An apple a day is said to keep the doctor away, so what about a potato? Anything to keep a doctor away in a recession has to be a good thing, right? They are high in proteins, vitamins A and B, potash, soda, and alkaline salts, and our ancestors lived on them for years. But do they give you enough vitamins by themself? Well in a word – yes. If they are cooked right.
As a woman growing up it was all about ‘cutting the carbs’ but contrary to popular belief the potato diet has been linked to celebrities such as Julia Roberts, staying healthy and losing weight at the same time. The potato diet sounded like the most exiting alternative to salad I’d ever heard. So just how easy is it to survive on a diet of potatoes and milk?
‘A potato diet’ I boasted to my friends and family. ‘Yeah thats what I thought, easy-peasy…Yeah all the potatoes I want… I know, it does sound fattening doesn’t it…’ At eleven stone and 24 years old, I had never been this old or fat in my life. And according to the Body Mass Index, at 5 foot 8, I am right on that line – the scary one in between light yellow ‘ok’ and dark yellow ‘overweight’. Drastic action needed to be taken so that I could fit snugly into my jeans again. The pototo diet, I thought, would get me started.
My mother decided to do the diet with me ‘for moral support’. Which just shows that losing pounds to any woman is like a carrot to a donkey.
The first day was brilliant. In the potato diet you have a lot of liberty with how many potatoes you are allowed to eat. For breakfast I had two potato waffles with salt and a glass of milk. I laughed to myself, smugly. Ha! This is no diet! I feel great!
By lunch time. I was ready for my fix again. One waffle, lots of mashed potato with a small bit of butter and salt to taste and another glass of milk. You are under strict instructions not to cook them in an aluminum pot – that is the only rule, as this can deplete the nutrients. I was so full I had to leave some of the mash for later. At 4pm I had a bit more mash and some water. I started to feel a bit suspicious about all this eating.
That’s when I got my first craving. I found because you can eat nothing else you start to crave everything.
If it used to be alive – I wanted it.
For dinner I had five small hash browns (about the size of a chicken nuggets) and three potato cakes done in the oven (mixed with herbs and a bit of salt and butter) and one glass of milk. They did not dull the cravings at all.
I saw my mum making her mash. She was cheating by mixing in shredded roast beef left over from Sunday dinner. Whatever helps her sleep at night, I thought. I felt very fat and bloated not at all as good as I would have on my normal diet.
I woke up feeling groggy, lethargic and terrible. I could not get out of bed and my mouth tasted like a dead badger. I decided to have no breakfast but bring my hash browns in to the office with me in a tupperware. On the way I passed a shop. I could see the nutrigrain bars eyeing me from the stand, staring at me, willing me to buy one. Instead I resisted.
At the office every so often I ate a hash brown, which kept me going. At lunch however I was starving. This is when it got weird. I went out for lunch but felt extremely light headed and ill. I spent about half an hour looking for somewhere to buy a baked potato. How hard is it to have a baked potato in Dublin city? I thought, only half alert. I felt like I was in a weird dream and my brain was working very slowly. It is very difficult to find a baked potato near O’ Connell street apparently. You’ll see every foreign cuisine in the land. You can get Mexican, Chinese, Polish, Indian and Italian – but potatoes? Not a sight of them. Eventually I found a small cafe which served them. I cheated a little and had cheese on it, but it barely managed to cheer me up. I was offically SICK of potatoes now and had only been a day and a half. I thought I may have some vodka if this continued. As Vodka is made of potatoes.
Potato, Potato. If you say it in a new york accent you can hear the difference – but I can no longer taste the difference. Potatoes any way you like them – boiled, mashed, in their skins, roasted, naked or doing the hokey-cokey – they might be filling, but they can be incredibly dull. You have to stay away from fried too. The morning is always fine. Waffles for breakfast are yummy. It’s lunch time that really gets me. I need fish. I just want sushi back on the menu. I would swap my liver for a piece of chocolate or even some fruit, or even, incidentally, some liver. I give in later on and have half a grapefruit. The sweet, sweet taste is better then chocolate. I have two baked potatoes for dinner with butter cheese and salt. I feel satiated and quite good now, perhaps my body is getting used to the famine situation.
I wake up feeling very good today and notice my belly has gone down. I weigh myself and have only lost a pound but I feel very slim and get a few comments today about looking slimmer. I am still glad it is the last day of the diet however, and think healthy eating is a lot easier with variety. I realise how I took things in my life for granted like lovely fish, which I will now go back to eating almost every day, and vegetables. I think I will keep to eating potato waffles for breakfast but keep to a low protein diet in the evening such as fish and chicken with veg and a small bit of mash. As they say, everything in moderation. Now where’s my peeler?