Potato Questions and Answers

How do you spell potato anyway? Does it have an ‘e’ on the end?

Potato does NOT have an ‘e’ on the end except in the plural as in potatoes!

What is the potato doing for my neurochemistry?
The potato creates an insulin response which has an effect on the movement of the amino acid tryptophan from your blood into your brain.

Please explain what this whole serotonin/tryptophan/potato connection is, in layman terms please.

Your body uses tryptophan to make serotonin. Serotonin is the brain chemical that makes you feel mellow and happy. It also helps you to ‘just say no’ by putting the brakes on your impulsivity.

Tryptophan is a kind of amino acid, which comes from protein. When you eat protein foods (meats, cheese, eggs, birds, etc.), it is broken down into amino acids. They go into your blood stream and try to get into the brain as “brain food”. Tryptophan is a little runty amino acid. The other amino acids compete with him and won’t let him get across into the brain.

When you eat a food that causes an insulin reaction, the insulin goes and gets the ‘big’ aminos and takes them to the muscles to be used as muscle food. The muscles don’t really care about the runt so he stays behind. When he is left behind after the big guys go to the muscles, he hops into the brain and sacrifices himself to the serotonin factory. And your serotonin levels rise.
So we want you to eat protein and then 3 hours later have something to raise your insulin level. A potato seems like a better alternative than a candy bar.

If you eat a bigger potato will you get more serotonin? If you eat lots of protein AND the big potato will you get even more? Is there a limit to this? If one is good, two must be better!!!)

If you have had good protein at dinner three hours earlier, it is likely that a BIG potato will stoke you more. However seeking a bigger hit is not the aim of the potato task. Bigger protein amounts and larger potatoes are not the goal. A ‘hit’ of serotonin that is too much may cause you nightmares, and give you a hangover. This is definitely not a ‘more is better thing’. You’re just after a good night’s sleep and a gentle rise of your overall serotonin level.

Why do I have weird dreams since I started eating the potato?

The potato is actually increasing your serotonin levels. Serotonin levels are directly related to REM sleep and dreaming. These changes in dreams mean spud is working.

Can I eat a raw potato instead of cooked?

No, raw potatoes do not give you the effect we are looking for. Raw potatoes are pretty indigestible and have little nutritional value. Cook those Spuds!

The potato seems to give me a headache. Why?

You might need to decrease the amount. Too much serotonin can cause a headache. This may be a clue that your ‘dose’ is not right.

Are there any other ways I can increase serotonin by using food and/or timing?

Once you understand the principles of the protein/carb timing, you can work out a plan that best suits you. Read the science chapter of Potatoes Not Prozac over and over until you start to really make sense of what we are doing here.

The Timing Of Your Potato

I’m uncertain about when to apply the potato at bedtime since I’m doing the three meals a day plan

It really should be three meals AND a baked potato three hours after dinner and before you go to bed.

Should I wait 3 hours from the beginning of supper to eat the potato or 3 hours from the end of supper?

It kind of depends on how long your meal is. The ideal interval for the potato effect is three hours after having protein. Use your own judgment.

I rarely have 3 hours between dinner and the potato. It’s more like 1 – 1.5 hours. Am I wasting my time? (Even at that rate, it still acts like a stimulant and I have trouble falling asleep, and sometimes I feel worse the next day.) If so, should I do the potato/slow carb 3 hours after lunch instead?

You are either eating really late, or going to bed really early. Something is out of sync. Come to the community forum and help us sort out with you how you can create a plan that works for you.

When I’m at work, I have a ‘tea’ (dinner in UK) break at about 5pm, but my shift doesn’t end until eleven, and then I need to unwind for an hour or so before I sleep. If I eat the potato at about 8pm, will I feel mellow and sleepy? (NOT a good idea on a psychiatric ward!) Or will I just work through the effects, so it’s not as useful?If I wait until I get home, is it too late to be effective?

I gather you are working the 3-11 shift on a psychiatric ward. Eat dinner and have the potato 3 hours later. You can take spud in a baggie. The ‘sleep’ effect doesn’t seem to kick into later on when your are in REM dreaming (about 3 am). You will simply feel more relaxed and focused in dealing with crisis. Spud is not a drug; he’s a food! Just relax and make sure you have dinner.

I work/sleep a crazy schedule. Please give me advice/guidance/rules on how to work the potato in.

I can’t really help you sort this out. The practice of figuring out what is right for you is part of your own healing. Sometimes, sugar-sensitive people work and sleep in crazy schedules because they are so out of balance. As they do the food plan, things start to shift. They start actually planning on the fact that they need to stop and eat dinner. Or they realize that staying up until 3 AM to study is crazy. These changes are not psychological, but come with the change in brain chemistry.

Work to get three meals with protein at regular intervals. Do the best you can. Come to the forum and ask for help with this. Take a spud in a baggie with you and eat it even if you are on the run or are eating it at your computer. Things will get better.

Can I eat potatoes with meals as well?
Of course. They are a good ‘brown’ alternative. Just make sure to have the skin with them.

Do I still have to keep eating the potato after all these months?

YEP. You don’t ‘have’ to keep eating the potato forever and ever…you ‘get’ to. It offers you benefits you would be foolish to give up. We’re talking about not only balancing your brain chemistry, but also keeping it balanced. What a concept!!
Your sugar-sensitive biochemistry isn’t going to go away. We want to balance it and hold it steady. Spud helps. Don’t discard spud.

What if I can’t eat the spud exactly at 3 hours–is it ok to eat it one or two hours before or after the three-hour time frame?

The three hour interval is not absolute, simply ideal. Do the best you can.

If I don’t notice any differences in my mood, should I eat a bigger potato the next night?

Play around a bit and see what happens. The effects from food usually aren’t as dramatic as the effects from drugs. They are often more subtle and build over time. But most sugar sensitive people love to experiment. It’s harmless with the potato.

What should I do if I miss the potato?

If you mean for one night – don’t worry about it. If you start forgetting a lot, figure out what you can do to remind yourself. It is an important part of the plan.

Does It Have To Be A Potato

Does the “potato” have to be a potato? As a college student, let’s say it’s not convenient to have potatoes in my dorm room and finding ways to cook them.

The potato is ideal. The potato is high in potassium which enhances it effect. This is why I called the book Potatoes Not Prozac rather than Apples Not Prozac. Potatoes are a very good comfort food. Think as spud as number one. If you simply can’t do spud, here are some good alternatives.

Baked sweet potatoes with butter, cinnamon & nutmeg
Brown rice with butter, cinnamon & nutmeg
Oatmeal
Oven-fried sweet spuds (again skinless)
Skin-on sugar-free potato salad

Remember, as with the spud – don’t have any protein with these night carbs. And if you are diabetic, don’t use the white potato, use a sweet potato or one of the alternatives in this list.

What other foods can I use instead of the spud? I am allergic to potatoes.

See the list above.

I’ve run out of names for my potatoes, any suggestions? Or am I the only one who buys a big bag every week and names them alphabetically?

Are you naming by brand or simply giving each an individual name? If you use the type as the surname, you will have more options, e.g. Rudy Russet, Robert Russet, Ellen Yukon, and Marty Yukon. This should give you plenty of options. If the bag is all one kind so they will all have the same surname, you might want to go to Amazon.com and order a naming book.

Can I use a sweet potato instead of a regular potato?

Yes you can. And if you have diabetes, the sweet potato is actually a better choice.

Don’t potatoes have a high glycemic index? Won’t they spike my blood sugar?

Yes, potatoes do evoke insulin – although with the skins it is far slower than what is reported as the glycemic index which was developed with mashed potatoes. But remember, we want a timed insulin response to get that tryptophan to go from your blood into your brain!

You really do not have to worry about the glycemic index from one potato. The skin also protects you further. It is mostly fiber, and dramatically slows down the process, which your blood sugar really appreciates. It’s been carefully orchestrated, biochemically.

If you would like to read more about the glycemic index issue, go to the glycemic index newsletter article.

Is it ok to cook 7 potatoes all at once for the whole week?

Many people have found that preparing the potato ahead makes it easier to have one there. Others simply pop a spud into the microwave each evening. Find what works for you. Do not store them for more than four days.

What kind of potato is best to eat?

Any kind of potato is fine, although a two-pound gigunda may be a little more than you can handle before bed. Choose a spud that suits you. Have fun; explore the wonderful world of potatoes.

Potatoes are classified by shape, skin color and use. Russets are good for a variety of uses, but are best for baking. Rounded or long whites can be used for either boiling or baking, and small red and specialty gourmet potatoes are ideal for boiling. “New” potatoes, small potatoes that are dug early before the skins have set, are best boiled or steamed.

How large/small a potato should I eat?

Experiment until you find what works for you. You could start with a small rose potato, for example.

How much potato should I eat in the evening?

Let your body decide. There will be many variables that will affect this choice. If you’re hungry, eat a big one. If you are a little person, have a small one. Pay attention to the effect and adjust the size to get the results you want. Most of us use a small to medium size red, Yukon Gold or Russet.

Should I leave the skin on or can I eat the potato w/o the skin?

It’s always better with the skin on since the fiber slows down the glycemic rate.

Can I eat the potato with butter, salt and pepper?

You can have anything that is not protein. Butter, salt, pepper, spice, oil, salad dressing, mustard, salsa, curry. Be creative.

Can I use mashed potatoes with butter and milk in them?

Stay away from the milk because it has protein. You can mash the potato with oat or rice milk and be fine.

Can I slice a potato into thick sliced ‘French fries’ and bake them for my evening carb?

Yes. You can bake them in a little olive oil and seasoned with Old Bay, a Mrs. Dash blend, or just salt and pepper in a toaster oven or regular oven And they are quite good. One of my favorite ways of frying is on a non-stick Pan with a little butter sliced thin and fried with thin-sliced onions and Green peppers. Heavenly!

In fact there are many, many ways to prepare Mr. Spud. You can make these fries, you can make a potato casserole and have a little each evening, you can make potato soup, and you can make potato skins. This does NOT have to be boring. Use your imagination and your cookbook. Ask your friends. Be creative.

Are the eyes of the potato toxic–should I cut them out?

Eyes are not toxic; however, sprouts are poisonous. Choose potatoes that are well-formed, smooth and firm, and without discoloration, cracks, bruises or soft spots. Avoid potatoes with green-tinted skin — ‘green’ potatoes have been exposed to light and can have a bitter taste.

Will eating potatoes be bad for arthritis? I’ve heard members of the nightshade family are bad for arthritis. If this is a problem is it better to eat a substitute?

There have been some reports that nightshade plants do make arthritis symptoms flare up. Try a small potato and see if it bothers your arthritis. If it does, you can find a good a substitute, but don’t give up on old Mr. Spud, without seeing how you do.

What if the potato is green?

Don’t eat the green part. It is a result of the potato being in the light and is considered poisonous by some. Just cut it off and eat the other part.

Where do you buy purple potatoes?

Many stores that carry organic produce have these now. They are called Peruvian purples. They seem to be more available on the East and West Coasts. But ask your store to get them. You can get wonderful potatoes from www.woodprairie.come

How did you ever discover that a potato was the key to entrance into sanity / wellness?

I am Irish. It came to me in a dream 😉

Do you know any good potato jokes?

Surely you jest?

Why should sweet potatoes be eaten with the skins OFF? (I love the skins on sweet potatoes–aren’t they good for fiber and slowing the insulin response?)

If you like the skin, eat it.

Why are sweet potatoes better for diabetics than regular potatoes? Isn’t their sweetness due to a higher sugar content? I would think this could be a trigger for most of us. Please give advice, as I’m unclear on this, and would like to eat them often.

For whatever reason, they do not create as big an insulin response in diabetics. If you are getting excited about “eating them often” they might be a trigger for you – ask your body.

Is it ok to eat a potato with dinner and then another one at night – or is this too much?

This is fine.