Potatoes and Keto– A Second Helping!

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A few weeks ago, I posted on a topic I thought would be really controversial. Potatoes. I said that potatoes are not our enemy. I expected to get blasted by all the Keto purists out there, but I did not. Instead, I got a bunch of likes. The article is still getting hits and it seems to resonate with people.

I’m going to follow up on that installment with just a few more comments. Some of them will be kind of repeats, but I want to be really clear.

First of all, I haven’t bought potatoes in over a month. When I do, it’s usually New Potatoes. They are lower in starch that their big brothers and sisters. When I prepare them, I cut them and soak them in water for at least an hour, to get some of the starch out of them. There really isn’t much, but I want to be smart about it.

I will boil them. Sometimes I will mash them. Not too often, because I’m just too lazy. Other times, I will roast them. I love roasted potatoes. I can eat them like French Fries, or like a baked potato. Either way is yummy.

I never fry them. I don’t eat fries. They are too much of a trigger food for me. As a cheapskate, it’s sometimes hard, because fries are so cheap to buy or make, and they are filling, but they will KILL my eating plan. And I know it.

I’m going out to dinner at a friend’s house tomorrow (Tuesday) night. I already know that Mashed potatoes will be on the menu. That just means the Wednesday and Thursday I will have broccoli or lettuce with my meals. It’s really simple to adjust.

The main reason I wanted to write this post, was to emphasize that when I say potatoes are not your enemy, I mean POTATOES. I’m talking about the real things. Whole, fresh, potatoes. I don’t mean potato chips (Crisps, they’re called here in Scotland) from the local gas station. Those are highly processed and often have a whole chemistry set of additional stuff sprinkled on them to make them taste like something they are not. Don’t get me wrong, potato chips are delicious, but they are not Keto friendly.

The other thing I need to warn you about, and I do so with tears in my eyes, because I love them so much, are…instant potatoes. Oh my word I love those things. They are cheap, delicious, and filling. In the old days, I would fix a bag of them and eat the whole thing myself as my supper. It was about a dollar, it filled me up, and I was happy. The problem is, again, they are so highly processed, they are essentially no longer potatoes. Any nutrients they have are loaded back into them.

The problem is, they are so cheap, and many of us are on a strict budget. I assure you, that if you use real potatoes, you’ll save money, and enjoy them more. Yes, it’s more work, but it’s worth the effort.

Remember, be careful. If your food choice comes in a bag, a box, or a can, read the ingredients closely.

Keto Heresy – The Potato Is Not Your Enemy

Image result for potatoes public domain images

There I said it. I know I’ve referred to it in several posts, but I’m going to dedicate this one to my friend. I will say it again – The Spud is your Bud. In moderation.

Potatoes are high in carbohydrates. No question. A hundred mg portion has 17 grams of carbs. That’s a lot. But with 2.2 grams of fiber, that brings the carb total down to 15. The story doesn’t end there. First, that same 100 mg of potato only has 77 calories. It has 32% of your daily vitamin C. It has 15 percent of your vitamin B6, and 12% of your daily potassium. In fact, potatoes alone supply every vital nutrient except calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D.

The Spaniards found the natives of Peru and Bolivia eating potatoes as they conquered the continent in the 1500s. They were suspicious, but found the tubers edible. They took some back with them to Spain. Ironically though, the Europeans did not warm to the potato. Some of the Elites and Upper Class did, but the poor, across especially Northern Europe, including Great Britain did not. In general terms, it was 1800 that marked the turning of the taste bud tide, with the exception of Ireland which had adopted the potato during the last half of the 1700s. The entire population started thriving as a result. The population of the island grew immensely. Then in the mid 1800, a potato famine wiped out a good portion of the population.

When I was in Bolivia, they told me they had over 400 varieties of potatoes there. I tasted about 15. That kind of genetic diversity provides stability when one variety has disease problems. Ireland was not Bolivia, and did not have the diversity.

Anyway, the Highlanders of Scotland learned to live on the potato, and to this day, here in Northern Scotland, many potatoes are grown.

The French, the Prussians, and eventually all of Eastern Europe and Russia, came to rely on the spud for it’s nutritional value. In North America, the potato was probably always secondary to corn in value to people. But today, it is a cheap staple in nearly every home, and is usually a part of every restaurant meal.

The potato is healthy. It is our friend. But not the way we eat it. We fry it. And we fry it in poor fats. We mash it with high calorie, high carbohydrate milk, plus we then load it with butter, Sour Cream, Cheese, and, or Bacon. We turn it into the foundation of a dietary tower of babel.

In America, we grow some enormous varieties, that are sometimes a pound in weight or more. Here in Scotland, we don’t do that. We have a few largish varieties, but we don’t go crazy like Americans do.

Oh, we dehydrate them, and process them, and make them instant, and load them with all kinds of ingredients from the chemistry set. Yes, they taste awesome. But those things are poison.

Here’s the way I eat potatoes. First, I will not have them more than once a week. Normally, it’s once a month. But I love potatoes and I know I’m not going to go the rest of my life potato free. So I fit them into MY plan. I mostly buy new potatoes. They are lower in starch. I cut each potato into two or four pieces. I soak them in water to get out any excess starch. Then I will roast them in the oven. They get crispy, like oven fries, with skin. There’s all kinds of good stuff in the skins. I can put butter and sour cream on them, or dip them in sugar free ketchup. They taste great.

Because I track what I eat, I can watch my carbohydrates and calories for the day. If I have potatoes, I will allow more like 40 to 50 grams of carbs for that day, and reduce my calories to 1700. It’s a win win. My taste buds AND the scales both love me.

For those of you on a calorie controlled diet, rather than Keto, I encourage you to eat plenty of potatoes. They will make you feel full without a bunch of calories. Use them in soups, as well as baked and roasted.

Like everything else I’ve learned, it’s the processed stuff we have to avoid. If it comes from a factory, don’t trust it. Read the labels. If it comes from a garden, it’s not going the be your enemy, in moderation. I have had a few potato beds ravaged by moles. But I have never seen an obese mole.

When I started this Keto journey, I avoided potatoes like they were as bad as sugar. Partly because there are few foods that are a bigger trigger for me. Now that I am in control of what I eat, rather than what I eat having control over me, I can have some potatoes.

I never touch potato chips. I could eat them by the bag full, but they are very highly processed. And like instant potatoes, they are coated in tasty chemicals. I just don’t want that. My wife might make home made chips (or crisps, as they’re called here in Scotland) once a year. But because they’re trigger foods for both of us, she also might not. My point is, home made are much better for you than buying them by the bag at the supermarket or the gas station.

Do your homework. Potatoes are not our enemies. It’s how we fix them, and how much of them we eat, that’s the problem. Think about it. There is my heresy. Here I stand. I’m losing weight and I’m having fun doing it.

Let’s finish with some weight loss update information. My current weight is 229. And today I had to put another new notch in my belt. Fortunately, it’s winter and most days I wear a sweater which covers the belt. It’s starting to look pretty worn. Yay. I have another one that I use for dress up occasions. But with this lock down, those are few and far between.

Supermarket Produce – A Rant

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Morning, Y’all. I have very little to say today, but I wanted to get something out there, so please indulge me in some thinking out loud. I hope you all are doing well. We’re doing alright. I didn’t lose any weight this week. Now I remember why I normally only weigh myself every other or every three weeks.

For several years my wife and I were farmers. I loved every day of it. I loved working the garden, planting seeds, experimenting with hydroponics, and aquaponics. I loved my raised bed garden and my amazing greenhouse. We had a pretty big garden.

I also loved raising chickens, turkeys, rabbits, goats, cows, pigs, and even donkeys (not to eat, silly. The donkeys were livestock guardians). It was a hard life, but it was a good life. We knew where our food came from. We even knew what we ate ate. Now, we’re not so lucky.

Today we live in a small town. We have a tiny garden that supplies a few items during the growing season, but we can’t raise enough of anything to can, or freeze. That means we’re dependent on the supermarkets.

We don’t eat highly processed foods. We might buy some canned tomato sauce, but I read the label very closely. We buy fresh and frozen vegetables. We do buy canned tuna, but only about two cans a month at the most. Most of our meat is fresh, though some is frozen, especially if we have to buy chicken breasts.

When it comes to vegetables, the stuff we buy is just not as tasty as what we grow, with the exception of carrots. My wife and I call supermarket tomatoes, ‘notional’. They look right, but the taste is bland. The same is true with everything. It is so disappointing. Nothing has tasted right for 3.5 years.

My point is, if you can grow your own food, consider it. If not, shop at Farmers’ Markets if you have access. If you can’t do either, then, like us, you’ll just have to suck it up, and do the best you can. But avoid tinned food as much as possible. And avoid boxed things like the plague. If it comes from a factory, it’s like a car or a toy, it’s inedible. Plus, it will be full of sugar or flour, or both.

In a spirit of full disclosure, I love instant potatoes. Before Keto, I ate them all the time. I think they’re yummy. Weird, I know. But we don’t eat them at all now. They are not diet friendly, and they’re not healthy.

If you can eat organic, do. If you can get grass fed, or pasture raised, meat do. If you can get free range eggs, do. If not, do your best. It’s better to eat whole food, even if it is factory farmed and tastes like a cardboard box. Some of the highly processed food will taste awesome. Beware, it’s still poison. That’s a strong statement, but the evidence supports it.

One final thought while I’m ranting, we have not eaten, nor will we buy, any of the vegetarian imitation hamburger, like ‘impossible burger’. I know some of you are vegan and vegetarian, I respect that, but look at the ingredient list. It’s like a chemistry set. The technology and ingenuity is phenomenal. But the thought is more than I can take. Whole foods, and grass fed, pastured meats, is fine what we do. Those served the human race for thousands of years just fine, I think it will do nicely for me.