Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Potato salad recipe (and the wonders of resistant starch!)

Like many other diabetics, I have to tread carefully with white potatoes. The high carbohydrates and high GI nature of potatoes means that they push my blood sugar up - even though they are nutritious and delicious! That is, unless I eat them in potato salad.  So why are cold potatoes different to warm potatoes? Its all because of a wonderful component called resistant starch.
So what is resistant starch? 
Resistant starch is a type of dietary fibre that is fermented in the large bowel and feeds the gut microbiome - the bacteria in your bowel that do so much good. Despite the messages to eat more fibre, and people are doing that, most people are increasing their fibre with processed foods like cereals, which don't necessarily contain resistant starch. More fibre yes, but all the great health benefits, no.  There is evidence that a healthy gut microbiome plays a role in preventing diabetes, obesity and some cancers, and may even have a role in mental health, so it’s worth taking a moment to understand how to keep it healthy. So rather than just eating any kind of fibre, we particularly need to be eating more resistant starch for a healthy gut and a healthy body.
So where do you find resistant starch? 
It can be found in some starchy fruits and vegetables (eg bananas and sweet potatoes), in legumes (have I told you how awesome beans, chick peas and lentils are lately?) and interestingly,  in some cooked and cooled starchy foods. Cooking and cooling starchy foods like rice, pasta and potatoes, and eating them cold, lowers the GI and increases the amount of resistant starch. Add some healthy fats and lemon juice and you lower the GI further – so when it is too warm to eat beautiful lentil soups and chick pea curries, change to summer starch foods like potato salad, rice salad and pasta salad!

Add lentils to your meals, cook and cool some rice to add to salads, diced and roast some sweet potatoes to throw in everything – there are loads of easy ways to get slow burning energey and make your bowel bugs happy at the same time.
For resistant starch goodness, add
lentils and beans to everything!
For more interesting information on resistant starch check out this post from Precision Nutrition here:
All about resistant starch

Most potato salads have heavy creamy dressings which are often also quite sweet and can stack on the calories with unnecessary fats. Not mine! So I guess I should share my magical potato salad recipe too!

white potatoes (you can add sweet potatoes as well for added colour and flavour)
2 hard boiled eggs
Greek yoghurt
red onion
fresh parsley
dijon mustard
whoelgrain mustard

I haven't listed amounts here as you can really fiddle with this until it tastes right for you.

Roughly chop your potatoes ad steam them with skins on until tender. You can get lower GI potatoes called Carisma from Coles) but any potatoes will work for this. Adding orange sweet potato (kumara) will make it extra interesting! 

Hard boil two eggs, chop them up and pop them in the fridge to cool, along with your potatoes. About an hour in the fridge or half an hour in the freezer should do the trick.

Finely dice a red onion, a bunch of fresh parsley. If you want extra bursts of flavour you could also add chopped gherkins, capers, capsicum, a tin of corn or even a little bacon. 

For the dressing mix a cup of plain Greek yoghurt with a tablespoon of dijon mustard, a tablespoon of grain mustard and a drizzle of honey.  Mix well then fold the dressing through the potatoes, eggs, onions and herbs.

Serve with a quarter of lemon to squeeze on the side. Left overs will keep in the fridge for 2 days or so (if you don't eat it all first!)

Bon appetit!

Potato salad makes a delicious and nutritious side dish

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