Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
19 Oct

Is Samwise Gamgee Right About Potatoes?

potatoesPotatoes 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!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. 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!

    Robert wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • I am curious, but what of potato skins? What are their role in the Paleo world?

      Eric wrote on October 20th, 2010
    • Hey. It was Golem that didn’t like potatoes. He was pretty thin.

      billy the squid wrote on June 20th, 2012
    • Once a week :(

      Joey G wrote on September 30th, 2013
  2. 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”.

    Carly wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • That was delightfully nerdy! LOL heavy lifting.

      Jodi wrote on April 5th, 2014
    • 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.

      Jodi wrote on April 5th, 2014
  3. 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 eating tonight.

    I don’t see any harm in using potatoes as a treat here and there for someone who, like Mark said, has the metabolism for it. I would also avoid them entirely if there is any sort of autoimmune or inflammatory type conditions.

    Tara wrote on October 19th, 2010
  4. 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.

    Lindsay wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • 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?

      Jodi wrote on April 5th, 2014
  5. haha nice post Mark. The endpoint is perfect:

    ultimately a personal decision

    Ahmed Serag wrote on October 19th, 2010
  6. 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.

    Peggy wrote on October 19th, 2010
  7. 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*

    Jeanie wrote on October 19th, 2010
  8. 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.

    Ashley wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • Oh yeah– I’d love to see a TUBER-O-METER or something.

      El wrote on October 21st, 2010
    • I second that! Root tubers vs stem tubers, what has the best nutritional profile.. or glycemic load..

      ben wrote on October 23rd, 2010
  9. 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 :)

    kb wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • 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.

      Sydney wrote on October 23rd, 2011
    • 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” :)

      amy wrote on March 25th, 2013
  10. 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).

    ToddBS wrote on October 19th, 2010
  11. 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 bōlos lump
    First Known Use: 1562

    blank faceplate wrote on October 19th, 2010
  12. 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.

    Trev wrote on October 19th, 2010
  13. Bread was around 30,000 years ago -study

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

    Laz wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • 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.

      Helen wrote on October 19th, 2010
      • 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 a strong second.

        Jack wrote on October 19th, 2010
        • 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.

          Helen wrote on October 19th, 2010
        • 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.

          Jack wrote on October 20th, 2010
    • 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.

      Larry wrote on October 19th, 2010
      • 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.

        Ian wrote on October 20th, 2010
        • 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.

          Another Halocene Human wrote on February 24th, 2011
      • Larry: I’m with you. Who’s to say they even ate it? Maybe it was used for another purpose entirely??

        amy wrote on March 25th, 2013
    • This was tuber bread, not grass-seed bread (ie: grains). Still starchy, but not the same as wonder bread.

      Graham wrote on October 20th, 2010
      • 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…

        Another Halocene Human wrote on February 24th, 2011
    • 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.

      Lia wrote on April 21st, 2013
      • 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.

        Peggy wrote on December 11th, 2013
        • 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!!!

          Just Sayin' … wrote on December 26th, 2013
  14. 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.

    Adam Ball wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • 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!

      Aaron Blaisdell wrote on October 19th, 2010
  15. 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.

    Primal K@ wrote on October 19th, 2010
  16. 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 wrote on October 19th, 2010
  17. O yes, no corn either, of course. Corn is reserved for on-the-cob on the 4th of July, and that’s it.

    Erin wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • 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 all over them. Sour cream and crema mexicana are good too…

      Another Halocene Human wrote on February 24th, 2011
      • 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?

        Another Halocene Human wrote on February 24th, 2011
  18. 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 know that you get a real workout just going from class to class! A diet with some supplementary potatoes (say, 3-4 a day mashed with butter) definitely helps me recover more quickly and have that boundless energy the next day.

    Also, I feel no hunger swings and other symptoms of sugar addiction when eating potatoes; my eating regimen still consists of lunch and dinner, no breakfast, and a feeling of satiation for hours after every meal. You just have to strike an optimal balance.

    Matthew Strebe wrote on October 19th, 2010
  19. 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.

    Hannah wrote on October 19th, 2010
  20. 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!

    Primal Toad wrote on October 19th, 2010
  21. 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.

    Sheila wrote on October 19th, 2010
  22. Celery root! I can’t say it enough. For hash browns, stews/soups and even mashing, celeriac rocks! Low GI, high flavor.

    Zac wrote on October 19th, 2010
  23. Are you saying that after a few months of primal eating and repairing our bodies, we can go back to eating potatoes? ;)

    C2H5OH wrote on October 19th, 2010
  24. 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 think we can eat them, but since we have knowledge about what they can mean for you, you should make a concious effort to eat them correctly!

    At the risk of also being nerdy: Frodo survivded off of the ‘magic’ power of the ring for a while… talk about low carb, try no carb! Turns out Frodo is a posterchild for anorxia… never thought about that before

    mlkrone wrote on October 19th, 2010
  25. 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 wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • 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!

      Larry wrote on October 19th, 2010
      • Right, Gollum didn’t get sun. He was low on vitamin D.

        Sam Cree wrote on October 19th, 2010
        • Not that low if he ate whole fishes!

          Johanna wrote on November 17th, 2010
        • He didn’t eat very much after Sauron tortured him; he was preoccupied with finding the ring.

          Sofie wrote on March 14th, 2012
  26. If you can relate all future posts to Lord of the Rings as well, you have my undivided attention.

    J wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • agreed

      Kornelia wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • Also Agree

      Crystal wrote on April 28th, 2012
  27. 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.

    The Primal Palette wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • oohhh and i love parsnips!!

      coley wrote on October 19th, 2010
  28. this cracked me up… excellent analogy.

    jenny wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • me too. pretty funny.

      coley wrote on October 19th, 2010
  29. sweet potatoes are also delicious raw! Peel’em, cut’em into sticks or chips and enjoy.

    Morgan Firecloud wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • you can eat sweet potatoes raw. however, they do contain trypsin inhibitors which make protein hard to digest.

      Duh wrote on August 5th, 2012
      • 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

        Anna wrote on December 8th, 2012
  30. 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. :)

    Sarah wrote on October 19th, 2010
  31. 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.

    Alta wrote on October 19th, 2010
  32. Sweet potato fries are the best! along with L of the R

    frank wrote on October 19th, 2010
  33. 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.

    Nicola wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • 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 :)

      Mallory wrote on October 19th, 2010
      • Ha no I don’t know what ZIOH is, sorry.

        Nicola wrote on October 23rd, 2010
    • 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 :)

      Jzoe wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • Please expand on the week long fadt. Did you eat nothing?

      AdrianaG wrote on October 24th, 2010
  34. Having Scottish/Irish ancestry makes you love potatoes? Don’t be so bloody ridiculous. It’s 2010 guys!

    StoneAgeQueen wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • 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.

      Elle wrote on October 19th, 2010
      • 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?

        Sam Cree wrote on October 19th, 2010
      • Except that potatoes are from the New World.

        Gigi wrote on October 19th, 2010
  35. You saw Melissa’s post on Hunt.Gather.Love, didn’t you!

    Shebeeste wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • Ha! Honestly, I hadn’t seen it.

      Mark Sisson wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • Link? That sounds like my kind of read.

      The Primal Palette wrote on October 19th, 2010
      • 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!

        Shebeeste wrote on October 19th, 2010
        • I know! Tell me about it. That’s one heck of a coincidence. I started writing this piece a couple weeks ago.

          Mark Sisson wrote on October 20th, 2010
  36. 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 quite as much anymore if they are on my plate but I will never eat them in any way resembling good ol’ Samwise.

    Ryan wrote on October 19th, 2010
  37. 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.

    Jake wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • 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.

      Lisa Madden wrote on October 24th, 2010
  38. 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….

    Sue wrote on October 19th, 2010
  39. 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.

    Marie S. wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • He’s up to about day 20 at the moment I think, another 40 days to go!

      Will wrote on October 20th, 2010

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