It always feels like Christmas when I encourage clients to go for the full-fat Greek yogurt or to mash up an avocado into guacamole as a healthy snack. And explain why yes, honey is fine.
“But those foods are so rich,” they often say, reminding me how many deep emotional grooves need to be worked through before most people can trust that healthy food and deep satisfaction aren’t mutually exclusive.
In Truce with Food right now, our physiological focus is on gut health. Our recent lesson was on prebiotics and the delicious reality that white potatoes, after being cooked and cooled, contain prebiotics. Prebiotics are food for the roughly 3.3 pounds of bacteria in your gut that influence how well you absorb what you eat, maintain your weight and support your moods and immunity.
Cooling of the potatoes creates resistant starch. Your body can’t digest resistant starch, so it ends up in the colon, where your good gut bacteria – more pleasantly branded as probiotics – feast.
During the lesson, a client asked me to clarify. She said, “you mean white potatoes? Not sweet potatoes?”
Yes. White potatoes have a place in your diet.
Here’s a recipe we’ve been eating recently that tastes great to you and the bacteria working hard for you. This recipe was slightly modified from Flavors of Summer: Simply Delicious Food to Enjoy on Warm Days, by Ryland Peters & Small. It would be a welcome contribution to any summer party. But maybe leave out the bacteria talk :)
“Prebiotic” Potato Salad
- 2 1⁄4 pounds of organic small, white (unpeeled) potatoes
- Water, for boiling
- Sea salt
- 6 Tablespoons of grass-fed unsalted butter, at a warm room temperature
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Zest of 1.5 lemons
- 1 small handful flat leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
- About 20 chive stems, coarsely chopped
- Olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Thoroughly clean the potatoes with baking soda. Place them in a pot. Cover the potatoes with several inches of water and add a hearty pinch of salt; bring them to a boil over medium-high heat.
Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the potatoes can be pierced with a sharp knife. While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the butter, garlic, and lemon juice in a small bowl.
Drain the potatoes. Quickly cut them into quarters, transferring them to a mixing bowl as you work. We used an apple slicer to cut the potatoes easily.
Immediately add the butter mixture to the bowl; gently toss the potatoes until they are evenly coated. Let them cool.
Sprinkle the lemon zest, parsley and chives evenly over the coated potatoes. Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes if they taste a bit dry (depending upon the size of your potatoes, you might need a little more oomph).
Season lightly with salt and pepper. Chill overnight or for a couple hours. Serve at room temperature. Makes 6 servings.
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