Getting the most out of your Potato

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Potatoes are one of the most universal and highly consumed vegetables in the world. Although they seem basic, a potato is no longer just a potato and we've dug a little deeper to unearth the complex love that we have for those little gems.

 

Let's start with the difference between growing methods....

Organic Potato Ingredients: Potato

Conventional Potato Ingredients:  Potato,

Herbicides – to prepare the field before planting

Fungicides/Insecticides/ Fertilizers – during growth season

Herbicides – to kill off fibrous vines

Desprouters – sprayed yet again to prevent sprouting in storage

Yuck.  I will take my spuds fungicide free please.  The problem is that you can't wash or peel those chemicals off!  Potatoes grow in the ground, so whatever is in the dirt is going to reside within the whole potato.  Speaking of what's in the dirt, you want to make sure that your potatoes are grown in mineral rich soils that don't rely on chemical fertilizers like NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium).  Yes, it stimulates plant growth, but it does not contain essential minerals necessary for our health and vitality.

The problem is that farming isn't what it used to be.  Grandma and Grandpa's methods don't have a place anymore in big Agri-Business.  Choosing good quality, organic food really does matter.  It is time to start thinking about foods that nourish your body rather than fill your belly.

I'm pretty sure that you eat, so why not make it count?

 

So what can you do to make it count?

  • Eat the skins, that is where you will get most of your potato's nutrition.  You also benefit from the added fiber.
  •  Try to choose the colored varieties so you can maximize antioxidant levels.  The deeper and richer the color, the more nutritious it tends to be.  These also tend to be lower starch than other varieties.

But what about the carbs?

Carbohydrates are fuel for your body, and are anything but ‘the enemy’. You actually require carbohydrates to regulate fat and protein metabolism.  Most potato starches are complex carbohydrates, which means they take longer to digest AND they create digestive stability.  Just like a potato isn’t just a potato, a carb isn’t just a carb.  Stick to carbohydrates from whole foods, and stay away from the processed, refined, or sugary kind.

What about the Glycemic Index (GI)?

We just talked about how starch is a good thing, but too much of anything isn't a good idea. High starch can spike blood sugar levels, which is what any diabetic doesn’t want!  I know I keep repeating myself, but a potato isn’t just a potato, and starch levels are different with each variety.

potatoGI

**Sand Springs varieties, please don't base this chart on every potato variety - there are thousands out there!!

It is important to remember that the GI is calculated on eating a certain food in isolation. Most of us eat potatoes with a meal including other foods, and if we pair them correctly we can slow the rate of digestion down and lower the GI even further!

  • Pair potatoes with healthy fats – try roasting potatoes with your favorite oils such as cold pressed olive or avocado
  • Adding fiber slows down digestion therefore lowering the GI - pair with a salad AND eat the potato skins
  • Adding an acid will lower the GI – find some recipes to include vinegar, citrus or salsa with your meal
  • Soaking potatoes excretes starch – soak raw for a few hours, then rinse before cooking

Don't forget!

Tasty doesn’t necessarily involve hours in the kitchen with a long list of ingredients. The missing secret ingredients for any recipe is using QUALITY food with naturally occurring FLAVOR.  Good quality, wholesome foods have superior flavor that shines through, transforming the simplest recipes into the tastiest.

Real flavor = Nutrition.  It really is that simple.

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