If you’re the kind of person who swears by juice cleansing, you’ll love that there’s a new, heartier winter alternative in town: soup cleanses. And if you’re not pro juice cleanses, well, don’t dismiss the cold-weather variation just yet.
Personally, juice cleanses have never been my bag; I’ve tried a couple, and both times felt exhausted, hungry, cranky, plus I never experienced that glowy skin and burst of energy some women get from living on liquid. So it was with a healthy level of skepticism that I agreed to test out Splendid Spoon, a new New York-based soup delivery company offering short-term detoxes.
Cleansers pay $95 for the week and receive a one-day soup cleanse, followed by a five-day soup swap (switch lunch each day for soup), and then a rest day at the end. “Our weekly plan is designed to reduce calories and increase satiety, helping you feel your best and reach your wellness goals,” explained founder Nicole Chaszar.
My cleanse arrived on Friday afternoon, and I kept it frozen until Monday morning. First meal was breakfast: a cauliflower, bean, and coconut oil soup that—after you get over the whole soup-for-breakfast thing—is pretty tasty. It comes in at around 150 calories, which is a little less than I’d normally eat for breakfast.
Snacktime came mid-morning in the form of a (very light, but tasty) carrot-and-turmeric elixir. By lunch, I was already starting to miss carbs, but exercised willpower and heated up my pumpkin soup. Again, it was delicious, but not overly satisfying, and at around 4pm, I ended up desperately inhaling a tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter. Tasty, but definitely not on the detox menu.
For dinner, I had—you guessed it—soup again, and later in the night I tried Splendid Spoon’s super-yummy vegan bone broth (which you can make yourself with this recipe). When I went to bed that night, I wasn’t feeling particularly satisfied, which I completely expected from a liquid diet, despite the soups consisting of hearty vegetables and a ton of flavor. I also didn’t experience any side effects, like the crappy mood or pounding headache I usually feel after a full day of juicing, which is a bonus—and I was noticeably less bloated.
There’s another obvious benefit with soup cleansing over juicing: You have much more opportunity to pack in a variety of ingredients (read: nutrients), which is probably why I didn’t feel as deprived on the Splendid Spoon plan as I have when juicing in the past.
“If [soups] are made with an array of different ingredients, it can better provide nutrients to your body [than juice cleanses], as well as good fats, which not only help heal and seal the gut, but also help with the assimilation of those nutrients. It can also improve your energy as you are flooding your body with good nutrition,” explains holistic nutritionist Lee Holmes.
In addition to being more nutritionally sound than a juicing, Chaszar adds that the one-day cleanse is also supposed to replicate fasting in order to boost your metabolism: “It’s our version of the intermittent fast, which has been proven to boost metabolism, refresh immunity, detoxify the organs, and shed unwanted weight, without leaving you hungry,” she explains.
In short: If you’re looking for a short-term detox that is a convenient, heartier alternative to juices, this is just the thing.