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The Copycat Cracker Barrel Soup Recipe Helping Women Lose Extra Pounds + Boost Total Health

Just make one big pot to fill your fridge with heat-and-eat meals that make it even easier.

If you haven’t had Cracker Barrel’s famous veggie soup, you’re missing out on more than just deliciousness. Turns out, it’s packed with ingredients that lower acid in your body. “And that means it can help ease anxiety, boost health and release stubborn pounds,” reveals nutrition coach and The Alkaline Life author Ross Bridgeford. He says millions of devotees use alkaline soup ingredients like tomatoes, celery and beans to neutralize acid in the body, helping them get in the best shape of their lives.

Whether you go place an order at Cracker Barrel or simply use our copycat recipe below, the soup is proof alkaline eating can be extremely tasty. More proof alkaline soup can do great things for a woman’s body: Missouri food blogger Cindy Newland, 53, says spooning up the stuff helped her lose 125 pounds and ease back pain, get rid of asthma and reverse high blood pressure without ever feeling like she was on a diet. Keep reading to learn about alkaline eating and how alkaline soup can help you look and feel better than ever.

The alkaline diet in a nutshell

The gist is simple: On an alkaline diet, you aim to build more of your meals and snacks around foods like veggies, beans, nuts and seeds — plant-based options that create alkaline byproducts as they digest. It’s also fine to add modest amounts of nutrient-dense acid-forming foods, such as fruit and lean protein. But you want to reduce consumption of sugar, wheat flour, dairy and highly processed foods.

Bridgeford says soup is an ideal option for alkaline dieters since it allows you to get so many beneficial alkaline ingredients at once.

Does the alkaline diet change your body’s pH? Nope. The body maintains “a just-right and slightly alkaline pH of 7.365, no matter what you eat,” according to Bridgeford. The only rare exceptions are due to grave illness, such as kidney failure, and aren’t tied to diet. That said, he adds, eating more alkaline foods has a big impact.

How an acid-forming diet can be harmful (and fattening)

A typical diet full of acid-forming culprits like white bread, packaged snacks and sweets “creates a 24/7 state of stress in the body,” says Bridgeford. He adds that recent European tests show this elevates stress hormones, triggering a cascade of other problems. Anxiety increases and hidden inflammation develops — a factor linked to everything from tummy trouble and joint pain to diabetes and heart disease. “Chronic fatigue is common too,” Bridgeford adds.

As for our waists, stress hormones slow metabolism and prompt us to store belly fat. Plus, “the body will also generate new fat cells to store harmful acidic compounds until they can be neutralized,” explains Bridgeford. The good news: When you reduce the acid-forming foods, these problems reverse “and fat just falls away.” Bridgeford discovered alkaline eating back in 2002, when he was looking for ways to lose weight and cure chronic tiredness. Six months later, he was fit enough to run the London marathon. Now he’s been on a mission to help others get the same boost.

The science behind an alkaline diet

Multiple studies show that a high acid load increases levels of stress hormones, a dangerous factor if this becomes chronic. Studies on alkaline eating are limited but promising. For example, testing shows that eating a mostly alkaline diet improves hormonal balance and blood sugar enough “to add 20 quality years to the average woman’s life,” says Russell Jaffee, M.D., Ph.D., an award-winning scientist and author of Joy in Living: The Alkaline Way.

A recent San Diego State study links a lower acid load to reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence. Meanwhile, a University of Texas team found that folks with the most acid in their systems have BMIs 52% higher than those with the least. And a new study found that as a woman’s ‘acid load’ decreases, more and more of her dangerous belly fat disappears.

On top of that, “Healthy soups are a great alternative to the drive-thru,” says Bridgeford. Just make one big pot and you can fill your fridge and freezer with heat-and-eat meals. That alone is enough to reduce stress. But savor alkaline soup, and stress relief goes to a whole new level.

Eating alkaline is not an all-or-nothing thing. “Eating alkaline foods about 80% of the time gets amazing benefits,” says Bridgeford. And if even that sounds like too big of a switch for you to handle, “Just start adding good stuff. Don’t worry about the bad,” Bridgeford suggests. Soup is perfect for this because you can start with something familiar “and sneak in highly alkaline foods like spinach, parsley, carrots and bell peppers.”

Bridgeford is also a fan of green smoothies and salads. Tip: “Have these foods at the same time each day until eating alkaline becomes a habit.”

As Bridgeford guides folks through alkaline eating programs, “Mood and energy typically improve right away. Pain, blood sugar and GI issues also improve quickly,” he says. And as stress comes down, fat burning goes up. “It’s common for women to lose 28 pounds in 28 days.”

Alkaline soup success story: Natasha Saltus-Knight, 47

Natasha Saltus-Knight was already struggling with stubborn pounds when she had a stroke. She went downhill fast. “I was left with heart damage that made me tired a lot.” She began moving less, eating lots of comfort food. “My weight kept creeping up. I developed arthritis, a fatty liver and anxiety attacks. I was taking up to 14 pills every day.”

The usual diets didn’t help. Then her cousin visited a health clinic and learned about alkaline eating. “He was told no disease can survive an alkaline diet,” recalls the Manchester receptionist, 47. So she gave it a try, eating big salads, spelt pasta dishes and lots of soup. “Soup is so good and easy.”

Natasha especially loves butternut squash soup, mushroom soup and Cracker Barrel–style veggie soup. Eating soup most days, she had no hunger. And that wasn’t her only benefit. “In a week of alkaline eating, my heart palpitations and anxiety attacks stopped. After two weeks, my joint pain and 11 pounds were gone.”

Without adding exercise, Natasha lost 50 pounds in five months and shed 125 pounds in 18 months. “I got off all 14 of my meds — and I’m loving every second I get to spend chasing my granddaughter around the park. I truly believe that this way of eating saved my life!”

Alkaline soup before and after: Cindy Newland, 53

Before and after photos of Cindy Newland who lost 125 lbs with the help of alkaline soup
Steve Puppe

When a back injury left Cindy Newland immobile for weeks, “I had a lot of time to think,” recalls the Missouri food blogger, 53. Stress eating and yo-yo diets had pushed her to about 300 pounds; doctors said lasting changes were necessary to protect her health.

Doing research, she was drawn to a plant-based diet built around inflammation-soothing alkaline foods. She began “crowding out” unhealthy foods with good stuff like chia pudding and veggie wraps. And she often spooned up black bean soup or veggie chowder.

“Soup keeps you full, and it’s so easy,” Cindy says. “I was losing weight, and it didn’t feel like a diet.” Fast-forward several years: She’s still a soup lover, and she’s down 125 pounds. Her high blood pressure and asthma are also gone. She even runs half marathons. “My results have been incredible!”

For more inspiration, check out Cindy’s blog at

How to use alkaline soup to slim and heal

You’ll start by eating alkaline, which means making about 80% of your meals and snacks with veggies (including potatoes), herbs, nuts, seeds, beans and quinoa. Small amounts of low-sugar fruit, gluten-/yeast-free bread and corn are also great. Sip water and herbal tea. Get a free list of best and worst foods at

Then, to take it to the next level, whip up a big pot of alkaline soup, such as the Cracker Barrell copycat recipe below. Bridgeford suggests getting in the habit of enjoying it once daily and always having some on hand for times when you might be tempted to hit the drive thru. And, yes, you can enjoy the veggie soup at Cracker Barrell.

Sample alkaline breakfast: Easy Alkaline Bowl

Blitz ¼ avocado, 1 cup greens, 1½ Tbs. almond butter, 2 tsp. chia, 1 tsp. coconut oil, ice and almond milk to taste; garnish.

Sample alkaline lunch: Quinoa Wraps

Fill gluten-free tortillas or large kale leaves with cooked quinoa, veggies and olive oil vinaigrette or guacamole. Roll and enjoy.

Sample alkaline dinner: Spaghetti Supper

Sauté tomato, olives and garlic in olive oil; toss with bean-based pasta and healthy marinara, such a Rao’s.

Bonus recipe: Copycat Cracker Barrel Vegetable Soup

Bowl of minestrone soup, a copycat Cracker Barrel recipe as part of an alkaline soup diet

This DIY version of the restaurant favorite is delish and crammed with alkalizing ingredients.


  • 6 cups veggie broth
  • 4 cups V8 juice
  • 28 oz. frozen mirepoix (celery, carrot, onion blend)
  • 28 oz. canned diced tomatoes
  • 28 oz. frozen lima beans, peas and/or corn
  • 2 large potatoes, cubed
  • 12 oz. frozen green beans
  • Olive oil for serving


  1. In soup pot, stir together all ingredients and bring to a boil.
  2. Lower heat; add pepper to taste. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 1 hour.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and enjoy. Makes 8 servings

Click through for more natural ways to reduce inflammation and improve health:

What Is ‘Inflammaging’ — And How Can You Manage It? Try These 4 Science-Backed Tips

Create an Exercise Routine That Works for You — And Counteract Inflammation and Other Diseases in the Process

Understanding the Vicious Cycle of Weight Gain and Inflammation — And How You Can Break It Once and for All

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