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.

My Keto Supplements

Ok, that title is a little clickbaity. No, it’s a lot clickbaity. I wanted to talk about all the supplements out there because there is a lot of money being spent by people who don’t need them. Some of them might be fine. They might even be great, but if like us, you’re on a budget, they aren’t necessary. You don’t have to wonder whether or not you’re missing out.

I know there are loads of snacks, shakes, and oils that are marketed to assist or keep you in Ketosis. But think about it. If you’ve had too many carbs, taking something that makes your body say it’s in Ketosis, is really only fooling the blood monitor or Keto stick. Your body is not going to burn fat, if there are carbohydrates in your body to burn. That’s a simple fact.

When I first started Keto, the thing that interested me, was MCT oil. My wife put it in her ‘bulletproof’ coffee every morning. The stuff was pretty pricey, but she really liked it. I tried it in my coffee. In fact, I used it for a month. It tasted ok, but eventually I realized that all it was doing was feeding me fat, and calories. I didn’t want calories that I didn’t eat. So I stopped. So did my wife. She’d been using MCT oil for about 2 years. We started using real cream. It was yummy, and gave us more money to spend on other things.

See, I am one who knows, that when you get down to it, calories matter. If you take in more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. When you’re morbidly obese like I was, you can eat a lot of calories and still lose weight. Especially if you cut out sugar, and processed carbs like flour, white rice, and pasta. Eventually, though, you’re going to have to cut your calories or the weight loss will stop. That’s why these days, I track my carbs and my calories. I don’t worry about protein and fat macros. I know I get enough of those. I write down everything I eat. I also write down the calories and the carbs in every food item.

We don’t buy any ‘extra’ goodies from the shops anymore. I did for a while. I bought certain snacks that I thought were keto friendly. I eventually stopped because they were so expensive.

I have friends who have been very successful with certain shakes, and certain supplements from their diet provider. Good for them. Whatever works for you. Keep doing it. Some of them are even making money on the side by selling the supplements. Hey, I love free enterprise.

You don’t need them. You can make smoothies and shakes much less expensively. Let me say it this way. I don’t need them. I can make smoothies and shakes much less expensively. And I do. If you want to use those things, go for it. But you don’t have to, you can be very successful without them.

For me, once in a while I get the ‘keto flu’. That just means, I’m low on electrolytes. So I do take electrolyte tablets about every 6 weeks. Mainly because I don’t pay attention to my potassium levels. And, especially since Covid, I also take a multi vitamin every day. I want to be sure I’m staying ahead on my D3, and C vitamins. I don’t take zinc, because Alzheimer’s runs in my family, and I don’t want to encourage that scourge. In case you’re wondering, I like the chewable kind of vitamins.

So in the end, I take some electrolyte tablets once in a while, and a multi vitamin every day. For me those are the only supplements I need. We eat loads of fresh and frozen vegetables. We eat free range eggs, and grass fed meat, as well as free range chicken and wild fish. I am confident in our vitamin and mineral intake. Besides, I have to take my blood pressure and heart meds every day. That’s enough pills for me. I can’t wait until my weight and fitness allows me to say goodbye to them as well.

I haven’t weighed myself this week, so there’s no update on that. I’ll let you know next week how I’m doing there. Take care, everyone.