Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Cabbage Soup Diet

Don't worry, I'm not going on another crazy cleanse! I'm just working on my retro vegan cookbook project (yes, STILL working on it, slowly but surely), and I came up with a recipe for Cabbage Soup based off the 1980s Cabbage Soup fad diet.

I was too young to have tried the cabbage soup diet, but I do remember hearing about it. If you're not familiar, the Cabbage Soup Diet was a fun bit of faxlore. Yes, that's a real thing! Folklore spread about by fax machine! How delightfully '80s! People would fax copies of a seven-day diet plan that involved lots of cabbage soup, a ton of bananas, raw fruit and veggies, and fruit juice. According to the plan, you could have as much cabbage soup throughout the week as you wanted.

The diet is believed to have actually started in the 1950s, but it was revived in the '80s as the Dolly Parton Diet and/or the Stewardess Diet (or sometimes called the Model Diet). Legend had it that one could lose 10 to 17 pounds in a week because cabbage contained a "miracle fat-burning compound." Of course, that's not true. But people will believe anything. And remember — this was in the days before Google, so if you're friend told you cabbage was magical, you couldn't just do an internet search and find actual science to dispute her.

Here's a sample plan that I found on diet.com. By the way, I am not advocating anyone actually try this plan. It sounds crazy. But I thought it'd be fun to re-print here so y'all can see how silly it is.
Day One: Eat only the cabbage soup and all the fruit you want (except bananas). Cantaloupe and watermelon are recommended. Permissible drinks are water, black coffee, cranberry juice, or unsweetened tea.
Day Two: No fruit. Raw or cooked vegetables can be eaten in unlimited quantity along with the soup, except for corn, peas, and beans. A baked potato with butter can be eaten at dinnertime.
Day Three: Unlimited fruit or vegetables, but no baked potato.
Day Four: Eat at least three and as many as eight bananas, and drink an unlimited amount of skim milk. Day Four is supposed to curb a desire for sweets.
Day Six: Eat cabbage soup at least once during the day; otherwise, an unlimited amount of beef and vegetables can be consumed, but no baked potato.
Day Seven: Eat an unlimited amount of brown rice and vegetables and drink an unlimited amount of unsweetened fruit juice. Cabbage soup must be eaten at least once during the day. No bread, alcohol, or carbonated beverages (including diet soda) are allowed.
Eight bananas!! An unlimited amount of beef!! That's just crazy talk. 

But it's no wonder you could eat all the cabbage soup you wanted. This stuff is amazingly low-cal. I created my recipe by veganizing the recipes I found online. I'm saving the recipe for the book, but it's basically just cabbage, bell peppers, tomatoes, celery, veggie broth, and a homemade onion soup mix (like the packaged onion soup mix but made with dried onions and spices from my cabinet). I counted up the calories, and there are only 26 calories per cup of soup!

That made for an intensely low-cal meal, so in a very un-cabbage-soup-diet-like move, I served it with a not-so-low-cal Tempeh BLT with homemade tempeh bacon (from the recipe in Cookin' Crunk), Just Mayo, tomato, and lettuce.

My goal for 2016 is to wrap up recipe development for the book. I have a TON of vintage vegan recipes already, but I'm organizing the book by decade. And some decades have more than others. I need to even that out. Also, I'm lacking many desserts, so I need to get to baking!


Susan said...

An unlimited amount of beef? But absolutely no baked potato. Blasphemy!
I have heard of the cabbage soup diet, but never actually seen it like that. It is pretty funny to read, but also a bit concerning that this was considered a real thing!
I think my dad could easily eat eight bananas in a day. He is a banana fiend. ;)

Babette said...

Ah ah, I thought you were yet on another cleanse! I had never heard of the cabbage soup cleanse. Although I really like cabbage soup, I think I'd be sick of it after a few days! I'd definitely cheat on the diet.

Can't wait for your book to come out!

Caitlin M said...

wow, that diet is disgusting. i love cabbage soup, though! yours looks deeeeelicious.

Unknown said...

Hahaha!! I distinctly remember as a kid my friend's mom was perpetually on the cabbage soup diet! Their house always had that cabbage funk smell and the poor woman would make a normal dinner for us kids and her husband while having a big bowl of the cabbage soup herself. It was kind of sad actually...

Cadry said...

That diet is too funny and random! It includes lots of specifications regarding baked potatoes. There was a version of the cabbage soup diet that a friend of mine was doing in the early 2000's. His girlfriend wanted to do the diet, and so he made enough cabbage soup to last for a week for both of them. She took one sip of the soup and refused to continue. He'd spent so much time/effort/money putting it all together that he suffered through the whole thing alone. That was the same guy who did the Master Cleanse for a full month! Then after he was done with his various cleanses, he'd go through the McDonald's drive thru regularly. It always baffled me that he had enough willpower to do a crazy diet of deprivation, but didn't instead just use that willpower on a sane, sustainable way of eating healthily.

Barb@ThatWasVegan? said...

I remember a friend's mother doing that while we were in college (this would've been the 90's), and she was a nurse so I totally believed it would work ;)