Hello Loyal Soup People! Last week I wrote about fat – specifically how not all fat is bad (or good) for us! There is quite a bit of debate about fat. One thing that is not up for debate is the unhealthy nature of sugar. Almost all nutritionists and health experts agree that we can only benefit if we cut down on sugar in our diet. Any sugar that our bodies don’t burn up during the day is turned directly into fat. Unless we burn this sugar off through exercise, it heads to our bellies in the form of fat. Our bodies are trained to do this for survival! Our bodies are naturally always trying to prepare for times when food will be scarce, and we’ll need extra fat to sustain ourselves. In modern day society, we are very lucky that many of us will not face starvation or famine. So we’re just left with extra fat that, according to most statistics, will increase as we age.

One essential component to fighting fat? Reducing sugar intake! If you have less sugar in your body, and are burning more during the day (i.e. exercise!), your body will then start using built up fat for energy! Perfect! The problem is sugar is everywhere these days. Food companies sneak sugar into the most unexpected places. Take a look at that loaf of bread you bought from the store. Sugar! Check out the back label of your tomato sauce. Yup, more sugar.

You have to be extra careful when shopping for convenience food as sugar is really everywhere. Food manufactures are smart! Sugar tastes good and our bodies crave it (back to that innate inclination to store fat…). Here are a few tips to keep added sugar out of your life:

– Quite simply – keep the cookies and candy out of your home. If you have a craving and you don’t have it near, you’re forced to wait for it to pass. If you really want that ice cream and find yourself in the car heading out to the store – you probably really, really deserve that ice cream and should eat it! But 99% of the time, you’ll just wait for the craving to pass. If you don’t have treats in the home, you really will reserve them for special occasions.

– Find naturally sweet substitutes. Instead of sweetening your coffee with sugar, try cinnamon. Put fruit in your oatmeal instead of maple syrup. Get creative with dessert! Grill fruit and bake apples instead of eating ice cream. Yes, fruit has naturally occurring sugars – but they are mixed in with so many other healthy elements – such as fiber and vitamins. They key is to avoid added sugars.

– Stop drinking your sugar. I’m really adamant about this one. Remove sugary drinks from your diet. Soda, energy drinks, artificially flavored juices – they are simply terrible for you. They offer no health benefits and so many studies link them to obesity. I also include diet drinks in this category (more on that later). In addition to needlessly adding sugar to your diet, they are so sweet that they make it hard for you to fight sugar cravings. They change your palate to crave even more sugar – not less! Water, tea, coffee, seltzer – there are plenty of beverages out there that are actually good for you!

– Read labels carefully. Like I mentioned above, sugar sneaks in the most unexpected places. Read the nutrition labels to really understand what you’re eating. Obviously, the best way to avoid sugar is to cook everything from scratch. But many of us simply don’t have the time. That’s why it is so important to know what you’re eating! Ignore the claims on the front – always read the back!

No controversy in this column! Cut down on sugar for a healthier life. It’s as simple as that!

Hello Loyal Soup People! This week I want to revisit the topic of fat. There is a lot of buzz and quite a bit of confusion about fat. First, I want to state clearly that I don’t have all the answers. However, I just read the results of a study that I wanted to share with you.

First, we definitely know that the “low-fat” craze of the 90’s and early 2000’s was basically all wrong. People replaced fats of all kind with high-calorie empty carbohydrates. People were loading up on white bread, “fat-free” cookies (loaded with “fat-free” sugar), and junk – as long as these foods didn’t contain fat. Sugar doesn’t contain any actual fat, but our body turns it right into fat as soon as we eat it. Not good! Also, people were grouping all fats together. Saturated, unsaturated, trans – all were considered unhealthy.

In terms of fat, we absolutely know that trans-fats (those found in partially hydrogenated oils) are terrible for you. It is now banned in many places. There is still quite a bit of question about saturated fat – which brings me to the study I read. According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, higher intake of polyunsaturated fats (PUFA’s) and whole grains significantly reduced participants’ risk of cardiovascular disease. Specifically, when individuals replaced saturated fat with PUFA’s and whole grains, their risk for cardiovascular disease dropped, in some cases, by 25%. That is a significant number.

This study will certainly not be the last word on this subject. We have a lot more to learn. However, when choosing fats, PUFA’s seem to be the way to go. Avocados, nuts, olives, and hearty-healthy oils are all great sources of PUFA’s. Fats can definitely be incredibly healthy. Just be sure to choose wisely!

*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!

Hello Loyal Soup People! This week, let’s chat about supplements. In short – they can be very dangerous! I hate to start my column with such stark  language, but I just read some information about dietary supplements that makes me want to sound the alarm!

Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has very little control over the dietary market. Unlike with prescription or over-the-counter medication, manufacturers of dietary supplements are not required to perform any safety tests or obtain FDA approval before putting their product  on the market! In fact, the only way the FDA can pull a supplement is if it’s proven to be contaminated or if someone gets sick from ingesting it.

Your liver is at the most risk from dietary supplements. Between 2004 and 2013, the rate of liver injuries, including ones serious enough to require a transplant, tripled in number. Over 23,000 Emergency Room visits each year are attributed to dietary supplements. The biggest culprits are those linked to claims of gaining muscle and losing weight. They often contain various types of steroids and/or prescription medication which aren’t actually legal in the United States!

If you currently take any dietary supplements, watch for signs of liver damage. Jaundice, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, fever, and rash can all be signs of liver damage. My best advice is to steer clear of supplements altogether. If you’re trying to lose weight and gain muscle – do it the old fashioned way! Diet and exercise!

*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!

Look how much the kids like free soup!Free soup, you say? Indeed!! We’re starting Triple Stamp Tuesdays at BOTH locations this Tuesday! Plus, come in on Tuesdays, spend $20 or more, and get a FREE pint of soup! Plus, with any purchase of $5 or more we’ll give you THREE stamps on your Soupergirl loyalty card! This special will run for all of March at both our M Street AND Takoma locations. Yes, our soup is available at many stores and markets in and around the DMV. However, visiting our stores is the most special, and dare we say, fun way to purchase our products. First of all, the stores are the only places to get our salads, sandwiches, and other goodies. Plus, you can sample all the soups before you buy! Plus, our staff is so darn friendly. And good looking. How could they not be? They eat soup every single day! They have aged backwards.You have to see it to believe it. So this March, come on in for a visit. Get the true Soupergirl experience. Especially on Tuesdays! Free soup, ya’ll!


Look how happy the kids are about free soup! Free soup!!

IMG_1644This is the LAST WEEK to vote in the City Paper’s annual Best of DC contest. Boy oh boy we would really appreciate your vote!! This handy link takes you DIRECTLY to the Soupergirl voting page. We’ve made it THAT easy. Just think, you can vote and eat soup with total impunity. Or, you could skip it, and next week feel SO BAD. So we’re saving you that guilty feeling you get when you forget to vote. This child pictured here on the left… he’s going to get so upset if you don’t vote. Don’t upset this little fella! You can thank us later. Or, better yet, we can thank you NOW! Seriously – thank you, you guys! And sorry for all the nagging. We’ll stop now.

Hello Loyal Soup People! This week, let’s talk about moderation. I often hear people say “everything in moderation” when they talk about their approach to food. Unfortunately, science proves that this is actually not the healthiest approach when it comes to your diet. According to a recent study done by Tufts University, people with greater diet diversity had a larger waist circumference and were at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. The study found that this type of eating was linked to a poor diet quality.

To be blunt, potato chips, cookies, and cake play no part in a healthy diet. While I am a fan of thoughtful indulgence, regularly consuming these types of food will only have negative effects on your health. Also, it is very hard for us to eat these types of foods truly in moderation. As I’ve discussed in previous columns, the combination of sugar, fat, and salt can be addictive to many people. As the old Pringles chip commercial used to say, “Betcha can’t eat just one.” It’s true! It is really quite hard for us to eat just one potato chip! If we give ourselves the permission to eat EVERYTHING in moderation, eventually the unhealthy foods overtake the healthier ones. French fries end up on our plate more often than salad.

So, no, not everything in moderation. Foods we know to be unhealthy should limited. We should look for diet diversity when it comes to healthy foods! Like I’ve said before, eat the rainbow when it comes to your vegetables. Look for different types of hearty healthy sources of protein, fiber, and nutrients. Have fun with your healthy foods and mix it up! Leave the dessert and chips for special occasions.

*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!

Hello Loyal Soup People! This week I’d like to chat about healthy shopping habits. I’ve often written about how important it is to shop at the perimeters of stores, where you’ll find all the fresh items (fruits, vegetables, etc.). The closer you get to the center of the store, the more “processed” the food becomes. Cans, candies, chips, etc. However, have you thought about the dangers found in the check-out aisle? We often fill our baskets with healthy and fresh foods, and then grab chips and candy when checking out, because we’re hungry, low on energy, and well, the food is right there!

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) recently released a report that found that 90% of the food displayed in the check-out line was junk food (candies, cookies, and chips). 60% of the beverages were sugary. Only 2% of food and beverages were found to be healthy (fruits, nuts, etc.). The rest was somewhere in between (trail mix, granola bars…).

These check-out displays aren’t found just at the supermarket! Stores such as Staples, Best Buy, and Bed Bath and Beyond also have tempting check-out displays. Retailers know that people are much more likely to make impulse purchases while standing in line to pay.

There are a few tricks to avoid making these unplanned, usually unhealthy purchases:

– Never shop hungry. You’ll make better decisions when making regular purchases and while standing in the check-out line. Mustering will power while checking out isn’t too difficult if you aren’t famished. If you need to, pack a snack for yourself. Instead of reaching for a candy bar, grab some nuts from your own bag!

– Shop with a list and don’t deviate. Set rules for yourself. If something isn’t on your shopping list, don’t allow it in your cart!

– Pay with cash. This may sound strange, but several studies have shown that when paying with cash instead of credit cards, we are much more picky about what we put in our carts. When you physically hand over money to a cashier, and you see how much something costs, you’re more thoughtful about each purchase.

– Use the self check out lines. These were created to speed up the check out process, so retailers don’t put anything in the way of getting you out the door! You’ll find no tempting items next to the cash register when checking yourself out.

The check out line is just another way retailers are trying to trick us into buying things we don’t need. Treat them the same way that you treat false advertising and misleading labels. You know what you should be buying and eating. Don’t fall for tricks and traps. Stick to your healthy eating plan wherever you are!

*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!

4 days.16 soups-brightYou guys – we’re into our fourth week of the Non-Cleanse Soup “Cleanse” and the results are pretty incredible. Most people are signing up for multiple “cleanses.” People are dropping weight, changing their eating habits, feeling energized. One person even reported being able to fly. One of these statements isn’t true, but that’s not important now!

“Cleanser” Abby, who drove in from Annapolis to give it a shot, reported that by Day Two she was completely energized and didn’t need her daily power nap. She felt cleaner, lighter, and healthier.

From another “cleanser:” “The soups were fresh and filling. I never felt hungry… I experienced a loss of cravings (sugar, salt, dairy, even carbs!). I would definitely do it again…”

And another – “I’m very grateful for the Non-Cleanse Soup “Cleanse” for raising this awareness in me by tailoring such a filling, healthy, and thoughtful menu. It was indeed souper!”

If you don’t believe us, check out what the New York Times has to say!!

Seriously people, what are you waiting for? Four days. Sixteen soups. Immediate results. The details are available on our special “cleanse” website. Check it out!

Hello Loyal Soup People! This week, let’s chat about Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Some of you may have heard of these incredibly important superstar fatty acids because they are linked to a much lower risk of cardiovascular disease. They are so important to heart health that the National Academy of Science recommends that men consume 1.6 grams per day and women consume 1.1 grams – every single day. Fish based Omega-3’s seem to get all the limelight, but there are many studies that show the link between alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – which are plant based Omega-3 Fatty Acids – and heart health.

Numerous studies have shown that ALA consumption is linked to a drastically lowered risk of death from heart disease (almost 10%). They also help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and may help lower blood pressure and offer protection from strokes.

ALA’s can be found in many delicious plant based foods. Flax seed and chia seeds are the most popular foods right now containing high amounts of ALA’s. However, remember that flax seed must be ground up for your body to absorb them. Be very wary of potato chips containing whole flax seeds! They are still fried chips!

You can also find ALA in tofu, walnuts and walnut oil, along with other heart healthy plant based oils such as flaxseed and canola. To add more ALA’s to your diet, try sprinkling flax or chia seeds on your morning breakfast cereal or add them to a smoothie or juice. Add walnuts to your salad. Stir fry some tofu with seasonal vegetables for dinner.

Whatever you do, focus on adding more plant-based ALA’s into your diet whenever possible. Truly delicious AND nutritious!

*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!

Hello Loyal Soup People! This week I’d like to tackle the issue of exercise versus diet – which is more important when it comes to weight loss? There has been a lot of buzz about this issue, and I wanted to add some of my thoughts to the matter.

Unfortunately, the answer is not simple, and the details are probably not what you want to hear! While both are very important, when it comes down to actually losing weight, your diet is key. Eating mindfully and healthfully are essential. As Michael Pollan says, “Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.” Basically, a plant-focused diet that contains small portions will be the most effective when it comes to losing weight.

In terms of exercise, don’t discount its importance! Just be sure to approach it correctly. Some people have been known to gain a bit of weight when beginning a new exercise regiment! Some people “reward” themselves by eating extra calories after they exercise. Unfortunately, even the most rigorous of exercises burn a few hundred calories. Adding an extra serving of ice cream or even a slice or two of bread with dinner will add up to more calories than you burned while working out.

Remember, the benefits of exercise go far beyond weight loss. There are literally too many to list! Exercise helps lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, combats cardiovascular disease, fights depression, and so much more. The list literally goes on and on. Weight loss is just one potential benefit.

The key to weight loss is to find the balance between the diet and exercise, with a heavier emphasis on the former. Don’t get me wrong. Exercise is important. Especially when it comes to long term weight loss. Regular exercise helps keep your resting metabolism high, so you’ll burn calories faster throughout the day! And because the benefits of exercise are so important, I recommend doing it as often as possible! No matter your weight loss goals!