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Saving Time with Char: The Doctor is in the House

The Doctor is in the House

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In this modern age of medicine, the house call is something of the past.  That is, of course, if you don’t count Dr. McDougall and his line of “Right Foods.”  I am pretty much a food purist, and never really gave thought to an “instant” soup, but last year when I was getting ready for my first mission trip to the remote mountain areas of Honduras, I was in a panic about staying plant-strong.

Dr. McDougall paid me a house call.  I cruised the aisles of the grocery store to see what variety of his  “cup soups” would suit my palate.  I thought to myself, “Really, how good can a dry soup in a container actually taste?”  My primary goal in purchasing Dr. McDougall soups was to get me through a week of jungle living far away from life as I knew it.

A few tricks to Dr. McDougall and traveling together.

-The cups can be rather cumbersome and bulky for travel, so I opened the contents of each “cup” and put it in a plastic bag.

-Cut out the label and put it inside the bag, as well, so that I know that I am eating.

-And to make the dish purely plant-strong,  use only HALF of the spice packet.  This way, sodium levels are in check with the caloric value.  Something I learned from Jeff (Novick).

My first trip to McDougall soups had me eating split pea, black bean with lime, Pad Thai, and tortilla soup.  And to this day, they are my favorites.  Portions are perfect.  Flavor is over the top.  And, when I am either short on time OR just need a new flavor kick, these soups are perfect.  I even keep them in the truck of my car, because you never know when you will need nutritional back-up.  The Doctor is in!

A few things I do with McDougall Soups to make them into a dinner/main course:

-Bake a potato.  Cover it with half a container of already prepared Black Bean and Lime Soup.  Delicious and filling.  To me, this soup tastes like feijoada, the national Brazilian bean dish.  You can also take a few fingerlings, cut them up, and make a delicious soup!

-Take a serving of brown rice.  Cover it with a container of cooked Pad Thai.  Extends the meal, and becomes either a side dish, or a main staple.

-Prepare the Split Pea Soup.  Add it to smashed potatoes with chopped kale.  The soup acts as your “creamer” and makes a fabulous potato dish.

Dr. McDougall’s soups are delish.  They are affordable.  If you find a microwave, they are super easy to prepare.  I take them on vacation.  They are perfect snacks.  But, think about the sodium, and use only half the packet.  Road trip?  No worries, where isn’t there a microwave?

Save time and add a new dimension to your plant-strong repitoire.  The Dr. is in (your cabinets).

And, he’s keeping you plant-strong (home and afar) and helping you save time!

About the author

Char Nolan
Char Nolan is a blog contributor and Engine 2 Extra Coach. She's been plant-strong for almost five years. From Philadelphia, she works in the plant-based whole foods arena, and is also the "vegan features writer," for the "Town Dish." She's lost a great deal of weight from being plant-strong, practices yoga, and is always dabbling in her kitchen to create new, plant-strong recipes. Armed with a degree in public health, Char also holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from e-Cornell.

19 Responses to “Saving Time with Char: The Doctor is in the House”

  1. Newly Vegan in CO says:

    Thanks for the tip! I often find myself needing a quick meal and cringe when I pick up my “vegie” meal from a drive through. I will always now have these on hand and save my face from getting cringe wrinkles.

    • Char Nolan says:

      They are very versatile. And, they serve as great meal extenders. Good to think outside the cup. No wrinkles, either.

  2. Em Schur says:

    I love these, too. I add in whatever frozen veggies I’m adding to make them into a satisfying meal right to the water as I’m bringing it to a boil. Thanks for sharing the tip about using only half a packet of seasoning.

  3. Brad Hyatt says:

    Where are these available?

    • Brad Hyatt says:

      I found them here in the store. Not a low cost time saver LOL

      • julie says:

        If they aren’t full of subsidized GMO corn and corn syrup and salt, they aren’t going to be a ‘low-cost’ option. The issue is one of quality over quantity. Quality convenience foods won’t be cheap…certainly not in comparison to cooking for yourself but if you use Char’s suggestions such as using them to make a meal more substantial, as in over a potato or rice, then you still have a massive benefit without a massive hit to the wallet. And while I don’t know what you are comparing it to, they are certainly a low cost, time-saver particularly if nutritional comparisons are made if you are in the middle of nowhere and are then considering fast food or convenience store options.

    • Char Nolan says:

      I get mine at Giant grocery stores. If you buy by the case at WFM, you get 10% off. Target sells the ready made box soups.

  4. Donna Bridy says:

    Every time I make the split pea, my family members come running and ask me what I am making. It is delicious!

  5. Lydia says:

    I have a question about this products. I want to try them but every single one of them has yeast extract in the ingredients. From all my readings in the past, I was told to avoid that because it is just another name for MSG or similar to it. So I was very disappointed when I see that I the ingredient list. I contacted Dr. mcdougall about this but got a confusing answer from him, he said that I should avoid that but he didn’t answer my question as to why it is in his product line. If anyone can help explain this, I would greatly appreciated it.

    • Char Nolan says:

      I will check this out. Hasn’t been a concern for me, personally, but, let me look into it for you. Char

    • Engine2Diet says:

      Yeast extract is NOT MSG. Yeast extract is often mistaken with monosodium glutamate (MSG) – a common flavour enhancer – despite the fact that these ingredients differ strongly, both in composition and function. While yeast extract is made up of a rich mix of proteins, vitamins and amino acids, MSG is composed exclusively of glutamate salt. As a result, monosodium glutamate does not have a taste of its own and is only used to make existing flavours stronger.

  6. Adrienne in VA says:

    We keep these as back-up meals at work, and they’re great. We tend to buy from Amazon, but you have to buy in packs of six. I highly recommend the black bean flavor, it’s my favorite. I’ve added all sorts of fresh veggies to this soup and it’s always good and filling.

  7. Thanks for all Tips you gave to Us Char, you are amazing friend.xoxo

  8. Karen says:

    Hi Char, Thanks for this post and the idea to halve the flavoring packet. We use these soups on backpacking and camping trips. Great carb replenisher after a day of hiking.

    I’m not sure how they compare with commercial soups, but I find the level of sodium iin McDougall “right food soups” to be quite high. For example, the Black Bean and Lime cup of soup is listed as providing 2 servings. So the amount of sodium in the flavor packet is actually 660 mgs for 340 calories total. One would have to *quarter* the packet to meet Jeff Novick’s sodium guidelines. Using only a quarter flavor packet would result in 165 mg sodium per 170 calories (1 serving.) Just right! But honestly, do you know anyone who only eats half of one of these soup cups? They’re not that big. I find the ingredient list misleading since few people probably bother to notice that the amounts listed need to be doubled if one plans to eat the whole cup in one sitting.

    I note that the doctor has come out with some Light sodium soup cups, which are one serving each. I checked the split green pea one, and for 1 serving equalling 200 calories, it still has 360 mg of sodium.

    If you do get the chance to chat with Dr. McD, it would be great if you could encourage him to further reduce the sodium levels to correspond with healthier guidelines. It’s really a pain to cut the flavor packet in half, never mind quarters. And it’s only the sodium that needs reducing. I just tried a packet of the Pad Thai Soup, and it was too bland with only half the packet of spices.

    Thanks for sharing some great ideas on ways to use these cups as meal extenders, Char. And thanks for leading the charge to help make the soups healthier.

    • Char Nolan says:

      The conventional counterpart has 1290 mg of sodium, compared to the 350 of these. But, when you halve the seasoning packet, takes it down to about 175 mg, which for the calorie ratio is E2 compliant. Add some hot sauce if you think things are too bland. Great for backpacking. Thanks for you share.

    • Rileen says:

      Actually, you only need to halve it to meet the guidelines: 660 mg for 340 calories, so halving makes it 330 mg for 340 calories. This is over two servings, so one serving would be 165 mg for 170 calories.

  9. I bought the black bean with lime and the pad thai. I did not like the pad thai. Not at all what I think of as pad thai. I haven’t tried the black bean yet but I love black beans so I’m sure I’ll love it.

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    The Engine 2 blog will feature tips, plant-strong success stories, how to make plant-strong work, answer your questions and feature special guest experts. Our goal is to provide you with the tools to help you become and stay plant-strong. Please be sure to jump in the conversation by leaving comments on each post!
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