The Cabbage Soup diet is a 7-day, very low calorie diet that reports weight loss of up to 10lb in a week. It is a very simple diet but it is also extremely restrictive – it should NOT be undertaken for longer than a week at a time, leaving at least 2 weeks in between. It is recommended that you take a multi-vitamin as you may lack nutrients on this diet.
The diet centres around a simple vegetable soup (unsurprisingly with the main ingredient being cabbage!), on each of the days, you are expected to eat as much soup as you want (ideally, you should not be hungry following this diet) as well as a few other ingredients, depending on the day.
This recipe should see you through most of the week (depending on how much you eat!)
2 large onions
2 green peppers
2 cans of tomatoes (~800g) 🍅
1 bunch of celery
1 head of cabbage (I used white but use any or a mix!) 🌿
1 pack of mushrooms 🍄
1–2 stock cubes (optional) – I used some homemade chicken broth
6–8 cups of water
1. Chop all vegetables into cubes.
2. In a large stock pan, sauté onions in a small amount of oil.
3. Add the other vegetables, and stock and cover with water (add any seasoning here – I would add black pepper now and leave any spice until you want to eat it because what you fancy one time may not be the same a few days later)
4. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat
5. Let simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30–45 minutes.
You can season it with any no calorie seasoning, herbs or spices. To change things up during the week you could add in other non-starchy veg like green beans or spinach.
Day 1: Soup and fruit (not bananas) 🍇 🍏
Day 2: Soup and vegetables (not peas, beans, corn) plus 1 baked potato with butter
Day 3: Soup, fruit and veg (not bananas, potatoes, beans, peas or corn)🍇 🍐
Day 4: Soup, bananas (up to 8) and skimmed milk 🍌 🍌
Day 5: Soup, up to 560g beef or chicken and up to 6 fresh tomatoes 🐔 🐄 🍅
Day 6: Soup, up to 560g beef and vegetables (not peas, beans, corn or potatoes) 🐄
Day 7: Soup, brown rice, vegetables (not peas, beans, corn or potatoes) and fruit juice (no added sugar) 🍚
How I felt
Day 1: Weight 9st 8lb, kcal <900
For me, the quantity of fruit eaten on this day was ridiculous! I like fruit but I don’t tend to eat that much of it, maybe 2 or 3 portions a day ordinarily but because it was the only thing on offer apart from the soup, obviously I went for it. I felt very hungry at 10 pm and had a headache which I’m assuming was from the high amount of fruit sugar.
Day 2: Weight -2lb, kal <800
The second was fine for me, I like to snack on carrots anyway and I do love a baked potato – I knew the calorie count for the day was low so I didn’t need to think about the size of potato
Day 3: Weight -2lb, kcal<900
A nice mix of the first 2 days, mixing up the fruit and veg was good, not too much of a sweetness overdose
Day 4: Weight -1lb, kcal<1100
A higher calorie day today (still too low to be able to sustain it long term). As well as 2 hearty bowls of soup I had 6 bananas and 1l skimmed milk! I loved it! I think the point of this day is to satisfy your sweet tooth – it worked wonders
Day 5: Weight -<1lb, kcal<1000
Not wanting to have beef 2 days in a row, I had 400g chicken breast and 5 tomatoes – I was really full this day (first real protein of the week) so I couldn’t manage more than 1 bowl of soup (felt like that kind of defeats the point of the diet)
Day 6: Weight -<1lb, kcal<900
Beef day – I had 250g mince over a snack and lunch and 200g steak with dry stir-fried veg (seasoned with garlic and black pepper) – I really did not fancy soup for breakfast this day, I had a few mouthfuls and gave it a miss – this was mainly because I was bored of it but also, I had added more chilli and it was a bit spicy for breakfast! Oops!
Day 7: Weight -0lb, kcal<1000
I had brown rice mixed with carrot and cinnamon for breakfast – I was hoping it would be like porridge, but it failed quite dramatically at that – it was ok but not really what I was aiming for, it probably would have worked if I was allowed some coconut milk! I had soup over the rice for other meals with added veg to bulk it up at dinner time
Day 8: Weight 9st 2lb
Back to a diet more usual for me. I am so glad that is over! I don’t think I’ll be taking any lessons learned forward from that one… It is a crazily low calorie diet that is bland at best. Variety is the key and sadly, this does not offer that at all. Quick weight loss, yes but it’s not for me.
This diet is ridiculously low in protein (apart from days 5 and 6) so get as much protein as you can from the veg but don’t expect muscle gain or even maintenance whilst on this diet.
I didn’t lack energy on this diet – plenty of sunshine probably helped! – I managed to complete daily workouts without feeling dizzy but I did get hungry (mainly on the first 3 days), even though you can eat as much soup as you like, I got bored of it and was craving anything other than what I was allowed (a typical response in reaction to restriction) – I spent at least an hour on day 3 googling Brazilian cake recipes to make when this is over!
Day 4 was fantastic! Loads of energy! I do love a banana and milk so it was a good day for me, although when it got to 10.30pm I decided to have a final banana (because I won’t be allowed them again and felt a little sick, obviously 6 bananas in a day was too much!)
Hints and tips 🎩
- Stock up! Make sure you have plenty of fruits and veg available to snack on (depending on the day), otherwise you’re going to be surviving solely on cabbage soup)
- To make the soup more palatable (as it is pretty bland), try the following;
- Blend it so it’s more of a puree
- Add plenty of black pepper to the soup
- Add chilli flakes to the soup
- Add spring onion to the soup (on the veg days)
- To mix it up a bit on the days where fruit and veg are allowed, try;
- Eating a rainbow of veg – focus on the dark leafy greens but mix it up go get maximum nutritional value
- Add cinnamon to the fruit for more of a dessert feel
💪 Body changes/Weight loss
For me: total -6lb and 1.5cm off my waist
Weight loss is inevitable! I struggled to reach a 1000kcal intake most days so I was bound to lose weight. Although I didn’t suffer pain, my stomach definitely gained a bloated appearance from day 5, to say I’d lost a lot of weight, I would have liked a flatter stomach (Note: I took the waist measurement at the smallest part – not the part that became bloated!)
😵 Side effects
Hunger and headaches on day 1, boredom and frustration each day and stomach bloating. Many people suffer with wind due to the high fibre nature of this diet, and the quantity of sulfur-containing veg – honestly, I didn’t really (ask my husband if you don’t believe me – we’re still staying at home all the time remember!!) but then again, I have always been more of a burp-er than a fart-er so maybe that’s it although on day 3 my breath did smell a bit cabbage-y! 🙄
Really depends on what fruit and veg you choose – it’s definitely still cheaper than mass produced foods but if you were to choose some wild exotic fruits then depending on where you live, I imagine it could add up quickly. I would say it’s worth spending more on good quality meat (as always). Overall, a pretty cheap diet to follow, especially as the main aspect (the soup!) is made in bulk.
Very easy to follow, once the soup is made then that is your main food source for the week. Make sure there’s always plenty on standby for when you get peckish so you don’t stray! There’s nothing to measure apart from the meat, you just need to make sure you have enough fruit and veg available when you want it, as long as you’re allowed that particular day.
🙌 Was it enjoyable?
Not at all! I feel like I’m being a bit dramatic writing this but seriously, I really did not enjoy this diet, apart from banana day (even then it got a bit too much!) It seems to be a case of absolute restriction covered with a blanket of excess – you can have however much you want, as long as it’s only of 1 food type within that 24 hours. I felt myself craving anything else! Variety is the spice of life after all!
💭 Would I recommend it
It is a crazily low-calorie diet so weight loss is bound to occur. If you love cabbage soup then absolutely, go for it but it is a very restrictive diet that is bland at best. Variety is the key and sadly, this does not offer that at all. Quick weight loss, yes but it’s not for me (and the bloated stomach look might not be what you’re after from a quick fix) – if you want a speedy result, go for the Military diet instead!