Juice cleansing and January go hand in hand. If you’re in major need of a little post-holiday detox, a juice cleanse can be a great way to reset your palate and start the year off on a healthy foot. But juice cleanse critics will tell you to be wary of fruit juices that are super high in sugar and low in fiber—a surefire way to spike your blood sugar. And in the wintertime—when we’re craving warm, filling, comfort foods—juice for every meal doesn’t sound super appealing. Luckily, a new kind of cleanse has been on our radar lately. Satisfying and full of vitamins, soup cleanses might just be the perfect way to jumpstart your commitment to clean eating in 2017. To give us the lowdown on the soup cleanse trend, we chatted with holistic nutritionist Kelly LeVeque of Be Well By Kelly below…
1. Juice cleanses get a lot of flak for being high in sugar and low in fiber. How do the sugar and fiber content compare in soup cleanses?
KL: Soup cleansing maintains the fibers that feed the gut microbiome, and are generally lower in all forms of sugar (including fructose). To ensure you are getting all the benefits of soup cleansing, make your own purees with bone broth and green vegetables. If you opt for a premade cleanse, handpick your soups and check the ingredients carefully—some soup cleanse companies (ie. Soupure’s sweet potato) have flavors that do contain more sugar than an all-green juice.
2. What are the pros/cons of consuming cooked produce (soup) vs. raw produce (juice)?
KL: Cooking might denature some of the live enzymes, but it doesn’t mean a soup cleanse doesn’t deliver a lot vitamins and nutrients while giving your body a break. In fact, cooking helps us soften fibers, digest food without expending huge amounts of energy, and can help unlock even more antioxidants. Cooked carrots, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, cabbage and peppers supply more antioxidants (like carotenoids and ferulic acid) than their raw counterparts, and cooked tomatoes supply more lycopene than raw ones.
3. One thing that attracted us to the idea of a soup cleanse vs. a juice cleanse was the idea that you could make a big batch of soup ahead of time and freeze it, which you can’t do as easily with juice. Does this alter the nutrition?
KL: Freezing your soup is a great option! Hit the farmers market for the freshest organic produce, make a big batch of soup for the week, keep the first three days worth of portions fresh and freeze the remaining. The freezer is a great way to lock in nutrition. If you don’t have time to hit the farmers market, consider adding some frozen vegetables like spinach or kale to your soup. Frozen vegetables are picked at peak freshness and many times contain more dense vitamins and minerals than the fresh version that has traveled continents to your grocery store.
4. Is there a major difference in calories between a soup cleanse and a juice cleanse? Will you generally feel fuller with a soup cleanse?
KL: Comparatively a soup cleanse will keep you more full than a juice cleanse because of the fiber. There is no need to compare calories—commercially purchased soup and juice cleanses are both easy to digest and calorie restrictive. The best option would be to forget about calories and create your own soup purees that balance blood sugar with superfoods, liquid fats, and protein-rich bone broth. They deliver even more nutrition than juice and the same de-bloating benefits.
5. What would be the guidelines for whipping up a healthy and cleansing soup recipe of your own?
KL: An ideal soup cleanse would not be calorie restrictive, but it would balance your blood sugar with collagen rich protein, easily digestible fat and deliver the super nutrition of fibrous greens. Ditch the dairy, high sodium broths, nightshades and starch-based vegetables like corn, peas or white potatoes. Instead, cook onion, garlic or ginger on medium heat in a healthy fat like MCT oil, avocado oil or coconut oil until fragrant. Add chopped vegetables of choice and bone broth to cover. Bring to a rolling boil for 15 minutes or until vegetables are fork-tender. Blend in a high-speed blender until desired consistency is reached. It is optional to add fresh herbs while blending, along with spices, onion or salt to taste. If you are vegetarian or vegan, add extra fat to your soup like coconut milk, coconut oil, MCT oil, or avocado. Soups are so easy to make, you really don’t even need a recipe! But just in case, here are two of my favorites below…
Be Well By Kelly’s Zucchini Basil Soup
- 6 zucchini
- 1 quart turkey bone broth
- ½ cup chopped white onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup basil leaves
Cook onion and garlic in the healthy oil of your choice until fragrant. Add zucchini and broth to your pot, and bring to boil for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, add basil, and blend. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Be Well By Kelly’s Ginger Curry Carrot Soup
- 1lb bag of baby carrots
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tbsp minced ginger
- 2-3 tbsp curry powder
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- 1/2-full can light coconut milk
Sweat garlic and ginger in a pot with coconut oil and curry. Add carrots and vegetable broth, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 25 minutes. Use an emulsion blender to puree, slowly adding the coconut milk until desired consistency is reached. Garnish with curry and coconut milk drizzle.
Are you considering a soup cleanse?
Share your own experience with cleansing in the comments below.
XO Team LC