Whenever we eat out for dinner and I get a side-dish with my entree, I always order the baked potato (love ‘em!). The last time was just a few weeks ago, and it got me thinking: Why don’t I make these at home? I mean, it’s not rocket science to bake a potato; all you need is oil, salt, aluminum foil and, of course, potatoes. After thinking about it, I determined that the hold-up is TIME. But in reality, it doesn’t take that long to bake a potato, if you plan ahead. So, I did, and they were just like the baked potatoes I’d get from a restaurant. In fact, my daughter, who had previously turned her nose at them…adored them!

Now, before you pooh-pooh me, the baked potato (and potatoes in general) have been much maligned by dieters and nay-sayers alike, so before I get to the meat and potatoes (pun intended) of this post, let me tell you this much: The French word for “potato” is, “pomme de terre,” which translated, means, “apple of the Earth.” APPLE OF THE EARTH. I think that’s beautiful; so beautiful, in fact, that I never forgot it in the almost 30 years since I’ve had a French class. The French get it…why don’t we? I can also tell you that:

— A potato contains more potassium than a banana.
— They’re easy to digest (so, if you’re having tummy issues, mashed potatoes are a good choice).
— They contain ALL 22 AMINO ACIDS to form complete proteins– this helps our bodies with meat and dairy protein absorption.
— They’re rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, folic acid, quercetin, kukoamines, essential minerals AND antioxidants.
— Potatoes come in almost 600 different varieties.
— They’re also a good source of fiber if you eat the skin.

Among the most interesting information I garnered from researching the potato is the story of a man who went on a “potato diet” to protest the raw deal that potatoes get. This man, Chris Voigt, ate 20 potatoes per day for 60 days. He used oil and seasonings on the potatoes, but that was it, no other kind of toppings. Are you ready for this? His pre-potato diet bloodwork indicated:

Beginning weight: 197
Beginning blood glucose: 104
Beginning cholesterol: 214
Beginning triglycerides: 135

AFTER 60 days of eating nothing but potatoes, here were the results of his bloodwork:

60 day weight: 176
60 day blood glucose: 94
60 day cholesterol: 147
60 day triglycerides: 75

So, he LOST weight, and his blood sugar went DOWN, as did his cholesterol and triglycerides. Also, after 60 days, his ending blood pressure was 112/70. Click Here to see his website, if you want to read more about his story. Click Here to read an interview conducted with him through the Whole Health Source blog.

It’s interesting to note that the potato is a member of the “nightshade” family, which includes tomatoes and peppers. The potato is actually a “tuber” of this plant, which DOES produce a tomato-like fruit, but the fruit is inedible; in fact, the whole plant is pretty much poisonous (even potatoes are poisonous if they’re green, so don’t eat the green ones). But how funny is it that the edible part of the plant is UNDERGROUND?

I guess that the reason potatoes have gotten a bad rap is due to the number of “toppings” people are known to drown them in; ANYTHING to which you add greasy bacon, a couple of dollops of sour cream, butter AND cheese is going to lose it’s nutritional benefit and rack up the calories very quickly. So, cut down on the toppings and enjoy this wonderful (and inexpensive) gift from Mother Nature without worrying about your waistline.

Now, for the recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Choose potatoes that aren’t bruised with the smoothest skin possible, then thoroughly clean them with a new toothbrush or a veggie brush.
3. Dry the potatoes, then poke holes in the skin with a fork or a steak knife (this allows air to escape so they don’t explode during baking)
4. Rub the potatoes with a thin coat of olive oil, then rub them with coarse sea salt or Kosher salt.
5. Individually wrap each potato in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Amount of cook time depends upon size (60-70 minutes for large potatoes; 45-55 minutes for medium).


3 Responses to “Baked Potatoes — The Other, Other, Other White Meat”

  1. Mary Says:

    What a great article! I love potatoes and will now feel no guilt about eating them, but doubt I can eat 20 a DAY!

  2. CEB Says:

    You’re not alone! In the interview, Mr. Voight says that he had a hard time of meeting his calorie goal because of how filling the potatoes are — of the weight he lost, 12 pounds of it was in the first three weeks because he was always so full from eating the potatoes.

  3. Lulu Says:

    Baked sweet potatoes are yummy too!!

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