Many people associate potatoes as being bad for their figures or simply as an unhealthy option. Truthfully, it is everything that we tend to put on or eat potatoes with that is bad! Mayonnaise, Butter, Cream, Cheese, Sour Cream, Steak, Tons of Salt, Bacon and Bacon bits, and Canola Oil and the foods we should really be eliminating. Fact: Potatoes are tubers; they grow underground off the root after the plant has grown and flowered. They are rich in nutrients such as vitamin C, B vitamins (esp. folic acid, thiamin, niacin, and pantothenic acid), potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, and zinc. Their fat content is barely existent, and they are approximately 2/3 starch and 10% protein. Potatoes can be baked, roasted, steamed, boiled, sauteed or turned into soups and when enjoyed without their usual fattening suspects can be part of a healthy diet.
I have heard some people who are trying to lose weight say “Oh I can’t have nuts, their way too fattening” yet their think eating red meat and dairy products is helping them and that is simply ignorance. Nuts are rich in plant protein and unsaturated fats, and when eaten raw, and unsalted they are low in sodium, provide a mix of the B vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and other trace minerals. Raw nuts should also be stored in the refrigerator to ensure freshness. Nuts are best eaten in small portions (handful) as a snack to ward off cravings for things such a chocolate, or soaked and made into easily digested nut milk! Nuts also make a great apres-workout snack to replenish your muscles. Again, rather than blaming nuts for being fat, try reducing your consumption of animal fats.
Dates, Bananas, and other Tropical Fruits:
Since when did anyone think that a piece of sweet, delicious fruit was bad for your figure? Cause they’re not! Now of course you should ensure you have a varied diet and not eat the same foods all year round everyday, but sweet fruits can be a part of any healthy diet. Fruits contain a diverse amount of nutrients individually, and they also contain lots of healthy fibre. The fibre in fruit slows down the digestion of its natural sugars so that they don’t spike our blood sugar levels like refined cane sugar would. Fruits also have many other good qualities, Dates for instance are surprisingly concentrated in iron, and also boast good quantities of niacin, pantothenic acid, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Bananas not only make a great pre-workout/activity snack with their pure carbohydrate content, they also provide potassium, magnesium, selenium, iron, and other vitamins and minerals. Instead of worrying about how much sugar is in an innocent piece of fruit, try to avoid any food that contains refined cane sugar or corn syrup, two of the biggest blood sugar disruptors.
A whole rant could be done on the misinformation out there about grains, but I’ll keep this short. Whole grains are a good source of complex carbohydrates which provide us with sustained energy for our busy lives. They are rich sources of fibre, B vitamins, vitamin E, and many minerals. Now lets keep in mind wheat is not the only grain out there, and if something is gluten free it is not necessarily healthy. Healthy wholegrains include brown rice, quinoa, oats, barley, buckwheat and corn. These are healthiest in their unprocessed, organic form. With the exception of quinoa which is already a complete protein, whole grains can be eaten in conjunction with legumes in our diet to provide all the necessary amino acids for a healthy body. Instead of avoiding grains all together and doing the whole “caveman” diet simply avoid refined processed grain products like white bread, packaged cookies, white rice and crackers.
Haas, E.M. & Levin, B. (2006). Staying Healthy with Nutrition. NY: Ten Speed Press