Chris Voight took a stand for potatoes on October 1st, 2010. After 60 days of an all potato diet his stand has come to an end and although he lost 20 lbs and his cholesterol level fell by 60 points, he doesn’t consider his diet a success. He won’t until the government changes its stance on spuds. Voight is the head of the Washington State Potato Commission and his all-potato diet came after the federal government put out proposals to limit and/or ban potatoes from government run programs.
Currently, potatoes are the only vegetable that is not allowed for purchase through the Women’s, Infants and Children’s program (WIC) even though the spuds have fiber, vitamin C, and more potassium than bananas. Voight’s fight went public after the USDA took a recommendation from the Institute of Medicine to change the regulation for WIC vegetables and also recommended that schools limit their use of potatoes.
According to the AP, Voight said of the potato stunt, “If we are successful in convincing USDA to put potatoes in the programs, then I’d call it a 100 percent success. But it’s been great that the publicity and the general awareness the public has now and how it’s drawn some attention to the nutritional value of potatoes. I just consider that gravy.”
Chris Voight’s job as head of the Washington State Potato Commission is to look out for everything potato related and to make sure that the potato industry remains sustainable for potato growers in Washington. By taking on the all-potato diet he has shown dedication and devotion to a cause near to his heart. Consider this, if government programs stop serving up potatoes then a new round of economic loss will be felt by over 250 potato growers in Washington alone and those that eat their product. Can you imagine a world with no mashed potatoes, french fries or tater tots?
According to the Washington State Potato Commission, Voight “does not recommend an all-potato diet for anyone but he remains sold on the benefits of the tuber and hopes to prove they deserve to remain in school lunches and can be purchased through the WIC program.”
Voight ended his potato diet with a meal at a Head Start event for children and parents. The meal consisted of tacos, fajitas, fruit and grilled potatoes.