Named for the physician who invented it Bieler broth is an invitation to nourish your body. It adds nutrients while removing unwanted substances such as the accumulated toxins that are an inevitable part of modern life. Dr. Bieler believed that restoring health could be attained by dietary changes and was challenged by his contemporary colleagues who maintained that drug therapy was an acceptable and reliable form of treatment. Dr. Bieler's most well known contribution to health is his book: Food is Your Best Medicine. Originally from Ohio, Dr. Bieler eventually moved to California where he saw famous patients, infamous ones and those he viewed as in need of his services.
Sally Fallon is responsible for introducing me to Dr. Bieler and his broth. Her Nourishing Traditions cookbook remains a wealth of back to basics information that people searching for real nutrition can rely upon. Many versions of this broth exist so if you don't care for the recipe I have posted you may find another you prefer. Interesting to me was that Dr. Bieler himself suffered from asthma attacks. Wikipedia states that Maltese professor Augstin Levinson piqued the interest of the young medical student after working with Bieler to prevent future asthma attacks. Levinson is credited as giving Bieler an incentive to learn more about diet as a therapeutic tool that could be used to prevent and treat various diseases and illnesses. Below is my version of Bieler broth which can also be halved for smaller quantities:
- 4 medium squash - I use 2 zucchini and 2 yellow squash
- 1 pound string beans - I find this a bit much
- 2 bunches parsley (optional) I have also used cilantro
- fresh herbs such as thyme or tarragon tied with a string for easy removal
- 1 quart filtered water - I normally use stock instead
- splash of good quality olive oil after the soup has cooled
The Sally Fallon version includes 2 celery stalks however those are not safe for me to consume so they don't make it into my pot. I also prefer to steam the vegetables separately although Sally and others will have you simmer the veggies for half an hour after they have come to a boil. In my opinion you are aiming for vegetables that are thoroughly cooked but still retain color. Sending this soup through your blender results in a carafe of brilliantly green colored liquid, people I used to work with would see it and invariably ask what I was eating. In my lighter moods I would tell them things like nuclear waste or pureed chameleon. Personally, I find the color refreshing and the soup restorative.
My experience with Bieler broth follows a predictable pattern. The sicker I am the more I appreciate Dr. Henry Bieler's concoction. It isn't a cure all but it makes me feel better. My family uses the word whelmed to describe the feeling of wholeness which is how I feel after several meals of this soup, clear fluids, short walks and naps when I need them. As I start feeling better I find myself making this soup thicker and adding small pieces of meat to it. Eventually I get sick of it, quit making it and inevitably come back to it when I find that excesses and indulgences are too much for me to handle. This soup is not robust however the feelings of satiation and completeness should not be underestimated.
From what I have read people recommend Bieler broth for lower back problems, adrenal fatigue and for certain fasting regimes. While addressing specific medical complaints or conditions is beyond the scope of this writeup I find this soup to be as an easily digestible and colorful addition to anyone's diet. Soup is a simple way to incorporate extra vegetables into the dreary Standard American Diet. Bone broths take almost no effort and while they may not look appealing their health benefits can not be denied. Good health is in your best interest as you don't know always cherish what you have until it is gone for good.
* This soup is best accompanied by classical music, clean sheets, drizzled skies and a familiar book.