Growing up on a hobby farm in Brunei, food was an important part of my childhood. I was often exposed to exotic flavors influenced by Brunei’s diverse culture: from European to Indian, Indonesian to Chinese. My mother used fresh, whole–food ingredients from our farm to create delicious meals for my family. It was only fitting that food continued to be a part of my life, not just personally but also professionally. In order to supplement our family income when I was a young mother, I sold specialty dishes and pastries to local stores, eventually opening a business selling prepared food to restaurants, schools, and stores.
A few years ago, I was diagnosed with hypertension that doctors said was likely brought on by diet and lifestyle. I realized I needed to make a change in my life and to do that, I took control of what I knew best: food.
Having been accustomed to rich, delicious meals that I shared with my family, I refused to compromise on flavor but also wanted to be sure I understood what it meant to make smart, healthy choices. I armed myself with the knowledge to be able to eat and cook simply but deliciously. I created a line of soups inspired by my homeland and travels, with flavors like Thai Coconut Curry and Moroccan Chickpea. Realizing the lack of healthy, low-sodium prepared foods on the market, I eventually decided to break into retail and share the soups with the public.
Here are the top three takeaways I’ve learned in my journey to a healthier life that I’ve applied in creating Smart Soup:
1. Too much of anything is never a good thing. I love food–cooking it, eating it, enjoying it with my family–but I learned that I needed to understand my dietary restrictions and enjoy food within them. For me, this meant being cautious of my portions and controlling my sodium intake.
2. Stick to ingredients you can pronounce. Good food isn’t created in a lab. It’s created in a kitchen with whole ingredients with names you can pronounce. Flavor should come from dynamic combinations of spices, not artificial ingredients or preservatives.
3. Don’t compromise on flavor to be healthy. Part of making smart eating choices is to genuinely enjoy what you’re eating. If you can do that, then you can make a lasting change and will be on your way to a healthier lifestyle.
** Editors note: We tried all flavors of Anne’s Smart Soup line, and we were pleasantly surprised by the burst of flavor without the sodium. We even went on a “soup cleanse” using Smart Soup for 2 days and felt great!
About the Author:
Anne Chong Hill is the creator of Smart Soup, a line of flavorful vegan, gluten-free, low-calorie soups with globally inspired real food ingredients.
Smart Soup has finally arrived in Chicago and to celebrate, we’ve partnered with the Greater Chicago Food Depository. For every box of Smart Soup sold in the Chicago area, we’ll donate the cost of a meal to the GCFD. I hope you’ll join my journey to eat smart and give back!
(main photo source: CCCFoodTravel.com)