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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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October 19, 2010

Is Samwise Gamgee Right About Potatoes?

By Mark Sisson
321 Comments

Potatoes are controversial in the Primal and paleo world. They represent a bolus of dietary starch, which can wreak havoc on the insulin resistant, but they are undeniably whole, real foods that don’t require much processing beyond simple heating. Grains and legumes, on the other hand, are tiny, disparate sources of calories that need soaking, fermenting, and extensive heating to be palatable (and they’ll still mess you up), but potatoes are big, dense, and obviously food. Chimps have been known to use sticks to dig up and eat wild tubers, and they’ve got even less salivary amylase to break down starch than we do. Evidence exists for human consumption of roots and tubers from multiple sites spanning multiple time periods: Northern Europe (specifically Poland), in the terminal Paleolithic and early Mesolithic. Clearly, we have the physiology (amylase production, glucose metabolism), the tools (fire, hearths, digging implements), and the motivation (attraction to dense caloric sources with negligible or easily neutralized anti-nutrients) to consume starchy tubers.

So what’s the hold up? Why do I generally recommend limiting their intake?

As I mentioned in the rice post, a human metabolic tabula rasa can handle all macronutrients in whole food form without metabolic dysfunction. That’s why you get folks like the Kitavans eating a high starchy tuber diet with excellent health and fit figures, or the supremely healthy pre-colonial Tokelauans, who ate a mixed diet high in saturated fat from coconuts and supported with plenty of yams and breadfruit (similar to a plantain) that amounted to a roughly 52/36/12 fat/carb/protein macronutrient split. Not low-carb (or low-fat, for that matter), but they were starting from scratch using ancestral whole foods.

So, before you start frying up some hash browns in that bacon fat or enjoying an extra large baked potato with your steak, ask yourself: are you Samwise Gamgee or Frodo Baggins?

Remember the Lord of the Rings flicks (yes, I know the books are better, but my take on this relies strictly on the actors portraying the characters and a specific line used in the movies)? Besides being masterfully crafted amalgamations of Norse and Anglo-Saxon mythology, fairy tales, and Judeo-Christian theology, they also represent an interesting – if unwitting – treatise on nutrition, metabolism, and the necessity of dietary individuation, especially when it comes to potatoes (who knew?!). Samwise Gamgee, as portrayed by Sean Astin in the movies, waxes exuberant about the myriad uses of the waxy tubers: “Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew!” But should we listen to the portly halfling’s views on potatoes? I mean, the guy walked clear across Middle Earth, all the way to Mordor and up the face of Mt. Doom, without losing a single pound. If anything, he gained a bit.

And what of Frodo? It’s true that Frodo was able to subsist entirely on Elvish bread while staying lithe and lean, but it was magic Elvish bread known as lembas. The Elves (stay with me here…) were immortal, giving them plenty of time to develop a mode of grain processing that destroyed all dietary lectins, gluten, and phytic acid while preserving nutrient, vitamin, and mineral content. Besides, Frodo got a lot of low level, slow moving cardio – hiking, really – and didn’t eat much fructose or seed oil, so his insulin sensitivity was adequate to deal with non-optimal food sources. He could eat potatoes (or lembas) for days and not gain an ounce, or worry about metabolic derangement.

But Sam? Sam reacts differently to potatoes. He’s a chubby, emotional eater who’s prone to manic excitement and instinctual distrust of outsiders. He clings to starchy foods, even as his ability to effectively metabolize them without excessive fat accumulation falters. Sam’s an active guy, too, putting in a ton of hiking, hill walking, bouldering, and hobbit-carrying, but he can’t seem to shake those pounds. Sound familiar?

You might say he’s a fair approximation of your standard SAD-eater straining away on the treadmill. His metabolism was damaged long before joining the Fellowship, and eating potatoes only makes it worse. Are you Sam or Frodo?

Of course, this is simply a playful way to illustrate my point: whether potatoes belong in your eating strategy may have a lot to do with the state of your metabolism.

My first impulse is to speak to the Samwises of the world: the metabolically-deranged, overweight, insulin-resistant men, women, and children (and even, horrifyingly, infants) who have lost the ability to handle glucose. They’re the ones who are most likely to be looking for a solution, while skinny (on the surface), fit (on the surface) folks tend to be satisfied with their current dietary path. Many of my readership started reading because they were overweight. A good chunk of this country, and indeed the entire world, is overweight. This is a problem. This is a problem that’s growing, quite literally and figuratively. And they may not have gotten overweight in the first place because of baked sweet potatoes with grass-fed butter, or Yukon golds roasted in duck fat, but those foods certainly aren’t going to help their current insulin-resistant predicament. Potatoes should be limited, or even outright eliminated, for this (large) subset of the population. For the lean and active, however, I don’t think a few red potatoes with dinner are anything to worry about.

The Final Word (There Isn’t One)

Deciding whether potatoes fit into your diet is ultimately a personal decision, but exactly how your body reacts to starch – in its current metabolic state, which, remember, is not set in stone – should be the major determinant. Other potential, secondary concerns with potato consumption exist, things like glycoalkaloids, macro- and micro-nutrient counts, intestinal permeability, and anecdotal accounts (including my own) of joint irritation, all of which I’ll get into next time, but for now, potatoes reside in dietary limbo. You guys are the deities here, folks. You get to decide who gets redeemed. You can be a loving, caring, selfless god who accepts everyone (including more weight around the midsection), or you can be a clever tactician, taking that which suits your current situation (think of the Greek gods, those immortals with very mortal flaws and foibles). If you’re still trying to lose thirty pounds, I’d go with the latter option and maybe hold off on the spuds.

(For my money, I’ll have what Gollum’s having, thank you. He rocked 5% body fat, a great strength-to-bodyweight ratio, retched at the thought of eating bread, and dined on whole, raw, living fish. I don’t recall him eating all that often, either, so I’m going to say he’s firmly in the IF camp, too. Yeah, Gollum was pretty Primal.)

What do you think? Can you eat potatoes and avoid fat gain? Did you have to lose the weight and reset the metabolism before you could partake? Let me know in the comments!

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320 Comments on "Is Samwise Gamgee Right About Potatoes?"

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Robert
5 years 11 months ago

Being Scottish/Irish I must love potatoes (by law I think). I try to limit them to once a week or less and keep them to farm fresh reds, yukons and the like. They are perfect in that slow cooked beef or pork, right next to the carrots and onions!

Eric
Eric
5 years 11 months ago

I am curious, but what of potato skins? What are their role in the Paleo world?

billy the squid
billy the squid
4 years 3 months ago

Hey. It was Golem that didn’t like potatoes. He was pretty thin.

grisly atoms
grisly atoms
10 months 13 days ago

Golem was quite a primal purist – raw whole fish, raw rabbit, and that is about all I saw him eat.

Joey G
Joey G
2 years 11 months ago

Once a week 🙁

Carly
Carly
5 years 11 months ago

At the risk of sounding really really nerdy: You forgot to mention along with frodo’s slow moving cardio he was also doing heavy lifting. The ring got heavier as he approached mount doom.
Also
I am luckily blessed with a higher metabolism and good insulin tolerance. I can probably handle the odd potato and rice without any issue. However, I do prefer eating more meat and veggies than having potato. But sometimes i enjoy my baked potato with butter, sour cream and chives when we go out to eat. Especially if their “vegetable” of the night is “corn on the cob”.

Jodi
2 years 5 months ago

That was delightfully nerdy! LOL heavy lifting.

Jodi
2 years 5 months ago

PS–I don’t know how it’s possible and I’m only on day 23 of Paleo, but I think I have a pretty good insulin tolerance as well since I’ve exceeded 100 mg of carbs on several occasions and stayed in keto (strong, according to the ketostix.)
I’m curious of your metabolic/diet history. I should have trashed mine with the high consuming of sugar and refined carbs over the past 40 years but I think I still have some things going well. I’m female, too. Not sure how it all plays out so I was wondering if you were pretty “health conscious” previously.

Tara
5 years 11 months ago
Wow, this is a timely little ditty! I was just at our local farm when I saw a little bag of organic fingerlings that looked too good to resist. I don’t eat potatoes. I have an autoimmune condition that reacts very badly to nightshades of all kinds. In fact, I never, every buy potatoes… until today. I bought them for our kids (all three of them). I thought it would be a nice little treat to have cooked up in my bison tallow with a light salting of oak-smoked sea salt, to accompany the garlic heavy pork chops we’ll be… Read more »
Lindsay
5 years 11 months ago

I love this analogy, because before I started eating PB-style, I joked about my “Hobbit Diet”: breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, etc. Basically, I got hungry every couple of hours. Now I only eat two or three times a day, and I would say that I’ve reached a more Frodo-like state where the occasional potato won’t hurt anything, but it’s not a regular part of my diet.

Jodi
2 years 5 months ago

I’m curious how long it took you to evolve to just two maybe three meals a day? I definitely am/was like a hobbit with eating a lot. I just LOVE food, and on many levels, some being emotional for sure. But I wonder if I’ll ever get so content on Paleo/Primal as to only eat twice a day?

Ahmed Serag
5 years 11 months ago

haha nice post Mark. The endpoint is perfect:

ultimately a personal decision

Peggy
Peggy
5 years 11 months ago

I ditched ’em when I got onboard the PB bus. I like some sweet potato or yam periodically – they are just so much yummier imo.

Jeanie
Jeanie
5 years 11 months ago

I’m of Scottish extraction, too, and I love them, but merely looking at them makes me gain weight (and right in the belly). It’s hard, but I gotta let them go. *sniff*

Ashley
5 years 11 months ago

I’d like to see some sort of comparison chart between sweet potatoes, butternut squash, red yams, and spaghetti squash. How do these types of squash stack up against the sweet potato varieties? Is there a caution for squash as well? I suppose this could be done on nutritiondata’s website, or maybe even fitday. Perhaps I’ll look at that this afternoon.

El
5 years 11 months ago

Oh yeah– I’d love to see a TUBER-O-METER or something.

ben
ben
5 years 11 months ago

I second that! Root tubers vs stem tubers, what has the best nutritional profile.. or glycemic load..

kb
kb
5 years 11 months ago

We eat them daily, up to 2-3 potatoes per person per day with no ill effects or fat going on. We bake, mash, shred and fry them up—or mix/mash them with less starchy sweet potatoes and carrots. I wish farm fresh or organic were an option for us, but even living in Idaho, since we are 2 hours from civilization we get nasty, garbage potatoes. Even then, we are healthy eating our modified Paleo/gluten free diet. Feeding a family would be prohibitively expensive—especially with 2 teenagers—if we didn’t add potatoes in to fill in the empty spaces 🙂

Sydney
Sydney
4 years 11 months ago

Would love to see your post-prandial blood sugar readings. Mine would spike for sure, but I often wonder what readings “normal” people really have eating like this.

amy
amy
3 years 6 months ago

if you choose to eat them, they are the easiest things in the world to grow yourself. cut one in quarters and bury it a few inches underground. water it and it will grow! no need to eat “garbage potatoes” 🙂

ToddBS
ToddBS
5 years 11 months ago

Potatoes, white rice, and corn. I’ve added these 3 things back into my diet. I’d say I eat 3-4 servings per week out of that group. I still keep off the gluten grains though.

I find it adds some variety back into my diet and keeps me from straying to the really bad stuff (see the aforementioned gluten grains). Plus, I wasn’t about to go through a summer BBQ season without some fire-roasted corn-on-the-cob, and now that the weather is cooling I will have some rice to go with my chili (since I still don’t eat beans).

Jack
Jack
5 years 11 months ago
blank faceplate
blank faceplate
5 years 11 months ago

Definition of BOLUS
1
: a rounded mass: as

a : a large pill
b : a soft mass of chewed food

2
a : a dose of a substance (as a drug) given intravenously
b : a large dose of a substance given by injection for the purpose of rapidly achieving the needed therapeutic concentration in the bloodstream

Origin of BOLUS
Late Latin, from Greek b?los lump
First Known Use: 1562

Trev
Trev
5 years 11 months ago

Great post!

My opinion,

There is nothing less wild than over-thinking simple, whole, real foods.

truth,

Intake of patatoes should be directly relational to activity level.

Laz
Laz
5 years 11 months ago

Bread was around 30,000 years ago -study

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101018/india_nm/india522760

Helen
Helen
5 years 11 months ago

So how do they figure that just because some type of bread was made that that somehow becomes the primary food? They want to say this discovery of grinding flour means that these primal peoples did not eat primarily meat and veg. Tell me how these people found an unlimited supply of cattail roots.

Jack
Jack
5 years 11 months ago
1) Your comment makes no sense. “Tell me how these people found an unlimited suppy of cattail roots”? Really? Tell me how people found un unlimited suppy of meat. Tell me how people found an unlimited supply of vegetables. What? 2) I believe the actual study, not the Yahoo story, argues that bread made from cattail (and probably other) starchy substances was PART of the diet much earlier than previously thought, not that it was the PRIMARY component. Since before we were Heidelbergensis, the primary component of our diet was likely gathered fruit, vegetables and nuts, with meat coming in… Read more »
Helen
Helen
5 years 11 months ago

It’s called sarcasm. Both the Yahoo story and the NPR story say that this discovery proves that they did not live primarily on meat and vegetables. It is a stupid conclusion. Of course they ate anything and everything they could that was edible.

Jack
Jack
5 years 11 months ago

Helen: Re-read the story. It does NOT say that this proves early modern humans did not live primarily on meat and vegetables. Your reading comprehension needs some work, I think.

Larry
Larry
5 years 11 months ago

They don’t really offer any evidence of “bread”, just ground plant material. The resulting paste/powder could have been baked, made into a porridge, or eaten as is by babies. It’s all supposition.

Ian
Ian
5 years 11 months ago

It doesn’t matter if they were making bread or not…an extra 10,000yrs on our evolutionary time-line is only around a half of a percent. Or to be technical, a drop in the bucket.

Another Halocene Human
Another Halocene Human
5 years 7 months ago

Really? I find your lack of faith in the power of Natural Selection disturbing.

In humans alone, adult lactase production (aka lactose tolerance) and blue eye phenotypes appear and proliferate broadly in <10000 years.

amy
amy
3 years 6 months ago

Larry: I’m with you. Who’s to say they even ate it? Maybe it was used for another purpose entirely??

Graham
Graham
5 years 11 months ago

This was tuber bread, not grass-seed bread (ie: grains). Still starchy, but not the same as wonder bread.

Another Halocene Human
Another Halocene Human
5 years 7 months ago

Exactly, because despite the scare-quotes around process, primitive peoples made their best efforts to process plant foods into something safe to eat (and animal foods into products that could be stored and carried), whereas Wonder Bread is manufactured with callous disregard for the health consequences to those consuming it…

Lia
3 years 5 months ago

Remember: It was stoneground flour, different type of wheat. Flour is now ground so fine, it’s digested differently. (I get gut-wrenching pain reaction to ordinary breads, bagels, croissants, etc., but no pain the following morning if I eat Ezekial bread, for a sandwich.) I have been tested for celiac. That’s not the problem. Can remember having this pain since age 12. Deep black circles under the eyes since age 5. No pain with tabouli salad or pasta. I do have “wheat belly” so may drop all wheat products for a while.

Peggy
Peggy
2 years 9 months ago

Ezekiel bread isn’t made from grains anyway. Everything in it has been sprouted so it’s basically vegetable loaf. Try Amaranth flour. I have read great things about it.

Just Sayin' …
Just Sayin' …
2 years 8 months ago

Ummm, really?? Ezekiel bread IS indeed made from grains … sprouted grains of wheat, millet, barley, and spelt, as well as sprouted soybeans and sprouted lentils. This is not a vegetable loaf!!!

Adam Ball
5 years 11 months ago

Nice post Mark,

What are your thoughts on the peel of the potato? I know Mat Lalonde recommends eating tubers, but making sure to peel them first.

Aaron Blaisdell
5 years 11 months ago

Stephan Guyenet also recommends peeled tubers, such as potatoes, as a healthy part of the human diet. Personally, I do just fine on them in moderation. When I make mashed potatoes for the kids, I add some raw milk and a ton of butter from pastured cows. It’s pretty hard to resist!

Primal K@
5 years 11 months ago

Thankfully, I never really had a poor reaction to potatoes. I still keep them in my diet and like to add them to hearty stews or have them Mashed with lots of butter and cream. Heaven!

It’s not a regular indulgence, but it is one that I will never give up.

Erin
Erin
5 years 11 months ago

Potatoes are the starch of choice in our household. I can’t really eat rice or noodles without feeling bloated and sick, and bread leaves me feeling hungry mere hours after, but I can eat a potato every week or so and feel good. I like reds or Yukons best. (My husband is a “Sam,” so he doesn’t eat them so much, but I’m trying to gain weight, so I guess I’m a “Frodo.”)

Erin
Erin
5 years 11 months ago

O yes, no corn either, of course. Corn is reserved for on-the-cob on the 4th of July, and that’s it.

Another Halocene Human
Another Halocene Human
5 years 7 months ago
Try it nixtamalized. Personally, I found that for me, eating cornmeal products (cornbread, for example; also, arepas, polenta) led to violent acid reflux, whereas masa products–tortillas, gorditas, grits, hominy, tamales–go down super-easy. Nixtamalization breaks up the anti-nutrients and a lot of the corn gluten (I think this is called zein?) and also frees up the niacin. The meso-Americans only consumed corn this way–or fermented–but when maize spread elsewhere the preparation methods were lost. I love tortillas and gorditas. They don’t cause bloat like rice seems to. Of course I dole cheese and full-fat yogurt with extra butter for good measure… Read more »
Another Halocene Human
Another Halocene Human
5 years 7 months ago

Duh, masa is the FLOUR made from hominy, so hominy does not belong to the subset of masa products. It does however belong to the subset of nixtamalized maize products.

Clear as mud?

Matthew Strebe
Matthew Strebe
5 years 11 months ago
I find that I carry a bit more fat when I eat potatoes along with my meat and vegetables than when I go without. However, the amount is so negligible that it is hardly worth mentioning. Any side-effects that some experience from their consumption I also do not feel, such as joint irritation; while I do not try to downgrade others, it may just be confirmation bias. Potatoes are also very useful if you do an extensive amount of anaerobic exercise. I go to college and bike around UC Santa Cruz, and if anyone has ever been there, they would… Read more »
Hannah
5 years 11 months ago

Haha, if it’s possible this post made me love MDA even more 🙂 I’m a big LOTR fan (okay, nerd, whatever), and loved that analogy. I always wondered why Sam didn’t lose an ounce over that whole journey!

I love sweet potatoes and squash, but I do avoid white potatoes 99% of the time. I’ll have them at a gathering maybe once every few months, but even then it’s a minimal amount. The carb crash and joint inflammation from eating a big dose of white potatoes makes it not worth it.

Primal Toad
5 years 11 months ago

I will continue to eat my 1-2 potatoes per week. I usually go for the sweet potato but enjoy a nice variety. Yukons gold are awesome tasting. Throw some butter or coconut oil on it for some healthy tasting fat!

Sheila
5 years 11 months ago

Timely post – I started the Paleo Diet about 4 weeks ago – lost 12 pounds so far! Yay! I cut out potatoes completely. This weekend I’m going to a Wisconsin Fish Boil – which is boiled fish and potatoes, coleslaw, sweetbreads and Cherry Pie. I’m going to indulge in the boiled potatoes – we’ll see how I react after not having any for 4 weeks.

Zac
Zac
5 years 11 months ago

Celery root! I can’t say it enough. For hash browns, stews/soups and even mashing, celeriac rocks! Low GI, high flavor.

mlkrone
5 years 11 months ago
I was surprised by how big of a staple potatoes used to be in my diet before I had any guidelines. When I turned Primal I was pleasantly shocked at how easy it was to forget about them. I thought it would be tough to ditch potatoes, but it was a non-thought! I’ll have a little bit every now and then since my insulin sensitivity seems to be at a great spot and my weight is in a good place as well. That’s what I tell my girlfriend when she respectfully challenges certain primal stuff: potatoes are REAL so I… Read more »
C2H5OH
C2H5OH
5 years 11 months ago

Are you saying that after a few months of primal eating and repairing our bodies, we can go back to eating potatoes? 😉

Larry
Larry
5 years 11 months ago

What about Golem/Smeagol? He regularly eats lots of fresh fish (and the occasional goblin child under the misty mountains). He’s probably the most primal of the bunch! Of course, he seems oblivious to produce. And with all that time spent underground, he probably has a pretty nasty vitamin D deficiancy. ;^)

Larry
Larry
5 years 11 months ago

I just saw the paragraph about Golem. Strong, yes but bad hair and skin. His time with the hobbits was probably the healthiest that he’d been in quite a while!

Sam Cree
Sam Cree
5 years 11 months ago

Right, Gollum didn’t get sun. He was low on vitamin D.

Johanna
Johanna
5 years 10 months ago

Not that low if he ate whole fishes!

Sofie
Sofie
4 years 6 months ago

He didn’t eat very much after Sauron tortured him; he was preoccupied with finding the ring.

J
J
5 years 11 months ago

If you can relate all future posts to Lord of the Rings as well, you have my undivided attention.

Kornelia
Kornelia
5 years 11 months ago

agreed

Crystal
Crystal
4 years 4 months ago

Also Agree

The Primal Palette
5 years 11 months ago

We eat the occasional sweet potato or yam, plenty of squash and some parsnips. You can eat like 10 parsnips for the carbs in one standard potato and they taste damn close, especially with all the good stuff on top.

coley
5 years 11 months ago

oohhh and i love parsnips!!

jenny
jenny
5 years 11 months ago

this cracked me up… excellent analogy.

coley
5 years 11 months ago

me too. pretty funny.

Morgan Firecloud
Morgan Firecloud
5 years 11 months ago

sweet potatoes are also delicious raw! Peel’em, cut’em into sticks or chips and enjoy.

Duh
Duh
4 years 1 month ago

you can eat sweet potatoes raw. however, they do contain trypsin inhibitors which make protein hard to digest.

Anna
Anna
3 years 9 months ago

Hey I think you’re being a bit harsh on poor old Sam! Not only does he have strength of character showing stalwart loyalty to Frodo but he also can’t have been in bad physical shape to have made the trek all the way to mount doom! LOL

Sarah
5 years 11 months ago

Sure, Gollum & Frodo may have been the fittest of the three, but as for mental stability & general happiness on life, I’ll take Sam.

I eat potatoes, even though I’m still in weight loss phase, if for no other reason than they’re a whole food that’s affordable. I could probably lose faster if I nixed them altogether, sure, but I do have to eat something. 🙂

Alta
5 years 11 months ago

Potatoes are never something that I crave. I have them around the house regularly, and prepare them for the kids and husband, but I might have a few bites and that’s it. If I want starchy produce, I’m much more apt to go for winter squashes or sweet potato. I do like that potato doesn’t give me the same ill side effects that rice and other grains do (bloating, digestive issues), but it’s still a contributor to my sensitive insulin levels.

frank
frank
5 years 11 months ago

Sweet potato fries are the best! along with L of the R

Nicola
Nicola
5 years 11 months ago

This is personal / anecdotal but … I was insulin resistant and could not eat potatoes. If I ate no carb, whenever I went back I would gain weight.
Then I discovered fasting, and not the 12 hour kind. I did it once, for a week, and it seemed to reset my insulin sensitivity.
Might not work for everyone but I did it under the guidance of a naturopathic doctor and it worked.
I don’t eat potatoes all the time now, more as a treat a couple of times a week but I am not afraid of them anymore.

Mallory
5 years 11 months ago

are you the nicola from ZIOH??? if so…. when did you finally switch out of ZC?!?!?!?! and i am glad to hear it as well 🙂

Nicola
Nicola
5 years 11 months ago

Ha no I don’t know what ZIOH is, sorry.

Jzoe
Jzoe
5 years 11 months ago

Haha, I read your comment after I posted mine. I totally agree with fasting. In the past year I’ve done four 10 day fasts and a handful of 5 day fasts. Nowadays I fast, on average, once a week for 1 day, and sometimes I.F. by skipping a meal or two. It’s definitely been a lifesaver for me as well 🙂

AdrianaG
AdrianaG
5 years 11 months ago

Please expand on the week long fadt. Did you eat nothing?

StoneAgeQueen
StoneAgeQueen
5 years 11 months ago

Having Scottish/Irish ancestry makes you love potatoes? Don’t be so bloody ridiculous. It’s 2010 guys!

Elle
5 years 11 months ago

I know! I feel I come from the land of potatoes, myself – Germany. And then there’s the fact my father is of Polish and Russian origin – anothe country of potato eaters! It’s just Europe in general, guys.

Sam Cree
Sam Cree
5 years 11 months ago

I’m part Scot and Irish too, not to mention Dutch, German and Norwegian. I can take or leave pototoes, but weren’t they native to the new world?

Gigi
Gigi
5 years 11 months ago

Except that potatoes are from the New World.

Shebeeste
Shebeeste
5 years 11 months ago

You saw Melissa’s post on Hunt.Gather.Love, didn’t you!

The Primal Palette
5 years 11 months ago

Link? That sounds like my kind of read.

Shebeeste
Shebeeste
5 years 11 months ago

Here ya go. Melissa took on the two great paleo controversies of 2010: Feed the Animal’s pro-potato stance, and Mark’s own Primal Fuel-gate.

It’s even got the “Bake ’em, Mash ’em, Put ’em in a Stew” mash up!

http://www.huntgatherlove.com/content/great-paleo-controversies

I can’t believe you didn’t see this Mark!

Ryan
Ryan
5 years 11 months ago
Wow, what an awesome post. Being a huge Lord of the Rings fan I laughed out loud more than once. Gollum was definitely primal. Well done, Mark! All that being said – I generally avoid them. At this point I am pretty lean and my metabolism could probably handle them but I just don’t want to take the chance of undoing what I’ve accomplished. At most I will have a sweet potato (medium to small) at the end of the week and right after working out to replenish glycogen stores. Otherwise, I avoid them. Maybe I won’t worry about it… Read more »
Jake
Jake
5 years 11 months ago

just had a baked potato last week weighing in at about 2.5 pounds….biggest potato I ever had. was delicious with kerrygold butter on top. I find nothing wrong with spuds.

Lisa Madden
Lisa Madden
5 years 11 months ago

Yeah Kerrygold! I grew up on that in Ireland.
I never are spuds much as an adult but ate all the other ‘bad’ starches – pasta, rice, bread, etc. However now that I am working my way to being 100% Paleo the only starch I eat is potato. I run ultramarathons and cannot yet give up ALL starches when it comes to fuelling for a race. Now I enjoy one potato or sweet potato per week, and I make sure to bring a boiled spud for my pre-race breakfast.

Sue
Sue
5 years 11 months ago

All potatoes are not created equal, definitely. This year we grew ours without irrigation. We got a lower yield but the potatoes we got were much denser and waxier. *I* think they’re more nutritious too. We prefer the yellow varieties like Yukon Gold or German Butterball. I think Russet potatoes are far starchier. And sweet potatoes aren’t really potatoes….

Marie S.
5 years 11 months ago

Anyone heard of this guy? http://20potatoesaday.com/index.html

I’ve been following his blog on curiosity if he’s going to be able to stick with it and to find out if he destroyed his body doing this. Very interesting.

Will
5 years 11 months ago

He’s up to about day 20 at the moment I think, another 40 days to go!

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
5 years 11 months ago

I think Sue is on to something — waxier potatoes, like Yukon Golds or the purple potatoes we grow on our farm, leave me feeling less full than starchy ones like Russets or those big baking potatoes. All potatoes are not equal, after all – just ask the Irish.

PaleoMum
5 years 11 months ago

My husband loves potatoes and only has to LOOK at one to become the same shape as it… I on the other hand can take them or leave them and they barely affect my weight at all! Not fair, is it?

Elle
5 years 11 months ago

Everything about this post was ridiculous, but I’ll add: I eat potatoes for at LEAST one meal a day. I’m super lean (BMI is actually underweight, but I have a genetically athletic body) and healthy. Potatoes are the one food that keeps me full for hours – literally nothing else does. Plus, they are delicious covered in butter!

Jenny
Jenny
5 years 11 months ago

*giggle* Funny analogy, if stretched… although the stretch makes it funnier.

I appreciate the “draw your own conclusions” conclusion, too. Some folks seem so focused on Mark’s Official Verdict on various foods rather than on how it seems to work for them… but after all, he started this blog sharing his own experiences because others might find them useful in the same way!

Jim Arkus
5 years 11 months ago

I gave up potatoes initially when I went Primal, but hitting my weight goal as well as seeing Richard’s post entitled “So You Think You Can’t Cook?,” got me back on the potato wagon. That pot roast looked so good I couldn’t help myself. I really only eat them when I make that meal though, so we’re talking 1-2 a month, tops. I don’t think that’ll kill me.

Still, Richard caught a lot of flack for that potato post, Mark. Better watch out!

tess
tess
5 years 11 months ago

a quick review of “farewell to lorien” reveals that lembas was made of a “meal that was baked a light brown on the outside, and inside was the color of cream”. i suggest that i was in fact a cake of almond meal, eggs, butter (or cream) and honey….

😉
she who is possibly the biggest nerd of the bunch

Sam Cree
Sam Cree
5 years 11 months ago

I think you’re right about that.

19george
19george
5 years 11 months ago

This is possibly the greatest reply to a blog post ever!

Sofie
Sofie
4 years 6 months ago

I always thought lembas wasn’t a grain too.

cathyx
cathyx
5 years 11 months ago

Mark,
I have a question about potato skins. I’ll bake potatoes for my family but my daughter doesn’t like the skin. I scoop out the inside and give it to her and I’ll eat the outside, but I never eat the inside. Do you think that’s a better alternative? I figure I’m getting the fiber and not the starchy part. What do you think?

steve
steve
5 years 11 months ago

When you mentioned fairies with special bread, I got to thinking and did a search for gluten free bread. These recipes came up, what do you think of them and their ingredients?

http://glutenfreecooking.about.com/od/glutenfreebreads/tp/3goodglutenfreebreadrecipes.htm

Lois
Lois
5 years 11 months ago

In the last 9 months I’ve lost a total now of 44 pounds in fat. When I commenced my new lifestyle I did indeed reduce my intake of starchy foods but I certainly did not eliminate it. So far, simply reducing starchy foods like potato has served me well but perhaps if I find I plateau in my fat loss then I may try ‘tweaking’ my diet by further reducing or completely eliminating starch. Thanks for a very good post! 🙂

Kevin Teague
5 years 11 months ago
Love the potatoes! Stephan Guyenet’s recent three part series on potatoes had ample evidence that potatoes can be part of a healthy diet. They’re a much maligned vegetable, and while there is question about glycoalkaloids, saponins and glucose in potatoes, I think that a potatoe is a pretty healthy way to get a bulk of calories in a paleo diet. When I was attempting to restrict my carbohydrate intake, this tended to result in a diet that had a high nut consumption. Comparing say a potatoe to an almond, and I think the potatoe comes out far ahead. It doesn’t… Read more »
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