Tag Archives: sweet potato

Japanese Purple Sweet Potato

Many people see Paleo as a specifically low-carb diet, but if you are active and metabolically healthy, it doesn’t need to be. In fact, I can argue that it shouldn’t be.  The bottom line is – no matter who you are, you need to fuel your activity.   Yes you can do this with ketones bodies for the most part, but you also need glycogen made from glucose/starch.  This is especially true after a hard workout where your muscles have expended most of their glycogen stores.

Afraid of Carbs?

Thanks to bestpaleorecipes.com for the sweet pic.

My sense is that many people starting off on a Paleo diet tend to be worried about carbs – but there is nothing about Paleo that NEED be low carb.  In fact, some hunter-gatherer groups do very well on a high carb diet (read: Katavins.) Far more important than focusing on your macronutrient ratios is to focus on eating healthy, nutritionally-dense, non-inflammatory foods. That’s why one of the best “refinement” tips I can offer anyone who is active and on a Paleo diet is to add sweet potato/yams into the mix. Ever since I’ve added glucose-heavy (as opposed to fructose which starts a chain of reactions in the liver that could lead to metabolic derrangement) and nutritious sweet potatoes, I’ve felt better, stronger, and had better recovery post workout.  Plus, they are freaking delicious, and are easy to make and store.

Easy Cooking

To make sweet potato oven fries, simply skin (to remove potential gut irritants), slice, and bake in a pan at 400 degrees for 20-25min. In my neck of the woods in Japan, the main sweet potato is what Robb Wolf likes to call the “birthday cake” potato. It has purple skin, pale-yellow flesh, and is pretty darn sweet (hence the nickname).  I have a sneaking suspicion that I am starting to develop a sweet (potato) tooth and have wanted to try some of the less-sweet varieties for a while now.  Unfortunately, I could never find any in the market.

There are a wide variety of sweet potatoes grown in Asia, though there was one in particular that I hoped to try before I left Japan – the mysterious Okinawan Purple Sweet Potato.  The Okinawan potato’s flesh is literally purple, as it is rich in the same antioxidants as blueberries.  How cool is that?  Unfortunately, they don’t sell it here (or so I thought).

Last week, I came home with my normal batch of sweet potatoes from the farmer’s baskets at the local supermarket, only to find a pleasant surprise in the mix. When I cut into one of the bags of sweet potato, I found purple staring me in the face.  I checked the label again, to make sure I didn’t miss something, but they were marked simply as “sweet potato”.  I had hit the sweet potato jack-pot!  A single, glorious bag of Okinawan purple sweet potatoes had dropped into my lap.  I fired up the oven, sliced-and-diced the potatoes, and made the fries.  Here’s how they turned out:

When I realized that something was strange.

Skin-removed.

“If it bleeds, we can kill it.”

When I cut into them, they started leaking a white-substance. No idea why.

In the pan, ready to go into the oven.

25 minutes later, they've turned a deep purple.

A little freaky eating a purple potato, but also delicious.

I LOVED these sweet potatoes.  The flavor was much more subtle and “potato-y” than in-your-face sweet.  Also, I didn’t feel the compulsive need to eat the entire batch in one sitting (a good thing).  Add to that the plethora of anti-oxidants, and I wouldn’t mind making these my main-sweet potato option.  If only I could find them again!  Does anyone know if you can get these back in the states? (fingers crossed)

In summary, I highly recommend giving sweet potatoes (and the purple variety in particular) a try in your diet. It should help with PWO recovery, and is a nice source of healthy, gut-friendly carbs in your diet.  (Sweet potatoes are also a prebiotic for healthy gut flora!) Also, be sure to check out this website for some Purple Sweet Potato recipes (from Hawaii).

-Stay healthy everybody

Quick and Healthy: Sweet Potato-Pumpkin Curry

This week, we bring you another recipe that will help you pack in a load of good veggies at meal-time. One thing a lot of people struggle with on a Paleo-diet is getting in enough vegetables throughout the day.  Adding veggies to soups/stews/curries is a great way to increase your nutritional intake.  What’s more, if you have any digestive issues, cooking vegetables/meat thoroughly like this will help you absorb all the nutrients. It takes a little longer to cook up, but it’s warm, spicy, hearty, delicious, nutritious, and re-heats really well.  So cook up a big batch and enjoy it for a couple of days!

What You’ll Need: Continue reading

Quick and Healthy: Chicken Soup

Homemade soup perfect for winter months and super easy to make! You can add whatever vegetables you like, making it another great way to up your daily veggie intake in one fell swoop.  Below is one of our favorite healthy combinations.

What You Need:

  • Chicken Broth (1 can)
  • Chicken Breast (1 lbs +)
  • Carrots (2 full)
  • Onions (1 large)
  • Celery (1 stalk)
  • Sweet Potato (1 large)
  • Spinach (we just dump in a bag of the frozen, chopped variety and it works wonderfully)
  • Basil
  • Garlic
  • Dash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

What to Do:

It really couldn’t be any easier. Just chop all ingredients into bite-sized pieces, and throw them in a pot with a can of chicken broth and about another can’s worth of water.  Add seasonings such as basil and garlic, and maybe a dash of olive oil for some healthy fat.  Then put a lid on it and let it cook on low heat for about 45min – 2 hours.  Serve, and enjoy!

(Note:  serves 2 VERY big bowls.)

    A simpler version of the above recipe that we did when we had almost no food left in the house. Soups are a great way of finishing off whatever you have left in the fridge!

     

     

    Paleo Recipes: Sweet Potato/Pumpkin Souffle

    Light, fluffy, and delicious, this souffle is easy to make and a perfect compliment to any Autumn spread.

    This is possibly my favorite Paleo recipe.  It’s loaded with good fats, and has that little bit of sweetness that is a perfect compliment to any meal.  (Think inside-of-a-pumpkin-pie delicious).  Plus, with the pumpkin and sweet potato, it’s also a great PWO (post-workout) snack to replenish your glycogen stores! Continue reading