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Podcast #3 – Tim Steele Talks The Potato Hack And His Book By No Other Name – Weight Loss Simplified

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While my first interview podcast, #2, had to be with my favorite podcaster, Angelo Coppola, my second had to be with a gentleman with so much influence over me that beginning a little over three years ago he single-handedly changed the direction of this blog.

Blame Tatertot!

He played it well. Me being an ex-Navy officer and him, an ex-Air Force Chief Master Seargent, the highest rank one can attain, I suspect he knew or had a hint that while I’ve seen many officers advance through underhanded political maneuvers, such is not common for the enlisted ranks. Senior enlisted are far more important than senior officers. Anyway, he had immediate Carte Blanche with me and has never disappointed me in gram weight, ever.

It was over three years ago that he dropped a hot potato on this doorstep, and while it hasn’t always been tossing from hand to hand, it’s been pretty prominent, and the resistant starch threads were only just step two. Resistant starch is settled, regarding its benefits. What remains is how people can use potatoes, a whole food highest in resistant starch, can work magic for you.

So listen in, and get his book.

In the podcast, we cover:

  • His background and how he got unhealthy and overweight
  • His VegetablePharm blog
  • His book website, The PotatoHack
  • How various diets—be they low carb, low fat, calorie counting or whatever—get completely washed away with a potato hack
  • How potatoes and other simple and plain foods reset hunger and satiation impulses
  • Alternatives to potatoes, for those who can’t handle them
  • And much more

In the first segment of the show, I give a review of various posts since the last podcast. After the interview, I wax a little poor peasant diet, integrated with geopolitics and heavier wallets. You’ll want to hear the added brilliance.


A note on sound quality. Believe me that I want to make this deal something you want to listen to. I’m a do-it-yourselfer, and while that has limits, I think this is something I can handle. I enjoy it. That said, I’m learning as I go. Of primary importance was getting all pieces in place without worrying too much about sound quality, so long as you can hear it. So, now I’m working on that. Unfortunately, I’d already uploaded the podcast to Soundcloud, which also feeds to iTunes, before I got wind of a tool that levels out various volume issues. So, moving forward, that will always be in play but for this time that enhancement only applies to the YouTube version.

It’s now up in iTunes.

Here’s Soundcloud.

And here’s YouTube.

Hope you enjoy.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

47 Comments

  1. Momfryhover on April 5, 2016 at 13:24

    I am an old time low carber who found your blog years ago. I have always found you and your blog very interesting . I want to thank you for being you and ready to change your thoughts on diet and health as you go. I have tried but I have always fallen back on my low carb ways. I just had a doc appt and had blood labs. At 66, I am now considered prediabitic so now is the time to rethink my diet and health. I asked to have my D level checked and it’s very low. So I’m prescribed high doses weekly of D with calcium. So, I am going to go this potato hack way and see if I can change that diagnoses. I am at least 60 lbs overweight and so losing some weight would be great too. I am going to get probiotics and have already started eating prebiotics. And any more Amazon will be done to help you. Thanks!

    • Corey on April 5, 2016 at 13:57

      Mom, I’m no doctor, but be VERY careful taking high dose (not sure what high dose means in this instance) vitamin D and calcium at the same time, as vitamin D increases calcium absorption. Some of this could end up in your arteries, and some in your kidneys (stones). I would be willing to bet your doctor didn’t even mention vitamin K; it should really be taken with vitamin D to make sure the calcium ends up in your bones. Don’t know what other health issues you might have, so maybe you can’t take vitamin K. Do some reading online about high dose vitamin D and the interaction with calcium and vitamin K.



    • Richard Nikoley on April 5, 2016 at 14:10

      Not just K, K2. I usually take the Life Extension Foundation K Complex. You can get it on Amazon.



  2. Momfryhover on April 5, 2016 at 14:11

    Corey, I was wondering about k as I remember reading about that. I will reread about that. The doc prescribed 50000 D2 per week. I don,t have full confidence in my new doctor.

    • Momfryhover on April 5, 2016 at 14:12

      Ok thanks Richard.



    • Corey on April 5, 2016 at 17:30

      Richard is right, I should have specified. I take the Life Extension Super K2. And 50,000 is indeed high-dose…



    • Mike on April 6, 2016 at 07:59

      Doctors prescribe D2 (ergocalciferol) because they can write a prescription for it. What you need is D3 (cholecalciferol). It’s really cheap. I take 5000Iu most days because I work inside all day.



    • Richard Nikoley on April 6, 2016 at 09:14

      Good point, Mike. And yep, just another reason some docs don’t know squat beyond their training, don’t care, or both.

      Yes, the D2 mass injections will raise D levels, and it’s fat soluble so bolus dosing is fine, but you can do that with the more bio available and cheap D3 and just pop a handful weekly.



    • gab on April 7, 2016 at 16:46

      Mom, also magnesium. Either in citrate or glycinate form. People, especially prediabetics, should not be taking calcium without also taking magnesium.



  3. monica on April 5, 2016 at 14:51

    Momfryhover: Just to second Richard and Corey: I took high doses of vit D3 without K2 and now I have deposits on my teeth. I am not sure about my arteries, however, plaque on teeth seems to be associated with plaque on arteries. I stopped taking D3, and have lots of Natto instead (source of K2), no visible results yet (I am not sure it’s easily reversible).

  4. Momfryhover on April 5, 2016 at 16:32

    I am a little baffled with my doc not telling me about this. But I don’t feel full confidence in him. But I believe I have to be the one in charge of my health and even question my doc if I need to.

    • Corey on April 5, 2016 at 17:33

      Don’t be too baffled – traditional doctors are taught virtually nothing about nutrition/vitamins. Ask your doctor how many courses he took in medical school. The answer will be “none.” No money to be made there. It’s all about prescription meds. Also, most people don’t need supplemental calcium. Often just upping the vitamin D (with K2) is sufficient to properly utilize the calcium that’s present in a “normal” diet.



  5. Momfryhover on April 5, 2016 at 17:48

    Thank you Corey.

    • sassysquatch on April 6, 2016 at 05:11

      Mom – Did I see where your Doc prescribed D2? This is synthetic vitamin D – and is more expensive and less effective (more dangerous?) than simple D3. If people I train ask my opinion, I tell them to take 100 mcg of vitamin K2, for every 2000 IUs of D3 they take. Also, a quality magnesium supplement should be taken in unison with K2 and D3. I also agree that supplemental calcium is rarely a good idea (but I certainly don’t know the specifics of your condition). A good NATURAL source of preformed vitamin A, like Extra virgin Cod Liver oil will also compliment your D3 intake. Just need like a half a teaspoon. Vitamin D and A seem to work in unison together. Google search ‘Chris Masterjohn and fat soluble vitamins’.

      I also suggest you check out Dr Jason Fung and his work with fasting and reversing type 2 diabetes. It is fascinating.

      Also, check out the ‘Humans Are Not Broken’ podcast on fasting. Dr Fung does a 20 minute or so presentation at the end of the podcast. Plus Angelo C does a great job with his info.



  6. Momfryhover on April 6, 2016 at 08:08

    Thank you….I am beginning to believe doctors have zero training about vitamins or maybe close to that. And I want to get a hold of this prediabetes before it turns in to full blown diabetes.

    • Momfryhover on April 6, 2016 at 11:53

      I am so impressed with Dr. Fung. Hope lots of people listen to him and thanks so much for pointing him out to me sassysquatch .

      So I have put together my own plan for myself. Basically, most days, 2-3 lowcarb meals. One day of fasting. One meal high carb per week. D3+K2+cod liver oil for my low d. And a good probiotic. Walk 3 days per week, I also garden on the others. I am still going to have my coffee, iced tea and one diet coke a day. I will be using an artificial sugar in my coffee and tea. Hell, thats enough sacrifices.

      I am going to follow this until my next Doc appt. and labs in Sept. I hope. I am going to send an email to my Doc and tell him this is what I am doing. Power to the people, lol ( I am an old hippie)



  7. ramon on April 6, 2016 at 15:13

    Speaking of good peasant food and beans, the French peasants would make cassoulet….very tasty, but probably had some goose fat.

  8. Alesia on April 6, 2016 at 15:56

    Momfryhover,

    If you ever feel like you want to kick the iced tea, diet Coke, and artificial sweeteners, you could replace them with water kefir, and kombucha. You just need to acquire some SCOBYs. They’re easy to brew, and if you do a second ferment you can achieve a nice bubbly, probiotic, pop-like drink. Since you’re a hippie, and a gardener you might like brewing them, even if you don’t plan on giving up anything.

    • Momfryhover on April 6, 2016 at 16:24

      Interesting…I may try that.



  9. Stuart on April 6, 2016 at 19:16

    Unless you know it is the trans form rather than the cis form it is not useful to the body.
    “LEF Super K (it is still good at 55 mcg trans Mk-7) and order the products below that have high trans content (96-98%). You may prefer other brands but check to ensure it’s trans configuration.

    RELENTLESS IMPROVEMENTS “Vitamin K2, Mk-4/Mk-7”
    Source: Kappa Bioscience

    Each capsule contains:
    trans Mk-4: 15 mg
    trans Mk-7: 60 mcg
    Interesting: take 3/day and you have values used in research.

    DOCTOR’S BEST “Natural Vitamin K2, Mk-7 with MenaQ7”
    Source: MenaQ7

    Each capsule contains:
    trans Mk-7 100 mcg
    quotes are from where we enjoy your blog too
    http://www.heartlifetalk.com/forums/default.aspx?g=posts&t=28214&p=2#post72935

  10. sassysquatch on April 7, 2016 at 03:02

    I believe Tim referred to our bodies going in to ‘starvation mode’, when comparing fasting to the potato hack. In other words, fasting causes our bodies to shut down the metabolism, reduce calorie consumption and even ‘burn muscle tissue’. This may be true of someone that fasted for several weeks or months – BUT, current research by Dr Mark Mattson and Dr Jason Fung have shown that during short fasts of between 16 hours to 5 days, just the opposite occurs. The metabolism actually goes up, adrenaline increases, brain function improves, and fat burn is maximized.

    In other words, ‘starvation mode’, when referring to IF, is a MYTH.

    I’m not knocking the potato hack, or as I call it, ‘The starch hack’. I use it all of the time, and it works. But why not combine the 2 and possibly maximize the potential of both?

    • Tim Steele on April 7, 2016 at 21:32

      I’ve never been a big believer in the starvation mode theories. I think if you listen real hard, I mumbled “if there is such a thing” after I said it, lol. I normally IF daily from dinner to lunch, skipping breakfast, and i do the same thing when I do the potato hack.

      It’s a hard call for me to recommend IF’ing when I talk about the potato hack because it’s a new concept to most people I am targeting. But I do love IF and it works very well for me.



  11. Frankie on April 7, 2016 at 08:33

    I’m done with all of this dietary dogma. I’ve tried countless times to follow the “experts” on going VLC only to feel miserable for weeks. Bulletproof Coffee didn’t do shit for me but Asprey says it will keep you full for 4-6 hrs.Eating predominately fats didn’t have any kind of profound effect on me whatsoever. But when i added white pots to my meals i was completely satiated for hours. I was told that white rice and white potatoes cause inflammation to the body.And that i should replace white rice/white pots with brown rice and sweet pots. F that. Every time I’ve had brown rice/sweet pots I’ve craved white rice/white pots .Quinoa sucks too.No thanks.My problem with all this ancestral expert information is that the alleged data puts everyone in a one size fits all bloodline. From a cultural perspective this is BS!White rice,beans,pork which make up a large majority of my Hispanic ancestry are demonized by most of the “experts.”Are Asians wrong for eating white rice?Are the Swiss wrong for eating sourdough breads?I say it’s all marketing fluff unless it works for you.To be clear,if it works for you then you stick with it.But for me at least,I can say that i thrive and feel much better when i add white pots along with my other demonized options.

    • Momfryhover on April 7, 2016 at 08:49

      My ancestry is mostly Irish and Scottish and I always seem to go back to potatoes. In fact, I may have to have them with my meals and nix the vlc part. I am 66 and really tired of trying dietary dogma. So what do you think of the “wheat is bad” stuff?



    • Tim Steele on April 7, 2016 at 21:35

      I agree! There are no one-size-fits-all approaches to dieting. I thing it is safe to say that EVERY human benefits from avoiding refined white sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, most oils, and refined flour. EVERY human will benefit from getting good sleep, exercise, and reducing stress. But beyond that, eating is individual.



    • LaFrite on April 8, 2016 at 02:22

      You’re right Frank, screw all dogmas. Eat what you like, mind your portions and adopt a great lifestyle enjoying your body and the world outside, including people close to you. It is all that matters really.



  12. Frankie on April 7, 2016 at 09:13

    I always soak my beans and grains.I try to buy organic whenever possible.Eating healthy on a budget can be challenging,but staples like pots,rice,grains,plantains are dirt cheap which make this very doable.Along with hearty soups and stew which can last a few days. Eating this way has helped me cut back on the amount of $ i have to spend on pastured meats.

    • LaFrite on April 8, 2016 at 02:25

      Same here. Big veggie / bean stews full of garlic, onions and other flavorful goodies, and sometimes animal based broth when I have. A big budget savior 😀

      Meat and fish once or twice a week, always good stuff. Occasional fast, occasional feast, always good sleep and enjoying sunlight anytime I can be outdoor (which I am about every day of the year).



  13. Frankie on April 7, 2016 at 10:17

    I’ve even tried to make various raw egg,protein,coconut milk blender drinks to no avail.I’m waiving the white flag on LC.I’ll still try to fast when i can,but i’ll stick with a liberal version of the Perfect Health Diet.That has seemed to work the best for me.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 7, 2016 at 13:41

      Frankie, get a schtick in your social sphere and you’ll have to make it your own, but the essential element is–and whith some hubris, equally essential–‘dude, I’m healthier than you on 10% of what you spend on food.’



  14. Frankie on April 7, 2016 at 14:05

    “staples like pots,rice,grains,plantains are dirt cheap “

  15. Frankie on April 7, 2016 at 14:07

    And you saved me a ton with the potato research.Thanks.

  16. Tracy on April 8, 2016 at 00:49

    I don’t need to lose weight (I initially lost an unwanted stone on VLC but started to have mucus issues, dry eyes, sinus problems etc and after reading on Paul Jaminet’s site about carbs being important for mucus production, I added back in potatoes, rice and really good occasional sourdough, and things improved) but cooked and cooled potatoes (and beans) are now a major part of my diet since reading the resistant starch posts on this site, and just recently I’ve added oat groats (lovely cooked in a low oven for 40 mins with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, few sultanas and raw honey stirred in at the end – I even love it cold). I live in the UK and grow about 7 varieties of potato each year, the taste is far superior to anything in the shops and due to the mild winters we’ve been having, they can be left in the ground, I just dig them as required. I’m assuming, like most home grown stuff, that the nutritional value is also way up on shop bought?

  17. king of the one eyed people on April 8, 2016 at 02:05

    In the interest of full disclosure you should warn people that the potato diet combined with repopulation of the gut biome may lead to some industrial sized laying of cable. I have blocked up the toilet at work a number of times already. I am afraid to use the one at home in case I have to unblock it by hand.

    • Momfryhover on April 8, 2016 at 09:27

      Thats funny…..by the way, is it better if your poop floats or is that still another myth thing?



  18. gab on April 8, 2016 at 16:29

    Momfryhover, that’s an interesting question. Floaters contain gas. One assumes, perhaps incorrectly, that the various species of ‘gas eating’ microbes will prevent the production of floaters. Don’t know. Maybe gas from the gut goes through the bloodstream and is also eliminated by breathing. Is the gut of people who produce floaters better at its job than people who produce only sinkers? Does it matter? Floaters didn’t matter when people used latrines.

    • solver on April 9, 2016 at 01:13

      Gab, I can’t tell if mine are floaters or not. They are so large they fill up the lower bowl and displace most of the water. They ‘feel’ like floaters on the way out though. I have large amounts of gas on beans and potatoes. It smells like a dead rat or something has died in my lower intestine. Bad. Really, really bad but I love it!



  19. solver on April 9, 2016 at 01:35

    Oh, btw, it’s pronounced Nikol-“EE”, not Nikol-“eye”. You’re welcome btw 🙂

    Thank me in your next post for helping you get a little “less wrong every day”.

    • solver on April 9, 2016 at 01:40

      You seem to be averaging one “um” or “ah” every 15 seconds. There are some good bits where you go for a good minute or two without an “um” or “ah” to be heard though. So getting better. They can be very distracting for someone following your every word as you speak – like me!



    • gab on April 9, 2016 at 04:57

      Actually it’s Nikol-‘ay’, but this is USA.

      My surname is not pronounced correctly either unless by another Hungarian speaker. I don’t pronounce it the way it’s supposed to be because it’s just easier to not bother. There’s several more and more incorrect ways of doing it, just as with Richard’s surname.-

      The temple site in Syria – Palmyra. Very annoyingly called Palm -eye-ra in the media. That’s not the way I learned it and was really wondering if my art history professors got it wrong or what’s going on. Well, my art history professors used the correct pronunciation: http://www.howtopronounce.co.in/palmyra-in-english/

      You are less correct than Richard. It’s a journey to being less wrong. Keep going.



  20. solver on April 9, 2016 at 01:46

    7 or 8% from Amazon! Fuck man. I think I must have made you $70 or $80 in the past year. For that sort of money I fucking own you dude! I’ve paid Kanye West less than that in royalties! I’ve probably paid Taylor Swift more though – she’s so hot.

    Oh and the ‘bump’ in volume when Tim comes on line and Tim’s audio both suck – you’re too loud and you can hardly hear Tim. Can you do a pre-interview audio check that includes a pre-recording and check session in the future?

    • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2016 at 10:45

      Which source did you listen from? The Soundcloud and iTunes are raw. But they were already uploaded by the time I learned of a tool to help level out volume issues. The YouTube version is much better.

      Unfortunately, when doing interviews over the internet, some of this is unavoidable. Only sure way around it is to have the other person record themselves. But that adds a whole other level of complexity that I don’t care to mess with just yet.



    • Tim Steele on April 9, 2016 at 10:58

      This is all a good learning experience for Richard. I was talking into the built-in mic on my laptop via Skype. I did a podcast with Angelo Coppola around the same time (http://www.humansarenotbroken.com/latest-in-paleo-158/ ). With Angelo, I was in my truck on my cell phone. The audio was even worse on my cell phone, which really disappointed me because Angelo has such a great setup and has many years in doing this type interview. But the poor audio was completely from my end.

      Maybe the lesson here is that when interviewing guests calling in by Skype or cell phone, keep it short and sweet.

      I thought the end bit of the podcast where Richard narrated a piece on the human condition was excellent. Very good audio and a deliberate, paced speaking voice. I hope to hear more of that!



    • king of the one eyed people on April 9, 2016 at 14:30

      Soundcloud.



  21. ramon on April 15, 2016 at 07:24

    I had been waiting on this book a while. Read the book over the weekend during a Mexico trip, after a 3 day experiment 2 weeks ago that had me in deep ketosis and losing 4 pounds. The second half of the book was very interesting, I appreciate the research Tim put in to it.

    Last time I did the hack I made Richard’s soup, and some low fat garlic mashed taters. This time I am going to minimize other foods except malt vinegar or hot sauce.

    Restarting my n=1 again, but keeping notes on tweaks and additives.

  22. Sherry on May 27, 2016 at 03:36

    http://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i2351

    Study finds potato heavy diet leads to increased inflammation and high blood pressure??

    I’m with the guy above that is fed up, literally

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