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Comprehensive List of Safe Starches

by (1363)
Updated about 2 hours ago
Created April 12, 2012 at 8:54 PM

Anyone know a good comprehensive list of safe starches?

If not I thought we could make one. We could sort it by level of "Safeness" I.E. some consider white rice safe, others not so much. And we could sort for price. Maybe 3 Categories - "Almost all consider safe", "Majority Consider Safe", "Some Consider Safe". Then the price per calorie.

I'll start:

Almost all consider safe:

  • Sweet Potato - 4.6 calories per penny
  • Plantains - 5.5 calories per penny.

Majority Consider safe:

  • White Rice - cheap

How can i format my post so it looks pretty?

[Edit by MikeD - I made it look pretty, go see what I did so you know for the future.]

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8
5132 · April 15, 2012 at 5:50 AM

Parsnips fried in coconut oil and garnished with cranberries are my favorite dessert. Along with a cup of coffee.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8
5132 · April 15, 2012 at 5:49 AM

The East Village. Also, Hmart in Manhattan and Queens. I personally dont' eat taro because I seem to react to the skin when I touch.

6b6c938c368e7a135e74c468c9ed1189
633 · April 13, 2012 at 7:00 PM

It was a joke. Robb Wolf/Cordane are about the least tolerant of any non-veggie carbs, but RW talks up the NorCal Margaritas. . .

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892 · April 13, 2012 at 5:26 PM

I like that you framed it as calories per penny. I'm very curious to see a compiled list.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e
20519 · April 13, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Dittos on the taro - I'm lucky that my Brooklyn nabe is loaded with that tastiness + yuca, plantains, and such.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e
20519 · April 13, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Dittos on the taro - I'm lucky that my Brooklyn nabe is loaded with that tastiness + yucca, plantains, and such.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · April 13, 2012 at 2:34 PM

What's the EV? Store or farmer market?

1bbcd2122d9c75b07440f22ef57d6448
2934 · April 13, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Crucifers and leafy greens are carbs, too! I'm pretty sure most people can handle them without many problems.

E34fbfa1bca9ae970c9c7313bf9de9f8
1436 · April 13, 2012 at 1:56 PM

FWIW Tequilla (and most hard liquor) doesn't contain carbs.

A72f969e98fb82fbaae341d29230b881
195 · April 13, 2012 at 1:21 PM

In my experience, Corbab is correct. I couldn't imagine being able to workout without carbs in the diet at least part of the time. I lost a fair amoutn of weight on a low carb diet, but once I started exercising more, it did not supply enough energy. I like the idea of "earning" one's carbs.

293ba4c95d190bc616b27d85b10d705a
661 · April 13, 2012 at 1:19 PM

I digest white rice better than sweet potatoes!!!!. Eat to your meter!

F8d65e2e1a907daa6d7c25f6707f3c46
832 · April 13, 2012 at 12:56 PM

When I first started Paleo from the books I actually was under the impression all starches were disallowed. Then I started reading message boards and was very surprised to see suggestions otherwise, but glad, because turns out I respond better with a little rice starch.

Ddfdaa75ac9f47e01fc71162dd0d38dc
418 · April 13, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Its easy. Japanese grocery store in The EV. Or go to Queens.

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15976 · April 13, 2012 at 12:08 PM

I love taro too. In Japan I ate it a lotbut even here in NYC it's difficult to get ahold of.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3
4347 · April 13, 2012 at 11:05 AM

I thought that the "carbs/starchy foods are inherently evil" thing has been long debunked. And when I 'signed up' for paleo I wasn't under the impression that starches were disallowed or that my insulin response to certain foods deemed said foods healthy or not. I, and many other people, do very well on a fair amount of starch. Sorry, -1.

0bc04a2ee661857e8458df34646e70ef
319 · April 13, 2012 at 8:16 AM

Boiled plantains and parsnips fried with kale along side a juicy hamburger all seasoned with sea salt and garam masala is one of my new favorite things!

1bbcd2122d9c75b07440f22ef57d6448
2934 · April 13, 2012 at 6:28 AM

Just as paleo is not specifically low-carb, it is not anti-starch. Different people do different things with paleo, and have different needs and goals. I train 2 hours a day, 5 days a week, and don't have the time in my practice schedule to dedicate 2-3 weeks to keto-training, so there's no way I'd be able to perform without potatoes and sweet potatoes. Be careful when applying a blanket statement, especially one not based in fact.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d
1363 · April 13, 2012 at 12:41 AM

If I eat more than 100 grams of protein I pee 5 times a night. I'm sensitive to dairy. This severely limits my food choices. I feel pretty good on my sweet potato and plantain diet, but would love to be able to eat more protein...but until I figure out why it makes me pee all night I'm on the safe starches. I can only eat so much coconut oil.

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1200 · April 13, 2012 at 12:20 AM

Why do you suggest peeling the potatoe? The skin is where all the potassium is.

2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2
2707 · April 12, 2012 at 11:54 PM

Minimizing your body's use of insulin is definitely not one of Paleo's goal. High insulin levels is a problem, sure, but regular levels are fine. The goal of paleo is finding a way through diet, lifestyle, fitness, etc to a more healthy and optimal version of yourself. We use paleo man as a starting point, and apply that to our modern environment. Paleo is more than carbs. As long as you peel your potato (sweet/white) you get rid of most of the problems. Same for white rice when cooked. In the end you have to see what works for you. Not everyone can tolerate the same food.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d
1363 · April 12, 2012 at 10:11 PM

Thanks Mike, looks much better!

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10 Answers

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e
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20519 · April 13, 2012 at 4:15 PM

This could really be all over the place as not one sock fits all and everyone's needs/goals are different. Many online sites have lists available, I like what's on Balanced Bites via @Violets post. Personally I dig yuca, plantains, banana, tubers, sweet potatoes, parsnips, squash, taro..

I'm super lucky that where I live in Brooklyn I have full access to yuca/plantains/taro 1 block away from my apartment. Win!

If anyone wants to try plantains: I find that slashing the skin with a knife then dropping into boiling water for a few seconds allows the skin to come right off. When green they're a pain to deal with.

Yuca: Cut into 2" to 3" long pieces. On the freshly cut end you will see the "ring" of bark that needs to be removed, it is about 1/16' thick, I use a knife or peeler. Once the bark is removed use your knife to score an "X" on each cut end of the yuca pieces - this helps them split later on. Drop them into boiling water and boil until they are soft and can be pierced with a fork or knife - 20 to 30 minutes. They may also be splitting open at this point. The yuca can be served mojo sauce made with whatever fat/oil you like + lime juice or sour orange juice, and fresh garlic spooned over the top. For fries you put in the fridge to cool. Once it is cooled, and the yuca is firmed up a bit, cut the pieces in halves or quarters, it will naturally let you know what it wants, and remove the fibrous strip out of the very center. Squeeze the quarters or halves lightly in your hands to compact them. Drop them in fat/oil to deep fry or you can pan fry in less fat/oil, turning a couple of time until browned or golden, you can also roast in the oven. You will find that how long you boil them (and how hard you squeeze them) for will vary the consistency of the final product considerably, from denser (less time boiling) to looser (more time).

Taro is awesome and, to me, pretty flexible like the plantain, so many things to do with it. An easy one is put bite sized pieces into a pot with 1c stock, 1tb maple syrup. Bring to a boil and cook down until the liquid is almost gone. Add 1tb coconut aminos. Thin out with 2tb white miso and a little water until more liquid rather than paste-like, add to the pot. Let simmer and y_u_m.

Good times!

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a
4
5516 · April 13, 2012 at 12:20 PM

You might want to look at this previous question covering starches:

http://paleohacks.com/questions/31667/what-are-some-nutritious-starch-options#axzz1rpJ5qN6u

It was about getting nutritious starches into your diet. Hopefully that helps.

6b6c938c368e7a135e74c468c9ed1189
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633 · April 13, 2012 at 8:40 AM

Safe carbs depends on who you listen to. Robb Wolf will tell you tequilla is the only safe carb. Mark Sisson would add a tiny amount of milk. Read Sally Fallon's 'Nurishing Traditions' for a pretty comprehensive list of Weston A. Price go-to foods. But in her excellent book she warns not all carbs are for everyone. Some can handle lactose and sourdough wheat (like me - go ahead and ban me mods ;) ), most agree on yams. Personally I love veggies and yams with a little sourdough bread (drenched in butter or soaking up deep orange yokes), lots of raw local honey, and raw local goat milk. I like beans once in awhile if they're soaked two days and cooked the same, swimming in pastured lard. White rice won't bother if you're insulin sensitive. Ditto Irish potatoes. If you're on the fence, go large with the pseudo-potatoes like beets, rutabagas, carrots etc. OK, now I'm hungry. . .

1bbcd2122d9c75b07440f22ef57d6448
2934 · April 13, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Crucifers and leafy greens are carbs, too! I'm pretty sure most people can handle them without many problems.

E34fbfa1bca9ae970c9c7313bf9de9f8
1436 · April 13, 2012 at 1:56 PM

FWIW Tequilla (and most hard liquor) doesn't contain carbs.

6b6c938c368e7a135e74c468c9ed1189
633 · April 13, 2012 at 7:00 PM

It was a joke. Robb Wolf/Cordane are about the least tolerant of any non-veggie carbs, but RW talks up the NorCal Margaritas. . .

0bc04a2ee661857e8458df34646e70ef
4
319 · April 13, 2012 at 8:09 AM

Here's a great list done by Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites: http://balancedbites.com/2011/08/paleo-diet-carbs.html I don't know the prices per calorie but I imagine it would vary widely depending on season and locale.

0bc04a2ee661857e8458df34646e70ef
319 · April 13, 2012 at 8:16 AM

Boiled plantains and parsnips fried with kale along side a juicy hamburger all seasoned with sea salt and garam masala is one of my new favorite things!

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8
5132 · April 15, 2012 at 5:50 AM

Parsnips fried in coconut oil and garnished with cranberries are my favorite dessert. Along with a cup of coffee.

1bbcd2122d9c75b07440f22ef57d6448
3
2934 · April 13, 2012 at 6:33 AM

I love bananas. They only work out to around 2.7 calories per penny, but they're still dirt cheap. They're by far my favorite post-workout food.

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2531 · April 13, 2012 at 1:53 PM

i love me some yuca!

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2
12702 · April 13, 2012 at 5:46 AM

Taro root is probably my favorite safe (errr, safe only when cooked) starch, but the cheapest I can find is probably around 1 calorie per 1 penny. It's a bit expensive for me, but I love it. I have no idea what people think of taro, since I rarely hear it mentioned.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · April 13, 2012 at 12:08 PM

I love taro too. In Japan I ate it a lotbut even here in NYC it's difficult to get ahold of.

Ddfdaa75ac9f47e01fc71162dd0d38dc
418 · April 13, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Its easy. Japanese grocery store in The EV. Or go to Queens.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · April 13, 2012 at 2:34 PM

What's the EV? Store or farmer market?

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8
5132 · April 15, 2012 at 5:49 AM

The East Village. Also, Hmart in Manhattan and Queens. I personally dont' eat taro because I seem to react to the skin when I touch.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e
20519 · April 13, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Dittos on the taro - I'm lucky that my Brooklyn nabe is loaded with that tastiness + yuca, plantains, and such.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e
20519 · April 13, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Dittos on the taro - I'm lucky that my Brooklyn nabe is loaded with that tastiness + yucca, plantains, and such.

Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c
0
1804 · April 13, 2012 at 4:25 PM

Plantains!!! Do those count?

F8d65e2e1a907daa6d7c25f6707f3c46
0
832 · April 13, 2012 at 12:53 PM

oops, wrong spot. Can this be deleted?

2e5dc29c61f97d335ffb990508424719
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2409 · April 12, 2012 at 11:48 PM

Safe starches is a misnomer. The only safe starch are the ones you leave on your plate. The "majority" do not consider white rice safe. One of the goals of paleo is to minimize your body's use of insulin. White rice will spike it and the resulting cascade is not where you want to be. We do have a long evolutionary history with root vegetables and several aboriginal cultures still eat them. The fact that they grow below ground and are low in phytates and other anti-nutrients works in their favor as well as a large fiber content which slows the resulting starch to sugar conversion and thus blunts the insulin response. This is why sweet potatoes are OK. White potatoes have less fiber and convert much faster.

F8d65e2e1a907daa6d7c25f6707f3c46
832 · April 13, 2012 at 12:56 PM

When I first started Paleo from the books I actually was under the impression all starches were disallowed. Then I started reading message boards and was very surprised to see suggestions otherwise, but glad, because turns out I respond better with a little rice starch.

2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2
2707 · April 12, 2012 at 11:54 PM

Minimizing your body's use of insulin is definitely not one of Paleo's goal. High insulin levels is a problem, sure, but regular levels are fine. The goal of paleo is finding a way through diet, lifestyle, fitness, etc to a more healthy and optimal version of yourself. We use paleo man as a starting point, and apply that to our modern environment. Paleo is more than carbs. As long as you peel your potato (sweet/white) you get rid of most of the problems. Same for white rice when cooked. In the end you have to see what works for you. Not everyone can tolerate the same food.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d
1363 · April 13, 2012 at 12:41 AM

If I eat more than 100 grams of protein I pee 5 times a night. I'm sensitive to dairy. This severely limits my food choices. I feel pretty good on my sweet potato and plantain diet, but would love to be able to eat more protein...but until I figure out why it makes me pee all night I'm on the safe starches. I can only eat so much coconut oil.

531b053b68e92ac509fc1544f88dc103
1200 · April 13, 2012 at 12:20 AM

Why do you suggest peeling the potatoe? The skin is where all the potassium is.

1bbcd2122d9c75b07440f22ef57d6448
2934 · April 13, 2012 at 6:28 AM

Just as paleo is not specifically low-carb, it is not anti-starch. Different people do different things with paleo, and have different needs and goals. I train 2 hours a day, 5 days a week, and don't have the time in my practice schedule to dedicate 2-3 weeks to keto-training, so there's no way I'd be able to perform without potatoes and sweet potatoes. Be careful when applying a blanket statement, especially one not based in fact.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3
4347 · April 13, 2012 at 11:05 AM

I thought that the "carbs/starchy foods are inherently evil" thing has been long debunked. And when I 'signed up' for paleo I wasn't under the impression that starches were disallowed or that my insulin response to certain foods deemed said foods healthy or not. I, and many other people, do very well on a fair amount of starch. Sorry, -1.

293ba4c95d190bc616b27d85b10d705a
661 · April 13, 2012 at 1:19 PM

I digest white rice better than sweet potatoes!!!!. Eat to your meter!

A72f969e98fb82fbaae341d29230b881
195 · April 13, 2012 at 1:21 PM

In my experience, Corbab is correct. I couldn't imagine being able to workout without carbs in the diet at least part of the time. I lost a fair amoutn of weight on a low carb diet, but once I started exercising more, it did not supply enough energy. I like the idea of "earning" one's carbs.

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