Cabbage Soup: Death by a Cleanse, but Worth It.

Miscellaneous

It took God seven days to create the world. There are seven continents on this earth. There are seven wonders of the world. Seven deadly sins. Seven colors of the rainbow.

And in seven days I lost 10 pounds.

There's no way this girl is THIS happy about eating those veggies.

There's no way this girl is THIS happy about eating those veggies.

My roommate and I got the idea about two weeks ago while we were discussing gaining weight over the holidays. I was in the middle of eating a giant, pretty healthy salad — except I had put about a 82 cups of delicious thousand island dressing on it. We were talking about wanting to lose 5 to 10 pounds, enough to get back on track. I had been on about the fourth week of eating healthy and going running every other day, making little changes to try and get back to my normal size, but I was struggling.  My roommate mentioned something about hearing of a cabbage soup diet. We began research immediately.

Basically, the cabbage soup diet, or as my roommate and I called it the “cabbage soup cleanse” is a seven-day cleanse of eating certain, specific foods. We called it a cleanse because the word diet is just annoying and stupid. Diet is a word used by fat or old people who can’t eat anything good for ridiculously long periods of time. This was only seven days — no diet in my book.

The official “Cabbage Soup Diet” can be found here.

Each day of the cleanse you are aloud a certain food or foods, and you can eat as much of it as you want, but it must be on your list. You also make a giant pot of cabbage soup for the week and you can literately have the soup anytime you want (along with the certain foods you’re allowed.)

Here’s the recipe for the soup. (Which might sound at least a little appealing, but let me tell you — it’s not.)

I will never look at cabbage the same again.

I will never look at cabbage the same again.

  • 6 large green onions
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 or 2 cans of tomatoes (diced or whole)
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 container (10 oz. or so) mushrooms
  • 1 bunch of celery
  • half a head of cabbage
  • 1 package spice only soup mix (Lipton is a good choice)
  • 1 or 2 cubes of bouillon
  • 1 48oz can Low Sodium V8 juice
  • Season to taste with pepper, parsley, curry, garlic powder, etc. (Little to NO SALT.)

And so Jan. 23 through Jan. 29 my roommate and I suffered through this.

Here’s a run-down of what the cleanse is really like from real human perceptive and from a girl who loves food.

(Remember in all of these, absolutely NO dressing/dips/sugar/salt is aloud. It is 100 percent natural and no preservatives, but drink all the water you can handle you little fish.)

Day 1: Soup and Fruit. (No bananas though.)
This day was semi-easy. The first half of the day went by pretty smooth and I filled up on fruits often. The smell of the soup however is terrible and unfortunately the taste isn’t much better. It’s so bland it’s almost unbearable. No amount of spice will make it better, but if you honestly force yourself to eat it while drinking an insane amount of water with it, you feel pretty full.

Oranges were my weapon of choice during this week, it's basically all I ate -- when I was allowed.

Oranges were my weapon of choice during this week, it's basically all I ate -- when I was allowed.

Day 2: Soup and Vegetables.
This day was the hardest in my opinion. Try your best to not give up here, because this is the day you’re going to want to the most. But I bring good news that if you make it through this day — you are in semi good shape. It gets super hard to eat salad with no dressing and just straight lettuce. I felt like I was eating leaves.

Day 3: Soup, Fruits and Vegetables.
This day is the day that will get in your head. It’s all about keeping yourself mentally stable at this point. Try not to be too stressed about anything else and go to bed early. If you wake up and see Thursday morning and you are still going strong then you should be really proud of yourself. Remember to try and fill up on water, and again I recommend chugging water between bites of the soup and you will start to feel full.

Day 4: Soup, Bananas and Skim Milk.
This is the easiest day in my opinion. I would eat two bananas and a glass of milk every few hours and it kept me pretty full and doing okay. This day is supposed to reduce your cravings for sweets and I think it helped for me.

Day 5: Beef, Soup, Tomatoes.
This was the day I was looking forward to the most because you could have protein for the first time in four days. You can substitute baked fish or baked, skinless chicken for meat on this day, so I had three, boiled chicken breast this day. Remember though, no seasoning or marinade. I literately had chicken at 7 a.m. this day. Oh, and ate an entire carton of cherry tomatoes.

Day 6: Beef, Soup and Vegetables.
Again you could substitute chicken or fish (but you also weren’t supposed to have fish again if you had it the first day or visa versa.) I had three pieces of salmon this day and I would say it was pretty good, even without seasoning. This day is still hard but if you keep telling yourself one more day it helps a little, but just a little. It basically still sucks.

Day 7: Brown Rice, Soup and Vegetables.
Congrats, you get carbs for the first time in six days and you think you’re gonna go crazy, but the rice is so bland you don’t even want it. Although it does help fill you up a little more, but it’s still pretty bad. If you manage to eat one or two pieces of vegetables by this day you consider it a victory. You’re pretty cranky today so take some nyquil and try and sleep the day off, you’re almost done.

So this morning, I woke up to my glorious alarm clock at 5:30. (Yes, I said glorious because I got to eat real food today, why wouldn’t I want to get up for that?)

I went to the gym and did a quick 2.62 mile run on 5.5. Seriously pathetic, but give me a break, I had about 50 calories the entire week, and I was WEAK.

I weighted myself before my run and I was down nine pounds. After my run BINGO! I was down 10 pounds, and I was a happy girl driving back home in 14 degree weather at 6:55 a.m. Yippie.

So was it worth it? Call me crazy, but yes. It sucked mentally and at one point (like on Saturday night when I was a complete bore) I couldn’t even tell if I was starving, hungry or not hungry at all. I also HIGHLY underestimated how hard it would be to work in a grocery store on the sixth and seventh day of the cleanse — remind me to call-off those days next time I do this cleanse.

I craved this seriously every minute of everyday. Fat kid problems?

So here’s MY cabbage soup diet/cleanse tips that seemed to help me:

  • Take it a day at a time. DO NOT think about how you are going to get through tomorrow or a certain day or all seven days. Make it a goal to make it through the day you’re on and pat yourself on the back as you lay down each night. It’s all about keeping yourself sane.
  • Aim to eat your soup once a day. If you can fit it in twice good for you, but at least aim for once and give yourself PLENTY of time to eat. It would take me 30 minutes to eat one bowl it was so bad.
  • Act like a little kid usually does when forcing down vegetables — even if it means plugging your nose when you eat it. I would take a giant spoonful, try and chew it without tasting it then swallow it with water. All the water plus the soup itself actually made me feel pretty full.
  • Aim to be productive and get your work done right after you eat because it’s the only time of the day you’re not cranky and hungry.
  • My advice is to not work out the week of the diet/cleanse because there’s nothing I want more after a work out than recovery food like eggs and coffee. Plus you’re consuming so few calories that you seriously don’t have any to burn, so it’s just going to make you feel sick and terrible.

If you want to be successful with this diet/cleanse then be successful. That’s my most important piece of advice. If you half-ass it then you won’t lose weight, but if you follow it to a T you will lose about 10 pounds.

I surprised myself with how much will-power I had and I feel great about finishing it out until the end.

Sometimes all it takes is to feel a push from behind and to turn around and realize it’s you pushing yourself.