I’ve been spending a little too much time on YouTube lately and I stumbled onto something called The Potato Cleanse. Despite growing up in LA, I am not really one to believe in cleanses. I don’t really ‘get’ it and I think there’s a lot of pseudoscience behind the general idea. From my understanding, many people believe that doing a cleanse will rid your body of ‘toxins,’ despite already having several organs that already help dispose of harmful substances. Big shout out to my liver and kidneys, who worked really hard for those 4 years in university. That being said, I’m sure there are some positive benefits that come from doing cleanses, they may just have different reasons behind them. For example, a cleanse tends to consist of eating whole plant foods and moving away from processed foods and/or animal products for any extended period of time will no doubt make you feel better! I definitely don’t think that the potato cleanse is going to rid my body of any toxins. However, I think it could be beneficial for a few reasons.
Why are you doing this?
Yes, this does seem to be just another one of those fad diets. But the first and most important reason I am doing this is to critically think about my relationship with food. I know I have a disordered way of looking at food. I eat when I’m happy (let’s celebrate by baking!), I eat when I’m sad (I need this pint of ice cream because it will make me feel better), and I eat when I’m bored (let’s just see what’s in the fridge for the tenth time today..). I don’t think I’m alone in these behaviours. Not even close! I’d argue that most people I know experience something very similar. I think a large part of western society have stopped considering that food is first and foremost fuel for our bodies. Now, I don’t think eating should be unenjoyable but, ideally, it should be consuming what’s best for our body. And I know once I get into the habit of eating healthier, I enjoy it SO much more because of how much better I feel! Plus, it’s easier to enjoy my veggie stir fry when it’s not in comparison to the greasy alfredo the night before. I’m doing this to show myself that, no Jenny, you don’t need the chocolate bar, it’s OK to want it once in a while but there will never be a time where I absolutely need it!
The second reason is that I would like to move to a more starch-heavy, high-carb diet. Doesn’t that sound absolutely counter intuitive to what most people know about health/nutrition? It sounds insane, right? There’s low-carb everything these days and I plan on doing exactly the opposite. But then again, it seems like the big diet industry is always flip-flopping on what you should and shouldn’t eat anyway. Maybe we should listen to real science over something like Health magazines who clearly wouldn’t be making money if they kept repeating the same thing over and over again each month. Dr. John A. McDougall has been the front runner of promoting a starch based diet. You can read his claims on his website here. Basically, he discusses that starches have been the largest source of calories in the human diet, globally, throughout history. He points out that the human body is extremely efficient at digesting starch, compared to other foods like meat that actually takes so long for the human body to process that it begins to ferment and decay in the digestive tract! I am going to read his book (thanks kindle) and do a bit more personal research on it in the meantime, but so far I like what I’m hearing.
The Potato Cleanse, I think, would be a really great way to transition into a high-carb, low-fat diet!
But why potatoes?
Being completely honest, I haven’t found a legitimate source that specifies why you should choose potatoes for this over any other food, but there is some speculation from the somewhat small group of potato-cleansers.
Obviously, potatoes are a great source of starch. As stated above there’s a big push from some parts of the vegan community to incorporate lots of starches into your diet!
Secondly, looking at the nutritional content of potatoes, it looks pretty good to me! You can check out the full nutritional profile of potatoes.
There’s also the idea that potatoes are pretty bland and you can only cook them in so many ways. Overeating is largely a product of having too many choices. If you think back to the last time you were at a buffet, you probably piled your plate up high because you wanted to taste everything! But a taste of all 30 options can add up to a lot of food! I know when I first went vegan, I wanted to try ALL the vegan specific items at the grocery store, go to all the restaurants, and cook all the recipes in my cookbooks. And that led to a 20lb weight gain. For what it’s worth, most people lose like at least 10lbs when they go veg, but I am such a foodie that I admittedly went a little too crazy with it. I’m back to where I was before and then some so I’m working on it!
Mostly, potatoes are awesome! I LOVE potatoes and I don’t feel restricted at all knowing that they are going to be the majority of my diet for the next month. On the Satiety Index potatoes scored the highest rating! Which I can totally attest to because when eating today, I felt SO full on the exact same amount of calories that I was eating before. I didn’t even want to finish my breakfast because I was so stuffed.
Here’s what you can eat:
- Any kind of potato (including sweet potatoes)
- Non-starchy vegetables
- 1-2 tbsp of sugar or maple syrup is OK
- any sauce is fine as long as it’s oil/fat free and vegan
It sounds a lot harder than it is! You can check out the instagram hashtag #thepotatocleanse to see what people are making. I am actually really looking forward to this, despite feeling silly when I bought like 30lbs of potatoes last night.
So far I’m feeling pretty good! I am going to try to post about my potato adventure every day or at least a couple times a week depending on how busy I am. It might get boring to look at, but I think it’ll be fun to talk about this crazy Potato Cleanse! Here’s what I ate on day one of the Potato Cleanse!
I prepped a lot of potatoes last night so I ate those basically all day. Here’s some breakfast potatoes with zucchini, onion, and red bell pepper. This was a BIG mountain of food so it filled me up quite well.
I wasn’t super hungry but I did want to eat something for lunch. This is just some more of those potatoes with a little BBQ sauce. This plate is not one of those big dinner plates, just a small one (salad plate? side plate? whatever, one of those).
This is a big plate of potatoes and onions in bbq sauce, broccoli, and saurkraut all on top of some arugula. It was really good!
I’ve currently got some sweet potato ‘brownies’ in the oven, they don’t look super pretty but I might end up putting them on instagram so follow along for more potatoes!