Sarah Atshan’s Lovely Food

On Facebook, Sarah Atshan has put up photos of meals that helped her lose 120 lbs.

Her food is Perfect Health Diet compatible and awesomely healthy!

I was going to link to her photos yesterday, but Sarah deserves a post to herself. All photos are © Sarah Atshan 2011.

Keftah (middle Eastern meatballs) with raw onion in hummus and veggies.

Beef and broccoli over rice, with some kimchi.

“So simple yet so yummy”: Hainanese chicken rice. Poached stewing hen from Polyface farm (stuffed and cooked with aromatics), plus rice cooked in chicken fat and chicken broth from the poaching, plus caramelized onion and chicken skin. Mix and serve with a chili, garlic, ginger, and lime sauce.

Korean bibimbap is a great way to dispose of leftovers. This began with leftover vegetables: Daikon radish, broccoli, carrot, button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, green onion, and cilantro. Standard ingredients: onion, garlic, ginger, and Serrano peppers added to beef, rice, and a raw egg yolk.

Korean seafood stew: Fish and shrimp cooked in homemade seafood broth, with rice, green onion, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, onion, carrot, bok choy, shiitake mushroom, ginger and Chinese broccoli (gai lan).

Korean style Shepherd’s Pie:

Mash made with Japanese sweet potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes, and egg yolks.

Mince made with grass fed beef, mushrooms, onions, garlic, ginger, kimchi, and Korean seasonings.

Vegetables: wilted pea shoot, carrot, and daikon radish salad.

“Mex-a-bap”: Korean bibimbap with Mexican ingredients. Grassfed Mexican seasoned beef with onions and mushrooms, rice, garlicky guacamole, and green mango salsa (tomato was not in season yet).

Steamed shellfish with grass fed butter, lemon, crystal hot sauce, old bay seasoning, homemade cocktail sauce (tomato paste, fish sauce, and horseradish), served with oven roasted potatoes.

Middle Eastern cabbage stuffed with grass fed beef and beef heart, garlic, green pepper, onion, rice, and spices. Cooked in chicken stock.

Salad: tomato, bell pepper, and dandelion greens with lemon juice.

Yogurt sauce: raw milk yogurt, hot pepper, lemon and garlic.

Beef with lots of garlic, onion, Serrano pepper, mushrooms, green onion, and Sarah’s special sauce, served with carrot and kale, and rice cooked in homemade chicken stock.

Thai coconut milk soup with fish, veggies, and eggs. Serve with rice.

Thai green coconut milk curry with beef. Potato, kale, yellow squash, carrot, green onion, basil, Thai basil, cilantro, and garlic scapes; grass-fed beef, and homemade stock.

The green curry paste was home made: jalapeno, poblano chili, Serrano chili, New Mexico green chili, Thai green chili, lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves, cilantro root, basil, red onion, garlic, ginger, fermented shrimp paste, white pepper, coriander, cardamom, and cumin.

Thai green papaya salad.

Salmon cakes made with basil, mint, carrot, cucumber, onion, lime, garlic, lettuce, ginger, jalapeno, pepper, and tomato. Salad is dressed in a homemade spicy coconut lime dressing and topped with nuts.

Beef pho with beef tendon and rice noodles, garnished after cooking with Thai basil, carrots, cilantro, Thai chilies, lime, daikon radish, and vinegar-ed onions.

Vietnamese garlic and ginger beef stew with beef tendon, daikon radish and carrot salad, rice, and homemade turnip kimchi, topped with raw yolk. Mix and eat.

Vietnamese steak salad made with grass fed sirloin, baby chard, romaine lettuce, carrots, daikon radish, vinegared red onions, cilantro, and pickled jalapenos. With coconut milk rice and a hard-boiled duck egg.


Sarah’s food is super-healthy, super-appetizing – and perfect for those who want to lose weight.

Sarah, it’s great being Facebook friends and all, but how do we wrangle an invitation to dinner?

Leave a comment ?


  1. You took the words outta my mouth. How do we get invited to dinner (or lunch) or afternoon tea for that matter. Congratulations to Sarah for losing all that weight. I’ll bet she looks and feels great.

  2. Sarah Atshan’s Lovely Food | Low Carb Daily - pingback on September 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm
  3. I’d hire her as a cook and I don’t even need to lose weight!

    Funny how people think weight loss has to be some horrible experience in deprivation. Well, sad actually.

  4. How is the hummus PHD friendly?

    Do tell! I’m a former hummus fiend!

  5. Well, the hummus is questionable, and the peanuts are definitely not PHD. But everything else is PHD friendly!

    If the chickpeas are well cooked hummus might be fine. I would support homemade hummus ahead of industrial hummus.

  6. If you’re starting with dried (as opposed to canned) chickpeas/garbanzos then you’ve gotta soak them overnight first, which is an important step in the detoxification of many beans. According to WAPFers soaking plus cooking takes care of most toxins making them relatively safe from that standpoint. So make your hummus the traditional way, with dried chickpeas, fresh garlic and tahini (keeps those sesame oils fresh) and good extra-virgin olive oil.

  7. My friend cooks a lot of legumes, but she’s also very sensitive to them (don’t ask me the logic).

    I don’t have the exact method written down, but after soaking, she brings whatever legume she’s cooking to a boil with pieces of cut potato in the pot, boils this for a few mintues, then drains out the water and brings to a boil again with new pieces of potato. I think she repeats this again, then cooks it till done.

    This method spares her the stomach ache she gets when just soaking and cooking.

  8. I don’t have access to Facebook at work. Are there recipes for those dishes? They look incredible.

  9. Congratulations to Ms Atshan!

    The Facebook link didn’t work for me, alas. It’s great that Sarah was able to get to goal (assuming she has) on a diet that will also serve to healthfully maintain the loss.

    And, best of all – this certainly doesn’t sound blaaand…

    Thanks for the photos, Paul; we do eat with our eyes first, yes?


  10. Hi Andrea & Ruth,

    Thanks much for the tips on detox. Ruth – that is very interesting. Potatoes must release some kind of enzyme that detoxifies the chickpeas. Great discovery by your friend.

    Hi Chuck,

    Sarah hasn’t put up recipes, but we’ve put up recipes for some of the dishes.

    Hi KKC,

    I wonder if you have to be friends with Sarah to see it … I’m not all that skilled on Facebook.

    But yes, we do eat with our eyes! Best not to look while shopping however.

  11. I emailed my friend for the details on how she prepares her legumes. When she replies, I’ll post the details.

  12. Holy smokes, everything looks so amazing!! It’s hard to believe that she used this food to lose 120lbs. It looks so great that I think I would overeat out of sheer greed.

  13. I wish restaurants here would serve food like this.

    Paul, would you say that a raw egg yolk is the perfect nutritious food or do you think the risk of parasites and other pathogens makes it a not so good food?

  14. Hi Tim,

    I eat 3 egg yolks daily, mixed into my lunch which is then microwaved, usually I just get it warm enough to eat so the yolks end up only half-cooked. I don’t think that will kill many parasites.

    The most common danger in eggs is salmonella and that’s most common in eggs whose shell has been washed or cracked or some such. I don’t worry too much about bacteria in food. If you believe Seth Roberts, they’re actually good for us. (I’m more skeptical, but I think if you have a healthy gut it’s not a terrible danger.)

  15. All looks very appetizing. How do you get the Salmon cakes to not fall apart? I tried making them last eek and got a not very appetizing mush.

  16. As per Sally Fallon (Nourishing Traditions) you need to acidify the water when you are soaking pulses etc. So a dash of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in the soak water helps break down the phytic acid to make them bioavailable.

  17. Hi Ruth, Beezneez,

    Thanks so much, it’s great to learn how to detoxify beans for the benefit of our high-carb dieters or those who like Indian food.

    Hi Alexandra,

    That’s the great thing, nourishing food tastes great but it’s not addictive.

    Hi Iris,

    We had a few glitches in our recipe too: The cakes held together but they leaked starch. Maybe Sarah will give us some tips.

  18. Paul and all,

    Can prepared black bean soup be de-toxified?

    I love the stuff over rice with a dollop of sour cream and sliced scallions on top.

  19. Hi erp,

    If you’re preparing it at home, probably yes. The procedure would be similar to that for chickpeas: overnight soaking, maybe in some acid or with some other plant, then thorough cooking.

    Exactly to what degree these foods are detoxified is not really well known. But if you love the stuff, you might as well do your detoxifying best, and enjoy them.

  20. Ok. I heard from my friend. Here’s her method for gasless beans.

    These instructions are for all types of beans (lima, chick peas, black eyed peas, etc.)

    1. Soak the beans overnight – at least 8 hours. Change the water at least twice.

    2. Drain the water they soaked in. Put the beans in a pot with fresh water at a ratio of 1:4 (4 cups water to 1 cup beans). Add half a sliced potato to the pot.

    3. Bring to a boil and discard the water.

    4. Add fresh water and bring to a boil a second time with new slices of potato. Optional: At this stage add caraway seeds/turmeric/cumin seeds to further reduce gas.

    5. Remove any foam.

    6. Boil 10 minutes on high heat then reduce to medium heat. Partially cover the pot and cook for 1 hour.

    7. Reduce to a low flame and boil 2 more hours.

    (I’m repeating my friend’s instructions, but I have a feeling that boiling it at a high, then medium, then low temperature makes no difference.)

    Red lentils don’t need to be soaked. For other lentils, soak for 1 – 3 hours.

    Interestingly enough, she says that the potatoes come out tasting delicious and though they seem to reduce gas from the beans, they don’t cause her gas when she eats them.

    Hope that’s helpful.

  21. Paul, I hate to cook. There I said it.

    Now thanks to you I do so much shopping, soaking, chopping, sauteing, rendering and what not, I might as get my own cooking show on TV — America’s Most Reluctant Cook.

    You know if we formed a colony and all lived there, those who like to cook and are good at it could do so and the rest of us could do our part by cleaning our plates.

  22. Thanks Paul, and thanks for your book and website.

  23. I would watch America’s Most Reluctant Cook. You should pitch the idea to some TV execs.

  24. America’s Most Reluctant Cook and the Cranky Grouch could be an irresistible combination, at least to the New York market.

  25. Thanks Ruth, but I’ve perfected abject laziness to an art form, but you’re welcome to use the title if you like.

    The reluctant part is valid I think because there really is no alternative to preparing your own meals if you want to eat healthy.

    We’re retired and have the time and wherewithal to eat out as often as we like, however, we don’t have that option because like liberty, the price of perfect health is eternal vigilence!

  26. Paul, I’ve known some world class cranks with Boston accents, so watch it.

  27. You know what Boston-Irish Alzheimer’s disease is. You forget everything but your grudges.

  28. Thanks for all the kind comments everyone!
    To answer a few questions/comments:

    Some of these photos were taken pre-PHD. But I still make hummus on occasion. I grew up eating it, and learned how to make if from my aunt in the Middle East. She and I do indeed soak them with a lil yogurt or lemon juice overnight before cooking.

    We (my bf and I) are still on our weight loss journey. We basically do a WAPF/PHD mix. He has lost a lil over 70 lbs. We are really happy that we can eat white rice and potatoes again (guilt free). And we are happy that it makes us less socially awkward. 🙂

    I don’t have any recipes posted online as of yet. Lots of friends/family asked about what I was doing when they started to notice my weight loss, so I decided to take pics of my meals. Mainly to prove that I wasn’t starving myself.

    As for the salmon cakes, I made those when I was avoiding grains, so I actually used eggs and softened veggies as a binder, I also tried not to let the mixture be too wet and flipped them very, very carefully when I browned them in tallow. I have had them break, but they still turned out yummy and became more of a salmon hash.

    • I make salmon cakes regularly, and I usually mix in a bit of almond meal or rice flour. I think that may help keep them from breaking when I cook them. Also I’ve noticed that when I make the patties ahead, refrigerate them, and cook them later, they hold together better.

  29. I come from the south of Italy. We have a traditional dish of dried fava beans with potatoes which is eaten with wild bitter dandelion.
    We soak favas overnight, drain and bring to a boil with water. Drain and cover again with water and sliced potatoes, skim, foam, cover. At the end the water must completely evaporate and the beans should be tender (never stir, so the beans stay whole), the cooked favas and potatoes get whipped with extra virgin olive oil until creamy and thick (as per mashed potatoes) it’s eaten with the boiled bitter green, which I think helps digestion as well. Traditionally the fava are cooked in an earthware jug in the fireplace ashes and beaten up with a long wooden spoon. Wild dandalion and other herbs have their own particular flavor, which I find different from wild vegetables of same family picked elsewhere, it’s the soil composition that makes a huge difference.

  30. This is so awesome! I bet just making it and shopping for ingredients will help loose a ton of calories!

    Did you find these recepies on-line? Whenever I try to cook something from on-line it ends up being horrible and either tasteless or dis-harmonic in taste, or even tough rarely gives me gastrointestinal problems :/

    Anotherthing I find very surprising is that the consumption o refined white grains is acceptable. Everywhere else I look white rice, bread, flour anything is not recommended for consumption, that’s why Im a bit suspicious of this diet.

    Otherwise these particular dishes look amazing!!!

  31. Naty K- Thank you!

    I never follow a single recipe (They usually have ingredients that I don’t like or not enough of the stuff I do like) and I often get creative with recipes I do come across. I may get inspiration for a recipe, ex- I see a recipe for traditional shepherds pie, but I have been cooking a lot of Korean food- so I incorporate what I know of Korean flavors into that dish. Most of it is really simple once you get a feel for the flavors of the cuisine you are cooking. And when it comes to Middle Eastern food, I grew up eating that, so a lot of that is from my mom and family. I keep certain staples on hand and find I can usually come up with something yummy.

    I also had an mental adjustment period of accepting white rice. I had cut starch out of my diet for so long. I found including 400 calories of white rice &/or potatoes, reduced my cravings for something sweet. My calories naturally lowered without hunger. I was also able to start intermittent fasting, something that was impossible for me to do before the starch.

  32. This sure seems to go against the whole food reward theory indicating that very palatable foods will keep us all fat. These meals all look *super* palatable to me!

    But palatable food helps keeps me on track too. Down 127 pounds so far and still going. 🙂

  33. Congrats, Debbie! 127 pounds — that’s awesome!

  34. Sarah,

    Holy smokes! Saliva is even gushing in my mouth as I type this post!

    Could you perhaps post the recipes for the meat balls, mince meat, stuffed cabbage, and beef (photos “top-to-bottom” #1, #7, #10, and #11?

    I would like to try these out. And I’m even a more reluctant cook than Erp!

  35. Sarah,

    Do you have any recommendations of cookbooks/online sources to get started with this style of cooking (even if the recipes do require some modification)?
    I’m trying to get my husband to start eating healthier with me and he said if I could make some of the food in these pictures, he’d get on board. 🙂
    Amazing looking food!!

  36. Chowstalker is a good place to start. You can look through the pictures and if you click on any of them, it will take you to a blog post with the recipe.
    The food is all has a Paleo/Primal orientation.

    Good luck, Casey!

  37. John- Thank you. I will post the recipes in a few weeks when my studies die down a bit. But FYI, you need some special ingredients like Korean red pepper paste and Thai fish sauce.

    Casey- I can post more sites later, but off the top of my head, a great site with lots of Asian recipes: (will need some modifications)

    Thanks for the all the kind comments, I am really not used to this much attention!

  38. Sarah please do post your recipes when you get time…it looks so good, but I’m a flunky when it comes to making stuff without a recipe lol. And I honestly think you should start a blog with the recipes….it would be a lot easier to share that way *hint hint*. 🙂

  39. Dear Sarah–please, please, please post recipes!!! Most of us don’t have the skills to figure this stuff out on our own. You have an amazing talent you could share. And if you put ads on your website, it will help pay for tuition too!

  40. Hi everyone! I’ve finally started up a blog. It’s super new and will eventually have loads of recipes. Right now, just a few. So please follow me there or on facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or on EVERYTHING! Thanks for all the wonderful compliments. 😀

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