The Daily Spud

...there's both eatin' and drinkin' in it

Category: Health (page 1 of 5)

Spud Sunday: Super Mash

I do tire of spud-bashing.

In the healthy eating context, I mean.

All too often, potatoes end up on the wrong side of the whats-good-for-you conversation, as things that we need to eat less of, or seek alternatives to. They are, perhaps, the victims of the extreme success with which they marry with butter and cheese and a great many other fats. From Joel Rubuchon’s legendary butter-laden potato purée to your everyday bag of crisps, it seems that spuds provide a highly accessible parking spot for additional calories.

But potatoes themselves are not the source of this excess and – as I may have mentioned once or twice before – they make for quite a tidy nutritional package. What’s more, they can play just as well with card-carrying super foods – unregulated as that term may be – as with those apparently fiendish fats (though the fact is that our bodies need a certain amount of those too).

To prove my point, I made some mash. And not just any old mash but one that is probably about as far away as you could get from Joel Rubuchon’s all-butter version (though it does not shun butter entirely). It’s a recipe inspired both by Extreme GreensSally McKenna’s wonderful guide to making the most of mineral-rich seaweed, and a book that I have been delving into a lot over the past few months – and by a presentation which Dorcas Barry made at the Savour Kilkenny Foodcamp last month on eating to stay young. That talk featured much that was raw and green and vibrant, just like this mash.

Kale & Dillisk Mash

Kale & dillisk mash

Continue reading

Spud Sunday: Swedish Spuds

“I’m a Swede, I never buy potatoes in Ireland.”

So ran the subject line of an email I received a while back from a Swedish reader who was clearly very exercised by the all-too-frequent sight in of potatoes lying exposed to daylight in Irish shops. “Spuds should be kept in darkness,” he protested, “they develop poisonous solanine in daylight” and he was emphatic about not being prepared to buy potatoes thusly displayed at any price.

And my Scandinavian correspondent, I have to say, had a point.

Golden Wonders

And lo, exhibit A: Golden Wonders on display

Continue reading

Spud Sunday: In Defence Of The Spud

It has come to my attention that there has been a bit of potato-bashing going on.

The latest wave of anti-spuddism arises from a study carried out by Harvard researchers into the dietary habits of around 120,000 health professionals from around the U.S. over a period of 12+ years and published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The aspect of the research which has gained most attention is the finger of blame that is pointed towards potato products when it comes to potential for weight gain. On the basis of increased daily servings, the study finds that people who were in the habit of eating French fries gained, on average, 3.35 lb after four years, while those with a predilection for potato chips (or crisps, in Irish-speak) averaged a 1.69 lb increase. If your extra helpings came in the form of boiled, baked, or mashed potatoes, the increase was a more modest 0.57 lb over the four year period.

Cue articles, such as this one, which tell you the frightening amounts of calories, fats and carbs in your average spud meal and warn that “potatoes are calorie dense, very calorie dense“. Clearly, the article implies, when it comes to spuds and my waistline, I should be afraid, very afraid. The premise and the conclusion are simplistic, to say the least. While potatoes are certainly calorie dense if you douse them in fat, a plain boiled potato (as I have mentioned on these pages before) actually has less calories than the equivalent weight of plain boiled rice, pasta or bread. Nutritionally, too, it has plenty to shout about.

New potato

These, my friends, are not the problem

Other quotes such as this found here are also, I think, unhelpful.

The problem, said study co-author Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, is that “we don’t eat potatoes raw, so it’s easier [for the body] to transform the starch to glucose.”

Continue reading

Older posts

© 2008 - 2015 Aoife Cox / The Daily Spud. All rights reserved.

Hemingway ThemeUp ↑