Who wouldn’t want to sip their way to better health? It sounds so easy! And this time of year it can be tempting to look for a simple way to cleanse or eat clean. But sugary juices are out, bone broth is in. Last year, The New York Times declared souping is the new juicing.
Even if you have your doubts about detoxes, soup is a nourishing meal that’s been soothing souls since the invention of pots. And let’s be honest, on a cold, damp winter’s day, it’s quite nice to be able to turn to something hot that doesn’t leave you starving or craving something to chew. Plus, when done right, souping can be healthier than juicing.
“Juicing is a one shot deal! It oxidizes quickly—so you lose nutrients—it spikes your blood sugar, and it’s not filling,” says Rebecca Katz, MS, wellness expert, and author of Clean Soups. “With souping, nothing is lost in the stockpot. The nutrients are slowly broken down into a more digestible state.” Remember the advice to never over boil your veggies because all the vitamins will be lost in the water? That isn’t the case with soup: Those veggies give up everything for the soup, imparting all their nutritious goodness into the liquid: magnesium, potassium, calcium, and manganese—and filling fiber, too!
So if you’re planning to try souping to kick-start your healthy eating for the new year, here are a few tips and secrets to successful simmering:
It Doesn’t Have to be Extreme
Katz believes, “Eating soup is a way to hit the body’s reset button, to allow internal organs devoted to detoxification the rest and nutrients necessary to successfully do their job.” But you don’t have to live on liquids for an entire week! If you’re going to do a full-blown, nothing-but-soup cleanse, two days is sufficient, says Katz. But even making soup a regular part of your diet will help, so put it on rotation in your weekly meal plan.
Homemade Is Best
Sure, you can sign up for home deliveries and drink soup straight from a bottle, but why would you? There’s nothing challenging about making soup—it’s the ultimate one-pot meal that you can throw together in thirty minutes or less. You can control the salt and amp up the nutritious ingredients—like herbs, spices, and veggies—making the finished product much tastier. Plus, soups are fridge and freezer friendly, which means it’s the meal that just keeps on giving.
It’s All About the Broth
The difference between a good soup and a great soup is homemade broth or stock. “It’s the foundation on which fantastic soups are built. Once you’ve made your own, you’ll never go store-bought again!” says Katz. Her signature Magic Mineral Broth is a powerhouse that can be used as the base for all of your other soups.
Boost Health Benefits with Mix-Ins!
Where the soup “cleanses” get it wrong is telling you to sip clear broth for days. Skip trying to survive on liquid alone and go for a soup that’s brimming with the disease-fighting goodness of veggies, beans, herbs, and spices instead. You can add chicken, lean meat, even fish if you fancy—get creative! Or make it a complete meal by adding whole grains like barley, brown rice, or quinoa, or simply dunking a crusty whole-grain roll, for extra antioxidants and fiber.
Stock Up to Make It Easy
Fill your pantry with soup supplies: dried herbs and spices, extra-virgin olive oil, canned beans and tomatoes, and a few flavor boosters, like apple cider vinegar and fish sauce. You don’t need a fancy high-speed blender—a simple hand-held immersion blender will work just fine. Store broth in smaller 2, 4, or 6 cup containers, and soup in 1 to 2 cup servings for easy grab and go meals—glass is great for reheating!
If you’re sipping soup to drop holiday weight, “Make sure you eat every two hours to avoid low blood sugar levels,” advises Katz. “It’s not about starvation, so don’t be shy with your portions!” So grab a bowl and start ladling. Soup’s on!
Get the full recipe for Rebecca Katz’s Magic Mineral Broth.
Photographs copyright © 2016 Eva Kolenko
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.