Sweet Potato Power!

Sunday, October 14, 2012



I hate sweet potato, said no one ever!!! I am just kidding, but really most crossfitters or paleo enthusiasts love 2 things: bacon and sweet potato. When I first made this lifestyle change I can remember being so pumped to be able to eat sweet potato. Why? because it tastes fantastic : ). I have now recently started reading a book called “Sweet Potato Power” learning how important and nutritious it can be to incorporate this food. The info I am about to discuss has come from reading this book. Here is some bullet points on the benefits of the sweet potato:

  • Contains more vitamin A than any other fruit or vegetable.
  • Contains high amounts of vitamin E, which is an anti-oxidant that plays a role in protecting our bodies from free radicals.
  • Contains high amounts of fiber, giving us a sensation of fullness.
  • Contains one of the best sources of absorbable beta-carotene.
  • Is a complex carbohydrate, causing a slower digestion thus not spiking the blood sugar.
  • Contains a natural protein, which has an anti-inflammatory affect and aids in the repair of cells.

The sweet potato vs the white potato nutrition comparison will point you to the sweet potato every time. Glycemic index; sweet potato is low where as the potato is high. With the sweet potato being a complex carbohydrate it is digested slowly meaning it won’t spike the blood sugar which in turn will be a better management of your energy preventing the crash and burn affect that simple carbohydrates can cause. Sweet potato contains more vitamin A and C than the potato. The sweet potato contains 6.6 grams of fiber where as the potato contains 4.2 grams. Also the anti-inflammatory affect is greater in the sweet potato than the white potato. Clearly the sweet potato wins ; )

“When we eat, our bodies begin to dissassemble food into useable nutrients, including all three macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. These nutrients play different but essential roles.” -Ashley Tudor

Carbohydrates give our cells the fuel they need for activity, repair, and replication. Carbs are broken down into simple sugars in order to be used by the body. The three simple sugars broken down could be glucose, lactose, or fructose. Glucose is the most common and fuels our muscles, metabolism, and brain. Like mentioned above complex carbs (sweet potato, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, etc) are full of fiber slowing down the digestion, threfore slowing the rate of sugar absorption and in turn giving our body more time to absorb the micronutrients from our food. That is a win/win situation : ) Keep in mind that we use the glucose as needed then store the rest. It will be stored in your muscles, liver, and fat tissue; in that order, and we also grab from the storage in that order when needed. As for protein it is broken down into amino acids and utilized where it is needed, protein is not stored. Protein triggers the hormones that indicate us that we are full. As for fats they are broken down to fatty acids that our cells and hormones need. It also let’s us know we are full and keeps us satiated because of the long digestion time. When we eat our bodies are smart and digest easiest to hardest, the carbs first for faster energy, then proteins, and fats last. Carbs give us quicker energy and because proteins and fats are digested slower they give us a consistent stream of energy, keeping you full and satisfied without crashing. By eating with a paleo lifestyle approach we are eating more of these types of carbs + protein and good fats. This type of eating puts us in a fat burning zone and helps regulate our blood sugar.

“The right foods give us balanced hormones+low inflammation+properly fueled activity.” -Ashley Tudor.

This doesn’t mean go home and eat a pound of sweet potato or have it all day everyday! Just something to think about incorporating, you know your body best so play with how much is beneficial. As crossfitters we do high intensity workouts and need to be refueled so we can continue to enjoy our lifestyle. This food is great for post- WOD and sometimes pre-WOD, depends on the athlete. This food even works for refueling during endurance events. I personally refueled during my triathalon with 2 sweet potatoes. As always listen to your body and make changes as needed! Below is a sweet potato recipe from the book but the pic is from my own sweet potato hash that I threw together one night!



Morning Hash with Sweet Potato
Serves 4

8 Strips of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1 Medium Onion, chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Large red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 Bunch of kale, tough stems removed and chopped
1 Tsp fresh thyme, chopped
Sea salt and Pepper to taste

1. In a large frying pan over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towel to remove fat. Clean up excess fat or save for another time : ) Add oil to pan and heat to medium.

2. Add onions and bell pepper. Saute, stirring 1-2 minutes until onion is translucent. Lower heat and add garlic and potato. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatos are tender and start to brown, about 5 minutes. Add kale and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in thyme and bacon.

3. Crack 4 eggs over the mixture. Cover. After 2 minutes add two table-spoons of water to the pan. Replace cover and cook another minute or two until eggs are cooked to desired doneness.

Enjoy : )

You might also like