The potato has gotten a bad reputation. Many claim it is just pure starch and spikes the blood sugar too quickly. This can be true when it is peeled and boiled (or fried), both of which cause the potato to lose its fiber and nutrients, especially potassium. However, potatoes are high in manganese, chromium, selenium, potassium, and vitamins C & B, so overall a pretty healthy spud. Additionally, chromium helps to balance blood sugar levels. That said, if you are concerned about blood sugar levels, keep to a smaller potato, and be sure to eat enough fiber and healthy fats with your meal. I love loading my potato with avocado, olive oil or even chili.
Another argument against the potato is in the case of rheumatoid arthritis or other inflammatory illnesses where potatoes and other “nightshade” vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes and eggplant, are accused of exasperating the condition. This really depends on the person, as everyone is different and you have to find what works for your unique body.
When I bake a potato, the first thing I do is clean it and look for any sprouts or “eyes”, or any green-colored flesh or skin. These contain the poisonous alkaloid solanine, which is actually a nerve poison and can cause drowsiness, itching, diarrhea, and vomiting – not exactly the things I want to accompany my meal.
If the potato is good to go, then pierce it with a fork to make a few holes (this prevents the potato from splitting open when you cook it). Next, I rub the potatoes with some olive oil and a bit of coarse sea salt. Then, it comes time to give my hands a special treat. With the extra olive oil and salt, I slowly rub my hands together and enjoy a nice, moisturizing scrub, and then give them a quick rinse. Multi-tasking at its best – cooking and exfoliating at the same time!
Next, I put the potatoes in a glass baking dish in a preheated oven (usually about 375-400) for about 60-90 minutes. While it takes a long time, you can do so many other things while they bake, like prep your toppings, make a salad or read a book. Again, multi-tasking. Multi-tasking is the key to kitchen survival. One thing to note is that many people wrap their potatoes in aluminum foil to bake. I personally avoid cooking with foil unless absolutely necessary to reduce my exposure to aluminum. However, I do believe wrapping them in foil will slightly reduce the cooking time and retain some moisture. My potatoes turn out pretty well without it.
Once done, I let the potatoes cool before cutting them open and letting out all the steam. Then it is time to top the potato with your favorite toppings. Here are some suggestions below:
However you top your spud, be sure to sit down, eat consciously and enjoy every bite.