Coming Clean: Detox Soup


It’s that time of year, isn’t it?  The time that many think of being more healthy, adding wholesome food to their diets, exercising more, and yes, losing weight.  There’s nothing quite like a fresh, new calendar year and January 1st to motivate us — even those of us who enjoy telling others resolutions oriented to the above mentioned actions — or any action — are just not our cup of tea.  I am in that group, and smirk at my reflection when I pause long enough to look knowing I’m fooling only myself and that much of my resistance to making New Year’s resolutions has to do with a variety of things, not the least of which is that I know I can make a decision at any time of the year to make a change in my habits.  Why wait for a particular day?

Here and there throughout each week, each month, each year, I am rarely free of thinking about whether I’ve eaten enough vegetables, enough whole grain, food packed with essential vitamins and minerals, drunk enough water, kept portions reasonable, made sure I ate breakfast, use mono-saturated fat in controlled amounts, watch the sugar I stir into my coffee, and work to balance protein and carbs.  Knowing what to eat and how much of it to be in good health is one thing, and living a healthy life style entirely another.  I love to tell myself that all is well because I very rarely eat fast food, or even buy food that is packaged for easy preparation or snacking.  I’ve baked almost nothing in months, and what has been baked usually leaves the house as soon as it’s out of the oven.  It’s never been difficult to avoid chips when they’re in the house, crackers, cookies, or any of the typical snack foods I know others have trouble with.  No, my weakness comes in a wine bottle — one that preferably contains white wine, but I’ll drink red with little or no arm twisting.  I sip, sip, sip it each evening — yes, each —  consuming all that sugar knowing that to make matters worse, I won’t exercise regularly, so the calories add up over time.  And?  It’s alcohol.

I know.

The math is fairly simple though.  If I cut out the wine and get out for a 3-mile walk each day, then surely, I will lose weight, right?  But I make no effort.

The last time I seriously made an effort was five years ago.  In fact it was the reason I started Sass & Veracity.  I thought that if I wrote about all things nutrition, diet, and weight loss, I’d be able to hold myself accountable and lose 50 lbs. in the process.  Losing fifty pounds would get me back to the weight I was in my mid-twenties after the birth of my two oldest boys.  The irony of that is I thought I was overweight then and probably eat far more healthily now (minus the wine).  Five years ago with approximately eight weeks of adopting a diet loosely based on The South Beach Diet,  and regularly scheduled exercise, I managed to lose 10 lbs.  But I struggled to get past a critical psychological point and lost motivation.  The exercise dwindled to be less routine, and well, here I am today, obsessed with the idea of being more thin, but never really doing anything about it.

I think one of the reasons I stopped writing here as much as I have in the past is that spending huge amounts of time thinking about recipes, buying food, writing about it, talking about it, and reading about it all day each day began to make me a bit crazy.  It takes quite a bit of seat time to accomplish that, and since I’m horrible at routine exercise unless it’s at the crack of dawn, my body doesn’t move that much. Counting the number of times I walk up and down our stairs every day doesn’t count.  My husband gave me a requested Wii for my last birthday because I thought it would be easier on my knee than getting out for a walk, and although I do love the yoga stretching and balancing, it’s not been used for more than racing cows on New Year’s Eve in quite a while.

Our complex has a nice little gym with everything I’d need to routinely work out.  There’s a lap pool as well.  Do I use them?  No.  An uninterrupted stretch of beach several miles long is a 5-minute drive from my house, and although I do enjoy walking there, I only manage it once or twice a month.  There’s a rowing machine in our garage propped against the wall that hasn’t been used in years.  I have two sizes of exercise balls, two sizes of hand weights, a stretchy thing with handles I use once every blue moon if it’s laying on the floor blocking my path to the kitchen, and a weighted ball with a handle I blame for the torn meniscus in my right knee I had surgery for a year ago.  I have a Pilates DVD, a great Pilates book, and a variety of On-Demand exercising videos available to me for free if only I’ll turn on the television and actually engage in the exercise. I’ve subscribed to Jillian Michaels and bailed after one workout.  ONE.  I joined Sparks People, set up a profile, and never returned. I ordered Sensa, tried it for two days and decided it was ridiculous, then returned it.  I think I actually was hoodwinked into purchasing Hoodia, but never used it.  I have watched and enjoyed The Biggest Loser for the past five or six seasons, amazed at how much weight the contestants lose, and am only motivated to get off the couch to use my 8-lb. weights to stretch a few times while it’s on.

It’s pathetic.

But when I think of going on a diet to assist me in changing some of my habits, I can’t help but feel so much of what I could achieve is temporary — or even dangerous.  Eating like a cave man?  Um, no thank you.  Subjecting myself to extreme detox diets to lose weight fast?  Not worth it.  A liquid meal substitute based diet?  Not when I know that eating fresh vegetables is ultimately more beneficial and with fewer calories than most liquid diets.  No, it has to be a combination of ideas — something with the support of a routine, eating and cooking food I already enjoy, and with flexibility I need built in. Most importantly, I need to be interested in it without it taking over my life.  Instead, it needs to become my life, quietly, and routinely — like nothing has changed.

I have no excuses.  I’m retired.  (Insert much happy dancing here!) I used to gaze longingly at the people going on their morning walk as I drove past on my way to work thinking, if only I didn’t have to go to work.  Even now, I see them outside the window next to where I’m sitting — walking, jogging, cycling — all while I sit on this ball thinking and writing.  So what are my obstacles, perceived or real?  My knee still bothers me, but I know which exercises will continue to strengthen it.  Spending time in the evening watching television with my husband could be an obstacle as well, but I’ll work on that. Ultimately, my biggest obstacle is doing anything mindless.  If I can’t read, or listen, think constructively, or plan while I’m exercising, it’s like being put in a cage.  Even music does little to fend off the crazies.  Is it possible to meditate while exercising?

So where is all of this going?  We’ll call it the starting line in the sand of a different direction with a predetermined destination.  And to make it legitimate:  reduce my caloric intake by 400 calories a day + increase calories burned by 400 a day.  It should take about 32 weeks to reach my goal weight of 140 lbs. just in time to celebrate a couple of milestones.  I’m not motivated by little black dresses or high-heeled shoes and never have been, but this could definitely keep me focused as a little reward.

So it appears I’m beginning something, doesn’t it?  Cheer me along, please?

Now, let’s have soup.

 Mulligatawny Detox Soup

from Gluten-Free Goddess


avocado oil


fresh ginger

curry powder



red onion



Granny Smith apples

sweet potato



vegetable juice

chick peas

sea salt

coconut milk


brown rice syrup

apple slices & cilantro

For ingredient quantities and directions, please visit Gluten-Free Goddess.


  • Mulligatawny soup is one of those things I’d heard of, but never tried.  Traditionally it’s made with a meat base but the variations on the basic recipe are numerous and often can be packed with calories.
  • I made this soup a few months ago for myself thinking I’d nip the impending holiday indulgences in the bud before they happened, if that makes any sense at all.  Think prescriptive here.
  • I tried it both chunky and pureed — both are packed with incredible flavor, so it’s up to you.  The puree is quite elegant and satisfying.
  • It’s a rare event when I pull it off, but I followed Karina’s recipe exactly and so glad I did.
  • I didn’t have either brown rice syrup or avocado oil, but located them at Sprouts.
  • It freezes quite nicely in small lidded containers — enough for 1 good sized serving and makes enough to last a week.
  • Perfect for now since giving your body a nice flush after all the food and beverage indulgences the last couple of months.
  •  Turmeric gives this soup its bright color.  It’s known for its powerful anti-inflammatory qualities, even in very small quantities.  I truly enjoy its exotic taste and aroma.
  • Avocado oil is a monosaturated fat (healthy fat) like olive oil, but is far more delicate in flavor, so it won’t have the tendency to stand out in a recipe like olive oil can.
  • Ginger is best known for its ability to sooth the intestines — especially when they’ve been taxed.  Think ginger tea…
  • Cabbage is also a powerhouse for anti-inflammatory benefits — and there’s a bunch of it in this recipe!

 Mulligatawny Soup from Around the Web:

We Are Never Full — “Mulligatawny Soup — The Brits Really Know How to Shake it Up”

 One Perfect Bite — “Mulligatawny”

Mele Cotte — “Secret Recipe Club:  Mulligatawny”

Making Life Delicious — “Mulligatawny Stew”






34 thoughts on “Coming Clean: Detox Soup

  1. I hear ya Girl!!! I just wrote up my thoughts and feelings about weight loss too.

    I struggle with it each and every day. I find alcohol a DEFINITE problem- I wish I could just cut it out and be happy, but truth be told I enjoy my glass or two of wine pretty much every day at 5 o’clock. I am, however, motivated by the little black dresses in my closet and those expensive skinny jeans that currently won’t go over my ass….just because I feel really good when I’m in those sorts of clothes.

    Good luck to you!! I’m involved in a biggest loser competition at my gym, so I’m hoping that will jump start me into being motivated for the next 7 weeks – and hopefully beyond that. It’s not easy, that’s for sure. XO

    1. I thought of you while I was working on this because I remember a great post you wrote a few months ago about the same thing. Very cool you’ve joined the competition at your gym — I’ll have to tune in more often to cheer you on. I took some photos of myself that aren’t flattering to remind myself of what I look like and I’m hoping that will be the ticket. SCARY to look at them. Somehow it’s worse than looking in the mirror. Headed over to read your post…

  2. Oooh, once you get that camera, we will definitely have to go out for some photography outings. Like the SD Zoo Safari Park, where we can do a lot of walking, too. I’m telling everyone about my resolution: to run a half-marathon, in hopes that the shame of having to face everyone if I don’t do it keeps me in line. Let’s make this year a big year, keep each other in line, and see what happens. I know the end of 2011 was crazy and painful for the both of us, so this is a good time to take a deep breath and recharge. Miss you, lady!

    1. Hey! Good to hear from you. I feel as if I have been so out of touch with everyone the past few months as I’ve tried to sort this out. You know I’d love to have you keeping tabs on this and am more than happy to do the same for you — bit year — erm, smaller year? Here we come. I’m ALL over that camera, and if I can get it sooner, well…xoxo

  3. Good for you!!!! I hope you can inspire me to get off my butt too. Sitting in this chair and reading food blogs for an hour is fun but usually makes me hungry… it’s good to read a HEALTHY recipe that makes me hungry 🙂 Thanks and will be cheering for ya!

    1. I will do my very best! Honestly, I think what you’ve said here is why I’ve had to stay away from my Mac as much as I have lately. I’ve missed checking in on fellow food bloggers, but decided to just not think about food if I didn’t have to. It’s been a good break, but I’m ready to rock and roll now. Karina has only healthy recipes, so an awesome resource!

  4. Beautiful post, Kelly. I think many of us who blog about food have discovered the same thing, that it’s a very sedentary way to work, and we are always thinking about, cooking, and eating food. I, too, rededicated myself to weight loss in 2012, so let’s keep each other motivated.

    1. Thanks very much, Lydia — and so happy to have someone to be motivated with. It has to be the year for great change. Looking forward to it all!

  5. You KNOW I am cheering you on! And like Lydia I am working on losing some pounds myself. Just keep at it, one day at a time and you’ll soon have a new camera!

    1. w00t! on the new camera AND the new me. You are the best cheerleader around, Kalyn. I’ve got one of your recipes in the works so look for it 🙂

  6. I’m right there with you – and share the challenge around the wine. There is something about reaching this stage of life, having successfully reared and launched kids, when it only seems fair that we should be able to laze around in the evening sipping our wine. it just stinks that our bodies don’t seem to think it’s such a good idea. I’m going on a sailing trip in a couple of weeks so have been working hard at losing a few pounds and firming up – but it doesn’t help when my friend from Italy arrives and we spend the weekend cooking together and guess what? Drinking more wine! best to you in 2012!

    1. Happy New Year, Michele! Cracking up over the image of launching kids. Seriously! The sailing trip sounds lovely — and cooking/drinking wine with a friend my fave thing to do. The key with me is finding some balance with it all. Maybe I can snap the old body out of it?

  7. You go girl. I’d love to know how many people have gained weight as the result of having a food blog. It makes you obsessed with food. Anyway, it sounds like you’re on a sound trajectory. Keep us posted.

    1. Thanks, El. Ugh, don’t you know it? Food Blog + not exercising + knee surgery pushed me over the edge. I will definitely find a way to do this AND be svelte.

  8. Oh, do I hear you! I’m having the same frustration: trying to lose 10 pounds and getting nowhere. I eat well, get some exercise, but clearly not enough. It doesn’t help to have enormous fatigue problems. , supposedly from Lyme disease. I’ve cut out beer pretty much ( can’t drink wine), but in the past it’s awfully easy to have one, and end up drinking 3 . Rooting for you, and I’ll definitely be following your path through the year – good luck!

    1. I like beer, too. The very dark kind packed with all those nice calories. Sorry to hear about the fatigue. I know I’ve heard “the experts” say if we move our bodies, it will help with that, but I know the motivation can be tough (or not knowing how to plug the damn Wii in from my end of things). Thanks for rooting for me. Fired up!

  9. I love the soup, Gluten Free Goddess has so many great recipes! Also just in case you wanted to try something new. There is a free at home workout site called Body Rock it is They have great workouts and at the end show how to make them a bit easier if you have knee problem etc. Best wishes!!!

    1. Yes, she does have terrific recipes! Thanks for the tip on the site — especially with respect to help w/ bad knees. Always looking for new ideas.

  10. Oh girl, I completely understand. Given that I write almost entirely about healthy food and know SO MUCH about nutrition, sometimes (all the time) it’s SO hard to put down that second brownie. But I feel more invigorated right now for some reason. So hopefully this time is THE time. We got this.

    1. Oh, brownies. Chocolate + lovely texture. The crunch of nuts…mmmm….WAIT! I’ve got a pot of spinach steaming downstairs. I agree. The time is NOW. Has to be. BRING IT.

  11. You go girl! This detox soup sounds so much more inviting than the cabbage soup diet! I’ve found by just cutting back on meat, dairy and sugar, it makes a huge difference. Of course, not locking myself to the computer on my blog helps too – got to get out and walk more!

  12. Bouncing back to bring up a few musings – like retiring ( yay – but also losing your friends & support system there) and your last child going to college. I find myself floundering with less contact with my kids, less Mom involvement, and that is so hard. It also means you give in to reading those books, instead of walking, or getting your kids out the door (yay/nay) and relaxing (which you deserve after ump-ti-ump years). But the downside? Having to cut back on gorgeous little snacks through the day, and getting your behind out the door:)

  13. I like this blog. The trouble with diets (in my uninformed opinion, I have to admit!) is that people focus on losing weight as the goal instead of on really enjoying what they are eating and doing. If you can do that, then the weight loss becomes incidental to having a happy time. Making lovely recipes like this will be really fun. Can you find a sport that you actually enjoy and have to think about while you are doing it – maybe a team game or something? Good luck!

    1. Hi Felicity — I couldn’t agree with you more which is why I have rarely embarked on a “diet.” I love food of all kinds and always will, so that does make it easy for me to continue to explore and learn. With respect to the social aspect of things, I do have friends to enjoy being active. Team sports aren’t in the mix, but I have many options and am fortunate to not have to worry about weather — so NO EXCUSES! Thanks for your input — much appreciated!

    1. Hey Meeta — cheers to you on your motivation! I’ll definitely check in to cheer you on. It’s fun knowing others are working toward the same thing. Here’s to a successful 2012!

  14. I’ve been on the opposite end of the weight wars and know full well about the struggle to maintain committment and focus. I’m u ndergoing a little bit of that myself.

    However, I know that you will do well on the diet front, ESPECIALLY because of your blogging. A successful food blog such as yours requires a little bit of time, a little bit of patience and some perseverance. You’ll be fine.

    I’ll be rooting for you, Kelly.

    PS. Soup and photography look great, as usual.

    1. Thanks! I’ve been a bit wishwashy with my blog the last several months, so maybe this will help mark a more focused persistence here as well! Always appreciate the feedback…

  15. You can do it! I know how hard it is–a few years ago, my husband lost 50 of the pounds he’d put on since we’d gotten married. Let me know if you want me to pass on a few tips that he learned while going through the process.

    As for exercise and meditation, I think it’s possible, if you pick the right exercise for you. If not, could you put an exercise bike (or other equipment of your choice) in front of the tv and exercise while you and your husband are watching together?

    1. Terri, you are so great to share this and offer suggestions. I tell you, one of the most difficult things for me is being trapped and that includes exercise. Committed to finish, but nothing to do with my brain while I’m doing it? Ugh! By all means, if you have ideas, share away!!!

      1. I sympathize with the hating to have nothing to do with your brain. One thing that changed my mind was discovering that creativity happens when the brain is relaxed. This is why people often come up with great ideas while in the shower or the bath (e.g. Archimedes). I know you’re a creative person–when do your best ideas come to you? Maybe the trick is discovering an exercise that you can do that allows you to achieve that same state of mind…

        As for some dieting tips, they’re going to sound ridiculously simple. My husband learned the tools to lose weight from participating in a weight loss study at one of the local hospitals.
        1. Most people greatly overestimate what a “portion size” is. Weigh out everything to teach yourself what a portion size is.
        2. Use smaller plates–most people have a tendency to want to fill the plate.
        3. Eat a lot of lettuce / salad greens. They are low calorie but high bulk, so you will fill full. Eat the salad first.
        4. Carbonated drinks also help you to fill full, especially if you get hungry between meals.
        5. Wear a pedometer. It will make you conscious of how much you’re moving around during the day. Try to aim for at least 5000 steps/ day. Gradually try to increase the number of steps.
        6. It doesn’t seem to matter what you eat–it’s the total calories that matter. (My husband was on the “high dairy fat” diet for study, and he still lost weight.)
        7. If you want to indulge in a treat, go ahead. Just cut the calories elsewhere. (My husband has a sweet tooth, so he gave up noodles/rice/bread/potatoes so he could have dessert instead.)

        Hang in there–you can do it! I’m rooting for you!

        1. Great list, Terri! I’ve thought of the pedometer mostly because of all the stairs I climb daily — just to give myself a bit of credit. My husband is watching his intake as well and is a great sport, so one of the big things we’ve done is to limit dinner to a protein and veg — and soup loaded with veg whenever possible. No seconds 🙂 I’m thinking being able to listen to the radio while I’m rowing, etc. will help the brain problem. Music isn’t enough : ( Walking, sure!

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