Potatoes, Rice, Bread, Carbs

pjs loaded baked potato 2 (1)

Recently I was chatting with a reader who mentioned that her husband was a meat and potatoes guy and the carbs were really hard to give up for both of them when it was time to lose the weight. It got me thinking about my own experiences and I realized I had a post in me about it. So this is the post about potatoes. 🙂

When I was a kid, my family was the tradition meat and potatoes type. Dinners were some sort of protein (often chicken) with some vegetables (frozen), some fruit (from a can) and some sort of carb like a baked potato or rice. As an adult I understand this now because that’s cheap. A bag of potatoes are like $1 and would feed a family for weeks, definitely cost effective.

When I moved out on my own I continued that behavior for dinners because it was all I knew. I made a lot of things from a box–like those Hamburger Helper type meals and the rice casserole bakes. Basically, the easy stuff you can put together in 5 minutes and doesn’t require any cooking skills. I depended on this type of eating for years. (As well as frozen pizzas, frozen burritos and fast food.)

Of course when it was time to lose weight I had to re-evaluate how I was eating. I had to stay within my calorie range each day and I had to make changes. Yet potatoes and rice and other carby-goodies like that remained a part of my diet. A dinner didn’t seem complete without rice or something like that. Also? A dinner roll. A dinner wasn’t complete without one. That’s a lot of calories!

When I moved in with Michael (almost 4 years ago now) my dinners changed pretty drastically. When I was living on my own, I ate a lot of Lean Cuisines with a side salad for dinners. It was just me and there wasn’t a reason to cook a big meal. Michael was the cook in the relationship and that started to change my thinking. I didn’t want to eat the frozen processed crap and cooking together was fun. He’s also into healthy eating (most of the time) and decided that white potatoes weren’t healthy and didn’t want them in his diet. I jumped on board because of the calorie counts in them, honestly. But then I got used to it and found that I didn’t miss the baked potato with everything on it.


We made the change to sweet potatoes. That became a staple in ours dinner rotation, probably once or twice a week. They were so much lower in calories AND healthier.

“Sweet potatoes also have a lower glycemic index than regular potatoes. The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly blood glucose levels rise after eating.  Foods that have a low glycemic index do not cause a quick spike in blood sugar and thus do not overwork the pancreas, said Bovell-Benjamin. As a result, people don’t experience the same roller coaster of sugar highs and lows, which can lead to hunger and the consumption of extra calories.  In other words, foods with lower glycemic indexes, like sweet potatoes and brown rice, make you feel full longer.” (source

We also went through a phase of sweet potato fries! They were so good! We made them probably once a week, usually on the weekends with our turkey burgers. It was a good substitute to the high fat, fried onion rings and regular fries.


Slowly we phased out even the sweet potatoes. I don’t know if it was something conscious or if we just stopped thinking to buy them at the store. I really can’t answer that question. The same thing happened with the rice. We don’t eat it very often. I probably eat it more in Mexican restaurants than I do at home. Again, no idea why we stopped eating rice.

Sometimes we eat quinoa, sometimes couscous or Israeli couscous, but it’s not very often. If I had to guess I’d say once or twice a month. What I find most interesting is that I never felt like I was missing out on something, or like I was torturing myself by not eating carby things like that. I just didn’t miss it. You really can change your habits and cravings for the better.

QUESTION: Have you ever tried limiting or phasing out carbs like potatoes and bread? How did it go?

A Peach of a Century, Part 1

The first words out of Michael’s mouth the morning of our metric century ride was: “Why did we sign up for this again?” Getting up at 6am on a Sunday is never something one looks forward to…especially when you tossed and turned the night before. But I hopped (crawled slowly) out of bed and got ready for our end-of-summer-adventure.

We had a breakfast of pancakes (I had a piece of bacon and 2 Italian plums as well) and geared up with our spandex, bikes and some coffee, we drove down to Salem for the Peach of a Century ride. I’ll be honest: one of the biggest challenges was our clothing choices. It was barely 50 degrees Sunday morning and as we drove through the valley, a heavy mist hung over everything. It was a cold morning.

We arrived at the check-in spot at about 8:15 and were faced with a decision. Be cold now but happy later when it’s hot? Or warm now and miserable later when it’s hot? I chose to wear my tights, my cold weather gloves and my arm warmers instead of a jacket. Michael went with a long sleeved jersey. This proved to be a poor choice later.

We got our packets and got ready to go. We started out around 8:30 a.m. and I was feeling excited about our day.

The first eight miles or so were  pretty flat as we rode through the valley. The roads were marked really well and we never had any issues knowing what direction to take. There was spray painted markings on the road saying to go straight, left, or right.

We pulled over at around mile 13 because I was really hot. I took of my arm warmers and switched my gloves to my summer gloves. That helped a lot. It was still a little cool out, especially in the shade, but I felt warm enough with my exercise.

We hit the first decent sized hill and while my legs were feeling a bit lethargic, I made it up the hill pretty easily and felt really good about myself. The 62 mile route was supposed to be fairly “easy”, meaning it didn’t have the crazy elevation that the 100 mile route had, but we still encountered a lot of hard hills. HILLS! Look at that one!

We rode through the rolling hills of the valley, speeding by the farms and barns, the Christmas tree farms and the nurseries. It was a beautiful, scenic area to ride in and there was very low traffic, too.

Then there were more hills. One right after another. And these weren’t sissy little hills, these were challenging. I just looked down, pedaled the best I could and refused to give up. I was not going to walk up any of those hills!

Once I got to the top of both of them, I rested for a few moments and let my heart rate get back to the non-exploding bpm! Luckily, it was downhill on the other side of the hill! Michael was waiting for me at the top.

After the last big hill it was a nice downhill descent. Coasting! YAY! Once we got to the bottom of the hill, we were at the first rest stop at mile 22.5 in Jefferson, Oregon. The spread was fantastic! I was really impressed with the excellent support for the event. It was hosted by the Salem Bicycle Club and they just did an awesome job.

The first rest stop was perfect timing, too, because I was famished! I’d been snacking on dried apricots but that just wasn’t enough. The spread was great! They had roasted red potatoes, lots and lots of muffins, cookies, biscuits, bread for sandwiches, peanut butter, a ton of fruit, bagels and trail mix. I was really impressed with the food at this event. It was the best out of all the events I’ve done so far.

YUM! FEED ME. I had 1/4 of a bagel with cream cheese, a few potatoes with ranch dressing, 1/4 of a banana and a bunch of trail mix. It was perfect. It really hit the spot and got me through the next part of the ride.


Check out my new cycling jersey! It was great. The only thing I didn’t like was the pockets. They were a bit small. It was finally too warm for cycling tights so I took those off and ended up wrapping the pant legs around my waist like a jacket because the tights just didn’t fit in my jersey. I felt so much better shedding layers. It had warmed up nicely and felt like a hot summer day. Poor Michael only had his long-sleeved jersey. 🙁

We refilled our water bottles and set out for the second leg of our journey. The hardest part of the ride. To be concluded shortly!


QUESTION: What are your favorite “fuel” foods on long rides or runs? What works best for you?