In mid January, I was diagnosed with esophagitis after an antibiotic horse pill prescribed by a dermatologist got lodged in my esophagus and burned it. What this means technically is that the tube connecting my throat and stomach was constantly inflamed. What this means practically is that I spent nearly two weeks consuming nothing but yogurt and room-temperature soups because eating anything else felt akin to swallowing large shards of ceramic pottery.
This was (as I complained loudly and constantly to anyone who would listen) a miserable experience—one that happened to make me drop a decent amount of weight in a short amount of time. But even knowing that perk (if you consider feeling rib-y and starving a perk), I would not recommend a soup-only diet. Some folks in the New York Times, however, would.
Souping, the Times explains, is the new juicing, i.e. a thing rich and middle class people do to cleanse their bodies of impurities and get crazy skinny. But unlike juicing, souping will help you forget how starving you are by allowing you to chew—sort of like how some of us with disordered eating would try to skip lunch in high school by gnawing on gum for hours on end.
One souper puts it this way: “The juice cleanses are difficult because you don’t chew, and you don’t feel like you’re eating anything for days at a time. You’re just really hungry.”
And so once a week, she now turns to soup cleanses—the time-honored “cleanse” of shelters and bread lines—and she’s not alone. In both New York and L.A., kitchens—not soup kitchens, but soup kitchens— have opened to cater directly to the soup-obsessed elite. Admittedly, it’s not the least healthy trend.
“When you do juice cleanses, your blood sugar can spike really high,” NYU dietician Despina Hyde tells the Times. “Soup cleanses are inherently lower in sugar over all because they’re using more vegetables and complex carbohydrates versus fruit. They also tend to be higher in fiber, which has so many good benefits.”
Hm, fiber. Very good. Less good is “souping,” mostly because the word sounds incredibly stupid.
I know, I know. I am being unfairly hard on soup and the soupers who love it. Perhaps I am bitter because of my forced diet. Perhaps I’m mad because I recently realized there’s a New York restaurant called Brodo—which is just the Italian word for BROTH, by the way—where people line up in the street to buy $6 cups of hot, salted bone water. Perhaps I’m sad that soup and broth has become a trend when soup and broth are timeless. Perhaps I’m scared because I love soup and am too scared to admit it for fear of rejection. Or maybe it’s just that all cleanses—soup-themed or not—sound crazy and terrible and you should definitely avoid them.
If you take away one thing here, let it be this: Don’t get esophagitis. It will turn you into a real, soup-hating bitch.
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