“Doing good to others is not a duty. It is a joy, for it increases your own health and happiness.” – Zoroaster
You’ve probably heard it before: being healthy is more than eating good food and getting enough exercise. It’s true! One of the key ingredients to good health includes having healthy relationships. Let’s face it, relationships are part of everyone’s life and are founded on multiple levels, most of them outside the home and as close as the neighbor next door.
Doing good for our neighbors is not a duty, just like it’s noted in the quote above. Often we think that “doing good unto our neighbor” means going out of our way to give money for those in need. Who says doing good is only for those less fortunate? In reality, often the person who can use a little goodwill is right next door. A small little “just because” gesture can make someone’s day…and that someone may also be you!
So, what is a “good neighbor” to you? Do you have a good neighbor or two? Growing up I lived in a neighborhood that was a brand new development. My husband had the same experience. When we settled down to start our family, we bought a house in a brand new development and lived there 25 years before moving on to yet another brand new neighborhood. Through those experiences, we always developed one or two close neighbor relationships where neighbors were more like family. They always started by being more than just neighborly – it started because people did good things out of the goodness of the heart for each other.
Moving into an established neighborhood can be tough – it’s like being the new kid at school. Making new friends and “fitting in” can be challenging. As neighbors moved on and new families moved in, the newbies to our neighborhood were at the very least greeted with a warm welcome.
Some other ways we can all be good neighbors might include:
- Exchanging phone numbers for emergencies
- Letting your neighbor know when you’re away – if a moving or delivery van shows up during that time, they’re more likely to know something is askew
- Watching your neighbor’s house for flyers and packages when they are away on vacation
- Taking in the mail or feeding their dog when someone is away for more than a couple of days
- When you know your neighbor is sick, offering to pick up prescriptions, groceries, putting out or bringing in their trash, picking up the kids from school, etc. One of the easiest and most meaningful gestures is taking a sick neighbor soup!
But wait! Why wait until your neighbor is sick to do something nice and thoughtful for them?
Make some soup! After all, it’s autumn and that means it’s soup season.
Soup can make anyone feel better, sick or not, for soup is probably the “comfort food” of all time. Remember when mom or grandma fed us soup when we were sick? We innately knew she cared for us. And that alone often helped us feel better. Just like doing good makes us feel better.
So, what are some other benefits of soup?
- Soup is economical – most soups are made up of the simplest ingredients and can be a great way to use “leftovers”
- Soups are simple to prepare– nearly all soup recipes require only a soup pot and can also be made in a slow cooker. The ones that require an extra step roasting or cooking an ingredient separately are worth the extra effort.
- Soups also freeze well so you have a quick meal on hand – be sure to cool down before putting in plastic and freeze in a freezer-safe container. When you’re ready to reheat one of your frozen soups, get your crock pot out I the morning, run hot water on the outside of the container, place the frozen soup in a crock pot on low and when you get home, your soup will be hot.
- The healthiest soups contain fresh ingredients and are highly nutritious! Plus, soups are a great way of promoting vegetables.
- Adding beans, lentils, legumes or meat adds protein to your soup.
- Soups can helps you lose or maintain your weight – they help your tummy feel full with a low fat meal.
- Soups taste even better when you season with fresh herbs and spices, which means less salt!
- Vegetable soups make great starters – some studies show that having a bowl of vegetable soup before the main course increases the amount of vegetables eaten and decreases the amount of food eaten at the main meal.
Lastly, there’s just something downright satisfying by making a big pot of nourishing soup. And when you share that soup the satisfaction level increases. I know, so what do neighbors have in common with soup anyway?
Just a week ago, I was making a new soup recipe that will be included in my fall cleanse program and immediately thought of one of my neighbors, suspecting that he liked “spicy.” So I put some in a jar and took it over…just because. He wasn’t sick. His wife wasn’t gone on a trip. They didn’t need dinner. I don’t know if he liked it – but I know he loved the thought. The surprise of delight on his face knowing it was “just because” was awesome and nurtured my soul with a little bit of joy.
Being a good neighbor is like soup – both can be very nourishing and bring you joy. After all, isn’t joy an essential nutrient for health and happiness?
One of my classic fall soups is a Thai inspired butternut squash soup. Make it soon – and share some with a neighbor…just because! To get the recipe, just CLICK HERE