Soup Cleanse Cookbook: Embrace a Better Body and a Healthier You with the Weekly Soup Plan

Soup Cleanse Cookbook: Embrace a Better Body and a Healthier You with the Weekly Soup Plan

by Nicole Centeno


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781623367312
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 08/30/2016
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 195,808
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Nicole Centeno is a French Culinary Institute-trained chef and the founder and CEO of Splendid Spoon. She has worked for several major publications including Wired magazine, The New Yorker, and Saveur. In college, she studied diet therapies as treatment for illness and has taught cooking and nutrition courses at Columbia University. Centeno has cooked in esteemed New York City restaurants such as EAT Greenpoint and Fatty Cue. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her two sons.

Read an Excerpt

A cleanse? Really? That's the answer? The last thing a driven, productive person needs is a complicated diet that creates more work and causes anxiety. Often, the simplest answer is the right one, and that's the case with the Soup Cleanse. Unlike other so-called cleanses, my Soup Cleanse isn't a quick fix. It's a regular routine that combines a higher-intensity reset along with my simple meal swaps to maintain great health while allowing lots of flexibility to (gasp!) eat things other than soup. The Soup Cleanse is based on the principle that small changes made every day produce big results.

It's true: Our bodies have wonderful natural cleansing mechanisms. The liver removes toxins from our blood, and the kidneys further filter that blood and make sure those toxins are excreted properly. When I talk about a soup cleanse, I mean this to be an opportunity to help your organs do the good job they already do; to provide your cells with exclusively plant- based fuel; and to increase your absorption of antioxidants, which help combat diseases and improve the function of your circulatory, cardiovascular, and digestive systems. There is loads of research that shows just how much better our bodies run when we give them more plant- based nutrients.

Eating more plants and eating primarily because you're hungry (also known as portion control) are key components of any healthy lifestyle. But we often fail at this because of our environment; temptations, triggers, and old habits throw us off course and keep us in a frustrating cycle of knowing what we want but not sticking to an action plan. Creating new patterns that are healthier than current patterns is the key, but change is tough. We create new patterns and stick to them when we receive a reward (the quicker we receive the reward, the better) and when the new patterns are actually simpler than the old ones (like texting with a friend instead of using voice calls and voicemail). This is the essence of the Soup Cleanse. I wanted to create new patterns that made me feel so good that I would stick with them forever. When we get a reward from a simpler pattern, then everything makes sense. I call this practicality.

Soup is the perfect food for creating new patterns because many of us have positive emotional connections to soup--a loved one serving us a bowl after playing in the snow all day, cozying up to a big bowl on a sick day, making a pot of chili with friends for a tailgate party. Soup unifies, soup heals, and soup makes us feel good. It's also perfect for all sorts of science-y reasons. Soup keeps you satisfied with a lower caloric density, and because it is usually cooked, the digestive process starts before you have your first spoonful, meaning your body can absorb and use the nutrients more readily. These were the main reasons I started cooking soup.

Before I launched Splendid Spoon, I had another soup company: Sea Bean Goods. This was a pop-up and catering project I embarked on while I continued to work full-time in advertising at Condé Nast. For 21/2 years I souped on the side to test my chops as a professional cook and entrepreneur. Around 4 a.m. I would splash cold water on my face, hop on my bike, and ride to a pizza kitchen on Greenpoint Avenue in Brooklyn. If you had one of my soups from 2011 to 2012, there is a good chance it was made in a small pot next to a screaming-hot brick pizza oven. Working next to that oven before an 8-hour day at the office tested my mettle, but my physical fatigue inspired some of Splendid Spoon's bestselling flavors. Soup became my solace, my energy, and my fortitude. Above all, it became my go-to meal when I was dog-tired at various points during those 15-hour days. I'd sip soup on ice in the morning, pour it into thermoses for a hot lunch, and savor a bowl for dinner. I'd always share with my colleagues and friends. There were many days when all I ate was soup.

Eating soup simplified my life in this way. Truthfully, I would have been eating croissants all day if I had been a croissant maker. But (thankfully) there was a healthful reward with eating soup that kept me going back for more. Actually, there were three rewards: (1) It was convenient to eat any time, hot or cold. (2) It was satisfying for several hours. (3) I had more energy and was even opting for more vegetable-centric food when I cooked nonsoup meals. These were all positive things, but I knew that in order for eating soup to really become a lasting pattern, I would need to up the ante in the rewards department.

Meditation and mindfulness have been a positive part of my life since I first studied Buddhism as a young child. I remember staring intently at a sculpture of the Buddha at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design). His expression was placid, content. He was so comforting to look at that I found myself gazing at him long after the group had moved on. I continued my own research into meditation (or mindfulness, as it's often referred to in Buddhism and as I'll refer to it in this book) and its effects on the body and mind. Was this really the key to peace and happiness? Maybe. But more importantly for souping, there's an immediate reward with mindfulness.

Taking your time when you eat is a form of mindfulness. Your mind is nudged into a connection with your body's actions because you eat soup more slowly than you eat a sandwich, drink a smoothie, or twirl up forkfuls of pasta. Yes, you can slow down your eating of any food or beverage, but soup really helps you slow down because it's often warm (pause, blow, sip tentatively) and because it's liquid (fill the spoon, not too much, that's just right, now lift carefully lest you dribble that broth down your chin). When we take a few extra minutes to connect our minds to our bodies through mindfulness, we create positive new connections in our brains. We stimulate endorphins. We settle the mind and unlock its reward center. Practicing mindfulness regularly and over time is proven to have really profound effects on our health and happiness, and many of us gain a sense of calm and clarity even after only 5 to 10 minutes of mindful exercise.

My weekly souping plan wraps four very powerful elements together: plant- based nutrition, practicality, portion control (intermittent fasting), and mindfulness. I call these the four pillars, and they support the foundation for a better me, a better you, a more Splendid Self. (I describe these in more detail below.) The idea is that the soup does a lot of the heavy lifting for you by pulling these four elements together. All you have to do is invite those soup rituals into your weekly routine.

Still unsure of this whole doctor-approved thing? You will be hard-pressed to find a physician who does not agree with my philosophy: Eat more vegetables, practice portion control, and embrace small changes that can become long-lasting habits. These behaviors are paramount to creating a healthier relationship with food. There are no quick fixes, but sometimes the most nourishing, simple solutions can truly enhance your life. That's how souping works. It's not a quick fix, but it is simple, and it will enhance your life. Bring this book to your next doctor's visit, and ask her if she agrees.

Arts and Sciences

My grandfather was a surgeon, his sister was a pediatric specialist, my aunt is an allergist, and my uncle is also a practicing physician. Growing up with doctors in my family meant looking at the human body as a set of intricate systems--so if you're sick, it means one of those systems needs fixing. I have always respected the scientific process for explaining how things work and for offering solutions to what ails us. But while my dad's side of the family was governed by the rules of Western medicine, my mom's side of the family embraced the power of Mother Nature to alleviate and prevent ailments. To this day, when I have a cold, my dad will offer a decongestant and my mom will make me a scalding hot tea of echinacea, goldenrod, and licorice and prescribe a day of rest.

My mom--while respectful of the need for traditional medicine in extreme circumstances--believes that 99 percent of our ailments are not extreme. She taught me that most of what ails us can be alleviated or prevented by eating more vegetables, moving more, and laughing a lot. Get fresh air every day. Embrace the people you love. Dive into the ocean whenever possible. And the various things that push our limits of patience and tolerance every day--don't analyze them so much. The saying "Don't sweat the small stuff" was uttered frequently in my childhood home. Stress less and let go more. I always loved the positive reinforcement of my mom's approach to health. It felt more like an art than a science to place faith in my body and trust its ability to strengthen and support me. However, I am my father's daughter, and I enjoy the confidence of knowing my wellness choices are backed by science.

The point is, science is important, but it's not all or nothing. We are fortunate to live during a time when people can dedicate their lives to scientific research that helps us understand how to live longer, happier lives. Practically speaking, though, most of us don't want to agonize over the relative health benefits of broccoli versus spinach. It's not a comfortable existence to require scientific proof for every choice you make, especially when you're hungry for dinner.

It's great, for example, to plan out a week of healthy, plant-based meals but counterproductive to get stressed when a good friend throws a last- minute birthday party smack in the middle of your week. Instead of thinking about the party as a collision with your best-laid plans, maybe embrace the fact that socializing with your buddies will have a positive impact on your well-being, too--and have a bowl of soup before the party so you go for a smaller slice of cake. Life is full of surprises and gray areas and unpredictability, so why should our approach to health be all or nothing? Stressing about the last-minute changes to your daily life will only serve to erode your feelings of confidence. Souping is about acknowledging that we do the best we can to make healthy choices, that our bodies benefit from all sorts of small changes, and that having confidence in ourselves is absolutely the best feeling of all.

I created the Soup Cleanse so I didn't have to agonize about my food choices. Everyone talks about balance, but it feels a lot more like juggling. Before we can balance all the meaningful elements that make up a life, it's important to strengthen what's inside us first. Think of it like this: You don't go into a full headstand when you walk into a yoga class; first you find your center through breathing and core-strengthening poses to support the more challenging ones. I created the weekly Soup Cleanse Plan out of an unavoidable need to center myself. It started with a big dose of self-love so I could build from the inside out.

This all may sound like common sense, but it really took some time for me to fully grasp just how important it was to prioritize my own health. I had been selling soup and working on recipes for over a year as a side gig to my full-time job in media strategy at Condé Nast, but it wasn't until I became pregnant that Splendid Spoon launched as a plant-based wellness brand, and it wasn't until the great asparagus fiasco of 2013 that the 7- day plan was born as a remedy to my demanding life.

This book is the culmination of many fits and starts and failed attempts, spilled soup, spoiled soup, exploding soup, and botched flavors. I've simplified and distilled all my lessons into an incredibly easy plan that anyone can follow and anyone with any dietary preferences can adapt for improved health. The plan is driven by my (and now Splendid Spoon's) four- pillar philosophy: plant-based nutrition, practicality, portion control (intermittent fasting), and mindfulness. Soup helps me be the best I can be because it is rooted in a foundation that supports me rather than asking me to do more. Here is the story of how these pillars came to be.

Grown Woman Seeking Plant-Based Nutrition:

My Less-Than-Splendid Former Self

The average American's diet is 28 percent animal products, 41 percent fatty and sugary "extras," 23 percent grains, and only 8 percent fruits and vegetables.1, 2 Sixty-nine percent of us are overweight.3 And the leading causes of death are heart disease, cancer, and lower respiratory diseases.4 There is no doubt that eating a diet rich in vegetables improves health in a multitude of ways, from decreasing the likelihood of type 2 diabetes and many cancers to improving life span and literally every system in our bodies.5 Yet, 87 percent of Americans don't eat enough vegetables.6 This is not right. Something is awry. What's wrong here?

Avoiding vegetables is, unfortunately, the path of least resistance. This reality really bugs me because I know (and so do you) how great vegetables are for health. The uphill battle to get more veggies into our diets is due in no small part to what's available at restaurants and as packaged convenience food. It's also due to the fact that rich, sugary, starchy, salty food sets off all sorts of pleasure signals in our brains, and it creates a bit of an addiction to those things.

My own diet was evidence of this and hit its apex while I was in school at The French Culinary Institute in Manhattan in 2010. I consumed an excessive amount of meat. And potatoes had "somehow" become my go-to vegetable of choice--thanks, culinary school, for the 101 ways to mash, fry, and sauté spuds. I went through about a £d of butter a week because it had crept into literally every recipe I concocted. I frequently managed to subvert the amazing health benefits of spinach, for example, by smothering it in roux and drowning it in cream and cheese. I was driven by taste and only taste.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Part 1 The Soup Basics

Chapter 1 Another Cleanse?! Your Doctor Approves-For Real! 3

Chapter 2 Why Veggies? Why Soup? 23

Chapter 3 Let's Spoon! The Soup Cleanse Program 33

Chapter 4 Get Into It: Soup-Making Techniques 47

Part 2 The Soup Recipes

Chapter 5 Purees 55

Chapter 6 Beans and Lentils 85

Chapter 7 Sweeter Spoonfuls 115

Chapter 8 Restorative Stews 141

Chapter 9 Restorative Broths 171

Endnotes 201

Acknowledgments 203

Index 205

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Soup Cleanse Cookbook: Embrace a Better Body and a Healthier You with the Weekly Soup Plan 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like this book this is the first healthy cookbook that I’ve actually read through instead of going directly to recipes. On that note, I really wish it had a grocery list section to make it easier to shop. Also a recipe index would be awesome, so I can go directly to the recipe I want instead of having to through the whole chapter. I am bookmarking recipes to make it easier but sometimes bookmarks accidentally get taken off lol.