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. 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.

    Elizabeth wrote on October 19th, 2010
  2. 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?

    PaleoMum wrote on October 19th, 2010
  3. 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!

    Elle wrote on October 19th, 2010
  4. *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!

    Jenny wrote on October 19th, 2010
  5. 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!

    Jim Arkus wrote on October 19th, 2010
  6. 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

    tess wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • I think you’re right about that.

      Sam Cree wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • This is possibly the greatest reply to a blog post ever!

      19george wrote on October 19th, 2010
      • I always thought lembas wasn’t a grain too.

        Sofie wrote on March 14th, 2012
  7. 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?

    cathyx wrote on October 19th, 2010
  8. 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

    steve wrote on October 19th, 2010
  9. 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! :-)

    Lois wrote on October 19th, 2010
  10. 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 have the problems with the phytates and omega-6 that almonds (or nuts in general, or any high-fat plant-based food) have, which I think are worse than the problems of glycoalkaloids, saponins and glucose spikes. Subjectively, I feel better after switching out nuts for tubers.

    Lately I’ve been trying to add muscle mass (doing Rippetoe’s Starting Strength program) which requires 4,000 calories a day. It’s damn hard to overeat on potatoes. To make up 4,000 calories in potatoes would be 36 potatoes. The most I’ve been able to eat in a day is a 5 lb bag. To me, this really puts potatoe starch on a different level than grains. It’s not that hard to eat 4,000 calories in grain if you’re really trying to tuck in.

    I have also experienced a rise in metabolism as measured by body temperature (about 0.7 C) since adding 2-4 lbs a day of tubers in my diet a few months ago. I think Matt Stone’s arguement that there is great merit in having an active metabolism is another valid reason to give a diet high in starch from healthy sources such as tubers a second thought.

    Kevin Teague wrote on October 19th, 2010
  11. I haven’t had potatoes in over two years and am none the worse and 40 pounds lighter.

    I do crave McDonald’s hash browns at times, with lots of ketchup.

    rob wrote on October 19th, 2010
  12. My husband and I do eat potatoes, since we both have fast metabolisms and like our current weight. But he has a lot of joint pain lately — could potatoes be the culprit? What about potatoes makes them cause joint inflammation?

    Sheila wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • Google “baked potato inflammation rating”. The IF rating is just what it sounds like. Here’s a website that shows those ratings. Lowering IF and having some all natural glucosamine (Google all natural joint relief or joint health) as a supplement may help his joints.

      http://nutritiondata.self.com/help/inflammation

      The Primal Palette wrote on October 19th, 2010
  13. I have to say that I disagree that Sam Gamgee was manic, even if he was a starch eater. I saw him as by far the steadiest of the hobbit group. Frodo OTOH, while fairly steady in the book, albeit somewhat fey, was played by Elijah Wood as kind of manic.

    I’m one who didn’t come to the PB for weight loss (wasn’t that big an issue for me), but for better health, after reading about wheat. However, I’ve lost weight anyway, maybe too much, so maybe I’ll put some potatoes back in my diet, even though I have never loved ‘em that much anyway, except for french fries.

    Nice post Mark, LOTR has long been one of my all time favorite books. And I thought the movies was very good too, thankfully.

    Sam Cree wrote on October 19th, 2010
  14. Great post.
    I cannot eat potatoes or tomatoes, they are, for me, inflammatory and kick up arthritic pain. I once ate gluten-free at PeiWei and was in intense pain the next day. I called and learned they had used potato flour. (PF Changs however uses rice flour for GF.)

    I can eat sweet potatoes which are from the morning glory family -BUT- I don’t. Its carbs leave me feeling heavy. I might splurge and make sweet potato pie at Thanksgiving with zero sugar and a nut crust. I’ll probably cut back on fruit for a few days prior.

    Nan wrote on October 19th, 2010
  15. A lot of the time, I think that if we just avoided sugar and high fructose, avoided prepackaged food, and instead cooked all our own food, as was mostly done before, say 1965, there wouldn’t be much of a problem with obesity. When I was a kid in the 50’s you just didn’t see many people around who were very overweight.

    Sam Cree wrote on October 19th, 2010
  16. OK, my conclusions:

    Anything approaching Gollum’s body fat is repulsive.

    I decided before I started this that I was going to go on eating potatoes. I do. About twice a week. Even if you could prove to me that it would take 5 years off my life.

    Fortunately, I am losing weight and everything else is going fantastically well despite eating potatoes, rice or corn (about 2 servings of one of those) daily.

    Harry wrote on October 19th, 2010
  17. Gollum seemed to be the one with serious manic problems. At least Sam went barefoot all the time.

    Sure would like to know how Legolas loaded up on carbs for long distance runs…….

    mark smith wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • Elves are lighter than snow. And Gollum doesn’t wear shoes either.

      (Barefoot propaganda!)

      Sofie wrote on March 14th, 2012
  18. I’ve not found any research on this but the older varieties of potatoes are very different to the modern ones. Much slower releasing sugars and also much better flavour. My guess is they did something to them around about just after WW1. We tend to stick to the old maori varieties from way back for the times when we eat potatoes.

    Angel wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • Ooo! Those I would love to taste…. I’m saving for a visit to New Zealand, do you grow them yourself, or could I find then in a market?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potato

      This is a good overview.

      Esther wrote on October 19th, 2010
  19. Potatoes may or may not be bad for you. I’ve never had a weight problem, used to be a runner (until my back and knees gave out), so eating potatoes or not is not a weight thing for me.
    All I know now (and want to know) is that since I went Primal about 3 months ago, along with improving my posture per the Esther Gokhale method, I have all but stopped taking even ibuprofen for my many-joint arthritis. And when I fall off the Primal wagon even for a day or 2, I can feel the difference. I’m a believer!
    PS. If I ate many potatoes anymore, it would be in the form of potato chips, and probably half the bag.

    Bonnie Sullivan wrote on October 19th, 2010
  20. Before I read this, I prayed Mark’s concluding sentence will be: Hell yeah, eat the potatoes!

    Y_Y

    NSWM wrote on October 19th, 2010
  21. Samwise carried Frodo AND the ring up the side of Mount Doom.

    Just sayin’

    lojasmo wrote on October 19th, 2010
  22. Awesome post, especially since I read it after spending all day building a ballista for Ring Game (www.ringgame.net) this weekend.

    Magness wrote on October 19th, 2010
  23. I tend to avoid cooking white potatoes at home, but will eat small quantities (e.g. a few tbsp of mashed potatoes or 3-4 fingerlings) if they are served on the side of my meal in a restaurant. I don’t think potatoes are so much “bad” for us as they are simply far less nutritious than other vegetables. Thus, I would prefer to get my calories from veggies that are more nutritionally dense.

    I do cook other starchy gourds and tubers (yams, squashes, pumpkin), but I tend towards consuming these types of foods post-workout only, and on an infrequent basis (a few times per month).

    CS wrote on October 19th, 2010
  24. Here’s the thing….

    The potatoes we buy are like the corn we buy — nothing resembling the whole food they once were. I am hoping the true indigenous tubers, even the ones domesticated by the Mesoamericans, still exist. The potatoes we know are not ‘whole’ foods, any more than the ‘sweet’ corn is.

    If you’re Scottish or Irish, or of any European genetic heritage, your ancestors have only been able to eat potatoes for 300 years. Your metabolism isn’t programmed to eat them — you’re conditioned to do so by a cultural adaptation by people facing extreme poverty and extreme exploitation.

    Yeah, they taste good. God, they taste good — because tater tots were comfort food, and baked potatoes and butter and fried potatoes with onion and maybe cheese, have traditionally been ‘cheap’ food, the food of the poor — be it the working class or the college student.

    Don’t be sentimental about ‘taties. If you must look to ‘culinary heritage’, the Irish and Scottish ones, the TRUE ones, are things like Venison, Salmon, beef (especially Ireland!), turnips, parsnips…. If you must have a traditional carbohydrate staple, it’s Oats.

    I know, it’s a rant. Sorry!

    Esther wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • I never had a turnip before going LC. They are my substitute for mashed potatoes. No, they really don’t taste much like a potato, but when I get done cooking them up with some parmesan cheese and maybe some sour cream … ummmm! yummie!

      Susan wrote on October 19th, 2010
  25. I’m trying to lose my excess fat so I am staying far away from potatos. Sides I never cared much for the pasty things anyway. Also I don’t care what yahoo put out there about bread. It is still not good for me so out the window with it. I was tough at first to give these things up but now I feel so good I don’t want to eat them anymore. My health means more to me than a bowl of starch.

    primal tree top wrote on October 19th, 2010
  26. Definitely have to agree with Carly, Frodo was doing some major heavy lifting!
    Not to mention going barefoot all of the time…
    (And speaking for all of us “nerds” out there, thank you for acknowledging that the books ARE better.)
    Secondly,
    Potatoes.
    These are one of my downfalls in the Primal lifestyle. However, I have found if I eat them consistently for a week or so I feel almost like I did when on grains. Thus, limited potato consumption for me. Although it helps that it is a slightly grey area…

    ElizaGrok wrote on October 19th, 2010
  27. I think in reality Samwise wouldvt lost weight.

    If you’re as active as someone like Michael Phelps (and Grok mustve approximated to something like that) then potatoes and diet dont matter so much. Michael Phelp’s diet is wretched (look it up!), yet he is in amazing shape. All about the hormones and being super active. Do that and diet is just details.

    skunk1980 wrote on October 19th, 2010
  28. Potatoes don’t seem to have an adverse effect on me. Then again, they aren’t a staple of my diet. So I include them when the desire strikes me.

    Longtail wrote on October 19th, 2010
  29. Oh this was a delightful post on 2 fronts: 1) great literature (Fantasy) from the man who (posthumously won the greatest Sci Fi award of the 20th century – JRR Tolkien) -what a great story writer (and MY favorite!), & 2) the issues w/ potatos and cereals/grains/starch in general.

    Let’s address both of these subjects gently.

    1) I am THRILLED that I was able to read the original JJR Tolkien Trilogy to my 3 children BEFORE we saw the movies (and got all the DVDs)! It is a seried of moments that I will cherish for all time. Actually, my younger son, while watching “The Two Towers” in the movie LOUDLY EXCLAIMED “hey Gack (aka Dad) that’s not what happens to Aragorn (Strider) in the book!!!!” “Shush Josh, we’re disturbing the other people watching the movie!” “But gack, that;s not how the story GOES!!!” “Josh, I’ll explain later…” “Oh, gack, they got it WRONG!!!” “Yes, Josh, I’ll explain later when we get home – have some more popcorn…”

    And so it went – he was so crushed by what Peter Jackson did there. Because he loved the story better. But! It captured their hearts and made them better at reading literature! Coolio!

    Literature 101 – was a success! It grasped their hearts!

    On to topic #2) Potatos: did you miss Merry ans Pippin making sausage & bacon both at Weathertop as well as in the lower ranges of the Misty Mountains??

    Potatos are something we now eat about one time every 6 months. My concern is our rice intake (Zatarains). Usually when I make their “dirty rice” or “jambalaya” recipe (sorry fellas, I am the prep cook on the weekends). Both involve a hefty amount of beef and sausage.

    But it gets back to your comment on “Rice” some years ago (2007). Mebbe, we can tolerate a little bit?

    Personally, I am NOT primal. I eat the equivalent of about 3-4 pieces of bread per week (I am so ashamed – grin!).

    But, during the week I GORGE on raw vegetables (not just `cause they taste great, but also b/c they are a great enzyme replacement therapy! (sprouting, seeding, and something else (I forgot) vegetables are frickin’ LOADED w/ enzymes!!!).

    Man! Have I noticed a difference (even though for the past 20 years I have been pseudo-primal (beef eater))!

    But my key source of “sugar” is from raw snap peas and frozen peas – dudes are very sweet! Oh yeh, and bananas. But that is incidental as I am going after the potassium.

    Plus, a whopping and overwhelming amount of cheese (digestive metabolic rate is much better than MILK!) and olives! Hey! We all gotta pick our path of how we are gonna die, right? This is mine. Especially french cheese – Yum!

    I am a Brie-aholic! (But Gruyere is my FAV – just can’t afford it)

    As to “weight”, our society’s ever-encompassing ADDICTION (I don’t weigh myself except rarely b/c I had to buy the scales `cause my boys wrestled) – I am 6’1/2″ and weigh about 162-167 (a bit heavy – I have bones like a bird, but I can see my toes!!)

    But as 2-4 “sigma” athlete (sorry dude – You were a 6-sigma+ athlete; I didn’t break the 10-minute barrier in cross-country until I was a freashman in college – DUDE!!)), and a player in college/adult Ultimate (right below the National level), I can tell you that athletics DO matter when you are young.

    And they MATTER when you are 50+. O/w, your body will start to cannabalize your muscles (~atrophy). Your body will “digest” your muscles and turn them into fat. If you lift, you promote testorone which promotes muscle promotion.

    But as to recent comments regarding Ultimate, DUDE, you must realize that players at the regional/national level are TOTALLY chronic-cardio! (As I was)

    Better bet is to suggest some light Ultimate pick-up. You get some sprints (like your oh-so-familiar interval work-out) and be done with it!

    Just a friendly tip – I’ve seen your prior messages about Ulitmate and “chronic-cardio” – thought I would mention what Ultimate is really about at my (previous) level.

    peace, brothers…

    Iluvatar wrote on October 19th, 2010
  30. The posters comments here today were not only great(!!!), but they were very funny too!

    I laughed temendously (an ex nihilo) poster…

    Iluvatar wrote on October 19th, 2010
  31. No problems with potatoes. If I haven’t eaten any in a real long time, I’ll get mild gas, but if I then start to eat them several times a week I no longer get it.

    zach wrote on October 19th, 2010
  32. Have you ever seen this ad for the Lembas diet?

    http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/5127/399/1600/heatherslembasad.0.jpg

    dragonmamma wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • EPIC!

      Larry wrote on October 20th, 2010
  33. It’s actually hard for me to GAIN any weight. Sweet potatoes are my fave, and if I feel like my blood glucose is out of whack, then I commit to a 24 hour fast, or just skip breakfast and lunch, and then supplement with ceylon cinnamon. My diet is roughly 60/40 raw/cooked. Not much meat, lots ‘o veg, fruits, nuts, avo, egg yolk, fermented soybeans, and SAHWEET Potatoes!

    Jzoe wrote on October 19th, 2010
  34. this post makes me want to go to my favorite watering hole, which serves up the best sweet potato fries i’ve ever had along with really tasty IPAs on tap. i also like potatoes with bacon and egg “treat” breakfasts out. but lately i’ve been laying off them…my digestion is picky and lately it says no to potatoes. i’m pretty sure the oils they fry them in when i eat out are really bad anyhow.

    DThalman wrote on October 19th, 2010
  35. Haven’t had any potatoes since this round of the 30 day challenge (Sept 7, 10) Before we may have had them 4x a week! My husband loves his meat, potatoes, and veggies and would eat that every night if I served it. I think potatoes are in that gray area where other gluten free foods I was eating in abundance prior to the primal lifestyle fall (rice, beans, etc.). I think I now understand where all the weight gain came from! We were having tons of homemade Mexican food weekly also in the way of Enchiladas, Tacos, etc. made with corn tortillas. I can slowly feel myself losing some weight but I know it will take a long time as it was a long time putting it on, and I’m patient. As long as I feel well and I’m satiated from all the delicious primal fare, all is good in my world. I do have a yam smothered in butter at least once a month. Infact I had that included in one of my breakfasts over the 30 day challenge! Delish=)

    PrimalStyle-Real.Yummy.Food wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • eta: this is not to say that potatoes and I will never cross paths again! Especially if I were at a party or whatnot and it was an option :-P

      PrimalStyle-Real.Yummy.Food wrote on October 21st, 2010
  36. I have been reading for months and gently easing into the primal pool. This post is the funniest, most timelest I have read. Thank you Mark! Not only for answering my questions, of late, about tubers, but also for tickling my ribcage! Grok squats can do much, but not that!

    Christy is: as-if (for now) wrote on October 19th, 2010
    • @Mark, Is an aversion to avocado common? I feel sick and pained in the middle when I eat it, more than I do with any other food (read grains). I do not have problems with any other nuts or fruits, nor am I allergic to anything. I’m sad and confused ’cause I make a mean guac! Grok guac rules!

      Christy is: as-if (for now) wrote on October 19th, 2010
  37. If you like them they can be hard to give up. However, I guess I am lucky in that I never really cared much for spuds. Now knowing what that big bowl of starch is doing to me I like them even less. While I’m trying to slim down I have been real careful of grains and all the starchy stuff I used to eat. But, if potatos are your thing and you want them have them but, be ready to pay for it all that starch at once can’t be good for you. My head hurts thinking about it.

    primal tree top wrote on October 19th, 2010
  38. I love how the cast of Lord of the Rings took the place of Grok today for potato eating. Tolken would be so proud :D

    Zac wrote on October 19th, 2010
  39. Very well written blog, thank you! alike Led Zeppelin, the lord of the rings references are great!

    Regarding potatoes I prefer sweet potato in moderation. It would be good to know your advice about the skin of either tuber though.

    Also think it should be added that this doesn’t give anyone permission to go out and think that eating deep fried in vegetable oil like “Fish and Chips” is suddenly Primal.

    oliverh wrote on October 20th, 2010
  40. I liked your site when it was more nutrition based and less “I want to be a cave man”. “Grok-on” and Elvish lore are a bit to out there. The site went from respectable to a little ridiculous. Can’t say I enjoy your post much anymore.

    broman wrote on October 20th, 2010
    • I’m impressed with his ability to take a piece of modern media and draw a real lesson from it.

      I don’t know Mark’s “target audience” but I have to assume it also includes people without the desire/ability to wade through 4 years to get a biology degree and decades of science and extract a sensible, logical, supportable and most importantly DO-able philosophy and turn all of that dry, insoluble fiber into an engaging, understandable, relevant story that most everyone can understand.

      I’d say Mark is an amazing teacher for exactly the ability you call “ridiculous”.

      Ok, so it isn’t your style. Give the guy a break. He’s trying to make this LIFE SAVING information available and palatable to as many people as possible.

      If he was only interested in impressing bunged up, tight sphinctered, lab coated blowhards, he wouldn’t have put this site together (for FREE) at all.

      MartyInDFW wrote on October 20th, 2010

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