Flashback Friday: The Best Way to Cook Sweet Potatoes

Flashback Friday: The Best Way to Cook Sweet Potatoes
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How does sweet potato baking compare to boiling and steaming, and should we eat the skin?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The only potential downside of eating sweet potatoes is if you eat too much, you could get a yellow nose. It’s called carotenemia. It’s a common, harmless condition due to elevated levels of beta-carotene in the blood, first noticed a century ago, when carrots were introduced into infant diets. It’s treated mostly by just reassuring parents that it’s harmless. But, if you don’t want your child’s nose to be yellow, you can decrease their beta-carotene intake, and in a few months, it will be gone.

But, color is what we’re looking for when picking out varieties at the supermarket. “The intensity of the yellow or orange flesh color of the sweet potato is directly correlated to [its nutritional] content.” So, the more intense, the better. Though, if you really want intensity, “sweet potato varieties…[range not only] from white [to] yellow…[and] orange, [but to] pink [and] “very to deep purple”—the natural pigments of which may have special anticancer effects of their own.

What’s the best way to cook sweet potatoes? Boiling may actually best retain the antioxidant power of sweet potatoes, compared to roasting and steaming. If you compare baking to boiling, microscopically, boiling helps thin out the cell walls and gelatinize the starch, which may enhance the bioavailability of nutrients, while at the same time the glycemic index of boiled sweet potatoes was found to be only about half that of baking or roasting. So, boiled gives one less of a blood sugar spike.

Make sure to keep the skin on, though. The peel of a sweet potato has nearly ten times the antioxidant power as the flesh—an antioxidant capacity “comparable [to] that of blueberries,” though it really takes a hit when baked, wiping out over two-thirds, whereas microwaving or boiling was comparatively much gentler. The same with the rest of the sweet potato. Baking can cause an 80% drop in vitamin A levels—twice as much as boiling. So, “from a nutritional standpoint, boiling rather than baking can be recommended for sweet potato cooking.”

Boiling may be best, but sweet potatoes are so incredibly healthy, the best way to prepare them is whichever way will get you to eat the most of them—with the exception of deep frying, which can lead to the formation of acrylamide, a potential human carcinogen.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Jim Hickcox and Alpha via flickr

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The only potential downside of eating sweet potatoes is if you eat too much, you could get a yellow nose. It’s called carotenemia. It’s a common, harmless condition due to elevated levels of beta-carotene in the blood, first noticed a century ago, when carrots were introduced into infant diets. It’s treated mostly by just reassuring parents that it’s harmless. But, if you don’t want your child’s nose to be yellow, you can decrease their beta-carotene intake, and in a few months, it will be gone.

But, color is what we’re looking for when picking out varieties at the supermarket. “The intensity of the yellow or orange flesh color of the sweet potato is directly correlated to [its nutritional] content.” So, the more intense, the better. Though, if you really want intensity, “sweet potato varieties…[range not only] from white [to] yellow…[and] orange, [but to] pink [and] “very to deep purple”—the natural pigments of which may have special anticancer effects of their own.

What’s the best way to cook sweet potatoes? Boiling may actually best retain the antioxidant power of sweet potatoes, compared to roasting and steaming. If you compare baking to boiling, microscopically, boiling helps thin out the cell walls and gelatinize the starch, which may enhance the bioavailability of nutrients, while at the same time the glycemic index of boiled sweet potatoes was found to be only about half that of baking or roasting. So, boiled gives one less of a blood sugar spike.

Make sure to keep the skin on, though. The peel of a sweet potato has nearly ten times the antioxidant power as the flesh—an antioxidant capacity “comparable [to] that of blueberries,” though it really takes a hit when baked, wiping out over two-thirds, whereas microwaving or boiling was comparatively much gentler. The same with the rest of the sweet potato. Baking can cause an 80% drop in vitamin A levels—twice as much as boiling. So, “from a nutritional standpoint, boiling rather than baking can be recommended for sweet potato cooking.”

Boiling may be best, but sweet potatoes are so incredibly healthy, the best way to prepare them is whichever way will get you to eat the most of them—with the exception of deep frying, which can lead to the formation of acrylamide, a potential human carcinogen.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Jim Hickcox and Alpha via flickr

Doctor's Note

Next up in our Flashback Friday series: Sweet potatoes are cheap, healthy, nutrient powerhouses—check out Anticancer Potential of Sweet Potato Proteins. What if most of what you ate was sweet potatoes? Find out in my video The Okinawa Diet: Living to Be 100.

What about cooking methods for other vegetables? See Best Cooking Method.

Want more information about acrylamide, the potential crispy carb carcinogen? See Cancer Risk from French Fries. And, for why deep frying, in general, might not be good, see Deep-Frying Toxins and Carcinogens in the Smell of Frying Bacon.

Since this video first aired, I’ve got some more cooking method videos:

And how about a bonus recipe? Yum: Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Balsamic Glaze.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

117 responses to “Flashback Friday: The Best Way to Cook Sweet Potatoes

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  1. Bye bye sweet potato fries
    Hello pressure cooked
    Pressure cooking is new to us , however almost any vegetable seems to taste better pressure cooked .
    Maybe one day as time permits , pressure cooked foods will be covered .

    1. mrmpinkerton, I bought an electric pressure cooker (an Instant Pot) more than a year ago, and it has changed my life! I eat way more beans, as pot beans and in soups and stews, etc. Whole grains are so easy! And I’ve cooked several different vegetables and fruits in it (apples and cinnamon, pureed after cooking, make a delicious apple sauce, with no added sugar — or anything else other than the cinnamon). But so far, I’ve only pressure cooked sweet potatoes in soups and stews, since I like whole roasted sweet potatoes so much. I hope you try pressure cooking.

      1. I have been pressure cooking since the 1970’s. One trick for potatoes is to bring the pot up to pressure, then remove from heat and allow to cool until the pressure drops back down. Remember that whatever you are cooking is in water hotter than boiling as long as it is under pressure.

  2. Ahh, good ole sweet potatoes … one of my favorite foods which I eat in one form or another every day. Recently, I have been been blending the cooked SP into a thick puree and using it as a dip for sugar-snap peas instead of commercial hummus, which has way too much refined oil in it!

    1. WFPB-Hal, I make my own hummus, oil and salt-free! It’s very easy in a food processor. I freeze it in batches, so it lasts a while. Plus, I cook my chickpeas in my electric pressure cooker! They taste great straight from the pot when cooked in water with 2 bay leaves.

  3. Hi, I have found that pressure cooking sweet potatoes is kinda tricky. To long and they are mush.. I mean like 4 min and they are a gloppy mess with the skins still in tack. I like just a gently boil for about 15 min and then stick a knife in ’em to see if they are done. If they slide off easy your good. I throw in a 1/2 onion, ginger and turmeric and a pinch of salt…
    I also pick the sweet potato that is the heaviest for it’s size. It tells me it’s fresher cause it has more retained water from when it’s picked…
    Potatoes are interesting. Peal off the skin and bury it. Bury the sweet potato pulp. The skin will grow a new potato and the pulp will just rot. The pulpy starch is the fuel for the skin to grow a new potato. Don’t throw away the skin!! Ain’t mother nature grand!!
    mitch

      1. When eating raw (also Carrots) you lose out on the dramatic increase in Carotenoid bioavailability from boiling. And if you’re following Vegan diet, this is crucial to get enough to be converted to Vitamin A.

        Omnivores often boast about Preformed Vitamin A in meats and how Vegans can only get a 30:1 conversion resulting in A-deficiency. That’s nonsense.

        At a 6:1 (optimal) conversion ratio:
        1 Sweet Potato: 4000IU (28,000 before)
        1 Cup Carrot Juice: 4000IU (21,000 before)
        1 cup Swiss Chard: 1000IU (6,000 before)
        1 cup Turnip Greens: 1000IU (6,000 before)
        TOTAL 10,000IU Vitamin A

        So regarding my example above:
        10:1 conversion yields 6000IU
        15:1 conversion yields 4000IU
        20:1 conversion yields 3000IU
        30:1 conversion yields 2000IU

        Even the worst 30:1 conversion rate, vegans can still easily get 2000IU per day.

    1. Okay, you got my attention. I might have to experiment with trying to grow potatoes.

      Will it grow a new potato after being cooked? Or do I actually have to peel the potatoes first?

      Can you tear the skin in sections and have more than one potato grow?

      1. Hi Deb 23 weeks, I actually experimented with growing my own sweet potatoes! What I did was as follows:

        I took a regular ole store-bought sweet potato and let it sit in a warm room for about a month in the early spring (late March). After about one month, small roots started growing out of the “eyes” on the skin. I then cut the potato into small chunks, each chunk containing one eye with the little root. Planted the chunks into some potting soil and watered every day. After about a week or two, in early May, the small potato plants started growing! During it’s growth, I would pick a few of the leaves from each plant and put them in my green smoothie with other greens. At the end of the growing season (late September) I had a few edible sweet potatoes! The experiment worked, but I didn’t plant very many, so had to supplement with store bought ones throughout the rest of the year.

    2. Thanks for the interesting tip. Btw what about steaming sweet potatoes? Isn’t that the best way to prepare them (also vegetables) To my knowledge the minerals get lost in the water if you boil them in plain water.

  4. It does depend on your goals. I’m not much worried about antioxidents and carotenoids because I also eat tons of leafy greens etc. Also, not much worried about glycemic index because being lean and exercising daily, my blood sugar does not spike much unless I eat something really stupid which I pretty much never do. Sooooo, I cook my sweet potatoes for flavor. And you can’t beat slow slow roasted. I mostly use my crockpot dry, like a low temperature oven. It takes a couple hours to reach its top, stabilized temp of 250 F. The enzymes in sweet potatoes that convert the starch to sugar have a specific temperature range they work in and the slow bake maximizes that effect. I bake until they are super soft and taste like candy. YUM! Better still, after they’re done, let them cool, slice about 1/4″ thick, spread on baking sheet, and bake at 450-500F until they just start to turn golden on the edges. NB: This only works on the dryer varieties like Japanese, Jersey White, etc.

    1. ” I mostly use my crockpot dry, like a low temperature oven. It takes a couple hours to reach its top, stabilized temp of 250 F. ”

      Geoff, what a great idea!!! Is that on low or high?? How do you know when they are done??
      I wonder if they will work on the purple sweet potatoes… Hummmm stick a few cloves in them?
      mitch

      1. Works perfectly with purple ones! I use HIGH setting. LOW works fine but takes a lot longer for no benefit. They end up stabilizing at same 250F just the LOW setting takes about 2X as long to get there. To tell if done, “Stick a fork in it….” Seriously, fork or finger pressure. I cook until super soft, need to be careful picking them up because the skin sort of tends to slide off under very light pressure.

        1. Okay, I wonder about the whole browning thing.

          I feel like I have a Ghost Busters can we cross the streams and brown things, just because they are vegetables or does that enter the whole AGE issues or whatever it is called?

          I stopped grilling and roasting because of that.

    1. I wouldn’t say that about Yams. Could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure sweet potatoes are much higher in Beta-Carotene and Yams are much more Starchy.

      1. Yes, yams, if you can even find one, have minimal carotenoids, they are pretty much pure white inside, and very starchy. Big city Asian groceries are about only place you’re likely to ever see one.

    2. Veggivet, I thought the ones picture are yams. I will have to look it up but I thought sweet potatoes was the category, and there are various types (colors) within it… I call the whiter colored ones sweet potatoes, the orange ones yams (like garnet and jewel varieties), and then purple sweet potatoes. I like roasting cubes of yams to use on salads.

      1. Those are all sweet potatoes (*Ipomoea batatas).* Yams are brown outside, white inside and verrrrry starchy (Dioscoreaceae *Dioscorea ), *The two are not related except that both are tubers and grow underground.

          1. Most people reading this have never tasted an actual yam. The truth is what you’ve been calling a yam is most likely a sweet potato. A true yam is a starchy edible root of the Dioscorea genus, and is generally imported to America from the Caribbean. It is rough and scaly and very low in beta carotene. Depending on the variety, sweet potato flesh can vary from white to orange and even purple. The orange-fleshed variety was introduced to the United States several decades ago. In order to distinguish it from the white variety everyone was accustomed to, producers and shippers chose the English form of the African word “nyami” and labeled them “yams.” Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires labels with the term ‘yam’ to be accompanied by the term ‘sweet potato.’ Despite the label regulations, most people still think of sweet potatoes as yams regardless of their true identity.

            1. Hi Jimbo, thanks for the comment. Yes, it is good to distinguish between sweet potato and yam. Sweet potato belongs to plants while yams — not wild yam — are actually related to lilies and grasses.Yes, sweet potatoes are thought to have originated in Central and South America while yams are native to Africa and Asia.

              There are also some significant differences in the appearance of the yam vs. sweet potato as well. Sweet potatoes have tapered ends with smoother skin and color range of white to orange and purple. Yams, on the other hand, have rough skin and are typically white-fleshed and cylindrical. Yams are also more starchy and dry without the hint of sweetness found in sweet potatoes.

              Yam is higher in calories, carbohydrates and fiber but slightly lower in protein than sweet potatoes. Yams also contain a good amount of vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and manganese but are not as nutrient-dense as sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes contain a good amount of fiber as well as vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese and several other vitamins and minerals.

              Full Report (All Nutrients): 11508, Sweet potato, cooked, baked in skin, flesh, without salt

              1. Thanks for your thorough explanation, spring03. I didn’t know the difference between sweeties & yams. Going by what’s labeled at the supermarket, I thought they were interchangeable.

              2. Hi Spring 03, Thank you for your clarification of sweet potatoes and yams. Now I am wondering what variety did the Okinawans eat in their traditional diet, sweet potatoes or yams?

                Dr G, in one of his previous videos, said almost 70% of their diet consisted of sweet potatoes : ” The Okinawan diet was centered around purple and orange sweet potatoes ”

                https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-okinawa-diet-living-to-100/

                Does anyone know how those sweet potatoes that the Okinawans ate compare to the ones we find in current typical USA grocery stores?

                1. Okinawans ate sweet potatoes not yams. True yams, disocorea, are tropical and sub tropical, Okinawa I think much too cold for them. There are dozens if not hundreds of sweet potato varieties that vary in color, flavor, texture, and climate range. No idea exactly what they ate but pretty certain it wasn’t Garnets or Jewels wink-wink

                2. Hi WFPB-Hal, where I live we get imported Okinawan sweet potatoes.
                  They are tan on the outside, purple and white mixed flesh. But they turn totally purple when cooked. The cooking water is a deep green though.
                  They are more fibrous, take a bit longer to cook than US ones. But they taste pretty much like US purples.

          2. Thanks for the pic Geoffrey! Wow, I’ve never seen one – What they label yams here are the varieties with deep orange flesh and smooth reddish brown skins that bubble up sticky sweet juices when roasted whole. So now I know better!

      2. Nope, except for some ethnic groceries, most people will never run across a true yam. Down here in the south we can grow both and they are very different, a yam can grow bigger than a basketball and is more starchy. Sweet potatoes are one of the few crops that grow well in summers here, and as a bonus the leaves make a nutritious, if bland, green.

        I was recently equally confused when I bought a few small round veggies labeled as turnips out of curiosity. Growing up we always had “nasty” mashed turnips at Thanksgiving, and the kids would never eat them. But because mom would spend hours peeling off the heavy wax coating and trying to chop the big ugly tough suckers into chunks, I always at least took a spoonful. Anyway, I was kind of conflicted to learn at my age (66) that for all those years I was actually eating rutabagas not turnips! And turnips are actually decent in soup. MInd blown…it doesn’t take much! lol

        1. I like turnips sliced thin and raw, as well as in soups. Ditto sweet potatoes. I’m guessing from the video that raw is not as good because the fiber isn’t broken down.
          Love the purple ones steamed. They tend to be more fibrous and not good raw.
          Never met a veggie I don’t like.

        2. I think the term ‘rutabaga’ is a mangled Anglicised version of the Swedish word for these vegetables. Outside the US and Canada, they are usually called Swedish turnips or, more commonly, swedes although the terms yellow turnip and neep are also used. So there is a reason why these and turnips are often confused.

          I’ve always called them swedes.

      3. Barb,

        Whole Foods and other markets call Sweet Potatoes Yams.

        “The term “yam” is now more of a marketing term for producers to distinguish between the two types of sweet potatoes.
        Most vegetables labeled as a “yam” in US supermarkets are actually just a variety of sweet potato.

        When you are asking “How about yams?” and you mean the yams sold in the grocery store, YES, they count because they are actually sweet potatoes, so you can still buy them.

        1. Deb, this is the case in all my local supermarkets. They use them interchangeably as a marketing ploy. I wonder what life would be without marketing ploys. I imagine there would be a lot less confusion. And we’d all be a lot healthier.

  5. Love, love, love these Flashback Fridays! I feel like I am catching up on all the great news!

    A proud and healthy monthly supporter of Nutritionfacts.org

  6. Poke it with a fork, 5 min in microwave on high. Let cool then enjoy skin and all! I do this almost daily year round. Prefer medium sized potatoes not the huge ones.

  7. Funny, I had sweet potatoes in my breakfast this very morning–before seeing any video.

    But I eat “oddly” anyway according to everyone who knows not the great new health movement, and have for going on 4 years now.

  8. Thanks Doc, everyday I love listening to your research videos, which are very educational.

    Today’s topic, “Flashback Friday: The Best Way to Cook Sweet Potatoes” is one such video, however, it left hanging in the air for me a question: –

    I believe the best way to cook cruciferous vegetables like brocolli and caluiflower is to steam them, but your video doesn’t cover this in any detail.

    I’d love to see some research into comparing boiling sweet potatos with steaming them. You say boiling is best, but why?

    Looking forward to hearing from you on this topic in the near future!

    1. Kiwilander, I think you need to watch the video again because he explains why. Sometimes I need to watch the videos a couple of times to get it all.

      1. Oeps sorry for my remark, I missed the info. But many researches claim that when you boil your veggies in water, the minerals get lost in that water.

    2. Steam is much hotter than boiling water. At room temp and pressure, boiling water does not exceed about 100C depending on the amount of dissolved solutes like salt. Steam has no limit up to the point that it forms plasma. The higher the heat, the more toxic acrylamide is formed. This study discusses it:

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22950636

      Dr. Ben

  9. Good to know and comforting that “the best way to prepare them is whichever way will get you to eat the most of them”! Delicious when roasted and sprinkled afterwards with a mixture of olive oil, fresh garlic and rosemary, pepper and a very little salt. Thanks for the tip of the healthy purple potatoes, didn’t know they existed until I found them in a Chinese shop recently. Only SP and PP here now. The good old delicious whites, on which many survived in the past (van Gogh’s potatoe eaters) seem to be passé?

  10. everybody is missing the most desirable and nutritious way to cook and protect the sweet potato nutrients
    Its very simple cut them up, cook them in sesame oil and cinnamon for 8 hours at 125 *
    No loss of nutrients at that temp. You could get in the oven at that temp and sun bathe if you want.

    1. Michael Lawson, I am sure that your potatoes are good, but sccording to this video, baking as opposed to boiling loses nutrients. Many years ago, I used use a few drops of olive oil, but dropped consumption of ALL oils since learning about whole food plant based eating. Here Dr Greger tells us why oil + carbohydrate or protein is a very bad idea.

      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/acrylamide-in-french-fries-2/

      Here, Dr Greger gives us an overview on the topic of oils and why many of us in the wb community choose to go sos ie salt, oil, sugar free. There are many videos listed too where you can see why oils are not a healthy addition to our diet.

      https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/oils/

      I have found though that i can chop sweet potatoes (or cauliflower) into cubes and they retain enough moisture from washing to coat them with my chosen masala spices. I have never missed the oil I threw out years ago. The potatoes are delicious!

      1. Barb, what are your “chosen masala spices” for your cauliflower & sweet potato cubes?Would love to know, as I’m always experimenting.

        1. hey Nancy, well depends on what I am using the cauliflower, potatoes or squash cubes for, but I might just combine half tsp each of chili powder, tumeric or curry powder, some black pepper and maybe some cumin if I want a bit of earthy flavour. You could try a bit of ancho chili powder and cumin or oregano to go on another flavour direction. I just toss the spice powder mixture with the damp vegies, then put them on a metal baking tray or pan and bake til done.

    1. hi Bebe, Dr Greger tells us (2nd paragraph from the bottom on the written “transcripts” of today’s video) that the skin has 10 times the antioxidants of the flesh. The skin is comparable to blueberries in antioxidant power.

  11. I just bought an air fryer. Can’t wait to make no oil sweet potato fries!
    Thanks for digging this one up again from the archives Dr. G – good one!

    1. I made them this week. They are fabulous! Need to spend some time to find other things to use the air fryer for. In the recipe book, it’s mostly meats.

  12. I was told not to eat sweet potatoes because I had a bout of kidney stones. The kidney stones were the oxalate variety. I’m sure I got them from overdoing high protein vegan shakes. I’ve been vegan for a long time. Any suggestions? I love sweet potatoes!

    1. I believe that last time this topic came up, the answer was to up your intake of water and eat phytates.

      Oxalate is a component of calcium oxalate kidney stones, whereas phytate is an inhibitor of calcium kidney stone formation.

      1. I just read that drinking lemonade or using lemon juice could slow it.

        “Lemons have the highest concentration of citrate – a natural inhibitor of kidney stone formation – of any citrus fruit. In a recent study conducted by Sur, lemonade therapy – drinking four ounces of reconstituted lemon juice in two liters of water per day – was shown to decrease the rate of stone formation from 1.00 to 0.13 stones per patient.”

  13. This is completely off-topic but people – especially enthusiastic exercisers – may find it interesting nonetheless. I came across it earlier today.

    ‘ Consuming just one energy drink was associated with acute, significant impairment in endothelial function of young, healthy adults in findings from a new study.
    “Our study provides further evidence of potential harms with energy drinks,” lead author John Higgins, MD, McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in Houston, Texas, told Medscape Medical News.
    “We found an approximately 50% reduction in the arteries’ ability to dilate,” Higgens said. “Our subjects weren’t doing any physical activity, but many people consume energy drinks before they exercise and during exercise, and it is critical that arteries dilate properly to deliver the increased demands of oxygen to the brain, heart, and muscles.”‘
    https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/904972?src=wnl_edit_tpal&uac=129079FG&impID=1803339&faf=1

    Dr Greger has noted previously that these drinks also appear to increase resting blood pressure
    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/are-there-benefits-of-energy-drinks/
    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/are-there-risks-to-energy-drinks/

    1. Tom,

      As always, you add to the conversations of the day.

      I just finished playing the floor is lava and backward beachball toss for a half hour with an 8-year-old.

      Before that, we did playdough food and she decided that I was her child and she was only going to serve me cookies and cupcakes and I cried “Child abuse” and she laughed and found a beaded ear of corn we made last year around Thanksgiving. Well, I guess I will have to settle for GMO corn if that is all my 8-year old mother gives me.

  14. I am laughing, I had talked about trying to do WFPB with my dog on the McDougall site, but when I posted an update that he was still alive, but that I was doing a water fast with him, I got permanently banned for talking about a subject other than McDougall. Funny, you can’t even post answers to people’s questions, even if the first comments were in line with their program. I didn’t know it wasn’t in line with what they were doing because I had watched Dr. McDougall’s conference with Dr. Goldhamer as how I learned what he was doing. That fascinates me. Me mentioning a McDougall conference wasn’t close enough on topic and I got banned permanently. I could see if I was totally off topic, but I was just updating his condition and it was a conference with them that I had watched which had inspired me. I just am fascinated that you don’t have to do anything inflammatory or go anti-McDougall or anti-vegan.

    I honestly am such a flexible person who has conversations with people that I don’t even understand that type of hard-handed interaction at all.

    I really didn’t ever post anything else on their site and I already got banned my first comment and permanently banned now, so I won’t be back, but someone had responded and I wanted to answer them, but they are probably getting banned for commenting, too.

    1. Deb, we are in the same club. I got banned because a post I made was next to a post by someone who was being a troll and agitator. HAH! I wrote an email to HQ complaining and was reinstated eventually but no apology and my previous 2+ years of posts with diet diaries, problems, solutions, etc was all gone forever.

  15. Dr. Greger,

    If you don’t enjoy having people hang out here hijacking the topics left and right, could you give us a clue in one of the blog posts or something?

    You are such a sweet man and I know you could have blackballed the whole lot of us and still haven’t.

    I have done this process, including all the McDougall videos trying to learn, but I can just watch videos and not interact online and would be fine.

    I was watching videos and not really interacting with anyone online before I saw this funny, serene-faced, kind-eyed doctor who was doing the same process I was trying to do. I think it was your grandmother story, which got me to post my first comment. Anyway, I know that I am trying to learn the bigger picture and it made it hard to even know what I would have talked about at the McDougall site. I already know their foods and recipes. It is the conferences and talks, which interest me. I had just never met a vegan of any type and I can’t remember any other vegetarians other than a few junk food vegetarians from the film school in California. I laugh, because I am not so sure very many people on this site are even aiming for vegan, but I have been. I have missed it by a few slices of pizza and a coffee creamer and by Go Veggie lactose free being intermingled with the their vegan cheeze.

    Okay, I am moving on. I know I didn’t belong at McDougall’s site, but I still feel like I might not belong on the internet altogether. People are so hardened I guess is the word.

  16. I ended up crying. I am sorry that I have been doing this process here. I know that when I watched the Flashback Friday into last week that what flashed through my mind was the Alzheimer’s clocks. I genuinely thought I was interacting properly on McDougalls site and I only put maybe 5 comments there total, but here I have just been enjoying every second and interacting freely, but I know that I am trying to learn the bigger picture and have crossed so many boundaries here. Crying too hard to type now. I am sorry.

    1. Don’t be sorry Deb. You did nothing wrong. I have heard that many people have had problems with the McDougall site so you are not alone in being treated this way. Just think what Ron would have said about the McDougall site!

      Personally, I’ve never spent much time there because McDougall’s ego has always put me off – it’s McDougall this and McDougall that all the time.

    2. Dear, dear Deb….. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

      Let’s not forget you’re only “talking” to a machine….a thing called the internet. People have committed suicide because of what they perceived as hurtful things said about them via their FB page, or wherever. Good lord, girl, don’t become a statistic! :-(

      Abraham-Hicks would say, “What you think of me is none of my business.”

      Like Fumbles, I never hang out at that potato dude’s place.

      1. Deb, I’m sure many people have had your experience on that site.
        I agree, I find McDougall’s site offputting. Just went there sometimes for recipe ideas. But, in general, I find the recipes pretty boring.
        Inspired by Dr. Gregor I like plant variety. Have been going to an Asian food market. Buying one thing each time I’ve never had.
        First trip I picked these fresh looking greens. Came home and looked them up, found out their name meant foul smelling.
        They actually didn’t taste too bad. Lol!

        1. I actually like all of the doctors. Laughing, but they might not like me back.

          I am not perfect enough to make 10 comments on John McDougalls site without getting permanently banned. I guess the fact that I got banned for 5 days my first comment might have been instructive.

          The thing is that they put up all these categories to talk about and only want you to talk the McDougall diet itself and if people ask you questions you can’t answer them unless it is in the shape of a McDougall diet answer. You can’t even use the conferences or WFPB. It is like being on Jeopardy and getting the answers right but messing up on the putting them in the form of a question part.

          I value WFPB as a life saving effort and John has done much for that. He also has stood guard over some things like potatoes, which would have been entirely put in the junk food category if they didn’t develop recipes. I don’t eat them all that often, but People’s lives have been saved because of that wY of eatinb coming forward.

          I am upset with myself, but I know that I am emotional because I have had things happen like falling and hitting my head and like not being able to figure out the intro to the video and like almost killing my dog faster with meat because he stopped eating vegetables, but he is eating them again because peas and green beans and zucchini and spinach are better than water fasting. He ate second helpings today of the spinach, lentil and red rice baby food and one with peas and broccoli.

          1. Thank you all! You are all so sweet!

            You all made me feel better.

            I actually like John McDougall, but I needed a less rigid discussion format.

            I am grateful to Dr Greger or as some people call him Gregor or Gregory. He makes me laugh and I know that I have learned so much being allowed to have discussions here.

  17. If anybody has a sense of humor around here, you might enjoy a video by one of those carnies. He mimics some of the veganites very well, IMO — including their “enthusiasm.” Y’really can’t help but laugh at him. :-)

    Lonie (if you watch), take note that — like you — he raves about his offerings to his toilet bowl. It’s more toward the end.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfJmNx3DEVQ

  18. I’m heartbroken. To me there is nothing better than a baked sweet potato. Not microwaved or boiled. So why is the attached recipe for baked sweet potato? OOPS!

    1. haha watercress! funny! I dodn’t notice that until you mentioned it. In case readers want to know, under Doctor’s notes, Dr Greger offered this recipe link https://nutritionfacts.org/recipe/stuffed-sweet-potatoes-with-balsamic-date-glaze/ which is a recipe for baked sweet potatoes.

      Well watercress, if I make them at all I bake them but usually for the dog, not the family. I used to love them at holiday dinners, but pretty much ruined that custom with eating too many when we turned wfpb. Don’t know what to eat at Christmas or thanksgiving anymore. Any ideas?

        1. Thank you so much Bette! I enjoyed that video.. I know many people who imagine we suffer over cooked broccoli and boiled spuds most nights. They just don’t realise what a creative bunch vegans can be, and what incredible dishes you can make! I am willing to put some effort into holiday meals, .. just have to get the ideas flowing! ty again

    2. Laughing, yes, we have to eat the purple ones so that we get more antioxidants left over when we bake them.

      On the bright side the balsamic date glaze kicks minimarshmallows butt for healthier!

  19. I boil sweet potatoes whole in the skin, only cooking 2 or 3 at a time. I cover the pot, bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 to 45 min. If they are not the same size, I remove the fully cooked small ones, turn off the heat and leave the biggest covered in the hot cooking water for 30 minutes or longer.

    I use the leftover water to cook oat groats; sometimes it is sweet enough to sufficiently sweeten the oats, but if not, I’ll add some pitted Medjool dates to the the oat groats. No need to chop the dates, because they mostly dissolve while cooking in the oat groats, but finding a large piece of date in the oats is a sweet treat.

    1. Collagen is just animal protein, nothing special about it. There’s a lot of hype and flat out b.s. on the internet about its “magical properties” but as soon as it hits your stomach, the HCl and enzymes break it down into its constituent amino acids and it goes into the general pool of aminos in your blood stream. Collagen does not “make skin”; your body makes skin from amino acids (esp the sulfur containing ones), vitamin C, and a number of other nutrients. If your skin is cracking, you may more likely be omega fatty acid deficient. I had that problem from strictly following the very low fat vegan approach. Dry, cracked and itchy flakey skin, increasing allergies, increasing joint pain, all cleared up when I started supplementing EPA/DHA. Apparently I don’t convert well from the ALA in flax and chia. It did take several months for those symptoms to reverse and clear up, maybe 6 months total. But it only took a few weeks to notice a bit of improvement.

      About 1 1/2 years ago, my knees were giving me fits. I was afraid I was going to need replacement surgery on one of them. In desperation I tried eating collagen powder every day as suggested by the marketers and suckers. After several months, it had done nothing for my knees but I felt overall better, more energy, better recovery from exercise, etc. “Hmmmm…” says I, “Perhaps I just need a bit of animal protein? Dr Fuhrman says he estimates that about 1% of the population do need a small amount to really thrive and feel well.” And yes, I already tried taking carnitine and taurine supplements and they did nothing. So since then I’ve been eating about 2 oz of sardines or grass fed (or wild) elk, beef, or bison (I live in the Western Rockies and have easy availability). And it has made a very significant difference in my health.

      1. “I’ve been eating about 2 oz of sardines or grass fed (or wild) elk, beef, or bison”
        – – – – –

        May I ask how often you eat these foods? Thanks.

          1. Every day? Well methinks you’re a brave soul for posting here. :-)

            I agree that some of us do need a bit of animal protein in our diets; I too am one.

            1. All the research I’ve read seems to indicate that 5% or less of total calories is safe. Also, the main “demons” are IGF-1 and TMAO. I don’t know if you can test TMAO level but you can and I have tested IGF-1. Hunting around, best info I’ve found is that blood level of over 150 is where cancer risk really kicks up and below 70 you are at increasing risk for all sorts of degenerative diseases. After several months of eating my little doses of critter, I tested at 123 so I suspect that due to age or other metabolic factors, I was below the healthy range. My fanatic keto friend who is doing deep ketosis treating an aggressively metastasized brain tumor, keeps hers around 100 or a bit under. So I figure I’m good there. If someone wants to have a conniption about it that’s not my problem at all; my problem is being healthy and maximizing my healthy life span.

              1. “….eating my little doses of critter, ”

                :-) Awww! And I’m sure In The Higher Scheme of Things, they’re happy to be of service.

                1. I do have some discomfort at the killing but the truth is, life eats life.
                  Everything and everybody eats something and somebody else. We have a human centric bias but I read “The Secret Life Of Plants” about 100 years ago and I can hear the carrot scream when I pull it out of the garden. People are generally in great denial about what they eat and what it all means.
                  Kidding about the carrot but I will never eat factory meat or farmed fish.
                  Those are “off the table”. Every bit of “animal” I eat is either wild caught/hunted, or humanely 100% pasture raised locally on small family farms I have visited. Oh those poor widdle wabbits…. :(

                    1. Don’t get me started on “channeled material”. But yeah, the “vegan religion” is culturally driven. Tibetan Buddhists are often vegan or even vegetarian. I read some teacher discussing how it is better to eat beef than chicken because in that way, one life feeds many vs needing many lives to feed same number of people. Go figure, eh? To me, compassion is very important so least harm possible. But that also includes least harm to me so there’s a balance there. And that’s why no factory meat! Ever.

                      Increasingly as the years go by, I tend more and more to go by my own internal experience as opposed to the ever changing opinions and science.
                      Even science is a convenient story and what we “know” there is based on bell curve distributions of results. Far more often than I would prefer, I have been a bell curve outlier and paid a stiff price for not recognizing that in advance. While taking about 800 mcg/day of methylcobalamine (B12) in supplement, I became so deficient about 5 or 6 years ago that despite a heavy regime of 2000-4000 mcg/daily and a number of rounds several months each of bofentiamine, I still have some residual neuropathy/parasthesia in the soles of my feet. Grrrrr. Likely have some in my brain too which could explain a lot ;)

              2. Geoffrey

                From a health point of view, I don’t think that your diet is a problem. As you say, 5% of fewer calories is probably OK and it is certainly consistent with a WFPB diet. From memory, the Okinawan diet was about 6% of total calories from animal sources. Even out and out hebivores like gorillas, cattle etc etc may consume that amount from insects, grubs, insect eggs etc on the grasses, plants, foliage they eat..

                For ethical and environmental reasons, though, I choose to eat a completely vegetarian diet. In my opinion, however, this means either following a very well-planned vegetarian diet and/or taking supplements to meet B12, omega 3, iodine, selenium, zinc etc needs.

                1. That’s great Tom. Your ethics. My ethics include taking the best care of myself I possibly can. I felt like crap and was definitely at sub optimal function after 7 years 100% WFPB vegan. In the past I have gone long periods as vegetarian and vegan, over 20 years in one stretch, and was fine. Now at 69 that just was not working for me. If it works for you that’s grand. But I don’t belong to your church if you get my meaning, only my own.

    2. Vicks makes a really good humidifier. I have tried Dyson and Vornado and others, but Vicks made me and my skin happy. No cracked skin since I started humidifying each room.

      I also use moisturizers you can put on wet and don’t take showers every day. (That might be TMI, but some of us know the value of washing with a washcloth at the sink and even washing our hair in the sink in Winter.)

      Also you have to drink enough water. Some of us have coworker’s who look at our lips and tell us, “You are not hydrating properly.”

      1. The Vicks one I have is a great big cube and the water lasts for a long time. It was pretty cheap, too.

        If you can’t afford a humidifier, a crockpot is what I used to use. That worked, too. Honestly, you could make soup and humidify the air and make it warmer all at the same time, if you could do it leaving the cover open for hours.

        Humid air is warmer and saves money on your heating bills and on moisturizers.

          1. And if you decide to do that, put up a YouTube video of the pursuit of the Orange nose process and you might make a few pennies.

    1. Maybe you guys should not be on this string if you think eating animal protein is ok….How did all of this come up when it was all about sweet potatoes … Geeez .. I’m out of here

    2. “ANON, HAVE YOU SEARCHED ONLINE FOR YOUR ANSWER? THERE ARE SOURCES OTHER THAN DR. G., Y’KNOW.
      FOR INSTANCE: https://blog.kettleandfire.com/foods-with-collagen/

      Yeah right. People selling collagen products you mean.

      Sorry YR but that link is to pseudo scientific twaddle esigned to persuade people to buy overpriced (and unhealthful) products

      Dr Greger quotes scientific studies. That blog you linked to quotes ubiquitous on-line entrepeneur and marketer Axe and then invites people to buy products from its online store. Equating claims by people selling stuff – like that blog site and Axe – with the discussion and assessment of scientific studies found on this site sounds quite naive to me.

      My understanding is that all dietary collagen is broken down into amino acids in the gut. The body then manufactures collagen from dietary amino acids. You can get all the necessary amino acids from plant foods so all these claims about the benefits of dietary.collagen are so much hogwash. Which is why we never see any credible scientific studies demonstrating benefits from dietary collagen

      1. Fumbles, don’t you get a little tired being Mr. Know-It-All? It’s a given you will eschew almost any link somebody dares to post here.

        Does Dr. Fuhrman not sell products? I’ll say he does! And somehow or other I’m sure the other nutrition gurus are making out pretty well too….$$$-wise.

        1. Don’t you get a little tired of promoting internet marketers and obviously phoney books purportedly inspired by channelled enities? Not to mention astrological beliefs and other assorted New Age hooey?

          This is supposed to be a site about nutrition facts and the scientific studies of nutritional issues not random infomercials about bone broth that you happen to like. And what’s Fuhrman got to do with anything anyway?

            1. My November 14 in earlier thread:

              “And as Mercury is gearing up to turn retrograde in a couple of days, I suspect I will refrain from posting here until sometime later in December.
              Am afraid I’ll say something “fierce” — something I’ll regret. :-(”
              – – – – – –

              As indeed I did. I must apologize, Fumbles. Truth is, you ARE very knowledgeable about a lot of things; you should wear your “Mr. Know-it-All” label with pride. :-) It’s also true there are a lot of links that are just shlocky time-wasters, and you’re good at sniffing out the “who funded the research for this claim?”

              Okay, NOW I’ll vamoose! :-)

              P.S. I’ve never tasted bone broth.

              1. Thanks YR. I have a thick skin. In any case, I kind of enjoy ‘vigorous’ and ‘frank’ exchanges’ of opinion like this so don’t hold back. It’s a lot of fun if you don’t take it seriously.

                Yes, I am an opinionated motor-mouth but all these people on the internet selling stuff do irritate me. It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t think they were promoting ill-health in pursuit of a quick buck. As for all those channelling books – Seth, Ramtha etc – I just think that the authors are very skilled practitioners of PT Barnum’s business philosophy.

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