Conclusion

So my 20 day “potato hack” is over and as I reflect on what I accomplished, I look forward to what I do better. As I mentioned prior to starting this challenge, “guidelines for my potato hack are not strict, but it’s my goal to eat potatoes for every meal, while avoiding grains and high fat plant foods (olives, nuts, seeds, avocado and soy).” While I did attempt to eat potatoes as much as possible, there were still many meals in which I failed to do this because of a lack of planning on part. There were too many days I came home and didn’t have the starch readily available, which meant I was usually looking elsewhere for a meal.

Even if I see this as a partial failure, there was some success over the last 20 days. First and probably most important, I did not consume any alcohol, which puts me just over 6 weeks with having a beer. With “life” happening around me, I had started to add too many beers to my “just 1 a week” plan. So much for moderation, right? It was Crystal Geyser taking the place of beer (even the low carb, light beer I had been favoring). Thankfully Raley’s had a 10 for $10 sale on their 2 liter bottles, which meant I stocked up.

I had very few grains, opting for a sandwich and a few pieces of bread, but nothing like I was eating 3 weeks ago. When I made the decision to cook Chef AJ’s Disappearing Lasagna, I used white beans in place of the tofu and sliced potato in place of the noodles and decided not to top the meal with black olives. I was able to refrain from walking to Chinatown in Oakland for a quick bowl of rice to be eaten with light soy sauce and Furikake (no fish included). I didn’t even make one pot of brown rice at home, opting for the potato. I did however buy and eat quite a few corn tortillas. The best part of the tortilla was the dietary fiber, still no fat but high in carbs. Still I feel this was a better option and eating bread.

Breakfast was a toss up though out this challenge. I found out that Post changed their formula and added a Isolated Soy Protein to Grape Nuts. Somehow I had missed this when I bought a few boxes. So instead of letting them go to waste I finished eating them. I did make the switch to Nutty Nuggets (Raley’s brand), which seems to be the better option. Still I am considering limiting my intake of Nutty Nuggets, moving back to oatmeal as a better option. I found shredded wheat as an option in the mornings.

Many of my potatoes days were either simple baked potatoes with some condiment on top; ketchup, cheese sauce and salsa were my go to items for this challenge. Yet I failed repeatedly because I had not made enough potatoes, planning a few days ahead of time how hectic my schedule would be. No way I could wait 60 minutes when I got home late to bake a potato. I did use hash browns and shredded hash browns as a “go to” item for breakfast and dinner. Potacos (potato tacos) were one of my favorite meals, quick and easy and satiating.

I did eat quite a bit of salad, purchasing the mixed green bags and adding half a bag of shredded cabbage to it. I would then add in baby carrots and a handful of almonds. I found Chef AJ’s Husband’s Favorite No-Oil Dressing to hit the spot as my dressing of choice the last 20 days. I would also add some Sriracha Hot Sauce and mix together. There were very few other vegetables consumed, which does really conform to a Mary’s Mini or an MWL, then again I set my guidelines, which weren’t strict. I still need to improve on adding more yellow/green vegetables to my diet, salad is a good start. It might be time to look at kale and adding it to the quinoa or couscous salad I used to make.

Achieving weight loss was not my goal in this potato hack, I did drop about 2 pounds from start to finish. For me, this was more of a mindset I wanted to work on. Could I actually cut more foods out that I shouldn’t be eating on a regular basis? Alcohol aside, bread and rice are those two culprits that I can never get enough of. Other foods like avocados, olives, tahini, nuts and tofu I was using on a regular basis, which were foods I wanted to limit or omit for this challenge. I felt I did a very good job, especially substituting the white beans for the tofu in the lasagna filling. I made it a point NOT to purchase tahini from Trader Joe’s. I did however use 2 avocados for some guacamole I intended for my wife, unfortunately she came up with heartburn and decided not to eat that night, so I added the guac to my potato tacos for 2 days. I even let 2 loaves of Dave’s Killer Bread go to waste since I did not want to give in, making the excuse, “well I bought them, guess I need to eat them” during the past 20 days.

While I set no goals during this 20 day challenge related to exercise, I did add running to my routine, attempting to get in 4 days of running in conjunction with my 3 days of weight lifting. It’s my hope that in 16 weeks (starting from the first week in April) that I will be ready to run a half-marathon. Since starting running I have put in about 20 miles over 2 weeks with a mile time about 10:00. I also committed to another goal while involved in my challenge. I will be participating in the Tough Mudder event in July at Lake Tahoe.

Continuing to eat a starch based diet combined with weight training and running, I should experience further improvements in my health strength and stamina. I continue to gain strength as witnessed by the increase in weight I can lift. I imagine I will feel better the more I run. Right now I am a bit winded after 3 to 3.5 miles with the goal of 13.1 miles in August. My next body composition test will fall in June with a physical following in July.

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