Monday, March 01, 2010

Root Vegetables: Sweet Potatoes & Yams

As you probably know, I’m a (close) relative of a caveman. I tend to eat like one, and have been known to eat with my hands at times. As an endurance athlete, I need some CHO as part of my diet, most of which doesn’t come of the processed variety. As such, this post will be about one my favorite foods: the root vegetable.

I love potatoes. I don’t have a flog (food log, and I just made that up), but if I did, I’m sure it’d have potatoes on it everyday (for the past year). I ate “regular” potatoes for most of my life, until recently, I was introduced to sweet potatoes. I loved them. They have a very unprocessed, “rooty” flavor to them. Right around the same time, I was introduced to yams. They also tasted really good. Since then, I tend to look for these morsels when venturing out to societal places of food consumption. I was confused at first, since many times, “Sweet potato” (Mr. Quayle, note that there is no ‘e’ at the end of potato, in its singular form) would be advertised, yet a yam would be the real “product”. I pondered why this was for some time, and kinda put it on “the back burner”.

One night after we both had hard workouts early in the day, I took my girlfriend on a hot date to souplantation (February was potato month there, after all). While I was getting more food, there was a customer who wondered the same thing discussed in the previous paragraph, only he was more vocal:

Excuse me” he nearly yelled to someone behind the potato station.

Yes sir” said an unsuspecting nearby employee, who probably learned English as a second language to Spanish.

The sign says sweet potatoes, but these are really yams”, said the angry man

No, those are sweet potatoes” said Hose-A

No” _Grunt_Those” _Beats Chest_Yams”, I interrupted - scaring women and children.

Hose-A, realizing that he had an outlet, quickly vanished from the scene.

Angry customer guy quickly engaged in a conversation with me. He asked me if I worked out, to which I responded, “A little”, with a slight nod of the head (Now if I only had an M-DOT tattoo I could show off. NOT). He talked about how Sweet Potatoes had no starch, Yams had some statch and that they are just OK for people who workout. The conversation ended shortly there after because I was really hungry, but I was intrigued by his whole starch argument.

So, I did some research, and found these important bullet points:
  • To prevent confusion, the United States Department of Agriculture requires that sweet potatoes labeled as "yams" also be labeled as "sweet potatoes".[1] GENIOUS! I’m obviously in the wrong business. I should be suing restaurants for their false labeling, But I digress
  • Both are considered “low” on the glycemic index and glycemic load. Score!

Despite their mislabeling in restaurants, I really like Sweet Potatoes and Yams, find that are excellent CHO sources, very "natural", taste great, and do an exceptional job of fueling the endurance fire.

Bon Appetite!


jameson said...

simple explanation.

i love them too... i highly recommend grilling them!

Tawnee said...

You beat me to it! Haha. I still got something to say on the matter, although, probably not as funny as your story.

Jaakko Hiekkaranta said...

sweet potatoes and San Diego is an interesting combination! it's where I discovered the love for sweet potatoes too! thanks to healthy culinary cook JW