Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Do These White Potatoes Make My Butt Look Big?

(Dinner: potato wedges, sauteed broccoli with orange slices, and citrus baked cod)

Every week I get a box of organic produce from Urban Organic. I love that it takes the guesswork out of what to make for dinner. I usually use my veggies in the order that they'll start to go bad, using spinach first and kale last (for example). I also get a ton of fresh fruit to snack on throughout the week. The produce list varies from week to week, but there are a few staples; I always get carrots and either russet potatoes or yams. Honestly, its hard to go through the carrots quickly enough so I've taken to giving bags of carrots as birthday gifts.

As for the white potatoes, I ain't skeered... I eat them up. So many people are horrified by white potatoes because they see them as a starchy, carb-laden, evil villain! These very same people eat bagels. They also eat toast. I bet they even eat the occasional cupcake (not that there's anything wrong with that), but they won't go near a potato. Are you kidding??? Potatoes are VEGETABLES. They must have some redeeming qualities.

And they do.

Russet potatoes are low calorie, a good source of fiber, vitamin b6, potassium, vitamin c, antioxidants and even protein!

I bet you never thought about that.

Russet potatoes have earned a bad rap as part of the Standard American Diet (SAD), not because of the vegetable itself, but because of the way it is often prepared. Fry them up and they soak up oil like a sponge. Melt a half pound of butter on top and you have a high fat, greasy treat. This is simply a butter delivery mechanism, just like popcorn and lobster. Imagine serving your acai covered in melted cheese.

For healthy potato preparations, try:

* baked potato wedges with coconut or olive oil and herbs and spices
* add them to soups and stews
* saute with olive oil, garlic and onions
* bake and serve topped with arugula and sea salt
* try flavoring with plain yogurt, vinegar or tomato and black bean salsa

And always eat the skin! The skin holds most of the healthy nutrition.

I'm not denying that white potatoes are a higher carbohydrate food. I'm pointing out that they aren't as bad as people tend to believe, in fact, they're really not bad at all. If you're reading this blog there's a good chance you're an active person. If you're a triathlete or a runner, and you're putting hours and miles underneath you every week, white potatoes can be a healthy addition to your diet. Especially if you're in the midst of a heavier training phase. Try choosing starches (types and amounts) based on the amount of training you're doing. Look at carbs in the same way you look at the fuel you put in your car.

A final tip... try choosing more carbs from vegetables and less from grains to see how you feel. The two types of carbs are processed very differently and will effect your body differently.

For more details on the superfood power of potatoes, read this article by Dr. Geoffrey Harris.

And for guidance with training nutrition and general healthy eating, email me at christine@liveandeatbetter.com to set up a consult. I'm awesome at this stuff.


Philip LaVoie said...

Mmmmmm MurderCakes!

PJ said...

Yay! Go potatoes!