Time to shed those extra pounds that are still hanging on. Here is a way to start the new year off with healthy food, you guessed it, my annual Detox Soup. It works well if you can do it for three weeks—if not, try one week. I make it during the year for a three-day detox also.

Check your pantry and make a list of ingredients from the recipe below before you go to the store—easy so far, right?!

Get out your Crockpot (that big bowl that’s attached to an electric cord in the back of the cupboard, you’ll recognize it). Wash the dust out and dump, okay pour two bottles of low-sodium vegetable juice (red juice with the green cap). Add one package of low-sodium vegetable, chicken, or beef broth. Bone broth and organic are best. Now the veggies. Remember them? Colorful stuff not made with flour, sugar, or fat. Frozen is great; they are picked at the height of their season and frozen quickly, sometimes on the same day. If you have access to good local winter veggies or organic, do it! Add whatever veggies you like and consider adding one or two you haven’t tried or don’t care for—it’s only for three days, so grow, stretch, and change—it’s a new year!

Kale is inexpensive, sweet, tasty, and loaded with wonderful nutrients needed to get you through the winter months, and is easy to find raw at the store. Squash comes frozen or cubed in your fresh produce section. Add lots of onions (all colors) and garlic; try to use fresh garlic, if not, the stuff in the jar will do, or even powdered. Continue adding canned tomatoes (high in lycopene), green beans, celery, carrots, spinach, and raw beets, which help the “detox” procedure. I use Oregano for its flavor and its health benefits; it also gives this soup an “Italian” flavor. A friend added hot peppers to his soup and loved it! You can add more broth or juice if you have a big crockpot. Plug it in, and six hours later, your home will smell so good.

You want to eat nine cups a day for three days, split this up into three to six “meals.” Feel free also to eat raw or cooked veggies, too. And yes, you can eat soup for breakfast. If you have trouble getting started in the morning, eat one egg cooked anyway without butter and no bread!

Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. You might experience a headache, if that is the case, drink more water or do whatever you need to do to get rid of it—napping helps if you can.

After the third day, start by adding another egg and some chicken, beef, or fish with six servings of veggies and two servings of fruit, 14 nuts, or ¼ cup of sunflower seeds—you need protein.

You can add beef, turkey, or chicken now to your soup. It will add nutrients and a lot of flavors. Notice what’s missing? That’s right, bread, cereals, pasta, rice, and anything else that has flour or grains in it.

Okay, okay, where’s the coffee? If you really, really have to, have one cup in the morning or try an herbal tea. Some have caffeine, not a lot, but enough to keep you from major withdrawals. No artificial sugars and no soda! No more than one piece of fruit a day, and take your vitamins as usual.

If you can stick to this plan for three weeks, you will see a big difference in your energy levels and sleep. At any time you can make another batch of soup, and eat that with or without your meals. If you are under a doctor’s orders not to eat vegetables, you are allergic or diabetic, and by all means, follow your doctor’s orders. Tell me, and we will adapt a plan for you. Nutrition is simple yet involved; you can start slow and make dramatic changes in your life and the lives of your loved ones.

It’s a new year, a new decade, and a new day—you can have a new view of life.

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