Saturday, January 7, 2017

Green Kale Detox Soup

This flavorful green soup uses simple ingredients to create a nourishing meal that can help support natural detoxification. It is designed for Phase 1 of our Elimination Diet, but of course is a wonderful addition to your weekly meal planning even if you are not on the elimination diet! I chose ingredients for this recipe that are easy to digest and are naturally anti-inflammatory. Perfect if you feel that your body needs a break from some of the heavier foods of winter.

As we turn the corner into a new year, new resolutions, new diets, and new commitments to health inevitably echo around the blogosphere. While I believe it is a wonderful thing to try something new, I think it is only helpful if you enter into your diet or exercise regimen with the goal of learning more about yourself. This is because nobody is more of a guru on your own health than you! I know this might sound hypocritical in a blog post about a Green Kale Detox Soup recipe for the Elimination Diet so let me explain.

The Elimination Diet is not a diet that tells you what is good for you and what is not. It is a process that helps you discover what foods work best for you. We are all unique. There is no one way of eating or one perfect diet that is right for everyone. Even Hippocrates noticed this well over 2000 years ago.

He said: “For cheese does not prove equally injurious to all men, for there are some who can take it to satiety, without being hurt by it in the least, but, on the contrary, it is wonderful what strength it imparts to those it agrees with; but there are some who do not bear it well, their constitutions are different, they differ in this respect, that what in their body is incompatible with cheese, is roused and put in commotion by such a thing; and those in whose bodies such a humor happens to prevail in greater quantity and intensity, are likely to suffer the more from it. But if the thing had been pernicious to the whole nature of man, it would have hurt all.” 

What he meant by this is that some foods can make people strong and healthy while the same foods could make others weak and sick. This is as true today as it was then.

There really are no bad foods. Only foods that work well with your body and those that don't. Finding the foods that satisfy your body, soul, and taste buds is part of deepening the connection with yourself. It is part of listening to your inner wisdom. You can do this through the process of the elimination diet. And you can do this through the process of asking questions. Or both.

What can I do to have more energy? Clearer thinking? A strong digestive system? What can I do to heal my health condition? If you listen—really listen—the answers will come to you. This takes getting into a parasympathetic state. A state where your nervous system is not in flight or fight, but rest and digest. The answers will come to you when you are most relaxed. Maybe on a hike, in the shower, as you are going to bed, or breastfeeding your baby.

Sometimes it can be hard to access that all-knowing part of you. Sometimes your body is out of balance and you might be listening only to what your brain is telling you. "Give me a donut!" "Give me a grilled cheese sandwich" "I'm craving pizza!" "I can't go an evening without a drink [of alcohol]!" If you are on the carb/junk food roller coaster then it can be very difficult to access the voices of your body and gut....your innate gut wisdom that tells you what you can do to supercharge your body. This is where detoxes and elimination diets come in. They remove the clutter so you can have a clear signal to your inner wisdom. You'll know when the path is clear when you start craving a plate of sautéed kale, or the thought of a small steak and a large fennel-cabbage salad sounds grounding and energizing, or perhaps when a simple bowl of brown rice, beans, and avocado sounds comforting and nourishing.

This is deep listening. It is a process of nurturing ourselves that is constantly growing and evolving.

If you feel like the Elimination Diet resonates with you then I'd love for you to join Tom and I online. We host a wonderful and informative online support program so you can let go of the foods that don't serve you, and so you learn more about your health and the foods that make your body sing. The elimination diet is not just about eliminating and reintroducing foods, it is about ramping up detoxification so your body can work more efficiently. It is about getting your digestive system back into tip-top shape. Let's make sure you have enough stomach acid so you are breaking down your food, signaling your body to absorb key nutrients, and triggering your pancreas to release digestive enzymes. Let's make sure you are deeply nourishing yourself with the foods rich in nutrients that calm down inflammation so your immune system is not overreacting. It's a functional medicine 101 training course!

We also have an Elimination Diet book and some online resources for you if you would like to dive deeper. If not, then you always have the all-knowing part of yourself that you can talk with daily. Just ask a question and listen for the answer. Maybe this nourishing green detox soup recipe will resonate with you.

Green Kale Detox Soup

Use this easy method of making soup using just about any ingredients! Just simmer some broth, add some vegetables and herbs, cook until tender, then puree. The key is a very flavorful homemade bone broth. I love having soups like this for breakfast, especially on a cold winter morning. I have many more nourishing detox soup recipes in the Elimination Diet Book and plenty more elimination diet recipes listed here on the blog if you would like more ideas.

4 to 5 cups homemade chicken or turkey bone broth*
1/2 pound fresh or frozen green beans, chopped
4 small zucchini, chopped (about 1 pound)
1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
1/2 bunch kale, chopped
1 large handful fresh parsley
sea salt or herbed sea salt, to taste

Place broth into a 3-quart pot and bring to a simmer. Add the green beans, zucchini, green onions, and marjoram. Cover and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until just barely tender. Add the kale and parsley and simmer 1 to 2 minutes more. Turn off heat and use a stainless steel immersion blender to puree the soup right in the pot. Taste and add sea salt or homemade Herbamare to taste. Serve.

Store extra soup in glass mason jars in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat as needed.

*Note: This soup really tastes best with a flavorful homemade bone broth, but if you are vegan or vegetarian you can use a homemade vegetable stock or plain water (you may need to add some extra dried or fresh herbs for more flavor if using water).

Low-FODMAP Variation: Use only the green parts of the green onion. If you are extremely sensitive to FODMAPS or have severe IBS or SIBO, then consider making a low-FODMAP bone broth using only chicken bones (skin and ligaments removed), carrots, parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns, chives, and other fresh herbs. Some of the compounds in the animal cartilage can irritate the guts of these individuals until full healing takes place (we talk about how to heal SIBO in our live program).

PS: The information in this post should not be used to replace the help of a trained Functional Medicine practitioner, functional lab testing, or a prescribed supplement regimen. Intuitive eating, deep listening, and the help of a trained professional can all work in conjunction with each other to help elevate your health and wellness to the next level.

More Detox Recipes:
Winter Green Smoothie
Cherry-Beet Detox Smoothie
Homemade Turkey Stock

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Hi Ali,

    I hear the phrase "there are no bad foods" a lot because a relative of mine is in recovery from an eating disorder. While I agree, I think a lot of people need to be careful what falls under the category of "food." Cheetos, for example, might not qualify. At what point are food products processed beyond what nature intended? It's hard for me to hear, "there are no bad foods!" bandied about when we're talking processed sandwich cookies or Wonder bread. Having a healthy relationship with food right now is kind of tricky when grocery stores are filled in the middle with a lot of not-quite-real-food options. I've been asking my girls--did it grow like that? At what point in the ingredient list do we stop knowing what plant or animal this "food" came from? Keep up the wonderful work--we love all your recipes and the fact that they come from real foods :-)

    1. I love your passion here and I just want to add that what you speak of is not "food". If it comes in a box or package, I believe many people understand what is food and what isn't., then again my scope could be smaller than I think. I love this and there's a philosophy that a food can either act on the body like a medicine or a poison and it depends on each individual's body chemistry. If a person lands here, chances are they aren't going to confuse processed and refined conventional foods with real food. At least we hope so, and I do value your point though that many people still miss the understanding but I think are coming around more and more. :)

    2. Hi Jennifer,

      So true! I actually had another big paragraph woven into the blog post about whole foods, and this very topic....but it was just getting too long so I began cutting out sections. :) It is tricky, because the processed foods you mentioned above are not food in my mind. But most people on this blog I think know this. The crowd I was speaking to in my message sometimes has a lot of ideas around certain whole foods being bad or grains, meat, raw foods vs cooked foods, etc. This whole topic is so important! Thank you for your comments. :)

  2. Through blood IGG testing, I found I have a sensitivity to the squash family. What can I use to replace the zucchini in this recipe?

    1. Hi Chandra,

      You can use asparagus in place of the zucchini.....or white sweet potatoes. :)


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