Fries, they may be one of the most popular foods in America. It seems like no matter where you go they are being offered as a side to any type of dish from McDonald’s to Red Lobster people are being asked if they want fries with that.
While our cultural obsessions with deep fried sticks of starch may be a bit much, I have to admit that they are pretty good. Unfortunately, white potatoes are actually part of the nightshade family. This is the same family of foods containing tomatoes, eggplant, and chili peppers.
Nightshades are off-limits in the elimination phase of the autoimmune protocol because they contain compounds called glycoalkaloids. Glycoalkaloids are a subset of substances called saponins. Saponins are a chemical that is found in the seeds of many plants. They basically protect the plant from being consumed by microbes. However, “dietary sopanins create holes in the surface membrane of the enterocytes, allowing a variety of substances in the gut to enter the cell.” This basically means that sopanins cause damage to the cells in the gut membrane causing leaky gut and potentially cell death. However, not all sopanins cause irreparable damage to the gut. It is the subset of sopanins found in nightshades, the glycoalkaloids, that cause the most damage. In fact, moderate to high levels of glycoalkaloids in animals has been shown to be poisonous by multiple studies. 1
What does this mean then? Do us AIP, glycoalkaloid-phobic, eaters just have to sit back and watch the rest of our fellow Americans sit around eating fries without us? Well, to a certain extent yes, but it just got a lot easier. In the past, I have always just gone with sweet potato fries when looking for a side dish to serve with my burgers, but last week I decided to mix it up and try making fries out of a green plantain. I had never had plantain fries before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
Well, as much as I love sweet potatoes (obviously), these plantain fries kicked the sweet potato fries out of the park. They were amazing! First of all, they got way crispier than I have ever been able to get my sweet potato fries. They tasted plain and starchy like a potato, not sweet, and they even looked like French fries! To top it all off, because they were starchy and salty like a French fry I tried eating them with some apple cider vinegar (I always grew up calling fries with vinegar boardwalk fries) and they were delicious! Just like the real deal! I was in heaven.
Its important to note that not everyone on AIP can tolerate plantains and it is important to keep an eye on your starch intake, especially if you are dealing with a condition such as a small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or a yeast overgrowth such as candida. However, for many people plantains are a great way to feed the healthy bacteria in our guts and get extra calories and an energy boost.
How do you like your fries? With vinegar? Sauce? Plain? Tell me in the comments J
Baked Plantain Fries Recipe:
Serves 1-2 people
1 Green Plantain
2 TBS of an AIP friendly cooking oil (I like coconut oil or palm oil)
Salt to Taste
Garlic Powder to Taste (Optional)
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Peel your plantain and cut it into strips. Then, using a medium mixing bowl, toss the plantain strips in oil and spices until evenly coated. On a lined baking sheet spread your fries in an even layer, with the strips touching as little as possible. Bake your fries for 10 minutes. Remove the pan and rotate the fries. Bake for another 10 minutes or until they start to become golden or brown slightly. Allow your fries to cool slightly and then enjoy!
Citation: (1) Ballantyne, Sarah. The paleo approach: reverse autoimmune disease and heal your body. Las Vegas: Victory Belt Publishing Inc. , 2013. Print.