Rotary benefit gets Stephanie thinking about soup

Today, I think I’ll write about the nutritional value of soup and some of its benefits.

For starters, the sixth annual Soup’s On Rotary, slated from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, will be held this year at Naperville Central High School. The popular benefit is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Naperville in partnership with DuPage PADS, Hesed House and Loaves and Fishes Community Pantry.

During its first five years, the event has raised $550,000, divided among the three beneficiaries. This year, Naperville Rotary Charities also will receive a piece of the pie.

Since its inception, Soup’s On has been a showcase of area restaurants featuring samples of some of their tastiest chowders, chili, gumbo, stews and more.

The soup theme reminds me of the delicious homemade recipes my mother prepares. Beef vegetable is her signature soup and cabbage is the ingredient that sets it apart.

While visiting my folks in Muncie, Ind., for my mother’s 86th birthday, she reminded me that she serves soup for lunch nearly every day. And my soup-loving father, now 90, credits his good health to my mother’s wholesome cooking.

During that conversation, I flashed back to West View School when all students went home for lunch. I still recall how mortified I became the afternoon my sixth-grade teacher, Mr. Bushey, guessed I’d eaten tomato soup for lunch because I had dribbled on my white blouse.

Then, quite by coincidence, while straightening some books the other day, “FYI: Unexpected Answers to Everyday Questions” by Hal Linden practically jumped off the shelf. Published in 1982, the book was based on an informational TV show hosted by Linden, an actor who earlier had starred in the 1970s hit sitcom “Barney Miller.”

As I thumbed through the book, I landed on a page asking, “What’s the one food that helps you diet, ‘cures’ a cold and keeps you healthy?”

The documented survey response to the question asserts that the majority of the healthiest individuals have one dietary habit in common in that they regularly eat soup.

According to the studies cited by Linden, soups are nutritionally healthful “because they retain fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E, which are often lost when cooking other foods.”

Plus, soups usually contain a variety of beans, meat, poultry and fish with a substantial amount of protein, all in one dish.

Other information supported my tried-and-true findings back when I was in college as I tried to lose my “freshman weight gain” before heading home for summer vacation.

I determined that I could control my calories by limiting my lunch to only one can of Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup, nothing more. For eight weeks running, every day for lunch I heated a can of soup in my popcorn popper. Twenty pounds fell off quickly.

By the way, I haven’t tried Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup since.

Curious to see if the health benefits of soup were being considered for weight control these days, I went online to search “Does eating soup help you lose weight?”

Wouldn’t you know? I found quite a number of studies supported my old college try, with recent reports touting nutritious recipes for the famous cabbage soup diet. What’s more, several writers had come to the conclusion that any soup — clear, chunky or cabbage — would provide similar weight reduction results.

Another discovery that made sense is that consuming soup helps you manage weight by forcing you to practice better eating habits and portion control. Unlike a sandwich, you can’t eat soup on the run. To consume soup, you typically sit down and slowly eat by the cup or the bowl, one spoonful at a time.

Of course, soup can do even more for you. Chicken soup — especially a recipe spiced up with pepper and garlic or curry powder — is widely known for helping to alleviate symptoms of a cold or bronchitis, clearing nasal passages and breaking up congestion when you take “a dose every 30 minutes for maximum benefit,” Linden wrote.

For your information, find answers to questions about Soup’s On Rotary or purchase advance tickets (adults, $40; seniors, $35; kids ages 6-15, $10) online with a visit to

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