Potato hack - resetting the body, a short fast (5 days)
I am on day 3 of the "potato hack" diet. Really it is a body reset. So far I have lost almost 4 pounds and 2% body fat. I can't remember if I had mentioned I would be focusing on my health more, but I am really trying.
What is the potato diet or hack?
It's really simple! I am eating plain potatoes - no butter, salt, oil, nuthin' - for 5 days in an effort to reset my gut flora and kick start my metabolism. Potatoes are high in resistant starch, filling, and are very nutritious and it is very possible to use them exclusively short term (some would say longer but I dunno...) fasting or as a main source of food.
That last part is up for debate and you can do your own research like I did but I felt pretty OK about doing it for 5 days. And I needed to do something, which I'll explain in a bit.
Didn't Matt Damon's Character Eat Potatoes grown in his Own Poo?!
Initially I got the idea from my friend trying it and he lost weight when he did it for 5 days. He read a book called "Presto!" by famous magician and comedian Penn Jillette. My friend says it's not really a "diet book" but more of a narrative from Penn on what he went through written in his humorous style.
Penn ate plain potatoes exclusively for a while - 2 weeks. I'm just on day 3 and no way I could do it 2 weeks! But to be fair most of the material I have read on the internet and the Potato Hack book suggests 3-5 days for the potato hack so Penn was doing a longer version than what most people do. I thought, hey, I can do that.
My friend also told me about Kevin Smith, the movie director of Clerks, also having done the potato diet (https://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/a19562004/kevin-smith-potato-diet/) and I went and watched a video interview with him talking about it and his connection with Penn.
It's interesting in the Smith article there is a LOT of resistance to this diet from medical professionals and nutritionists. I think there's some context missing here in that...
the potato hack is a temporary fast - a reset - and not really a "diet" for long term and people need to understand that
Of course being the geek that I am I recalled the Matt Damon movie The Martian where the astronaut lived off of potatoes for however many years while waiting to be rescued. Great movie by the way, you should watch it!
I won't lie - it's super boring and bland.
But I'm not hungry.
Day 1 - Japanese sweet potatoes, which I am unsure if they are "ok."
I've read conflicting things, but anyhow it seems to work out fine.
They certainly are yummier than russets.
Day 2, just standard russets
My super complex (not) Method
My method is to scrub/clean, poke holes with fork, microwave on the baked potato setting. Let cool on the counter then put them in a zip lock and let them fully cool overnight. Eat next day.
I've also had some baby/new potatoes that were especially good. I boiled those then cooled and bagged in the fridge.
I've read somewhere that something about temperature can affect the starch and glycemic bit of potatoes and that they should be cooled before eating overnight in fridge. I can't remember where I read this but since I am making them ahead of time anyway and putting them in the fridge it's not hard to remember. I'm eating them cold, too.
Day 1 I did have sweet potatoes which The Potato Hack book below says not to have. But later on in his book the author does say sweet potatoes can be used as a variation. There's just not a clear answer on this because the reality is people will receive the sweet potato in their hack differently anyway because we're all different.
The Books I Have on Hand
I haven't read the Penn book myself but found the concept interesting so I bought a different book "The Potato Hack: Weight Loss Simplified" (2016) by Tim Steele. Oh I like things with "simple" in the titles!
This book is great. The guy is not trying to sell anything: no supplements, no "program," no app, nothing but just explaining how potatoes work. He even includes a History of potatoes as an appendix which actually sounds pretty convincing to me as it's properly researched and cited.
My friend also bought me "Reversing Diabetes" (2006) by Neal Barnard.
So the Reversing Diabetes book sat on my shelf for a while. I would thumb through it but was really intimidated by the big thing in it that isn't really mentioned on the cover - it's a vegan diet.
Dun dun dunnn.... Oh hell no I'm not Going VEGAN!
This was my first thought. I bet a lot of people think that, too. In my mind is some image of tasteless food in weird packages in the dark corner of the grocery store covered in dust, tasting like dust.
The Standard American Diet (SAD) is so awful with preservatives, trans fats, sugar... oh lord, the sugar! And this is what is killing me. I need to think differently. I need to open my mind and change.
Change sometimes hurts. I mean seriously, the physical re-wiring of receptors in the brain can actually hurt. It's called withdraw. Sugar is the worst!
But woa Antimetica look out it's 2018! haha
There's A LOT of packaged vegan food that's pretty darn good these days. And I say packaged because I'm like the antithesis of a domestic goddess and I don't think of myself as a good cook. But maybe I just need to re-think "how I am" and more "how I want to be."
Thankfully, Barnard's book is simple, too. There's just 3 rules:
1 - Set aside animal products
2 - Keep vegetable oils to a minimum
3 - Favor foods with a low glycemic index
But about those packaged vegan foods, while shopping I do notice some have more sugar or fat that I should be having at this stage so I'm really taking time to think about it and be mindful.
I'm not writing this to convince you even though my tone may sound like that. I truly feel people are all different with how their body works. Some people do better with different methods of eating. In the end I just want to feel better and I think most people do what they think works for them.
I'm writing this so I can go back and refer to it as a kind of log of how I was feeling at the time and what I did.
My reason for trying this is:
I Feel Like Crap
I have nothing to lose by trying this way of eating for a little while. No one died from eating vegetables and plant protein and cutting out dairy and sugar. It won't hurt to try.
I have type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. I shouldn't have these problems at my age. I want my body to feel better -- to function better.
There is a video by a YouTuber Elise Buch I like where she talks about 7 things she does to improve her body confidence and she says "focus on more how on your body functions and not how it looks."
It's #6 on her list, the video link starts at that point. She's really delightful by the way I hope you like her as much as I do!
My body is not currently functioning well and I want to take steps to improve it.
But what about Paleo? Isn't that better for Diabetics?
Maybe. It's probably a good way to go. I just came to the conclusion after eating potatoes that I'm not hungry. Which is a big deal when cutting out fat and calories and trying to lose weight (being fat and eating crap is why I have type 2 diabetes).
Any time I've tried to do low-carb I'm always starving. And here I am eating just potatoes and not hungry. If I can keep that up after this 5 day period of potatoes and switching to vegan after by just eating vegetables and plant protein and feel satisfied that is what I think will work for me longer term.
I think the hardest is going to be missing cheese. I love cheese so much!
Have you ever been on a vegan diet? Any tips for me?
Photos by antimetica
YouTube video by Elise Buch https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo-psEsf5UK4dfEf6EzZebg
Find me on Twitter if you want to stay in touch https://twitter.com/antimetica
Thank you so much for reading!