Whenever I feel like I’ve been over-indulging or I sense my digestion is sluggish, I turn to this revitalising mung bean soup to clear my system. It provides detoxification, restores gut health, and is an amazing and healthy way to loose weight. Read on for the full list of benefits and FAQ.
Sometimes I stick to the recommended "dosage," eating the soup and veggies for breakfast lunch and dinner for a 3 days (I've never made the 5 days). Other times, like this week, I just eat the soup a couple of times a day and ensure the other meals I eat are very healthy and nutritious.
I first had a similar soup in Sri Lanka, my mother took me away to a yoga retreat for my 40th birthday. We turned up at the hotel feeling tired and hungry, and immediately ordered a beer (as you do at the start of a holiday) only to be told it was an alcohol-free centre. It was only then we discovered that it was full-on Ayurvedic detox retreat with very little (and not very good) yoga.
So we spent the next few days giggling our way through unexpected experiences: eating medicine that looked like a mix of hay and rabbit droppings; getting our boobs massaged in oil while sitting in front of a mirror; and having acupuncture in what looked like a morgue, with a long line of dead bodies with pins sticking out of them.
Our diet was restricted to our dosha requirements and most meals started with a runnier version of the mung bean soup (see picture below). But every buffet had an amazing array of foods we’d never tried before, and we ate very well: I specifically remember a delicious banana flower salad. After 5 days I lost about 4 kgs and felt lighter and healthier.
After the trip my mother kindly gifted me the book “Eat right for your body type” by Anjum Anand. It contained a mung bean soup recipe to remind me of our special retreat. All the recipes in the book are inspired by Ayurveda, and if you don't know already, you can do a quick quiz to work out which dosha you are. There are 3 doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha, which are based on your constitution. Your diet (among lots of other things) depends on which dosha you are.
Ayurveda stems from the ancient Vedic culture and is the science and study of establishing and maintaining physiological and psychological balance and wellbeing. In Sanskrit it means “The Science of Life”. This knowledge from the Vedics originated in India more than 5,000 years ago, and is sometimes referred to as the “Mother of All Healing.”
"Life (ayu) is the combination (samyoga) of body, senses, mind and reincarnating soul. Ayurveda is the most sacred science of life, beneficial to humans both in this world and the world beyond." ~Charaka
Back to the recipe... Anjum Anand said she got the soup recipe from Rebecca Kriese (an Ayurvedic practitioner), and she states it's very effective for removing toxins and stagnant food from the body, and is ideal for regenerating the digesting fire, reducing swelling and water retention, as well as cleansing the liver, gallbladder and vascular system. It helps you to lose weight and relieves digestive problems, bloating and body ache.
Now if that isn't a comprehensive list of benefits I don’t know what is.
I know that intermittent fasting and juice cleanses are very popular at the moment, and I wouldn't knock anything without trying it, but I also know that I do tend to get hangry so I prefer not to go down this route. Personally the mung bean soup gives me everything I need: I feel full, I know I am getting all the nutrients I need, and having done it lots of times, I really feel the benefits mentioned above.
The recommendation is to eat the soup for 3-5 consecutive days, breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ll be honest with you, on day three I do tend to struggle with the texture, so when that happens I stop - I've never made 5 days, but neither feel it's particularly necessary. Stir fry or steam some veggies on the side, and only eat when there is real hunger (something I always struggle with). If you wait until the previous meal is completely digested, then you are not interfering with the digestion process by adding more food. By doing this you will become more nourished and increase your digestive fire.
As I am sure you can imagine I struggle to get my kids (and my husband) to eat this recipe, but you I always sneak a bit into sauces and stews, such as my Chilli Bean recipe, without them realising.
Last point: the green mung is preferable to the yellow split mung, as the outer green skin is rich in minerals and has a cleansing action on the digestive tract.
Revitalising Mung Bean Soup - FAQ
How many times a day do I eat the soup?
You receive 1 litre of soup per day. Split the soup into breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you don’t want to do a full cleanse but want to get the nutritional benefits (and/or) lose weight then you can eat a small portion before every meal until your soup runs out.
What do I eat with the soup?
It's recommend that you just eat veggies with the soup. Stir fried in a little coconut oil or steamed. Eat as much as you like to keep you full until your next meal. Salads are ok but no oily dressings.
Should I water the soup down?
The soup is quite thick so yes you can definitely water it down to a consistency of your choice. If I am not doing the full cleanse then I add some coconut milk or cream to it.
What should I drink while doing the cleanse?
For optimum results just drink water, herbal (non-caffeinated) tea and coconut water. Avoid coffee, drinks high in sugar including fruit juice, sodas and alcohol.
What ingredients are in the soup?
mung beans (green)
Rock salt t
How long does the soup last in the fridge?
I have found the soup lasts a week in the fridge but just check the taste and smell. If you are unsure don't eat it!
Can I freeze the soup?
Yes the soup is great for freezing but pls don't freeze it in my containers. Please transfer your own and return mine!
What happens if I get a sugar craving?
I have a little pot of honey and coconut oil in the fridge for such occasions. Just 1/4 teaspoon and my sweet tooth is satisfied.
What other foods can I have during the cleanse?
For best results when doing the cleanse keep is simple - just eat soup and veg and nothing else. So no nuts, no fruit, no diary, no meat, no fish etc etc. If you are not doing the full cleanse then just eat super light and super clean.