If you’ve ever tried a juice cleanse and thought it was more deprivation than you could possibly handle—you’re not alone. The whole magazine team has struggled through the experience. While we love the idea of reseting our digestive systems and loading up on enzymes, we’re so glad to have discovered another way.
Enter Angela Blatteis and Vivienne Vella, two long-time family friends who came up with the idea for an incredible new start-up over lunch one day. SOUPURE is the world’s first soup cleanse brand and has transformed the detox experience from starvation-central to a nourishing delight.
As a Chef and Foodie I can vouch for their delicious and deeply satisfying recipes, plus I love how easy the soups are for my on-the-go lifestyle. For our Health & Wellness issue I wanted to find out more about the true benefits of souping and the downfalls of juicing. Check out our interview with SOUPURE’s fabulous co-founders below for the full scoop on how this program can help you.
And don’t stop scrolling—Angela and Vivienne are generously offering DLM readers 10% off your first soup cleanse and have even shared the recipe to my favorite Superhero smoothie.
How did you come up with the idea for SOUPURE?
Angela: Vivienne and I were out having lunch one cold day. We both ordered soup and were really disappointed. I had asked for a healthy green soup. It turned out to have cream and wasn’t organic. I looked at Vivienne and I kind of laughed. If I was looking for soup with cream, I probably wouldn’t be having asparagus soup. I’d be having lobster bisque. Vivienne had ordered some sort of minestrone soup that was just really watered down, so we started talking about how hard it is to get truly healthy, delicious soup. Meanwhile around this time I had received a couple of memorandums on juice companies that were looking for investors. I was scratching my head at the valuations. I just couldn’t believe how many different juice companies had entered the Los Angeles market and were everywhere.We started talking about how juice really isn’t good for you. Somehow it went from a great way to get your 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables in a day as a meal supplement, to becoming a meal and now a cleanse. So we started thinking about a soup cleanse. As we researched, we realized that even when you’re ready to pay up for quality product, it might be organic, but it doesn’t necessarily not have cream. Or it might not have cream, but it has preservatives. Or it might be an organic broth, but it’s not made with the bones and that’s where all the benefits are. We went to high-quality restaurants that had vegan soups and we realized that even the ones that tasted okay (and there were very few), seemed to be made with bullion and soup starters that were inflammatory.
Once you had the idea, what was the first step toward building a real business?
Angela: Coming from a background of investment banking and then private equity gave me a business skillset, which was very positive in that I had the ability to analyze, put together a business plan, put together a financial model. But the most important part once we had the idea was the research. You have to do research. With SOUPURE, I felt there was an opportunity in the market, that while soup was not a new industry, while it was completely saturated by Campbell’s and Progresso, when I looked at what the healthy soup options were, they fell flat. And then as we started to educate ourselves and work with doctors and nutritionists, we became even more excited and realized that we were really giving people what they were looking for. People pay up to go to Gelson’s and Bristol Farms to get what they think is really healthy food. Viv and I knew that a lot of them were buying products thinking they were getting one thing, but actually getting another. We felt that people were drinking juice and having juice cleanses because they thought it was doing one thing and it wasn’t. So identifying a hole in the market is critical—then researching it.
Tell us more about the problems with juicing.
Angela: Juice cleanses pack in well over 200 grams of sugar in a day with practically no protein and fiber. The biggest issue is your body goes into starvation mode if it doesn’t get some minimum amounts of protein and fiber and a certain variety of nutrients. Plus all that sugar coming into your body without the protein or fiber is actually really harmful to your organs. It drives your glucose levels way up making you feel jittery and prone to crashing. And putting your body into starvation mode slows down your metabolism because your body starts to store fat. It’s really hard to ultimately lose weight and feel good when your body is storing fat and in starvation mode and you’re certainly not cleansing. Then when you start eating normally again, you’ll actually gain more weight than you would have otherwise, had your metabolism been at regular speed.
Vivienne: A lot of people will do a juice cleanse as a quick fix to lose weight—and a lot of times you will if you’re putting your body into starvation mode. But then at the end, you don’t look as good. You don’t feel as good. The whites of your eyes aren’t clear. You’re not filled with a tremendous amount of energy. We may put toxic things into our bodies, but we don’t believe our bodies are naturally toxic and we think that you actually should be eating some food that allows your body to cleanse the way that it’s supposed to, which is through your liver and your kidneys. The best way to do that is through whole foods.
So how does SOUPURE provide a healthier, more effective way to cleanse?
Vivienne: The intention of our program is to flood your body with the nutrients that it needs. We were going to call it a nourish, not a cleanse, but we wanted to make sure people could find us so we decided we’d better call it a cleanse. But in our minds, it’s a nourish to flood your body with everything that it needs so that it can perform really well. The reality is that when you do that and your liver and your kidneys actually start working, you do cleanse. There is a cleansing, weight loss effect.
Angela: People think it’s either about calories or it’s about fat, but it’s not the same thing if you have 1,500 calories a day in chocolate cake or 1,500 calories from our products. With Soupure you get more than 60 different nutrients in one day. You get more than 100 nutrients in three days. When you do a juice cleanse, there are approximately 12 to 20 different nutrients, depending on the cleanse and you get the exact same products everyday. We really spend a lot of money and take a lot of time to create completely different products with different bases and I think that’s a huge differential. Plus, our soups are preservative, gluten, and dairy-free with no processed sugar and use homemade broth. What that means is you’re just getting pure stuff, so nothing is made with a soup starter or a boxed vegetable broth or a bullion cube that is inflammatory. What you get is glowing skin. You sleep better. Skin issues clear up. Bloating goes away. You have more energy. And we include chicken bone broth in there because that makes your hair strong. It makes your skin more beautiful and softer. It makes your nails and hair thicker.
Vivienne: The other thing to remember is that with souping, you get both hot and cold. We believe in balance. Research tells us that certain foods have to be cooked in order to be at their most nutritious point. By combining both hot and cold soups, we’re giving you nutrients in their most beneficial form.
What was the process like of developing the recipes and the program?
Vivienne: First we went to one nutritionist who was serving the community of what she calls “people who suffer from Los Angeles syndrome.” It’s something you find in any big city— depression and love life problems and kind of being lackluster, lethargic and overloaded. So we started asking her, “What do you advise that they take?” She’s a homeopath, so it’s all homeopathic. She told us about natural supplements and superfoods and what they do. Then we went to a chef and said, “Here’s our list of foods and ingredients and spices that we think might make for some really good soups and might address some of these issues. Can you make soups with these?” Then we tasted those and then we went to another chef and we fine-tuned. And then we went to another chef and fine-tuned some more. We did this over about the course of a year to come up with our first five or six soups.
Angela: In addition to the original medical homeopath that we were working with we also brought in Nutritionist Marlyn Diaz and a gastrointestinal doctor, Dr. Rahbar. I was also consulting with an oncologist at UCLA saying, “Tell us what nutrients people are missing in their daily diets?” We literally made a list of all those things, gave it to four or five chefs and said, “Give us some products.” They were each working on different ones for different goals.
Talk to us about the decision to incorporate bone broth into the cleanse.
Vivienne: Even though I’m a vegetarian, I have to say that bone broths are so incredibly good for you that we just couldn’t ignore what people have now discovered. When you actually simmer the bones (rather than using bouillon), you get collagen, glycine, glutamine and proline that give you amazing minerals like calcium and magnesium and phosphorus and silicon and sulfur that your body can quickly absorb. Sometimes when you just pop vitamins, your body can’t absorb them. It’s much, much better when it comes from a broth. It’s really unbelievable. There are a lot of doctors that say, “If you’ve got leaky gut syndrome, you’ve got to have bone broth. If you have any sort of food allergies, if you need to boost your immune system, that the way to do that is by extracting this collagen from the bones and feeding it to your body because it helps your body heal itself.” It’s been touted with improving joint health, reducing cellulite, boosting your immune system, making your nails and hair stronger. We tell you to have the broth when you’re on an empty stomach and not eat anything for an hour after so it really can get absorbed and do its job. Ultimately our cleanse is about balance. It’s not about raw. It’s not about all vegan. It’s not about no fat. Fat is good for you. Cooked foods are good for you. Bone broth is good for you.
One last question! At what point along this journey did you feel like this business was real?
Vivienne: I can tell you personally the moment where I was like, “Oh, my god—we’ve created something.” If you remember with juicing, there used to just be juice and then the juice companies, particularly the pressed-juice companies, started turning juicing into a verb. Everyone would say, “Are you juicing? Are you juicing now?” When we started this business I said to Angela, “I want to turn soup into a verb. I want people to say souping the way that they say juicing.” So we trademarked ”souping is the new juicing.” For me, it really hit home that we did something big when we started getting calls from people like you and emails and asking us, ”Is souping the new juicing?” That gave me a lot of personal satisfaction as does the fact that there are now copycats out there. I think that’s flattery. Imitation is a form of flattery