It’s the Time of the Season for Soup | The Daily Dish

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It’s the Time of the Season for Soup

No Comments | Written on October 20, 2017 at 10:45 am , by

Now that the weather has finally caught up with the season, Chicagoans are in a rush to shift from the joys of summer to the comforts of fall.

With the changing of the seasons comes a changing of food and with Autumn comes the harvest. It’s a time to husk corn, skin squash, and eat crisp, red apples right off the tree. It’s a time to make steamy stews and hot, sugary pies. And it’s a time to look with new eyes on the food we eat and to consider a change in diet alongside the change in seasons.

While in the summer they preferred refreshing juice cleanses, health fanatics and dieters are now searching for something warmer and more filling to sustain their bodies through another harsh winter. So while kids run through corn mazes and carve glaring faces into innocent orange vegetables, many of their parents are about to embark on a new dietary fad fit for the season: Souping.

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Perhaps you haven’t heard of souping yet, but odds are you’ve already heard of juicing. As the names suggest, they’re similar. Both are types of diets or cleanses based on consuming fruit and vegetables in liquid form. But beyond the name and base-function, there lies a plethora of key distinctions between juicing and souping that could mean the difference between rejuvenation and depletion, good and poor health to the user.

Juicing

In the last decade, the health food craze sent everyone running circles between supermarkets and gardens, farm pick-ups and elite kitchens, scrounging for healthy food in a cuisine corrupted by fast food and high fructose corn syrup. Juicing burst out of the chaos, blooming from an anomaly practiced by health fanatics and California hippies into a universal fad, gobbled up by the masses as an easily digestible, overnight sensation like Twitter and Taylor Swift. In 2016, Statista reported that the sales volume of juice worldwide was 20.55 billion liters. In the U.S. alone, the projected sale of juice in 2017 is 7.2 billion dollars, more than the 5.45 billion dollars devoted to coffee. That’s a lot of juice.

Though the juicing fad is a recent phenomenon, juice itself has been around for a long time.

The first recorded mention of making juice is in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The scrolls, which date from before 150 B.C. to about 70 A.D., describe how the Essenes, a desert tribe in ancient Israel, mashed figs and pomegranates to make the first juice. For the next 2000 years, the records of juicing are incomplete; it existed, but had yet to overtake the thrones of wine and beer, civilization’s most popular beverages.

Juicing didn’t really take off until the late 20th to early 21st century, when Norman Walker, who is considered to be one of the founders of today’s juicing movement, began to juice.

carrot-juice-1623157_960_720An enigmatic and eccentric character, Walker “discovered” juicing by watching a farmer peeling a carrot in France. He realized that the liquid dripping out held a lot of the carrot’s nutrients. He experimented with juicing techniques on himself and they worked. At least, they may have extended his life if you belief his claim that he lived to be 115 years old, but the evidence is as murky as orange juice pulp. Walker did live to his nineties but any further is unclear. He is credited with writing the first manual for juicing and creating the first mechanical juicer.

After its strange beginnings and booming success a hundred years later, juicing continues to thrive. Mary MacVean, a reporter for the L.A. Times, wrote that in 2015, the cold-pressed juice market was estimated at $100 million a year.

Yet all empires fall. The foundations of juicing are starting to crumble just as the Romans’ did. People are beginning to question the merits of drinking juice. Though drinking juice still has some irrefutable health benefits, juicing may not be that beneficial. A much better choice may be souping.

Souping

What is this upstart soup and where did it come from with its wily ways and evil plot to overthrow juice? Actually, soup is much older than juice and has been around as long as cooking. Based on pottery found in Western Europe, archaeologist John Speth says it’s likely that humans were making soup at least 25,000 years ago, when they began to cook over a fire.

Soup may have existed even earlier. A 2001 study by the National Academy of Sciences reported the discovery of starch grains in the teeth of Neanderthal skeletons from Shanidar Cave, Iraq and Spy Cave, Belgium. The study stated, “Many of the grass seed starches showed damage that is a distinctive marker of cooking.” Neanderthals, a predecessor to homo sapiens, lived 28,000 to 200,000 years ago. So soup – at least in a primitive version – may have existed as far back as 200,000 years ago.

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Deutsch: Neanderthal Museum, Mettmann, Wikipedia Commons

In her book “Soup Through the Ages: A Culinary History with Period Recipes”, Victoria R. Rumble explains that the word soup comes from sop, or to soak up juices from meat with bread. That’s what soup originally was: the liquid left over from cooking meat. But around “the 12th century people realized this sop was as good as the meat itself, and by the 13th century soup making was becoming an art form.”

Though juice is trending now, soup is older, and has been nourishing people since the Stone Age. It has an established past that is well-rooted in customs, traditions, and folklore. Of course juice and soup are hard to compare – one is a drink and one is a meal. There are also healthy and unhealthy versions of each. But for a cleanse or diet in which you consume only one for a period of time, soup is beginning to seem like the better option.

Souping is The New Juicing

Fruit has always been seen as one of the healthiest natural foods you can eat. Everyone’s heard the advice, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” So fruit juice is naturally considered as healthy as the fruit itself. This belief is part of why juicing took off: as a healthy, natural diet. But juicing – and fruit juice in general – isn’t really that healthy.

Because the rising popularity of juice corresponds with society’s health spiraling out of control – obesity, high blood pressure rates, etc. – scientists decided to examine juice as well as processed foods.

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A 2013 BMJ study exploring the correlation of fruit consumption with type 2 diabetes discovered that while some fruits can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, greater consumption of fruit juice can increase the risk. In fact, they found that overall, the “substitution of whole fruits for fruit juice was associated with a lower risk.” So too much fruit juice can lead to type 2 diabetes while eating whole fruits can prevent it.

The American Public Health Association ties the increase in juice consumption to the rise of childhood obesity because as healthy as fruit is, it still contains a lot of sugar. Mass-producers add extra sugar to make it even sweeter. But even purely squeezed juice with no additional sweeteners can spike up your blood sugar.

Juicing diets often claim superiority over eating raw fruit. Juice writer Liza Sussman admits that it’s uncertain “whether your body can absorb the nutrients more easily in liquid form or if there’s any advantage in giving your digestive system a break from working on fiber”. In fact, there’s a clear disadvantage.

Four ounces of 100% apple juice has 13 grams of sugar, 60 calories, and 0 fiber while a half cup of sliced apples has 5.5 grams of sugar, 30 calories, and 1.5 grams of fiber. Not only is eating an apple healthier, it may also lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

In the realm of fiber, souping holds a definite advantage. Juices are made without the skins, peels, or husks of fruit. But soups include the vegetable skins and therefore contain the whole nutrient package. So the fiber and bulk inside soups is more nutritious and will fill you up, omitting the gnawing hunger so common with juicing.

Drinking the occasional glass of orange juice isn’t bad, but consuming only juice and fruit can lead to disastrous results. Take Steve Jobs, the most famous fruitarian.

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Fruit was so important to Jobs, he named his company Apple. But it became his entire diet. In his biography Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson wrote, “He would eat only fruit smoothies and… demand that seven or eight of them be lined up so he could find an option that might satisfy him.” Jobs would also go for long periods without eating; he lost 40 pounds in just the spring of 2008 because he refused to eat anything.

Though no one can say for sure where cancer originates from, research does credit a higher risk of pancreatic cancer with a greater consumption of fruit and juice. Jobs consumed only fruit and juice. So, if not the cause, Jobs’ fruit diet most likely contributed to worsening the pancreatic cancer that eventually took his life.

Ashton Kutcher, who played Jobs in the movie 2013 movie “Jobs”, decided to get into character by becoming a fruitarian. But after a month, he, “ended up in the hospital… doubled over in pain,” with irregular pancreas levels. As Angela Haupt reported in U.S. News, “In addition to supplying too few calories, the fruitarian diet likely won’t provide adequate levels of vitamin B-12, calcium, vitamin D, zinc, iodine, and omega-3 fatty acids.” As a result, it can lead to serious health risks.

Juicing had good intentions when it started out, but it became unhealthy and unsustainable. Perhaps juicing for short 1-2 day spurts would achieved the desired effect. Either way, souping offers many of the same benefits while being much healthier. 

The Case for Souping:

The goal of juicing is to cleanse and restore the body.Courtney Baron, certified NYC-area health coach, explains that “by eating soups that are rich in vegetables and superfoods, your body can receive a ton of vitamins and nutrients without forcing the digestive system to work as hard.” Souping restores the digestive system and detoxes the body, achieving the aims of juicing, without the negative side effects.

leek-791816_960_720With all that veggie fiber, soup makes you feel full. It’s also a more environmentally-friendly practice than juicing because the extra peels and skins used, rather than discarded. Along the same lines, souping is cost-efficient because it has such a high water content and uses every part of the vegetable.

Whereas juicing feels like a diet because you’re only drinking thin, non-filling liquids, souping doesn’t. It’s low-stress, non-extreme, and can even be fun! While discovering new and interesting soups and staying full, you won’t even notice you’re dieting.

You’ll lose weight while souping because it’s a low-calorie diet at only around 1,200 calories for a day’s worth of soup. But don’t do it for more than one day, Ms. Hyde, the Dietician of Soupure suggests, because it causes muscle-breakdown.

Omnivore, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, lactose-intolerant, allergic to peanuts — soups can be great no matter what dietary restrictions or preferences you have.

Part of the appeal of juicing is its convenience: you can grab a few bottles of juice on the go. Souping is just as convenient. It’s easy to prepare, store, and freeze. It can be heated up at the office or eaten cold. Who ever heard of a warm juice? Perhaps the best reason to start souping now is that it’s fall. With the days and nights are getting shorter, there’s nothing better than good soup to warm you to the bone.

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Starting On the Right Track

Any diet can be useless if you’re not doing it the right way. Follow these rules to ensure you get the most out of your soup cleanse while sidestepping any potential cons.

  • It’s a reset diet, so do it for 1-2 days or 1 day every few days. Otherwise, it’ll be too much for your body. Simply incorporating more soups into your daily life will make you healthier!
  • Includes the skins for more vitamins and nutrients.

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  • Avoid cream-based soups, because those are high in calories and fat.
  • Soups with lentils, beans, and pastas will keep your energy up with more starch for your body to burn.
  • Before grabbing soup from a soup bar, check how long it’s been sitting out. Rosalind Ryan of The Daily Mail explains that “Heat sensitive vitamins like vitamin C and thiamin (vitamin B1) can be depleted from fresh soup if it has been simmered for a long time”.
  • Avoid instant soup at ALL COST. A study on the effects of instant noodle intake published in the Journal of Nutrition found that women who eat instant noodles twice a week are “68 percent more likely to have metabolic syndrome”, which increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Maybe ruling out instant noodles was already a no-brainer for you. But if it wasn’t, it should be.
  • Another study discovered that canned soups are linked to a risky intake of BPA (or the industrial chemical Bisphenol A), which can lead to negative health effects on the brain, behavior, prostate glands, and possibly with high blood pressure.
  • Homemade soup is best because you know exactly what’s in it and how it was made.

As you begin your quest for the truth about souping, remember that there is “too much of a good thing.” While juice is certainly healthier than a lot of popular drinks, too much is not good. The same reasoning applies to soup.

Living is a constant balancing act of work, family, passions, and desires and eating is just as much of a balance.

Recommendations

Places that offer souping cleanses:

Soup recipes for the season:

Recommended reading, for more background and recipes:

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