So I wrapped up the Potato diet on Sunday night. 42.3 pounds of potatoes over three weeks. On Monday I went for two blood tests. One was my standard self-purchased NMR and metabolic panel at LabCorp. The other was a scheduled basic lipid panel at my cardiologists office. It wasn’t a happy coincidence — I had scheduled it to coincide with the potato diet completion, as I was hoping to use the (hopefully improved) results to finally broach the subject of my experiment with the doc.

Over the past 48 hours I received two voicemail from his office to go over the lab results. Uh-oh. They never call to discuss results unless something negative is up. But what? The numbers couldn’t possibly be worse after three weeks of no-fat/no-cholesterol, could they? Did I have some wacky metabolic numbers?

Well, turns out the call was to discuss this:

LDL-C: 110 (down from the pre-potato baseline of 145, and from the last doctor labs of 161 in August 2013)
HDL-C: 28 (down from the pre-potato baseline of 50, and from the last doctor labs of 34 in August 2013)

To tell you the truth, I thought there would be a greater reduction in the LDL, even from just three weeks. Of course, the doc thinks I’ve been on Lipitor for the past six months, so he was even more concerned, since his target os an LDL-C of <100, preferably 70. As for the HDL, well, I wasn't eating any fat or cholesterol, so I would expect a reduction here as well. The NMR results should be back later this week hopefully. Also will be posting a wrap-up of the potato diet (intakes, etc) in the next day or two.

Potato Diet Update: One Week Down

Moar Potatoes

That looks about right for yesterday

I can’t believe I made it through one whole week of nothing but potatoes. Seven days of extreme veganism and all I got were these lousy peelings.

I really can’t believe I have two weeks to go.

Whatever. I can scream at the sky in a bit. Let’s get to some numbers. How about weight:

Just Another ApoE Five Diets Chart

I’d ski that slope.

I weigh myself in the morning, so the 1/7 measurement of 210.0 is the first post-full day of potatoes entry.

The big claim of this diet amongst those who are primarily using it as a weight-loss hack is ten pounds in a week. Since the primary goal of this experiment isn’t weight loss, I’ll take the six. If that rate is maintained, I’ll lose 18 in total for this phase, which would put me at my lowest weight in like 100 years, so I’ll take that too.

Here’s the calorie intake breakdown:

Just Another ApoE Five Diets Chart


All of these calories came from one of three sources:

  1. Potatoes. And more potatoes. Mostly skinned and boiled white potatoes, with the remainder being either microwaved or baked. All were eaten hot; I haven’t gone the cooling route for the resistant starch yet, mostly because by the time I get them prepped and cooked I’m too hungry to wait around for them to cool.
  2. Potato starch. Any resistant starch has come from this. I used the PS mostly to help crisp up the potatoes in lieu of any added fat. (UPDATE: Apparently, heating the potato starch turns it from a resistant starch into a rapidly-digesting starch. Which is interesting, since heating and cooling turns regular potatoes into the opposite.)
  3. Condiments. These included salt and spices, vinegar, hot sauce, some salsa, and probably too much ketchup.

My original rule was anything with zero protein/zero fat and less than 1g of carbs per tablespoon was allowed, but then I realized that the organic ketchup I was using (and all ketchups, apparently) for the first few days had 4 grams of carbs (i.e., sugar) per tablespoon, so whatever. All of the other ones besides the ketchup fit the original rule however. Going forward, I’m going to try to back off the ketchup and bring it back to basics (i.e., maybe just salt and some vinegar) which will probably increase the calorie deficit, as I was surprised to see some of the calorie counts approach the low end of the Paleo intake. I’d like to see that line get a lot flatter (for experimental consistency, which should be easiest to maintain in this phase out of all of them) and lower down on the chart (to keep the diet as the semi-fast as it’s intended to be.)

At this point it’s pretty self-evident, but for the record here is the macronutrient breakdown:

Just Another ApoE Five Diets Chart

If you told me a year ago I would be eating this many carbs I would have laughed in your waffles-and-syrup face. (however, if you told me it would be under the umbrella of a crazy experiment I had concocted and that for fifteen weeks my diet would be powered by OCD, I would have told you it made perfect sense.)

Subjective Observations

In reality, after the first few days, I didn’t need to do much screaming. The crazy visions of donuts and breakfast tacos (there were at least three of the ubiquitous posts about eating at Austin’s Torchy’s Tacos on my Facebook this week; I nearly died) subsided, and I almost came to appreciate the simplicity of it all.

If anyone wants to optimize their potato peeling efficiency, I’m available for consulting.

I definitely feel a redistribution in energy. Physically, I feel a reduction — not that I’m tired, but more so a mellowing. I feel more relaxed, and overall just pretty darn good.

On the flip side however, mentally I feel like my old Integra pinned at the RPM redline, with the thoughts coming at me a mile a minute. For someone who thinks way too much already, this has been at times almost overwhelming. My girlfriend would be the first to tell you that I’ve been rather difficult to deal with, both from the intensity of conversation (all those thoughts have to come out, natch) and from the occasional irritability when the thoughts of an omelette creep back in and I feel like I’ve trapped myself in a cage of my own making. Which I have.

I’m not good with cages. Even self-imposed ones for a good cause. I’m not sure anyone is.

Outside of a few juice fasts over the years, this is the longest I’ve ever gone eating anything close to a vegan diet, so if (as I suspect) the results of this experiment lead me down that path long-term, I kinda worry about how to reign in the mental energy. It’s possible that over the next two weeks this energy will normalize, and being that this diet is definitely extreme, I’m hoping the mental impact is as well, and not something that would be seen with a more day-to-day vegan diet.

As always, questions/comments welcome.

Potato Diet Day One Recap

I can’t believe I made it through an entire day of eating nothing but potatoes.

I don’t care how many people have done this diet for days or weeks — even one day is harder than it looks. I think it would be difficult on a nice summer day, but it’s especially so when it’s zero degrees outside and you’ve eaten all the potatoes you cooked for the day and your girlfriend gets a calzone delivered.

It’s strange how the mind works. There are at least a dozen foods I couldn’t care less about that the second I realized I was locked into one food for three weeks I wanted more than anything on earth.

It’s also hard (part of the potato diet’s design) to put down enough potatoes to get even close to the number of calories one could easily get at a single meal on a higher-fat/protein diet. My total for the day was 832, which came from approximately half of a 5 lb bag, boiled with salt and eaten with a few basic condiments. Yet aside from the psychological cravings, I wasn’t truly hungry. I survived DGF’s calzone, and we’re back at it today.

From Cronometer:

Potato Diet Day One: Food Intake

Unlike the Paleo diet, where I was eating 1-3 large meals each day, I split yesterday’s potatoes into six “meals”. This was because a) as I said above, it’s hard to eat a lot of potato in one sitting, and b) even though the half-bag of potatoes looked and sounded like a lot, I got worried I was going to be left with nothing by the evening (I didn’t feel like going through the boiling process all over again — there is something about this diet that makes you want to do all the prep for the day in one shot, kind of like doing a juice fast) so I decided to stretch them out. The last meal was around 5:30 PM, and like I said, when I went to bed around 11, I wasn’t actually hungry.

As for the condiments, I decided that if it’s fat and protein free, and has less than 1g of sugar/carbs per tablespoon, it’s allowable.

The macros:

Potato Diet Day One: Macronutrient Ratios

Pretty much to spec, even with the condiments.

And finally, the nutrition breakdown:

Potato Diet Day One: Nutrition Breakdown

Clear deficiencies outside of fat and protein (as in almost zero) when I first entered the numbers around 6 PM were B12, choline, iodine and selenium. I had some sub-lingual B12 lying around, so I took one of those (looks like a quarter of one would have sufficed), but the others remain. I’m not sure if I want to go three weeks with these buckets empty, so I may pick up some additional supplementation today. I don’t think it would be that big of a deal, though I am going to look through all the posts on MDA et al to see how others handled it.

In the end, the Potato Diet is clearly going to be the biggest drag of the experiment, so wish me luck. And thanks to those reading for your patience. There was a lot of crazy going on between the end of the Paleo diet and now, though after yesterday I’m wondering what part a subconscious resistance to a monodiet played into the delay…

As always, feedback is welcome.

Paleo results finally up, and (unfortunately) additional Potato Diet postponement

Hey everyone, I’m back! Kind of. Long story short, as I’ve mentioned in a few comments, some medical and personal issues threw me way off track with the experiment about six weeks ago, right after I finished the Paleo phase. After getting mostly back on track recently, and after some encouraging comments from a few peeps over at, I finally got the Paleo testing results up, and was fired up to get going with the Potato phase this week. Which I did — for exactly one day this past Wednesday. But the end result of the aforementioned medical issues was a final surgery of the nose — a septoplasty, septal perforation correction, and turbinate reduction — on Thursday, one day after getting restarted. I thought the potatoes and post-surgical recovery would go hand-in-hand, with some plain mashed potatoes the perfect complement to the general pain and difficulty eating. However, between the objective suspicion that pushing a (debatable) limited-nutrition diet while going through some significant (two-week plus) healing, while subjectively just straight-up not having the psychological fortitude to sustain such an extreme diet while being in this state, made me decide to once again push back until after the holidays when all the splints are out of my nose and I’m (hopefully) back to full dancing speed again. There’s also the issue of all the meds/nutritional support I got during the procedure itself, and continue to take now, throwing the results off. I would like to restart on 1/1, and I guess it’s appropriate — I can embark on my radical diet on the national day of radical change lol.

Thanks for the handful of people who have stumbled upon my little experiment over the past few weeks and have commented here and elsewhere with support. I am committed to completing it to the best of my ability. I’ll admit it has turned out to be a bigger challenge than I imagined. I also embarked on this back in October as a single guy, and now find myself in a pretty awesome relationship with a woman who is both interested and understanding about what I’m trying to discover and accomplish. But winding down a Friday evening with your 20th potato of the day has a lot less appeal when you have a beautiful girl in the mood for Thai. But she also is incredibly supportive and wants me to see this through in the end — as do I — and so we shall.

I hope this was coherent through the haze of meds. I’ll be back in hopefully no more than a week or two.