The end is in sight.
Chris Voigt is counting down the days to Tuesday, when he can eat anything. Anything but potatoes.
Voigt, executive director of the Washington Potato Commission, decided to go on a strict potato diet for 60 days after he felt potatoes weren't getting the respect they deserved.
The Institute of Medicine recently recommended the federal government ban participants in the Women, Infants and Children program for needy families from buying potatoes. Officials said the change was intended to encourage participants to buy a greater variety of vegetables.
Never miss a local story.
The institute also suggested not serving as many potatoes in the federal school lunch program, which subsidizes breakfasts and lunches for about 32 million low-income children.
When Voigt went to see his doctor for his halfway checkup after 30 days on the diet, his doctor said he was doing great. His cholesterol has dropped 52 points and he has lost 18 pounds. Voigt thinks that proves his point -- that potatoes aren't just empty carbohydrates.
"It sort of debunked what the naysayers said -- that you can't live on potatoes," Voigt said.
And he has earned the respect of other spud executives.
Bill Brewer is executive director of the Oregon Potato Commission and appreciates what Voigt has done.
"I think it's great," Brewer said. "It is bringing attention to the nutritional value of potatoes."
Although Brewer said he isn't thinking of going as far as Voigt.
"I'm a big supporter, but I don't have the willpower that Chris has," he said.
Voigt said the diet has been a challenge.
He made it through his son's birthday party last month without partaking in the luscious cake specially baked for the occasion.
And today Voigt, of Moses Lake, will be eating his family's version of a Thanksgiving dinner for him, which will include orange-colored mashed potatoes to take the place of pumpkin pie, and ... more mashed potatoes.
"My kids are going to shape (the mashed potatoes) into a turkey, drizzle it with olive oil and put it in the oven to take on a golden appearance," he said.
He estimates he has done more than 150 interviews about the diet with media from as far away as New Zealand and, of course, Ireland.
Many people, especially those who make their living from spuds, are very supportive of what Voigt is doing, he said.
"Many farmers have sent me notes, 'Thanks for sticking up for agriculture,' and stuff like that," he said.
And he has received letters from others who said during some tough times, potatoes have made a difference.
"Several families have said there were rough times," Voigt said. "When they didn't have any way of putting food on the table -- they made potatoes. I never expected to receive comments like that."
So what is on the menu for Tuesday? Voigt said he's pretty sure it's not potatoes.
"I have had more mashed potatoes in the last 54 days than I have had in my entire life," Voigt said.