This is what it's like to eat only potatoes for 60 days

A man does an extreme diet to prove the nutritional value of spuds. But he's losing his mind

Published October 28, 2010 4:02PM (EDT)

First there were hunger strikes to protest brutal injustices. Then there was "Super Size Me," an all-McDonald's regimen captured on film to show us what fast food is doing to us. But now Chris Voigt is bringing the extreme diet noise to … promoting potato sales.

For 60 days, all the executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission will eat are potatoes, seven pounds a day of them, to demonstrate that potatoes are so nutritionally whole that you can live off them for months. Sure, his body might live, but what about his mind and spirit? I don't know, but when our friends at referred to Voigt's potato-diet blog as a document of "an increasingly broken and desperate man," well, we had to take a look at the slow-motion car crash.

He's nearly halfway through his challenge, which began on Oct. 1, and reading his posts is a little like reading diaries from the Donner Party, eerie announcements from a mental state slipping further and further away. It's amazing. We've combed through his record (sorry, there are no links to individual posts) to help tell his story (in a form edited for space). Enjoy, and maybe shed a tear for Chris Voigt. 


Just filmed a new video that we'll show later next week. Its about vitamin C. Did you know that potatoes can provide vitamin C to your family cheaper than oranges? Something to think about.

Ah, he's so earnest, so hopeful before he begins his diet. He believes in the potato, and he wants you to, too! Yes, the vitamin C of a potato is something to think about, and the next time I have a glass of orange juice, and I will think, "Yes, I'd rather be drinking the juice of orange than potato."


I've completed day one of my 60 days of potato bliss! What a whirlwind of a day. But the real news for today was that it was my wife's birthday! (I am amazed at how good she looks) While my family had all the fixings at the steakhouse celebrating my wife's birthday, I had garlic mashed potatoes and an order of steak fries. The all potato diet wasn't too bad today, but I did cringe a little when everyone had ice cream for dessert. But overall, a great day!


I finished day three last night. I have to admit, it has finally sunk in that "I'LL BE EATING JUST POTATOES FOR 57 MORE DAYS". So Sunday in church, I took communion, which is the only time I will stray from my diet. It was just a little piece of bread, smaller than a breath mint, and a thimble of grape juice. I noticed I kept the bread in my mouth an extended period of time just enjoying how it felt and the sweetness. I've never realized how sweet it was in the past. My sense of smell and taste have increased greatly over the last few days. And after church, there was the monthly potluck. Walking down the hall towards the room with the food was like a walk through a gourmet food court. The multitude of aromas was tempting my taste buds. Unfortunately, there wasn't anything there that would fit the guidelines of my diet so I just mingled and watched others eat. And I was really OK with that...until I got home. Home to another cooked potato. I needed a change in texture so I decided I was going to eat just potato chips.

It is fascinating how the senses change on you. I once spent a year avoiding beef, and from then on, every bite of beef I had was so incredibly flavorful. But this poor guy's been doing this for three days and already his brain is starving.


The family had chicken that was slow cooked in the crock pot, with some of the mashed potatoes I made for my lunch tomorrow. But they got gravy and I got none.

Things are not going to go well in this home for very long.


Was in potato Nirvana tonight. My wife boiled a bouillon cube with potato starch to make me "pseudo gravy". It was awesome! She smothered Yukon Gold and Purple potato slices in this gravy and baked it in the oven for an hour. Then cooked homemade yellow and purple chips with artificial sweetener and cinnamon for dessert. It was heaven for a flavor deprived husband. I would marry her all over again because of this!

Or maybe the marriage will be great!


Ok, my chicken bouillion cube/potato starch gravy has run its course. I've had 6 meals of it in the last two days. Time for something different

Oh well. Maybe stay together for the kids?


Was hoping to try coloring my hair today with purple potatoes but we ran into a snag. We picked up the wrong variety of purple potatoes, this one is a mix of purple and white flesh, we need all purple to get a good dose of pigment. Anyone experienced in coloring hair with natural pigments?

You'd think that he would spend his leisure time doing anything but finding more ways to put potatoes in his body, but he has the zeal of the true fanatic. If someone radicalizes him, this man will be dangerous.


Yesterday was tough. It was just one of those days where you really wonder what the heck you're doing. While I know I love potatoes, it was hard to keep eating them. I hung in there but I was the star of my own little pity party yesterday.


I had about a pound of hash browns this morning for breakfast, two pounds of mashed potatoes with black pepper for lunch, which means I have to eat close to 4 more pounds before bed. I'm leaning towards baked potatoes with balsamic vinegar for dinner but I'm not sure I'm ready for 4 pounds of it.

What we are watching here, ladies and gentlemen, is a man putting on a hair shirt.


Now I only have to eat 3 more pounds of potatoes before bed. Just consumed a pound of yellow potatoes I baked in the microwave. And if anyone is looking for the two packets of Taco Bell hot sauce that we're left in the break room...they've been consumed!

What's really brutal, though, is this comment from a reader, "Paula," on the post above:

It seems like when this started, you were just going to eat potatoes and maybe minimal spices, or sometimes minimal oils for seasoning. Now it's all artificial sweeteners, cocoa powder, taco bell sauce, etc. That's not a strictly potato diet anymore, Chris.

My God, woman! The man is going crazy, he's eating Taco Bell sauce for fun, and he's not doing enough for you? How about if he mutilates himself for your amusement too?


At the conclusion of my son's soccer game yesterday, we had our end of season BBQ. Which turned out to be my annual trip to the emergency room! I grabbed a very hot part of a camping stove we were using. Typing with a wad of bandages on your hand is a little slower than usual.

There, Paula, happy now??


So here is a new one that my wife made up. Fake ice cream made from potatoes. She took 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup artificial sweetener, and a little water to make a chocolate sauce. Then mixed it with about 2 cups of "riced" potatoes and ice. Blended it and put in freezer. It was actually really good, a strange texture though. I love my wife! What a treat!

She's trying to kill you.


So it was my son's 9th birthday today. My little spud! So he wanted Thai food for a birthday dinner with the extended family. Guess potatoes on the menu! They gave me a 1/2 oz bag of chips! That's all they had...and the best part...the chips expired back in August.

So that's where we are in this saga. Check out his blog for the further adventures of a brain getting mashed. And someone tell his kid to watch out. He called him "spud," which means he might be getting ready to eat him. 

By Francis Lam

Francis Lam is Features Editor at Gilt Taste, provides color commentary for the Cooking Channel show Food(ography), and tweets at @francis_lam.

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