The Power of Potatoes

Because of Diet books and so on, people have become so afraid to eat potatoes. This puzzled me…something that is grown from the earth being bad for us? And in truth, maybe if they are deep fried, or whatever else, they can be bad…but that could be said for anything, correct? Regardless, I set out to find the truth about potatoes…something that became the diet of many of our pioneer and rural ancestors because they are so hearty and filling. In fact, I bet that potatoes could have taken the place of meat when it wasn’t available.

Part of the Nightshade Family (Eggplants, Tomato, etc).

Medical Purposes: Back & abdomen pain, gastrointestinal problems, arthritis, wounds, skin inflammations, boils, muscle and general pain.

The potato came to Europe by way of the Spanish sometime in the 1500’s. However, it really didn’t take off and find itself a common place on people’s plates until the 1800’s.

Did you know that potatoes contain something called Atropine or Astropine? It can be deadly stuff if you were to take large amounts. But in small doses (such as what you will eat in potatoes), it helps gastrointestinal pains and cramping. Potatoes can also be useful if applied externally, for muscle pains, skin problems, and even boils. I had a cousin that used to get boils all the time when he was little. In order to draw them to a head, my Grandmother would peel a thick piece of skin off a potato. She’d place it over the boil keeping it in place with some sort of homemade bandage before he went to bed and by the next morning, the soreness was drawn out of the boil, and it was ready to drain.

Have you ever went to a restaurant and were served mashed potatoes with the red skins? I made that once and one of my in-laws looked at me as if I was off my rocker (or too lazy to peel the tators). But to be honest, that’s one of the healthiest ways to eat a potato by whatever means—by cooking them in their skins.

Potatoes also have alkaline juices, which are famous for neutralizing stomach acids, curing stomach pains, heartburn, and peptic ulcers. You can use compresses of Warm Potatoes for joint and muscle pains, and improving circulation. By using raw, you can cure itching and skin inflammations.

Potatoes contain: Complex Carbohydrates, Fiber, Protein, Potassium, Niacin, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Vitamins A, B-complex, and C. It’s best to eat the skin of the potato when possible, or if you can’t peel as thinly as you can because the main bit of vitamins are underneath.

My Grandma would fry potatoes with their skin along with sliced onions and sometimes a Green Pepper. (Depending if the garden was in) When we were young, she’d add some cheese to it but used to insist we eat the fried potatoes because in her words, "they will keep you from getting sick!"

Recipes

*Drinking Potato water can cleanse the intestines and reduce acid. Prepare by washing and dicing up a large potato. Steep it overnight in 1 cup of water after adding a pinch of sea salt. Strain and drink in the mornings before eating anything else for a few weeks.

*Doing a two day fast, eating nothing but potatoes can rid the body of excess fluids, toxins, and waste. It can also purify the blood. The cure calls for eating one baked potato, skin and all, (with nothing on it) five times a day for the total of two days. This can also help with gout and arthritis because of the alkaline properties, which will in turn bind uric acids and remove them from the body.

*To relieve gallbladder problems and help the liver to remove waste and toxins, make a tea with potatoes. Peel one large potato, and boil with the skin in 1 cup of water for a total of 5 minutes. Strain and drink.

Resources:

The Complete Guide to Natural Healing

(Note: They have a great deal on this book with tons of free stuff if you order)

Wikipedia

Health Benefits of Potatoes

FREE PDF Potato Nutritional Handbook

Healthy Potato Recipes:

Healthy Potato Recipe Collection

The Goodness of Potatoes Unearthed

Food, feasting, celebrating, staying alive…

Food is an essential part of everyday life, a focus at festivals, and a significant ethical consideration. How we handle food day to day can have huge effects on family life, and spiritual expression.

What do we buy? Producing food has huge environmental impact. Do you source locally when you can? Free range? Does meat feature in your diet? Do you think about food miles? (the drive to and from the supermarket causes the most damage in this regard). How healthy is your diet? Do you make food from scratch, or buy pre-pre-prepared? All of these issues represent ethical dilemmas around food and family.

I’m not suggesting there are any right answers, but, here are a few things to mull. Good diet significantly contributes to good health. Whatever else you do or don’t eat, getting plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables on your plate is good for you. Eating together is a powerful, bonding activity. It creates opportunities to talk, and listen, and reinforces bonds. There is a quote (no idea where from) that goes ‘families who eat together and pray together, stay together’.

There’s a trend in western culture towards fragmented eating, individuals foraging from fridge or freezer to re-heat in microwaves, eating alone and around other activities. Good food, and the sharing of it, is life enhancing. If it’s not viable to do all the time, there’s still much to be said for trying to do it as often as you can. Making good food is an expression of care for your tribe, and an act of creativity. Those who put in the time and effort, should be honoured for their generosity. If someone makes a cake for your ritual, that’s something to celebrate and praise. If someone other than you does the cooking, make sure their work is fully acknowledged. Meal making is important, don’t take it for granted! There is fun to be had in making good food, and it is something that can be shared. If you want to teach children about nutrition and food ethics, nothing beats getting them into the kitchen.

Western culture pushes us towards living faster, doing less for ourselves, and perceiving less value in traditional skills. There is nobility in self sufficiency. There is magic in the rising of a loaf, the crafting of a banquet. ‘Ease’ and ‘convenience’ are seldom satisfying, and pre-made food, whacked into the microwave may keep your body moving, but it will not feed your soul. If you let food be an active expression of your paganism, it will have significant positive effects on you, and those around you.

Bryn Colvin

www.brynneth.org.uk