A Low-Fat, Low-Meat 15-Bean Soup That Will Fill and Satisfy You For Weight Loss

You understand by now that The Potato Diet is not magic. It’s perfectly explainable and logical, based on the observations.

It happens to turn out, rather ironically, that unlike chips and fries which are crazy go-to hyper-palatable rewarding foods that people flock to and overeat by heaps and bounds, plain potatoes are the most satiating food ever measured in controlled conditions (for most people).

I’ll show you the conspicuous chart, once again.


Funny how an orange is on par with a steak, both being roughly four times as satiating as potato chips. But plain potatoes blow everything else out of the water. Not by an exponential factor, but certainly by orders of magnitude.

Anyway, various readers have been finding similar satiation with a couple of other things, primarily oats, and legumes. While lentils and baked beans are on the chart and toward the right, they aren’t as clearly outlying. However, here’s where art comes into play, in my book. Essentially, we’re looking at an experiment where you get a bunch of people off the street and have them test various foods, pretty much blindsided.

But how about to the aficionado? The potato artist? The tater-Tot!?

What if the practice and discipline to eat nothing but plain boiled potatoes for a few days to a week causes some profound changes, where other common, peasant-like staples—such as oat groats and legumes—do the same thing: help you feel full for more hours. And being in an energy deficit for some hours to days is no longer as big of a deal to you?

Isn’t that what it boils down to? For whatever reason, you don’t seem to be getting the same hunger signals or impulses to eat at the same intervals, or at the same amplitude. It’s as though it’s all attenuated or dampened. I’m very curious to explore the potential psychological, neurological, and physiological underpinnings of all of that and wish to use my new podcast platform to do that the best.

I wrote this simply titled short post in January of 2009: HUNGER.

The longer I go down this path of paleo-like eating, the more I am convinced that hunger is the key. I tell people, now: ultimately, this is not a battle of the bulge, fat, or weight. This is a battle over hunger and ultimately, your hunger is going to win in the long run unless you simply have the rare constitution to be miserable all the time — like many of the calorie restriction folks do.

Unfortunately, my vision as to the solution was still very incomplete:

Fortunately, there is a solution, and that solution is to eat a natural diet of plenty of meats, fish, natural fats (animal, coconut, olive), vegetables, fruits (moderation), and nuts (moderation too).

The post continues. Lot’s more wrong or incomplete stuff. But it also got an essential thing right, and we know that’s right because it’s prima facie. You can only get fat by eating. Not eating does not make you fat. Not being hungry all the time has you eating less, less often; quod erat demonstrandum.

So to some extent, I was still embroiled with the idea that so long as it’s a “paleo” food, then it’s going to solve hunger, and you’re not going to overeat it chronically. Uh, yes, very many of you will. Whether it’s pastured eggs, nuts, huge fatty cuts of meat, avocados, coconuts, or whatever. Unlimited access, combined with a carefree budget, all licensed by a paleo or Low-Carb green-light card, will have very, very many of you overeating these foods (and if not paleo, add butter, bacon, and cheese to the list—and if paleo-ish, add nut butter and nut flours).

We’re so very invested in defending all of these great foods and indeed, they are great. All of them. For decades, they’ve been unjustly maligned, and it’s understandable now, that we feel a huge sense of relief in seeing butter in the cold section again, and news articles telling us that perhaps bird and reptile exo-wombs aren’t so bad.

But unless we have pocketbook constraints, or have to hunt, gather, and fish these foods, or otherwise go to the work of pasturing and producing, then yes, we can overindulge in them. And so it comes down to eating like a poor peasant.

Here’s the next recipe. It’ll set you back a few bucks, but it will also delight and satisfy.


  • 1 lb smoked pork necks (alternatively: smoked ham hocks)
  • 1 lb package bean soup mix (mine was 15-beans)
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley; chopped leaves, discard stems
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3-4 small carrots, diced, with skins
  • 1 small head green cabbage; 1/2 – 2/3 chopped about 1″
  • 2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes (I use the ones with oregano, garlic, etc. herbs)
  • 1 quart Kitchen Basics Chicken Stock
  • 1 quart Kitchen Basics Beef Stock
  • 1 TBS ground black pepper
  • Salt and additional pepper to taste when finished


  1. Bring pork necks, chicken and beef stock to a boil. Add water to make sure they’re covered and stay covered. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until meat falls off the bone with a fork poke. About 2 hours.
  2. Remove the necks to a bowl and let them cool so you can handle with bare fingers. In the meantime, strain the cooking liquid and run it through your Fat Separator batch by batch. Pick the pork necks thoroughly, breaking up all the lean meat into small bits and toss them into the pot with your fat-separated cooking stocks.
  3. Add in the beans, onions, garlic, parsley, carrots, tomatoes, and pepper. Use water as necessary, but careful. Cooking releases moisture from the veggies. You can always add water.
  4. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover. About 2 hours.

I pictured this bowl with only minimal soupiness to illustrate what’s in play.


Here’s what it looks like as just plain old soup.


For the “gluttons” out there, this recipe is adapted from one of my mom’s that’s a super quick & easy (like 30 minutes or so). It’s a pound of Polish sausage chopped up, a couple of chopped onions, 2 cans diced tomatoes, half head of chopped cabbage, salt & pepper to taste. Enough water to cover, boil until done. Crazy delicious.


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  1. gab on March 21, 2016 at 16:35

    Lean Polish sausage is the bomb. Garlicky. I just fried up some of this with green peas and my potato. Delicious.

    Possibly for people who can’t eat tomatoes, Turkish red pepper paste may be an alternative (unless the ‘issue’ is nightshades, but then they can’t eat potatoes either). The pepper paste is available as sweet and hot. I put a big spoonful in broth when I’m adding stuff to make soup. It das schmeckt mir gut.

    Ajvar is also a great soup additive. Usually red peppers and garlic but also eggplant.

  2. Steven on March 21, 2016 at 18:38

    Oh the experimentation goes on…

    First gorge day. 3 weeks ago it would have been simple but right now I feel seriously sick to my iron stomach. I hate it.

    I went to one of my favorite restaurants in Irvine called Agora. A Brazilian BBQ. I feasted. It was awesome. Fatty meats bursting with flavor. Tons of beets and hearts of palm. Salty. Succulent. Tender. Fatty. MEAT!!!

    I did not eat what I normally could. I had to stop at around 24oz of meat… I normally do 32-40 oz..

    Second, I got home and dove in to my favorite dessert. I figured dive in… I have been eating it since I was a kid in one form or another. Medjool dates with a pat of butter. One date = 75 calories and 15-20 grams of sugar. And about half tea spoon of butter on each. I had 6. I ate a banana (greenish) as well.

    As I mentioned 3 weeks ago this would have been easy peasy lemon squeezy.. I am now contemplating puking. Seriously. I never get that bad. I have barfed only once in over 20 years and that was seriously only once and it was bad food poisoning. My joints hurt a little and are a little tough to move now as well.

    What we eat obviously makes our bodies adapt. If the signaling is set to gluttonous rich foods you then must continue those foods in order to get the reward thingy. Even foods considered paleo. Once our signaling gets all messed up I can see how easy it is to over eat. My brain said eat my stomach said stop. My brain won because I am so used to ignoring my stomach and going for that super delicious food.

    Being an Arab, the foods I ate growing up were pretty simple. Two pots on the stove and the scent gave away what was in one pot. The other was always rice. The rice was topped off with some sort of soupy stuff from the other pot. That could be various beans. Spinach. Lentils. Etc. All really tasty but you could only eat so much. Even if you ate tons the caloric load was not that high. If you got hungry you ate the meal again. A lunch and dinner thing. you may have some pickled foods and various fresh fruit and veggies as well.

    See what happens to my weight and tomorrow back to potatoes.

  3. Sidney on March 22, 2016 at 13:04

    I have found really useful tool called the Body Weight Planner, which was created by Kevin Hall, PhD of the NIH (who coincidentally in a recent study trashed Taubes’ low carb insulin hypothesis and stated that low fat is the way to go to lose body weight:

    Here is the link to the Body Weight Planner:

  4. Brian on March 22, 2016 at 05:59

    Sounds good and I might add some taters to it too.

  5. Virginia on March 22, 2016 at 06:36

    The hunger idea is so interesting. For me, one side effect of eating copious amounts of potatoes (even if not all potatoes all the time) is that I noticed being much less interested in “consumption” when I walked into a Target to get “one thing” the other day. Usually entering those doors results in extended browsing/purchasing, so I leave with many things. But the other day, about 2 weeks into potatoes, doing that just wasn’t interesting. I bought my one thing, and left.

  6. king of the one eyed people on March 22, 2016 at 11:11

    Tim has released his book on the potato hack. Why have you not reviewed it already?

    How you can fill a whole book on eating potatoes is beyond me but I am sure Tim has done a fine job.

  7. Janet Harlow on March 22, 2016 at 11:18

    Richard you wrote above: For whatever reason, you don’t seem to be getting the same hunger signals or impulses to eat at the same intervals, or at the same amplitude. It’s as though it’s all attenuated or dampened.

    I did a potato hack last week from Monday through Thursday (my first one) and I find my appetite now is what you are describing above. Definitely dampened. I find myself wandering around the kitchen thinking I should eat, but nothing seems to engage my appetite and frankly the whole food thing is just “meh”. Where I wanted a huge salad with dressing, another veg with shaved Parmesan along with the veg/hamburger soup I made Friday, I only had the soup and I was very satisfied and full. Been this way ever since then. Very interesting. Coming from 4 plus years of LC, Paleo, LCHF, PHD where I feel good but some weight is back I feel I need a reset. My appetite has been all over the place. I now believe it is calories and the devil may care amount of fats and whole food encouraged by these food plans. I had a hunch the weight might be because of more calories eaten by my normal whole foods. But I am a woman and my body isn’t going to act like a weight loss machine on steroids like some men can boast. Sigh. Very fascinating stuff, Richard.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 22, 2016 at 18:58

      Sounds like you got it.

      From here, it’s simple. Always have boiled potatoes in the fridge and when it’s not an objective celebratory occasion where anything and everything is on the menu, no guilt, just beat down that dog brain now and then with a potato or two.

      It will be your best friend and above all, you know you have the last whip in the matter.

      Nice job.

  8. Taylor on March 22, 2016 at 11:22

    So glad you have made a return to your food posts. I did not grow up around cooking so you have been my surrogate real food cooking influence.

    Also I was curious if you had the opportunity to watch ‘Cooked’ on Netflix yet? I think you’d really appreciate it.

  9. […] A Low-Fat, Low-Meat 15-Bean Soup That Will Fill and Satisfy You For Weight Loss […]

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