Dear Mom,

We forget – it’s not just the latkes. It’s the latkes plus the sufganiot (jelly doughnuts), the Chanukah gelt, the star-shaped butter cookies, the holiday parties and the happy hours Oy!  While I’ve enjoyed every treat this holiday season has to offer, my gut hasn’t been so thrilled. In fact, it’s begging for something clean and soothing…something with lots of nutrients and minimal fat.

It’s too cold for my usual healthy-dinner go-to of whatever veggies, fruit and nuts I have in the house over a bed of fresh spinach. Salads don’t feel appealing when it’s freezing outside. But I don’t have time to cook every day. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that now is the craziest time for non-profits trying bring dollars in the door before the end of the year. So I’ve been busy at the office calling our members at their homes, checking our fundraising results like a madwoman and munching through gift-wrapped boxes of chocolate-covered everything from our vendors to get me through it all.

I still pine for my special vegetarian soup that you make for me on the holidays so that I can enjoy matzah balls next to every one else at the dinner table. Mixing boiling water with pareve bouillon salts and cutting in a few carrots or celery sticks is easy enough, but it doesn’t quite satisfy my current nutritional needs. And I know your chicken soup is your pride, so I won’t be too harsh, but to a vegetarian, heating gelatinous yellow goop (sorry) isn’t on the list of gut-health remedies either.

I recently found a soup that’s perfect for this time of the year, and I’ve named it Carrot Zinger. It settles my stomach, great to sip on the go, made with ingredients that are cheap and most importantly…it’s quick and easy to make! And Carrot Zinger gets bonus points for being gluten-free, vegan and almost fat free. If I top it with a dollop of yogurt, I get some healthy probiotics in my system, too!

The only drawback of this soup is that it doesn’t help with my skin discoloration. Did you know that there’s such a thing as Vitamin A overdose that can turn your skin orange/yellow, make your hair fall out and may lead to other serious side effects? Don’t worry, Mom, my Vitamin A levels haven’t gone over the edge yet, but I often wonder how many more kale stems I’d have to chew to get me there. The bottoms of my feet and palms are tinted yellow. It’s kind of cool, like a science experiment. It almost looks like I have a slight tan even though I haven’t seen the sun for weeks. I know it’s not jaundice because the doctor told me so… I’m just a little yellow from a few too many veggies. Things could be worse.

I went to see a movie with a friend the other night, and brought along a thermos full of warm Carrot Zinger. And although the popcorn was tempting, it felt so much better to sip on some soothing vitamin A instead.

Love, Shaina