[Homestead] Potatoes

Clansgian at wmconnect.com Clansgian at wmconnect.com
Sun Mar 18 08:56:46 EDT 2007

Of course, the actual green of the potato is harmless.  That's chlorophyll.  
It's just that when chlorophyll forms, so does solanine.  The green in only an 
indicator and not the poison itself.

As to foods causing or worstening certain conditions:  About two years ago I 
developed a weakness in one knee.  Along about evening time the joint would be 
painful and give way easily.  Probably the tendon rather than the joint.  It 
happened over about an 18 month period.  The advice was profuse.  Thake this 
supplement, that vitamin, that mineral, eat this food, avoid that food.   What 
I did was ..... nothing.  Suddenly one day it went away and hasn't returned 
since.   Had I stopped eating peanuts or started eating walnuts every day or 
some such, I might be inclined to say "See, that's the cause or that's the cure." 
 Given time most health problems come and go.

It was during that time I began to pay attention to the warnings about this 
or that food.  While I've heard the universal bad effects of potatoes and all 
nightshade plants, I've also heard just about the exact same story about wheat, 
corn, diary, soybeans, brassica, pome fruit, meat, eggs, and almost every 
other food you can name.  If you took all these seriously, you'd just starve to 
death and be done with it.

A lot of modern alarmism comes from not understanding how human chemistry 
works.  Since, as in this case, solanine is poisonous in large enough quantities, 
it is assumed then that small amounts of it must be doing some small but 
accumulative harm.  

Not so.

We injest toxins all the time.  There are small amounts of arsenic in ALL 
naturally occuring drinking water.  Foods are creating small amounts of formic 
acid as a matter of course.  Etc.  Then there are intentional toxins such as 
alcohol and acetic acid.  The human body has "chemical channels" specificially 
designed to deal with these toxins.  Until the toxin rises to a certain level 
(swamping the chemical channel), it is the same as if it weren't present at all. 
 The important thing to keep in mind when viewing such things as the safety 
of potatoes is that it isn't a matter of keeping the exposure to solanine low 
enough to keep the cumulative effect low, rather until you pass the toxic 
level, it has no effect on you whatever.

Potatoes are such a balanced food (having a starch to protein ration similar 
to wheat IF you eat the skin) and rich in minerals, fiber, and a host of 
beneficial phytochemicals,  that avoiding them, or their skins, is a nutritional 
mistake when compared to the low to nonexistent danger from solanine.

Someone I knew, alas a sickly person, was in a position where all he had 
available to him vegetable wise was commercially canned vegetables (metal cans).  
He didn't eat them and explained that he had read that the vegetables were 
rasied in such a way and processed in such a way as to make them far less 
nutritious than fresh vegetables.   No doubt.  But the nutritional difference between 
commercially canned vegetables and fresh organic produce is only a tiny 
fraction of the difference between canned vegetables and no vegetables at all!

Like that, potatoes, peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes are a vast resource of 
nutrition which far, far outweigh the theorectical risk from other of their 
constituent chemicals.   </HTML>

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