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About the Author: John Immel, Asheville, NC

Beet Cleanse Soup (Borscht)

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(4.67 out of 5 stars) 3 reviews
Beet Cleanse Soup (Borscht) Ayurveda Recipe
Vata pacifyingPitta aggravatingKapha pacifyingDigestive Effects Help
Experiences are Personal
Experiences vary according to the person and constitution. Individual results may vary.
Effect: Rajasic, Prana, Alkalizing, Ojas
Meal: Lunch-Dinner
Recommended for: Spring
Type: Vegetables
Style: Western
Occasion: On-the-mend, Cleanse
Preparation: Soup, Boiled
Subtaste: Aromatic
Color: Red

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Pharmacological Effects
About Pharmacological Effects
The list of actions below have not be approved by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
Is Beet Cleanse Soup (Borscht) Good for Me?
Find out by taking this free, easy quiz. You'll learn your body type, and whether Beet Cleanse Soup (Borscht) is a good fit for you. Time to complete: approximately 1 minute.

ayurvedic perspective

Liver Bitterness

February comes at the bitter end of winter, the time of ashes. The natural environment offers slim pickings this time of year and the pantry is nearly bare. Early spring is the hardest month for animals in the wild. Anxiously awaiting the hope and promise of spring, lovers will make a last ditch effort on Valentine's Day to resurrect the dying embers of affection.

You may experience waves of bitterness, discouragement and a sense of failure in February. Try not to take these 'liver' emotions too seriously. Instead, these emotions offer an important cue.

Rich Blood

As soon as temperatures start to rise in early February, the body begins to metabolize some of the winter fats. The blood becomes rich and congested with these fats. It becomes thick and hard to circulate. Fatty blood makes February heart attack month. The fatty blood congests the liver as well. Much like a stuffed goose, your stuffed liver start to look as fatty as foie gras. You may have even noticed a week or two of dark, loose stools.

These important cues are signs your body is ready for cleansing. Ayurvedically, it is a critical time to cleanse the liver and jump-start the body's fat metabolism.

Liver Cleansing in the Spring

This recipe pairs winter root vegetables like potatoes and beets with the cleansing spring flavors of dill and vinegar, helping your body transition into spring. Beets and vinegar are a perfect addition to an early spring diet. They offer a healthy remedy to a congested spring blood and liver. As they stimulate the gall bladder to release bile, they flush out burdensome fats and toxins leftover from holiday celebrations, reducing triglyceride levels. Bile is also a major pathway of cholesterol metabolism. The mild laxative qualities of beets and vinegar help flush the digestive tract as well. The beta-carotene in beets is an excellent liver tonic.

Brightening the Skin

The spices dill and black pepper get your sluggish blood moving, causing a much-needed sweating action, much like a sauna in a bowl. Dill flushes water weight and black pepper stimulates circulation, counteracting the sedentary effects of winter's short days. By cleansing the blood and lymphatic system, and bringing heat to the surface of the skin, borscht helps restore a healthy, vibrant glow to dull wintertime skin.

About Beet Cleanse Soup (Borscht)

This colorful fuchsia soup will have you asking, Is this really a wintertime food? Beet soup has brightened the cold days for countless generations in Central Europe eastward while they subsisted on food from wintertime root cellars. Originally from Ukraine, this hearty soup made of beet broth has as many varieties as it does spellings (borsht, barszcz or borshch).


Chop onions. Slice potato, carrots, beets and cabbage thinly. Place all ingredients in a pot and cover twice the height with water. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for one hour of more.

Variations include garlic and parsley.

About the Author

John Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.

John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.

John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.

Comments & Impressions of 'Beet Cleanse Soup (borscht)'

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(4.67 out of 5 stars) 3 reviews

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I have a suggestion: skip the cabbage and add chopped apples.

- Naddina, Arden, NC, 10-12-11 (Reply)
Dear Naddina, Although tasty, chopped apples and beets may not be a good food combination for a weak, Vata type digestion. Warm Regards, -John
- John Immel, Asheville, NC, 01-16-12 (Reply)
Suggestion: how about brussel sprouts in place of cabbage and Red onion instead of Yellow
- ama, NY, 02-23-13 (Reply)
Hi John, Should the cabbage that is added to the pot be cooked beforehand?
- Monica, San francisco, CA, 03-04-13 (Reply)
Dear Monica, The cabbage does not need to be pre-cooked. It is labeled 'cooked' because the Ayurvedic properties of cooked and raw cabbage are different.
- John Immel, Asheville, NC, 03-06-13 (Reply)
Tried this today as a a snack. I omitted the spices, potato, onion, and subtituted lemon juice for the vinegar. The result tasted very much like tomato soup! I imagine if I pureed it it the consistency would've been spot on as well! What a great tomato soup substitute this is. :)
- Jess, Allen park, MI, 04-07-13 (Reply)
Cabbage gives me gas what can I use instead? Dee
- Dee, 05-20-13 (Reply)
Great stuff you can feel the cleansing effects will be a part of my life from now on.
- fredna, 06-05-13 (Reply)
Dear Dee - Try adding more carrots? Substituting with kale? It will be different but still tasty. -John
- John Immel, Asheville, NC, 06-06-13 (Reply)
So because vata has a big x through it I take it it is not recommended for vata. I am vata but I love cabbage and this soup looks delicious!
- Claire, 10-17-14 (Reply)
There's no taste to this soup. What can I add to give it some taste?
- Candice, AB, 01-18-15 (Reply)
Thank you very much, John. I made this recipe, substituting sesame oil, and really enjoyed the soup--what a beautiful colour. Your site is a rich source of recipes and advice; thank you for sharing it with us. Larisa (Vata/Kapha, Southwest US)
- Larisa, CO, 02-05-15 (Reply)
Can't wait to try this, beets might be my new favorite root vegetable, even the green leafy tops are good! P.S. they'd probably make a good substitute for the cabbage if you didn't like cabbage but enjoyed spinach and other leafy greens.
- Wendybird, MO, 03-08-15 (Reply)
I used red cabbage for the additional anti oxidant properties and it gave me no gas
- WEBSITE, 09-25-15 (Reply)
Candice, try doubling the spices and adding 1/2 tsp of salt.
- Kimberly Kubicke, Wall, NJ, 07-21-16 (Reply)

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Browse recipes and hundreds of other ingredients on this extensive educational website. Joyful Belly helps people confidently choose food that restores their healthy glow, using the ancient technique of Ayurveda. Our extensive collection of online recipes, ingredients, and articles makes health easy. To get started, take the free dosha quiz to find your Ayurvedic body type.

What is Ayurveda?

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John Immel.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information and products on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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