Souping: Is it any better than juicing?
It didn’t start off especially well. By 1pm on the first of a three-day ‘souping’ cleanse, I had already consumed my entire day’s rations and spilt turmeric coloured Mung Dahl down my top (standard stuff really).
I blame it on early start times and the desire to distract when you’ve got too much on your non-literal plate; eating is not even really about hunger so much as entertainment and breaking up the day.
Cleanses aren’t really my thing; I swore off doing them after I did one too many and, in a haze (or hungry daze), ended up being hit by a car.
I decided to stop being so extreme in the way I treated my body and take a softer approach to my life, the way I eat and exercise; an approach based on listening more and forcing less. And not starving myself in the name of ‘health’.
That said, rhythms to the way we eat can be beneficial. Intermittent fasting can aid health and, naturally there are ebbs and flows in the way we eat – I spent three days eating and drinking like a weapon over my birthday, so it made sense to ease off for a bit, for instance. On a day-to-day or week-to-week basis, this sort of rhythm is less pronounced, but when we overindulge one day, it can feel good to go gently the next.
So I was up open to trying souping; a softer approach to a ‘cleanse’ and, with its warm broths and thick soups, perfect for winter. There’s substance to it, as well as protein and fibre; nutrients that rarely feature in juice cleanses.
There’s also not the same issue of liquid sugar that you can face if your juice fast gets too fruity.
“When you do juice cleanses, your blood sugar can spike really high,” Despina Hyde, a registered dietitian told NY Times. “Soup cleanses are inherently lower in sugar over all because they’re using more vegetables and complex carbohydrates versus fruit. They also tend to be higher in fibre, which has so many good benefits.”
Even Anne Durham, the founder of Prodjuice isn’t convinced by juice cleanses.
“Juices are a wonderful source of nutrients, however I am not the biggest supporter of the full on ‘juice cleanse”, (ironic I know),” Durham says. “Your body is designed to detoxify itself, all it needs is the support from you in the way of nourishing wholefoods and the avoidance of toxins.”
For breakfast, along with an ‘immune-boosting’, fresh-breath-slaying shot of garlic, ginger, oregano oil and lemon along with a bland coconut and raspberry chia pudding.
I poured a little of the honeyed coffee that I was not meant to be drinking on top of the pudding, which made it (vaguely) reminiscent of the milky, brown sugar-swimming porridge I loved growing up.
Chia is one of those foods – full of omega-3s, fibre and protein – that healthy people eat while smiling lifelessly. Unless it’s disguised – sprinkled on a healthy cereal or blended into a smoothie – I am unconvinced that it can ever be made tasty.
Thankfully, the only way was up and a ‘fructose-free’ cold-pressed green juice of kale, spinach, celery, parsley and cucumber serves as a cleansing sharpener; a mushroom broth with ‘medicinal Reishi’ is soothing and so nourishing I am sure it is remedying my honey-soaked coffee.
Add a thick, flavourful Mung Dahl and Kale soup (which I may or may not have had with an ancient grain roll), a vitamin-C-infused turmeric tonic and an ashwagandah (I had to look that up – it’s apparently ‘one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing‘) almond milk and souping is a delicious and, I would say, much smarter way to lighten the load for a few days.
“The inclusion of soups in the winter cleanse is to incorporate meals with warmth and ease of digestion at the coldest time of year, which is so important for keeping digestion strong – drinking a lot of cold raw juice through winter is actually very harsh on your system,” Durham says.
“Souping is a better option than juicing as it’s easier to include all of your core food groups,” agrees dietitan, Melanie MGrice. “For example you can add legumes as a meat alternative, milk or yoghurt for dairy, tomatoes for fruit, rice and pasta into minestrone soups for grains and plenty of vegetables. Ensure that your soups are hearty and include a lot of variety so you don’t get bored.”
Or just an ancient grain roll and you’re rolling and, unlike juice fasts, don’t feel like you’re on a diet or being extremist.
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