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How I DID a MARY'S MINI potato cleanse: Part 1

Wherein the Forker eats pretty much mostly potatoes for 10 days!



So I know what you’re asking - What the hell is a Mary’s Mini?

It’s essentially this: you pick one whole food starch and make that your primary food for 10 days, also allowing in non-starchy vegetables and some sauces and condiments, but no other starches, sugars, fats, or oils. That’s the basic gist of it.

Why the fuck would anyone want to do this?!

A few reasons, I think. The idea originates (and gets it’s name from) Mary McDougall, the wife of Dr. John McDougall who wrote a book called The Starch Solution, that dispels the myth about how “all carbs are bad for you”. Of course shitty carbs are bad for you - but ones that are real food have tons of benefits and his wife took it the next step by creating a palette cleansing diet that’s focused primarily around carbs.

So primarily I think most people do it to help kickstart some weight loss. It’s known to help people lose a pretty significant amount of weight in a short time period. It’s also a good way for people who are used to eating the standard North American diet that’s full of oil and sugar and fat to reset their palette back to what real whole food tastes like. It also helps people to be more mindful in their eating since it’s designed to be a bit bland, and so you can eat until you’re completely full, but after a few days you’re not likely to overeat - and in theory you get a better sense of what it feels like to “be full”


Why the hell are YOU doing it?! You’re not a fat forker anymore!

Nope - but I’ve always been curious about this. Penn Jillette wrote his book Presto about this, it was also done by the lovely people over at Krocks in the Kitchen, and not to mention Kevin Smith even gave it a go I believe. The reason I want to do it is because I’m trying to figure out what the right stable weight is for me. I think I’m at it right now, but it is a tinge higher than what I thought my stable weight would be. So my thought is to give this a shot - I’ll likely trim up a few pounds - and then once I return to my normal healthy way of eating I’ll see where my body lands in the weeks and months after. And if I return to this weight I’m currently at I’m totally cool with that. I’m just curious. It’s an experiment - for fun! (check back in for the later updates to see if I still have that attitude…)


Alright, I’m interested - what are the core rules to this thing?


1. Pick a Starch

  • potatoes

  • sweet potatoes

  • any other root veggie (except carrots, beets, turnip, daikon, and salsify)

  • corn

  • winter squash like acorn

  • whole grains


2.  One starch ONLY is used for the next 10 days

  • Potatoes OR sweet potatoes OR rice OR quinoa OR any starch – except beans.

  • No switching back and forth

  • There is no limit on portion size. 

  • Eat to satiation, not stuffed.

  • If your starch is potato and you want a snack, have a potato!


3.  Allowed condiments:

  • veggie broth

  • salsa

  • mustard

  • ketchup

  • sriracha

  • hot sauce

  • nutritional yeast

  • soy sauce


4.  Foods NOT allowed 

  • any fruit (Dr. McDougall says “fruit is not your best friend for weight loss” because it tastes good and leads to overeating)

  • processed sugar or substitutes

  • processed grains like bread/crackers

  • gravies/sauces with flour (one exception to ‘no flour’ is if you are doing a corn mini, in which case polenta and corn tortillas are OK)

  • beans/lentils

  • nuts or nut butters

  • avocado

  • coconut

  • chocolate

  • alcohol

  • tofu

  • oil of any kind (coconut, avocado, olive, canola, etc)


So that’s about it. I’m going to write a bunch of follow-up articles on this. One after Day 5, another after Day 10, and then a wrap up a couple weeks or a month after to see the final results - and maybe even another sometime after that. We’ll see. But keep an eye on my social media channels as I’m sure I’ll be posting a lot during this process. If YOU have done a mini let me know - any tips or recipes would be greatly appreciated!


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