Please, do not follow what is written here without first consulting a doctor.
Also, do not confuse this with the nutritarian program. This is called a mono-diet, but it is not a diet in the common term. This is a body hack. It is effective, but does not replace a nutritious eating program. I submit it because I tried it and it worked. I am not a doctor.
Please consult a doctor before following what is offered here.
It seemed crazy, unhealthy, and undoable. For two days, I would fast, drinking only water. Then for the next fourteen days I would eat only one thing: potatoes.
It also seemed contradictory. Potatoes make the list of foods to eat only sparingly. Why eat them and only them?
Because this wasn’t about weight loss. This was about getting my thoughts and feelings about food adjusted. I like to call it rebooting my food brain. This included changing how it tastes.
I hear over and over complaints about this or that plant and how people just don’t enjoy the WFPB (whole food plant based) diet. Moreover, I voiced those complaints. I have since discovered that you can pretty much learn to like, or at least tolerate any food. Even better, you can change how this food tastes.
What if you found out broccoli is actually sweet. What if bok choy can be eaten as a snack without anything else? What if celery didn’t require a cup of ranch dressing or a jar of peanut butter or cheez wiz to enjoy?
How It Works
When people start on the six week Eat To Live transitioning program, they face two major obstacles: The feelings of withdrawal as the body detoxifies, and learning to like food previously enjoyed only after covered in salt, cheese, butter, and gravy.
The mono-diet adresses this. It accelerates the cruddy feelings so I am past them in a few days. I don’t spend two weeks feeling like it’s the eating equivalent of an ultramarathon. If I do the water only fast, I am done dealing with physiological adjustments by day three or earlier.
The mono-diet resets flavor sensors so that I when I take my first bite of any vegetable, I am tasting something completely new and wonderful. It puts me on the fast track to plant food adaptation.
The potato works as the mono-diet food because:
- It has enough food energy to sustain you throughout the day.
- It has resistant starches to help you feel satisfied as you make the transition.
- It’s easy to cook.
- It is the perfect plain food. It’s not too bland, or bitter, or sweet. It’s simple. It’s probably the reason it is such a common side dish to meals. It works with everything.
The Mono-Diet Plan
The plan is simple, but the rules are strict. It is not a place where you “fudge a little.” It’s very temporary and so following it is very achievable. We don’t do this to lose weight, we do this to change our perspective on plant food. Changes to these rules prevent the reboot from taking place.
- For the first 48 hours, eat nothing, and drink only water.
- For the following fouteen days, drink only water and eat only potatoes.
- You must eat the whole potato; the skin, the flesh, and the water.
- No toppings are allowed. No butter, sour cream, bacon bits, salt, pepper, or other spices or seasonings. Not even healthy foods are allowed. You eat the potato, the entire potato and only the potato.
- There are no limits to the quantity.
- There are no limits in the variety. Even sweet potatoes and yams are allowed. Reds, whites, goldens, fingerlings, and russets are all good.
- They can be steamed, boiled, baked, or microwaved. You can roast them provided no oils, fats, seasoning, or any other additions are used. They can be mashed, but without butter or milk or other added items. They cannot be fried in any way as this adds oil and removes the water.
- You must eat the WHOLE potato; skin, flesh, water. Yes, it bears repeating.
I started on a Friday, having a standard five day work week. This got me through the water only fast with little distraction while working.
By the second day of the fast, I felt lethargic, but capable. Still, I didn’t schedule major weekend projects, I mowed the lawn and that’s about it. I’ll be feeling cruddy and grumpy near the last half of this day.
I ended the fast with a big, huge, enormous pot of potatoes. It was the best pot of potatoes I have ever tasted.
As day three starts, I’ll still feel a little off, but not terribly bad. I made it through still feeling not great, but not as horrible as most detoxes. I have made it through the toughest days.
I ate potatoes, the remaining 13 days. I mostly microwaved them. They are one of the few plants that microwaves well and easily. Just poke some holes in the skin and pop it in and turn it on.
At times, I tired of the potato. But I learned even here about differences in flavor and texture. Sweet potatoes became my evening dessert. I used to never eat them without some marshmallow and brown sugar topping. Now they were dessert, not a pre-sweetened side dish.
I also realized the difference between hunger and cravings. Dr. Fuhrman talks about this in his book. The potato has properties that manage the cravings. I noticed the craving, but it did not overtake me. If I delayed responding to the cravings for 15 – 30 minutes, they went away.
I ended of the two week mono-diet, with a dish of steamed cabbage and broccoli without seasoning. The flavors I tasted were wonderful and shocking. I had no idea food tasted like that. I had awakened to a sense of taste and flavor that continues to this day. It worked! I gained a completely different perspective on plant based foods.
I have since repeated this process just because felt I was getting too far off track on my eating program. I had the exact same experience the second time, only easier. I have since decided to do this mono-diet twice a year just to recalibrate my food brain.
Many will decry this as unhealthy and possibly dangerous. I therefore reiterate that you consult your doctor.
However, barring any serious sickness that is affecting one’s current health or requires a very specialized diet such as diabetes, Crohn’s disease, cancer, and so on, I don’t think two weeks of any one food constitutes any long term harm or danger. Remember you are doing this for only one reason, to reboot your food brain. It’s temporary; I believe the body can handle it. At least, mine did.
I learned about this from Penn Jillette in his book Presto! Penn credits Ray Cronise. Since this time, many articles have come out talking about the diet and condemning it. All of them make the presumption either in the article or in the title that the single food is the living plan. It is not. This is a body hack, a way to get on the right track quicker and stay there longer. It is radical and a single food is not sustainable in the long run. I know that, Penn knows that, and Ray knows that. Penn did not lose weight on a potato diet. He lost weight on the strictest version of a nutritarian diet. My six week plan was not as strict as Penn’s. I did not lose as much weight, nor did I need to. I followed Fuhrman’s Eat To Live plan. I do not believe I would have been able to stay with it without the mono-diet hack.
The two day, water only fast was done on my own volition. I was neither written nor recommended anywhere outside of my own personal experiences.