Potatoes - Good or Evil? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 01-17-2011, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We try to eat TF around here, but TBH, I've never yet read a book about it, so I just sort of wing it most of the time. We are gluten free and corn free (sometimes we'll have organic corn). We eat a LOT of potatoes, partially because they're cheap, and partially because they are so versatile. But someone told me the other day that they don't eat them because they are not nutrient dense and also make them very tired and irritable. I was a bit taken aback, as I'd never head that before. 

 

I know I could google this question, but I want to get some real-life input from those of you who do or don't eat them and your reasons why.


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#2 of 21 Old 01-17-2011, 06:43 PM
 
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They are a high starch, high carb food.  If you're sensitive to that, it's something to be aware of.  I find I'm far more sensitive to grains than potatoes, but I still limit my potato intake.  But where I'll turn down grains at someone else's house, I'll eat the potatoes. 

 

If you're of the frame of mind that every meal must contain a starch, they're as good as any other I suppose, and better than some.  If you cook/serve them in the skin and actually eat the skin, then you're getting what nutrients they have to offer.  If you peel russets, then you might as well be eating white rice - they become pretty much devoid of anything but starch. 


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#3 of 21 Old 01-17-2011, 07:46 PM
 
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I think they are OK -- see this link: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=48 


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#4 of 21 Old 01-18-2011, 04:17 AM
 
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I think they are OK when prepared healthfully. I eat them occasionally, but I do limit my nightshades in general. (I found that I didn't want to avoid them altogether, though.)


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#5 of 21 Old 01-18-2011, 08:34 AM
 
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I've never understood the bias against potatoes. I mean, I get the glycemic index concept. But other than that, there seems to be this insistence that they are somehow "empty calories," which is simply not true.

EVEN without the skin, a potato is a significant source of B vitamins, Vitamin C, potassium, and copper, and contains smaller amounts of iron and magnesium. With the skin, the vitamin and mineral content soars. A potato also contains a small amoung (2g) of protein. Furthermore, the issue of glycemic index can be significantly mitigated by consuming the potato with plenty of fat, and alongside a protein-containing accompaniment.

Our favorite potato dish is colcannon. It is made by boiling whole potatoes with the skin on, and then mashing them with butter, milk, and steamed cabbage or kale.

Certainly, I'm not suggesting anybody should go and try and live on nothing but potatoes. But a potato is a good, whole food, and it irks me to see them so maligned.

FWIW, though-- russet potatoes are among the most heavily sprayed crops. It is best, if you must BUY potatoes, that you buy them organically raised. It is also extremely easy to raise potatoes yourself, even in urban areas. I live in an apartment, and raise about 50 pounds of potatoes a year.


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#6 of 21 Old 01-18-2011, 08:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Llyra View Post

I've never understood the bias against potatoes. I mean, I get the glycemic index concept. But other than that, there seems to be this insistence that they are somehow "empty calories," which is simply not true.

EVEN without the skin, a potato is a significant source of B vitamins, Vitamin C, potassium, and copper, and contains smaller amounts of iron and magnesium. With the skin, the vitamin and mineral content soars. A potato also contains a small amoung (2g) of protein. Furthermore, the issue of glycemic index can be significantly mitigated by consuming the potato with plenty of fat, and alongside a protein-containing accompaniment.

Our favorite potato dish is colcannon. It is made by boiling whole potatoes with the skin on, and then mashing them with butter, milk, and steamed cabbage or kale.

Certainly, I'm not suggesting anybody should go and try and live on nothing but potatoes. But a potato is a good, whole food, and it irks me to see them so maligned.

FWIW, though-- russet potatoes are among the most heavily sprayed crops. It is best, if you must BUY potatoes, that you buy them organically raised. It is also extremely easy to raise potatoes yourself, even in urban areas. I live in an apartment, and raise about 50 pounds of potatoes a year.
 


I tend to agree with this.  I do have a hard time getting organic potatoes around here, so if I can't get organic, I limit eating them to once week (or less).  If I can get organic (which is about half the time) then I eat them almost every day.  I love potatoes.

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#7 of 21 Old 01-18-2011, 08:56 AM
 
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I love potatoes. I always eat them with a fat (either butter and sour cream, or gravy - and plenty of it!) and I feel terrific after eating them.

 

I also totally believe people who say they don't feel that good after eating potatoes. I think we have genetic predispositions to different kinds of diets.

 

We belong to an organic CSA and potatoes are something we load up on during winters. Given the high pesticide residue (it's worse because it's a root crop - sure, some of the chemical washes off the leaves, but a root's purpose is to absorb. So potatoes absorb huge amounts of pesticides) I now insist on eating only organic. I don't know the dirty dozen list well enough (I remember strawberries and bell peppers) but if they aren't on the list, they should be.

 

We also eat sweet potatoes. They are considered to have more nutrients, but I consider potatoes to be pretty nutritious as well, especially if you eat the skin. And if you buy organic, there's no reason not to eat the skin (and it's delicious too).


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#8 of 21 Old 01-19-2011, 12:33 PM
 
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Llyra, I would be VERY interested to learn more about how you manage to grow potatoes; I live in an apartment too & we have a decent size balcony = what do I need to get myself started ? when should I do what ? TIA

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#9 of 21 Old 01-19-2011, 01:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Llyra View Post

Certainly, I'm not suggesting anybody should go and try and live on nothing but potatoes. But a potato is a good, whole food, and it irks me to see them so maligned.
 


Interview with Chris Voigt, of 20 Potatoes a day --http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2010/12/interview-with-chris-voigt-of-20.html

 

http://www.20potatoesaday.com/

 


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#10 of 21 Old 01-19-2011, 02:06 PM
 
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Llyra, I am also VERY interested in how you grow your potatoes!  Please share!


Becky- Wife to DH, Mama to "Nani" (July '08) "Coco" (July '10) and expecting one very wiggly baby boy in May 2013!

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#11 of 21 Old 01-19-2011, 02:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoBabyMaker View Post

Llyra, I am also VERY interested in how you grow your potatoes!  Please share!


Well, I'm not the expert; DH is the guru of urban farming, so I'll ask him for more details later if you like, and perhaps an instructional link. But we raise them in (clean!) barrels. We fill the bucket a small amount, early in the year, and put the seed potatoes in there. The buckets are rigged up somehow so they have drainage-- I'm not sure how--- it may be that DH has holes punched in the bottom. Have to ask him. Anyway, as the plant grows, we heap up dirt in the bucket, a little at a time, the way you'd "hill" potatoes. Then when harvest time hits-- usually late summer-- we dump the whole thing out and the potatoes are in there. They're fussy about soil, I think; we had a few failures before DH worked out the drainage and the soil issues. There are lots of good urban gardening books you can get that explain this better than I could. I'll ask DH for recommendations for that, too.

The real trick was finding food-grade barrels that we could feel comfortable with. We got ours by asking around; they're from a fish market.




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#12 of 21 Old 01-19-2011, 06:58 PM
 
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you can also do it in bags -

 

www.amazon.com/Layered-Fabric-Diameter-Circulate-Package/dp/B0035LHUR2

 

www.ehow.com/how_7466394_potato-bag-gardening.html

 

I just threw out a catalog that had a bag with a  flap that opened so you could just pull them out (can't find the link for that bag)


 

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#13 of 21 Old 01-20-2011, 01:02 PM
 
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thanks !

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#14 of 21 Old 01-22-2011, 10:37 AM
 
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i personally avoid potatoes due to toxins such as  glycoalkaloids. However i do think they are a much better choice than grains, and given the choice i'd probably pick potatoes. I'd just be careful to not eat ones with green sprouts and to peel the skin off.

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#15 of 21 Old 01-22-2011, 11:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

you can also do it in bags -

 

www.amazon.com/Layered-Fabric-Diameter-Circulate-Package/dp/B0035LHUR2

 

www.ehow.com/how_7466394_potato-bag-gardening.html

 

I just threw out a catalog that had a bag with a  flap that opened so you could just pull them out (can't find the link for that bag)

 

I've done potatoes in bags as well.  Burlap coffee bags from your local coffee shop are awesome and they usually give them away for free.
 

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#16 of 21 Old 01-22-2011, 01:14 PM
 
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I think most people avoid them for the high starch, carb-loaded, high glycemic index.  If you're increasing your fat (as in TF), then you need to lower your carb intake, and potatoes are a huge quick in your system carb (the white ones anyway).  I stay away from them the same way I do white rice and bread.  I'm really afraid of what they do to our weight levels, and contributing to diabetes & artery inflammation.

 

Edited to add:

I just read the 20 Potatoes a Day article.  It was pretty surprising!  But I wonder if the outcome would have been the same if he was eating the amount of fat that many TF leaders esposue (close to 50%).  Meat, poultry, & dairy fat, coconut oil fat.  All healthy fats yes, but if you load up on fat AND carbs, I have read that it will cause you to gain weight everytime.


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#17 of 21 Old 01-22-2011, 11:26 PM
 
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Potatoes make my blood sugar go CRAZY, and DH doesn't like them. So, I occasionally toss a couple wee ones from the farmer's market into a stew, or in with a roast for the kids, but that's about it.

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#18 of 21 Old 01-22-2011, 11:36 PM
 
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I eat them and think they are healthy when prepared correctly.


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#19 of 21 Old 01-25-2011, 12:12 PM
 
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Llyra, that is so cool!

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#20 of 21 Old 01-25-2011, 02:38 PM
 
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Here's a post from one of my fav bloggers of a very TF way to prepare potatoes!
http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/2010/11/video-fermented-potatoes/
I actually have a jar of them in our fridge right now and add them to other dishes as a way to sneak it in to my kids who won't touch a potato not fried with a 20 foot fork! This lady also does a great French fries video using tallow.

I also just read that peeling potatoes can reduce the toxic effects of the chemical sprays down like 96%! If i can't find organic I get regular and peel them.

They are a pretty super source of vit c to serve with meats and get that iron absorbed! In fact I'm making a batch of home fries on the stove tonight with diced org pots fried up in bacon grease! Yummy!

 


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#21 of 21 Old 01-27-2011, 10:59 AM
 
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Thanks mamaLeee, and you other mamas who have eased my mind about potatoes. I eat them every day. They do make me feel very good provided i either bake them or fry them. Quickly boiled potatoes (like for mashed potatoes) do make me feel horrible though, but since reading in NT that dry heat make them more digestible, I've had a good experience with them. I can use moist heat if I let them cook along in a stew, like layering them with beef in Sailor's Stew (a traditional Swedish recipe), for usually a couple of hours. I make sure to use the waxy type for that so they don't disintegrate. I also like potato gratin cooked with stock and a large amount of either olive oil or butter wisked in.

 

I have a strong aversion to eating the skins. Since I live in an area with very few food choices, particularly of the plant based kind, I get mostly conventionally grown, so after reading your comment above, I'm grateful for my peeling habit:). I'd still peel organic ones, unless the skins are very thin and delicate. I don't enjoy the very earthy taste.

 

Some of you have commented on the high glycemic index/starchiness as being a good reason to avoid potatoes. I recently read 'The Right Price' on the WAP website and noticed the discussion on starchy vegetables. Price had noted in his writings that in the diet of the South Sea Islanders, poi was eaten to a large extent, which is a food very high in starch. These people represented the healthiest society out of those studied by Price. His own recommendation was that starchy foods are fine as long as all dietary needs for important nutrients have been met first.   

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