Two More “Potato Diet” Dishes

Simple Mashed Potatoes & Fat-Free / Gluten-Free Gravy

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  • 4 potatoes
  • 4 teaspoons butter
  • 1 quart beef stock (I use Kitchen Basics)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/2 shallot, chopped
  • 6 crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 rounded teaspoon potato starch
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Reduce your cup of red wine to nearly a syrup, add stock, shallots and mushrooms. Bring to a boil on high and reduce by half. Once reduced, strain out the shallot & mushroom, return to heat, bring back to a boil and introduce your potato starch in a cold water or cold beef stock slurry. Bring back to a boil & stir to thicken. Salt & pepper to taste (about a tsp of salt & half tsp of pepper for me).
  2. Peel potatoes, cut into large chunks, boil until a fork will pierce through with no effort and break the chunk in half. Strain the water, toss your butter in the bottom of the pan, return the potatoes and take a masher to them. Salt & pepper to taste (about 2 tsp salt and half tsp pepper for me).

And that’s it. The shallot & mushroom really make the sauce or gravy special. Typically, you’ll want to sauté those in butter first, but since we’re doing this the low fat way, I just tossed ’em directly into the stock reduction at the front end. Didn’t notice any difference.

I recommend eating it with a spoon. I had the equivalent of probably 2 1/2 potatoes and Beatrice one potato. We have some leftovers for breakfast.

Marie’s Fried Potato, Bacon, Mushroom, Roasted Garlic and Grape Tomato Extravaganza

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Marie writes:

See picture. Shouldn’t this be making me fat? And yet…. down 2.2 lbs this morning after 4 days of this diet.

On a caloric deficit of only about 500-600 C a day.

And I’m well hydrated (not thirsty, skin plump) as you’d expect from topped-up glycogen stores.


  • 1.2 lbs microwaved then ‘fried’ potatoes in 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5 marinated mushrooms
  • 3 grape tomatoes
  • 4-5 roasted garlic cloves
  • 3 slices bacon

Twice a day, but the other time no meat and a bit less potatoes, about 1 lb. Can’t handle more than a total of about 1.8 – 2.2 lbs a day. Sometimes instead of bacon, I use strips of liver (6oz) or strips of steak (4oz). First day was straight-up boiled potatoes, but still with the goodies.

So there you have it, 2 dishes and as you can see from Marie’s story, a bit more protein and a bit more fat doesn’t seen to have any adverse effect.

Here’s one more idea I did this afternoon, 1 potato. I think this has been mentioned by someone in comments somewhere. Nuke it for 5 minutes, then place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. It’ll be warm by this point, neither hot nor cold. Peel it by just using your fingernail to raise a piece and pull. Slice it about 1/4″ think, lay out on a plate and sprinkle liberally with salt. Then dash it with malt vinegar, not too much. Very, very tasty.


  1. tatertot on November 18, 2012 at 20:47

    Those look really good. I just ordered one of these: a little doo-dad to make oil-less potato chips in the microwave.

    The MDA threads are digging up some good stuff lately.

    Only problem on MDA is when a thread gets like 20 pages long, it get hit with spambots.

    They are trying to channel Mark Sisson to give his thoughts on whether this is “Primal” or not–Ha

  2. NiceOneRichard on November 19, 2012 at 05:56

    As I walk out the door, here’s another parting gift for the week:

    PS.- Marie, I just congratulated you on your weight loss. But you had to take shots anyway. Anything to save face when faced with the fact that you’ve been wrong all this time, I guess. Pathetic really but I’m on vacation now, so enjoy.

    • marie on November 19, 2012 at 06:05

      Whatever you say NOR, it’s your own imaginary world after all. Regardless, I hope you have a good vacation, everyone needs one of those :)

  3. marie on November 18, 2012 at 20:42

    Richard, today (after 5 days) still losing apace, total is down 2.8lbs .
    Once I could verify that there is a bit of latitude with the fat and protein so that it’s actually enjoyable for more than a few days, I feel I can recommend it to family members, since it’s also nutritionally sound…especially with the liver that you had pointed out at the start.
    Of course, even without the little extra fat and protein, potatoes are nutritionally decent, at least for the short term – a ‘hack’ as you say.
    I’m fascinated by the thermodynamic ‘dissonance’ (no way can lose approx.0.6lbs/day on avg.550C deficit), so looking forward to Ray Cronise eventually being able to release his results.
    I’ll have to stop when I’ve lost 8 lbs, I can’t really afford to lose more weight than that, but at that point I’d be fairly sure there isn’t just a 3-4lb ‘starter’ effect (even though on other diets that effect is usually water and, er, ‘bulk’ :) , which shouldn’t apply here with ~2lbs of potatoes).
    I’ll be checking posts and comments for more results and tasty recipes! Thank you for the inspiration :)

    • Richard Nikoley on November 18, 2012 at 23:09

      What kinda blows my mind is after that huge plate of mashed potatoes I had not the slightest bit of coma that often accompanies a big load of carbs, suggesting to me there must be something about combining it with lots of fat, protein, or both.

      • marie on November 19, 2012 at 06:18

        I find the same, alert with good energy, for the meal I eat mid-day which has less fat and no added protein, but the evening one knocks me out, I feel like sleeping right afterwards. So you may be on to something there. I’ll switch them around and see if the effect persists.

    • Amanda on November 24, 2012 at 16:01

      Hi Marie, Richard, I am watching this with interest. What i keep wondering is whether there will be any rebound hyperphagia like you see with a conventional diet’s depletion of fat stores. I would like to know if anyone has had long term success removing fat stores from their bodies, without having to keep calories restricted plus intense exercise to maintain the lost weight. That’s what maintainers typically have to do. Do either of you know?

    • Kristina on November 27, 2012 at 06:01

      The discrepancy in weight loss versus calories restricted (1 lb fat = 3500 kcal) does not defy any laws of thermodynamics. That “law” for weight loss is based on the idea that the human body is a closed system, meaning any mass/energy in must be balanced by an equal quantity of mass/energy out, but we aren’t closed systems, isolated from our environment! We can gain and lose total mass over time, we generate body heat continuously because our metabolic processes aren’t 100% efficient (energy is lost as heat instead of being used to “run” something), and the incredibly intricate systems of hormones, proteins, and cellular structures inside us respond to exogenous stressors in myriad ways–things a closed system can’t do.

      Supposed scientific experts who disseminate the myth that the human body is a closed system in thermodynamic equilibrium need to be beaten with an introductory-level engineering text and a cell biology book. Together. At the same time. By osmosis they should learn what exactly a thermodynamic system is, how the physics relates to biological systems, and that cells (and by extension the entire human machine) are not isolated from the environment.

      In a nutshell, your delightful weight loss “discrepancy” is punching the “thermodynamic equilibrium” establishment in the face with its potato-y goodness. This makes me happy.

      It also makes me hungry because I haven’t had breakfast and I love potatoes.

      • Kristina on November 27, 2012 at 06:03

        It would appear my gmail ate the followup email.

  4. aminoKing on November 19, 2012 at 00:10

    Just wondering, you must be saving a fortune in money and time on this potato thing right? Quick meals and pretty damn cheap too! If I was back at school I’d do it on potatoes and spend the rest on alcohol! Too old for that now of course.

    • rob on November 19, 2012 at 05:04

      Good for people with limited means or people who are lazy, if you don’t want to mess with actual potatoes you can buy one of these

      You toss the bag in the microwave and ten minutes later you have potatoes.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 19, 2012 at 07:42

      Yes, in terms of effectiveness, real food, etc., this is shaping up to be the cheapest, easiest fat loss hack ever. You can literally do it for a couple of bucks per day with little to no fanciness. With fanciness, you’re in for 4-5 bucks.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 19, 2012 at 07:44

      I think TJ’s 5-in bags of russets cost $1.69.

  5. NiceOneRichard on November 19, 2012 at 02:24

    Congrats to Marie and anyone else losing weight again on high carb, low fat after stalling for years on low carb, high fat.

    Now let the inevitable attacks on me commence. I’m not here this week either, so you can lay on the insults with impunity! Christmas comes early for the Faileos.

    • Joshua on November 19, 2012 at 05:16

      I just don’t understand why you and the paleo adherents are such fervent proselytizers for your chosen diets. You also repeatedly conflate paleo with low-carb.

      In addition, both you and the paleo zealots only take on the weakest criticisms of your chosen pathway and ignore pieces of information that don’t fit.

      I don’t think there is any one true way that works for everybody all the time, except perhaps a switch to eating whole foods instead of processed. Even then, different mixes of foods are going to work better for different people. One of my favorite studies was the A to Z study that showed that there were two distinctly different responses to a low-carb diet, and that the metabolism types who did poorly on low-carb did much better on low-fat.

      • marie on November 19, 2012 at 05:52

        Joshua, that’s not even what you’re dealing with here.
        This guy makes up stories about people out of whole cloth in order to stage attacks on their imaginary appearance and imaginary diets.
        Like I have any need to lose weight, let alone after supposedly stalling for years?! Of course, I also don’t eat remotely low carb or high fat usually, but the Mediterranean diet I was raised on.
        All easy to find info for anyone following this blog even just for the last few posts, but imagination is so much more satisfying I guess :).
        He bounced around a recent comment section calling people he’s never seen ‘fat’, a woman whose in the healthy weight range at 5’5 and 120lbs “anorexic” and imagining everyone who disagrees with him eats low carb. Oh, and the best, “they started it” (!), apparently for calling him an idiot for things he did say, which in his schoolyard mentality gives him license to attack their (imagined) appearance and (imagined) diets.
        I agree with you there’s no “one true way” for everyone except for the one guideline about whole foods.
        I think Richard puts it well, something about paleo is tropic to arctic, sea-level to 1600ft?

  6. Brian on November 19, 2012 at 07:33

    How is eating one food – potatoes- sustainable for more than just few days? Would you suggest using it from time to time or just add potatoes to a normal paleo style diet? The ‘all in’ just seems to hard to do. Ps: I wonder if I would have same results just eating Cheerios all day?

  7. […] Posts RSS ← Two More “Potato Diet” Dishes […]

  8. Brian on November 19, 2012 at 12:36

    Sorry. Should have left the Cheerios comment off my post. See first part of my question. Is this just a short lived thing or a long term thing? I’m not Irish!

    • Richard Nikoley on November 19, 2012 at 12:47

      I’m looking at this first as a hack for those of us who have problems with that last poundage (about 20 in my case). So, a month or two for most people. Beyond that, it’s a tool, along with IF. See yourself creeping up, go on potatoes for 2-3 days.

      Part of what I’m doing here is to create simple potato dishes that are tasty enough to actually consume for as long as needed.

      • Todd on November 19, 2012 at 14:44

        It will be interesting to see if you continue to hold your weight down after you return to your normal schedule as Tatertot says he has done. But it’s interesting to see potatoes, a kind of no-no food in the paleo world, be the result of rapid fat loss. No matter what, this is good for the sciencey aspect that looks at what’s actually happening. Carbs aren’t necessarily the devil they’re made out to be.

      • marie on November 19, 2012 at 16:58

        Todd, unless someone has a direct food allergy or intolerance (eg. lactose or wheat) I’ve never seen the reason to cut out any whole food, so I’m with you there. I eat a fairly authentic Med diet, high on olive oil, vegetables, fish and lamb, moderate on legumes, nuts and fruit, low on anything else. I can’t do wheat, intolerant since childhood.
        This doesn’t mean the Med diet is ideal for anyone less, I happen to hail from the region and was raised on it. What role genes, gut flora developed since infancy on this, etc? Lots of variables.
        At the same time, I don’t know that Carbs aren’t Nevertheless a devil for certain people, like diabetics, prediabetics and perhaps those with advanced metabolic syndrome and fatty liver.
        This diet doesn’t just increase the carbs, it maximizes the starch load, with all kinds of possibly interesting biochemistry happening to account for the rapid weight loss.
        So yeah, the science aspects are interesting. The thermodynamic ‘dissonance’ alone is fascinating. Tiens, you wanted to know recently what else I can do in the kitchen. Well, a bit of kitchen science, yes? :) Inspired by Richard, or else I probably would have kept ignoring it.

      • brian on November 28, 2012 at 14:18

        great reply Richard! Love the experimentation and will stay tuned for how it shapes up into a bigger program.

  9. Todd on November 19, 2012 at 21:00

    I agree with you that carbs can be bad for certain people, but I like many, who when they first found paleo, made them out to be public enemy #1, but that’s simply not always true. I found that I do quite well with potatoes in my diet, and I owe thanks to Richard for being a contributor in turning me back onto carbs earlier this year. There is something really comforting about eating a warm potato. It has a lasting effect.

    And yes, your culinary skills are muy bueno. Your liver dish has become my new favorite way to eat liver. I’m looking forward to trying it with the venison livers I got this weekend hunting. (Any heart recipes?? :) ) I absolutely love everything about it, and I’m glad that led to the discovery of marinated mushrooms. They’re very good with fried eggs! I like the looks of your potato dish in this post, too. There is something about potatoes and bacon together that just sings to me. I’m sure it will be another award winning dish. I made Richard’s french fries today. They were really quite good. I believe a lot of that has to do with the simplicity of a little oil going a long way to bring out the taste of the potato, and of course the salt kicks it up a notch or two.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 19, 2012 at 22:26


      Your kind of comment is the unexpected one I get now and then, knowing I’m going to get another one someday if I keep just doing what I honestly feel like doing,

      Thank you, sir.

      You jolted me back to Pensilvania Mountain, which happens to be in Nevada, up north, very near the Idaho border and I don’t think I’ve been there since I was about 13. But it was a long 6 or so years preceding. Dry camping at the head of a canyon in October with all the aspens turning a hundred colors and I’m sure my carvings in trunks would still be there.

      We ate liver and heart every night, either fresh kill or a day leftover,

      Heat was sliced in 1/4 inch strip rounds, like onions. Dredged in flour, and fried. So, essentially, it can be like onion rings or calamari.

      ….remembrances of a 12-yr-old.

      • Todd on November 20, 2012 at 16:16

        No problem, Richard. Credit should be given where credit is due.

        I’m stoked about having the fresh hearts and livers. In total, I got just under 5lbs of liver & 2lbs of hearts, so I won’t have to buy liver for a while! The two younger deer livers look simply marvelous. It’s my understanding that deer liver is considered one of the most tender, but I’m not sure. I’ve only had beef/calf liver recently–been sometime since I’ve had chicken livers.

        Since you bring up frying heart, I’ve been wondering how to make the lightly dusted onion rings you posted about a few weeks ago on your cheat meal. I’m wondering if coconut oil is the only way to go when keeping to paleo and panfrying?

  10. Ben on November 20, 2012 at 04:08

    Dear Richard,

    There was a paper a few months ago that was covered a bit in the paleoblogosphere, but I thought it fit in well with the potato hack thingie. I’ll just drop the link here:

    The author speculates that cellular starches ( = paleo, from tubers and such) are fine, but acellular starches (from flour) might be a problem. If you think about it, it makes sense. All starch and sugar paleoman might have eaten came in cellular packages (fruit, tubers..) and only now we are eating the refined stuff.

  11. Eating Paleo And Cholesterol on March 11, 2013 at 09:06

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  12. Amanda on July 23, 2013 at 00:16

    Richard do you ever make your own beef broth I was guessing that was what you typically do/did. I’ve made plenty of chicken broth but beef is definitely a process. And can you make these gravy reductions in cast iron Im new to cooking with mine (le crueset) and I would die if I ruined my pans.

  13. Richard Nikoley on August 9, 2013 at 07:47


    I used to make my own, but I use too much, too often. Chicken too. I have found the unsalted versions of Kitchen Basics to be the best.

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