Matt Heath: No fries with that – why I’m giving up spuds for 2021


Mashed, hashed, scalloped, chipped or roasted in duck fat, potatoes are the food of the gods. The apples of the Earth. My all-time favourite food. That’s why I will never eat one ever again. Well, not this year anyway.

I’m doing the “No Potato 2021 challenge”. Also known as “Spud None 21” or “Nada Potada” (I am working on the branding). “Later Tater” is a simple diet. You do everything the same as you did last year except you don’t eat potatoes.

Spuds are too tasty to be messed with. Especially when deep-fried. When you start eating taters you cant stop. We have all been there. You’re at the pub, you’re a bit hungry, you order some chips and before you know it, you have mindlessly consumed 765 starchy
calories. Add four beers to the mix and you’re well on your way to obesity. What do you want more than anything after four pints? More fries. Its the circle of fatness.

“Potat-No” works the same way every weight-loss diet does. It lowers your intake. If you cut out the potatoes, you get fat slower. There are hundreds of complex diets; the
Atkins Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet, the Grapefruit Diet, the Hollywood Miracle Diet, the Rice Diet, the Sarsdale Diet, the South Beach Diet, the Zone Diet, the Soup Diet.

They are all roundabout ways to trick you into shoving less calories in your face. There is nothing more to it. Less in, less fat.

The problem with most of these diets is the complexity. There’s too much admin, you get lazy and quit. The beauty of “Skip the Chip” is that you only have to remember one thing – don’t eat potatoes. In any form. I have been doing it for 31 days now. No problems. Although mid-winter bangers and mash will be my real test.

If you are worried about the potato industry, don’t, it will be fine. Leigh Hart’s new Snakachangi chips have already sold over two million packets. They only came out in June. Big potato will not only survive “Boot the Root 2021”, it will thrive. Why? Firstly, very few people will jump on this idea because it’s stupid and the branding is terrible. Secondly, people like potatoes way more then they want bikini bodies. Thirdly, all gimmick diets fail.

If you didn’t start on January 1, that’s fine. You have been given a month amnesty. The second wave of “Trash the Mash” begins on February 1. Today. So seize the day and say goodbye to the fry.

When you join Alcoholics Anonymous you get a support person. A sponsor who serves as a mentor to newcomers. With the “No Go Potato 21”, you’ll need to find a “Spud Bud”. Maybe it’s your wife, your best mate or that person you fancy at work. Someone you can turn to when you feel tempted. A good “PotateBro” who will stick by you and order the garden salad instead of the beer-battered chips with mayo. The coleslaw instead of the wedges with sour cream and bacon.

In The Lord of the Rings, Gollum Said to Samwise, Smeagol won’t grub taters. “What’s taters, precious, eh, what’s taters?” Exactly.

So 2021 is the year of change. The big fight-back. What are your goals? If very mild weight loss is one of them, “Forgo Tato” could be for you.

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