Week 1 of My Four Week Spudtacular Adventure

I’m super excited to have made it through the first week of my potato hack diet!  I’ve learned a few things along the way – about potatoes, and about myself!  Today I’m going to share my discoveries, my struggles, and a couple hints to help you if you’ve decided to follow along with me now, or in the future!

First of all…I did lose weight!!! I lost a total of 5.2 pounds.  I admit I’m a little disappointed in this number, as I expected to lose a little more. I was actually down 6.8 pounds at one point, so I have found the weight loss to be a little frustrating for me.  I really expected to see a gradual downward trend on the scale, but instead I saw a decrease in my weight on days 2, 3, 4, and 6, with slight upticks day 5 and 7.  Then again today I was surprised to see another increase.  What’s the cause? I’m not sure.  I’ve been 100% faithful to the plan…I have, however, had an issue with constipation (sorry if that’s TMI – just tying to keep it real).  I thoroughly expected the opposite problem to be honest, but I feel like this probably accounts for the fluctuating weight.  In the end, as far as weight loss goes, I’m still happy with a 5.2 lb. loss – I don’t believe I’ve ever had that kind of success with any other diet I’ve tried!

Oil Free Oven Fries | cookeatbehealthy

Oil Free Oven Fries ~ Place cut potatoes on parchment lined baking sheet, sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt and pepper, bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. 

The first 3 days on nothing but plain potatoes was pretty tough – not gonna lie!  The first day was a breeze, the second – not so bad, the third – ugh! On day 4 I was so excited for dinner because I was incorporating the veggies I’d planned to add in.  I made myself a sauce/gravy with tomatoes, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and organic beef stock thickened with potato starch.  I gotta tell you – it was one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten!  ๐Ÿ˜‰  I’ll share the recipe at the end of this post!

As for my hunger levels…let’s just say you’d have noticed a rumbly in my tumbly had you been near me!  But all in all, while I have been hungry, I haven’t been uncomfortably hungry very often!  I have slept pretty well, kept up walking on the treadmill or the elliptical 6 out of the first 7 days, and other than being very cranky on day 7, I think I’ve fared pretty well.  I feel like day 7 (yesterday) has been the worst so far!  I really felt the sugar withdrawal kick into high gear and most the day was spent with my teeth clenched trying to just survive the day by sheer willpower!  Thankfully today has been a better day! ๐Ÿ˜€  

Hopefully yesterday was the worst day as far as kicking the sugar addiction goes!  I have noticed I’m feeling better in general, and that I’m much less gassy (again – sorry if that’s TMI) and I attribute that to avoiding all dairy products.  Perhaps gluten plays a part in that as well, but typically I find that dairy tends to be pretty disagreeable for me- more so than gluten anyway.

Cold Boiled Potatoes | cookeatbehealthy.com

Cold Boiled Potatoes 

As for my meals themselves I’ve learned a few things.  My favorite potato is the Yukon Gold.  I find it less dry, creamier, and more flavorful than reds or russets.  I bought some blue or purple potatoes and I have mixed feelings about them.  The golds make good mashed, hash browns, and oven fries.  Cold boiled potatoes make a great snack or quick lunch.  In fact, cold is soooo much better than warmed in the microwave – that just dries them out waaaay too much!  My favorite breakfast is hash browns from raw grated Yukon Golds.  I dribble a teensy amount of EVOO in a nonstick pan, wipe it out with a paper towel so there’s barely a whisper of oil left in the pan, the cook the potatoes until crispy and brown, flip them and cook until brown and softened.  I find the whole process only takes 4-5 minutes.  Seasoned with a little sprinkle of salt, pepper, and rosemary…delish!

Pan frying with little to no oil is really difficult, so I recommend babysitting your potatoes while they’re cooking, and adding water or organic chicken stock if they stick to the pan too much.  I find this technique works well when cooking cubed boiled potatoes.  Today for lunch I cubed some blues that I boiled yesterday, pan fried them with a little chicken stock, seasoned them with chili powder, and finished the dish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice!  The stock combined with the starch of the potatoes and the seasoning almost made a sauce for the potatoes, and the lime juice gave the dish a fresh zing!  The point is – experiment and see what works for you and your palate!

On to Week 2…we’ll see what challenges this week brings, but hopefully it’ll come with more successes than failures!  Weather providing, we’re planning to be out of town Thursday, so I’ll just have to see how that goes.  I shouldn’t think I’ll have too much trouble finding a baked potato somewhere for my lunch…fingers crossed!

Mashed Potatoes with Vegetable Gravy | cookeatbehealthy.com

Mashed Potatoes with Vegetable Gravy

So here’s the deal…my recipe plug-in refuses to work today so here’s the recipe for the vegetable gravy:

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes 

2 bell peppers, sliced

1 onion, thinly sliced

8-10 baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced

4 cups organic beef stock, divided

4 tsp potato starch 

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Combine vegetables, seasonings, and 3 1/2 cups beef stock in a stock pot.

Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 50-60 minutes until vegetables are tender and liquid is reduced by about 25%.

Combine potato starch with reserved beef stock and mix well.

Bring vegetables to a rolling boil, and slowly add starch slurry, stirring the entire time.  Add more dissolved starch or more stock as needed to attain desired consistency.

Serve over mashed potatoes made with boiled Yukon Golds and reserved potato water or a little chicken stock.

Place a serving of potatoes in a bowl, ladle on gravy, and enjoyโ€ฆyou’ve earned it! ๐Ÿ‘

 

My Four Week Spudtacular Adventure

My Four Week Spudtacular Adventure | cookeatbehealthy.com

In the interest of full transparency, I have a confession to make.  I’ve fallen off the wellness wagon!  Not only have I fallen off, but the horses spooked and ran away with the wagon trailing behind!  So, basically I’m saying I’ve lost control of my eating…again…๐Ÿ˜ข  It’s so frustrating as this is a pattern that has repeated over and over again my entire life.  I have some success at diets with resulting weight loss, only to be distracted or derailed by my old eating habits.  I’ve spent countless hours thinking about what my root problem is, and why I have such an incredibly difficult time committing and following through with a healthy living lifestyle.  What I finally realized is that I’m a food and sugar addict!

Hello.  My name is Lisa, and I’m addicted to food.

23 years ago I quit smoking – cold turkey!  I was newly married and I knew we’d be wanting to have a baby so I had a pretty appealing carrot dangling in front of me!  And while quitting smoking was hard, and I felt horrible the first couple weeks, it was NOTHING compared to the struggles I have with my diet.  And you know why that is?!? It has only taken me 30 years to figure this out, but it’s because when I quit smoking I could resolve to never ever have another cigarette.  Recovering alcoholics and former drug addicts can resolve to never have another drink or take another drug.  I know that’s an over-simplification, because we all know there’s much more to ending addiction than just never smoking, drinking, or shooting up again!  However, with a food addiction that’s not even an option.  If I never eat again, I will die.  Pretty strong deterrent to that particular method of weight loss!

Flash back to last week after I made my astounding self-realization that I was a food addict…I stumbled upon something on the interwebz that caught my eye…a moment so serendipitous that I could not ignore it.  I read about a gentleman from Australia named Andrew Taylor, who ate nothing but potatoes for an entire year and not only lost 117 lbs., but also improved his health by lowering his cholesterol, his blood pressure, his triglycerides, and his blood sugar.  He also experienced a reduction of inflammation and pain in his joints.  As I was reading his story I was drawn to a line about how he realized he was a food addict, and that while he obviously couldn’t stop eating all together, he could certainly simplify his life by eating only ONE food – and that food was potatoes!  Brilliant, right?!? I was intrigued, so I bought his book, “The DIY Spud Fit Challenge”, and read it in about an hour.  

After reading Andrew’s book, and feeling so inspired and actually hopeful for the first time, I found another resource in a book called “The Potato Hack: Weight Loss Simplified”, by Tim Steele.  This book took me all afternoon to read, and it’s much more detailed as far as the scientific reasons why a potato diet can be an effective, and most importantly, healthy method of weight loss!  Suffice it to say, after reading both these books, and many anecdotal testimonies as to the diet’s effectiveness,  I’m ready to jump in with both feet and see if I can make this whole ‘potato hack’ thing work for me!

My Four Week Spudtacular Adventure | cookeatbehealthy.com

I think it’s amazing that Andrew ate nothing but potatoes for an entire year!  But realistically – I’m not even going to try that!  I know myself well enough to know that I’d probably never manage a year on strictly potaoes!  Tim’s book actually has several different hacks or ways to approach a potatoes only diet, but what they both have in common is this: a potatoes only diet means only eat potatoes!  No oils of any kind, no dairy – this means no cheese or sour cream on that baked potato, no meat, and actually no other vegetables or fruits.  Seasonings are limited to a tiny bit of salt and perhaps some dried herbs. I recommend that before you start any kind of a diet such as this that you read both the books I linked to above – and nope…not being compensated in any manner…just endorsing them for their knowledge and experience in regard to this particular diet hack.  Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say you should check with your doctor before beginning any diet of this kind – especially if you intend to maintain a potatoes only diet for an extended period of time!

After thinking long and hard about my lifestyle, my level of commitment, and my personal issues with food, I’ve come up with a plan for the next 4 weeks – a modified, personally suited ‘Potato Hack’ that I’m determined to follow through with.  I’m going to post weekly about what I’ve eaten, and how much weight I’m losing, as well as my mental and emotional health during this time!  I’ve set some goals for myself which include losing 10 pounds or more by the end of 4 weeks, reset my metabolism, and most importantly for me, to kick my sugar habit again!  I’m also hopeful that my overall health will improve, resulting in a significant reduction in inflammation!  That will enable me to amp up my exercise routine again to include a minimum of 30 minutes on the elliptical or a brisk 30 minute walk at least 5 days per week.

My Four Week Spudtacular Adventure | cookeatbehealthy.com

At this point, I know you’re probably thinking I’m totally nuts – and that’s ok with me!  And in case you’re wondering how a diet consisting solely of potatoes can be healthy, let me share some nutritional data with you before I outline my plan for the next 4 weeks.  The World Health Organization recommends that we get at least 5% of our calories from protein, and 6-8% of the calories in potatoes comes from protein. Potatoes are rich in iron, calcium, Vitamin C, and fiber.  Potatoes also contain a good balance of omega fats in healthy amounts, and they contain zero saturated fats which make them extremely heart healthy!

As for my modified Potato Hack Diet, I have it planned out as such:

Days 1-3 ~ Potatoes and potatoes, and then some more potatoes…but nothing else other than a teensy bit of salt and pepper.  Beverages to include unlimited water, black coffee, and unsweetened tea throughout the next 28 days.

Days 4-14 ~ Potatoes and only potatoes for breakfast and lunch.  For dinner I’m planning to dress my potatoes with onions, mushrooms, peppers, and tomatoes in any combination that appeals to me.  At this point, I’ll be adding more dried herbs and seasonings, as well as vinegar and lemon juice to flavor my potatoes.  I will also be making a gravy with organic chicken, beef, or vegetable stock and potato starch.  I’ll pass along that recipe on social media and in my next post.

Days 15-28 ~ All meals to include potatoes with onions, mushrooms, peppers, and tomatoes, and gravy made from stock and potato starch as desired.  I’m also going to add in Sweet Potatoes at this time.  I realize they are a completely different food, but in the interest of maintaining enough variety to make this Potato Hack doable, I feel like it’s a good compromise.  ๐Ÿ‘

After 28 days I’ll re-evaluate progress I’ve made and the struggles I’m sure to encounter to see what worked and what didn’t.  But I’m so confident and pumped up about this Spudtacular Adventure that I know it’s going to be a positive experience for me!  Hopefully after this 4 weeks I’ll be able to judge better how often to include a Potato Hack in my regular (healthy) diet!  At this point, I’m thinking at least one day per week of only potatoes, and perhaps one or two days of the Days 15-28 protocol!

Am I crazy?!? Oh for sure!!!  But for trying this Spudtacular Adventure for 28 days…not so much! ๐Ÿ˜‰  If anyone has tried a Potato Hack, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!  If you’re interested in trying it with me – also please comment and send me an email or Facebook message so we can connect one to one…we can do thisโ€ฆbut it never hurts to have a friend along for the adventure! ๐Ÿ˜€

My Four Week Spudtacular Adventure | cookeatbehealthy.com