I recently had the rare opportunity to attend a gala event. Seeing as I don't dress up often, and buying a new gown was definitely not in the budget, I decided I had one in my closet which would be the perfect look — if I could only squeeze into it! I tried it on, and the zipper would barely do up.
I discussed my dilemma with a friend over coffee, and she told me she had the perfect solution. She said her Philipino nanny has helped her squeeze into many outfits over the years by putting her on the "Magic Soup Diet". I was desperate as the event was 2 weeks away, so I asked her to email the diet to me!
Turns out it was the Sacred Heart Diet. Legend has it that this diet was developed at Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane Washington to help obese patients drop weight before cardiac surgery. The hospital denies that any of their dietitians were involved in the development of the diet, I assume for liability sake!
You basically make a massive batch of soup to eat every day, along with eating certain foods for a 7 day period. The claim is most people lose 10 to 17 pounds in one week. Just what I needed!
I have to confess, the soup gets a little boring after a while. I took 1/4 of it and pureed it in a food processor, then added curry to that batch to create a completely different soup to help me get through the week. The soup is full of vegetables, so I don't think there is any risk to this diet. I drank lots of water and herbal tea as well. I felt satisfied and was very motivated to complete the week.
I lost 7 pounds over the week, but many inches, which allowed me to zip up the zipper on the dress!
The Soup Recipe
- 2 cans of stewed tomatoes (I used 28oz)
- 3 large green onions (scallions) up to a bunch
- 1 large can of beef broth (fat free)
- 1 package Lipton Soup mix (chicken noodle flavor)
- 1 bunch of celery, chopped
- 2 cans green beans (I used frozen because I find canned unedible!)
- 2 lbs. Carrots, chopped
- 2 Green Peppers, chopped
- Put all of the ingredients into a very large pot, or divide evenly into two pots.
- Add some water just to cover. Season with salt, pepper, and parsley if desired. Bring to a boil.
- Boil hard for 10 minutes covered.
- Reduce heat to low, and continue to cook covered 30 minutes longer.
- Taste for seasoning. Any spices may be added. Hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or curry are some examples.
The Diet Basics
Like every diet, I like to start on a Monday to begin the week in a new routine. Take Sunday to make the soup. I split it into 2 pots because I didn't have one big enough to cook the entire recipe.
Monday: Soup and Fruit Day
- Today the diet restricts you to only eating soup and fruit. They only fruit off limits today is bananas. Berries, oranges, apples and any type of melon are encouraged. You can eat unlimited quantities of the soup or fruit, but try to only eat until full. Don't forget to drink lots of water. The sweetness of the fruit should keep you satisfied. I ate a small watermelon!
Tuesday: Soup and Vegetable Day with a Bonus Baked Potato
- Continue to eat unrestricted amounts of soup to fill you. Add any vegetables today, but try and avoid starchy green peas or corn. The vegetables can be cooked or raw. Leafy green vegetables are very low in calories. For instance, you could add some Kale to the soup to change the flavor a little.
- Along with your soup, add a baked potato at dinner with 1 teaspoon butter. Add seasoning for flavor.
- Remember not to eat any fruits today.
Wednesday: Soup, Fruit and Vegetable Day
- Today you can eat all of the things you ate on Monday and Tuesday, but do not eat the baked potato or any bananas. Again avoid starchy vegetables if possible. Remember to keep up your water intake!
Thursday: Soup, Banana and Skim Milk Day
- Continue to eat unlimited soup today. This time, you will add bananas and skim milk: You are encouraged to eat 3 bananas or more and drink as much fat-free milk as you like today.
Friday: Soup, Beef and Tomato Day
- Today, you will eat unrestricted amounts of the soup. You will not eat any fruit or vegetable on this day. You can have 10-20 ounces of beef and up to a maximum of 6 tomatoes today. A 28oz can of tomatoes can be substituted for the fresh. Eat the soup at least once today.
Saturday: Soup, Beef and Vegetables Day
- Be sure to eat the soup at least once today. You may eat any amount of lean beef today. This can be in the form of a steak, or ground beef or sliced roast beef. Add any vegetables to this, but no starchy vegetables. This means no baked potato!
Sunday: Soup, Brown Rice, Unsweetened Fruit Juice and Vegetable Day
- Today you may add a nutritious carbohydrate — brown rice. The luxury of unsweetened fruit juice is a treat on the last day of the program, but don't go crazy! Vegetables are allowed on this day, and you can add cooked veggies to your rice if you wish. I just added the rice to my soup that day.
You Are Allowed Unlimited Amounts of The Following Beverages:
- Cranberry juice- unsweetened
- Skim milk ( I suggest only for Thursday, or in your coffee/tea)
- Plenty of water
Variations on the Diet
A Hospital in Pennsylvania modified the diet for their patient population. This one is not just for 7 days, but rather 14 days on, then 7 days off. Repeat the cycle until the weight loss is achieved.
- Day 1: Unlimited soup, and fruit all day. The only restriction is that you shouldn't eat bananas.
- Day 2: Unlimited soup and vegetables all day. The only restriction is you shouldn't eat starchy vegetables such as green peas or corn.
- Day 3: Unlimited soup, fruit and vegetables. Same rules as Day 1 and 2
- Day 4: Unlimited soup. 3 bananas. 8 ounces of skim milk. No fruit or vegetables today.
- Day 5: Unlimited soup. Unlimited lean beef, chicken or fish. Up to 8 tomatoes.
- Day 6: Same as Day 5, but no tomatoes.
- Day 7: Unlimited soup, and unlimited brown rice.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Questions & Answers
Question: can a person with diabetes go on the Sacred Heart diet?
Answer: As with any diet, you should check with your doctor first. But I can’t see any reason why you couldn’t follow this diet as a person with diabetes.
CarolynCoughlin on May 23, 2017:
This diet sounds similar to the "Cabbage Soup Diet" I went on years ago...and it worked...lost 10 lbs in a week...the only thing I didn't like about it was it gave me gas..otherwise, it was a good way to slim down a bit for a special occasion. I think I will give this one a try. Thanks
kitkat1141 (author) from Ontario, Canada on March 20, 2013:
Thanks for looking mbwalz. I wouldn't have wanted to follow this plan for more than a week because of the lack of daily protein. I felt very satisfied, mainly because of the liquid filling me up, and the dramatic increase in fiber I think. On the beef and tomato day (day 5) I used extra lean ground beef, and canned tomatoes with other chopped veggies, and made a chili (without kidney beans of course). I had flank steak on day six, and thoroughly enjoyed it! I felt comfortable being on the diet for 7 days because of all the vegetables I was eating. I am sure it was more fruits and veggies than the average North American consumes, like you mentioned!
MaryBeth Walz from Maine on March 20, 2013:
I'm glad you point out that this is only for quick temporary weight loss. Our bodies do not do well without daily fats and protein and I think it's kind of weird that the one day you can have meat, you eat 3-7 servings of it. The vegies are definitely good - Americans find it hard to get the proper amount daily and soup is an excellent way to do this.
Seems like if you added 3 oz of protein, good fats, and about 14 gms of carbs to each meal, you could actually have a tasty and healthy way of living. Except, you must always add in the joy. Without joy in eating, we miss the point.
I'm glad you had success with this for the event, as I can certainly relate to that feeling!