If you could only eat one food item for two months, would it be potatoes? Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission, says yes. From October 1 to December 1, Voigt ate a diet that consisted solely of potatoes, save for a small quantity of cooking oil and unlimited seasonings, provided the seasonings were calorie-free.
Voigt undertook the drastically-limited diet in order to raise awareness of federal policy that prohibits potatoes from being bought with WIC vouchers (the Women, Infants, and Children food assistance program). The potato is the only vegetable prohibited by WIC. This prohibition was recommended by the Institute of Medicine, who also recommended that potatoes be scaled back from federal school lunch menus.
Nothing but potatoes for 60 days?
After eating spuds baked, boiled, broiled, mashed, and shredded, Voigt claims he lost 21 pounds and his cholesterol dropped 60 points during the course of his diet. I'd argue you'd almost have to lose weight if you chose to eat only one food item for two months; you'd be so sick of potatoes that you couldn't possibly eat as much or as frequently as one would do with a varied diet. Voigt's doctor also noted that most people have enough nutrients stored in their body that a 60-day limited diet wouldn't have drastic health effects. You'd also need to have healthy kidneys to be able to process the overload of potassium provided by so many potatoes.
I understand that Voigt was trying to raise awareness of the benign nature of the potato. However, if he really wanted to prove his point that potatoes should be included in WIC-approved foods and school lunches, his diet would have been less about eating insane amounts of potatoes, and more about how a healthy, nutritious diet would include potatoes in moderation using healthy preparations. Those who want the potato reduced in school lunches have probably seen how potatoes are used in school lunches: oftentimes as the only vegetable, or in the form of French fries or tater tots. Potatoes in and of themselves aren't harmful, but teaching that they're the only vegetable worth eating is.
What about you, Stir readers? Could you do a one-item diet for 60 days? If so, what would your diet be?
Image via wheatfields/Flickr