It’s the New Year and detox is on everyone’s lips (after the holidays are everyone’s hips … and thighs). It’s what most guts are telling bodies, but the cleanse experience isn’t often met with gleeful anticipation.
Does a cleanse really have to equal crazy juicing that’s almost put some people in the ER? Does detoxing have to mean hunger, irritability, headaches, near fainting and fatigue? No, it doesn’t. And thank God.
“Ok, you’re a vegetarian, it’s winter, and it’s chilly outside—let’s do a soup cleanse,” said Rachele Marsh, private OC trainer and resident OC Mom Magazine ‘Body Whisperer.’
Now, I’d never heard of a soup cleanse, but I was instantly on board. I like soup, it felt intuitively right with the season, and I might not be hungry. Bring it on.
If you think about a soup cleanse, it’s much like a juice cleanse: lots of greens and veggies, but with fiber that fills you up, warm broth that soothes the stomach and a feeling of substance.
“Our bodies have not evolved as quickly as our food supply has, especially since the industrial revolution,” Rachele explained, regarding a theory on cleansing. “Our bodies store what they don’t know how to process in fat cells, or storage units. And during times of famine (i.e., when our ancestors would go out hunting and gathering food,) it was a time for their bodies to sort through their ‘storage’ and purge what was unnecessary. Nowadays, as most of us are not experiencing times of famine, our bodies don’t get the opportunity to get rid of the toxins that we carry around on a daily basis.”
So, how exactly does one approach a Soup Cleanse? With a trip to Trader Joe’s, of course. Grab a slew of your favorite veggies, some broth and get home to the cutting board. It’s really that easy.
For the gourmet foodies, creative recipes are also a great idea, such as these 22 detox soup recipes. It’s best to stay away from beans and grains—just keep it simple with lots of greens. But spices are a wonderful way to add some flavorful pow (cayenne pepper, turmeric, etc.). Mix up the methods, too—jpuree or keep it whole.
Rachele’s 5 Insider Tips to Soup Cleansing
1. “The biggest part of succeeding with a cleanse (or any rigorous diet plan) is preparation—like cutting up your veggies ahead of time. Also, when I am cleansing, I always have a little soft cooler, with at least: water, a green juice, a second water option (water with lemon or water with mint, so that it isn’t quite so boring and I don’t feel like I am literally fasting). You could always have a small mason jar too with some broth or cut-up cucumbers.”
2. “Also, don’t forget to eat! Once you get hungry, you are much more likely to cheat or feel deprived and quit. Additionally, remember that the ideal time to eat is within 45-60 minutes of working out. I am personally not very hungry after training; I usually get a little burst of energy from the endorphins and kick into high-gear mommy mode (or maybe even just squeeze a shower in!). But once you pass the point of hunger, your body gets nervous and leaves the hunger switch in the on-position.”
3. “Know that you’re eating small meals, and it’s normal for you to feel hungry every two hours. But if you promptly address it, it should subside.”
4. “Forget the protein for now. A cleanse is like the demo phase of a remodel. We are tearing down, not building up.”
5. “Days into the cleanse, you may find yourself subliminally grasping at any available source of sugar. That is very normal. A little maple syrup or coconut water sounds like a huge slice of chocolate cake and bottle of champagne to your body. It’s imperative that you stay the course, as your mind is playing tricks on you.”
Now do you do soup around the clock? You can, but a green juice in the morning is quite a delicious treat that adds variety. I loved my a.m. juice (yet was thrilled it wasn’t going to be the only thing I was drinking all day).
So how many days do you go on a Soup Cleanse? I went almost seven, and my gut felt great. (It felt like someone removed one of those insanely monstrous Chipotle burritos from my stomach.)
My clothes fit better, and I dropped at least five pounds (and have kept them off), on top of the already 30 pounds that I’m now down over the past ten months—thanks to sage nutritional advice and regular exercise.
Your waist will definitely feel freed. Cleansing for almost a week leaves you with a lasting feeling that you’ll remember long into your daily life—to feel good, to stay in your favorite jeans or that cocktail dress you’ve had your eye on. The biggest benefit, however, is changing your routine and habits, which, let’s face it, takes more than the usual three-day juice cleanse.
Finally, don’t forget to drink your water. “Maybe even set an alarm on your watch to go off every two hours,” Rachele shares. “You are detoxing, so you really need to flush out the toxins.”
Good luck, happy soup cleansing, and here’s to life more as it should be: unprocessed and natural.