At some point in my adult life, as I followed one diet fad after another, I accepted the belief that potatoes were bad for me. They have been blamed for all kinds of health disorders, from inflammation to diabetes to cancer. I’ve read that they are a nightshade plant and not good for consumption. And the potato gets classified as a “white” food, placing it in the group of such foods as white rice, sugar, white bread and dairy products. I learned you aren’t supposed to eat foods in that group, as they don’t have nutritional value.

I am so grateful to discover that potatoes are in fact a very nutritious food and that they have many healing benefits.

In Life Changing Foods, Anthony William writes that it’s not potatoes that are unhealthy. It is the oil they are often fried in or the cheese, butter and cream loaded onto them that causes health problems.

The entire potato is edible, with the skin being very high in nutrients. Because they develop underground, potatoes draw trace minerals from the earth. They are high in potassium, B6 and amino acids…in particular Lysine in its bioactive form. Lysine fights against cancers, viruses such as Epstein-Barr and shingles, liver disease and inflammation.

Potatoes strengthen the kidneys and liver, soothe over excited nerves and help the digestive system to heal from Crohn’s, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers. They are antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial, relieving stress, supporting the brain and helping us to feel centered and grounded.

When I switched to a plant based lifestyle, potatoes became a staple of my diet. I quickly learned that I could top a plain baked potato with other veggies, such as black eyed peas, green beans, sliced carrots, or vegan chili, and enjoy a satisfying meal.

Eating out in restaurants became easier, as I could request a plain potato and a simple veggie on the side. People used to look at my plate and ask, “Is that all you are going to eat?” However, it was wonderful to me to dine on a potato.

I include potatoes with my lunch or dinner several times a week. Cubed they add nutritional value to brown rice and lentils, form the base for plant based Indian recipes and pair well with legumes. I appreciate adding a plain baked potato to a Buddha bowl. I still love to pile other veggies on top of them and season with sea salt and pepper.

In fact, dinner tonight was a baked potato, combined with brown rice and black eyed peas. What a homey, delicious meal. And it was good for my health!

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