Potatoes & Milk - Been there, done that

When I first separated from my husband, I left everything behind but a few dollars, my clothes, my computer, and my car. I moved out of state to a place where I didn’t know anyone or have any resources to speak, and as I was waiting for the first job to kick in and build back my financial resources, I lived on what I like to call “broke food” which included a big bag of potatoes, some oleo, and milk. (Other additions? 99 cent loaves of bread, and lots of tuna fish).

I have to admit - not having the money for all the extra crap and junk food we convince ourselves we need - I was probably the healthiest I had ever been. When my finances allowed, I did add in oatmeal and green veggies.

Now it all makes sense.

The one thing I wonder: does it have to be white potatoes? or will sweet potatoes provide equal nutritional results?

From this thread:

I heard it’s possible to live for an extended period of time, not just short-term, on nothing but potatoes and milk. Is there any truth to this? If I could really get all the nutrients I need from just potatoes and milk, it sure would make my grocery shopping easier.-


Breakfast: milk and potatoes

Lunch: potatoes and milk

4 o’clock: yogurt and chips

:smack: and for a change:
Supper: spuds and milk

Monday id., Tuesday id…

The thrust of Cecil’s piece is that a diet of potatoes and milk alone will eventually result in a serious deficiency of molybdenum.

I learn here that 245 grams of yogurt supplies 15% of the daily requirement for molybdenum. Since yogurt is made by bacterial fermentation of milk, does this mean one actually can survive long term on potatoes and milk, or do the bacteria rule out this dish from the equation.

Furthermore, I’m not sure chips would be allowed. This foodstuff introduces a third ingredient in the shape of oil or fat.

I am not a nutritionist or a food scientist but I do eat potatoes.

Please allow the poor fellow to prepare his spuds in various ways like hashed, fried, baked…

I’m surprised that Cecil didn’t mention cabbage, which I had always understood to be a major part of the traditional Irish diet (and of the diet of poor folks everywhere in the world that cabbages grow). They don’t have as many calories as potatoes, but a heck of a lot more vitamins, so you’d probably be able to cut back considerably on that eight pounds of potatoes if you added some slaw.

OK, if we allow chips this prompts a further question.

Molybdenum is apparently essential to all species. If the potatoes are fried in animal fat then how much molybdenum, if any, is contained therein?

Well, a diet of just milk, potatoes and oatmeal doesn’t sound too expensive either. I wonder what the daily optimal combination of these 3 would be, minimizing caloric intake or volume of food.

I would volunteer to experiment with this diet once I know the answer to that. But I can’t, my excuse being that I’m lactose intolerant. Does Lact-Aid milk count?

A little surfing of nutrition sites tells me that molybdenum deficiency is unheard of in otherwise healthy people; to get it you need a genetic defect in molybdenum metabolism or something. Also, some sites say that potatoes are a good source of molybdenum. Og forbid I should say Cecil’s wrong; it probably depends on the molybdenum content of the soil. All told, my non-nutritionist’s vibe is you’re just as liable to get a deficiency of some still-undiscovered nutrient as you are of molybdenum, although if you’re still worried and have your heart set on this potato-and-milk diet, I guess you could go to Home Depot once a week and lick drill bits.

That explains a lot. Like why they keep drill bits in those plastic packages.

I’ve been wondering why I keep seeing the O’Shaughnessy family hanging around the drill-bit aisle at our Work Bench outlet…

It seems as though sweet potatoes would be even better. whfoods.com is my favorite quick source of nutritional information, you can cross-reference nutrional value of yams vs. spuds, and add it up with milk. I know you’d definitely get a lot more vitamin A that way. And sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index, which might be worth taking into account with the ridiculous amount of lactose you’d be consuming.

I’m wondering if this site has a copyright law, because I found this answer cut and pasted into a blog today.

Just in case anyone cares.

Thank you for reporting this. While I cannot and do not speak for Ed, this site you’ve linked to at least only has a couple of paragraphs excerpted, and does link back to the Straight Dope, so it’s better than some folks who outright copy the entire column and don’t even give a link to the original.

This site quotes a couple paragraphs and links to the original, so I’d say this falls within the “fair use” provision of the copyright laws, meaning it’s legal. These things are a judgment call, but had most or all of the column been reposted we would certainly have demanded that it be taken down. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

I wonder, would buttermilk suffice? If I get canned from my job, I might need to know this. I can’t choke down conventional ‘sweet’ milk (ugh) but I can do buttermilk.

I have too admit, I’m a little skeptical on this proposed diet. Sure, maybe a nineteenth century manly man that plowed his fields by his own hand and hammered in nails with his fist on a daily basis might be able to live well on 8 pounds of potatos a day, but frankly, I think if I ate 8 pounds of potatos a day, then drove to work to sit at a desk all day, a Molybdenum shortage isn’t the first health concern I would think of.

How many calories are in 8 pounds of potatos? I buy potatos in five and ten pound bags that last weeks. I can’t imagine eating 8 pounds of potatos a day. It seems like an enormous amount of food.

Potatoes have 423 calories per pound according to this:

Times 8 pounds is 3,384 calories.

Plus milk/butter.

From the same site SeanArenas found, a gallon of milk is 2343 calories. So we’re looking at 5727 calories a day to try to get all of one’s nutrition, minus molybdenum.

If you need 1750 calories per day to maintain your weight, that means you need to burn about 4,000 calories per day in additional exercise.

According to about.com, it takes 408 calories per hour to chop wood, so 10 hours of that activity and you’re set. I chose chopping wood as a random activity, though. According to nutristrategy, the same weight person can do a mere 4 hours of competitive ice skating to make up the calories, or running at 9mph for 4 hours.

bad way to go about it. Simply take up bodybuilding. That way, as you build a tremendous amount of muscle, your metabolism requires far more calories to support itself. AND the weightlifting itself burns serious calories (stick to large muscle groups… lots of squats, deadlifts…)