Souping, the Fad Diet, That's Trying to Kill All I Love About Soup


Have you tried souping yet? Well, I wish you wouldn’t. It’s threatening to ruin all that I love about the dish by reducing it into a fad diet. Can y’all not?

Here’s the deal, I love soup. No, really. I make them from scratch at home much to the chagrin of my husband who believes “soup is not a full meal.” I disagree and since I do the cooking in our house—I’m better at it—he mostly deals or figures out how to fend for himself. Meanwhile, me? Oh, I’m looking for new soup recipes. Vegetable lentil with kale! Sweet potato, corn and green chili! Cauliflower soup with cilantro! Potato soup with rosemary! Black bean and butternut squash soup! Leek, apple and thyme soup! Last month I had a white hominy soup at a restaurant called El Centro here in New York City and I’m scouring the internet trying to find the recipe to recreate it at home this fall and winter.

I make so much soup during the cold months that one freezing February day my husband broke down. He couldn’t take it anymore. “I don’t know why you want to eat like a Nepalese hiker all the time!” he cried.

Yo, I love eating like a Nepalese hiker. It’s my shit.

Now, trendy diet fad producers like Soupure and a New York based company called SoupCleanse are trying to turn my favorite thing into a fad to lose weight. Even Jezebel’s Tracy Moore tried a Soupure’s cleanse late last year and found she could just, like, eat soup whenever she wanted without a cleanse because soup is delicious. Not to mention, a one-day cleanse probably won’t do much.

As for the resetting thing, there is some merit to this idea of giving your system a break. But a recent piece in Elle about a New York soup cleanse company, SoupCleanse, asks, Can a one-day cleanse really “re-set” your system? The answer:
Maybe, says Kerry Bajaj, a Certified Health Coach at the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City. “It’s not going to do much,” she says. “It can give your digestive system a bit of a rest. If you’re [cleansing] for one day, you’re putting the brakes on, so to say. You’re not eating more bad stuff on top of everything, but you’re not necessarily cleaning out the gut.

Look, soup is supposed to be a hearty one-pot meal that lets the eater settle down for a few days without cooking because the flavors only steep together more deliciously as time goes on. Yes, you can lose weight by eating the less dairy, fat and carbohydrate based soups but if we’re talking about surviving a New York City winter on one bowl, you’re gonna need the carbs people—and not to mention that piece of toast on the side. Don’t be the person ruining the morning commute because you’ve passed out on the platform due to pounding “light” soups. You’re not helping anyone, least of all yourself.

Also, not to be that person but how about instead of fad diets— which rarely work because once the diet or cleanse is over and you return to eating your normal calorie-filled diet—just make a lifestyle change. Eat more fruits and vegetables, drinks lots of water and burn off more of the calories you consume. But don’t ruin soup by making it something you’re only eating to shed pounds! The creamiest soups are the best ones!

For example, my favorite cauliflower soup recipe is from Ree Drummond, The Food Network’s The Pioneer Woman, and includes sour cream, whole milk and half and half. Ree’s out here. Now do you want to miss out on all of that fabulousness because you’re using soup as a calorie killer? Don’t do it people, don’t let this fad soup diet movement kill what’s holy about this dish in all of its various forms. Don’t let them! Now, I won’t stop you from mixing the lighter recipes with the heavier ones but don’t cut out all of your liquid happiness.

Food is awesome and cooking is—it sounds corny, I know, but—my passion. There’s nothing like grabbing all the ingredients for a new soup, going home and turning up The Clipse or my Chill The Fuck Out playlist while putting my soup pot to work. I’m hardly happier than I am in that moment, so why make what I cook into a weapon against me? No, thanks.

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