients to the colon where they can provide protection against disease (2012). In essence, the process is as follows: When vegetables are chewed, cells are opened allowing the release of micronutrients (polyphenols); “80 percent of available antioxidant polyphenols bind to plant fiber … during the stomach and small intestinal phases of digestion…Fiber is able to safely and effectively transport polyphenols to the colon where these compounds have a protective effect on health…” (Padayachee, 2005).

Alone, nuts seem to produce modest results, but when they are combined with other nutrient rich foods, the results can be spectacular (Simon, 2005).

Since Cobblestone combines nutrient rich vegetables with nut cream instead of dairy, a bowl of soup could be exactly what the doctor ordered.


Amin, Bano, (2019). J Biomol Struct Dyn. Jul;37(11):2949-2959. doi: 10.1080/07391102.2018.1500946. Epub 2018 Dec 10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30044189

Chan, (nd). The Nutrition Source, Harvard School of Public Health, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/antioxidants/

Padayachee, (2012). Grube-Queensland, https://www.futurity.org/fiber-saves-some-antioxidants-for-later/ Rahman, (2007). PubMed, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18044138,

Rahman (2007). PubMed, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2684512/ Rahman (2007). PubMed, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2684512/

Simon, (2005). Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/benefits_eating_nuts

Szalay, (2016). Life Science. https://www.livescience.com/54901-free-radicals.html

Vegan Tomato Soup Recipe

A delicious SOS (Salt, Oil, and Sugar free) recipe

Some of my fondest memories as a child is time spent with my grandparents in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. While all the food was fresh, one of my favorite experiences was eating ripe red delicious tomatoes right off the vine from grandpa’s garden; the only thing that could have been better was if I’d made it to the kitchen for a little salt.

Here are some interesting facts about tomatoes.

First, for a great tasting tomato, they must ripen on the vine; tomatoes in the stores are generally picked prematurely (for distribution purposes) resulting in a bland taste. Second, the growing environment such as soil conditions, sun exposure, and moisture have a huge impact on the flavor. Another contributor is the variety of tomato, which results in a savory or sweet flavor; this is largely due to concentrations of sugar or acid. Generally speaking, the smaller the tomato, the sweeter it is. There are numerous varieties, which vary in seed content, skin thickness, pigments, and uses.

In addition to being rich in vitamin C, A, K, and potassium, tomatoes are a major source of flavonoids, which is a type of natural chemical called a phytonutrient. If consumed on a regular basis, flavonoids appeared to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (Gupta, et al., 2013; Prakash D and Gupta KR., 2009), they support the immune system, help the body resist inflammation, and play a significant role in fighting other diseases ( Gupta, et al., 2013; Ungvarsky, 2018).

Cobblestone soups originated with family recipes – here is one that I’ve cherished since I was knee high to a grasshopper. From my grandfather’s garden, to my grandmother’s kitchen, and throughout the years, this simple soup captures the essence of family and home with every spoonful. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do…

Vegan Tomato Soup Recipe

What you need:

· 1 – 14.5oz can diced tomatoes in juice (use your canned garden tomatoes in liquid if available)

· Pinch Baking Soda x2

· 14.5 oz cashew milk; note: I’ve not had great luck with other types of nut milk. See below for milk recipe

· Salt to taste – grey sea salt is the best, but this soup tastes great even without salt.

· 2 sauce pans & heating element; you will need a good blender if making your own milk.


  1. Pour the diced tomatoes & liquid in one pan.
  2. Pour cashew milk in the second pan.
  3. Heat both pans (same time) until warm – DO NOT BOIL either ingredients.
  4. Add a pinch (tip of a tsp) of baking soda to each pan, and stir over heat for a couple minutes.
  5. Pour cashew milk into the pan with the tomatoes, and constantly stir until hot, but DO NOT BOIL.
  6. Remove from heat, salt to taste, enjoy….

Cashew Milk Recipe: 1 cup organic cashews to 2.5 cups warm water; blend until creamy smooth (3 to 5 minutes). You will have extra cashew milk, but in my experience, blending less cashews leads to gritty milk. Save extra milk for your coffee or to thicken other recipes.

If on a liquid diet, blend and thin tomatoes before heating, and add more water to cashew milk recipe; the soup will still be good, just thinner.


Gupta, Charu & Prof, Dhan & Gupta, Sneh. (2013). Relationships between Bioactive Food Components and their Health Benefits.

Prakash D and Gupta KR. (2009): The antioxidant phytochemicals of nutraceutical importance. The Open Nutraceuticals Journal. 2: 20-35.

Ungvarsky, Janine. (2018). Flavonoid. Salem Press Encyclopedia of Health.

What’s really in your soup?

Organic Produce sitting in a Vinegar Rinse in our own Kitchen!

How to Wash your Produce with Simple ingredients, to keep your recipes clean and clear of unwanted contaminants    

Cobblestone soups are not only healthy and organic, but we have adopted natural cleaning practices to ensure the produce going into the kettle is free of contaminants. 

Fruits and vegetables are known for their critical sources of nutrients, which are needed for energy and longevity as well as being a catalyst for reducing the risk of obesity, cancer, diabetes and other conditions.  

Even if locally grown and organic, beautifully displayed and seemingly clean produce may pass through numerous hands and environments to get to your table – do you ever wonder what passed across the conveyor belt before your produce?? In addition to being nutrition powerhouses, fruits and vegetables may come along with pesticides and invisible bacteria like salmonella, listeria, and E.coli. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “nearly half of foodborne illnesses are caused by germs on fresh produce”.  People most at risk for foodborne illness as those with weakened immunes systems, children, and the elderly.  Mild symptoms may include stomach cramps, nausea, or diarrhea.  

While this is a bit scary, the risk of food born illnesses can be greatly reduced by thoroughly washing produce to remove contaminants from your fruits and vegetables; this means scrub/rub fruits and vegetables under running water – even if you do not plan to eat the peel—so dirt and germs on the surface do not get inside when you cut. To reduce risk even more, incorporate ingredients – most likely sitting in your cupboard – to wash away contaminants.  

Three suggestions of cleaning solutions are included below: 

  1. A vinegar/water solution (bacteria removal):  1 cup of white vinegar per quart of water, soak fruits and vegetable for 5 minutes in the vinegar solution, rinse under running water, done. 

Vinegar contains acetic acid, which kills bacteria and removes pesticide residues. Additionally, vinegar is safe for consumption. According to Livestrong, The University of Minnesota recommends using a vinegar/water mix to kill bacteria on produce. “A study published in 2003 in the “Journal of Food Protection” found that washing apples with a vinegar and water solution reduced salmonella on the outer skin significantly more than washing with water alone.” Jack Bishop, editor of “Cook’s Illustrated,” performed a similar experiment, and found that vinegar killed approximately 98 percent of bacteria on the surface of fresh fruits and vegetables.”

2. Baking soda/water solution (pesticide removal): 2 teaspoon of baking soda per quart of water, soak fruits and vegetables for 2 to 4 minutes, scrub, rinse under running water, done.  

According to the Consumer Reports’ site (very interesting article) a new study from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, suggest a baking soda and water solution for removing pesticides from produce.   

3. Grapefruit seed extract/water solution (Bacterial removal): 15 drops of grapefruit seed extract per 1 quart of water, stir, soak fruits and vegetables for 5 to 8 minutes, scrub, rinse under running water, done.

Grapefruit seed extract oil is the liquid produced from the membrane, pulp and seeds of grapefruit. GSE is commonly reported to have a powerful antimicrobial activity in relation to the preservation of vegetables and fruits.  According to academic studies, GSE extract “exhibited the strongest antimicrobial effect against Salmonella” (Cvetnic). It was noted that results vary depending on the quality of the GSE source (manufacturer).  

Note:  If washing to remove bacteria and pesticides, baking soda and vinegar can be mixed. Ingredient to water proportions are “suggested” ratios. 

CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/communication/steps-healthy-fruits-veggies.html 

Consumer Reports, https://www.consumerreports.org/pesticides-herbicides/easy-way-to-remove-pesticides/ 

Cvetnic, S Vladimir-Knezevic – Acta Pharm, 2004 – hrcak.srce.hr  [PDF] Antimicrobial activity of grapefruit seed and pulp ethanolic extract

Livestrong, https://www.livestrong.com/article/255880-how-to-clean-fruits-vegetables-with-vinegar/ 

Vegan Soups with Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds from our Kitchen

With the holidays around the corner, shedding a few pounds may be on your agenda, along with new ways to increase energy. The hunt is on for that nutrient-dense food that energizes, and helps shed a few pounds. Chia Seeds is my latest discovery, and after a few weeks of use – this tiny seed gets an A++.

While the Chia Seed is trending in the natural foods space, this tiny nutty flavored seed is not new; it has been traced back to the Aztec and Mayan civilizations and was considered a super food in ancient times. It is traditionally soaked or cooked in liquid rather than eating dry, and a little goes a long way.

This tiny wholegrain gluten free seed caught my attention because of its amazing nutritional profile; Cobblestone is all about creating great tasting functional vegan & gluten free foods that are packed with nutritional benefits. One ounce of Chia Seeds has ten grams of Fiber, five grams of Protein, and has more Omega-3s than salmon (1). 

Fiber intake is inversely associated with body weight and body fat…. the addition of dietary fiber generally decreases food intake and, hence, body weight” (2).

Protein plays a role in a large range of functions in the body to include making red blood cells that carries oxygen through the body, building muscle, and immune system support (3).

Omega-3s supports healthy heart function, reduces inflammation, and improves cholesterol levels (4). 

This low-calorie nutrient-dense powerhouse food swells when wet, which makes it a great substitute for gluten. These seeds are a rich source of antioxidants, and are high in linoleic acid, a fatty acid that helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins – A, D, E and K (5).

So if you were wondering what’s new at Cobblestone, you’ve got it, Chia Seeds.  Our Panang Vegetable soup is made with Chia seeds along with other great ingredients; order it on-line or swing by Jimbos or Cream of the Crop (in San Diego County).  As always, we would love to know what you think – share your comments on cobblestonesoup.com.   

1) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds#section1

2) https://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/S0899-9007(04)00304-1/abstract?code=nut-site

3) http://kidshealth.org/en/kids/protein.html

4) http://www.goodfats101.com/fats-101/polyunsaturated-fats/omega-3-fatty-acids/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIjrnV-YWw2wIVRRtpCh2rqQLxEAAYASAAEgJlTfD_BwE

5) https://draxe.com/chia-seeds-benefits-side-effects/

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