Pho-Inspired Beef Soup (Low Carb)


I quit my job last week.

I realized a change needed to happen when I was eating my dinner between sobs on my 30 minute break and asking my boyfriend for reassurance in my other skills.

“I’m a really fucking good cook, right?”, I said with a tear-streaked face and a mouth full of food I had prepped before work. I was at the point where I felt completely incompetent, emotionally exhausted, and I had started doubting my capabilities and general life skills.

I felt really defeated. This is the first time I’ve ever quit a job because I’ve felt I couldn’t do it. The anxiety I had going into my shifts was overwhelming. I can’t help but feel like a failure because of it. I guess at least I realized I was in the wrong line of work. Not that I suddenly know what the right line of work for me is. I still feel like I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up and then I remember that I am fully grown up.

Sometimes when I look around and see that so many others appear to be settled into a job they love, I wonder what the hell I’m doing wrong and if there even is a job I would genuinely enjoy doing. Sometimes I fully believe that I have no useful skills or interests that could ever lead me to a career I’d love.

These existential feelings tend to be accompanied by a wave of guilt for feeling even the slightest bit of entitlement to a job that I would genuinely enjoy doing. I grew up in the time where “You can be anything you want to be!” was continuously recited and now I’m wiser to the fact that it just doesn’t happen for the majority of people.

After I quit my job I put my heart and soul more than ever before into cooking elaborate meals for Doug and I. It’s been incredibly therapeutic because it makes me remember that I can still be creative, I still have capabilities. I feel like less of a failure for it. I’ve been loading up on my own homemade baked goods because eating my feelings also helps.

Perhaps the culinary world is my calling. I’ve been considering chef school to hone my skills and get some credibility but I’m not so sure this is the right path because of my dietary restrictions. I’m not too keen on cooking things I’m not able to taste because 1) it makes me incredibly sad and 2) how the fuck am I supposed to know if I’m doing it right? I’m going to have a long, hard think on what’s next. I’m definitely open to suggestions, my friends.

On that note, here’s a pretty great recipe as a thank-you for letting me air my grievances!

photo 5
All the fixings.


8 cups beef stock
1/2 medium onion, skin left on
2 inches ginger, peeled and cut in large chunks
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp peanut oil

1 tsp fish sauce

For the soup:

50 g noodle of choice, cooked
1 lb thinly sliced beef
1 handful basil
1 lime sliced into wedges
1 handful bean sprouts
1/2 thinly sliced onion
1 thai chili, sliced
1 handful of bok choy or other greens, chopped

1 tbsp sriracha

Heat oil over medium in a large stock pot. Add the onion cut side down and ginger and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cinnamon, and star anise, cook a few minutes longer. Add the stock and bring up to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Remove the onion, ginger, garlic, cinnamon stick, and star anise.

In the meantime, ready your noodle of choice. If you’re keeping it low carb, I recommend these black bean noodles. You could also use zucchini noodles or skip the noodles altogether if you use enough garnishes!

Add your warm noodles of choice to your bowls and put some slices of raw beef on top. Add the fish sauce to the broth, bring it back up to a boil, and pour it over the beef in your bowls. The boiling broth will cook the beef. Add your garnishes raw and top the soup with sriracha if you want a little more heat.

Serves 4 – 6

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