It’s day 5 on the Cabbage Soup Diet, and I’m feeling pretty good all over. All in all this has been the easiest diet EVER. I’ve lost another half a kilo, and with no significant discomfort, illness (except for the zinc side-effects) or (let’s face it, a significant concern)…antisocial digestive consequences. It’s a little harder to give an objective assessment of feeling today, to be fair, because I slept really badly (due to too much stuff on my mind – probably shouldn’t have started playing with blog indexing at 11pm!). But I feel good in my body, energetic despite the tiredness and comfortably fed.
Of course it helps that today is a MEAT DAY! Yay! Today I get to eat up to 560g of beef and 8 medium tomatoes as my additional food. I started early (couldn’t wait) with a beefy breakfast of a pasta-less bolognaise so as to incorporate the toms – I browned 200g of good minced beef in a pan, while food-processing 3 of the toms with two cloves of garlic (not technically on the roster but a very small deviation I think, and my first), a few leaves of basil, black pepper and salt. Then I stirred the tomato mixture into the mince while slowly simmering until it was a rich red beefy sauce, and dug in with relish.
Never has meat tasted so good. Just the texture was heavenly, and the beef had depth of flavour and complexity that I’d never tasted before. It speaks for the power of deprivation to sharpen your enjoyment. Honestly I’d do the whole thing again just for that experience.
Later I’m going to marinate some rump steak in pounded tomato to tenderise and sharpen the flavour, then make it into small beef-and-tomato kebabs I can chew on through the afternoon and evening to draw out the pleasure (and pace things for my meat-deprived digestive system). I’ve just had my lunch bowl of soup, this time with a dash of smoked paprika to liven it up, and it’s still not too dull, let alone offputting.
Funnily enough – and I would never have said this before – I’m already missing the other raw fruit and veg. Right now I’ve got a real craving for a carrot to chomp on to top off my mostly liquid lunch…this may leave me with a good longterm change of appreciation in food groups!
Yesterday I dug through a bunch of journal databases looking for anything like a peer-reviewed controlled study of the cabbage soup diet. Through my Athens student login I tried Ovid, all the Medline databases, the AMED Allied and Complementary Medicine archive, British Nursing Indexes, and even PsycINFO, and I also looked on Pubmed and Google Scholar – nowhere was I able to find a single scientific study (or indeed any kind of serious trial) of the diet. Looks like this debate will continue to be unsupported by any valid medical data.
Mark Hewitt is an English foodie, cook, philosopher, geek, shaman and writer. At the start of 2007 he sold or gave away almost all his possessions and left on a backpacking journey round the world, the purpose being (at least in part) to figure out why he would want to do such a thing. You can follow his journey and find other articles at: [http://www.scadindustries.com/sael/journal.html]