Pros: You lose weight.
Cons: The weight is all water. It all comes back. It's hard to stick to.
I grew up with a mom who made lots of cabbage soups. Cooked cabbage is one of my favorite veggies. As a child, I even liked brussel sprouts. With this in mind, I thought I would check out the Cabbage Soup diet. The concept sounded good.
I would make a big ol'pot o'cabbage soup and I could eat as much as I wanted whenever I wanted. In fact, the adverts I saw indicated that the more soup I would eat, the better! Woohoo! It wasn't chocolate cake, but it was one of my favorite not dessert foods.
I made the cabbage soup per the following recipe:
Boil a pot of water. If you are using 2 quarts of water, use one quart of vegetables. The basic ingredients are:
6 large scallions
2 green bell peppers
1 or 2 cans of tomatoes(diced or whole)
1 bunch celery
1/2 head cabbage,
1 package Lipton soup mix (I used onion)
1or2 cubes bouillon(optional)
1 48oz can V8 juice(optional) (I substituted Snappy Tom)
Season to taste with salt,pepper,parsley,curry, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, basil, dill, or whatever "floats your boat."
Chop the veggies into spoonable sized portions and dump into the water along with the season. Boil for 30-40 minutes.
The soup sounded relatively tasty. Unfortunately, I didn't find it tasted relatively tasty. That's me. I quickly replaced the the water with defatted vegetable stock, got rid of the Lipton's, and added some carrots. I took all the raw vegetables and roasted them to carmelize their sugars and bring out more flavor. Then I slightly undercooked the vegetables in the soup. I was going to reheat this in the microwave each time I wanted a bowl and the veggies could finish cooking there.
So far, so good. Now comes the nuts and bolts of the diets...actually, nuts and bolts might have been tastier.
Day 1: I could all the soup I wanted and all the fruit I wanted except for bananas. The soup is high in fiber. The fruit was high in fiber. I spent the night visiting the "porcelain palace" as everything that had been in me made its way out. The smell was awful. I struck matches, used air freshener and opened a window. No one could use the bathroom after me for 20 minutes.
Day 2: All the soup I could eat and all the veggies I want. A baked potato with butter for dinner. Well, the FDA does recommend 5 fruits and vegetables a day. This diet does that. It also left me gassy. I had to warn more than one friend not to walk behind me.
Day 3: Even I was getting sick of this soup. I could eat all of it I wanted, but I really didn't want any more. Today I could eat all the fruits (except bananas) and all the vegetables (but no potato) that I wanted.
Day 4: At this point the diet got much easier. I quit. I dumped the soup. I felt physically much better when I ate some normal food. Had I followed the diet, however, the rest of the week would have looked like this:
Day 4 - Up to six bananas, all the skim milk I wanted and all the soup I wanted.
Day 5 - 10 to 20 ounces of beef, a can of tomatoes, 6-8 glasses of water, and all the soup I wanted.
Day 6 - All the beef and vegetables you want and all the soup you can get down your gullet.
Day 7 - Brown rice, unsweetened fruit juices and vegetables and unlimited soup. No bread, alcohol, or carbonated beverages - not even diet soda
During this diet, you can drink water, tea, coffee, diet soda or any drink without sugar that you want (except for the last day.) You can season your food with fresh or dried herbs, salt, pepper, "diet sugar," lemon, vinegar, worchestershire, mustard, ketchup, or soy sauce.
Fad diets like the cabbage soup diet violate the first rule of good dieting which is to make sure you're providing your body with good nutrition. Good nutrition is provided by eating a variety of foods.
Secondly, vegetables are an important part of any healthy diet. Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and cauliflower are very healthy and necessary. However, there aren't diet "superfoods." Moderate amounts from all the food groups is the best way to stay healthy.
Thirdly, for a diet to work, it should be something you can stick with. This means there should be some enjoyment in the food you eat. If the diet is so restrictive that by day 3 you want to gag at the thought of eating, you should rethink the food choices.
If you are really interested in losing weight, check out the American Heart Association web page at: http://www.deliciousdecisions.org/ee/wbd_easy_main.html for suggestions on devising your own sensible diet. I do not, however, recommend their cookbook which is full of recipes far more disgusting than this cabbage soup.
Good luck and good health.