Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and for many, that means mashed potatoes! My mom is coming for a visit this Thanksgiving (weather permitting), and she recently asked me if I wanted her to make her cheesy mashed potatoes. Unfortunately, I don’t eat any of the foods that are in that delicious recipe, so no mashed potatoes for me this Thanksgiving. However, it got me to thinking what would be a good replacement for this favorite holiday dish!
Before getting into replacement options, first a little explanation about why I avoid potatoes (especially if they’ve been peeled, which is what mashed potatoes calls for). Potatoes do have nutritious components, such as B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, and some excellent minerals, but they also have undesirable qualities that make them less healthy than we’ve all come to believe.
1.) Potatoes are as close to a pure, refined starch as you can get without actually refining it, so as soon as we start to digest these spuds, we break them down into sugar. When this happens, we have a refined simple carb, which is responsible for increasing abdominal fat, promoting weight gain, and setting the stage for type 2 diabetes. Because of all this, eating potatoes can cause your insulin to spike, which spells disaster for someone suffering from diabetes or for someone trying to manage their weight.
2.) Most of the nutrients in a potato are found in the skin, so if you are making mashed potatoes, or a recipe that calls for removing the skin, you are basically just eating straight sugar. In terms of sugar intake, a single serving of potatoes is worse for you than a 12-oz. can of Coke!
3.) Potatoes are also slightly toxic. Potato skins contain saponins, a toxin which can cause digestive problems if you eat it in quantity. Cooking potatoes gets rid of most of the saponins, but in general, if you have leaky-gut problems you should try to avoid eating potatoes.
4.) Potatoes are strongly inflammatory. A 1/2 cup serving of mashed potatoes has an inflammation factor of -69 (If you are unfamiliar with inflammation ratings, a rating of -69 is NOT good). Potatoes are also a nightshade vegetable which can cause issues with individuals who have arthritis or other inflammatory conditions.
Before going on, I definitely need to mention that I am not talking about sweet potatoes here. Sweet potatoes have all the nutrients of a regular potato, but they have a much better carbohydrate profile and are much better for you! Sweet potatoes are also actually pretty strongly anti-inflammatory, making these a much better choice to include in your diet.
So, as you can see, potatoes aren’t necessarily the worst thing in the world, but in general, I avoid them as there are much healthier alternatives.
Okay, so after talking with my mom, I started to think of alternatives, and I went onto Pinterest and found this pin.
Rutabagas!!! Yes, I love these guys! I have a great recipe for Rutabaga fries (I also list many of the health benefits of rutabagas in this post), so it is only natural that these would be a perfect alternative for another recipe where potatoes are traditionally used. The above pin links to a recipe for mashed rutabaga with sour cream, butter, and dill. I changed it up to make it even healthier, and the result was magnificent!
My recipe is for mashed rutabagas with plain greek yogurt and chives (tastes a lot like a sour cream and chive baked potato!), but you can add anything you would like to the recipe to make it your own. Add your favorite cheese, herbs, topping, etc. to make an extremely healthy Thanksgiving side dish! You won’t be disappointed!
Alright, so here’s the recipe! It’s super easy, and SO good for you!
MASHED RUTABAGA WITH PLAIN YOGURT AND CHIVES
Ingredients: makes 2 large servings
- 1 large rutabaga
- 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1-2 Tbsp. chives
- sea salt and pepper to taste
1.) Clean, peel, and chop the rutabaga into small chunks. Place in a large sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and let boil for 30-40 minutes until the rutabaga is tender.
2.) When the rutabaga is tender, drain and then return the rutabaga to the pan, and use a masher to mash the rutabaga.
3.) Once mashed to desired consistency, stir in the olive oil, yogurt and chives. Mix well, then serve.
You gotta give these a try! They are delicious, and a great healthy alternative to mashed potatoes! Enjoy! 🙂