One Potato, Two Potato, 126 pounds of
Potato! Choose Your Potatoes Wisely
Recent media attention has been focused on the potato, namely
the French fried potato, because McDonalds has announced that
it will use lower fat oil to fry French fries. French fried
potatoes are the most consumed vegetable in the United States.
A small box of French fries contains 12 grams of fat which is
25% of the recommended daily allowance. So just imagine how much
fat those Super-Sized fries contain. Somehow I don't believe that
a minor change in oil is going to make a great impact upon the
face of America's obesity epidemic.
The potato is a staple food in the U.S. In fact the average
American consumes a whopping 126 pounds of potato each year!
Un-fried potatoes can be a healthy part of our diet provided it
is not the only veggie we eat. The Recommended Daily Allowance
is to eat five servings of vegetables per day. But only one of
those servings should be potato. Most Americans only eat potatoes
with a meal and skip other important veggies like leafy greens.
Or they don't eat veggies at all.
Yes, even I fall prey to the French fry. I could even say that
the French fry is my nemesis because everywhere I go, there
they are. Hot, steaming, salted and ready to eat. But, I have
learned to resist my regular urges to consume those warm, thinly
sliced, shoestring potatoes, bathed in vegetable oil which is
so cruel to my heart valves. I have learned to resist daily doses
of the spicy "curly fry" and the even thicker and more
delicious "steak fry."
In all truth I eat French fries a few times a month. Yet, the
average American eats them a few times a week. According to Oriental
medicine overeating fried foods contributes toward many health
problems such as obesity, digestive disorders, even emotional
disorders, respiratory and sinus problems. Potatoes have no
usable dietary fiber. Part of the reason they lead to digestive
disorders in that people who eat mostly potatoes usually lack
dietary fiber found in whole grain breads, rice and pasta. You
can keep the fat intake at zero if you eat a plain baked potato
but the moment you add just 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine
you add 24 grams of fat and 215 calories. Yipes!
Proper storage of potatoes is important or you may experience
digestive problems and inflammation, diarrhea, even nausea. Avoid
potatoes that are sprouted or green because they are poisonous.
Over-consumption of potatoes may also lead to a surplus of Vitamin
D which could increase levels of calcium and phosphate in your
blood. Increased levels of those minerals can direct calcium
deposits to inappropriate places in your body like the soft
tissue and into major organs such as the kidneys. Oh and one more
thing, they could slowly transfer calcium from your bones and
leave it in other areas of the body where it shouldn't be, like
your arteries and joints.
The thing about French fries is that they are quick and easy
to buy and prepare. I have a few recommendations for those of
you who fall prey to regular potato cravings...
5 Tips for Avoiding Potato Mistakes
- Don't buy French Fries every time you go out to eat.
It is simple yet requires determination of the mind over your
- Also avoid denatured potatoes. Denatured potatoes are dehydrated
potatoes. Like the boxes of scalloped potatoes and instant mashed
potatoes you find in the grocery store. Over-processed and
often bleached potatoes like these lack the qi/energetic
qualities and nutritional value that fresh potatoes pack.
- Eating potatoes from the frozen food section is not such a
good idea either. Frozen potatoes usually contain additives
and contain high levels of sodium. If you have to eat frozen
potatoes buy organic from the health food store because they
rarely have high sodium content. But read the labels to be sure.
Also, don't fry frozen potatoes, warm them in the oven at a
high heat they will still come out crispy.
- Reduce the amount of potatoes you eat. Begin to incorporate
whole grains and riceinto your daily diet.
- Try some of the lower fat recipes below.
And Now the Good News
According to "The Healing Cuisine of China" the nutritional
value in a serving of baked or boiled potatoes are:
Protein, 2.3 grams
Fat, 0.1 grams
Carbohydrates, 20.1 g (Potatoes rate 81 on the glycemic index
which is high, so diabetics and people suffering from obesity,
Vitamin A, 0 IU
Vitamin B1, 0.1 mg
Vitamin B2, 0.04 mg
Niacin, 1.7 mg
Vitamin C, 22mg
Calcium, 8 mg
Phosphorus, 52 mg
Iron 0.85 mg
Looking at the content of Calcium, Iron, and B vitamins it is
no surprise that many women crave potatoes around the menstrual
cycle. The body wants to support is self while it loses blood.
Potatoes also neutralize stomach acidity.
Oriental Medicine Says...
From an Oriental perspective the potato is sweet and cool
has the following medicinal qualities:
- Supplements the Spleen and Qi
- Harmonizes the Stomach
- Nourishes Kidney Yin
- Lubricates Intestines
- Relieves ulcer pain
- Reduces Inflammations:
- Arthritis. prepare and eat
- Eczema and other Damp skin conditions. Put raw grated
potato on the skin with gauze. Change every 3 hours.
- Burns. Apply fresh potato juice to burn. It will promote healing,
cool and soothe the burn.
Avoid frying and milk and sour cream with your potatoes if you
are using them to clear dampness conditions and relieve
Questions? Need Help?
If you have any questions or would like an Oriental Dietary consultation,
Contact me: Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac. 212-894-0767
Skillet Baked Scalloped Potatoes
These are quick and easy to make and often quell my fry craving
- 3 Large Baking Potatoes sliced thin with a knife or slicer
(my favorite potatoes are Yukon Gold)
- Olive oil
- Paprika to taste
- Salt to Taste
- Parsley to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Lightly oil cast iron skillet (or baking pan or cookie sheet).
Arrange slices of potato in the skillet. Lightly drizzle more
oil over potatoes.
Sprinkle on paprika, parsley and lightly salt the potatoes. (Or
get creative and use the spices you like. Try curry powder for
instance. Or rosemary.)
Place skillet into oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until brown
Vegan Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- 5-7 Yukon Gold Potatoes
- 1 Cup of fresh refrigerated soy milk
- ½-1 Cup of soy sour cream
- 3-5 cloves of garlic
- Salt to taste
Peel and boil potatoes until soft. While they are boiling roast
garlic in aluminium foil or a ceramic garlic roaster in a 400
degree preheated oven. Cook for 15 minutes until brown and soft.
When potatoes are completely cooked they should be soft and fall
apart easlity when pierced with a fork, strain the water in a
colander. Place in a potatoes in a large bowl. Mash with potato
masher. Add ¼ cup soy milk. Blend with a hand held blender
on medium-high speed and fold in peeled soft garlic and continue
to add soy milk. Blend in a pinch of salt to taste. Blend in the
soy sour cream. If you want smoother potatoes add more milk or
sour cream. Serve and enjoy!
Also try these recipes:
- Lui, Jilin. Chinese Dietary Therapy Churchill Livingstone,
- Ni, Maoshing, Cathy McNease. The Tao of Nutrition Santa Monica
SevenStar Communications, 1996
- Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods Berkley North Atlantic
- Zhao, Zhuo, George Ellis The Healing Cuisine of China Rochester
Healing Arts Press, 1998
- Colbin, Annemarie. Food and Healing Ballentine Books, 1986
- USDA Web site
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