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”