Zone-Out Days and the 20-Minute Vegetable Soup

 Delicious, quick and easy vegetable・The Reluctant Cook

I've been buried deep in the creation cave while working on a client website and my next e-course. When I get this focussed I pretty much lose track of everything around me, including my healthy eating and desire to lose weight. I call these my zone-out days. They are the main reason why I'm obese.

Yesterday was a particularly bad zone-out day. I was making great progress on my projects but I could feel the tension in my body and when that happens I reach out to food. Because it does ease some of that tension. But because I am in the zone-out I eat fast, and a lot and also crave more carbs and sugar. My head basically takes over at that point and while I debate with myself whether I should or should not eat something I go into freeze mode and end up reaching our for more food to snap me out of that. And then I just don't care anymore. I've blown it so I may as well keep eating. You know the drill. 

That's the good old diet mentality for you. However.

There is one thing I did a little differently yesterday. One tiny thing. I went for a walk. Ordinarily – when I feel that I've blown it – I also don't care about being active and intertia takes over. But yesterday I decided to listen to that part in my body that really wanted to feel the sun on my skin and get some fresh air to blow out the cobwebs. I have never been an enthusiastic walker but I do love walking along the sea in our little town. So before I could change my mind I hopped into the car and drove the 10 minutes to the park next to the bay. It was a glorious evening and I plugged in my earbuds to listen to a podcast as I walked and took deep breaths and soaked in the sun and let the warm(ish) wind blow through me and it felt so good. 

I still had my Dairy Queen burger and ice cream afterwards but I didn't over-order and I enjoyed it (I was really craving a burger, must learn to cook my own, I know it's not difficult!) while watching a German show, and then I continued working for a couple fo hours. 

 A gorgeous day in the Pacific Northwest・The Reluctant Cook

The big epiphany happened today.

When I got up I had a green smoothie (always crave that actually when I've had a heavier meal the night before) and when it came to lunch-time a part of me thought: "I blew it yesterday so may as well continue and start fresh again next week." Ack. Seriously. That diet mentality is so ingrained in me. 


I decided to listen into my body because I could feel it wanted to talk to me. And it told me it craved something light and green with a bit of color. I looked in the fridge and hello! wilted brussels sprout and carrots and potato and kale! Let's even be adventurous and throw in some of that (homemade!) chicken bone broth that's been in the freezer for eons (I never quite know what to do with it) and add a couple of veg stock cubes for flavor, a good dash of pepper, a bit of cayenne and serve over left-over rice and chicken sprinkled with cilantro leaves. 

Oh my.

It was delicious and super satisfying and I just couldn't get over the fact that I just COOKED this. Just like that. Took me all of 20 minutes. 

I really can't tell you how important this soup felt. It was a bit of a break-through moment because I am still busy and stressed with work and normally this means NOT cooking but making a sandwich or getting something from the store. And a sandwich is fine, sometimes I really crave bread, but not today.

The epiphany came when I realised that - perhaps - I really CAN do this. I can learn to fall in love with cooking. I can become an intuitive cook. I can lose weight because what is ultimately needed for that is breaking through my existing habits and replacing them with new, healthier ones. Like cooking a delicious, healthy, QUICK and easy vegetable soup instead of reaching for sugar and carb loaded fast food.

I did stop calorie counting this week which feels dangerous because I never trust myself to just listen to my body and to not go back to my old habits of overeating and intertia on zone-out days. But what I realised yesterday is that this is not so much about how I react to zone-out days but about making sure I have LESS of them. Zone-out days are kind of the norm for me, and they don't mean that I don't function - I do - but they do mean that I don't care... about looking after myself and my body. 

So this is what I'll be working on.... being IN the zone rather than OUT.

Quick and Easy Zone-In Vegetable Soup

 Delicious and easy Zone-In vegetable soup・The Reluctant Cook


  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • About 4 cups of water
  • Chicken bone broth if you have any, or store bought broth
  • Any vegetable at hand, I used brussels sprouts, carrots, a potato and kale
  • 2 vegetable or chicken broth cubes, unless your bone broth is already seasoned
  • Vogel Herbamare Salt (I am addicted to the new zesty one)
  • Pepper and a dash of cayenne pepper


  1. Bring sliced onion, bone broth and the water to a boil
  2. Add chopped vegetables and stock cubes and turn down to simmer
  3. Let simmer for 15 minutes
  4. Season with salt & pepper
  5. Enjoy!

Serve with

You can totally enjoy this as is, or serve with a nice piece of fresh artisan bread, or in my case I added left-over rice and chicken which was perfect!