Potatoes have entered the battlefield of nutrition – numerous “experts” are telling us to kick the starchy, high glycemic foods out of the game all together, and the potato (along with the bread and pasta) has been added to the list.
Even I have reduced my intake, hoping to manage my possibly already insulin sensitive system and keep pre-diabetes at bay and keep my tummy flat.
I do make potatoes regularly at home for my family and eat them more often now as I let the potato debate digest.
Potatoes have been around a lot longer than the processed and fast foods that I suspect are the real culprit in the pre-diabetes and diabetes surge.
My ancestors who settled first in Newfoundland in the 1700’s were more than likely surviving on fish, root vegetables like the potato that could be stored and consumed through the winters, along with seaweed, also dried and protected as an important source of nutrients through the difficult, cold months.
The real shift in our blood sugar health seems to come out of abundance, overeating and the huge market manufacturing processed grains.
For those of us who are cutting out the grains due to high gluten levels, chemicals, and manipulation, potatoes are, in my mind, not a bad solution, especially for my hungry and active boys. I have taught my guys why we don’t pile the plate high due to their high glycemic level. Pair them with some healthy protein and fat and all is good.
There are so many ways to make potatoes without eating trans fat laden fries or potato chips too. We roast them in the oven in a covered baking dish with a little coconut oil, herbal seasonings and salt or slice them as a treat, lay them on a baking sheet with coconut oil for a crunchy snack – a little smoked salmon on top – an hors d’oeuvres idea of my boys.
I also mix potatoes (cooled after cooking) with diced cucumbers, along with olive oil, dill and sea salt…. they make an easy side for lunch at school or on the road. A little potato in my homemade fish and vegetable soup gives it that satisfying smooth texture.
So what is in the humble potato?
The World Health Organization in 2008 declared it the International Year of the Potato – a “food consumed in the Andes for about 8,000 years” that spread across the globe. “The potato produces more nutritious food more quickly, on less land, and in harsher climates than any other major crop – up to 85 percent of the plant is edible human food, compared to around 50% in cereals.”http://www.fao.org/potato-2008/en/aboutiyp/index.html
For those of you who have grown them, you know these little dirty spuds don’t need a lot of water – you can go away on vacation for a week, or just forget or avoid watering them on those 30 degree summer days and they carry on. They have substantial amounts of Vitamin C and Potassium. They also contain B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorous, iron and zinc (although you need to eat the skin!)
So I am not suggesting you run out and fill your plate, but perhaps potatoes are amongst the perfect foods for those of you on gluten free diets that need a clean carb. If you are diabetic, pre-diabetic or insulin sensitive, you will need to watch your volume and don’t forget your protein and healthy fat– a little butter or olive oil.
Don’t drop the hot potato!