For me, one of the most frustrating aspects of aging has been the physical changes to my appearance. Funny thing is, the laugh lines, crows feet, and even the wrinkles on my face don’t bother me much. What does, however, are the lumps, bumps, and odd rolls of excess fat that seem to materialize a bit at a time with each passing year. That has been coupled with a modest weight gain which my doctor said was fine, and actually a good thing.
Not satisfied that this was just the way it was, I went on a quest to find out what was really happening to my body and what I can do about it. The bottom line is this: although my diet was good and in fact, more healthy than most, it was still accumulating toxins that were preventing my digestive system from working at maximum efficiency. I needed to make a change, so I did some research, and set on a course to both look and feel better.
In this article, I describe how I lost tens pounds while experiencing an abundance of energy and feeling downright good about myself. My secret was cabbage soup, lots of water, and the elimination of white stuff, including bread, sugar, rice, noodles, and other starches.
Cabbage Soup aka Miracle Weight Loss Soup
Cabbage soup formed the cornerstone of my diet and is still something I consume two or three times a week.
Why cabbage soup? I remembered going on a cabbage soup diet back in the 70s and that it was a quick way to lose a few pounds in advance of a big event. At the time, it was called the “Dolly Parton Diet” although there is no evidence that Dolly Parton had anything to do with it. Still, I dug out my old, handwritten recipe and used that as a starting point to begin my diet. Little did I know that I would enjoy it so much, and it worked so well, that I continue to make a big pot of cabbage soup weekly.
Here is the basic recipe. You can eat as much as you want, whenever you want. It is delicious, even if not dieting!
Cabbage Soup aka Miracle Weight Loss Soup
1/2 head of cabbage, chopped
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup white or yellow onion, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 red or green bell pepper, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth, preferably organic
14 ounce can basil, oregano, garlic diced tomatoes (see note below)
1 Tbl Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
few shakes of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1. Pour the chicken broth and canned tomatoes into a large pot. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
2. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat.
3. Cook until cabbage is tender, about 20 minutes.
4. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Note: I tend to use tomatoes with fire-roasted peppers and often double the amount to two cans.
Other Allowed Foods and What to Avoid
During the first week of my diet, I consumed cabbage soup for three days in a row with nothing else but fresh fruit to supplement my meals and to serve as snacks. When those three days were over, I added fresh vegetables stir-fried with a generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil. After a week I added meat. Yes, meat. Grilled chopped sirloin patties (the kind you purchase at Costco), steak, and even baby back ribs prepared in an Instant Pot. I allowed myself up to one cup of milk per day in my morning latte.
I also limited my alcoholic intake to two glasses of wine a week. At our nightly cocktail hour, I sipped Lemon Ginger tea instead.
The only time I deviated from this basic diet routine was on my birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, where we were invited out. On those occasions, I ate what everyone else did then jumped back on the diet the next day.
There were a number of things I gave up while on this diet. I eliminated artificial sweeteners completely and as well as low-fat anything. I was not much of sweets eater but gave them up as well along with the aforementioned white stuff: bread, rice, noodles, and my one food passion, baked potatoes.
Are You Drinking Enough Water?
I knew I was not drinking an adequate amount of water. Call it laziness, or a fear of having to get up to many times to tinkle in the middle of the night, but for all intents and purposes, I was only drinking eight to ten ounces of water a day. In doing my research, I read over and over again that the correct amount of water intake should be your body weight, divided by two and converted to ounces. Holy moly. For me, that would have been 59 ounces a day! There was no way.
What I did settle on was a full 32 ounces a day with anything over that a bonus. Each morning, I filled my water bottle (I like this one) and ensured that I drank the whole thing before going to bed at night. Much to my surprise, my trips to the bathroom did not change. I can only surmise that my dehydrated cells were becoming hydrated and so while I may have been gaining “water weight”, I was netting that out with a loss of fat cells, including belly fat.
Understanding Belly Fat and Other Woes
As I mentioned above, I did a bit of research before getting started. I wanted to learn about belly fat, leaking gut, and all of those other gross sounding woes that popular nutrition and diet gurus seem to be writing about these days. I am going to be honest with you. Most of the books and articles I read were self-promoting and a veiled attempt to sell me supplements, green smoothie mixes, and other concoctions that I was not interested in. What I was looking for was the science explaining the how’s and whys of how a healthy person with a normal BMI could be getting a bit pudgy in stature.
Here are a few the better books I read, eliminating the most radical conclusions in each, and coming to my own decision relative to the course of action I wanted to take in order to get control of my body weight.
The Weight Is Gone, Now What?
I am glad you asked. I am still pretty much following the diet plan, even when dining out because I feel so darn good! I feel great, my clothes are fitting better, I no longer get leg cramps, and my belly is flat. What more could a girl want, right? I don’t really need to lose any more weight but I do want to continue to feel and look the way I do. I did have a few chocolate chip cookies last week and nothing bad happened so when I get brave enough, I will add an occasional baked potato.
Regardless, the cabbage soup is here to stay. I love the stuff!
Print the Recipe
Here is a printable version of the recipe for you.
The best part of this delicious soup is you can eat as much as you want, whenever you want!
- 1/2 head of cabbage chopped
- 1 cup celery diced
- 1 cup white or yellow onion diced
- 1 cup carrots diced
- 1 red or green bell pepper diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 4 cups chicken broth preferably organic
- 14 ounce can basil oregano, garlic diced tomatoes (see note below)
- 1 Tbl Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- few shakes of black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt optional
Pour the chicken broth and canned tomatoes into a large pot. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat.
Cook until cabbage is tender, about 20 minutes.
Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
I tend to use tomatoes with fire-roasted peppers and often double the amount to two cans.
Summing It All Up
I am not a person who gets on the scale often and, as it happened, did not weigh myself until people started coming up to me and telling me I looked fantastic and further, asked how did I do it? That said, what I am describing here is what worked for me and your mileage may vary. All I can say is that I had been unsuccessfully trying to drop a measly five pounds for over a year and had been literally starving myself in the process. These days, I never go to bed hungry and am actually enjoying my food.
The compliments from my friends coupled with the way I look in mirror keeps me going. Vain? Perhaps. But since it is my choice, who cares?
If you have been struggling to lose a few pounds, I suggest you give the cabbage “miracle weight loss” soup a try. If nothing else, try drinking more water!