Slow Cooker Red Lentil Soup

by Shumaila

June is the month I had chosen to go on a controlled diet. And what would you know it’s here.

Now the thing with me is that I can not, for the love of god, diet. See, I don’t mind slogging it while exercising, but dieting and me have just never been good friends. Earlier this mutual hatred never was a problem. When I would put on weight- one month of rigorous exercise and I would be back in shape. Results with exercise were instant- in fact within a week I would see a difference. But now, not so much. I have been exercising quite religiously for months and still have not seen the results I would like.Of course I do admit things are different this time around.

For one, this time I have really, really, really put on weight. So there is more to shed off than the previous times. For another, (harsh reality) I am older than before. With age also comes slow metabolism. And maybe that’s why the results have not come as fast as before.

So I have realized that without controlling my diet, I won’t be able to lose weight. And by controlling my diet, I do not mean dieting. I mean eating more wisely.

Generally, our meals at home are pretty healthy- cooked in little oil. And even the sweets that I post on the blog-most of them go to V’s office and I try not to keep anything at home. But, it’s the afternoon time that really kills it for me. With nothing much to do in the afternoon, I start getting hungry and that’s when I start snacking- on junk. The snacking habit has improved but it’s still there. And that’s where I need help. To kind of help me with that, my friend suggested keeping a food & activity diary and noting down everything I eat during the day. So today onwards I have started doing that. I just note down what all I did in terms of physical activity and what all I ate and drank.

Another thing that I will be doing this month is to cut out on all things made from white flour, processed sugar and white rice (or at least cut out as much as I can!).

It won’t be a no-carb diet, but I will try to limit my carbs to veggies, nuts, low carb wraps, and fruits. Only whole wheat homemade bread and as little white potato as possible (although doing that would be difficult because I love potato!) And I will be eating lots of protein and won’t get too much worried about fat (I need the glow on my skin and like I said I cook in little oil anyway)

Few other things that I’ll be following this month (and have read or known to be pretty effective to lose weight, or things that I feel might be effective):

  • Drinking 4-5 cups of green tea, but none after 5 pm (so that the caffeine doesn’t affect my sleep).
  • Drinking a glass of hot water after every meal, but after a gap of 20-30 minutes from the meal . Also I will be drinking hot water at regular intervals. (Personally, I haven’t read much scientific evidence for this- some even claim cold water helps reduce weight, but I know friends who have done this, that is, drinking hot water after meals and seen quite a difference in their weight. And the thing is I too did this right before marriage and even though I did not lose weight, I did not gain any- keep in mind I was not exercising at all and was at my grandparents where food is served every other hour- so I think it’s worth trying again!)
  • Eating smaller portions of meal every 3-4 hours.
  • Eating slow. I eat really fast and as a result tend to eat more. They say the stomach takes at least 20 minutes to send a signal to your brain that it is full. If we eat fast, we can continue eating past the point where we’re full. If we eat slowly, we have time to realize we’re full, and stop on time. But remember that does not give you the ticket to eat junk if you eat it slowly!

  • Drinking plenty of water. This is not a problem since I already do it, and honestly water is my favorite drink, any time of the day. But people who do not like water or have trouble drinking too much of it, I suggest squeezing some lime juice in it (but, no sugar, please!).
  • Trying to keep dinner mainly of soup and salad (finally my new year resolution will see the light of day! Yay!)
  • Eating food 3 hours before going to bed. That means dinner at 6.30-7 pm and bed at 10!
  • I also read in this book Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight– that the whole key is to increase your metabolism. Exercising is one way. Another is to eat the moment you wake up in the morning- it could be a fruit, or toast- or nuts- but within 30 minutes of getting up in the morning something should go in your stomach for the body to kick up its metabolism. Another thing that I read in it-is to eat right after exercising- within 15 minutes if possible, else at the most within the hour. This article might help you to understand why. And this is the perfect time to eat those carbs that our body loves so much! 🙂

These are some of the points I’ll keep in mind and will follow- I hope they help you too.

Over the course of this month, I will post more tips and will also share various recipes that will help me through this month of low carb/ controlled diet. I will also be talking you through my trial in weight loss. Because talking helps. It will give me some encouragement to go on (and god knows I need the encouragement).

For now I will leave you with a recipe for red lentil soup. It’s a recipe from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook . Hope you enjoy it as much as we did. And remember to be generous with the lemon in this dish. Its the star of the recipe!


Even though the lentils are pinkish red in color, they break their structure while cooking and make for a more yellow colored soup. Do wash your lentils well before using them. In Indian grocery stores this type of lentil goes by the name masoor (so that’s what you should be looking for). You should be able to find this lentil in stores that carry food special to middle eastern cuisine. This would be perfect with some rice- white basmati would be the best but in case you are on the no white rice diet (like me), you could try with some brown rice or whole grain bread works find too.


  • 2 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed well
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.


  1. In a skillet, heat the oil and saute the onions and celery till softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer the softened onion and celery to the slow cooker, along with the lentils, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric and lemon juice.
  3. Add the broth and enough water to come about 3 inches above the vegetables.
  4. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Switch to LOW setting and cook for another 5-6 hours. Season with salt and pepper. Add hot water to soup to thin it, if it is too thick. Serve hot.